A friend and I travelled to Bali back in late July 2013. I had been to Bali once with my family when I was nine, but unlike the majority of West Aussies, I hadn’t been back since. We did go out quite a bit while we were there but we were both determine to see and do a lot around Bali during our time there. Friends of mine had told me about a cycling tour they had done when they took their family to Bali a couple of months earlier called Bali on Bike, so we promised them it would be on out must-do list.
We weren’t disappointed. We saw so much of Bali on this tour and the family who run the business are so friendly, it was the best $35 AUD we spent! We got picked up quite early in the morning (7.30 from memory) by an air-conditioned mini van from our accommodation in Legian just north of Kuta. We then spent the next hour or so travelling down through Kuta picking other tour-goers up while making our way into the middle of the island to Ubud. All in all there were about ten of us on the tour this day.
The tour officially started at a coffee plantation where you can try the infamous kopi luwak, a specialty coffee made from beans that have been digested by a civet. We tried a tasting paddle of different coffees (sans the poo coffee) some of which even appealed to my strictly anti-coffee pallet. The coconut coffee was a highlight and would make an amazing, super sweet iced coffee. One particularly brave member of our tour decided to get the kopi luwak and so we all had a sip. If anything it was quite bitter and not at all worth the fuss (or cost!) but hey, at least I can say I’ve tried it right?
From here the mini van then took us up to the top of Mount Batur to a honest-to-God breathtaking viewing spot looking out over the lake. Possibly the best aspect of this tour to my lazy self if that the actual bike ride starts up the top of Mount Batur, it is not a ride to the top. The reason for this is quite simple, it means the entire ride, bar two hills, is downhill and you barely event have to pedal. This makes this tour quite accessible for people regardless of fitness level.
The route of this cycling tour took us through the heart of Bali so we were able to witness some of the more traditional Balinese culture. Our tour guide Moon was sure to spot and explain things to us along the way as well. We saw traditional ceremonies, temples, cockfights and even the Royal family’s palace of residence in Bali!
We ended up riding, over a couple of hours, back into the fringes of Ubud where Bob the owner and his family live. Once here the hospitality was phenomenal from the entirety of Bob’s family. We were all given cold towels and water once we got off our bikes and we then sat, shoes off cross-legged, around a low table on the front verandah of Bob’s house.
The food we got for lunch was by far the best Balinese food I had on the island. One particular dish made of green beans sautéed in God-knows what heaven-sent spices was so good I tried to find it in every restaurant we went to after this day but can’t for the life of me remember the name of it. Once we had completely stuffed ourselves we were taken back to our hotels in the air-conned mini van with plenty of time left for us to nap by the pool before heading for another night out.
It may take up basically an entire day of your trip in Bali but if you want to leave with some sense that you saw a bit of Balinese culture, even if it’s the only culture thing you do, I would strongly suggest doing this tour. We saw a coffee plantation, an amazing view of Mount Batur, endless rice fields and traditional villages and ended it all with an amazing traditional smorgasbord. Our tour guide Moon was hilarious and had us all comfortable with each other within a matter of minutes and the rest of the family were so accommodating. Definitely value for money. I just wish they offered more tours!
Source: All About The Journey