Posted on January 30, 2010
The Best Bali Bike Tour
We had been told, by several people, to do a bali bike tour. So in Ubud we signed up with Bali Eco and Educational cycling tour. There are several different bike tour options but we went with this one and were extremely impressed!
The day started at 7:00 am. and Jenring, our funny witty spiky haired tour guide, meet us at our hotel with a huge smile. We picked up several other people (10 total including 6 and 9 year old boys) and drove up towards the Batuk volcano and lake. On the way, we stopped to view terraced rice paddies. These were beautiful and something very unique to see.
We then headed for breakfast at a restaurant over looking the Batuk volcano and lake. This volcano is still active and you could see how far the most recent lava had reached.
After breakfast we headed over to drink some “poop” coffee. No we are not kidding. This is considered some of the finest coffee in the world which just happens to be from the poop of a cat. This coffee is called Kopi Luwak which you may remember from the movie “The Bucket List”. The cats eat the coffee beans that fall into their food and then the bean comes out (you know where) whole. After the process of separating the male beans from the female beans the beans are roasted over a fire. Sebastien and I tried the poop coffee and he thought it was the smoothest coffee he had ever tasted. We also tried several other coffees and teas. The one I liked the best was called ginseng coffee. The ginseng make the coffee creamy but without the dairy.
We then choose our bikes (which were very uncomfortable) and headed on our 25K downhill bike ride. We road through the back streets of Bali which were full of children giving high fives and saying “hello”. All the people smiled as we road passed. On our ride we stopped and had a chance to plant rice with the locals.
Sebastien and I took off our shoes and jumped into the knee deep mud to join in the planting. The mud was really warm and squishy. I am sure that the locals laugh their butts off watching us try to help them.
After we planted rice we kept riding and were fortunate enough to witness a traditional Balinese wedding. Traditionally the family hosting the wedding places palm flags outside of their home and many guests are invited (200-500). This wedding was small but grand. The guests and groom encouraged us to come in and take pictures of the event. The bride was dressed in beautiful colors and wore a gold crown. Another beautiful feature was all the fruit and food that were placed out in an artistic form as an offering for the gods. It was a special event to witness and made me think of our upcoming wedding.
Along with experiencing a Balinese wedding we also were bought into a families compound/home. At this families home where they make palm mats. Sebastien tried to help but won’t be quitting his day job. We learned some interesting facts about the Balinese culture and way of life. Here are the ones that stood out for me.
- They still use specdicide to grow their palm trees
- They keep thier children held (not letting them touch the ground) for the first 3 months of life
- Each child is named based on thier class and number in the line up- first child, second child, third child
- The eldest boy will need to take care of themselves and leave the home if it becomes to crowded
- The youngest boy stays in the families home and cares for the parents
- They have teeth filing ceremony’s which they believe help take away “animal” instincts
- They cut the tails of dogs or cats if they steal food (also because they believe this takes away the animal instinct)
- They all live together except for the elder adults which have a home built a little higher then the others. Our tour guide pointed out that though this was respectful it created difficulties for the elders to get into the home as they aged.
- After a person dies they bury them for five years and then dig them up and have a cremation ceremony (Today we were walking on the beach in Kuta and witnessed an actual cremation ceremony taking place)
I especially liked learning about the children and have noticed that Balinese people LOVE their children. Everywhere we have been I watch men, women, parents, and strangers smiling and joking all young children. The children also ALWAYS look clean and well dressed for school. Here is a picture of a young boy washing his prized possession. So cute.
We also visited a 500 year old banyan tree and got to hang on the vines. After our 25K down hill ride we had the option of another 10K upward bike to where we would have lunch. Seb took part in this challenge and I took the conditioned van to lunch. When he meet up with us non-riders, he was covered in sweat and looked exhausted. Stating that he was out of shape.
After lunch we went to the Monkey Forrest. This is a small forest in Ubud which has a zillion kleptomaniac monkeys. There are also many beautiful stone carvings and some funny ones.
This was a great tour and I recommend it to anyone visiting Bali!