The name Bali evokes all sorts of mystical and exotic impressions and rightly so. Hindu in religion, it has its unique blend of culture and traditions. Some call it the Island of the gods. Its people are easy going, friendly and relax and the food though is Indonesian, is spiced up differently.
For Perth folks, this paradise is but a 3 hour hop and no wonder it is easily the no. 1 destination for West Australians. I had the privilege of having some father and son bonding time these few days in this beautiful island and we decided to stay in Ubud, the heart of art and culture.
I wanted a homestay and ended up at Ubud Dreams, right in the heart of Ubud town on Monkey Forest Rd but yet off a quiet street.
This morning we signed up for a 30km bike ride with Bali Eco Cycling Company. They picked us up promptly and Made, our guide, welcomed us warmly. We were driven in a comfortable bus to see some fantastic rice terraces.
Next stop was a tour of the coffee plantation and we were given a thorough explanation of the various coffees and plants grown in this cooler part of Bali. Luak Coffee, made from the droppings of the Civet Cat, is cultivated here and is the world's most expensive coffee.
The field had about 50 bicycles and we had to select a suitable one. The company provided helmets as well and we took some time to adjust the bikes to make sure all was ok. Made gave us a thorough safety briefing which was important.
The highlight for me was riding through the padi fields and a MTB proved itself through the muddy paths. Serene, breezy and a sense of freedom were felt as we admired the priceless view and I understood why the Bali people, though seemingly lacking in material things, were so rich in community and spirit.
We ended our ride by crossing a small river and our team took the bridge while another team rode across it on their bikes. I felt a tinge of jealousy as it looked so much fun. There was an optional 8km ride to our lunch spot and it was not for the faint-hearted as it was mostly uphills. Of course, I put my hand up and despite being the oldest of 5 (3 strapping teens + 2 men in their 30s), I joined the testoterone charged brigade. This proved quite fun but demanding especially after 20km + of easy downhills and one middle-age American guy dropped out after 10 mins, so technically, I wasn't last! Jem reckoned this was the most fun bit.
The tour concluded with the much appreciated ice cold towel and a most fitting hot lunch of delicious Baliness food. Satay, tempe, veggies, duck, chicken all cooked with exotic spices eaten with rice and noodles, washed down with ice tea and a lovely fruit dessert.
The bus took us back to our respective hotels and this is probably the best thing to do here in Bali for us cyclists - freewheeling down Kintamani! Certainly a must do in this beautiful island paradise.
23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. Acts 17:23-25