We woke up early to pack our bags and check out of our luxurious room at the Puri Sunia Resort in Ubud. At 8:15 sharp, our guide from the Jegeg Cycling Tour company arrived and we piled into the van…this is a bike tour, I promise. After collecting the remainder of our 7 person group, we headed off to our first stop of the day.
The Tegallalang rice terrace.
Louise and I had briefly stopped here the evening prior after our yoga class at The Yoga Barn (a must if you’re in Ubud), but it had been raining so we happily welcomed another visit this morning. Our stop was quick, as we had a schedule to stick to, but we were content with the time we had.
Back in the van, we continued along the winding back roads, passing through smaller rice terraces and zipping past elaborate temples. Eventually, we reached our breakfast spot, a gorgeous location with panoramic views of Mount Batur from the terrace.
Naturally, we both ordered the banana pancakes, because truthfully that was one of the main selling points of choosing this tour over others. The banana pancakes did not disappoint. They were delicious and combined with the very strong Balinese coffee, it was just what we needed before starting the rest of the tour.
Back in the van, our next stop on the tour was to the Satria Coffee Plantation where they are known for making the Kopi Luwak coffee. I honestly didnt want to visit one of these plantations due to the ethical treatment of these animals and felt quite uncomfortable during my time there.
Unfortunately, all of the bike tours we found made stops at a Kopi Luwak coffee plantation so a visit here was inevitable. The Plantation claims that they release the Asian Palm Civet’s from their cages during the night but I am quite the skeptic and am not entirely convinced that this is true. Even so, they are still caging the cat-like animals during the day and basically force-feeding them coffee cherries to increase production of the coffee. The Kopi Luwak coffee is produced from the feces of the digested coffee cherries that the Asian Palm Civet has eaten. So basically the world’s most expensive coffee is poop coffee.
Despite my own, personal feelings on the unethical treatment of animals, the coffee plantation was set in the middle of a lush forest with beautiful panoramic views. Luckily, they produce more than just the “famous” Luwak coffee ,offering a wide range of teas and other coffees. Included in the cycling tour price was a sampler of their most popular teas and coffees, an extra cost if you wanted to try the Kopi Luwak.
Exiting the coffee plantation we headed to the spot were we would get fitted with our bikes and helmets. Everyone checked out their bikes to make sure they were in perfect working order and then we were on our way.
Led by our delightful guide, we started the bike tour along the narrow paved roads, winding downhill through small villages. There were many stops along the way where our guide would give us insight on the Balinese culture and way of life.
At some point during the tour we stopped and fully dismounted our bikes to walk through one of the rice fields. The rice farmers were hard at work, taking just a moment to interact with us to show us the process of farming the rice.
The sky was beginning to form those ominous afternoon clouds and we knew there wouldn’t be much time before the sky opened up and the rain came pouring down. Something we had become accustomed to during our visit to Bali. That’s what you get when you visit during the rainy season!
It was during the last of the three steep, uphill climbs we made during our cycling journey that the torrential downpour started. Collectively, we were all pretty nervous about slipping and sliding on our bikes in the rain so, as a unified group, we piled back into the van. We drove the rest of the way to reach the traditional family home of our tour guide. To our relief, the rain dissipated quickly and had disappeared completely by the time we arrived at the family home.
Respectfully, we removed our shoes, slid our feet into the complimentary flip-flops and sat around our table Balinese style. The traditional Indonesian lunch was prepared by the family, served buffet style (which means we ate entirely too much) and was easily the most delicious food we ate the entire trip.
The entire cycling tour was fun and memorable but this experience was the real highlight. When else do you get to eat a home cooked meal with the family?
Our guide, who is also the owner, sat with us after lunch to give us some additional insight on their culture. His eyes would light up while he discussed with us his family customs and traditions. It was a unique experience to see and be a part of (if just for a moment) the interworkings of a Balinese family.
If you are heading to Ubud and are looking for a unique adventure, check out the cycling tour. It was a lot of fun and was a great way to get out of the city and experience some of Bali’s hidden countryside.