Us on the Bali Eco Cycling Tour

Rice, Bikes and Volcanoes – Our Bali Eco Cycling Tour

The best parts of our turbulent trip to Indonesia were without a doubt the days when we were out exploring the country, as opposed to working in a hotel room or killing time hanging around in one place trying to stick to our stringent budget. Our happiest days were those spent visiting Borobodour temple and Mount Bromo, snorkelling on the Gili Islands and taking on the Campuhan Ridge walk in Ubud.  Another highlight was our one-day Eco Cycling tour; we got to explore the countryside and get an insight into Bali life as we biked through the heart of the island – here’s how it went.

Us on the Bali Eco Cycling Tour

Breakfast at Mount Batur

We began the day with a banana and chocolate pancake breakfast overlooking Mount Batur; an active volcano nestled in the heart of Bali. On the way there we stopped at an incredible rice terrace; as you can see from our pictures, the views were absolutely spectacular – enough even to rival those of our favourite country so far, New Zealand. This was the Indonesia we’d been waiting to see.

Rice Terraces, Bali, Indonesia

Rice Terrace in Bali

Mount Batur, Bali Indonesia

Mount Batur

Bali Eco Cycling Tour Plantation Visit

Next we stopped at a local plantation. Our guide Wayan showed us all the different plants that are grown there, including tea and coffee, ginger, turmeric, cocoa and ginseng.  We got to sample some of the products they sell, including lemon tea, coconut and vanilla coffee and our favourite: creamy, caramel-tasting pandanus tea.

Bali Eco Cycling Tour Guide

Our guide Wayan explaining the benefits of turmeric

Tea and Coffee Samples at a Bali Plantation

Tea and Coffee Samples

We also learnt how Luwak coffee, which is the most expensive in the world, is made. Luwaks are small, stoat-like creatures who eat the skin of coffee beans and swallow the rest, which ferments in their stomach to be passed out, collected and roasted.

Roasting Coffee Beans at a Plantation in Bali

Roasting coffee beans at the plantation

We actually saw some Luwaks in small cages at the plantation and concerned, asked Wayan about it – he told us the animals are only kept for three months at a time as part of a breeding programme before being released. Since our visit however, we’ve heard concerns that this might not be the case. Given that the tour we were on comes highly recommended and is endorsed as ‘eco’ by sources like Lonely Planet, we like to believe that Wayan was telling the truth but we can’t be sure.

a Luwak at a Coffee Plantation in Bali

The Luwak

Balinese Family Life

Now it was time to get down to the cycling. I had great fun when we took to our bikes in Hervey Bay, Australia, so I was looking forward to getting back in the saddle. We set off in single file, weaving down back roads through villages and past family compounds; as we cycled, people called out cheerful Hellos and kids waved to us.

Balinese Child in her Family Compound

We met a Balinese family when we visited their compound

Next, Wayan took us to a real Balinese family compound and told us about family life. We felt a bit uncomfortable walking around the place with our cameras out but were assured that the people were reimbursed in exchange for our visits so we awkwardly continued. Later, Wayan took us to see his very own family compound, where his relatives were busy creating some wood carvings.

Wood Carvings in Bali

Bali Wood Carvings

Balinese people have a very structured culture whereby extended families all live together; when women marry they go to live with their husband. Each compound has a temple where ancestors are buried – under no circumstances, Wayan explained, should the place be left uninhabited as they believe that evil spirits will invade.

Here’s a video of our day cycling through Bali:

Cycling through the Paddies

We spent the next couple of hours cycling through the countryside, stopping to take a stroll through the rice paddies and check out a giant Banyan tree. By the time we finished I was exhausted and starving, Andrew however, opted to cycle an additional gruelling eight kilometres uphill in the searing heat before lunch – that’s how much he’s missed having his own bike.

Banyan Tree in Bali

The Banyan Tree

We mostly chose to travel around independently while we were in Indonesia, our Bali Eco Cycling tour was an exception to this rule but it was well worth the cost. The tour provided an easy way to get out and explore the beautiful, remote Bali landscape – Wayan was an excellent guide and gave us a real insight into Balinese life.

Our Bali Eco Cycling Tour was one of the highlights of our trip to Indonesia; here's how it went, from breakfast overlooking a volcano to visiting a plantation to cycling through the rice paddies.

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*The Bali Eco Cycling tour costs £22 per person; we were given a 10 percent discount. Make sure you book through the company directly, as there are a number of copy-cat, substandard cycling tours operating in Bali.

  • Patti
    Posted at 00:28h, 14 July Reply

    Love the new look of the site – very clean – reader friendly! Aren’t Banyan Trees just the strangest things?!

    • Andrew
      Posted at 03:04h, 14 July Reply

      Thanks Patti! yes Banyan trees are just plain weird! 🙂

  • Mig
    Posted at 15:10h, 06 August Reply

    Exploring on bike is a great way to really see a country and interact with people. Beautiful video. So after the Luwaks eat the coffee beans and poop it out, then they roast it?

    • Amy
      Posted at 02:00h, 07 August Reply

      Yep, that’s what happens Mig! Sounds horrible, right? We’re not big enough coffee fans to spend the £60 to try it for ourselves. Andrew in particular loves exploring by bike too.

  • Ariana
    Posted at 08:30h, 12 August Reply

    So, Luwak is the secret for the most expensive coffee in the world. It’s just sad he has to be in a cage. And for the banyan tree, it’s huge and weird. Great post thank you.

    • Amy
      Posted at 03:25h, 13 August Reply

      Hi Ariana, thanks for commenting. Yes, it is sad that the luwaks are kept in cages; we didn’t expect to see that and it was quite a shock. We loved the rest of the tour though.

  • Victoria
    Posted at 00:08h, 05 May Reply

    Taking a cycling tour sounds like a brilliant idea. I’ll definately check out this company especially for the mountain trek. 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:50h, 05 May Reply

      You will love it Victoria, just make sure you use the original company, not one of the copycat ones 🙂

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