Cycling Bali

August 25, 2011 ASEAN Backpacking

To get to know the real Bali and experience real Balinese culture, don't drive around Bali (like us on our first day in Bali), go bike!

That's what I did after my Mt. Batur climb. That's not my suggested itinerary but I recommend doing both on separate days. 

Anyway, after my Mt. Batur climb, I met my cycling tour guide at Penelokan (Kintamani) where the food is not so great but the view of Mt. Batur is magnificent.

After bidding farewell to Mt. Batur and finishing my breakfast, I boarded a van. Our first stop was a coffee showroom, followed by our jump-off site where we selected our bikes, fitted our safety gear, and received safety instructions.

It was a 22-kilometer bike ride, mostly downhill, at Song Landak Village, away from the regular tourist trail. Adorable Balinese children took every chance to wave hellos at us during the ride.

Our first stop was at a traditional Balinese house where we saw how a Balinese family lives.

The house of the family matriarch stands tall. Have you noticed its elevated position? The height signifies respect, though it might not be so friendly for the aging member of the family.

I also took photos of the family temple where they worship God and glorify their ancestors. Each family has a temple, typically located in the direction of Mt. Agung.

Our guide also explained the family's ceremonial building, which is used for weddings and other ceremonies such as teeth filing and the girls' first period. All members of the community are invited to these ceremonies.
The family runs a bamboo weaving business and we saw them making bamboo walls and ceilings.

The house also has four kitchens. This is one of them.

The home we visited has four families and 19 members, which is inscribed in the entrance.

After the Balinese home and another quick bike ride, we visited this plantation.

Then we rode in the middle of these rice paddies ...

then out again on the main street to this temple. 

A Balinese village typically hosts three temples: the Pura Puseh, dedicated to both the god Vishnu and the human founders of the village, usually facing the mountain; the Pura Desa for the local spirits that protect the village; and the Pura Dalem, the temple of the dead.

After taking photos of the temple, we proceeded to another paddy where a farmer was tilling his land.

Then, we encountered a local icon – the Bob Marley tree, a colossal Banyan tree standing tall in Padpadan Village.

As we approached the Bob Marley tree, we unexpectedly stumbled upon a vibrant Balinese ceremony. Although we were granted permission to capture the moment through photographs, we respectfully refrained from entering the ceremony space due to not donning traditional Balinese attire. The entire atmosphere in Bali that day was infused with celebratory energy, harmonizing with the radiance of the full moon.

Next, we arrived at Suwat Village, where a group of women was immersed in the rhythmic choreography of harvesting and threshing. While the opportunity to lend a hand was extended, the fatigue from a sleepless night and the previous climb made my mind eager but my body reluctant.

At Petermon, we dismounted our bikes, taking a moment to appreciate the dam and river that shared the same name. While some chose to continue biking, a few of us opted for a relaxing ride in the cars, headed to our eagerly awaited lunch destination.

Lunch marked the delightful conclusion of our bike tour. Nestled amidst a picturesque rice paddy in Loc Pejeng, the restaurant, Ngajeng, exceeded our expectations. 

The culinary offerings were nothing short of delectable, just as Bali Budaya Tours had promised.( 

Vegetarian meals were also provided.

With the tour costing just 360,000 rupiah, every pedal of our bike and every moment spent exploring the heart of Bali felt like a worthwhile investment. 

As we concluded the adventure, our guide traced our entire route on the map, etching the memories of our journey through the vibrant landscapes of Bali.

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