After visiting Bali a number of times during our childhood, we didn’t think there was much else to enjoy other than the beautiful beaches, friendly people, fascinating culture and delicious food. We were proven wrong on our last trip to this island paradise when we experienced a sense of adventure and discovery whilst bike riding through Ubud and the surrounding countryside.
Ubud is considered the arts and cultural centre of Bali, becoming well known to foreign artists during the 1930s thanks to a push from the Indonesian royal family. However, it took until the late 1960s when travelers of the intrepid type realised the natural beauty and cultural significance of this small town. It was most recently made famous by the best selling book and box office film, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, but Ubud has a lot more to offer to everyone, not just yoga enthusiasts on a path of self discovery.
Book yourself a place on a Bali Eco Cycling tour. You’ll start the day with breakfast on top of a lookout enjoying the view of Mt Batur – an active volcano dating back more than 28,000 years and expanding across the horizon 7.5 kilometers.
From here you start the downhill ride (yes, they make it easy for you), stopping at a plantation to learn about the world famous Luwak coffee and other Balinese crops, passing through small villages and getting to know the locals. You’ll even have the chance to go inside a traditional home to better understand the way of life for village families.
You’ll stop to walk around the rice paddies covering this stunning landscape, but just be sure not to slip off the pathway and into the mud and water like one of our friends! From here you’ll be back on your bike, passing a 500 year old tree and the local temple, where you then decide whether to cruise on downhill to the end or finish your day of easy riding with a 40 minute continual uphill trek.
We opted for the latter and it was tough, but if you’re fit enough then we definitely recommend it. The extra cycling provided the opportunity to ride along paths inaccessible to cars and unknown to anyone but the locals, and the reward is some of the most beautiful countryside we’ve seen in a long time.
No matter which ending you choose, you’ll finish the day with a delicious (and well deserved) feast for lunch. Then head back to your hotel in time to watch the sun set with a cocktail in hand.