Monday, May 11, 2015

NATURE TRIP IN UBUD, BALI, INDONESIA

Mount Batur, crater lake and the forest
The other side of Bali is contradicting and quite physical if one opts to.  Bali, Indonesia is not solely about beaches, a tropical paradise indeed with a wider coverage on the scenic mountains, volcanoes and plantations.

On one fine day, we have decided to be in communion with nature.  Made, our travel guide/driver from Bali Golden Tours will be the captain of our tour.  We let him decide where we shall wander.


TEGALALANG RICE TERRACES


The first order of business is a scenic rice terraces.  An early morning walk amidst a green cascading rice paddies became an involuntary exercise for us (at least for me).

The Tegalalang Rice Terraces is situated five kilometers north of the Ubud Village and south of Central Bali, approximately an hour from Denpasar Airport.  As we alight from our van, I immediately asked Made if the trek would take kilometers before we are able to get the best vantage point for the famed rice terraces.  Fortunately, it only took a few steps and a wide panorama of rice paddies came in view.



There are aligned shops and restaurants as well offering the rice terraces as its imposing view.  If one opts to get closer and witness how the farmers do their routine, then a trekking is inevitable. For our group, we only decided to take the few steps after crossing the bridge and be awed at the scenic landscape.

Along the way, there are local residents who are now getting used to commerce as they seek for a minimal fee for alleged “maintenance and preservation”.  Crossing a makeshift bamboo bridge, I saw a wooden box at a far end with a signage for donation.  A few steps after another Balinese mans another box intended for donation again where some tourists provide their share.




A number of tourists comprise mostly of Europeans.  They look overwhelmingly amazed at every façade presented to them, with some doing stunts over the picturesque backdrop.


The Philippines is known for UNESCO-inscribed rice terraces and even a number are a typical rural setting. Tegalalang Rice Terraces then becomes a familiar setting for us, Filipino tourists.  The rice terraces of Tegalalang, Indonesia is nevertheless equally stunning and a must to visit when in Bali.

MOUNT BATUR AND LAKE


The tour guides/drivers from Bali Golden Tours have suggested that it is best to wake up early morning and do a hike at Mount Batur to witness the sunrise at the summit.  They say it’s scenic and rewarding.  For a short while (very short), we entertained the idea but I know it would be impossible.  We’re not a fan of trekking mountains after all, especially in a foreign country where there are a lot more to discover and given our time constraints.

There is an entrance fee to enter the village at the foot of the Mount Batur, where a glimpse of the mountain can be had. It was the most expensive entrance fee we have paid so far, but definitely worth and reasonable. (30,000 IDR for each and 15,000 IDR for vehicle)





We passed by restaurants, galleries, residential houses and pine trees with Mount Batur as the picturesque backdrop.  The mountain does not hide from the clouds.  We were truly warmly welcomed.  Days before the thickness of the clouds hovers the summit and the façade of the mountain, as shared by our guide.  Fortunate for us, the weather did cooperate.

Alighting from the van, we had a few minutes of wandering over the viewpoint and position ourselves for the mandatory touristy shots.  There were a number of peddlers offering varied items of souvenir and even a puppy.


Mount Batur (Gunung Batur)is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas north west of Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia.  The southwest wall of the inner caldera lies beneath Lake Batur.  Lake Batur is the largest crater lake on the island of Bali and a great source of fish for the villagers that thrive in the caldera.




We were fortunate to have seen the panoramic landscape of the lake and Mount Batur from a far without having to hike and engage ourselves in a strenuous physical activity. Based on research, on September 20, 2012 UNESCO made Mount Batur Caldera a part of the Global Geopark Network.



After a number of photo shoots, we decided to have our lunch at nearby warung.  The eatery serves the best satay with peanut sauce.  Sans the mountain view, the warung is definitely highly recommended, not to mention the cheap cost attached as compared to the restaurants across with a view of Mount Batur.  It was a budget saver indeed.





PLANTATIONS

COFFEE AND COCOA


Indonesia is known for the most expensive coffee in the world, the civit or kopi luwak. Kopi Luwak refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet.

We were fortunate that our driver directed us to Oka Agriculture Bali, a producer of bali coffee, luwak coffee, cocoa and other spices. And it was for free – no admission fees.


My attention was particularly caught first by the Balinese architectural gates right across the plantation.  Then, we were ushered by a staff of the plantation with an overview of the aligned coffee berries and the sleeping civet.  We passed by a cocoa plantation as well and finally we were settled on a long table to taste test the varied flavors of coffee, tea and cocoa.  My personal favorites were the coffee ginsing and of course the pure Bali cocoa.










And like any other plantation open for tourists, the by-products are for sale in a corner.  The free taste of dark chocolate made the tour even more remarkable.



On the course of the day tour, we were able to get a grasp of the agricultural and horticultural industry of Bali, Indonesia.  Aside from coffee, a number of household maintain an orange tree and strawberry plantation.  In fact, we passed by the hometown of our driver known as an exporter of oranges.









And an added treat, a row of golden yellow chrysanthemum made its presence known to us.



Note:

It would be advisable for long distance travels within a day to charter a private car for safety and convenience.


BALI GOLDEN TOUR
Jalan Cekomaria Gang Taman IV No. 1 Denpasar, Bali
Phone: (0361)7966391
Mobile Phone: (+62) 81 558 449 505/ (+62) 81 936 175 556
Emails: 
info@baligoldentour.com
baligoldentour@gmail.com
baligoldentour@outlook.com (Reservations)

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