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Bali By Bike

Even a leading holiday destination like Bali can lose its magic once the novelty wears off, but that is when it’s time to find a new way of experiencing familiar surroundings, which is exactly what Bali Eco Cycling Tour offers. The First time I went to Bali, it was not what I expected. Since then, I have been many times, and inevitably, no matter how impressed I was the first time, I had started to grow bored. That was until I discovered the Bali Eco Cycling Tour.

Not All Sun, Sea and Sand

Bali is popular holiday destination for tourists from all around the world, but so many that visit the island miss out on the true magic it has to offer. The majority of those that come to Bali spent their time around the south coast, where the azure seas break on beautiful beaches while the orange sun sets like embers. Here there are many bars and restaurants to relax and soak in the ambiance. And it is truly stunning, but it is only really one side of the Bali experience.

The Bali Eco Cycling Tour gives visitors a chance to see another face of the island, one that is adorned with luscious greens and inhabited by amazing, exotic creatures. The guides take their guests away from the usual tourist traps, well off the beaten path, along hidden trails right through the heart of nature. As Made, one of the guides puts it, “It’s time for people to see something different.”

Inland Bali, especially around Ubud and Kintamani, offers a wealth of opportunities for agro-tourism, from coffee and spice plantations, where you can sample the local produce, to padi fields, where you can enjoy walking tours or eat at restaurants nestled amongst the panoramic terraces. Walking or cycling is the perfect way to get around these spots, feeling the full sensation of natural Bali. Joining the cycling tour opens up this world brilliantly; it provides exercise, entertainment and education.

A Hands-on Experience

The day began with an early morning as I was collected from my hotel and driven to Kintamani, where I had breakfast with the others taking the tour. This was the perfect way to socialize a little and break the ice with the people I would be spending the rest of the day with. We enjoyed breakfast together with the stunning backdrop of Mountain Batur and its gorgeous crater lake.

Before the ride began, I gathered with other participants at BAS agro-tourism, where coffee, spices and fruits grow in extensive varieties. But this was not just a Kodak moment. The guides from Bali Eco Cycling Tour are thoroughly knowledgeable of the local nature, culture and agriculture, and as we walked through the plantations, Made told us all about the different produce we were looking at , the techniques for farming them and all sorts of relevant stories and facts.

After a tour of the center’s plantations and a brief induction, we took to our bikes and headed off along the first trail. There were ten of us altogether from all over the world, plus our guide Made, all riding in a neat line, keeping pace as we wound around and up and down the meandering tracks.

The tour took us along quiet, hidden trails through the local villages, and after a short while we stopped at a small house in Pengiangan village, where the inhabitants were making bamboo wares. Called bedeg, this craft is traditional to the area and is popular amongst tourists shopping for souvenirs. Chatting with the old women preparing the strips of bamboo, she told me that she would cut as many as a thousand pieces in a single day!

After another short stretch on the bikes, our next stop was in the midst of the rice fields (sawah). The way there was mostly downhill, but this does not mean it was easy; I had to carefully apply the front and back brakes most of the way so as not to lose control or fall. When we reached the sawah, I was glad of the rest.

We left our bikes at the edge of the fields and walked between the plots to where a group of ladies was planting rice. Looking left and right, it was truly breathtaking to be surrounded by the rich green rice fields stretching out in every direction. Here we were given the chance to try out hand at planting rice, led by the ladies we met there. It was a great experience, but was more tiring than it looked!

A Complete Experience On

The final leg, we stopped in at a temple in the middle of a small village, which I felt made the perfect close to the tour, during which we had seen the full spectrum of traditional life in the area. When we arrived at the end of the tour, it was high time for lunch. And what a lunch! We finished off the day with a feast of Balinese fare fit for several king.

The Bali Eco Cycling tour is high on my list of recommendations for anyone visiting the area but looking or something a little different. Nowhere else can you get such a strong blend of fun, culture, learning and exercise. It is the perfect opportunity to fully immerse oneself in the beauty and wonder of Bali.

Source : Journey Indonesia Magazine – June 2014 | www.thejourneymagz.com