Just like the volcano trekking (http://www.iisjong.com/2013/11/mt-batur-volcano-sunrise-trek-bali.html), I wanted to try out something different in Bali. I signed up with the same tour company based in Bali for a cycling tour around Ubud, THE place to experience 'real Bali' with its stunning nature scenery.

I was picked up by a van from my hotel early in the morning, then we headed to Kintamani for breakfast. Before that, we had a stopover at this place to admire the gorgeous view of rice terraces.

We had breakfast overlooking Mt. Batur, the active volcano that I conquered the day before, and its crater lake. The view was too beautiful beyond words!

I'd advice you to sit outside for the obvious reasons.

Food was so-so (there were flies flying around the food area T-T). I recommend the pancake though, done on the spot!

After breakfast, we took a short drive to a Balinese plantation. There were rows after rows of different plants! Saw quite a few that I didn't know existed. Our tour guide explained the medicinal and cultural uses of the different spices and tropical fruits that they grow.

The highlight of the plantation tour was this cat-looking animal in the cage called luwak. This nocturnal animal is shy and only prowls out freely at night during the harvest season for coffee berries. Apparently its crap is worth a lot of $$$!

Because of the inability to digest the coffee berries, the berries are passed through the digestive tract. These berries that comes out of its butt are collected, cleaned and washed. I remember my tour guide telling me they had to be careful not to let the luwak become stressed, if not it'll be difficult for them to shit out the berries. Looks like these little ones don't have an easy life either. The scarcity of their crap is what results in the hefty price tag.

We had the opportunity to try out different sorts of coffee for free. I'm not a coffee person, but there were a few that were pretty good.

The luwak coffee however, had to be bought with our own money. Since we were there, might as well try it!

As mentioned above, I'm not a coffee person so I wasn't too fond of the thick bitterness. There was a distinct taste to it that lingers in my mouth. I only had a few sips of it as I couldn't stop thinking "omg I'm drinking poo".

Afterwards, each of us chose our own bicycle provided by the company. We rode behind the English-speaking tour guide. The local-speaking one followed behind us. It was easy peasy; we went downhill most of the time. First stop, we were brought to a Balinese home where we got to experience how locals outside of the touristy areas lived.

Nope, this house got no doors! Stepping in, I loved all the intricate and traditional details found in different parts of the house.

Temples, the ubiquitous architecture in Bali. Shrines can be found in every house, usually a dedication to their ancestors.

Kids playground area are hand-made.

There was a little area where they raised the pigs. It was smelly! :P

Next, we rode down the whole stretch of rice paddies panorama. We stopped for a short walk. I was ecstatic as it's the first time this city girl experienced the country life.

Last stop - we saw the enormous Banyan tree! It is one of the world's largest trees.

Our tour was brought to a closure with a highly-raved Balinese feast!

All in all, I enjoyed my cultural experience thoroughly. It was a full day tour, pretty worth the money! Biking is a very good exercise for both the kids and adults. I loved having the wind blowing at my face while riding the bicycle and having local kids greeting and waving to me. I found it a relaxing activity, though getting sun burnt afterwards was a headache. Route wise, mostly downhill and occasional difficult paths. The tour guide was informative, though slightly biased towards the non-Asians *ahem*. Each group was quite small and personal.

There were locals trying to hard-sell their products along the way though, please be mindful of that! If you're interested in purchasing their items, remember to barter. Other than that, bring your cameras, slap on your sunblock, put on light-weighted clothes! You're good to go!

For more of my posts on Bali, visit http://iisjong.com/search/label/bali.

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