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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bali Cycling Tour, Indonesia

Bali Cycling

My first ever solo trek in a different country happened just the other day. It was a once in a lifetime experience and an unforgettable trek that I will never forget. I did my Mount Batur Sunrise Trek with Pineh Travels. This trip was way beyond my comfort zone and a daring task in my bucketlist. However, I've never imagined the joy of travelling solo, it was scary, fulfilling and freedom in the most comforting level. I guess this is the start of more solo travels in the future. I don't know how this happened but I lost my Bali Cycling tour post so I'll try to remember the things that happened during that activity.

The next activity I wanted to do after my trek is see to the rice paddies and local life around the countryside of Kintamani. I've booked again with Pineh Travels for the Cycling Tour worth 300,000 IDR

Bali Cycling Tour Itinerary: 
Pick up and return to hotel by A/C car.
Mountain Bike and safety helmet provided.
Breakfast (overlooking an active volcano) 
Water bottles provided too
Lunch ,Cold face towels after the ride.
An in depth explanation of Balinese culture from experienced guides.

My generous host Mr. Pineh dropped me off in our meeting point for the cycling tour. He personally took out his motorbike and made sure I was fascilated right away by the guide. I had my breakfast overlooking the marvelous Mount Batur with the other mountains in the view. The balinese fried rice tasted grand as I watched the clouds slowly moved by in the sky. Breakfast and Lunch is included in the package. 

We had a short briefing about hand signals before the cycling started. Our took guide for that tour was Mr. Ace, he was knowledgable about the Balinese culture and kept us entertained all throughout the day. Before the briefing I saw four European guys during breakfast and kept on thinking if Im part of their group I won't be able to keep up with them. I wanted to savor what I see and learn for this trip. In the end I was the only woman in the group. However, it turns out to be that they're pretty much interested with the culture too. I grew up with guys: my two brothers and two cousins, and for years I played with them so I know a bit of their game. The guys in my bike group were fast but of course I was raised to be competitive.   

Everything went green as we paddled through hectares of rice paddies. It was fresh, beautiful and therapeutic in some way. They said the green color brings calmness in people's perception, the next time you feel like a butter look for something green and stare at it. It might work for anger management too. 

Passed by old ruins and small temples in the small village that made me nostalgic of their past. We dropped by a certain place that looked like an arena or a place they offer their sacrifices. It is what it seems yet more on with chicken fight or cockfighting. Our guide explained to us that every town has their own temple and a holy tree. Even the town boundaries has a temple lamp-like post that shows you've reached another community. We also managed to visit one Balinese household who opens their doors to tourist. 

The family had the traditional house and a small temple inside their gate. We were told that every house in Bali has their own temple especially the priviledge one. The vicinity consist of the main house where the grandparents or the parents lives, then little huts were built beside it for the children or grandchildren when they get married. The temple was located in front of the houses, this is where they say their prayers and offer small gifts to the Gods. A small open hut was built near the temple just in the corner of the main house. This small hut had an empty bed and a picture of the grandmother. 

While going around the house I can't but notice this birdhouse-like post infront of the garden, it even had a podlock attached to the side. Our guide Mr. Ace explained that its a rice compartment, they considered rice to be important so they make sure it has a good storage place and kept it secured with a lock. After a brief tour around the place the host catered free drinks for everyone in their small kitchen outside the house, where they still use firewood to cook their meals. The guys were amazingly friendly to the little children and pretty respectful to drink up the beverage served to them. 

We went back to our bikes contemplating the simple lifestyle of the local people in this village. It was an insightful experience, I love the idea that the Balinese have kept their culture and tradition intact despite the modernization. Prayers are still sang in temples and even first born children are still called Wayan. I've discovered that they have specific nicknames for children according to age.  "Wayan" or "Gede" or "Putu" for the eldest, the second child is "Made" or "Kadek", third is "Nyoman" or "Komang" (Man or Mang for short), and fourth is "Ketut" or "Tut" and if there's a fifth child he will be called "Wayang Balik". 

The day ended with a small buffet of satays, vegetables and fruits. The guys devoured the food like theres no tomorrow ahahaa. The food was delicious and refreshing afterwards to just sit around getting to know each other wilth a cold bottled of water in hand.  

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