The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Exploring Bali: monkeys, kopi luwak, volcano and rice terraces

Our trip to Bali seems like a lifetime ago - baby was still in belly, and we were still a family of three. I still have photos to share from that trip, and here are some of the shots I took on our 1-day drive around Bali. A good way to get around Bali is to hire a driver for the whole day, which also works out much cheaper than using a taxi between destinations. Using a driver is not how we usually travel, but being 8 months pregnant, I was quite happy to sit back for once and get driven around. My friend Steph had been to Bali a couple of weeks prior to us, and she'd recommended the driver service she used, along with a list of sights she thought was worth seeing. I narrowed the list down to what we as a family with a 5-year-old boy were interested in, and emailed our preferences to the driver before our trip. It was a successful day - we covered a lot of ground in 8 hours, and the kid had a pretty good time seeing the monkeys, drinking hot chocolate in a coffee and cocoa farm, viewing an active volcano (from a distance), and seeing where rice (one of his favourite foods) comes from. Hubby and I personally thought the visit to the kopi luwak farm was the highlight of our Bali trip, as we learnt a lot about both coffee and cocoa, both of which we have special interest in.

Ubud Monkey Forest

First stop was the monkey forest (aka Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary). The monkeys were cute, but I was wary about going near them because the monkeys can get quite aggressive if you carry food and withhold food from the monkeys. There are stuff you can catch from monkeys, and I was quite keen not to get in contact with any. There were plenty of tourists who aren't concerned, as they held out food and monkeys climbed all over them. I was happy keeping my distance from the monkeys, and made sure the boy did not touch them.

An adult male monkey:

More monkeys:

Mummy monkey with her little ones:

The site of the temple:

The temple gates (but we didn't enter):

Cantik Agriculture

Next, we dropped by a coffee farm called Cantik Agriculture which also grows cacao, ginseng, ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, vanilla, and chili among others. We found the tour to be highly educational, and the best part was coffee appreciation through sampling a wide variety of coffee and tea infusions.

Coffee cherries/berries on a tree:

A large cacao pod:

More cacao pods:

A luwak (civet) that eats the red coffee cherries, and poops them out to give us kopi luwak, the world's most expensive coffee. It was sad to see it caged, but we were told that the luwak chooses the best cherries to eat, so I hope that these nocturnal creatures get to go out and roam at night to feed:

Kopi luwak beans, washed and ready for roasting. In other baskets were other foodstuff also grown and processed on this farm:

Raw cocoa beans:

Here the coffee beans are being roasted in a big wok over an open fire, and then pounded to a fine powder ready for consumption:

Taking a closer look at the roasted coffee beans and the finished ground product:

Sampling the various teas, coffees and cocoa drinks available on the farm - at no cost. A good way to "try before you buy", and we could purchase the ones we like in the shop. We tried Bali coffee, Bali cocoa, ginseng coffee, lemongrass tea, coconut coffee, ginger tea, vanilla coffee, rosella tea and Bali coffee and cocoa. We liked and bought the lemongrass tea, coconut coffee and rosella tea:

For a small charge, we could also enjoy a cup of kopi luwak. It was milder and more aromatic than the Bali coffee:

The farm owner introduced to us the snakeskin fruit, a native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. We liked the sweet and crisp texture, and he kindly gave us a few to bring back with us - our boy ate most of them (the only fruit he willingly ate on our trip)!

Apparently there are "male" and "female" coffee beans, and here we are being shown the two types of cherries containing each. The male beans are found inside cherries with one chamber, and are called peaberries. Peaberries are not as abundant as the female beans, hence cost more:

Mount Batur

After the coffee farm, we hopped in the car again and got driven to Kintamani where we could view Mount Batur, one of two active volcanoes in Bali.

A panoramic shot of our view from the roadside in Kintamani. Click on image to view larger image:

Zooming in on the volcano peak:

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Then we drove a bit more to see the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. It was beautiful, in a different way to the one we saw in Japan.

A panorama of the Tegllalang Rice Terraces. Click on image to view larger image:

1 comment:

  1. There was nothing I could do to fix my trip to Bali this week because of my upcoming exams. It seems that I'll only be there by the end of winter season. Thanks for the information about your trip. I'll look forward to exploring Bali for vocano, Kopi Luwak, rice terraces, and my favorite animal- monkeys! :)

    Finn Felton