Based on a friend’s recommendation, we hired Scooby for a day to take the three of us on a tour in and around Ubud, Bali.
We first stopped at Bu Oka for some babi guling, which is roast suckling pig. As you can see from the photos, we had no problem finishing the meal. The food was amazing, especially at this restaurant. We tried the dish a few other places in Bali but this was the best we found.
We stopped next at some rice terraces. This wasn’t so much of a tourist site as it was a chance to see Balinese people at work farming rice. And in its simplicity, the scene was breathtaking.
From there, we went to a Hindu, holy spring water shrine. There’s a dress code for the shrine so we paid to rent sarongs since we were wearing shorts. No one is allowed in the spring’s pool, but the pool below the holy spring had dozens of people praying and making offerings.
We were driving to get some organic coffee when we spotted a large group of people yelling at some kids climbing a pole. As it turned out, we were pretty lucky with our timing, that day was the Balinese independence day and the pole climbing game is part of their celebration. The villagers erect a pole, cover it with oil and then the kids have to climb the pole to collect prizes. The pole was easily 4-5 times as tall as the children so they were forced to work together to get the prizes. It was a lot of fun to watch and everyone in the crowd would cheer when a kid got high up.
We left the games and arrived at the coffee farm. BUT this wasn’t normal coffee–it was poop coffee. Yes, coffee that is made from poop. The luwaks eat berries and the seeds pass through the ENTIRE digestive system of the animal. The seeds are then collected and dried in the sun. From there, they’re roasted and turned into coffee. (The luwak are a close relative to the mongoose.) The coffee tasted ok. It was a little bitter for me but it was alright.
The farm also sells regular Balinese coffee and other teas like ginseng, ginger and lemongrass. The Balinese coffee was my favorite of the bunch.
We then drove to the Mount Batur volcano. It’s an active volcano with a massive caldera surrounding the cone. The caldera dwarfed the cone so the eruption that caused it must have been enormous.
On our drive back to the guesthouse, we got stopped in traffic to let a parade pass. We decided to park the car and check out the festivities. We were pretty lucky with our timing again. The parade was for a religious celebration that only occurs every 25 years, and we just happened to be on the island during that time.
We walked around a bit taking in the sights and sounds of the parade. When it had mostly passed, we went to the market next door and ate a Balinese meal with some of the locals. Without a doubt, eating local food is the way to go when traveling. We paid less than $1 each for us to eat some tasty food.