Day 2 began with a trip to the gorgeous Tegelalang Rice Terrace just north of Ubud. It was certainly an ‘instagram-in-real-life’ moment as we gazed out over the winding fields.
Swiftly after we carried on up the mountain to go for a cycle! Well, I say cycle… it was more just sit on a bike and hurtle back down towards Ubud but it was a fun experience none the less! Our local guide was full of information and we stopped a couple of times along the way in the rural villages to see how they spend their days. It was a really humbling morning as the Balinese work incredibly hard and many are very poor, but all I met were so happy, warm and welcoming. I get the impression that family is extremely important to them and it was very refreshing to see.
It seems that different villages all have a common craft/trade. For example we passed some areas that sold a lot of woodwork, others art, fabric and the one pictured above actually carved all the stonework for the temples (of which there are over 6000 on the tiny island!).
After lunch we visited the Bumi Sehat clinic which is a not for profit organisation for pregnant women who would otherwise not be able to afford healthcare, as well as health education to the local community. They had just built a new clinic, with the help of donations from Intrepid, so it was great to visit – we even saw a teeny tiny baby that was just a day old!
We spent a lot of time on the bus traveling to Sideman, our next destination, but I didn’t mind at all as it gave me ample opportunity to get to know a really cool couple from Germany called Annika and Christian. One of the things I loved most about doing this small group tour is that there was the perfect amount of people to get to know well without there being so many that you couldn’t remember anyone’s name (though secretly I did think Christian’s name was Kristof for the first couple of days…!).
Finally we arrived at our hotel in Sideman. I had a gorgeous room with a view of the pool. I was super lucky as when I booked the trip I’d opted for the cheaper twin-share option, but there were no other single females on the trip to share with me so I had a room all to myself for the week!
I was a little wary of the bugs as I get bad reactions to mosquito bites, so I did spend a fair amount of time hurling magazines at the little buggars. My efforts payed off though as I survived the whole tour entirely unscathed!
The following day we had a tour of the village of Sideman given to us by another extremely passionate local guide. We did hear all the facts about life in Bali about 5 times by different tour guides during the trip, but I didn’t care as you can just tell how much they love their culture – and I’m certainly never going to forget all the information!
Sideman is known for its woven fabric and we visited the tour guide’s house to watch his wife making it by hand. It’s a very long process, taking 2 weeks for here to make one sarong. His daughter is also learning the trade, and I bought a couple of smaller pieces of fabric from him later which she had made, which my step-mum kindly turned them into cushions for my friend. The guide said that the daughter was able to afford to go to school through selling what she makes so I’m hoping that my purchases have supported their family in a small way.
Our next stop was…another rice terrace! This time instead of just looking at it, we actually walked right across it! A somewhat scary experience as I really didn’t want to slip and fall into the waterlogged fields around me, or damage anyone’s crops! We almost all made it across, until one of the girls, Chloe, slipped and fell right at the end. Luckily she didn’t fall into the water, and the only damage was mud on her trousers!
Following our rice field escapades we ended up eating lunch out of a banana leaf next to a river. Without cutlery. The authentic way apparently, though with only the ‘tourist’ spice levels! So yes, a somewhat novel experience to try and eat curry and rice with your fingers that’s for sure! But I loved every moment of it all the same.
After lunch it was time to head to the area near Mount Batur, which we would be hiking up at 3am the following morning! I’ll definitely leave that one for its own post so for now, I hope you’re enjoying reading about our adventures as much as I’m enjoying reminiscing over them!