The day after my hike up Mt Batur, was due to be my last day in Ubud, and I had no plans.
I knew I wanted to see some pretty rice fields and get out of busy Ubud for a bit, so after being approached by a private taxi driver on the street. I asked if he could take me to a rice field. He said yes for 200,000 Rupiah … seemed reasonable for 3 hours of driving around, though if you go on a scooter, its cheaper. I felt safer in a car.
My driver’s name was Nyoman. He was a lovely, gentle and pleasant Balinese man. He always addressed me by my name, answered any questions I had, and stopped along the way for me to take photos.
Despite my reservations about these people on the side of the road offering transport, I had a rather pleasant experience.
On the way to the rice fields, we stopped off at Bali Pulina, a coffee and spice plantation. This was free admission, and you got a guide, who talked to you and explained the coffee making process the whole way around. I was amazed.
One type of coffee they have in Bali is the most expensive in the World. Kopi Luwak, can fetch up to US $600 per pound. I hadn’t even heard of it until this day.
I often don’t take much of a thought over where my food comes from. I knew coffee came from coffee be which is true of Kopi Luwak, but its how the beans come to be beans in the first place that is the slightly bizarre aspect to this story.
The first sight you’ll be greeted with at Bali Pulina, is a wee ferret type animal running around a cage, with a huge basket of red berries beside him.
The animal is a an Asian palm civet. His job is to eat the coffee berries, and the product at the end is a coffee bean, collected in the Civets faeces, dried out, shelled, roasted and ground by hand.
No such thing as shit coffee? In Bali there is (pun completely intended!)
There is the option to later try this coffee for 50,000 Rupiah ($5), but I’m not a huge coffee drinker in general, outside of the latté or mocha, so declined this offer.
As well as the World’s most expensive coffee at Bali Pulina, there are various other things grown, including cloves, ginseng, vanilla and a range of other spices.
After the tour, you are lead to a café area, where you are given a free tasting platter of different types of teas and coffees.
My favourite coffee was the Ginseng coffee, followed by the Ginger coffee, and Lemon Tea. They has a small shop (of course) where you could purchase products, but they were quite expensive $15 for a tiny packet. I later picked up Ginseng Coffee bags in the supermarket for a few dollars. Not sure how authentic they’ll taste.
After the coffee plantation, we headed to the rice fields, which looked just as good as in the photos I had viewed beforehand. Even though it was harvesting season and a lot of the rice had been harvested, the stacked fields looked gorgeous. It cost 2000 Rupiah to get into the rice fields, and whilst there, there are a number of stalls at the side of the road selling local produce and merchandise. I spent time wandering up and down the street, just marvelling at the land.
The rice here is not exported, it is grown and sold to local people, and is the main trade of the Balinese peoples, along with handicraft work, such as woodwork.
Today on my journey with Nyoman, I found out that in Bali, you are given a name depending on your birth order. I am second born, so was informed that if I was Balinese, I’d be called Made (pronounced Maddy).
I love how travel really opens your eyes to how different the World is, and how other people live.