Exploring the hills in scenic Bali
Last year in the Bali Advertiser I read an article about an expat lady who was expecting a friend from overseas. She wanted to show her rice paddys and was racking her brain to think where was the best place. Of course you can go to Iseh and Sideman in East Bali, but where else would work. The answer is anywhere in Tabanan regency.
After my trip to Pura Luhur Batukaru, I rode back down towards Wongayagede then hit the small trails. I have previously stayed overnight at the Eco Lodge, which is located on the southern slope of Gunung Batukaru. Wongayagede is located just south of the temple and is only 2kms from the trailhead that leads up the mountain. There is accommodation at Wongayagede, the Prana Dewi. This place offers a good level of comfort, with carefully made bungalows. The other place to stay is 750 meters east along the Wongayagede – Jatiluwih road, called Warung Kaja. Both places have a restaurant though the rooms at Kaja are cheaper and simpler.
Staying up in the cool fresh air of the mountains will allow you to relax, and settle into a pace of life more like the locals. Rushing up from Kuta, it always feels like the clock is running.
South of Jatiluwih I got off the main road and started exploring. In this island rivers flow north-south. Roads follow the ridge-lines and the space in between is often farmland. I saw rice field after rice fields, small villages, local temples and locals out collecting wood and working the land. Actually while I was riding through all this it occured to me how much of Bali is rice fields. About 8km due south of the temple (I know this because my GPS tells me) I came across this river. Full of volcanic boulders, the river was flowing pretty good and 3 young Balinese boys jumped off the rocks into the water. Along this route was some great views and virtually no other tourists.
Getting around these narrow lanes on a motorbike is easy and driving a car wouldn’t be that bad either, once you get comfortable with the fact you aren’t going anywhere fast, and may have to pull over for someone passing. I think that spending a week with a Balinese family and helping them farm rice would be an awesome experience.