Ok, most people spend more than a day on Bali, but we had just spent a week on Nusa Lembongan and had an evening flight out of Bali returning home. Needing a day to fill, we decided to schedule a few hours in Ubud. Those few hours ended up being one of the best parts of our trip. We went whitewater rafting, drank ca-poo-chinos, and hit up some shops for “much needed” souvenirs.
How we did it
We booked a half-day tour with a company called Good Bali Driver. Since this was a last minute addition to our trip, I relied on TripAdvisor reviews. Good Bali Driver had stellar reviews and offered many different types of tours. They were easy to work with, reasonably priced, and I would highly recommend them. Our driver offered an interesting insight into Balinese life and took good care of us during the day. He even went to great lengths to make sure we were able to do all we wanted while still getting us to the airport on time. If you need a tour on Bali, I would start with this company. One note, before you go set up a WhatsApp account as this is the best method to get in touch with the company and many others on the island.
What we did
Whitewater rafting on the Ayung River
All I can say is, it was incredible! We had never been whitewater rafting before, and we all had the best time. There seem to be a lot of companies in the area that offer rafting, but our driver took us to Graha Adventure. They were great. Very friendly staff who took excellent care of us. Elijah fell getting into the boat and cut his knee up pretty badly (much to his extreme embarrassment, especially when someone from the back of the group yelled, “oh shit!”). When we returned, the staff took him to their doctor who provided some basic medical care for the wound. Our rafting adventure lasted two hours and the time flew by. The views were amazing; from lush jungle to waterfalls, and carvings on the side of cliffs. The water was a bit cold, but we got used to it. One thing to consider, Graha offers the use of bathrooms and showers upon your return. However, the bathrooms had a lot to be desired. Half didn’t have toilet seats or toilet paper (and I thought Chinese bathrooms were bad). Also, although they offer showers, don’t plan on anything fancy. I waited in line for about 30 minutes for a shower. Once I got in, the water didn’t even work, so I gave up. Also, you will be doing A LOT of stairs to get to and from the river. When I say a lot, I’m not kidding. Really. Trust me. So maybe go to the gym and get some stair climbing in before you go, and bring some water shoes as there are a lot of rocks to walk over both in and out of the water.
Luwak Coffee education and tour
I have heard distant tales of a particular type coffee considered a delicacy. Why you may wonder? Well, because of the long journey it takes in order to be poured, piping hot into your cup. The coffee begins as all coffee does, as fruit. When the fruit ripens, along comes a mongoose (or Balinese Luwak), and eats the yummy morsels.
Into its digestive tract, the fruit goes. While there, the seeds of the fruit ferment and soon, the Luwak poops out the seeds, intact. Somewhere in time, some very adventurous (or completely crazy) person thought, “I wonder what these little seeds would taste like if I wash off the poop, roast them, grind them up, and drink them.” How this person ever even thought of such a thing eludes me. However, he did, and as a result, we have Luwak coffee. We learned all about the preparation process at the Merta Harum Agroo Plantation. They offered a fantastic education in the coffee making process (or proop-cess…sorry, I couldn’t resist. I know, I am such a child), as well as in other herbs and spices they grow for their teas. We were offered samples to try and even drank a “ca-poo-chino” as our driver called it. It wasn’t bad! Didn’t taste at all like poop. 😉
Alright, alright, enough with the poop jokes. I’ll clean things up a bit. I swear, this is where I am after having three boys. Potty humor. Ok, I digress, here we go. Back on track…
We didn’t have a lot of shopping opportunities on Nusa Lembongan, so we were excited to load up on souvenirs. Our driver had a repertoire with some of the shop owners (and probably gets a kick-back from sucker tourists like us). So we went to a painter and bought some Balinese art, a woodcarver for a mahogany tray, and a silver shop for some special momentos for me. 🙂 All the shop owners were very friendly and helpful. I was a bit surprised to find the prices to be higher than I expected. However, coming from China, we aren’t afraid to bargain. It’s a challenge Brett enjoys thoroughly. The painter asked $100 for a small piece, and we were able to talk him down to $50. Still high, but it was a nice piece.
So if you only have a day in Bali, don’t overcomplicate it. Fill it with a little bit of adventure, culture, and shopping. You never know, it may end up being your best day yet! And if nothing else, you will be able to return home with a few more poop jokes under your belt. Sorry, I had to throw it in there one more time. Just remember, three boys!