Our first night in Bali, after our private coconut oil class with a local, we decided to explore the surroundings of our villa and take a walk to scout out some food. Turns out, we booked our stay right in the center of a village, rather than a tourist-populated area.
At first, we thought it was a disaster, but then realized that we were lucky, as we would be getting the true Balinese-culture experience, rather than the tacky tourist one. This was especially good for our bank accounts as well, because the markets in this area were decently priced as they were mostly for locals, which helped us learn our worth for bargaining in Ubud later on.
Joglo Villa Bali
So, after a walk around the block, we ended up going back and ordering dinner with our new favorite drink, Queen Punch, to enjoy by the poolside, as our villa had a restaurant on-site (which ended up being the biggest plug). Well, that, and the fact that the cutest dog to ever exist [sorry Tucker] lived at the villa as well.
The next day, at 7:30AM, we were picked up from our villa by another local, Nengah, to go on an exotic tour, which we had also booked through Airbnb. Nengah was an incredibly kind man and even offered to take us on a hike that Thursday, to which we accepted with open arms!
On the way to our first stop, Tibumana Waterfall, we stopped at a local store and he bought us breakfast: a banana and chocolate croissant with mango juice. See what a mean? Such a kind man. Tibumana Waterfall was located behind some rice terraces, which Nengah explained had just been harvested, though we could still see a few fieldworkers out and about. We parked up top and then walked down the steep steps through the paddy farmers and marketers. It was such an exotic little hideaway: palm trees and ferns and trickling water everywhere you looked. After crossing a small bridge, we arrived at the waterfall.
We were there quite early, around 8:30AM, so we’d beat the tourists and decided to celebrate by taking a dip! I was honestly a bit scared because I am used to swimming in clear lakes where I can see where I am stepping. The water at this spot was all brown and cloudy from the movement of the water and I couldn’t help but picture a river monster swallowing me whole with one wrong step, even after Nengah assured me there were no fish here. I manned up and tried to swim to the waterfall, but the current was a bit too strong, which ended up being a good thing as Nengah explained to us after to not to go under the waterfall because there’s a danger of falling coconuts.
Tukad Cepung Waterfall
Our next stop was Tukad Cepung Waterfall. This was a very special spot, as this waterfall was actually hidden. To get there, we had to walk down another path through the jungle and then up some rocks and through a cave. When we arrived, there were small spots of light peaking through the ferns and it was just such a magical, indescribable place.
After getting some pictures courtesy of Nengah, we followed the trickle of water past a few big boulders over to another side of the waterfall, each of us enjoying a nice shower in the fresh water.
Coffee Plantation ft. Kopi Luwak
After exploring some of the exotic sights of Bali, we went to a coffee plantation to see what kind of exotic tastes Bali had to offer. A guide brought us through a small portion of the plantation to show us what some of the plants they grew looked and smelled like, including coffee, cocoa, avocado, cinnamon and more.
They also had a rather sleepy luwak on site. Well, it was probably good that he was sleepy because they’re nocturnal. In the night, luwaks will go around and eat all of the coffee beans, and then once these beans come out the other end, people like our guide go around, collect their droppings, clean them, and produce some of the best-and most expensive-coffee ever made, which we got to try for ourselves. It’s culture, okay, and it was delicious.
We tried 14 different kinds of coffees and teas at the plantation, as well as some chocolate. My favorites ended up being the kopi luwak, the coconut coffee and the avocado coffee, and I ended up treating myself to a bag of each.
Warung de Koi
While we were sitting at the plantation, it began to rain, and then pour. We actually didn’t mind this because it was an insane view watching the rain over the balcony and we were already wet from the waterfalls. However, we figured it would be better to hold off on swinging over the rice terraces until the rain slowed.
So, we took our lunch break early at a local Balinese restaurant called Warung de Koi. This was an outdoor restaurant situated over a pond of koi. I ordered an avocado smoothie, which was probably the worst decision I’d made that day, but I felt like being basic, so it is what it is.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace and Jungle Swing
After lunch, we headed over to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace and, forgive me for ruining the aesthetic, but I felt like I hopped into a green pipe and ended up in a level of Super Mario World.
These rice terraces were phenomenal and like many places I’ve seen the past few weeks, it’s hard to believe places like this exist. After touring around the fields a bit, we were ready to get our adrenaline flowing on the jungle swing. Basically how it worked was, some guys would strap you in and then push you as hard as they could. I honestly don’t know who had more fun: us or them, because they were having the time of their lives jumping all around behind us and on our swing and making us scream as we soared over the rice terraces.
After this adventure, Nengah dropped us back off at our villa, where we rented a scooter to drive to a local night market. This market was filled with lot of scents and no, not all of them were good. We decided to be adventurous and buy a bunch of homemade desserts from here, then spent a relaxing night at the villa watching a movie while trying to figure out what kind of sweets we had had actually bought. The only one we ended up deciphering was the churro, but, hey, a win’s a win.