MOTORBIKING AROUND BALI
Periodically, I will post content from my old blog with two purposes; to give my content new life, and to capture my growth as a traveller and creator.
Written on January 31, 2014. Written in Munduk, Bali.
When we left Bali after our short visit almost 4 years ago, we knew there was more to uncover. We had seen Kuta and Ubud, in the tourist haven of south Bali. Though great destinations in their own right, some might argue that they are spoiled by the negative effects of tourism. I would say that they are just a bit overcrowded, but I’m not so hard to please.
Grab a motorbike and head north from the funnel of tourists that is the south, and feed your adventurous side. I think what you’ll discover will catch you off guard and alter your preconceived views of what Bali is about. While I loved the south and it’s surf culture, waves, health food and curvy beaches, it’s easy to say that Munduk is one of the coolest places I have ever traveled to.
I’m looking out from my hill-side homestay balcony into a truly epic wilderness setting. The elevation puts us up into the cloudy mist, which has settled into the green valleys, creating that wild feeling you get from a remote destination. The foliage is so green and just exuding life, almost breathing. You can count the shades of green. The only man made structures in sight are a photogenic village and endless, curving rice terraces. I’ve had to check myself multiple times, remind myself that I am only a 2 hour motorbike ride from the south where this trip began. This vision could be of China or Northern Thailand, or another unknown remote destination. I want to behold it all hours of the day, and I can, I have. It’s inescapable.
The wonderful thing about this wilderness is it’s accessible nature. The scarce infrastructure is carved out of the jungle, modest and aware of the beauty it does not want to spoil. As you drive through it, you can smell it. When you hike through it, you can feel it. Sleeping, you can hear it. It’s all so close. If you didn’t think you could have this in Bali, forget it. You can have it all.
Our homestay is named Aditya. It is the epitome of Balinese hospitality, which really is unparalleled. Seriously, when Canadians and Balinese get together, it becomes a competition of politeness and nice gestures. It’s hard not to give in, as they are so happy to welcome you into their world. Our comfortable room in this old but well maintained building is incredible value. The view alone legitimizes this place’s nickname, the Island of the Gods. Throw in the comforts of a hot shower, soft bed, amazing (cheap!) traditional food and wifi and it becomes so hard to imagine another place that really has it all.
Coming inland has elevated Bali in my mind as a destination. To come here and not come north is to miss out, in my opinion. Experience the south and understand the reasons for its success in tourism, but don’t forget to wind down in the north where you’ll be part of a small handful of this island’s visitors. Know that there is more to Bali than the stereotype suggests.
It’s only the start of our road trip around Bali. Munduk has inspired us to hit all corners and continue to revel in the island’s beauty.
I’m looking forward … to coastal roads, looming volcanos and whatever else we find. On we go, more north still, with nothing but the next day planned. Total freedom.