THE SPICE TRAILS
Discover Bali with Waka Land Cruise
Indonesia’s archipelago has been popular worldwide due to its spices since the 16th century. Ironically, this popularity also brought colonization to the country until Indonesia finally took its freedom in 1945. Now, the spice trails in the archipelago have become historical, including the one in Bali. And for those who are up for some history and adventure at the same time, WakaLandCruise offers a full-day trip to treasure a lifetime. Come and join me on my recent ride to the balmy village of Ubud, an area that is famous for its art and cuisine, to reveal a sweet surprise...
THE CHOSEN ONE
It was 8 a.m. when I found myself sitting in a rigid but comfortable four-by-four Land Rover Defender, a British brand of all-terrain vehicle that is still used by a wide range of the four-by-four market to this day, from British armed forces, civilians to a Serengeti safari operator for observation needs. This squareshaped vehicle is made of strong aluminum construction with a diesel engine, which means it resembles a lightweight class of fighter; agile and light but still can deliver the sting whenever needed. This is the chosen ride for many outdoor enthusiasts, and it is surely more than able to survive the zombie apocalypse.
The four of us, including the super informative yet skillful driver Teddy, were ready in our seats. Teddy has been working with the WakaLandCruise for seven years, so he knew the procedure really well – he continuously fed us information about each destination and the importance of sitting up straight with three points seatbelts. Mind you, this vehicle is built for an adventure, and that means safety is the rule of thumb.
CRUISE THE LAND
Trust me, nothing beats the drive
uphill on a Saturday morning in a four-by-four Land Rover Defender. Taking the side roads, Teddy knew the route like the back of his hand. The first stop was Teba Sari agrotourism at Lodtunduh Gianyar, a few kilometers away before Ubud – this was only the beginning of our journey, but already I could feel the excitement. Teba Sari, a Balinese name that literally means “the sweet harvests from the garden”, truly lives up to the name. A pebble stone yard welcomed us as our guide Komang walked us through this 50 acres of lush, well-manicured traditional garden.
A range of spice trees from ginger, cocoa, ginseng to earthy cloves all grow healthily in dark brown soil, which proves that the land is rich with ground nutrients, a blessings by the dearly Dewi Sri, goddess of soil and fertility in Bali. The highlight of this destination is surely the highly regarded Kopi Luwak or Palm Civet coffee. “The luwak coffee has to be Arabica beans and it takes months of long process from picking up the beans to cleaning them until they are ready to consume. The coffee has a unique end result with low level of acid and caffeine, which is safe for people who have gastric acid history,” Komang explained with her bright smile.
The short walk in Teba Sari brought us to the finish line; a small shack next to a narrow deer trail and a rice field. There was a communal table made of rustic wood where the crew served us traditional morning bites consisting of deep fried bananas, sweet shredded coconut rolled in thick rice paper, and 15 cups of different infused teas from the yard.
Then, our journey continued to the deeper heart of Ubud. WakaLandCruise took us to the Tjampuhan ridge – we explored this area from the northern end. This free and easy natural track made of paved stones is popular
among Ubud visitors. This ridge is also accessible by foot or bike, but motorbikes are strictly prohibited. The trek is considerably easy with a distance spanning around two kilometers. Strolling here surely gave us a unique experience of a typical back road near Ubud, away from the hustle of the main road. The cool air, gentle breeze and screaming cicadas accompanied our walk for a good 30 to 45 minutes, until we got to the southern end. We crossed the main road to enter Murni’s warung, an iconic eating pad which has been running since 1974, making it the first real restaurant in Ubud. As WakaLandCruise’s guests, this is where we had our scrumptious lunch.
As soon as our hungry tummies were filled, we all hopped back into the Land Rover and headed on our way to the mystical Kanto Lampo waterfall. “Mystical” I think is the right word to describe Kanto Lampo which is pretty much laying low under the radar, outshined by the popular Aling-aling or Gitgit waterfall in Singaraja – I mean, even a local writer like me has not heard much about this spot before. Of course, there is a positive side to it. Kanto Lampo is considerably “underground” and not so touristy, so visitors can expect to have the waterfall all to themselves. This scenic natural wonder is a seasonal waterfall that cascades down a stepped rock wall into a waist-deep clear pond. This was the perfect spot to cool ourselves down after the ridge walk and mouth-watering lunch before hopping back into the Land Rover and heading back to jampacked Denpasar.
A walk through the Tjampuhan ridge.
The four-by-four Land Rover Defender.
The hidden Kanto LampoWaterfalls.