THE SPICE TRAILS

Dis­cover Bali with Waka Land Cruise

Bali & Beyond - - TEAM TALK - By Gino Andrias

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.

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