An Alila journey and trek to the paddy fields
After a fantastic sleep in my Alila Villa, I was scheduled for an Alila journey tour and hike around the base of Mount Botukaru where all the rice paddies are still lush and green even during the dry season in Tabanan province. I was looking forward to seeing a more agricultural and rural area that most visitors to Bali rarely see while hoping to experience something genuine and traditional in the areas. Even many of offspring of the rice farmers leave this rural background to avoid a harsh future on the farms, many opt for the tourist locations in Kuta for a better life. I get picked up in another spotless black sport sedan car filled with snack goodies, cold water bottles and the requisite damp cold towels with ginger essence and I’m ready for the day’s journey.
My driver takes me on some narrow two lane roads but after a few minutes makes a sharp jog to the right and heads uphill on a bumpy and pot hole ridden one lane road. Immediately, I’m get the feeling that the rest of the ride to the eco resort will be slow going and jarring, which is okay because scenery is really magnificent. I ask the driver to stop at a few lookout points with stunning landscapes with the tiered rice terraces going downhill into curving patterns. We slowly head uphill past little villages and temples to a green oasis of rice paddies that seem to go on endlessly uphill. Bali is known for all these wonderful terraces and I’m glad to be able to witness some of these beautiful areas despite this being the dry season and everything around the coastline looks bone dry.
In no time we make it up to the Bali Eco stay resort where my trekking tour is about to begin. My driver passes me on to the local guide, a young 20ish guy who hands me a water bottle and immediately takes me on a downhill walk in the same direction of the road we came from. But after a short downhill walk, we venture off into a dirt trail passing through private farms, cattle pens and various bamboo shacks and the many tropical plants I easily recognize: bananas, guavas, mangoes and mangosteen trees. I’m so looking forward to trying the many exotic fruits from Bali, but since we are in between the harvest season, there is not much available to sample outside of the staple bananas, pineapples and fresh watermelons. The whole area feels very remote and primitive and when we finally arrive at one of the main rice fields, the landscape is truly breathtaking.
A local farmer carrying two huge loads of grass takes a break in front of us and chats with the guide and asking where I’m from. Intrigued by the two huge loads of grass, I motion to try to lift the baskets and OMG, it is extremely heavy! I learn that the each of the loads are over 50 Kilos which this senior in his 70s is easily walking uphill with. I feel embarrassed that I can barely lift the entire load on my shoulder, let along walk down a few feet compared to this farmer who walks uphill and all over the fields. All the struggles they must deal with and surviving off the land, no wonder the children are leaving this type of work in droves for a better life in Ubud or Kuta which in my opinion is slightly better.
We head back and walk through some of the dirt berms in between the rice fields and it all feels so wonderful and natural connecting back to the land, walking in between the paddies. I’m really amazed at the ingenuity of the local farmers using the landscape to create these growing areas and work purely by gravitation to irrigate the fields. Slowly we head back uphill following the dirt berms of the rice fields and going at a comfortable pace while I get to take pictures of more landscapes below. After an exhausting trek uphill and through the paddy fields, running streams and the quiet village of Gunung Salak, it was nice to have a nice meal at the Bali Eco stay and enjoy a simple noodle dish made from locally sourced products and vegetables from the garden.
Connecting back to the land and walking the paddy fields
Lunch with a view at the Bali eco resort
The morning adventure to hills of Tabanan province was fun and the vistas were worth the effort. But after the short trek back uphill to the eco resort, I was ready for the drive back to the comforts of Alila Soori and my spacious villa. In fact I even decided to take a nice and long bubble bath, hey why not when that tub just beckons to be used after a long day hiking through uphill on those paddy fields. If you want to check out my visit and stay to the Alila hotel, you can view my experience here.
Kids playing in the streams at Gunung Salak
Ready to use the oversized tub for a long soak
Stay tuned for my next post about the amazing one on one cooking class I took with the Chef de cuisine and all the traditional Indonesian food that we created and I got to enjoy all on my own. Thanks for visiting Alila Hotel and journey. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post. Thank you for hosting me Alila hotels on this stay and tour, all thoughts and opinions are my own. If you are interested in finding out more information about this amazing resort and wonderful location in Bali, check out the prices and availability here for updates.