We see a flyer in receptionist about a whole list of activities that we can do in Ubud. They include rafting, quad bike riding, museum tours, painting lesson, cooking lesson and some children activities too. Interested, we go straight back to our room and Google those activities ourselves (because we know the hotel ones will have, you know, “hotel” price). I am actually more interested in rafting and Jacky wants to go quad bike riding. And from the photo above, you can tell which one we end up choosing.
With a price difference between going single or tandem, I decided to ride together with Jacky because it costs less. Then we can switch driving it later. Going together with one bike costs Rp1.100.000 for the whole thing including pick up and drop off transportation, lunch, boots rental and towel to take showers there. The trip starts when one of their drivers pick us up at the hotel lobby and he gets us to the site. It is about an hour car drive and we sleep on the way.
Reaching there, the driver tells us some stories about the village where the site is, about their wedding traditions and how customs and cultures are still going strong. It’s always exciting to learn something unique about human kind and society.
Once we go step down from the car, a traditionally-costumed local girl greets us warmly and points us to have lunch right away. The lunch is simple: some chicken satay, fried noodle and some vegetables. I took some for me and some for Jacky while he takes care of the payment. We have watermelon juices afterwards and wait for another group of Australians who will be joining us in our quad bike trip.
We move over to the corner where they keep all the quad bikes and there is a local instructor guy telling us about what to do and what not to do. He asks us our shoe sizes for the boots and fix our safety helmets. Hop on the bike and here we go.
The track is full of mud and has been shaped into 2 aligning dug up gutters for each row of the bike’s tires. I assume they shape it this way so that the tires are always in the gutters and we don’t lose too much track and fall over. Whenever we ride on the mud puddle, the thick brown water splashes everywhere including our boots and clothes. It’s fun.
The track goes from a made up mud gutters surrounded by trees, into a narrow road in the middle of rice fields. The atmosphere keeps changing from dark adventurous muddy mode to serene bright greeneries at the right timing. The thing that I like about Bali is that when they offer something, they really mean it, they do their business right. I’m talking about paying a good money for an activity and actually getting a really good fun out of it, all in. It doesn’t always happen in activity service business in Indonesia because people like to scam others somehow. This quad bike is an exception.
Halfway, we stop for a while to rest at this small warung in the middle of the “jungle”. Jacky and I take turn with the Australians to take photos with our bike. Then we go to the canteen where they sell chips, fresh coconuts and other drinks. The Australians go straight to smoking and drinking beer, they seem to be in their 20s, very likely to be college students.
After resting, it’s time for me to try riding this big bike. The steering handle is hard to maneuver and the whole thing is just heavy. But when I get the hold of it, it starts to get my adrenaline rushing. Jacky keeps encouraging me to keep going at full speed when we take a hike and to carefully turn when it’s time.
At the end of the track, we come back to the main site and apparently they have a track of their own with big tires, high hike and sharp turns. In the middle of the track, one of the staff is taking pictures of our excited faces. The track’s end leads us to our previous starting point where we park the bikes and remove our dirty boots. Oh, I forget to mention that one of the Australians does not get his boots because he’s size 47 and they only have up to 45. Poor him that he has to go all through the mud with his own white shoes. I guess this place should have prepared a larger number boots because if they are constantly visited by Caucasians, of course their shoe size is gonna be relatively bigger than Asians.
Jacky and I put on our own sandals and go to the shower. Like I said, this place is quite decent that they provide the towel too and the shower room is clean. Simple and minimalistic, but clean. Back in the first place, they have waited us with another set of food which we take very pleasantly because nobody can go through all 3 hours of quad bike riding, covered in mud, and not come back hungry. This is quite an experience and the staff makes it even more delightful.
Our driver is ready when we are, but instead of going back to hotel, we plan to go to downtown Ubud and get some massage. We look up Tripadvisor and search for a good massage place. Some names come up and we decide to go with the one called Sang Spa.
The place is rather hard to find and we still have to go inside a small alley to reach the front desk. It looks like they are renovating when we’re there. The inside is small and quite cramped but pretty. It feels ethnical and friendly. They give us welcome drink and tropical fruits as we wait for our room to be ready.
We get in to a room with double massage bed and a bathtub at the back with a shower on the side. The masseuses let us change into the massage robe and we lay down on the beds. Now, we both are really fond of good massages and seeing from the Tripadvisor rating and review, we have quite high hope. Unfortunately, it does not meet our expectation. When they massage us, they don’t dim down the light and the massage is just so so. The quality of the massage is not better than Nakamura massage chain (if you live in Indonesia, you’d know this). It’s good but just normal OK OK good, I don’t think it deserves that many great ratings in Tripadvisor. I am also a little bit disappointed that the masseuses only direct us to the shower to bathe and not the bathtub. I probably should have asked about it but I’m too hungry.
Then again, maybe what we like is just different than what most of the reviewers do. It’s not that bad, we still come out of the massage room feeling more relaxed and fresh.
Now we’re starving and again we find our dinner place from Tripadvisor. We want to find something that is not too fancy for the night, something simple. Our choice comes to a place called The Fair Warung Bale. This little dining place is founded by Fair Future Foundation where they serve food and direct 100% of its profits to helping people getting free health and medical care. They have “1 meal = 2 free medical treatments” slogan.
The idea alone intrigues me, I don’t have any expectations about the food quality. I have prepared myself to be served just normal edible food and let them get more money for the free medical treatments. But oh boy do they surprise me! The food there is totally awesome and not just regular food, they serve rather fancy meals too. All of what we order there is great. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather at that time or not, but their hot chocolate is definitely top notch.
Feeling full and satisfied, we go back to the hotel and rest the night away.