Mar 11 2013

Driving around Bali: Munduk to the Organic Farm

Published by at 8:26 am under Driving around Bali


You could easily give Munduk a day or three and spend your time visiting nearby waterfalls, taking ricefield walks or just enjoying the view, but eventually you’ll need to move on and while there are a number of options from Munduk, we’re going to continue our drive around Bali heading east through a caldera and then put out feet up at an organic farm. On this leg you’ll take in some stunning lake vistas, feed monkeys (optional!), buy fresh strawberries, visit an important Balinese temple and gawk at some spectacular World Heritage rice terraces.

Oh so pretty.

Oh so pretty.

Our first piece of advice, assuming the weather is clear, is to leave Munduk as early as possible to see dawn over Lakes Tamblingan and Buyan. While three lakes are clustered around the Bedugul caldera, these two offer the best views and in the early morning, weather providing, it is just stunning. There are a gaggle of mediocre restaurants with viewing platforms along the rim and while we’d recommend eating elsewhere, grabbing a drink won’t kill you and the views more than compensate.

Once you’re done taking in the view, continue west to where you double back and wind down the inner rim of the caldera to reach Bedugul proper. Along the way, you’ll notice there are plenty of well fed monkeys and a couple of spots where you can safely pull over, if you’d like to stop and stay hello.

Pretty everywhere.

Pretty everywhere.

Continuing along the way, you’ll eventually come into Bedugul proper, but not before driving through numerous signposts for organic farms, with strawberries especially popular. Much of the fresh produce you’ll buy elsewhere in Bali comes from Bedugal and its surrounds. In the centre of town is a large market where you can buy all manner of fresh goods and the strawberries really are a must try. Those with younger kids may be interested in picking your own — we are yet to try any ourselves, but several places are signposted.

Sweet things aside, Bedugul is known for Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, located just off the shore of Lake Beratan at 1,200m above sea level. As with Tanah Lot on the south coast, this temple is a highlight on most “Bali in a day by bus” tours and it’s a serious tourist trap. It also seems surprisingly small — probably due to the endless supply of postcards that make it look gigantic. While it is worth a quick stop, we’d be inclined to dedicate far more time to the Bali Botanic Garden that sits just outside of town.

Pretty temple.

Pretty temple.

The sprawling gardens are very attractive and easily worth an hour or so (if not more) to investigate. They’re also home to Bali Treetop Adventure Park where you can go ziplining and climb a variety of rope bridges and other obstacles. While it certainly isn’t the Gibbon Experience, it’s a refreshing change from the more typical Bali activities.

Once you’re done, it is time to bust out of Dodge and climb your way back out of the caldera and head south on the road to Canggu. Don’t go too hard on the accelerator though, as just past Pacung Eco Resort you need to take a right and follow the signs to the Organic Farm Bali where you’ll be spending the evening.

A lovely diversion.

A lovely diversion.

It’s a bit of a hike to get there — the roads are not good but you should just be able to do it in a Xenia or Avanza (not a Karimun!) — and the Organic Farm isn’t a budget stop, but if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a slice of truly local Bali, this is your chance.

You’ll definitely need to book in advance as there are just three rooms, and usually they require a minimum of two nights’ stay, but you’ll be in the middle of paddy a short distance from the stunning rice terraces of Jati Luwih. The terraces and hills surrounding the farm itself however are stunning in their own right. You’ll bathe in the local hot springs, eat co-owner Wayan’s wonderful meals and feel like you’ve made one of Bali’s best discoveries.

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