Ecotourism in Bali (P.S. it involves coffee!)

Ever heard of kopi #luwak? One of the most expensive coffees in the world is made in Bali- you'll never guess how! #explore

 

Maybe you’ve heard of the world-famous Kopi Luwak from Bali. Selling at $100-$600 USD per pound, you might wonder, “What could be so damn special about it?” First, you have to meet the civet. The civet is a small, furry, nocturnal mammal that roams Southeast Asia. I had the chance to hang out with a few while visiting the Luwak plantations in Bali, and I must say, they are quite feisty animals. Supposedly, they are nocturnal, but they were showing out while we were visiting.

A civet at the Luwak Plantation in #bali #explore

What does this little guy have to do with some of the best coffee in the world?

The civet eats the coffee cherry, digests it (fermenting and adding flavor), and for lack of a better word, shits it out. The beans are cleaned (thank God) and ground up into an amazing cup of strong coffee.

How Kopi Luwak is Made in #bali

In addition to the civet cat, the plantations are home to small dogs and chickens.

I’ve mentioned my passion for ecotourism/agrotourism, and had the absolute pleasure of exploring a few of these plantations where the civets live. Another reason agrotourism is so important is that you have to opportunity to see how the animals are treated. I did notice that the largest civets were in cages together, with enough room to walk in circles. Not only were there animals, fruit and herbs grew wild. One of my favorite things was the baby pineapples! This was the beginning of my blogging days, and I completely forgot to use my hand for scale… Just trust me. It’s itty bitty.

baby #pineapple in #bali

Luwak Plantations have a ton of cute animals that roam around #bali

Have you ever visited the Luwak farm in #Bali? Adorable!

Everyone we met at the farms were very knowledgeable and took us through the whole process of how the coffee is made.

Some of the places let us grind up the coffee beans and all let us roam around the lush plantation. Then, the tour guides offer you free (yes really!) tea/coffee of all different kinds like ginseng and lemongrass. While you do not have to pay for the tour, you do have to pay to try the luwak coffee. I generally prefer these types of establishments because it implies that we truly are peeking into the production of a farm, and not adding to tourist exploitation. My partner-in-crime and I went to at least two during our short trip to Bali.Girl at Luwak plantation in #bali

Different coffee and tea at the kopi luwak farm in #bali #wanderlust

I highly recommend stopping by one called Bali Pulina, located in the Denpasar area.

#bali luwak farm in Denpasar

Our boy Derrick (the driver we spent a few days rocking out to AC/DC with) knew all the spots, and I was especially delighted that this sweet lady let me snap some pics of her lighting the daily offering of rice, incense, flowers, and other precious goodies. My recommendation is to always ask while taking pictures of any religious ceremony. I noticed during the water ceremony, adults were fine with photos but children said no almost every single time.

Woman in #bali gives daily offering outside of luwak plantation

 

My favorite part about agrotourism is being able to not only support a local trade, but getting to know how it is done and by whom.

We had a great time chatting with the girls (and a few guys) that worked at the plantations. Most of the girls were our age (university age) and a few were in high school. All thought the civets were a little crazy! My partner-in-crime and I both purchased some Kopi Luwak to try, and I would most likely compare it to the coffee with chicory from New Orleans. Delicious!

exploring the luwak plantation in #bali

Luwak Plantation in #bali

 

Have you ever tried kopi luwak? Would you pay $100 for a pound of coffee?

5 Things Every Female Traveler Should Do in Bali

I fell painfully in LOVE with Bali! The vibes, the people, the scenery, all life-changing. People think Bali is all about romance, but I think it is perfect for the solo female traveler. Besides adoring the lush mountains and gorgeous water, don’t forget to do these 5 things while visiting Bali.

 

1. Get Pampered

It’s so right, it’s wrong. For less than 5 USD, you get an hour massage. A 3-hour honeymoon package cost less than 20 USD at our resort. Crazy! And confession, I prefer female masseuses which was all I had during my stay.
5 things every female traveler should do in #Bali || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #female #solo

2. Shop Until You Drop

MY BIGGEST PEICE OF ADVICE for traveling to SE Asia to to pack only two outfits. You’ll want to buy the rest when you arrive. It’s honestly silly to not purchase the clothes because they are so affordable and basically the same thing you’d buy stateside for 1/3 of the cost. Don’t forget to barter!

 

3. Feel the Love

In Balinese Hinduism, woman is the highest form of life. I’ve never felt so safe anywhere, let alone a new country. If you can make it to the water ceremony, please do! There is also a wonderful lady named Ida Ressi (maybe it’s Resti) who is the youngest high priestess. I’m dying to meet her next time I go!

The 5 things every #solo #female #traveler should do in #Bali || a tipsy gypsy life

4. Find Your Inner Peace

Ugh, I wish there was some way to transfer the energy you feel in Bali. The vibes are so good and people are so kind. It’s beyond difficult to leave.

 

The 5 things ever #solo #female traveler should do in #Bali || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

 

5. Release Your Wild Side

OH MY LAW. Monkeys everywhere. Baby monkeys, monkey families, etc. Don’t be afraid of them! But also, don’t stare at the big ones haha, quite territorial.

The 5 things every #female #solo traveler should do in #Bali || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

Overall, I find Bali to be a solo female travelers paradise. Affordable, easy, peaceful, what more could you want? Don’t be afraid to venture out by yourself if don’t go alone. It is extremely safe and beyond beautiful. The only issue was my friend did get robbed, but we got over it pretty quickly 😉

Do you love Bali? Would you like to run away with me to start a life of peace and prosperity?

Ready to visit Bali but not sure what to expect? Find out the 5 things every female traveler should do. || a tipsy gypsy life #explore #bali #solotravel

Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.

Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.

Why  not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is. || a travel epiphany  || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #happy

Olowatu, Bali. Patang Patang beach…. I envisioned a semi-secluded beach, perfect waves, and delicious weather. Due to circumstances like a wonderful yoga class we couldn’t miss, we got on the road pretty late.

Then we had the chance to stop at a very cool, very modern Luwak coffee plantation.

Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is || a tipsy gypsy life
They even had puppies! I couldn’t just leave in a hurry.

After two hours of driving, we arrived a little after 4 and by then the beach was packed. Not one to be discouraged by a little bump in the road, I set off to find my secluded beach. Titty made it about 1/3 of the way before establishing her spot. But I wanted that image I had in my mind, so I kept going, crawling over lava rocks and getting squashed by the waves.

Why not go out on a limb? Thats where the fruit is  || on pursuing  your deepest desires || a tipsy gypsy life

And then I was there

Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is || on pursuing your deepest desires || a tipsy gypsy life

Me enjoying some privacy and the ocean.
Although we only had two hourz, it was one of my favorite beach trips of all time. Not only did I get my perfect Bali beach  experience, we got to have a Bintang beer with lemon and watch the sunset.

 Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is || on pursuing your desires || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #happy #quote 

But this saying, “why not go out on a limb”, applies to everything. If you want something worth having you must make the reach. Unhappy with your relationship with your mom? Tell her. You want that promotion? Make it known. You want a deeper relationship? Open yourself up. All good things take a little effort or everyone would have them. Once you start going out on a limb, it becomes a beautiful habit for the most satisfying life.

Don’t know how to open up or speak out? Reach out to me!

Water Ceremony Tirta Empul, Bali

Tirta Empul in Bali

This almost didn’t happen. I was planning on driving an hour north to find Ida Resti, the youngest High Priesttess. But, I couldn’t guarantee she would be there and I’d feel terrible if titty came all the way up there for no reason. So, this was actually a back up plan and can I just say how ecstatic I am that this happened? And Lo and behold the water ceremony was going on!

Apparently we were the lucky ones, the ceremony only happens on the full and new moon. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, please, but that is what our main man Drrrrk told us.


The water ceremony was amazing- I’ve never felt so refreshed! The whole time in Bali I’ve been eager to give a blessing (also called daily offering) but too shy to ask how to do it. Finally, at the temple I grew a pair (of double confidence) and asked if I could partake! Offered a blessing, prayed, and then participated in the ritual. Drink three times and get riced* in the forehead. I’m not sure if you were supposed to pray but I pretty much repeated my mantra the whole time I was at the temple.

*side note- water is life but rice is the beating heart of Bali. It is honored and appreciated, for good reason.

 
Yes that is a svastika- it means “well-being” in Sanskrit and I won’t let evil pervert it.  😊😊😊

After wondering around some more we found an amazing (semi-secluded) area to meditate on the beauty of the temple. There is something so calming about a place of worship, especially one as lush and immaculate as the Tirta Empul.

 

And then the good stuff

 

Make a wish! I was told you always make a wish before entering.
I would tell you mine, but they didn’t say whether or not it would come true if I did so use your imagination 😉
Then you honor the water, then you honor the gods, then you honor your parents. Splash your face and drink up! Best water you’ll ever have, promise. But it gets better…

Then you can swim around in the pool! Clearly, I was having way too much fun with it…

 

I know I said Monkey Forest is the must visit but Tirta Empul is another life-changing experience. The water is said to have healing and purifying effects, so why not try it out?


Would you participate in the water ceremony?

 

Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali

If there is one place to add to your bucket list, please make it this. Bali in general is exquisite, but the Monkey Forest in Ubud is not only amazing because of the precious animals, but the foliage and temples are like being on another world. It honestly brought me to tears at one point- that doesn’t say much though 😉.

My Friend Was Robbed In Bali || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #bali

L

People watching was equally as fun, it can be pretty amusing to see someone realize a big mistake, like trying to take a stick from a large monkey. Whatever you do- don’t scream or run if they jump on you! They’ll just establish you are not a food source (bananas, not you personally) and hop off. Anytime a monkey attempted to try me id shake my finger at it and say “no no no” and it actually worked 😂

I was having way too much fun observing all the monkey families interacting. I’ve never been so close to such amazing creatures.

 They would wrap their lil’ fingers around mine like a baby, needless to say, I was smitten.

Titty, not so much.

At one point, a monkey robbed her. He only got the bananas out of her purse instead of taking the whole thing, so I would say she got off lucky, sincerely.
The forest itself is pretty large, I’m not even sure if we saw all of it honestly. The cremation burial grounds are such a beautiful testimony to Balinese Hinduism, and we were lucky enough to speak to one of the families that were allowed to be buried there. I wish I would have understood his name (if I don’t read something, it’s pretty much lost forever in my mind), because he was so informative and helpful. How beautiful is this- people who pass are buried in the cremation grounds and every five years they cremate then take the ashes to the ocean. Water is the beginning and end in Balinese Hinduism and death is a celebration to the next life. I love that so much because it explained even further why everyone is so happy here. One of the biggest things (if not the biggest) that causes pain is the passing of family member because of the unknown- here, death is not feared. Not only did he explain the cremation ceremony, but led us around and answered all of my questions like what precisely are the flower offerings and can I make one?

At one point, you’ll see a concrete path that looks like a dead end. Whatever you do, make it down this path. It’s like stepping into another world! I promise, the pictures are a sliver of how majestic Bali is, especially the Monkey Forest

The Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali || a tipsy gypsy life || #bali #travel