Romantic Getaway to Bali: Flora and Fauna
In this, the last of four articles about our 30th anniversary Romantic Getaway to Bali, we take a look at the flora and fauna of Bali.
Beautiful Flowers and Lush Vegetation
Bali is a lush tropical island and the soil is very fertile. There is an abundance of plants and flowers everywhere, making it a haven for butterflies and birds. The terrain is also ideal for growing rice and coffee.
Kopi Luwak - Coffee Made From Animal Poo!
After our visit to the Batur volcano in Kintamani, we stopped at at the Oka Agra Wisata coffee plantation.
After a brief tour of their 'manufacturing facility' (an outdoor roasting pit) we were given the opportunity to taste the local coffee brews. After we had tasted complimentary cups of Coffee Ginseng, Ginger Tea and the Lemongrass Tea, my wife convinced me to pay 50,000 rupiah (about $6) to try a small cup of their 'special' coffee.
This coffee, called Kopi Luwak is considered the most expensive coffee in the world. And what makes it so special? It is made from coffee beans that have been eaten, and pooped out, by the Asian Palm Civet! Fortunately, the beans are well washed (or so they told me) and the coffee tastes great! Here is the description handed out at the tasting:
"Luwak Coffee (Pea Berry coffee): Native to the area is a small civet-like animal which the locals call luwaks. These little mammals live in the trees and one of their favourite foods is the red, ripe coffee cherry. They eat the cherries, bean and all, and while in the stomach, the bean undergoes chemical treatment and fermentation. The bean finishes its journey through the digestive system and exits. The still-intact beans are collected from the forest floor and cleaned and roasted just like any other coffee. The resulting coffee is said to be like no other. It has a rich, heavy flavour with hints of caramel or chocolate."
Durian - The Smelliest Fruit in the World!
We, like everyone else, first encountered the durian fruit by its smell. To say that it is pungent is an understatement, and this is coming from a Canadian who is used to the smell of skunks!It is such a strong smell that car rental companies explicitly prohibit you from carrying a durian in a rental car!
So you can imagine my surprise when our driver stopped at a roadside stall to let us taste the durian fruit! The durian looks like a spiky coconut on the outside and needs a small machete to open it. Once open, there are several edible seed pods, about twice the size of your thumb. The fruit itself tastes sweet and has a very creamy texture. It was certainly more pleasant that I had anticipated from the smell but it is obviously an acquired taste, as the local guide told me that to him, eating the durian is like being in heaven.
Bali Butterfly Park
Bali is also home to a wide range of butterfly species, giant stick insects, praying mantis, beetles and other insects.
Although these can be seen in the wild, an ideal place to get a sense of the diversity is the Bali Butterfly Park, one of the biggest butterfly parks in Southeast Asia.
Located in Wanasari village, 7 kilometers from Tabanan, there are hundreds of different species, plus the opportunity to hold some of these exotic insects if you're brave enough!
Giant Stick Insect
There are monkeys everywhere in Bali and they are most commonly seen at the many temples scattered throughout the island.
The biggest concentration of monkeys was at the monkey forest temple in the village of Padangtegal in the Ubud area.
They congregate in the trees, or around the temple walls, often in large family groups.
Here you have an opportunity to feed the monkeys under the supervision of the local guide - but watch out for your belongings - the monkeys are good at stealing hats and glasses!
In addition, for a small fee (10,000 rupiahs which is about a dollar), you can have your photo taken while holding a fruit bat - another once in a lifetime experience that I couldn't resist!
Bird enjoying an offering at Uluwatu temple
Selling fish at Jimbaran seafood market
Bali is an island so seafood is fresh and plentiful. We had the opportunity to experience it at its best on Jimbaran beach, located to the south of Bali, midway between the airport and Nusa Dua. The fishing village of Jimbaran has a beautiful bay, long stretch of white sand beach and clear waters with brightly colored boats anchored along the shore.
The Jimbaran seafood market is one of the biggest in Bali and has a wide selection of fresh seafood. Jimbaran Bay is home to about fifty grilled seafood restaurants all set along the beach.
Visit Bali and Explore!
I hope you found this article about our Romantic Getaway To Bali: Flora and Fauna interesting and I invite you to take a look at my other articles in this series:
Please feel free to leave comments, particularly if you have visited Bali and want to share your experiences.
You might also be interested in other Romantic Getaway Ideas. And for those of you with a wedding anniversary this year, here are some Wedding Anniversary Ideas that will help you to celebrate in style!
Happy travels, Geoff