Summary: I found a very good guide in Bali (sadly I found him on the fourth day that I was there). His name is Yandira, email@example.com, +628123982871, http://www.uniqubalitours.webs.com. Next time I’ll plan to go to Bali: the first thing I’ll do will be to email him to plan what to see, when, transport and even get some help with the accommodation.
A few weeks ago I was in Indonesia: I went to Bali and to Java island. They are very different islands (I didn’t suspect that they would be so different! They are more different than some countries that I’ve been to!).
I spent 6 full days in Bali, the accommodation was in Ubud. I won’t write the full itinerary but I want to write the experience:
- Day 1 (guided tour): north of the island (temples, hot spring, nice views, rice fields). Typical tourist things.
- Day 2 (guided tour): south of the island (batik creation, jewellery, cultural dance, temple dance, etc.) More typical tourist things.
- Day 3 (Ubud): monkey forest, lunch, Campuhan Ridge Walk, relaxing in the villa (actually not that much relaxing because we walked from Campuhan Ridge Walk to the villa and was a long walk).
- Day 4: Best day in Bali: half day jungle trekking with Yandira.
- Day 5: cremation ceremony (with Yandira).
- Day 6: transport to Java (with some nice views, Git Git waterfall, etc.).
Yandira was AMAZING! That day, the half day jungle trekking was amazing… that day I felt “ok, now I can leave Bali and the trip has been worth it, coming only for this is enough!”.
Yandira created a similar feeling as Mustafà from Tour Marruecos did. When I go back to Morocco I’ll contact Mustafà, back to Bali I’ll contact Yandira.
What was so good about it? That day, finally (after 3 full days in Bali) I think that I understood a little bit about Bali. Until then I was a stupid tourist who didn’t understand their culture, problems, traditions, food, superstitions, daily life, houses, religion, their names, how they get married, what they think about reincarnation, why there aren’t as many mosquitoes as I thought, etc.
So in Bali if you want to know all these things: get a guide who is keen to explain them. A guide who lived the experiences if possible (I’d say that a guide from Bali is likely to be better than someone who came from Java, just because they’ll explain their life and traditions which are, I know now, very different to the Javanese traditions).
Yandira’s half day trekking was about 3 Km. of trekking in the jungle (all very easy) full of explanations about rice, cocoa plants, traditions, etc. He used to help his family to cultivate rice, and used to fish in the nearby river.
It finished in a village and then he drove us (part of the tour) to his village where his lovely wife prepared lunch for us. It was the best food that I ate in Bali! Then his daughter and a daughter’s friend danced for us (much better and more authentic than other dances that I saw previously).
Then he showed us his garden, with the cows (they’re for good luck), trees that ferment alcohol, etc. After 3 days in Bali I didn’t even know that they had different kinds of alcohol fermented from the trees.
Yandira has a special touch. Following his reincarnation culture I’m sure that he was a healer in a previous life – or will be in the next life, based on the karma system.
As a quick note when he was driving from the village at the end of trekking to his village (20 minute drive?) he stopped a few times to point out things (cocoa plants, houses, mini-temples on the way, etc.). The other guide/driver that I had were just driving as quickly as possible without sharing any knowledge or commenting.
By the way, Yandira’s main job is driving in the island and not the jungle trekking tour. But I’m sure that being driven by him instead of a standard driver who gets you from point A to B would be amazing. To get some of the introductions to some temples and why they do something must be cool, not being dropped in a temple and the driver saying “meet you in 40 minutes at the exit parking zone B”.
In a nutshell: when planning to go to Bali and if you want to know Balinese culture get in touch with him (firstname.lastname@example.org, +628123982871, http://www.uniqubalitours.webs.com). If you want to go to a beach and get drunk in Kuta then I’m sure that any driver might do.