bali birthday adventure

birthday cakeThe Balinese have always been renowned for their wonderful hospitality, and Intrepid’s Chimene Barrett discovered what generous lengths they will go to for a birthday in Indonesia

“My husband and I have been lucky to celebrate our birthdays in a few exotic places around the globe. This time we were enjoying the 9 day Bali Adventure and although my husband tried to hide the fact, we all knew he would be celebrating his birthday on this trip.

The morning of the big day, we set out on foot into the lush hills of East Bali, at the base of Bali’s highest peak, Mt Agung. For over four hours, we walked amongst working rice paddies, traditional villages and along remote jungle tracks. The views were stunning and the walking was not too strenuous – even the humidity was lower at the slight altitude. Our local guide was on hand all the way, bringing our attention to interesting flora and fauna, explaining farming techniques and the ways of village life.

To our pleasant surprise, in one of the villages we were led through a small archway that was the entrance to the home of our local guide’s brother. Prepared that morning by his sister-in-law were our bungkus (take-away) lunches. These included fragrant rice, spicy noodles, satay chicken and eggs, all wrapped in banana leaf.

Before delving into our delicious banana leaf packages, my husband was formally welcomed into the compound and presented with a special hat and a hand-woven scarf. It seemed the locals had been given the heads-up about a birthday! An impromptu cross-nations rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ was belted out and my husband’s version of lunch was revealed. His was decorated with flowers and much fancier than any of ours!

A really enjoyable couple of hours were spent with the family in their home, learning about village life and in the end, after much pressure from the locals, my husband did reveal his birthday age!

That afternoon we continued our journey in minibuses to reach the tiny finishing village of Kedisan, at the edge of Lake Batur. The night was spent in simple accommodation in a village with not much around. We would be going to sleep very early in preparation for our 3am wake-up call to hike Mt Batur the next morning.

After dinner in our guesthouse, it appeared that our group leader had also planned a surprise and the birthday celebrations were not over! From somewhere in this small village, a birthday cake had been prepared complete with full frosting and personal message iced on the top. For a second time that day the beautiful Balinese had gone out of their way to help us celebrate. I certainly have a lot to live up to now if we are spending birthdays at home!”

Tour Indonesia with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Bali Adventure – 9 days
East Indies Explorer – 15 days

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Hi Gill,
Sounds like you’re planning an exciting trip to Bali. If you are reasonably fit, then you shouldn’t find this trip too difficult as it has a physical grading of moderate. The 3 hour bike ride is through easy terrain, but there is a support vehicle there to assist if the going is too tough.
Happy travels,
Sue, Intrepid Express Editor'

Hi we are thinking about taking this trip with Intrepid to Bali but we are 4 middle aged women and worried it might be too strenuous, also what was the bike ride like, a couple of us not sure we could make it on a bike for too long!!

Hope you can help.

Birthday sounds fabulous!


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