I swear this experience came straight out of a movie. First we were taken into the jungle. Then, a monkey was chained to a pole. Next, we were given ingredients and told to drink it. Hindsight, it probably wasn’t our best decision but it ended up being a funny story.
We were travelling from Ubud to Gili Trawangan and our next destination was Kuta. We went to one of those tourist shops that try to sell you on day-trips and booked a return trip to Kuta with Wahana Ferry. It worked out to be way cheaper than taking an Uber/Taxi and then buying the ferry ticket on our own (around $50 CDN for those travelling to Bali).
After we got off the extremely rickety ferry dock, we learned that our trip to Kuta was going to be 3.5 hours because we had to make 2 stops before our final destination. We bargained our way to a $15 taxi ride to Kuta.
Our taxi driver was nice and friendly. He even offered to stop for “coffee time” and snacks because we were hungry and hadn’t eaten since the morning. Here Tom and I think we’re going to Coffee Time or just a regular coffee shop, but no, our cab driver turned off the main road and headed into the jungle. We turned into a driveway, marked with signs about a tourist destination, and a lady greeted us and asked us to follow her.
Following her through the forest was terrifying. I was tempted to get back into the taxi and demand to be taken to Kuta – but I also thought, “what if the taxi driver drove off with our bags?” She kept showing us things along the way like vanilla bean trees, coffee trees, a Luwak, etc. We got to the bottom of the forest where a monkey was chained to a pole and this lady was trying to describe what types of beans she had laid out in front of her. So obviously I couldn’t concentrate because I thought I was going to be monkey bait.
Next up was our taste testing (pictured below). Tom and I felt a little more comfortable seeing another pair of tourists, but we were also skepitcal of what we were about to drink (also pictured below). All of the taste testing was free except for the Luwak coffee. To get out of there faster we decided to try it for 50,000 rupiahs ($5 CDN).
Overall the experience was positive. It seems a little bit ridiculous now how scared we were, but being in a foreign country where nobody speaks proper English, it’s hard to understand what’s going on at all times. In hindsight, we should’ve left when we felt uncomfortable, but it definitely made for a story.
If you want to purposely plan a trip here, I’m 80% sure this is the place.
Glad we made it out of that forest alive Tom!
p.s. the coffee was alright…