The silver minibus speeds through the main highway that connects Bali’s cultural heart at Ubud with the volcanic lakes of Bratan as well as Buyan and Tamblingan further north. Short moments after passing by a roadside traditional market where fresh local fruits and vegetables are on display, our driver, Gede, makes an abrupt turn to a small road.
We are then transported through small villages on Bali’s highlands towards the slopes of Mount Batukaru, an extinct volcano which at 2,276 m is the second tallest peak on the island. The farther we escape the country road, the more tranquil what lies beyond the car’s windows becomes. At this part of Bali, it appears, tourism only plays a minor role in the local economy, unlike in many parts of the island, chiefly in the south.
Gede keeps driving on a seemingly endless village road, until he…
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