A few months back I took a solo trip to Ubud, Bali. It was absolutely magical. One of the things I loved most was this authentic Balinese cooking class I attended. There was a small group of us, about 12 in total. We were shown around the colorful Tagalalong Market, given a tour of a sustainable organic farm, taught to pick our own produce and herbs, and then given an in depth Indonesian cooking lesson that lasted hours! It was DIVINE!
While in that class I met the gorgeous Ayu and her Parisian boyfriend. Ayu is from Bali but said she was taking the class to get a little help with her cooking skills.
While all of us students dined around this long, rustic, wooden outdoor table and munched on our creations, each of the attendees shared what they did for a living. Ayu mentioned her passion for giving people a truly authentic look at Bali, something that many of us tourists found lacking around certain parts of Ubud. She also mentioned that that passion was her actual business.
As I listened to her story I immediately knew that Ayu would be an exciting woman to highlight here on #AGlobalTribeOfWomen!
Bali is quite a popular travel destination at the moment but what I fear is that amid all the stellar cafes and penis souvenirs you’ll find at the markets, the true beauty of Bali will be missed. I hope that as you read Ayu’s interview you’re enticed to not just experience the authentic Bali if you have a chance to visit, but that you’ll be inclined to always seek out authenticity when traveling. You should absolutely enjoy the wonderful amenities a location offers, but be sure to experience a least a hint of the culture and history of a country.
Leave with a bit of it’s dirt under your nails and food between your teeth.
Here is my interview with Ayu.
AM: Please introduce yourself.
Ayu: My name is Ayu Merta, I was born in Sumbawa island Indonesia on 19 February 1992. I was escaping from my island Tonbali in 2008 in order to find better opportunities. I always had a passion for traveling I guess and I like to do challenging stuff.
AM: How did you begin at Authentik Trekking?
Ayu: It began by how much I like to be in nature and because touring is pretty much about being in nature, plus being able to show the beautiful sides of Bali to tourists. I also get to do exercise at the same time as bringing more excitement to me.
AM: What is Authentik Trekking and why did it begin?
Ayu: Authentik Bali is all about showing the real Bali, like what most tourist are expecting. As you know Bali is becoming more popular and our goal is to make tourists feel like they are in Bali and not just seeing all the fancy restaurants, boutiques, night clubs, etc…
Authentik Bali was started by my boyfriend in 2014, he was thinking to do something different than those fancy businesses.
AM: What’s it like to run a trekking business in Ubud?
Ayu: Its good, but nothing is perfect in this world, so when it’s high season we feel bad because we have to refuse some bookings… And of course in low season, from late September to November, we are very quiet.
AM: What is a typical trek like?
Ayu: We are quite flexible, we have a few different kind of trek routes, some easy, medium hard, and hard to very hard. Each route has its own special sightseeing.
AM: What should I bring with me on one of your treks?
Ayu: You need to wear comfortable clothes (no shorts or tight skirts please 😄), proper shoes, swimwear (most guests like to swim in the river or waterfalls) and spare clothes in case you get too wet after trekking.
AM: How can someone book a trek with Authentik Trekking?
AM: Ayu, what do you do for fun when you’re not working?
Ayu: I love to take my dog for a walk on the beach, I love to cook and sometimes hang out with friends.
AM: Ayu, are you currently reading a good book? Please tell us.
AM: Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your business?
Ayu: Nothing, but looking forward to assist more tourists in seeing the authentik sides of Bali.
All photos courtesy of Ayu Merta.