The Mayong Cultural Walk is a true deep dive into various aspects of Indonesian culture. This unique experience includes a guided tour through quiet farmland and rice terraces in North Bali by longtime local, Putu Artana, and a traditional Indonesian meal home-cooked by Putu’s wife. The cost of the Mayong Cultural Walk is Rp. 250,000 per person as of 2022.
The Mayong Cultural Walk has a morning session at 9 am and an afternoon session at 2 pm. WhatsApp seems to be the quickest and most reliable way to arrange things with Putu. His contact information is on his website near the bottom of the page. Be sure to inform Putu well in advance if you have any dietary restrictions.
Putu will pick you up from your homestay. Ideally, you’re already staying somewhere in North Bali. He might be willing to pick guests up from further abroad (such as Ubud) for an extra fee, but you’d have to ask him directly about it.
It was only Mark and me, so we got a private tour with Putu on this day. During the peak season, I’m sure he will combine guests into small groups. It will still feel like an intimate tour, as his car can only seat a limited amount of people.
The Mayong Cultural Walk
We parked on the side of a quiet road and walked into the fields on foot. It took about fifteen minutes before we got to the rice terraces. The Mayong Cultural Walk is not difficult and is suitable for children or out-of-shape folks. Putu had a few complimentary bottles of water for us in his backpack. There’s no toilet break until you get to his house for the home-cooked meal, so prepare accordingly.
For some reason, I thought that Putu was a rice farmer and was taking us to the rice field that he owned. That wasn’t the case, but he clearly knows the farmers very well. They spoke to each other with the familiarity of friends. Putu informed us all about the rice growing process and why the terraces are built the way they are.
Rice terraces are always picturesque, and the ones we saw on the Mayong Cultural Walk are no exception. The rolling terraces flowed out below us with the forest and mountains as a backdrop. Even on a rainy day, it was a lovely sight with the low-hanging clouds.
There’s even a picture spot marked by a Chinese gate. Putu is, of course, happy to take photos of you. There are no other tourists to mess up the background of your photos. The only tourists that will be here are those in Putu’s tour group with you.
There was a point in the walk where we took a break in a sort of bamboo gazebo, where another of Putu’s friends was making canang sari (or shrine offerings). We spent about ten minutes here while Putu talked about religion in Indonesia. Then he let us rest for about five minutes while he chit-chatted with his friend in Indonesian.
Putu is also very knowledgeable and passionate about the local flora. During the walk, he pointed out all sorts of plants, herbs and trees. He would tell us about their uses and often pluck a couple of leaves for us to smell. Putu brought a bunch of visual aids and tasting samples in his backpack that helped us to understand better and enhanced the overall experience.
The Mayong Cultural Walk takes about two and a half hours. Putu then took us back to his home in the village for a home-cooked lunch prepared by his wife.
Indonesian Lunch at Putu’s House
The dining room where guests eat is an open-air shack next to the driveway that overlooks the hills. You must take off your shoes before stepping in here. There is a sink with soap to quickly wash up before eating.
There is a toilet for guests to use, but it’s inside the main house. I had to walk down the driveway barefoot since I couldn’t be arsed to put my shoes back on only to take them off again at the house. Once inside, it was through one of the doors on the right. It’s best if you ask Putu to show you where it is. The washroom was a modern and comfortable room with a sitting toilet. Since it was a rainy morning, there was even a hair dryer below the sink that I was free to use.
There was still a good-sized spread, even though it was only the two of us. There was rice, bitter melon soup, chicken curry, satay with peanut sauce and a spicy egg dish that was my favourite out of everything. There’s water to drink, and some coffee or tea after the meal if you want it.
Putu will eventually join the table to have lunch with you. Although he loves to share his knowledge about Indonesian culture, he isn’t much for small talk. It was clear that we were the ones who had to drive the conversation once he sat down.
Putu’s wife, Ria, joined a little later and hung out until we left. Ria, in contrast to Putu, is very chatty and extroverted. She isn’t afraid to just say stuff but she’s never rude. Ria chatted with us and was a great conversationalist for the rest of lunch.
After lunch, Putu will collect his fee for the tour. Then he will drive you back to your homestay or a nearby location at your request.
The Mayong Cultural Walk is extra unique with its family-run feel, and it was the most memorable thing we did while staying in the Munduk area. Before Covid, the Mayong Cultural Walk was so popular and successful that one of Putu’s unscrupulous neighbours began doing walks under the same name. You’ll know that you’re on the authentic Mayong Cultural Walk with the real Putu if he’s the short, slightly balding gentleman that you see in the above photos.
Mark was looking forward to the Mayong Cultural Walk for the entire trip, and it did not disappoint. We were very lucky that we got a private tour with Putu, so we had the best experience possible. We could ask him anything during the tour, and lunch at his house made us feel like honoured guests instead of just two people in a tour group. Now that tourism is back in Bali, you shouldn’t expect your experience to be the same.
I would recommend other tourists to do the Mayong Cultural Walk. The cost is reasonable for a two-and-a-half-hour tour plus lunch/dinner in my opinion. Bali has no shortage of rice terraces, but the ones we visited with Putu were beautiful in their own way with the mountainous backdrop.
Official Mayong Cultural Walk website: https://mayongculturalwalk.xyz/