Sanur, Harry, and Monkey Poop Coffee

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Jan 13, 2009

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Where I stayed
Tropical Paradise Bali Hotel

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Monday, March 31, 2008

The slightly upscale beach town of Sanur is not known for a lot. It's nickname is 'snore' in refernce to it's compartive lack of frenzy vis a vis Kuta. Which was one of the reasons we headed there. The other two were that it is the jumping off point for Nusa Lombongan, and lastly it's sort of the home base for an acquaintance we wanted to spend some time with named Harry.

But first the serenity piece. The largest contributing factor to our sense of serenity in Sanur was the wonderful hotel we stayed in, the Tropical Paradise Bali Hotel. Somehow this place has escaped the notice of the guide books (probalby due to it only being open a year) but Jen managed to find it on the internet using some of our wily traveler tricks (in this case, This place is a hidden gem. Upon our arrival we met the owners/designers/managers/hosts/dreamers: Michael and Brama, two swedes who decided to leave the cold of Stockholm and create a paradise for travelers within the paradise of BAli. From the moment they greeted us with a "welcome home" (reminiscent of an old burning man tradition), sat us down in their outdoor "greeting room), presented with fresh squeezed juice, and chatted with us like old friends we knew that this place would be special.

Speaking of old friends, upon heading to our room we ran into our friends Mike and Halley who we hung out with in Fiji months before (you may remember a reference to Halley getting everyone in the resort to get up and learn her line dancing routine to saturday night) lounging by the pool. What a treat. We spent a good while catching up with them and comparing notes on NZ and pimping them for info about the south east asia adventures.

We then spent a bit of time relaxing around the lovely pool surrounded by beautiful lush gardens, hanging out on our beautiful veranda above the pool, lounging in our huge bed in our huge room with our huge high ceilings, and finally getting nice massages by the pool (massages go for about $5 an hour in this country - an amazing way to travel ;). The nightly rate is about twenty bucks plus tax but the grounds and rooms and service are so well done and comfortable you'd think you were at a resort. It's an amazingly serene place and we spent a lot of time just hanging out and taking it all in. Even the beach down the road we would walk to was serene and visited by locals rolling around in the sand, praying at the temples, and even running in leather jackets which was a welcome change from crispy european sunbathers.

As mentioned before the other attraction to Sanur is Harry. Harry is one of Jen's uncle's best friends. Born in Bali to second generation chinese parents, but schooled at USC, Harry now spends about half his time living in BAli (the other half he resides in his home in Los Angeles) running his family's coffee business. Our introduction to Harry has really been quite fortuitous as Harry took it upon himself to be our most extraordinary host, guide, and even even fairy (in a very manly way ;-)god parent here in Bali. As someone who grew up in this area, he was able to show us all kinds of local places and give us all kinds of information on the local way of life which are always fascinating for both of us. Additionally, he has given us the grand hosting tour of the area in his private vehicle with driver (much less stressful than the motorbike) and even hosted us at numerous meals some of which were at his own family's restaurants including a great lunch at the Kopi Bali Café and a fun night of dinner and live entertainment at the Jazz Cafe. We've had such amazing hosts on our trip, but Harry really takes the cake with his almost devotional concentration on being a host and his extreme generosity.

So now that we've introduced Harry we can get on with monkey poop coffee. Ever since we had started relating that we were going to Bali we had been asked, queried, advised, or told about "monkey poop coffee" which according to rumours was a very rare coffee created by monkeys eating coffee beans and then coffee being made out of the - you know what. This begged more questions than it asked about why monkeys would eat coffee beans or why would anyone want to ingest anything that had been a monkey so we were quite curious. We were especially interested as we had heard that Harry was not only in the Coffee business, but in the Monkey Poop Coffee business. So we were quite excited to have Harry educate us on this mysterious beverage.

Well as it turns out, Harry is not only in the coffee business, but his family's coffee company, Kopi Bali, is very famous and known throughout the islands for having the best coffee, monkey pooped or not. We also found out that "monkey poop" is actually "civet poop" (a civet like a cat with a head of a racoon placed on it). The actual name of this style of coffee is Luwak Coffee. We found out also that the stuff is tres cher - $1600 a pound (yes you read that right) or $30 for a small cup. It's especially prized by asians, Koreans more than any, for it's smokey flavor (and no doubt the novelty factor) and Harry arranges for hundreds of folks a day in tours through the factory and buy this stuff. Why the civet's want to eat coffee beans or who decided to start making coffee out of their poop remains a mystery, however the tour was great (we even got to see a live civet-notmonkey) and it was very interesting to learn about this delicacy.

Anyways, Sunur (to be exact the hotel is located in Padang Galak just outside of Sanur) and the Tropical Paradise Bali hotel were so nice and relaxing we stayed two different times here even though it's much lesser known than it's hectic cousins to the east and we had never heard of it before we arrived. It also served its purpose as a jumping off point for the next stage of our trip: Nusa Lombangan...
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