Ethical tourism: Cycling & Cooking in Yogyakarta

Whilst looking for things to do in Yogyakarta, I got talking to the staff at my hostel (Good Karma Hostel/Homestay) who gave me some leaflets for their sister tour company – Satu Dunia Tours & Travel.

They had a variety of excursions to select from such as Silverware classes, Leather classes, Batik classes, but there was one in particular that that caught my eye…

E from Switzerland whom I had met in Jakarta was equally as enthusiastic and so we booked the tour together.

It was a combination of a cycling tour and a cooking class but as we were about to find out, included so much more.

We started from the head office at 8 am, following our tour guide Y in a line down the road like a mother and her ducklings to a small local tofu and tempeh factory

We saw the process of the products…


from the preparation of the soy beans to the cooking and the final product.


We hopped back on our bikes and went to a local market where the local ladies made a fuss over us, we chatted and walked through stalls of colourful clothes and fruits, ladies making fresh coconut milk, and tried some traditional sweets.


We cycled through small villages where the children would run out and excitedly wave at us and all the locals would wish us “Selmat Paagi” (Good morning), dodging mother hens and chicks roaming around and underneath ripening fruit trees to a rice paddy field.

In the rice paddy field, we rolled up our trousers and waded into the thick knee deep mud, where the ladies showed us the traditional tool they use for planting the rice equally.


The sun beats down on your back and neck and the warm mud oozes between your toes. The ladies are a deft hand and work quickly in the early morning to avoid the hottest part of the day.

We then went to see how they harvest the grown crops and separate the rice from the rest of the plant (basically bashing it against some wood).


We rinsed our legs off in a stream and then were on our way again, down a much more bumpy path.

We went to a local brick makers where they cut the mud out of the earth and mixed it with water, shaping it in basic moulds and leaving it to dry in the sun before baking in a large kiln in a barn.


We tried our hand at making our own bricks before washing our hands and getting to our final stop.


Our cooking class was at a local lady’s house, her kitchen adorned with trophies and awards for her cooking.


We explained we were both vegetarian and she wasn’t thrown off at all but immediately came up with an alternative.

We sat cross legged on a matt on her kitchen floor as she explained the different ingredients, some of which I had not heard of or tasted before such as fermented Cassava which is like a sweet paste that is used in cooking and cakes, or the sharp sour taste of Tamarind.




We peeled and chopped vegetables and made our own fresh coconut milk for our dishes; we ground down peanuts with shallots and garlic with a giant pastel and mortar for our sauce (whilst nibbling on fresh papaya).


The final product was a  coconut vegetable stew and “Fresh” Gado Gado with rice, tempeh and boiled egg. ( I will post the recipes separately for you).



We sat outside with our dishes and an iced tea, watching children run along the stream with nets to try and catch fish.


The whole tour ran from 8am-1pm.

The cost was about 260k IDR per person.

I felt it was a very decent price for all that was included, and our tour guide was an absolute delight, she was so friendly and happy and we ended up staying in contact via social media.


Also, throughout the day at each stop, I saw our tour guide give some of the money to each of the people we spent time with (some to the factory men, some to the ladies in the rice paddy, some to the brick makers and of course our cooking class teacher).

I really liked the fact that I could say with all confidence that some of this money was going directly to people in the community. I loved meeting the local people, talking to them, laughing with them, and getting more of an insight into their daily lives.

It was one of my favourite excursions from my time in Indonesia and I could not recommend it highly enough!


7 Replies to “Ethical tourism: Cycling & Cooking in Yogyakarta”

  1. This soulds like a good way to bond in with local folks and understand their lives.
    See, being tourists doesnt mean we don’t try to reach out. There are so many activities where we do, just that is not something that needs to be done all the time!


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