If you want to see a lot of Bali without a glass bus or car window in the way, renting a bicycle is the best way to go.
On a bicycle, not only do you see the Balinese countryside first-hand, you can follow your own schedule seeing the sights. And if you're concerned about the environment, then pat yourself on the back for choosing the most environmentally-friendly Bali transportation mode outside of walking on your own two feet.
Where to Ride
Whether through beach or countryside, goat trail or blacktop, a delicious variety of terrain exists in Bali to bike your way through. Head north to Kintamani, Gunung Agung, and Batur, or head to Pura Besakih to admire the temple there. Closer to Ubud, Goa Gajah Elephant Cave is always worth a bike jaunt.
Biking in Bali isn't suitable for every place, of course. Bali's traffic is notoriously chaotic, so a bicycle ride in areas like Denpasar and Kuta might be the last thing you'll ever do.
Limit your independent Bali bicycle jaunts to countrysides in and around Ubud and Lovina. And check the weather before you go - if sunny weather just isn't forthcoming, you may need to postpone your bike ride for safety's sake.
Tour operators may rent out bikes for about IDR 25,000 a day, although pickings may be slim if you're looking for a specific type of bike. If you're an avid bicyclist, do bring your own bike to ensure the best Bali bike experience possible.
To ensure a great time biking in Bali, follow these rules of thumbs before you head out.
- Check the bike's vitals before heading out: Ensure that the wheels are properly aligned, the brakes work as advertised, and, if you're heading out near dark, that a light is attached to the bike. If anything seems out of whack, do not accept it. If you do, any damage might be attributed to you by the rental.
- Bring your own helmet and gloves to ensure adequate protection; renting the right gear in Bali can be hit-or-miss.
- Ensure the road conditions are the type you can handle. Not all roads are comfortable over long distances, and some of the inclines may be too steep to take.
When you're on the road, keep these biking safety tips in mind.
- Ride on the left side of the road. Left-hand traffic prevails in Indonesia.
- Don't ride on the main roads. The side roads are a better fit for your bike; a map like the Bali Pathfinder, readily available in Ubud, can help you pick your way through these paths.
- Don't put any valuables on the basket in front, if provided. Snatch-thefts by men on motorcycles have been known to happen.
Organized Bicycle Tours
If you prefer your Bali biking experience to be a social event - and if you want to cover more ground with the help of a guide - then sign up with one of Bali's many organized bike tours.
Bali's organized bike tours may be the best way to tour Bali, ironically without feeling like much of a tourist. Bali by bike lets you see the "real" Bali, on street level, not removed from it as a tourist locked up in a bus might be.
There are bike tours for all types of bikers of all ages, from the mildest of beginners to the most hard-core mountain bike enthusiast. The cost of the tour often includes meals, safety gear, and return trips from and to your hotel.
The easier bike tours are conducted along paved, blacktop roads on relatively flat surfaces. More "extreme" bike tours go off-road, taking riders along Bali's goat trails and gravel roads that may lead up to Bali's mountain slopes.
Bicycle tour providers include:
- Banyan Tree Bike Tours
- Bali Rides
- Bali Bike Baik Tours
- Bali Ubud Cycling
- Bali Eco Cycling
- Bali Go Bike