Looking to bike around bali for 1/2 weeks...should i just rent a bike out and do it by myself ...or does anyone know a good affordable tour.. please share your experiences!
#1 lola899 has been a member since 7/9/2010. Posts: 36
Somtam2000 (the owner of this site) wrote an article about a day-trip biking tour that sounded pretty cool,found here: http://www.travelfish.org/feature/201
In terms of being able to do it yourself, I don't see why not - as long as you are cycle-fit and can deal with the heat. There are some pretty big hills in places. Also the main roads running through the island can be be pretty narrow which means it would be dangerous with big trucks going by, etc. It may be possible to plan your routes carefully to avoid the main roads and stick to the smaller, less-travelled ones - which would make for a more pleasant experience too.
I would suggest getting in touch with Somtam2000 as he might have some more info about specific extended tour options, etc. He will probably pop into this thread anyhow,but if he misses it, just send him a Private Message.
Maybe get in touch him to find out a bit more about extended biking tour options.
Definitely get in touch with Wayan (the guy who runs the business mentioned in the story above). He is a complete cycling nutter and has ridden all around Bali on numerous occasions.
The entire road across the north is great - lots of sideroads, villages, beaches to explore. Good very affordable as of 2008/9 ($5 - 10) accomodation in Gilimanuk,(boats - Java) banyuwedang (by highway, not diving resorts), Pulaki (+$10, noisy - Mosque and Hindu temple on each side competing with megaphones but don't miss Pulaki temple), Lovina (great deals low season, $6.) Road gets busy Lovina - Singaraja. Continue eastward, get accomodation in Amed (Check for semi - hidden entrances to possible unsigned accomodation in the first km or two after the road gets to the beach $5 - ride quickly past obvious hotels, and very slow along past groups of people near roadway, and someone will help you out eventually). Any half reasonable map will show a potential circle around the very east end of the island, in effect circling an extinct volcano. Meditteranean type scenery, with one or two ricefields after you leave tourist development in Amed - Bunutan area. This is single lane, a few years ago the road was unpaved and difficult, the people were unto themselves, so you'll notice a slight difference. Continue around Amlapura, north uphill on main road, water park at Tirtangga, and continue downhill through beautiful valley to return to accomodation at Amed. OK to continue biking along south coast, heading west to Padang Pai (boats to Lombok) after that the road is really busy to denpasar, but parts were being widened so it might be safer than when I saw it.
Also from the east, just north of Tirtangga (water park temple) there is a nice road that isn't too hilly that heads west. This is a one lane affair, not shown on many maps. Continue through toward Sideman, back uphill (head westward, south of Pesar Agung,and Besakih), toward Bangli. Heading further westward to Ubud is scenic too, but you're back into traffic. Enjoy occasional markets, warungs local encounters with school teachers for lunch, village mayors etc along the way. If you're not shy, bathing is possible where and as locals do so in streams, segregated village "horsebaths" rice field ditches etc. Cyclists are welcome; they'd rather have a clean version of one! I also camped in woods along the way, but I'd recommend being discreet - someone may bother you till you agree to their offer to stay at their house, or they will be just as determined to take you to some outrageously overpriced ecological ricefield resort where you get basic accomodation without electricity and a very special bar of luxury biodegradable soap along with a towel that was been washed in biodegradable laundry soap and dried and disinfected to perfection in sunlight. Somewhere in this area, I forget the town though, Lonely Planet described a Royal residence where descendents of prior Balinese royalty are. It will seem locked, unmarked. Persist in both finding it and getting someone to open it. Absolutely splendid and delightful accomodation at $4 up to $20 per night incl breakfast. It can be noisy as at times it is still used for religious purposes.
Another sidetrip is Penida Island, accessible by small ferry from Padang Bai. There is a cheaper per person large ferry for trucks and cars, but last time they wouldn't let pedestrians, including cyclists, use it. (small boat captains have influence!) Last time I was there, they were trying to clean up overcharging, luggage carrying corruption by "organizi" of youth working around these ferries. Also expect a possible upsurge in price when leaving the island, though to be fair when I left it was just at the end of a festival and there were many trying to leave. Scenery was rugged, the road was single lane (expect lots of motorbikes weekends and festival times) and the hillside rice terraces were tiny. Beaches weren't great at all. Try riding into the villages to get lower priced waterfront rooms in family houses ($3, outhouse plumbing) instead of at the main losmen in the town. Getting a good variety of food aside from fried rice at warungs was a real problem when I was there.
Lombok, across the north, is another trip I enjoyed, though there are places toward the east where the road goes really uphill for a long, long way. Some communities are very Islamic and would appreciate a well covered cyclist. A sarong or whatever can be placed around shorter bicycle shorts when going into shops and warungs. Contrary to popular opinion, there are a couple of little stores across the relatively remote north - look in the doorways of what would appear to be an ordinary stick / cement house for signs that it is a store. Leave each one with at least a litre of bicycle fuel and you won't get dry along the way. Around the main city in Lombok, the roads were really overcrowded. Affordable accomodation a few km up the road from the ferry terminal, a couple of places in Mataram, Gondang(?), amyer (under construction, was suposed to be around $5 per night when I talked to them 2008/9, Senaru, (lots available after negotiation, but this is a steep uphill ride, a van may stop and offer to help, but be very firm but polite on a price agreement, and if drivers change get out, pay, and renegotiate etc. Make sure the ride isn't tied to becomming a climber on the volcano unless that is part of your plan! It would be wonderful if some accomodation were available at Obel Obel, (there may be now) but stop and swim here or at more secluded beaches east of here. A bit of dried salt water on your skin will be OK as accomodation is coming up. Last time there was a sign pointing to some sort of resort at Sandongan but I didn't check it out and have no idea of prices or quality - it seemed very local, but some local accomodation can be more expensive than "western" oriented accomodation because it is designed for larger groups. At Labuhan (15 - 20km north of the ferry terminal) 2 long operating bungalow resorts have closed, and there is one still further south - 4km or so near Podak. At the ferry terminal town of Labuhan Lombok there were three places, the cheapest and dirtiest one I know shut down. The biggest one ($7)is across from the big mosque, expect amplification, market noise, etc. The other always was "full" in my experience, whether it seemed to be or not. Best time for public transport back to Mataram is in the early morning. The ferry ride to the next island is recommended, and it would be worth riding there for at least a couple of hours and head back to Lombok if you don't want to keep exploring.