Photo: Another day in the Javanese countryside.

Bike tours

Our rating:

Several tour companies run Yogya village bike tours, which provide real insights into authentic Javanese village life. On first impressions, Yogyakarta may seem like a busy traffic-clogged modern city, but minutes out of town the paddy fields mature, farmers tend their crops and local industries produce traditional products, just as they have done for millennia.





We have done trips with both Via Via and Satu Dunia, but others run similar trips—generally the itineraries are comparable, as what you see will really depend on what’s going on in the villages on the day you visit. They are “fluid”, as these are not contrived trips.

It gets crowded on the roads. Photo taken in or around Bike tours, Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

It gets crowded on the roads. Photo: Sally Arnold

Our trips began in the Prawirotaman area, from where it’s a 15-minute ride though somewhat challenging traffic (for folk who are not used to Indonesian roads). If you have kids in tow, or are not confident, ask to arrange a way of avoiding the main roads. Once you’re in the countryside, flick your camera onto the panorama setting; it’s going to be hard to not want to make constant stops. Friendly guides have a good rapport with the local farmers, and you’ll be invited to join in whatever the current activity is, be it planting, harvesting or threshing.

Brick-making is a common sight amid the paddy, and you’ll get a chance to get your hands dirty and later have the knowledge that a brick you’ve made will be built into a local home (write your name on it in case you ever come back!).

Just another brick in the wall, or something. Photo taken in or around Bike tours, Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Just another brick in the wall, or something. Photo: Sally Arnold

We popped into a local market, and tried a few snacks, but the highlight of our trip was discovering how tofu and tempeh are made. Not only is the process interesting, but the local steamy light-filtered factory is a photographer’s dream. We then visited a local home and our guide cooked up some of the fresh tempeh in our host’s kitchen. Delish!

Trips last around four hours, and the roads are flat. Neither company automatically supplied helmets, but both have them available if you ask. Say no to the plastic bottle of water supplied, and bring a refillable bottle, as both can provide filtered water. As you will be riding through conservative local villages, it’s best to wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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