Travelling around Bali by motorbike and where rice paddies meet the ocean
Bali isn’t all about nightlife, shopping and its white sandy beaches. One of my greatest joys while I lived on the island was touring by motorbike. For the more adventurous person seeking to get away from it all Bali does offer up some spectacular scenery. And just getting to these locations by motorbike can be as exciting as it is dangerous.
I’m not suggesting riding scooters for the following trips. I would recommend renting a proper motorbike with a small amount of grunt and a great deal of breaking power. And believe me if you do decide to make one of these journeys, you will need it. I used to ride a Honda Tiger 200 with a bored out engine, which is by no means a big bike. But it did have the get up and go to get me out of trouble and the double disk brakes did a good job of stopping me when I needed it.
Riding on Bali’s streets can be perilous at the best of times. The roads in the tourist areas are generally swarming with horn hooting maniacs who possess no real driving etiquette. But when you ride around the out-flung rural areas of Bali the traffic flow becomes faster and accordingly the risk intensifies. If you are going to undertake one of these excursions, you will also need a great deal of courage and a healthy appetite for self-endangerment.
The roads outside of the tourist areas can be treacherous and it is not just because a number of them are in disrepair. You will need to be prepared for irresponsible truck drivers with dangerously overloaded vehicles. And sleep deprived tour bus drivers with a need to navigate hairpin bends at breakneck speed. You will also encounter collections of suicidal maniacs driving dilapidated automobiles who have a desperate urge to overtake. And you will find yourself dodging thousands kamikaze scooter riders with a propensity towards playing road warrior.
You may be asking right now why in bloody hell would anyone want to do that, and I wouldn’t blame you. Riding a motorbike to Bali’s outlying areas is not for the fainthearted.
But, for people with an adventurous soul the rewards can be truly wondrous. When you are not watching and avoiding the oncoming and overtaking traffic. You will be treated with amazing scenery and glimpses into Bali life before tourism.
You will also feel the sense of freedom and anticipation that only touring to picturesque places unknown can provide. You will ride through tropical jungles and alongside deserted beaches. You will coast up and down mountains buried in thick steaming rain forests and you will pass ancient temples and locals tending thick green rice paddies. And the best part is that you can manage to do all of these things with just one days ridding.
The very best thing about touring Bali is its size and the close proximity of its attractions to the main tourist hubs of Kuta or Seminyak. For those people that have a longer journey in mind it is possible to ride around, or through the middle, of the island in around two to three days. But for those with time restrictions it is quite possible to leave Kuta or Seminyak early in the morning and arrive back at the hotel for a bit of pool sitting and cocktail sipping by late afternoon.
You will also find that most locals will be friendly enough to give directions and that there are plenty of places along the way where you can buy food and refreshments.
This is one of my favourite trips and the route is packed with scenery. Medewi is remote village in one of the least visited areas of Bali. And it is well known for its surfing beaches, Balian’s and Medewi Beach.
Medewi surf spot is located about 75 kilometres west of Denpasar. The time it takes to reach Medewi by motorbike is approximately two hours. At journeys end you will find a good restaurant at the entrance to the surf beach, top of the hill left hand side. Accommodation is also available if you want to spend the night and ride back the next day.
Kuta-Candi Dasa- Kuta
Due to the newly opened east coast road this is one of the easiest rides. Candi Dasa is approximately a one and half-hour ride from Kuta passing through the Sanur area.
Candi Dasa is a sleepy tourist town but there are plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants if you wish to spend the evening and ride back the next day. Small tip, for a nice view of Bali’s islands ride though the town and up the mountain at its end.
Again this is an easy ride but beware Ubud is very popular amongst tourists so there will be plenty of traffic to contend with. Ubud is located in central Bali and it is considered Bali’s cultural heart. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the town and nearby villages seems to consist of artists’ workshops and galleries.
There is also an abundance of accommodation and restaurants and plenty to see and do. Rather than a day trip it is perhaps worth spending at least a couple of days in the small town.
Uluwatu is Bali’s surfing mecca so it is well worth a visit, also some of Bali’s most stunning beaches are located in this area. And then of course there is Uluwatu Temple itself so this makes the perfect day trip. Unfortunately due to large amounts of traffic in the Bukit area this is a dangerous ride. Be very careful of the yellow trucks overloaded with limestone. And do not get caught to close behind going up the Bukit hill or too close in front coming down. Due to their massive workload the brakes in these vehicles have been known to fail.
Once you are through this dangerous area the roads will open up and they will become less congested. The trip from Kuta to Uluwatu will take an hour and half and there is plenty of accommodation and restaurants along the way or at journeys end.
The above places and how to get there can be found on google maps or in G.P.S. systems. It is always wise when ridding long distance to have the correct equipment. A western standard motorbike helmet, and some form of protective clothing, not singlet shorts and flip flops. It would also be recommended to take a small back pack with a change of clothes just in case you want to spend the night.