There is no better way to explore Bali than on a motorbike. We did a 7 day road trip through Bali giving us the complete freedom to ride almost whole of Bali. In addition to the cheap bike rates, scooter rentals can be found almost everywhere. It is safe to not sign up for any expensive tours as the city provides easy navigation and plenty of available content online. Here’s Bali’s motorbike travel guide on the route we took, accommodation we stayed and places to see.
Use International License in Bali
Many tourist experts advice on getting a local Indonesian license but from our experience – an international license is enough to ride in Bali unless you’re in the city for more than a month. Apply for an International license in your local country, which in most cases will be valid for a year. Renting a bike in Bali is the most easy and cheap way to travel across the city. You wouldn’t have to keep a passport or a deposit to rent a scooter, if you rent one from your hotel or even better, call up a bike rental as close as your hotel so in case there is an issue, they could contact the hotel. We stayed in Next Tuban, a hotel close to the airport. The rental person approached us with a 125 CC Hyundai scooter (great for Bali roads). He charges a minimal rate of IDR 50,170 ($3.95) per day and payment was done after the bike return. Fuel is easily available throughout the city with fuel stations almost everywhere. You’ll find many tiny shops providing bottled petrol for IDR 40.
Bali Motorbike Travel Guide
We highly recommend to begin your road trip from Kuta as most tourists make an inward entry to Bali mostly from the South – Whether from the Ngurah Rai Airport or through an overland bus/ship journey from Probolinggo City, East Java. The roads are absolutely bike friendly, you’ll find no trouble riding across the island of the Gods. The main landmarks you will hit are Kuta – Sanur – Ubud – Kintamani – Bedugal – Munduk – Tabanan- Canggu – Seminyak – Kuta.
We covered a distance of about 70 km per day and rested in for the night in each villages allowing us a good few hours to soak up the atmosphere in each town.
Kuta – Uluwatu
Once you arrive Kuta, rent a bike, soak in the beaches of Kuta and spend some time wandering the narrow alleyways or even indulge in some shopping where clothes and souvenirs can be bought at surprising bargains. However, the area is known for scamming touts who charge a bomb unnecessarily but you’ll learn to tackle them after one or two experiences. Although Kuta is a major tourist attraction, my main interest lie in the less visited destinations and was hoping to find it in the north of Bali as the beaches and streets are highly overrated. Head to the lower south for a beautiful sunset view in Uluwatu. If you stay in for a bit, there is a Kecak dance performance held daily around 7.p.m. Be sure to grab a spot as soon as possible as the crowds kick in pretty early. Plus, the traffic can get crazy.
Kuta – Sanur – Ubud
The ride to Ubud is easy with plenty of direction boards along the way. About 54 km from Kuta, you’ll hit Ubud early so you’re free to do some sightseeing.
To Indulge in the culture of Ubud you must:
a) Visit the Monkey Forest: Even if you’re not a fan of feeding the animals, the Monkey Forest is a good place to begin with, as its one of the main things done by tourists. However, you can easily avoid the crowd depending on the time you visit. While watching the shenanigans of the monkeys could be fun, the monkeys can get naughty and grab your belongings to end up in a brawl between the two of you.
b) Head to the Saraswati temple, also known as the Lotus Temple: The architecture is worth seeing. The temple overlooks a pond that brims with lotus. Be sure to carry a sarong everytime you’re on a temple visit. Treat yourself with a cup of coffee at the Starbucks cafe located within the premises of the temple, while you watch the sun fade into the sky. If you’re looking for a cafe with the vistas of paddy fields, head to cafe Pomegranate for some Bintang beer and salad.
We stayed at Duana’s homestay and one of the most beautiful places I have stayed so far. The property is adorned with traditional Balinese architecture. The best part? Rooms are in the form of independent villas with a private seating outside, where you can sit for breakfast or just a cup of tea to while away time.
Ubud – Kintamani
We spent an entire day 2 eating, drinking, watching the kecak dance, visiting the museums and palaces – located in the city centre. There are many temples that are easier to visit on your way from Ubud to Kintamani. Some of the renowned ones we visited are: Gunung Kawi, a 11th century temple complex in Tampak Siring and Tirta Empul where you’ll get to see Hindu Balinese bath in the purifying holy water.
On the way to Kintamani, you may find a bunch of people on a counter stopping you for permit in exchange for money. Some fellow travellers say this is important as officials may ask for the permit once you enter Kintamani, but in our case, nobody asked for it.
Kintamani is a little town where the active volcano Gunung (Mount) Batur majestically sits – the last eruption was in 1917. Lake Batur is a large crater lake sleeping at the foot of Mount Batur.
Located at the rim of the caldera is the Pura Ulun Danau Batur; temple entry fee is Rp 10,000 per person. Beware, the ladies will try to scam you for more and may even force you to rent a sarong and sash.
While many tourists hike Mount Batur, we barely had any energy after our incredible trip to Mount Bromo. We tried riding up the rugged mountains of Batur but tough luck – the roads are too bumpy for a delicate scooter. One of the must-dos is taking a boat service on Lake Batur that lands you on the other side, Trunyan Village. Another way to get to the village is by road. The roads are smooth winding on the ridge almost spilling along the lake.
So what if you can’t hike the mountain when you can stay right beside it. The Batur Mountain View Hotel offers fantastic views. With classy rooms and prime location, the hotel is worth its price. The city gets too creepy after 6 p.m so its advisable to stay indoors or at least within the hotel premises. Before you leave, try the floating restaurant set on lake Batur.
Kintamani – Bedugal – Munduk
Munduk is a mountainous region set on a ridge snaking down from the rim of the Bedugul caldera. On the way, you’ll be passing by a few hair pin bends – sometimes downward sloping. Located about 800 metres above sea level, the village gets distinctly cold in the evenings. if you’re heading in from Kintamani, chances are you will notice two diverting roads when you reach the main city. The left side of the road will take you downwards to Bedugul village, passing by many loitering monkeys. The road on the right will take you upwards onto the beautiful village of Munduk.
Bedugul is perfect for a day’s visit from Munduk. Some of the prominent attractions to note in Bedugul are: Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, and Bratan Lake. There is not much to see in this region as the point is to stay away from the crowd and soak in the peaceful breeze. One of my favourite view is the mirror image of the twin crater lakes; Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan set in the middle of a dense forest.
We stayed at One homestay, an insanely clean place to stay. Room is spartan but you have a sitting area outside the room, where you can enjoy the beautiful valleys.
Munduk – Tabanan – Tanah Lot – Canggu
On day 5, I began to miss the cool air and serenity in Munduk. Unlike Kutta, there were barely any tourists, and even the few seem like they were there for the same purpose as I was – the mountains. As you ride farther, the heat starts hitting. While heading to the south, you’ll get to stop by many tourist landmarks like; Jatiluwih in Tabanan known for its vast perfectly manicured paddy fields, and Tanah Lot, a water temple that has black sand. There is an entry fee for both these places.
We spent the night in Canggu in Saran Guest house. The property does not offer an interesting view, but with five star interiors, open bathroom and a private outdoor seating area, the price is a steal.
Canggu – Kuta
After heading to Kuta, you may want to explore the surrounding areas if you hadn’t got the time on Day 1.
Many visitors think that Bali is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but if you know where and how to travel, you’ll find your ways to get around without burning your pocket. This guide is ideal for all those who are looking to travel cheap. There are high-end resorts to beckon the minds of intrepid millionaires, at the same time, local home stays (that offers services and privacy of a hotel) for the intriguing backpackers. With cheap eats providing splendid views of the lush rice fields, Bali is quite the charm to soul seekers too. With so much sun, you’ll be blessed with a sun-kissed look for the summers back home.
Have you explored Bali on a motorbike?
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