Bali Motorbike Travel Guide

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.

Day 1

Kuta – Uluwatu

Kecak Dance in Ubud

 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.

Day 2

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.

Ubud

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.

Men at work

Men at work

Accommodation

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.

Day 3

Ubud – Kintamani

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.

Sunset at Pura Ulun Danau 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.

Bali Accommodation

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.

Day 4

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.

Munduk

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.

Pura Ulun Danau Bratan, lake temple

Pura Ulun Danau Bratan, lake temple

Bali Accommodation

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.

Day 5

Munduk – Tabanan – Tanah Lot – Canggu

Tanah Lot

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.

Jatiluwih

Accommodation

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.

 Day 6 

Canggu – Kuta

After heading to Kuta, you may want to explore the surrounding areas if you hadn’t got the time on Day 1.

The Satori Saga

Our Route Map Highlight in Pink

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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Related Posts

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48 Comments

  1. Pingback: Bali, the Island of the Gods | The Satori Saga

  2. Love this post! I did a 3 day bike trip in Bali last Sep/Oct. We started in Ubud and made our way east north then back down! Glad you enjoyed yourself!

  3. Love this! Bali is so close to my heart and I conpletly agree!! Scooters are the way to go to do your exploring :)🙌 wouldn’t do it any other way. After me trying to highlight some positives in Bali through my blog yesterday it’s nice to see people that feel the same. -B

  4. My husband would love to do this! I like how its a different way to experience Bali compared to the usual trips everyone does (Aussies in particular!). Definitely putting it on the travel list 🙂

  5. This is such a wonderful guide. I’ll be going to Bali next month and this will come in handy though I do not know how to ride a motorbike :/

    And also, where is that place you took in Mundak, the photo of you sitting on the top and facing a mountain. That looks so beautiful

    • Hi Edward im so glad ur going to bali. The view is on the way to Munduk. As you go straight you will find two Balinese wood arcs on either side of the road and small cafe benches facing this view. I’m sitting on a cemented built right next to this arc and benches. Let me know how your trip goes:)

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  10. Thank you for this post! My husband and I will be doing something similar and wanted to make sure it was doable with scooter. Great photos!!!

    • It’s totally doable Taiss. You can blindly follow this itinerary in a scooter, incase you don’t have a plan yet. Also, let me know how it goes ?

  11. sanjeev

    Hi Shilpa,

    I am glad I reached your blog. Loved reading every word of it.
    I was also thinking of renting a bike, but taking a Temporary Licence there in Bali. But I think it will be better taking an International Licence here in India. How much will it cost in India?

    I will be in Bali (Aug, 2015) for 5 days. You did the following in 7 days.
    Kuta – Sanur – Ubud – Kintamani – Bedugal – Munduk – Tabanan- Canggu – Seminyak – Kuta.
    Can you suggest which places I should leave in order to cover in 5 days. We are 2 Men.
    Sanjeev

    • Hey sanjeev, international license from india is really cheap. Can’t remember how we paid. I stayed in these places for one night each- Kuta on my first day- Ubud – Kintamani -Munduk -Canggu. The rest like Bedugal and Jatiluwih were done as day trips.

      Hope u have safe travels.

      • Anonymous

        Planning to change my itinerary, after reading your blog !!

        I was thinking of staying at Ubud first and then Kuta. Possible? Suggestions any more place to stay. I have 5 nights/days. But then need to hire a bike @ Kuta first.

        And should I do hotel bookings now ?

        Also thinking how u carried your Bag(s) on a scooter…….!! Did police stopped anywhere?

        Oops , sorry so many Qs. But Shilpa you instigated, You wrote a lovely blog……….Thanks !!!

  12. robvanwely

    Hello. Thanks for the beautiful photos. But reading your story I felt sorry for you that you
    didn’t take some more time. One day here, next day there. You seem to have an open mind and
    heart, I can advice you to travel slower, taking more day to really get the feel of a place and
    have deeper contact with the Balinese people.
    I’ve been visiting Bali many times, the last couple of years I stayed between 4 1/2 and 6
    months, living in a tiny little village with a Balinese family, participating in their daily
    life and that of the village. I made many photos and a lot of video of that daily life,
    including ceremonies of all sorts, kids playing in the street and fields, visiting people at
    their homes.
    Some of those photos and videos can be seen at youtube.com/robvanwelyatBali, the trailer of the
    100 minute film about this village can be found on vimeo.
    Hope to hear from you soon!
    Love, Rob

    • Shilpa Balakrishnan

      Dear Sir, I totally agree with you. I do hope to go back to Bali and see places I have missed. If you don’t mind can you post the link to your 100 minute trailer about the village over here. So all of us can watch:)

  13. Hello,

    I’m a guide in Bali and i always suggest to my guest to book their motorbike to rent in Bali before their arrivals on bali-big-bike.com

    They deliver it to you and you pay only on delivery.

    I just all to book the bike they want before arrival too avoid disappointment.

    Rent a motorbike in bali can become a nightmare if you not choose a good motorbike rental company.

  14. Shilpaaaaa…..we went to UOWD together.

    I was reading about what to do in Bali and voila, here you are.

    Can you tell me the co-ordinates if possible of the photo that you have on day 4 between the two lakes. Im in Bali and Im having a hard time finding it.

    Cheers.

    • Shilpa Balakrishnan

      Haha. That’s so cool we went to Wollongong Dubai together :D. Finding the view point on picture 4 is a bit tricky. I am guessing you’re in Munduk right now. But as I am unsure of where exactly you are, the best I can tell is search for One Homestay on your google Map and set your current location as Danau Beratan. As you follow the map, you will start climbing a road. You’ll see a cemented ledge like the picture on your left hand side. You may have to go really slow and focus to find this spot. I have saved this point as a lot of people have been asking me about this particular view on day 4. Let me know if you find it.

  15. Phillius Thomas

    This seems like a beautiful place to explore by motorcycle. I would have to rent one, because there is no way I would be able to get mine over there, but still. The place in the third to last picture seems like it would be my favorite.

  16. Dear Shilpa, thanks for the lovely report, very helpful! We’re planning on travelling to Bali soon and I read a lot about not being able to rent a scooter for travelling through Bali as they always want to know where the scooter exactly is. You wrote that you stayed in next Tuban, so they can contact the Hotel if something happens. But did you stay checked-in this Hotel or did the hotel provide this “service of being the contact person” for free?

    • Shilpa Balakrishnan

      Nadeschda, we stayed at Next Tuban. I, however, think you may find some contacts at any hotel you’re staying in if they know anybody from who you can hire a scooter. That way you can use the hotels contact details if anybody ask where your scooter is from. It’s a win win situation for both the hotel and you so I’m sure they wouldn’t mind one bit :D.

  17. Hi Shilpa,
    Amazing journey! Completely inspired. My husband and I are planning for a trip to Bali in June and have a few quick questions.

    Do you still have the bike rental contact? The ones I find online now are around $9 and above.

    Are sim cards easily available in Bali for visitors and what documentations do we need?

    Thanks much for your response. We might get back for more suggestions and help shortly.

    Regards,
    Archana

    • Shilpa Balakrishnan

      Hi Archana, Sorry for the late response. I’m afraid I don’t have his details.

      I’m guessing you’ve already explored Bali by now. If you get a chance, let me know how your trip went :).

      Happy Travels!

  18. Hi Shilpa, thanks for this awesome post! 🙂
    I’ve been to Bali a few times now, and only on my last trip (last month) had i finally plucked up the courage to try using a scooter- at the encouragement of a girlfriend! I’m now planning a trip back there, for a little longer, and want to go further than my usual short, North Kuta/Seminyak-ish area holiday. In fact, I was googling a scooter trip around the island and stumbled upon your post! Would love to get your feedback on a few things;
    Were the roads beyond the touristy areas dangerous for beginner drivers like me? i found the traffic at rush hours intimidating, but otherwise/times, they were manageable.
    And was the terrain very steep and windy for a large part of your trip, or only near certain areas?
    I’m likely traveling alone, so would really appreciate any insight 🙂
    Cheers, Alissa

  19. Hey i hope you don’t mind me asking but how much did the trip cost you? I’m really looking at doing exactly this and a little worried about money… Thanks

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