Bali by Motorbike: The Route
We arrived in Bali with a week to take in the sights & sounds of this world renowned island. We’d usually spend longer exploring such a distinguished destination, but WORK limited us to a weekend to weekend trip (BOO!). We decided the best way to tackle Bali was by motorbike, giving us complete freedom & ease to move around. Bali is more expensive than other South East Asian destinations, so we were on the lookout for Bali deals. Here was our plan of action, blitzing Bali in 7 days without feeling like we’d gone too fast.
After arriving at Denpasar International Airport the night before, hitting the clubs of Kuta & falling asleep to the monotonous beats, we were already fed up of Kuta’s craziness! We rented our motorbike – $35 for the week – & headed south for some beach bumming.
Kuta to Balagan beach: 1 hour – a beautiful crescent beach enclosed by sheer cliffs at either end. NOT a good beach for swimming though, with vicious coral coating the seabed, stretching to a surfer’s haven 50m form the shore
Balagan to Ulu Watu beach: 1 hour – a few more hours on a swim friendly beach, in an alluring cove boasting caves to the left
Ulu Watu beach to Ulu Watu temple: 20 minutes – a short trip to the southern point of Bali in time for sunset to watch the powerful Kecak dance. Epic
Ulu Watu to Ubud: 2 hours – a slightly more challenging navigation to Ubud, the culture capital of Bali. We ambled around the city for the afternoon, before retiring to our amazing rice paddy bungalow!…an entire HOUSE for just $22 a night!
We explored the rice fields in the morning, aimlessly wandering along the thin boundaries of the paddies for a few hours.
Ubud to Tulamben: 3.5 hours – this was the most breathtaking leg of our journey, travelling on Sidemen Road. It took as so long because we had to stop every 10 minutes to take photos of the views! We headed north-east towards Mt. Agung, before cutting down to the east coast to Tulamben in time to see the sunset over Bali’s tallest volcano
That morning we snorkeled at the World War II U.S. warship, sunk by the Japanese & abandoned 50m from Tulamben’s pebbled shores. The wreck & the fish were mesmerizing.
Tulamben to Les: 1 hour - with 2 stops on the way for a rare, pricey lunch at Poinciana Resort & Yeh Mempeh waterfall near Les, we took our time circumnavigating the northeast coast, before heading inland to Lake Batur.
Les to Toya Bungka: 3 hours -We weaved our way up through the mountains, looking back at breathtaking views of the northern coast, arriving at the beautiful Lake Batur in time for sunset again
After an incredible sunrise over Lombok, & a dreadful attempt at climbing Mt. Batur that ended in our lives being threatened by the ‘local law men’ (i.e. the Mafia!), we headed out.
Toya Bungka to Munduk: 4.5 hours - One of the more difficult routes, (because the road isn’t on any maps!) we headed north, before going south, before going north again!… through more rice fields & tiny villages, along some pretty bad stretches of road… but nothing our loaded up 50cc scooter couldn’t handle. We winded up & down before settling in at the wonderful One Homestay guest-house in Munduk.
In the morning we trekked around Munduk’s valley of crops with the homestay’s owner, Kadek.
Munduk to Jatiluwih: 1.5 hours - We stopped for lunch in the Jatiluwih rice terrace (& for several photos!), a vast expanse of golden grain with workers toiling away.
Jatiluwih to Kuta: 2 hours - We dropped off the motorbike back in Kuta & gave our asses a rest!
Kuta to Nusa Dua: 30 minutes – Stepping up to the ‘luxury’ of taxis, we headed south to Nusa Dua for one last day on the beach.
Gegur Beach – Our first entire day doing NOTHING! We spent the whole day on Gegur beach doing as little as possible & spent 2 nights in the same guesthouse for the first time on the trip… Only to get back in a taxi & off to the airport bright & early!
I would highly recommend seeing Bali by motorbike. It was easy to rent & the roads were fine. Any time we felt we might be heading wrong, we stopped to ask the locals who were very helpful, & actually had zero problems getting lost!
So, if you’ve got a week in Bali, consider ditching your luggage at hitting the road on your own wheels. There’s definitely something about travelling by motorbike, & on your own time scales , that adds to the experience… & the views were breathtaking day in, day out.