Bali Adventure: Exploring the Islands by Bike

When my wife and I traveled to Indonesia, we sought out ways to actively explore the region — and discovered the joy of biking in Bali and the surrounding islands.

Touring the landscape by motorbike and bike turned out to be a great way to experience Bali and its nearby islands, rather than looking through the window of a tour bus or car. By the end of our trip, we had created memorable moments and a pretty amazing itinerary not only in Bali, but on both Nusa Islands and the Gili Islands, too.


We started our trip with a bike tour in Ubud, which is best known for its beautiful scenery. Our guide picked us up in the cool early morning hours and drove us to a spot with a nice view of nearby mountains and water. From there, we rode past the countryside’s iconic rice terraces, Hindu Temple complexes and many other lovely landscapes. The tour also stopped at a coffee plantation, and we had the chance to try civet-poop coffee — yes, that’s a thing. Overall, I can’t think of a better way to see Ubud.

Quick Tip:

Many of the bike tours in Ubud take you to similar areas, so choose one that best fits your budget and timeframe.


Compared to Ubud, Kuta and other popular areas of Bali, Sanur is a quiet spot. My wife and I wanted to chill there for a bit, so we rented bicycles for a leisurely exploration of the beautiful beaches. While in Sanur, we also took a cooking class — we loved learning how to make some of our favorite Indonesian dishes.

Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan

Many people had told us that Nusa Lembongan felt like the Bali of times now past, which we discovered firsthand. We also found out that motorbikes are the best way to get around Nusa; by renting one, we were able to see most of the island, as well as its neighbor, Nusa Ceningan. Highlights of the journey included riding over the bridge that connects Lembongan and Ceningan, and stopping at Devil’s Tear on Lembongan — as well as seeing all the beautiful blue water along the way.

Quick Tip:

Be careful when driving a motorbike on Lembongan. There are some tight curves, so if you’re unsure about your driving skills, you might be better off hiring a car or riding a bicycle. And be sure your travel insurance covers you for driving a motorbike.

The Gili Islands

We had to hop on a chaotic motorboat to get to the Gili Islands, but I’m grateful that we made the trip. Once there, we embarked on a snorkel tour of all three islands, which featured a lot of pretty awesome spots to see turtles and other marine life. For bicycling, the island of Gili Air, in particular, offered a perfect blend of quiet scenery and a bustling port. Renting a bike is pretty easy, and you can ride all the way around the island. However, I’d suggest getting a bicycle with fat tires to better navigate across the loose sand.

Where to Stay:
Marriott’s Bali Nusa Dua Gardens

Carl H. is a travel writer living in Durham, North Carolina.