Getting a bicycle at Bali is probably not your first idea to explore. However bicycling Bali is quite easy and relaxing as the roads are flat. And yes, don't do it at midday. It's too hot. However, in the early mornings and later afternoons (after 3pm) it's great to get a bike and go around.
Bali - general info
Bali is the most popular of all Indonesian islands. Most travelers will come to Bali by flights to Denpasar.
Bali has just over 3 million inhabitants, mostly Hindus, the rest is Muslim. It is a small island, roughly 150 by 115 km (which makes it so attractive to get a bicycle).
The Hindu religion is part of daily life and it is unlikely while visiting you will not see one or two processions, festivals or other kind of religious celebrations. Some claim that in Bali there are more temples then houses. That statement might be exaggerated, but it is true that the island has countless temples and each house has its own little temple or shrine.
People are very religious and you will see almost on a daily base some kind of festival, procession or other religious activity at any part of the island.
The Balinese culture is heavily influenced by Indian and Chinese culture. As most Balinese are Hindu it's easy to see the Indian influence which is around 2000 years old. That also explains why Balinese Hinduism is quite different from Hinduism in India.
What to bring?
Travel as light as you can, even if you only bring the clothes you wear. Denpasar, Kuta and Ubud have everything need, from clothes to medicine, hammocks and toothbrushes. And it's cheap.
For temple visits you will need a sarong and hat.
Denpasar has some bicycle shops but if you need good materials, you should bring them yourself. Bicycling Bali is not difficult, finding good materials van be a problem.
Money, banks and ATM
The Rupiah. Notes 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000. Coins 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000. Currency Converter click here. You can use your Visa/Mastercards in major hotels. ATM's are available too.
Hotels and accommodation at Bali
Hotels and accommodation at Bali can be as luxury and expensive or as cheap and rubbish as you want it. We have some recommendations for you.
Many travelers prefer to stay in either Denpasar or Ubud. If you ask me, Ubud is preferable over the big city. It still has a nice local feel and it is easy to find cheap accommodation. Other towns along the coast offer hotels and hostels in all price ranges.
Things to do at Bali
Bali has for everyone something it seems. Regardless your age, race or interest, you will find plenty to enjoy.
For those who love to breathe the Balinese culture, Ubud is probably the most important center. The divers want to explore one or more of the nine dive sites around Bali. Nature lovers should take a bicycle, motorbike or jeep and explore the slopes of Mount Batur and the nearby Lake Batur. Beach lovers find all over the island beautiful beaches but in case you just want to stay close, you can choose the famous Kuta Beach, although this is not the best beach at Bali. I am not familiar with windsurfing but I am told west of Bali there are some excellent surf areas too.
For those who are interested in the exploring the local cuisine, there is plenty to explore too.
Bali is a top notch holiday destination where, it seems, everything is available. And, of course, bicycling Bali is an excellent way of experiencing the many non tourist areas of Bali.
For example, climb Mount Agung or Mount Batur, here's more about theses two mountains at Bali
Getting there and away
Denpasar is for most people the entry point to Bali. The international airport serves many destinations world wide. If you arrive without a visa, you can get one on arrival.
The price for these visas are US$10 for a stay of up to 7 days, US$25 for a stay of up to 30 days. Most visitors need a visa.
Travelers from Java will arrive at Gilimanuk. There are buses to Denpasar available. There are two roads leading east. The nicest follows the north coast. See my journey along the east coast from Lovina to Gilimanuk.
Be aware if you cycle either from Ubud north or from Lovina to Ubud, you have to climb Mount Agung. If you feel uncomfortable with it, there are other (busier) busier roads to Ubud, Kuta and Denpasar.
Travelers from Lombok will arrive at Padangbai. From here you cycle along the coast in the direction of Denpasar/Ubud (you can easily do this in a day).
Bicycling Bali is of course an option but many prefer to use taxis which are not metered. Bargain before leaving. The island has buses available, including buses to Java. Mini vans or bemos drive all over the island, it's easy to use them, just hail them down, tell them were you want to go, negotiate the price and go. It's also possible to use motorbikes.
In the tourist areas you will be able to rent motorbikes and bicycles. Make yourself familiar with the traffic, especially in busy areas of Denpasar it can be a little tricky.
My last journey in Bali on bicycle took about a week.
Best time to travel to Bali
As Bali is located just south of the equator, it has a tropical climate with two seasons, a wet and a dry season. The dry season is from April to October, and the rainy season (monsoon) is from November to March. Average temperature is around 27°C. During the rainy season it can be quite humid and unpleasant so the best time to visit is from April to October. There is no real peak season in Bali although Christmas and New Year could be considered peak season.
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Mount Agung and Mount Batur
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