Breathtaking Biking in Bali

2 bikes, rice paddies and a nose dive. Or, cycling in Bali.

I’m almost certain you’re probably thinking this is our Eat, Pray, Love moment. Hardly the case as anyone who has actually been to Bali, specifically Ubud can attest, biking in Bali isn’t your typical stroll in the park. Especially not in flip flops.

Banyan Tree Bike Tours

Biking in Bali has always been on my list long before I ever read the book (started, but never finished) or watched the movie (fell asleep somewhere in India).

I don’t know why, but the idea of cycling through rice paddies seemed very Balinese to me much like picnics in Paris. You know us, we’re always up for a cultural experience especially with a little workout involved. Anything to get rid of that nasi goreng pudge we’ve been carrying around.

So, we decided to join Banyan Tree Bike Tours for the day biking through the backroads of Ubud.

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The tour started off easy: slick paved roads on the decline and light motorbike traffic. I thought, wow, this really is like a scene from the movie.

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Our first stop is a cacao plantation. Bagi, our guide, explains to us this is where chocolate comes from.

After the plantation, we made our way to visit a traditional Balinese compound.

While on our way there, we passed by many school children eager to wave and say Hello! to us. Easily one of my favorite moments on the bike ride. The only time I wished I had been able to bike and film a video at the same time. Every kid was genuinely happy to see us.

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Our easy ride lasted a good 20 minutes before things started to get a bit bumpy. Somewhere between the cacao and the compound, we lost the slick paved road. Instead, we’re now cycling on dirt and rocks, pothole the size of dogs and alongside motorbikers and truckers.

After our first ride uphill, I started to trail behind.

We made it to the rice paddies and I‘m not exaggerating when I say the trail is as narrow as a balance beam. Panic swept in as I’m telling myself, Shit! I’m not going to make it.

I could only manage to look a few feet ahead of me while I try my best to not hit a rock the wrong way and end up in the dirty rice paddy water. Gerard bounced around like a yoyo, came off his bike a few times and narrowing a complete disaster dive into the muddy field himself.

3 more hours to go.

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This is me in the courtesy pick up van with only 45 minutes left of the tour. That’s right, I quit. But not because I didn’t think I could finish. And certainly not because I wasn’t enjoying the ride. But because my vajayjay couldn’t handle another pothole blow.

Instead, I sat in the backseat of the company van enjoying my free water and bananas as we drove behind the brave bikers, Gerard included, just before they went off-roading.

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This is Gerard after completing the tour. No, he didn’t take a dip in the river (though he almost bit the dust a couple times). That’s him drenched in sweat, exhausted from the last leg of the trip.

He said it was one of the toughest things he’s done in a while. I know part of him wanted to hop in that van with me. But part of him wanted the challenge. He’s never been one to quit at anything. Like the time he’d suffered from shin splints but ran a marathon anyway. It’s the feeling at the end that makes it all worth it.

As for me, I’m not ashamed I didn’t finish the tour. I got everything I wanted out of it..

Bali Bikes

I managed to get on a bike and cycled through rice paddies (without falling).

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Though unplanned, we witnessed a truly local custom – a traditional Balinese cremation ceremony. It was really interesting to see how the compound gathered and interact: women on one side, gossiping in quiet whispers, men on the other, playing card games to pass the time.

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I welcome the slow pace, fresh air, and vast lush green rice paddies during the moments when we weren’t pushing our bikes up a hill. And by we I mean me. I was the only one that didn’t make it up by pedaling.

So it was a bit more challenging than I expected. But I was glad to trade pushy vendors and crazy traffic for a day away in the country, off the beaten path even if I did come out pretty beaten myself.

 

Disclaimer: We received a complimentary tour with Banyan Tree Bike Tours. As always, my thoughts, my words. Still my voice behind the blog.

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  • Sal

    The reason why you opted out of finishing is pretty hilarious, and very understandable. Looks lovely, I am not a big on bycycling, I prefer to hike.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol, thanks. It was a bumpy ride. Haha

  • Sal

    The reason why you opted out of finishing is pretty hilarious, and very understandable. Looks lovely, I am not a big on bycycling, I prefer to hike.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol, thanks. It was a bumpy ride. Haha

  • http://twitter.com/toniwonitravels Toni

    I never got around to doing this tour when I was in Ubud but I really wish I had now! I’ll definitely have to get back there :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Oh it really is a great way to see Ubud. Plus with the traffic, it’s much easier to pass people on bikes.

  • http://twitter.com/toniwonitravels Toni

    I never got around to doing this tour when I was in Ubud but I really wish I had now! I’ll definitely have to get back there :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Oh it really is a great way to see Ubud. Plus with the traffic, it’s much easier to pass people on bikes.

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ Andi Perullo

    Oh wow what an incredible experience!!!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Thanks Andy! We really had a great time with Banyan.

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ Andi Perullo de Ledesma

    Oh wow what an incredible experience!!!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Thanks Andy! We really had a great time with Banyan.

  • http://twitter.com/L_e_a_h Leah Travels

    This looks awesome, but I must say, it might just be too much work for me. :-) The hills are what would get me (plus the heat and humidity). Great photos as usual. :-)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea, I was the only one to push my bike up the hill. Gerard did once too. Haha

  • Leah Travels

    This looks awesome, but I must say, it might just be too much work for me. :-) The hills are what would get me (plus the heat and humidity). Great photos as usual. :-)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea, I was the only one to push my bike up the hill. Gerard did once too. Haha

  • http://twitter.com/OverYonderlust Erica Kuschel

    I quit the last 10 minutes of the 40 mile Death Road trail in Bolivia because I just couldn’t make it up the last hill. At least you tried and went instead of staying at home on your butt! 😛

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Gerard wants to do this when we go to Bolivia in September. I’m nervous now… I might as well quit now. Haha

  • ericakuschel

    I quit the last 10 minutes of the 40 mile Death Road trail in Bolivia because I just couldn’t make it up the last hill. At least you tried and went instead of staying at home on your butt! 😛

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Gerard wants to do this when we go to Bolivia in September. I’m nervous now… I might as well quit now. Haha

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    You know, I tend to be one of those people who never quits anything either (which is why, even though it took me 7 years, I did finish grad school and got my PhD), but I feel like when you’re doing something to enjoy yourself and you are in fact NOT enjoying yourself, then there is no shame in quitting. Yes, sometimes things that are hard make the end all the sweeter, but sometimes they are just miserable and not worth it. I probably would have quit too (though I am sure I would have toppled into a rice paddy at some point!)!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Thanks Steph! I love to push myself too every now and then, but also knowing the right time to stop.. for me. Everyone has their own limits, and there’s nothing wrong with that. :) Congrats on finishing grad school! What a great achievement.

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    You know, I tend to be one of those people who never quits anything either (which is why, even though it took me 7 years, I did finish grad school and got my PhD), but I feel like when you’re doing something to enjoy yourself and you are in fact NOT enjoying yourself, then there is no shame in quitting. Yes, sometimes things that are hard make the end all the sweeter, but sometimes they are just miserable and not worth it. I probably would have quit too (though I am sure I would have toppled into a rice paddy at some point!)!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Thanks Steph! I love to push myself too every now and then, but also knowing the right time to stop.. for me. Everyone has their own limits, and there’s nothing wrong with that. :) Congrats on finishing grad school! What a great achievement.

  • http://twitter.com/Ayngelina Ayngelina

    What a fantastic way to see the country, looks like an incredible adventure.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      It really is.. much better than sitting in the backseat of a taxi.

  • Ayngelina

    What a fantastic way to see the country, looks like an incredible adventure.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      It really is.. much better than sitting in the backseat of a taxi.

  • http://technosyncratic.com Technosyncratic

    I fell asleep during Eat, Pray, Love too! God, that was a boring
    movie. And as much as these views look awesome, this sounds like the
    bike ride from hell. =P

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hahahaha.. it wasn’t the smoothest of rides.

  • http://technosyncratic.com Technosyncratic

    I fell asleep during Eat, Pray, Love too! God, that was a boring
    movie. And as much as these views look awesome, this sounds like the
    bike ride from hell. =P

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hahahaha.. it wasn’t the smoothest of rides.

  • http://www.wildsofwherever.com/ Callie

    Sounds tough yet gorgeous…and how cool that you stumbled across the traditional ceremony!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Not to sound morbid, but it was a highlight of the ride for me. A fascinating cultural experience.

  • http://www.wildsofwherever.com/ Callie

    Sounds tough yet gorgeous…and how cool that you stumbled across the traditional ceremony!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Not to sound morbid, but it was a highlight of the ride for me. A fascinating cultural experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leannahl Leannah Lumauig

    Amazing. Again, you guys inspire me. To Bali, and beyond. Love you both

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Thanks Nana! Love you too! We need another trip together. Soon. Please? 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/leannahl Leannah Lumauig

    Amazing. Again, you guys inspire me. To Bali, and beyond. Love you both

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Thanks Nana! Love you too! We need another trip together. Soon. Please? 😉

  • http://twitter.com/ilivetotravel Raul

    Wow, a bike ride would be something I’d love doing as it is a good way to explore and see but your writeup now will have me wondering next time I consider one!! Still, what a great story!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. we’ve done plenty of bike tours – through vineyards and such – and they were always our favorite way to get around. This one just happens to be a little rougher on the edges but the views definitely paid off. It really is a great way to explore, like you said. Hope you get out there soon. :)

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    Wow, a bike ride would be something I’d love doing as it is a good way to explore and see but your writeup now will have me wondering next time I consider one!! Still, what a great story!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha.. we’ve done plenty of bike tours – through vineyards and such – and they were always our favorite way to get around. This one just happens to be a little rougher on the edges but the views definitely paid off. It really is a great way to explore, like you said. Hope you get out there soon. :)

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

    I know what you mean about flip-flops, I attempted some simple turned challenging activities in Bali that led my to blow out my flip-flop. but definitely well-worth it.
    stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

    I know what you mean about flip-flops, I attempted some simple turned challenging activities in Bali that led my to blow out my flip-flop. but definitely well-worth it.
    stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://twitter.com/WorkMomTravels Francesca

    Good on ya for trying! Though I probably would have quit, too, at about the same point you did. Ya know, I am a woman, too 😉 Great photos, and I bet the quiet day away from the street vendors was well worth it!

  • Francesca

    Good on ya for trying! Though I probably would have quit, too, at about the same point you did. Ya know, I am a woman, too 😉 Great photos, and I bet the quiet day away from the street vendors was well worth it!

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    What an awesome day…we recently did two bike tours in California and they were the highlight of the trip. Of course, my legs didn’t agree…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Our legs & butt paid the day after for sure.

  • http://www.theworldofdeej.com The World of Deej

    What an awesome day…we recently did two bike tours in California and they were the highlight of the trip. Of course, my legs didn’t agree…

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Our legs & butt paid the day after for sure.

  • lola

    i’m guessing Bali is on my peoples bucket lists. i can see why. stunning photos. i’m glad that you both were happy & satisfied in the bike ride tour :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Most definitely… Those photos don’t even do the tour justice!

  • lola

    i’m guessing Bali is on my peoples bucket lists. i can see why. stunning photos. i’m glad that you both were happy & satisfied in the bike ride tour :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Most definitely… Those photos don’t even do the tour justice!

  • http://www.travelrinserepeat.com/ John

    Sounds like an amazing trip and you certainly have some excellent photos accompanying it. Hopping on a bike is one of my favorite ways to experience a place.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Agreed and good exercise!

  • http://www.travelrinserepeat.com/ John

    Sounds like an amazing trip and you certainly have some excellent photos accompanying it. Hopping on a bike is one of my favorite ways to experience a place.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Agreed and good exercise!

  • http://twitter.com/lazytravelers Lazy Travelers

    the hubs and i went biking in lucca and i fell into a ditch so this probs isn’t on my personal list, but good for you for crossing it off yours! xo

    • http://twitter.com/mrsoaroundworld Ana Silva O’Reilly

      oh no!!

  • Lazy Travelers

    the hubs and i went biking in lucca and i fell into a ditch so this probs isn’t on my personal list, but good for you for crossing it off yours! xo

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      oh no!!

  • travelingted

    Looks like a cool tour although I am sure the weather was not judging by the picture of Gerard. Great way to see the Balinese countryside.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Weather was actually pleasant. Not too hot and partly cloudy. But looking at me, it looked like it was probably raining cats & dogs. haha

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    Looks like a cool tour although I am sure the weather was not judging by the picture of Gerard. Great way to see the Balinese countryside.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Weather was actually pleasant. Not too hot and partly cloudy. But looking at me, it looked like it was probably raining cats & dogs. haha

  • http://twitter.com/jettingaround Jetting Around

    Wow, that’s some adventure! Too bad you didn’t get to finish, but good for you for trying and doing part of the trail. The views are wonderful; I love your pics!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      At least I got to finish! =)

  • http://www.jettingaround.com/ Pola

    Wow, that’s some adventure! Too bad you didn’t get to finish, but good for you for trying and doing part of the trail. The views are wonderful; I love your pics!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      At least I got to finish! =)

  • http://twitter.com/mrsoaroundworld Ana Silva O’Reilly

    That is some adventure indeed! I wouldn’t even try sooooo super impressed 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      You can do it Ana! Never know until you try. =)

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    That is some adventure indeed! I wouldn’t even try sooooo super impressed 😉

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      You can do it Ana! Never know until you try. =)

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