Take a Bali Bike Tour and Discover the Real Bali

This Bali bike tour memory is from one of our wonderful Bali family holidays back in 2015.  These cycling tours through Bali are still on offer providing you with a great way to discover the real Balinese lifestyle.

Finding the true Balinese culture is difficult when taking a family trip to Bali.

Most holidaymakers stay in the popular towns of Kuta, Seminyak, Benoa, Nusa Dua or Sanur.  Walking down the street in any of the major towns you will see non-stop souvenir shops, day spas, mini-marts and restaurants all aimed at the tourist and the only Balinese you will see are those working in these stores.  There is no true Balinese culture in these tourist flooded towns.

It is a shame because, for me, one of the great things about travel is seeing how other people live and learn about their culture.

So I was quite excited to learn about Greenbike Cycling Tours from a fellow guest during our first stay at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites in 2015.  This fellow guest promised I would get the chance to see the real Bali on this bicycle tour.

A Family Friendly Bike Tour in Bali. A Fun Thing to Do in Bali on a Family Holiday #BaliTour #BaliFamilyHoliday #BaliHoliday

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Our Bali Bike Tour

Booking the Tour

Booking a Bali bicycle tour with Greenbike Cycle Tours is really simple through their website, I email the company a few days before we want to take the tour.

Booking a Bali cycling tour through the website

Original website contact form

Later that day they confirm our booking, quote the price for the tour to be paid in Indonesian Rupiah cash, advise of the pickup time 7am, suggest we bring hats and sunscreen, and emphasis eat breakfast before departing as the tour brunch will not be until 10:30am.

Pickup

On the morning of the bicycle tour, we head to our hotel buffet for a quick breakfast before waiting at the front desk for our pickup. Sure enough at the allotted time, a driver (who speaks very little English) collects us with our day trip bag in hand from the Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites in the 6 seater car.

Joining us on the cycling tour is a single USA expat lady who resides in Singapore.  I feel a little sorry for her stuck with a family of three for the day – a bit of a downside to these small tours with a maximum of six people.

Driving up into the mountains we reach Ubud and collect our English speaking tour guide who lives locally on his family farm with his wife and children.

Agriculture/Luwak Coffee Plantation

Our first stop is a coffee plantation that specialises in Kopi Luwak.  We begin our short tour here walking through the gardens filled with spice trees of vanilla, chilli, cacao, coffee and more.  It is interesting to see some of these trees up close, especially after visiting the Penang Spice Garden the previous year.

The highlight of this stop is about the Luwak or Asian Palm Civet (a cat-like animal) that eats the coffee beans and then poops the beans before they are dried and roasted. We see the traditional method of roasting the coffee beans then have a go at grinding the coffee beans.  This is the ground coffee that is used to make the Kopi Luwak.

During our Bike Tour visit Luwak Kopi plantation

Traditional roasting of the Luwak Kopi

After this, we round the corner to a cliff top coffee shop overlooking a deep ravine filled with lush tropical jungle.  We each order a 100 000 IDR Luwak coffee, though in hindsight wish we had ordered one to share, as we are also given a tray of 12 different coffees to taste (Lewis is given a hot chocolate).  The actual Luwak coffee is very strong – I am a coffee drinker but it is a bit too much for me.  The other coffees are sweet with various additional spice flavours added.

A stop at a luwak Kopi Plantation during a Bali Bike ride tour

The scenery from the Luwak coffee shop

It is a bit of shame that they push the Luwak coffee so much as we don’t taste many of the other coffees, that we then could have bought at the shop along with fragrant oils and soaps.

Back in the car, we continue winding up into the mountains passing orange tree plantations – something I am surprised to see as I would have thought Bali too hot for citrus trees, but it is cooler in the mountains.

The Volcano

Finally, at the top of the mountain, we see Batur Volcano and its crater lake.  Whilst the mountain is covered with a bit of haze we can still see the smoke rising from the volcano.

See Mount Batur during a Bali cycling tour

Mount Batur volcano and lake

From a restaurant across the road, we get to enjoy this vista whilst having a brunch of fried rice, noodles, pancakes and toast with tea and coffee.

With our tummy’s full, we get back into the car and make our way to the push bikes.

The Bike Ride

The bikes are ready for each of us as the guide has pre-arranged them during the drive.  A tandem bike is out for Steve and Lewis, whilst the expat lady, two tour guides and I each have a single bike.

We are told to put on sunscreen, leave our hats on under our provided helmets and are given a water bottle for our bikes.  We are able to leave our day bags in the car, as it will follow us along the ride.

The bike ride is not arduous at all, we actually spend most of the time with our hands on the breaks as we roll downhill on the back roads of Bali.  Fortunately, the local traffic is quite used to these cycle tours, they toot and make their way easily around us as we manoeuvre around potholes and watch the passing scenery.

At one point I call ahead to Lewis as we see the kids coming home for lunch on the “school bus” an old Ute (pickup) has the kids piled on the back, stopping periodically to drop off the kids.  The kids all wave to us and get quite excited when they see Lewis is also on the tour.  “Boy, boy,” they shout excitedly.

See how locals live on a Cycling tour through Bali mountains

The “school bus”

Lewis is having a ball on the back of the bike re-calling instructions from the lead cycle tour guide (though Steve did comment at the end it was hard-work keeping the bike up as Lewis wriggled about).

Our first major stop on the ride is at a local village.

A ceremony to open the new village temple is taking place and the locals are all dressed in their best clothes.  Most of the ladies are wearing bright yellow or white lace jackets that match the flags lining the main street.

The Balinese lifestyle is seen during a Bali bike ride

A local Balinese temple opening

At the next village, we get to see inside a local villager’s compound.  Each room is a separate building – the sleeping building is separate from the kitchen which houses an open fire stove, a large water tank is located just outside, a bit further away is the ablutions room, a pig is settled undercover at the far end of the lot, and there is an area set aside for the family’s temples.  We now understand how all those stone carving shops along the major roads in Bali stay in business – every family compound has shrines and temples.

It is here that we also learn how to make a Hindu offering and we leave a tip for the local villager for showing us around her home.

learn how to make a Hindu offering during a bike tour of Bali

Making a Hindu offering

We keep rolling downhill and make our way to a town in the centre of Bali.  Stopping under the shade of a tree in the main square, we catch our breath, have a drink of water and watch the local kids showing off doing tricks on their bikes.

See how local people live in Bali

Local kids playing

Lewis comments that his hands are sore, so the guide suggests he sit in the support car until we reach the entrance to the rice fields.

Riding through the tracks of the rice fields is probably the hardest part of the whole journey, I am actually really impressed Steve stayed upright as I nearly fall off at one point due to the corrugations in the sandy tracks.

But it is well worth it to see the rice fields and the irrigation system known as Subak.  Subak irrigation is where water trickles down stone trenches that branch off into each rice field.  Our guide explains that the rice fields are handed down from generation to generation.

learn about the rice fields and irrigation during a Bali bike ride tour

The rice field plantations

Lunch

As we exit the rice fields it is 2:30pm and our tour is almost over.  We are taken to swanky new villas overlooking the rice fields for lunch.

Lunch is included during the Greenbike cycling tour

Lunch

Lunch is a fairly traditional Bali dish of chicken satay with fried rice.  For my non-adventurous eating child, I had the forethought to pack some sandwiches that I made up at the breakfast buffet earlier in the morning.

At the end of the tour, we pay our guide in cash for the tour and a tip, as we are so impressed with the quality of the tour educating us into the real Balinese culture.

Top Trip Tips: GreenBike Cycling Tour

Website

Types of Bikes

  • Varying sizes of single mountain bikes
  • Baby bike seats
  • Tandem bikes
  • Kids bikes
    • Helmets are provided
    • Water is provided for the bike ride

Physical Fitness Required

  • You do need to know how to ride a bike
  • The bicycle tour is all downhill through the back roads of Bali
  • There is very little physical exertion required on this Bali bike ride with Greenbike Cycling Tours 
  • Be mindful that some cycling tours in Bali will take you along some main roads
    • Do your research into before booking a Bali cycle tour

What to Take

  • A day trip bag filled with
    • Hat
    • Sunscreen
    • Extra snacks
    • Camera
    • Cash for tour payment
    • Extra cash for tipping and coffee

Exchange Rate

  • $1 AUD = 10 424 IDR
  • $1USD = 13575 IDR

Looking for More Things to Do in Bali

Find a Place to Stay in Bali

 

A Bali bike tour is a great way to see how the local Balinese people live.

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DISCLOSURE:

  • We participated in the Greenbike Cycling Tour at our own cost in 2015
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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for travel with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips and destination inspirations.

8 Responses to “Take a Bali Bike Tour and Discover the Real Bali

  • That sounds like a really fun day! We do like getting to see the more authentic and local sides to the places we visit. I like that this bike tour makes it so accessible. We’ve pinned this for later, with the hope that it won’t be too much later before we can use it. Happy New Year, Sally!

  • Everybody seems to be traveling to Bali these days, except me. I’m very jealous, but I’ll have to make it my New Year resolution to spend a few days there. I’m sure I’ll love it. Have a great and prosperous New Year, Sally. It was a pleasure co-hosting #TheWeeklyPostcard with you. All the best to you and your family.

    • I’m sure you’ll love Bali too Anda. I wish to thank you for including me as one of your co-hosts for the past 16 months, it has been a pleasure to be part of #TheWeeklyPostcard team.

  • Yes, would love to see the real Bali when I finally make it there. I think this bike tour definitely sounds like a great way to do that. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • This is cool! I never had the chance to explore the countryside of Bali, the last time i was there I stayed at Kuta 🙁 For the next trip to Bali, I must stay at Ubud or Sanur to experience the quiet side of Bali and this bike tour is worthwhile to consider 🙂

    Wishing you and your family Happy New Year, and I’m looking forward to read more of your travel stories!

    • I have to say kat, I’m not much of a Kuta fan, I can highly recommend Sanur – so much more laid back.

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