After experiencing the tour first-hand, I feel that I should let you in on a little secret: there is no better way to experience the real, raw side of Bali than on two wheels.
Biking through Bali’s Countryside
At 8:00 a.m., Bamba Experience picked us up, by air-conditioned van, from our resort in Ubud. We were pleased to find that we’d be the only two on the tour that day. Score!
Our first stop was the Oka Agro Wisata coffee plantation to taste traditional Balinese coffees and teas. On a quick tour of the plantation’s grounds, we learned about the process by which the Balinese make their coffee – and it’s quite unorthodox, if you ask me.
Animals called Asian Palm Civets (cat-like animals) actually digest the coffee beans, which are then cleaned, roasted, and ground up into coffee.
2021 edit: Looking back on this experience, I wouldn’t drink Luwak coffee again. I do not agree with the treatment of these animals (based on what I personally saw) and wouldn’t condone it. Plus, in my opinion, the coffee is not all that!
Breakfast at Mt. Batur
After we’d had our caffeine fix, we jumped back in the van and drove over to Mt. Batur, an active volcano surrounded by a caldera lake and lush, green forest.
It was time to eat a traditional Balinese breakfast over volcano views. What a way to start the morning!
Properly fed and ready to go, it was time to start pedaling.
The Bike tour
For about 2.5 hours, we rode leisurely through the Balinese countryside, passing through rice paddies, over bumpy roads, and past countless schoolchildren, farmers, and stray dogs.
Following our guide, we rode and rode. As we went, we sang aloud together to pop songs that even our guide knew, we halted at a moment’s notice for photo ops, we laughed hysterically, and we tried (somewhat successfully) to avoid the road’s giant potholes.
We pedaled through villages dotted with temples, meanwhile, children stood up and greeted us as we passed by. Seeing their smiling faces, alone, made the tour worthwhile.
As we continued, the country road soon turned into a sea of green. In the rice fields, we saw farmers donning typical rice hats, planting new rice plants.
We also noticed some farmers tending their land the old-fashioned way: with oxen-pulled plows. One man allowed us to come inside his farm and actually watch how he plowed the land! He showed us with hand signals, and our guide helped translate.
Lunch at a Balinese family’s home
The last leg of the tour was lunch: a very delicious homemade lunch! We rode our bikes to a family compound (a piece of land where around four Balinese families live together) just outside of Ubud, and there, we had a traditional, home-cooked lunch, which included fresh fruits, chicken satay, corn fritters, fresh salad, rice, noodles, and of course, Bintang.
After we’d scarfed down our food, we got a chance to speak with some of the family members and thank them for welcoming us into their home. They allowed us to walk around their compound and family temple to glimpse into Balinese home life. Our guide accompanied us to answer any questions we had about the Hindu religion or Balinese life in general.
At the end of the tour, I couldn’t believe what we’d witnessed and experienced. I had no idea just how much of a cultural experience a biking tour could possibly be, but it really was the opportunity of a lifetime!
Biking through Bali with Bamba Experience was the greatest adventure we embarked on while in Bali; not only was it was a workout, but also it was a chance to see the authentic side of Bali. What we experienced is something that most travelers never do, and for that, I’m thankful.
This excursion with Bamba Experience is one I’ll never forget, and I couldn’t be happier to have experienced Bali Bamba-style!
2021 edit: This tour is no longer offered by Bamba Experience. However, they do have some other amazing tours available in Bali, including the Bali Rafting Experience. We did this tour with Bamba as well, and it was SO FUN!
We were welcomed as guests of Bamba Experience on the “Countryside Bike Adventure” tour, but as always, all opinions and experiences expressed are entirely our own.