Indonesia cycling vacations guide

It’s surprising that Indonesia is not already renowned as a destination for cycling vacations. What’s so striking about cycling around the islands of Bali and Java is the incredible diversity of scenery you’ll be riding through. Every day promises different terrain: lush rainforest where waterfalls can be heard between the trees; volcanic lava fields; vast terraces of rice paddies and plantations of cacao, oranges, coffee and rubber.
Beyond the satisfaction of physical exertion, what most recommends cycling vacations in Indonesia is the opportunity to escape the well-worn tourist route for landscapes under-explored.
Well-planned routes present a mix of challenge and free-wheeling fun, dipping into the islands’ mountainous interiors then descending again to idyllic beaches, hot springs and secluded fishing villages. You’ll come away marvelling at why Indonesia isn’t already swarming with cyclists, and tickled pink that it’s not.
Find out more in our Indonesia cycling vacations guide.

What do Indonesia cycling vacations entail?

Cycling vacations in Indonesia typically focus on Bali, the most high profile destination in the sprawling island nation, but occasionally include a few days on neighbouring Java, which lies just to the west and is home to over half the country’s population. Itineraries vary, but what they share is attention to detail in the planning so that you enjoy a sublime mix of landscapes and cultural immersion, and that demanding days are interspersed with much more forgiving sections. Even if you’re a veteran of cycling vacations, Indonesia is bound to prove a stand-out experience.

Routes wend their way through highlands and lowlands, taking you past volcanic lakes, thousand-year-old temples and remote villages such as Trunyan, with its unique, bizarre and pretty unsavoury method of dealing with the dead (clue – they don’t bother burying them). You’ll camp on beaches watching as local fishermen unloading their catch, soak tired muscles in natural hot springs, wander colourful night markets and snorkel with sea turtles in off-shore marine reserves bristling with coral. Unhurried itineraries ensure you have plenty of time to take in memorable scenes: miners hauling blocks of sulphur from smoking volcanic craters; rice terraces undulating across hillsides in a sea of green; and sunrise from the summit of an active volcano where monkeys scrabble around you in hope of a snack.

Indonesia cycling vacations can be either sociable small group tours, during which you’ll be riding with around 11 other people as well as a professional tour leader, or tailormade trips that are ideal for families, with flexibility on travel dates and the itinerary so you can break up the exertion with more fun cultural activities if you prefer.
Once you’ve had a bit of time to relax after your flight you’ll be equipped for your cycling trip with a high-quality bike suited to the terrain. You must bring your own helmet, but (non-plastic) water bottles can be provided. You should be able to get by with just a day pack and no need for panniers, as your luggage will be transferred between accommodations for you.
Trip durations vary, but typically last between eight days and two weeks, and while you’ll be in the saddle a lot of the time, daily distances are very manageable, usually no more than 60km. However, certainly for small group tours where the itinerary is set, you’ll want to be in reasonable shape, a fairly regular cyclist, as there are a few steep ascents involved when you head into the interior. You will be accompanied 90% of the time by a support vehicle which also carries more water, so if you do feel like taking a break for a while, you can just hop in. As for the terrain, for the most part you will be following quiet, asphalt roads and rainforest tracks, climbing into the support van on the outskirts of cities where traffic gets heavier.
When it comes to accommodation in Bali and Java, you will be cycling point-to-point, accommodated in locally owned, often family-run hotels. One night you might be in a coastal beach resort, another at a homestay on a coffee plantation. There is even the chance of camping overnight on one of Java’s iconic beaches (all equipment provided, naturally).
Active families will love cycling in Indonesia, where tailormade itineraries can be adapted for kids as young as eight to enjoy, with extra days to take things slowly by the pool or on the beach if you want. The actual cycling is quite limited, with short, easy rides liberally interspersed with a raft of fun activities that will hold appeal for parents too: cookery lessons led by local chefs; surf lessons at not-for-profit schools that also provide opportunities for disadvantaged children; island-hopping and sightseeing tours by horse and cart.

Our top Indonesia cycling Vacation

Bali biking vacation in Indonesia

Bali biking vacation in Indonesia

Discover the real Bali on a cycling trip

From US $1101 to US $1345 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 6 Oct, 1 Dec
2020: 12 Jan, 2 Feb, 15 Mar, 29 Mar, 3 May, 17 May, 7 Jun, 5 Jul, 19 Jul, 9 Aug, 6 Sep, 4 Oct, 29 Nov, 13 Dec
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Indonesia cycling or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go cycling in Indonesia

Cycling in Indonesia, you’ll experience coolness in the mountains, the heat of the rainforest, and the sunshine of the coast, where a dip in the ocean is always on the agenda.
Straddling the equator, the Indonesian archipelago enjoys a fairly stable and warm climate all year round, with daytime temperatures steady around 30°C and relatively high humidity. The best time to go cycling in Indonesia tends to be the shoulder months either side of the rainy season when the weather may be unpredictable, but the skies are often overcast making it significantly easier going heat-wise. Given you can expect downpours mainly in the afternoons, you may be tempted to risk a vacation in the rainy season, but at the peak of it, between December and February, getting around in rural areas is going to be pretty tough.

Indonesia Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
23
30
406
FEB
23
31
298
MAR
23
32
245
APR
23
33
195
MAY
23
33
173
JUN
23
32
100
JUL
22
32
77
AUG
22
33
77
SEP
23
33
93
OCT
23
33
146
NOV
23
32
174
DEC
23
32
225

Cycling in Indonesia, month by month

Indonesia is a year-round destination, but for cycling there are definitely some months to consider, and some that are best avoided. December, January and February are the peak rainy season. Bali and Java fares a lot better than some parts of the archipelago, but you should still be aware that it can be tough going in more remote areas, and some routes may be closed entirely. By March and April the weather is clearing up a little, and although it can still be unpredictable, showers should be light. Overcast skies mean the temperature is cooler. The greens of the famous rice terraces in Tegallalang and Jatiluwih are stunning at this time of year. May heralds the onset of the dry season in Indonesia, and this month, as well as June, is a good time to visit. The weather is good for a cycling vacation, and you’ll also avoid the main European school vacations when destinations such as Bali get very busy and prices go up. The coolest months of the year – even though temperatures vary very little all year round – are July and August, with August also the driest month. Late July often coincides with the Muslim Lebaran Festival, which results in chaotic transport on main roads and cities such as Ubud can be gridlocked, but on a typical cycling vacation you’ll be on back roads that see far less traffic, so you should be relatively unaffected. September is probably the best time for a cycling vacation in Indonesia, before the rainy season. You can expect the odd shower, but generally it will be fairly mild – perfect riding conditions. The rains begin again from October. Downpours are typically restricted to the afternoons and last only a short time. Most rain falls in the inner highlands, but in coastal areas including Lovina, with its black sand beaches and calm waters, you can usually count on it being sunny most of the time. Precipitation increases in November which is also the start of the Antipodean vacation season, with many travelers now arriving from New Zealand and Australia.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Dikaseva] [Man on bike: Tiomax80] [Guide leader: eGuide Travel] [Best time to go: Daniel Nainggolan]
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