It’s Christmas day and it’s 32 degrees celsius in Denpasar/Bali where I am sitting with my bike now. After a 1550 kilometer bicycle ride.

Cycling from Jakarta to Bali has been a great experience. Going through the island of Java on my Malaysian made mountain bike.

My bicycle in Indonesia.

My bicycle in Indonesia.

After getting out of Jakarta with all its crazy traffic, I went up along the north coast of Java which is fairly flat. But also quite congested. So I was rarely alone on the roads up there.

It was ok though as there are many locals traveling on two wheels. So people are used to two wheeled traffic and generally nice to you as a cyclist.

Getting hit by a stray motorbike in Surabaya.

One exception I had was when a stray motorbike hit me one night in the streets of Surabaya.

I was arriving late to the city, as I had cycled longer than I planned. But I was in a good mood. Even if it was coming down with a bit of rain and it was late at night.

Suddenly I heard a weird noise behind me. Like if someone was dragging a sledge across the road, but just as I turned around to see what it was, I got hit from behind with full force. I flew off my bike but landed safely on the asphalt with no bruises at all apart from a tiny bruise on my left elbow.

What had hit me was a motorbike that had crashed at very high speed a few meters behind me. It knocked the driver off the bike. But the bike continued along the busy highway, tumbling and sliding and it hit my bike from behind. Tt sent my bike flying across the road too. But I just fell off the bike and ended up on the asphalt unhurt.

I was quite happy that I did not have clip pedals on my bike. As that would most likely have sent me sliding down the highway too.

My bike seemed to be ok as well. So I continued cycling down the road right away after having picked up the bike underneath a truck that almost hit it. I got on my bike right away, mostly because I wanted to calm all the locals who thought I had been killed, when the bike hit me.

Cycling along the wonderful coastline of northeast Java.

Fisherman on Java Island.

Fisherman on Java Island.

Java coastline.

Java coastline.

Surabaya was a pleasant surprise. I had heard it was nothing special but I enjoyed a couple of nice days there before heading towards Bali.

The northeast coast of Java was really nice with quite a few nice beaches and some nice fishing villages.

There was also some industry. But it was not as massive as in the west of Java and the road system seemed to be better maintained in east Java. And it was a joy cycling there and staying in small local towns where I was always the only tourist.

In two weeks of cycling across Java I only saw one other western tourist so this is a part of the globe where you can still get away from the tourism trail.


Cycling in the rainy season in Indonesia.

Rainy season in Indonesia.

Rainy season in Indonesia.

I have done this cycling trip through Java in rainy season but it has actually been ok.

Most days it has just rained in late afternoon/early evening and usually just for a couple of hours. And because of the heat the roads dry in a few minutes.

This means that you should not leave all cycling to late afternoon if you plan a cycling trip to Indonesia during the rainy season. But all in all it’s perfectly doable in December when it’s quite wet here.

Arriving at the wonderful island of Bali.

Coffee with a view in Bali.

Coffee with a view in Bali.

Arriving to bali with the ferry-

Arriving to Bali with the ferry-

Arriving on the east coast of Java, I took the ferry from Ketapang over to Bali.

Wonderful and totally overcrowded local ferry, where I was the only foreigner again. Together with around 50 local cars and 500 local scooters and the people who drove them.

Until now, I have never really bothered too much about visiting Bali. It has been known to be a big tourist island. I had the idea that it would all be full of Australians coming for sun, sand and booze.

I quickly learned that these tourists are all just going to Kuta. While the rest of the island is surprisingly free of mass tourism. And it’s an absolutely gorgeous island once you are away from the concrete hell in Kuta.

Bali goes right on to my top 5 list of the prettiest islands I have seen in 27 years of travel to more than 70 countries and I totally loved the two days I spend cycling from the ferry port to Denpasar.


Getting my bike fixed for less than 2$ in Bali.

At the bicycle mechanic in Bali.

At the bicycle mechanic in Bali.

On my first day in Bali I realised that my bike had taken a bigger beating than I first thought when it was hit by a motorbike in Surabaya.

The spokes suddenly started to pop off the wheel and in 5 minutes I was unable to cycle any further.

One good thing about cycling in Asia though is that every village has at least one bicycle mechanic and my bike was fixed in less than an hour by a local bicycle mechanic and the price was 1,50$ for all the work and a couple of new spokes.


And there is more Indonesian adventure to come.

Ready for more adventures on the roads of Indonesia.

Ready for more adventures on the roads of Indonesia.

Now I am relaxing for a couple of days here in Bali before I will take the ferry over to Lombok for some more cycling. And then I will travel to Sumbawa where I plan to finish my cycling trip, climbing a volcano.

Cheers from the beach bar in Bali where it’s happy hour 🙂

It’s been great traveling from Jakarta to Bali by bicycle


Stopping at a local Indonesian cafe.

Stopping at a local Indonesian cafe.

Me and some friendly indonesians.

Me and some friendly indonesians.

There are a lot more articles about my cycling adventures around the world on the blog, on this link.




  1. Nice story Claus. I am a bit jealous!

  2. Godt at høre at du slap med forskrækkelsen og en mindre skramme da motorcyklen ramte dig. Bali er et godt sted, blev fascineret af østsiden bag vulkanen. Artigt sprog du har anlagt dig, input fra Google Translate? for du plejer jo at skrive på engelsk.
    Godt Nyt år 2015 Her i Lyngby har vi nu sne og- 6,5 grader C.

  3. Hej Claus, spændende at følge med i din rejse. Har også læst lidt på din hjemmeside, og grinet med dig. Jeg kan lide din indstilling til tingene, og din kompromisløshed i dine valg – selvom jeg nok ikke kunne indføre det i mit eget liv. Dejligt at der ikke skete dig noget da du blev ramt af motorcyklen, og at cyklen kunne repareres… Fortsat god tur og hjemtur. Håber vi en dag kan dele et par pilsnere eller en kop kaffe i Lissabon. Mvh Jesper

  4. Hi Claus! Thank you very much for sharing this. I live in Jakarta and I am planning on cycling across Java in March. I wanted to ask you if you have a map of your route that you could share? Also, did you prebook any accommodation or was it quite easy to find things on the day? Thank you so much for your help.

    • Hi’ Josephine. I only used google maps for that trip, as the route was quite simple. And I never book accommodation in advance when I am tour cycling. Simply because it’s quite hard for me to say in advance how far I will be cycling that day. But this was not a problem at all in Indonesia, as long as you are ready to put up with whatever hotel that is in the town where you stop for the night. Hope you will have a fantastic trip 🙂

  5. Hi Claus, I’m planning on cycling the opposite way in a month and wondered how long the trip took you?

    • Hi’ Tash. I spend 2 weeks cycling from Jakarta to Bali. But I took my time to stop and could have done it a little faster if I had less time for the trip. Hope you will have a fantastic trip

  6. Pingback: Trekking the Rinjani volcano on Lombok Island is great.

  7. Pingback: Bicycle travel is the best way to see the world.

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