Cycling Indonesia

cycling around Indonesia

The following tips and advice on cycling around Indonesia is based on my experiences of a 2550 kilometer cycling trip through Indonesia.

That trip took me across the islands of Java, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa.

Cycling around Jakarta.

cycling Jakarta.

Exploring Jakarta by bicycle.

Cycling around Jakarta is actually not as bad as you might think. Especially when you consider how big and chaotic the city is.

I arrived at the airport just before midnight. Hit the road right away. Cycled a few kilometers down the road, where I found a decent little hotel for little money. The next morning I cycled the rest of the way into the city without any problems.

Roads are very busy and congested in Jakarta. So cycling there is for sure a challenge at times. But I have had it worse in other big cities around the world. One advantage is that they are quite used to two wheeled traffic in Jakarta.

Worst thing was actually leaving the city by bicycle as most exit roads out of the city are toll roads, where you are not allowed to cycle. But I found my way out in the end after some searching.

Cycling along the north coast of Java.

Cycling Java.

Java by bicycle.

Cycling along the north coast of Java is not for beginners. But quite interesting. I enjoyed it big time.

The north coast of Java is densely populated and it also has quite a bit of industrial estates. So we are not talking lonely roads here. But lot’s of company and curious locals.

I did not see a single other foreign tour cyclist when I was cycling along the north coast of Java.

The north coast of Java is quite flat so you can put a few kilometers behind you every day if you are in a hurry.

If you follow the north coast of Java, then you will also hit some quite big cities like Semarang and Surabaya. But they are fairly ok to cycle through.

I had an incident in Surabaya, where I got hit by a motorbike, as I was cycling in to the city at night. You can read more about that in a separate story on this link.

Cycling around Bali.

Bicycle repairshop in Bali.

Bicycle repair shop in Bali.

When I was cycling Bali I started from the west as I came with the ferry from Java. I continued towards the east. From there went up north to catch the ferry over to the island of Lombok.

The western part of Bali is fantastic for cycling with nice roads. There is also little traffic and almost no tourists.

The landscape is really pretty. There are small local hotels here and there to stay at.

The area around Denpasar is pretty bad for cycling. Denpasar was probably the city that I found the least suitable for cycling in Indonesia.

But as soon as I left Denpasar and headed north the roads became really good for cycling. So I would highly recommend Bali for cycling as long as you try to steer clear of the Denpasar area.


Cycling around Lombok.

Lombok Scenery.

Lombok scenery.

Cycling around Lombok is a real treat and I enjoyed cycling there big time.

I circumnavigated the island by bike. And also cycled quite a bit in the central part of the island.

The roads there are of good quality and mostly not that congested.

People are friendly and welcoming towards tourists. Many parts of Lombok are almost entirely without tourists.

Only warning I would give there is that accommodation can be a bit scarce when you are away from the main tourist towns. I had a couple of times where I needed to search quite a bit before finding a place to stay.

But apart from that the island is fantastic for traveling cyclists.

The northern part of Lombok has wonderful quiet country roads with little traffic. This was probably my favourite part of the island to cycle. But the entire island was good and even the capital Mataram was quite easy to cycle around and it had a nice selection of bicycle mechanics and bicycle shops.


Cycling around Sumbawa.

Cycling the roads of Sumbawa.

Cycling the roads of Sumbawa.

When I was cycling around Sumbawa I arrived with the ferry harbour of Poto Tano in Lombok to Sumbawa Besar and back. I also did some cycling in the coastal areas north of Sumbawa Besar. So my cycling experiences are based on that route.

I found Sumbawa to be very suitable for cycling as long as you do some research about accommodation. As hotels can be scarce around Sumbawa.

The island was fairly flat on most of the parts where I cycled. But other parts of the island are very steep as there are a couple of big volcanoes there.

Foreign cyclists are very rare on Sumbawa. So you are bound to get a lot of attention from locals. But it was always positive and I was never harassed in any way on the island.


Cycling around Indonesia in the rainy season.

Cycling Indonesia in the wet season.

Cycling around Indonesia in the wet season.

I was cycling Indonesia in the rainy season and was not really sure what to expect. But it worked out fairly well. As long as I was prepared to run for cover once or twice a day when the rain came down.

It mostly rains in late afternoon or early evening in Indonesia. So try to be in a place where you have a bit of cover that time of day.

The roads are built for these heavy downpours and they usually dried up in a matter of minutes after the rain showers finished. And then I could usually continue the trip right away after the rain stopped without getting too soaked.

Cycling in the dry season is surely a little better. But you should not be scared away from cycling Indonesia just because you are there during the rainy season.


Taking your bike in to hotel rooms when cycling around Indonesia.

My bicycle in an indonesian hotel room.

My bicycle in an Indonesian hotel room.

Of all the +40 countries I have been tour cycling in so far, Indonesia has been the easiest when it comes to taking your bicycle into your hotel room.

This might sound silly to people who do not travel by bicycle. But this is something that i really like. And a very positive aspect when cycling around Indonesia.


  1. Awesome feat! Reading through now…other question, how do I turn my website from WordPress to a website like yours that allows for comment luv?

    • This website is powered by wordpress Caroline, so it can be done with WordPress.
      It was set up by a friend of mine, so I am not totally sure how it was done, but it’s possible to do it for your blog too.

  2. Hi, my name’s Han from Sumbawa.. Now I leave in Yogyakarta.. Soon/someday I’ll go back to Sumbawa by ride a bike.. I name it Tour de Kureijii 1

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  4. Oh, my God, I’m so jealous of this trip. I’ve always dreamed of making such cycling trip through the entire continent of Asia and plan to do it one day in the distant future. I love to read such stories about traveling by bike I almost feel like I’m there. Anyways keep the good work 🙂

  5. your post says it all, I am sure you had a good time cycling in Indonesia, I have always dreamt of taking such a tour by bike. It would be such a great achievement for me. Awesome work bro

  6. Hi Claus!

    Congratulations on your trip. Do you think January and Febraury are good months to bike around Indonesia, taking into consideration the weather conditions (rain, temperature…)?

    Thanks a lot, Tamim

    • Hi Tamim. I would say that it is doable in January and February. Just be ware that you might get some heavy rain showers late in the afternoon. So try to finish your cycling day early, when cycling around Indonesia that time of year. Have a great trip 🙂

  7. Hi
    Thanks for your great tips. I think your all tips perfect and valuable for all bike lover. I have a plan for long bike riding can you give me some tips? It is outside of Indonesia.

  8. Indonesia is one of the largest countries among of middle Asia. Cycling is very popular in Indonesia. I went their last 3 years ago. I gathered some innovative excellent experience from there. Thanks for sharing this info of Indonesia.

  9. Rahmat Ramadhan Irianto

    Great & inspiring article! Anyway, I’m Rahmat one of founder, The first cycling experience in Java, Banyuwangi. If anyone also looking for cycling experience in Banyuwangi and hike ijen mountain, I would definitely love to become your host! 🙂

  10. Sounds like a amazing adventure especially in an cool country like Indonesia. Traveling on a bike is so underrated and should definitely be more popular! Thanks for sharing. I would explore the country one day on my bike!

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  12. Hi Claus!
    this is very interesting and amazing piece of article for all readers, especially for those who do not know about cycling. This is best piece of article for all those who want to learn cycling. Thanks for sharing this

  13. Hi! How much time did it take you to travel arpund lombok?

    • I spent 4 days cycling around Lombok. I could have done it faster if I wanted to. Bou I enjoyed stopping for the night in a few small towns around the island.

  14. Got to know a lot from this!
    Everything was so relatable.
    Thank you for sharing!

  15. Interesting blog . Thanks for sharing.

  16. Thank you so much for this enlightening post, I have significantly got some thing right here and I will bookmark this page for your next upcoming post.

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