Ubud is a winding maze of tiny alleys, never-ending rice paddies, and temple after temple … after temple! If it’s ceremony day, (and so often, it is) streets are filled with processions of women in batik sarongs and lacy kebayas, woven baskets carefully balanced on their head filled with offerings. Men in traditional garb, flowing batiks and crisp white shirts.
The scent of incense wafts from compounds and invariably a Bali dog will always dot the streets, sometimes running at you, barking and nipping.
The first days can be daunting, especially if you’re trying to do something more than hit up restaurants, cafes, and chill on the beautiful nearby beaches. For a unique and different idea, embrace the ease — and sometimes, terror — of moving around Bali on a bike. There’s a new tour company in town offering the perfect solution to those who want to cover lots of ground without the pollution: eBikes Bali.
Ubud on Two Wheels, Zero Noise
With these awesome electric bikes you can move around like you’re on a moto but without the noise or pollution. Plus, you can choose to use some sweat equity and pedal your heart out — of course, if you don’t want to pedal you don’t have to, the bikes have enough power and battery life to last the entire 21 km route on their own.
Take a Front Seat on the Back Roads
The journey takes you along Jalan Tirta Tawar, a long and scenic road winding between jungle, rice paddies, and villas. Depending on the construction going on, you may take a detour by the giant Banyan tree before visiting a few temples.
Our guides stopped to point out people on their way to a ceremony, and at the giant Banyan tree a family approached with a large offering, a pregnant mother walked towards the altar, looking quite concerned. Our guide explained the family was visiting in hopes that the expectant mother would be able to have a trouble-free birth because her mother-in-law has been having bad dreams and premonitions. Luckily, this big offering should be enough to ward off any evil they feel coming their way.
From here, we take a few winding roads before touring through the narrow rice paddy paths, up and down the hills…. the experience itself was great, though I wish we had a bit more shade, I could feel myself burning even though I was wearing multiple layers of SPF and reapplying. The morning sun is very strong in Bali, so it might be a good idea to book the afternoon and risk the rain shower!
We stopped at the Unesco Heritage Rice Terraces, and took a few moments to breathe and bask in the beauty before heading to a coffee plantation. Unfortunately it was a kopi luwak place and they had the poor civet cats in cages. This was a good time for us to explain to our guides that we weren’t interested in tasting or supporting this with our money because as vegans we not only avoid food made with (or by) animals, but also try our best to eliminate all animal suffering. That definitely includes caging up poor kitties for entertainment and profit. However, we must admit that the property was very beautiful and a unique viewing point in Ubud.
Now, we go Off-Road
“Okay, it’s going to get bumpy” said the guide, but I already knew this road and how treacherous it was for the car we took down it. Needless to say, my palms were sweating going down this road on a bike. Maddy and I had been down this road before when looking for rentals, but we were still unprepared for how rough and rocky this road was on a bicycle.
Through some amazing feat of luck I didn’t tank, though I skid out multiple times and touched the ground with my foot a few times, we were able to make it! The road was especially muddy thanks to the previous night’s rainfall and some stretches were either slick mud puddles or chunky rock paths – it got hardcore fast.
After this adventurous little lane, we took a different route back to the office, passing through small streets where people huddled around two wheeled push-carts. It’s lunch time. Sellers are tinging their forks against a ceramic bowl to signal their presence and on cue a stream of people pours out from various homes and make their way to the carts: fried tofu, and the one next to him, what smelled to be a fish soup.
Back at the office we dismount, regain sensation in our bottoms, and stretch out — happy to be back on two feet again and feeling victorious at our long and beautiful tour.
It’s Lunch Time
The tour comes with a lunch, and the restaurant just a moment’s walk away was happy to cater to a vegan diet. Maddy chose the Mie Goreng — he’s as addicted to that as I am to my standard order: Gado Gado. Something about the still crunchy vegetables, the spice of peanut sauce, and the nutty smokiness of tempeh just checks all the boxes for me. This one was no exception. Paired with a fresh and chilled coconut, this was the perfect way to end a fun tour and top up our energy for the rest of the day to come.
After lunch, we hopped back on the moto to our gorgeous little home outside of Ubud, grateful for the experience of taking this awesome bike tour, but equally grateful for the cushion of the moto seat!
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to get the lay of the land your first days in Bali, you can definitely rely on eBikes Bali to give you the basics of the culture and show you some of the gorgeous scenery in Ubud. Thank you guys for treating us to this fun outing, and hope to see you next time we’re in Ubud!