The beauty of a motorcycle road trip
When it comes to traveling, Jugo and I love going on road trips. For Jugo, his ideal road trip is on two wheels, in South East Asia, dodging chickens as he cruises to off the path places.In this post, I’ll leave it to my adventurous hubby to tell you all about Part 1 of his series on The Ultimate Motorcycle Road Trip to Lombok Itinerary.
“Getting there is half the fun.” – quote by: many people in some form or another
If this is true, which we believe to be, then the longer you travel the more fun, right?
Jenn and I believe this to be true, which is why our favourite mode of travel is road tripping. We get to see far more of a new place, with more freedom to stop where we like and see what we wish. During our recent trip to the Scottish Highlands, we kept stopping every 20 minutes because there was always something interesting to see.
For me, however, the best type of a road trip is not in a car, but on a motorcycle. I love the simplicity and added freedom you get with it. A motorcycle road trip gives you more of a connection to the place you are traveling. There are some dangers such as pot holes, crossing chickens, and cows, which for some would be a nightmare but for others like me, it’s all part of the fun on a motorcycle road trip. While we maintain that the quote above is certainly true, a more honest one may be:
“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey” – Babs Hoffman
Motorcycling in Lombok, Indonesia
Nevertheless, Jenn is an adventurer at heart, and so occasionally relents to my begging for a moto adventure. This has resulted in a few mini motorcycle road trips during our travels. We’ve done such trips in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Not accidentally, also places relatively cheap for motorcycle rentals and easy for light packing due to sunny weather. In this post, I’ll share our favourite and most recent motorcycle road trip in Indonesia.
It was a three-day loop around the entire island of Lombok. Located next to more famous and far more visited Bali, but just as beautiful, Lombok is an amazing place for those looking to get ‘off the beaten path’. While still frequented by plenty of tourists in some parts of the island (typically by surfers, or those trying to get into surfing), from our experience the majority of the island is untouched. The island is largely populated by small villages of friendly locals willing to lend a hand and wave a welcoming hello when they encounter foreigners.
Planning a Long Motorcycle Trip
Before I get into our story, here are some basics for those interested in planning a similar long motorcycle trip.
You are legally required to have a motorcycle license in Indonesia. Same goes for Vietnam, the Philippines and pretty much anywhere else you ride. A moto license from your home country is usually good enough for local and small trips. However, an International drivers permit might be required for longer cross-country tours involving highways where police are more likely to care about the specifics.
The more local and remote you go the less likely the local authorities are to care about technicalities and licensing. In such cases, you might not be stopped, which is why so many foreigners often ride without them in Asia.
If you don’t have a license, just stick to a small scooter (electric is best) and enjoy. These too can require some skill, particularly in rainy weather, and an adjustment to riding in a foreign place, but at least you don’t stick out as much and aren’t riding illegally. Plus the point is to enjoy more of the road, not speed through a place at a 100km an hour.
I cannot speak for Indonesia as a whole, as it is a huge country with over 17,000 islands, different cultures, and people. But the places we visited in predominantly Hindu influenced Bali, and Muslim Lombok, people were incredibly, and equally friendly. We had no problems at all on Lombok.
The only issue we had in Indonesia was on Bali. A young dude tried to pull a fast one and charge us for parking our scooter. He was claiming he was the parking authority but we called his bluff by asking for a receipt before we paid, at which point he relented, albeit quite rudely. But this can honestly happen in literally any place in the world that gets lots of tourists. In general, Indonesia was one of the friendliest places we have been.
Compared to South East Asia, the roads in Lombok were quite good. Paved road circumventing the entire island, with some dirt side roads if you go more inland. Not many pot holes on the main roads. The biggest problem was animals crossing, or simply lying/sleeping in the middle of the road (this baffled us).
Like most of Asia, bigger vehicles have the right of way. If riding a small bike, stick to the side but stand your ground. They’ll go around you, and you’ll be just fine. Plenty of people riding scooters, bikes and so on, so it’s not like you’re the only one.
Alright, now to our story…
Starting in Kuta, Lombok
We set up our base camp in Kuta, Lombok (South end of the island), where we would spend a few days preparing for our trip and taking the opportunity for some surf lessons.
We found the best place to stay accommodation in Lombok at Yuli’s Homestay which is fantastic! It is a family run business with the husband from New Zealand and wife from Indonesia. The place has 15 spacious rooms equipped with air conditioning. On the property, there’s a guest kitchen with complimentary coffee and tea, a free tasty breakfast, and 3 pools. Or you can just walk 600 meters to the nearest beach. It cost us $40 CAD/night. Best of all, Yuli’s offers motorcycle rentals which is where we got the idea to do a motorcycle road trip around Lombok.
Kuta Lombok is a perfect place to start because the area has a few motorcycle rental places if you don’t stay at Yuli’s or would like to shop around. Also, in much of South-East Asia a bigger bike usually means anything bigger than a scooter, as big bikes are unnecessary and hard to come by.
Yuli’s rode in two bikes for us to choose from, both 150ccs. Although it’s not the best road trip motorcycle and small by Western standards, it was great for a small trip on a relatively small island. After a quick test ride our steed was chosen. An old rusty Kawasaki (supposedly) with all sorts of patchwork. But it ran, and we didn’t have much choice as a little scooter for two adults wouldn’t cut it for a three-day island adventure.
The plan for our Lombok itinerary was to start in Kuta, ride clockwise around the coast of the island, make a break toward the active volcano (Mount Rijani) in the middle once we got to the North, then continue back down the coast along the Eastern side back to Yuli’s to return the bike. Along the way, we had the hope of finding some of the best beaches in Lombok and trying out some local village/town foods that aren’t catered to tourists. With a look on the map with our host and an open mind, we set out.
Click here for Part 2 on The Ultimate Motorcycle Road Trip to Lombok, Indonesia!
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