cycling Bali -Bali's west- gilimanuk

view of Eastern Java’s stunning volcanoes


Bali’s western tip sits very close to Java, it’s closest neighbor. And Gilimanuk, Bali’s westernmost town, is the ferry terminal between the 2 islands. It’s only a few km across the ocean channel. Day and night, every day, non-stop, 3 separate vehicle ferries ply the channel, hourly. A never-ending parade of trucks, buses, cars and motorcycles cross the channel and continue their journey. In Bali, most follow Bali’s lone southern coastal road towards Denpasar, the capital city. Some percentage head north then eastward along Bali’s northern coast to Singaraja, Bali’s 2nd largest city.

cycling Bali -Bali's west coast- gilimanuk

Ferry to Java

With the non-ending coming and going, it’s not too surprising that there’s a large influx of Javanese culture at Bali’s western end, especially in Gilimanuk. Culture in terms of food, religion, dress, clothing, livestock, house style, and places of worship are prominent.

Considering that Bali is predominantly Hindu while Java is almost entirely Muslim, and further that both religions strongly influence the daily lives of their followers, it’s not surprising that differences between the cultures are distinct. In fact, if you have any experience at all, it’s completely obvious who is Muslim, who is Hindu, who’s Balinese, who’s not, and which people are living in an area.

cycling Bali -Bali's west coast- gilimanuk

Islamic mosque in western Bali

If Javanese/ Muslim, there are mosques, daily prayer calls, women covering their heads with scarves, men wearing little Muslim caps, Warung Padang (Javanese restaurants), and goats. Yes, rural Muslims in SE Asia keep goats. (also true in S Thailand and Malaysia)

cycling bali - Bali's central- Ubud

Balinese temples

If Balinese, there are Balinese family compounds enclosed in heavy stone walls, ornate family temples and stone houses, cows in fields, men wearing Balinese ‘hats’, women in fancy ceremonial blouses and sarongs, Babi Guling shops (suckling pig) and stone temples.

After spending 5 months in eastern Balinese Bali, the sudden sight of mosques, Muslim clothes and Javanese food stalls, as I headed further and further west along the northern coastal road, first struck me as quite surprising and odd. Long before arriving in Gilimanuk I’d already seen the Muslim influence, mainly with mosques and daily prayer calls. By the time I reached Gilimanuk I was quite accustomed to it all.

So I wasn’t surprised, upon arriving in Gilimanuk, to find many mosques, Warung Padang and Muslim people. But the residential area of town did take me by surprise. I discovered that Gilimanuk is filled with long straight clean streets lined with white picket fences and wood houses. Wow! I hadn’t seen anything like that anywhere in Bali. In fact, not anywhere I could think of in all SE Asia. It looked more like a little American town. Hmph.

cycling bali- Bali's west- gilimanuk

quaint white picket fences along Javanese neighborhood, Gilimanuk, Bali

I was so surprised, in fact, that it took me a few minutes to figure out what was so odd… Oh- no stone walls or Balinese temples. And white picket fences? With yards? Bizarre. And cute.

I also came across some small Javanese boats at the beach. They are distinctly different from the Balinese ‘jukung’ I was used to in Amed and Sanur.

cycling Bali -Bali's west coast- gilimanuk

Javanese style boats at Gilimanuk

Today my cycling route would take me from Gilimanuk, eastward along the south coast, to the small city of Negara, a 35 km ride. Once again, I was looking forward to pedaling through the forests of Bali Barat National Park then beside the Bali Barat Mountain Range, this time from a southern perspective.

In early morning, after wandering around Gilimanuk, trying to catch sunrise over Java (nothing spectacular today) then packing up, I headed east out of town. The National Park’s forest afforded abundant shade, which I always appreciated in tropical Bali’s heat. The road consisted mainly of shallow ups and downs, fairly easy cycling.

cycling Bali -Bali's west coast- gilimanuk

view in Bali Barat Mountains

Along the way I continued to pass Muslim mosques and wood houses, though more and more Balinese family compounds began appearing.

cycling Bali -Bali's west coast- gilimanuk

unusual Thai-style resort in western Bali

cycling Bali -Bali's west coast- gilimanuk

Thai script on stone

Thai script on stone

One curiosity I discovered was a Thai style resort! What? I’d been enticed there by a sign offering fantastic coffee. I went to check it out. As soon as I entered the resort’s garden I thought, “Hmmm… This really looks like a Thai style garden.” As I continued along, I found unmistakeably Thai style buildings- built of wood, set up on stilts. Wow. And then the clincher: a large stone inscribed in Thai writing. What a strange surprise in Bali. Especially way over in ‘the middle of nowhere’ near Bali’s west coast. I confirmed with the staff that, indeed, the resort had a Thai owner. soooo ooddd!

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast- Negara

gorgeous rice fields and Bali Barat Mountains near Negara

I continued on. About 8 km west of Negara the road flattened out and entered wide flat coastal plains around Negara. Suddenly there were astounding views of green rice fields backed by the Bali Barat Mountain Range. Beautiful. I enjoyed splendid views all the way into the city.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast- Negara

rice field worker near Negara

Soon I was pedaling into Negara city. It had taken me 2 hours, with breaks, to ride from Gilimanuk. In Negara, it took me a while to find a hotel but finally I found a great place just off the noisy road, right in the city center. I relaxed and set about exploring the area and making use of excellent city internet services.

reporting from the road, Lash


Cycling Bali Guidebook - Lash - LashWorldTour - travel book

my Cycling Bali Guidebook


If you’re inspired to cycle around Bali, check out my guidebook-

Cycling Bali: Guide to Circumnavigating Bali by Bicycle





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  1. BICYCLING DAY 7: HOLY DISCOVERIES! Bali’s Surprising Southwest Corner - LashWorldTour » LashWorldTour

    […] surfers’ beach.Negara city’s pony taxisReporting from the road, LashYou might also like:Cycling Day 6: A Taste of Java in Bali Cycling Day 8: Rice Fields and Mountains and Sea! Oh My! Photo Gallery: Road Trip Around Rural Bali […]


    […] LashWorldTourTravel Blog offering Cultural Insights, Travel Tips, and Tales of Adventure from 14+ years of world travelsHOMEABOUTAbout LashWorldTourAbout LashContactWhat’s in a name?LashWorldTour Travel MapLash’s Travel Fast FactsMissionsWorld Travels Overview: 1991-2011PressDisclaimerCOUNTRIESASIABALI- INDONESIABalinese CultureDiving in BaliBicycling in BaliAmedSanurBali MiscBANGLADESHBRUNEICAMBODIASHANGHAI- CHINAHONG KONGINDONESIABaliJavaLombokJAPANLAOSMALAYSIAKuala LumpurPenangLangkawiBorneoDiving in MalaysiaMYANMARNEPALPHILIPPINESSINGAPORESRI LANKATHAILANDVIETNAMAUSTRALIAEUROPEENGLANDSPAINS AMERICABRAZILUSAADVENTURESBicycle TravelCycling Bali SeriesHikingScuba DivingSky DivingSurvivor TV CrewTravel DisastersWWOOFTRAVEL TALESCULTUREPHOTO GALLERIESTRAVEL TIPS10 Free Things to do in… SeriesAccommodation TipsFlight TipsMoney TipsTravel Safety TipsMisc Travel TipsBeyond GuidebooksTRAVEL STOREFREE eBookTRAVEL BOOKS STORELWT CYCLING AND HIKING GUIDEBOOKS TO BALITRAVEL RESOURCESTRAVEL INTERVIEWSREVIEWSLINKS wp_flash_img_show will display here (config: default)MY GUIDE TO SCUBA DIVING IN BALI » CYCLING BALI DAY 5: FLYING THORUGH BALI BARAT NATIONAL PARK 2010/08/08 by Lash WorldTour CYCLING BALI DAY 5: FLYING THORUGH BALI BARAT NATIONAL PARKFor the 5th day of my trip I had decided to cycle in late afternoon instead of early morning. That would offer several advantages. The greatest was spending nearly a full extra day at my lux seaside resort, which would also provide my body a longer rest. Although I felt perfectly fine, yesterday’s tougher than expected ride on nearly flat roads alerted me that I might be wearing down.In addition, my later cycle meant I could avoid spending an entire day at my next destination- Gilimanuk. There was little to do or see there. Basically Gilimanuk is just a sleeping spot for truckers transiting between Bali and Java. Instead of being bored at Gilimanuk I could spend nearly the whole day at Bali’s beautiful north coast. Yippie! I had actually intended to explore the Pemuteran area in the cool early morning hours, but during breakfast I realized that I just didn’t feel like it. Instead, I spent the entire morning and afternoon lounging at the seaside and pool, writing and editing photos for this blog.  About 3 pm I got ready and climbed onto my bike at 3:30. Off to Gilimanuk! At 3:30 it was still a bit too hot, as I’d expected, since it usually starts cooling slightly at 4 pm. But I wanted to allow extra cycling time in case the road was harder than expected. I certainly did not want to be cycling in the dark on a highway with trucks. It was just 35 km to Gilimanuk, which I expected to take no more than 2 hours. But just in case, I’d allowed 3 hours. By the 5th day of my trip I definitely did not trust my motorbike research trip notes. For 4 days those notes had under-estimated the steepness of roads. My notes for this particular section of road said that after 10 km of flat coastal cruising, the road began climbing. Hmm… what exactly did that mean?So it was with some dread that I set out to cycle to Gilimanuk. On the bright side, I had 10 km of flat roads to start with. After that I’d be cycling through the forests and mountains of Bali Barat National Park entirely surrounded by trees. Great!  Happily, the first 10 km were flat indeed. I cruised along in my top gears, having a breezy time. Then I officially entered Bali Barat N. P. and, yep, the road started climbing. I braced myself and ploughed ahead… Quite surprisingly, only the very top of the first hill was extremely steep. Following that… “What’s this? Downhill? Cool!” I flew down the road.  As it turned out, amazingly, the hills were neither too steep nor too long. But the down hills were quite long and plentiful. For once I faced a route easier than expected. Clearly my motorbike notes were not at all accurate for cycling. At least distances were correct. I’d recorded them from my motorbike’s odometer a week earlier. The last 10 km into Gilimanuk were mostly flat or downhill. I thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected pleasure of flying downhill instead of climbing uphill. I equally enjoyed the beautiful trees, views of the Bali Barat Mountains, the pleasant songs of birds and insects, and the distinct lack of people. It was a great ride.Exactly 2 hours after leaving Pemuteran I pulled into Gilimanuk. I found a hotel, showered, and pedaled to the seaside to watch the sunset over Java.ferry plying the channel between Bali and JavaGilimanuk is the westernmost town in Bali and departure point for ferries to Java. There are clear views of Java’s many eastern volcanoes. Spectacular! Unfortunately, the sunset was not. Still, I got some great photos before heading back to my hotel to eat and relax. It was time to rest for tomorrow’s early morning ride along Bali’s southern coast.View of eastern Java’s volcanic peaks from Gilimanuk, BaliIf you’re inspired to cycle around Bali, check out my guidebook- Cycling Bali: Guide to Circumnavigating Bali by BicycleYou might also like to read my previous or next days cycling Bali stories:Cycling Bali Day 4: Cruising Bali’s Forgotten North CoastCycling Bali Day 6: A Taste of Java in Bali——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- /* /* 1 pingCYCLING BALI DAY 4: Cruising Bali's Forgotten North Coast – LashWorld » LashWorldTour says: 2012/08/13 at 7:43 am (UTC 8 ) Reply[…] also like:Cycling Adventure Bali: Overview Bicycling Day 3: Cruising Down Volcanic Ridgelines. Bicycling Day 5: Flying In Bali Barat NP var dd_offset_from_content = 40; var dd_top_offset_from_content = 0; /* /* 1 pingCYCLING BALI DAY […]Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Name:Email:Website:Message:You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> […]

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