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CYCLING BALI DAY 8: Rice Fields and Mountains and Sea! Oh my!

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast

flat rice fields near Negara, backed by Bali Barat Mountains

CYCLING BALI DAY 8: Rice Fields and Mountains and Sea! Oh my!

Today’s ride was not far: just 30 km from Negara to Medewi, along Bali’s central South coast, and it was full of spectacular views. I’d planned this ride for late afternoon rather than morning in order to take advantage of Negara city’s excellent internet services and to avoid spending an entire day at Medewi’s stony surfing ‘beach’. There’s not much to do in Medewi if you don’t surf.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast

terraced rice fields beside the road

A week before my cycling trip, I’d driven the entire Bali route by motorbike first to check distances and steepness of roads, select the best routes and source accommodation. So I knew what awaited me on this coastal route: a rather hilly road full of trucks, buses, cars and  motorbikes. This is the main road between Java and Denpasar, Bali’s capital.

cycling bali- southwest coast- Medewi- negara

milky river between Negara and Medewi, Bali’s south coast

On the bright side,  there was spectacular scenery, including beautiful rivers flowing down through jungly forests to the sea, broad rice fields backed by distant mountains, steeply terraced rice fields over-looking the crashing sea, and stunning views of Bali’s south coastline.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast

rice fields overlooking the sea on Bali’s south coast

I set out eastward at 4 pm when the heat of the day had subsided. The first 10 km were flat and I passed through vibrant green, flat rice fields surrounding Negara.  After that, the road took to winding up and down all the way to Medewi and beyond.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast

another beautiful river between Negara and Medewi

Soon I began crossing gorgeous rivers that come running down from the Bali Barat Mountain Range. But, hold on, where were the beautiful flushed rivers I’d seen a week earlier? Today all the riverbeds held a mere trickle of water. Surprise! I realized how lucky I’d been the week before to witness those rivers after a torrential rain, and even luckier to have taken several photos that day.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast

steeply terraced rice fields along Bali’s south coast

steeply terraced rice fields along Bali’s south coast
Alas, the rivers were not spectacular, but the terraced rice fields over-looking the sea definitely were still stunning. I pedaled on, tackling the hills, ignoring the heavy roaring traffic, thrilling at the scenery, and stopping for photos (= catch my breath).

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast

rice farmer ploughing his fields

Eventually I noticed a sign for Pekutatan town. Eh? I knew Pekutatan was the start of tomorrow’s mountain climb and waspast Medewi Beach. I’d missed my turn off.  I confirmed with a local that I’d indeed passed Medewi, then back tracked 3 km to the surfers ‘beach’.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast- Medewi beach

evening scene at Medewi surfers’ beach

evening scene at Medewi surfers’ beach

Once there I discovered that most of the hotels were wayyy beyond my budget. Yikes! But some locals pointed me the way to Medewi’s budget option, right on the beach. Astoundingly, decent rooms cost only 30,000 rp / $3.50 US. I couldn’t even get that price for a room in Bali 10 years ago. But I was certainly happy to take the room today.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast- Medewi beach

Medewi’s stony ‘beach’ OUCH to surfers!

I settled in then watched a sultry sunset unfold over the sea and stone ‘beach’. A few surfers were out catching low waves. I couldn’t really call the shore at Medewi  a beach. It’s a long coastal strip of fist-sized stones. Watching the surfers, I could only think “ouch.” Who’d want to be slammed by waves and tumbled onto a face full of stones? I’ll stick to cycling, thank you, even if it means hills.

cycling Bali -Bali's southwest coast- Medewi beach

Medewi beach scene

Aside from surfing, Medewi turned out to be a charming, laid-back, friendly and cozy ‘secret spot’ in Bali. It’s a left-over of the fast-disappearing back-packer spots around SE Asia. Quiet, peaceful and inhabited by interesting, non-conventional travelers sporting dreadlocks, Indie clothing and that calm ‘I do yoga’ ambiance. I spent the evening soaking up the atmosphere then went to bed early in preparation for my big day ahead: climbing mountains. Ouch.

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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2 pings

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