Cycling Indonesia

Bicycle travelling the islands Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores, Java and Sumatra

2,630 km of cycling - as part of a bicycle world trip - around Bali, to Lombok and Gili Air and to Sumbawa, further east across the island, by fishing boat to Komodo and with this boat further east to Flores, further east to the island´s easternmost tip. By ferry to Surabaya at Java, by train to the island´s western shore, by ferry to Padang at Sumatra, via Trans-Sumatra-Highway to Lake Toba, to the island´s north coast and by speedboat to Malaysia.



8 August - 28 September 2005 / 52 days

2,630 km

26,313 metres in altitude

Highest cycled point: 1,504 m


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Bicycle Travelling Report

Unfortunately no travel report in English available yet. Below the German report translated by Google Translate. Sorry for the partly weird and bizarre English! Proper translation is coming within the year 2018!


(8 - 14 Aug 2005, 7 days, 251 km) On Bali we cycled together from Kuta to the north, where as a tourist one more attraction is. Not only in Bali you drive through the trellis of hundreds of "Hello Mister" screaming children and laughing and greeting adults. So one is almost always greetings. From beautiful rice terraces and temples in the interior of Bali we went to the north coast to the east, where I went diving at the wreck of the USS Liberty.


(14 - 21 Aug 2005, 8 days, 295 km) Then we took the ferry to Lombok, where we first explored the southwest and then Aurore and Loic, cyclists from France, met, by the way, were the first and so far only Reiseradler, that we met in Indonesia. Since then we cycled, sweated and greeted to four. Together we chartered a small boat to transfer to the small island Gili Air. There, without roads, cars or mopeds, we spent 2 days snorkeling and relaxing. Actually we wanted to hike on the volcano Mount Rinjani, which would have taken three days and two nights. Unfortunately, we did not do that with a heavy heart because of time constraints. Instead, we went on to the north coast to Anyar, where we due to lack of accommodation in the police station in the office (if you wanted to call it that ...) could stay. This led to a great evening with the police, some others from the village and Brem (rice wine ...). Later we went to a traditional Sasak dance!


(21 - 26 Aug 2005, 6 days, 420 km) A few days later we took the ferry to Sumbawa, where we met Mr. Syamsun, a teacher at the Public Secondary School in Sumbawa Besar, the capital of the island who also set up his own small private language and computer school. And then he invited us into the same. So we took over the first English lesson at the age of four. Later we were invited to his family, so it became later again. The next morning at 7 o'clock we went to the public school and since then we can guess what it must be like to be a celebrity: in four classes we received screaming and enthusiasm! The lesson we put on the whole school until 11 o'clock completely lame! We gave hundreds of autographs and had to shoot countless group and individual photos because everyone wanted to take a picture of themselves with one of us, even the director of the school ... At some point it was enough for us and we went out to eat. Incidentally, that cost about 0.20 EUR to 0.70 EUR for a whole warm (or cold) meal. A double room cost about 2 EUR to 6 EUR per night, mostly with a small breakfast.


(26 - 28 Aug 2005, 3 days, 0 km) After two more hot and exhausting days inland from Sumbawa, we went with a small chartered nutshell to Komodo, where the last large monitors of this earth lived, the Komodo-Warane, and from there on to Flores. This trip was not quite as we had imagined: After lengthy negotiations at the port of Sape on Sumbawa we had finally on the price of 1 million Rupiah (about 85 EUR) to Fourth for the three-day drive from Sumbawa through Komodo to Flores. The Baburdi, a bit decrepit, small, and of course without a proper cabin, toilet or electricity and actually without anything, even without such unimportant things as position lights or even headlights or navigational instruments, was then confirmed by us in the late afternoon, after we had been assured that the trip on the high seas was no problem at night, loaded and climbed. After hours of driving through the night and emerged fog that looked different. He could not find the way to Komodo, so our Captain Masnin. So we turned back. But even the port of Sape, he could not find after hours of driving in the fog again. So it was time to drop anchor, sleep and wait for the sunrise. At 4.00 o'clock we went again, again direction Komodo, which we reached then after nearly twelve instead of announced six hours drive in brooding heat. With unsteady step we explored with a ranger part of the very large and sprawling island, which is almost completely national park and on which the Komodo - Warane, the last giant lizards of this earth, could move freely. There were about 1,600 left. We were fortunate enough to discover four of them and to be able to observe them up close. So impressive!


(28 Aug - 10 Sep 2005, 14 days, 641 km) The next morning, after an extensive snorkel stop on a dream beach on Komodo with unimaginable coral and fish wealth, we continued with the Baburdi to Flores. After about seven hours we reached the port of Labuhan Bajo and said goodbye to Masnin, Saridin, Dean and Baburdi. Unfortunately, there was a National Festival the next day, so that all accommodations were completely booked. We could not continue, but fortunately Augustus invited us to his family home. Surrounded by a nonstop visit, a multi-membered rascals, and top-notch Juliana, Augustus's wife, we stayed for two days to see Caci, a traditional manggarai battle dance that lasted two full days from dawn to dusk , An unusual experience, since this was not a tourist-staged event, of course, but a captivating but bloody tradition in which we were the only foreigners in the world.

But then it went on to the east, but after 5 km happened what was not expected in the otherwise chaotic transparent traffic: I am hit by a motorcycle! But luckily nothing else happened except for a bruised hand, some minor abrasions and a broken door mirror! With partly incredibly steep sections with gradients over 20%, we went up and down again over 1,000 m, exhausting, but with beautiful views. It is no coincidence that the island is also called the "snake island" because of its roads. In the places over 1,000 m, it was also unusually cold at night.

A few days later in Nagaroro on the south coast of Flores, we met Margarete, a devout Catholic, who invited us to her home.

Despite several assurances on our part that we were of course all married and could sleep in a room, she did not tolerate any argument and put men and women separated into two rooms. But not only that she was incredibly kind and good-natured, she was also incredibly good at cooking and so we sat in front of true mountains of delicious food both in the evening and the next morning. Of course, we thanked each other, as with all previous invitations, as befits a gift.

On beautiful route we went over "end" on to Moni on Mount Kelimutu with the three crater lakes with different colors, which probably changed again and again unpredictably. At the time they were black, brown and turquoise green.

To enjoy a sunrise on the summit, we set off at night at 2:00 in the dark with our bikes on the way up the 14 km long serpentine road and a half-hour walk to the summit. Of course we were too early, but the first ...

Beautifully it was getting light and the three crater lakes directly below us were slowly visible. After many photos we went back to the bungalow, because the waterfall with natural pool was already waiting for us. Here we met Sandra and Louis from Holland, who cycled through Flores for a month.

Unexpectedly, we saw us the next day in Paga Beach again, a tiny and simple bungalow collection located directly on the sea. Twice we got the best Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) we have ever had!

So we stayed one more day to relax and then we went to Maumere, where we wanted to take the ferry to Surabaya on Java and where we hoped to find another ferry to Sumatra. So it was said goodbye to Aurore and Loic, who would continue in three days via Bali on to Vietnam. It had been a nice time!


(12 - 15 Sep 2005, 4 days, 38 km) For three days and two nights the ferry from Maumere on Flores to Surabaya on Java was our home for Steffi and me. Contrary to expectations, even with a mooring in a dorm and three times a day a barren meal. In Surabaya we went together the next day to the train station and overnight by train thirteen and a half hours to Jakarta.


(17 - 28 Sep 2005, 12 days, 962 km) Another day later we boarded the rather run-down PELNI ferry KM Lawit in the capital, which brought us to Padang on the west coast of Sumatra within two days and two nights. If it had only been the cockroaches that were running around the ship in literally every imaginable size, it would have been bearable. However, clogged and flooded toilets, non-existent laundry facilities, garbage dumps and latrine stinks everywhere, as well as rotten mattresses made the boat trip a rather dubious pleasure. But that also passed and so we sat in the saddle exactly seven days after we had started on the ferry to the west on Flores.

From now on we went through untouched rainforests in pairs, the air was filled with countless unknown noises, we saw tigers, snakes, Sumatran rhinos and many rare flowers in every conceivable color ... Well, so somewhere between this rather naïve idea of Sumatra and reality were our expectations. So it was much greener and wetter than on the previous islands, but we almost never saw any exotic animals and plants. The only protected areas on Sumatra were protected areas. So we drove up on the Trans-Sumatra Highway north to more than 1,000 m inland. However, you were never alone with nature, as the highway ran almost through inhabited areas and cities. About Bukittinggi went on the second day in heat and subtropical climate further north and suddenly there were only 100 meters, which we let roll out in anticipation of the great moment, then crossed the equator with our wheels! Anyone who picks up the world map will find that there are not that many roads where this is possible and it would be a very long time before I cross it on this journey. After lengthy negotiations, we bought two souvenir T-shirts and from then on we went on in the northern hemisphere of the earth.

The next day we walked through primary jungle in the Rimbo Panti Reserve. But as true jungle trekking as we had imagined, it was not. Except for a few monkeys and hordes of mosquitoes, there was not much to see. Probably better for nature ...

Our next destination was Lake Toba with Samosir Island. After exhausting days in the mountains, he finally lay below us at a height of almost 1,000 meters. With a small boat we went on Samosir Iceland, on which not much was left of the once big travel scene. In the main town Tuk Tuk empty and slowly decaying lodgings lined up. Quick was therefore one of the traditional Batak houses, which were offered among other things as a local accommodation, found for us. Very quaint! Early the next morning we tackled the 130 km long road around the island, but it was to be torture.

Up to over 1,500 m we fought our way to the worst gravel bed runway, which is practically not passable for normal vehicles, up steep turns. Partly with pushing we went through mud holes, mud and on a river bed-like route at a snail's pace uphill and downhill, so that we met completely finished again on asphalt in the late afternoon. Mud smeared two days later by boat back to Parapat and in two more days through endless palm oil plantations the last of our 1,000 Sumatra kilometers downhill to Tanjungbalai on the east coast.

Still a short shock when we were told that we could leave only 200 km further north, but after we had clarified that, we went the next day in a passenger boat to Port Klang, the port of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.

After almost two months of Indonesia, during which I had met countless, hospitably hospitable, open and nice people, but had been continuously the event of the month or even of the year, I was now looking forward to Malaysia! Selamat tinggal, Indonesia, I will definitely come back someday!

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