In 2011 an American world traveler, who has been exploring Asia and Bali solo since 1998, self-published two guidebooks in order to support of her freewheeling lifestyle. Hiking in Bali and Cycling Bali are the only guides currently available geared specifically and exclusively to hiking and cycling Bali.
This nomadic adventurer, who goes by the name Lash, started wilderness hiking at a young age with her family in the U.S.A. As a young adult she backpacked America’s national and state parks, then took her love of the open road to Japan, where she lived from 1991-1997, hiking Japan’s mountains and countryside in her spare time. She has since cycled, scuba dived, snorkeled and mountain climbed around many of Asia’s natural areas.
Lash is fully immersed in the digital age and shares travel stories, photo galleries, tips and advice accumulated over the past 14 years living in the tropics on her popular travel blog site. She first visited Bali in 2000, climbing all of Bali’s main peaks and cycling around the whole eastern half of the island. She has returned to Bali most years since, staying 2-6 months each time included extended stints in Amed where she hiked extensively and compiled enough detailed notes, hand drawn maps and photos to publish Hiking in Bali.
Both guidebooks give detailed information about traveling around Bali: arriving at the airport, transportation, food, supplies, money exchange, Wi-Fi and internet access, mobile phone use, accommodation, medical facilities, cultural and social interactions, a basic but adequate language guide. The ‘staying healthy in the tropics’ sections are particularly helpful for people not accustomed to exercising in the tropics. Without these valuable reminders, outdoor enthusiasts could easily become dehydrated or suffer other heat-related illnesses, which could be dangerous and may even ruin a trip. Tables of relevant and essential “Fast Facts” for each hike/cycling segment make it easy to quickly assess at one glance each particular route before starting out, enabling one to make important decisions about when to go, what to take and what to expect on the route.
Hiking in Bali focuses in Bali’s remote northeast corner of Amed, a mountainous coastal region of tiny fishing villages lying along crescent-shaped bays separated by rocky headlands and backed by deep purple mountains. It is the hikes that make the book special, giving people access to a world which they wouldn’t otherwise know existed. The majority of the 20 walks take you into the seldom-visited areas along narrow footpaths, ridgelines, down remote roads, by grassy headlands, terraced fields, temples, watering holes and into villages of thatch and stone houses. From the ridgelines, there are spectacular views.
On an email interview, the author’s personal favorite is Hike 20: Spring-Ridge-Lean Loop Combo. “The atmosphere and views from ‘Top of the World’ Ridge are just phenomenal. I’d love to be up there every day for at least a few minutes, if it were possible. Then the walk around the narrow ridge into Lean Valley is just as exciting. The path is narrow, dropping off steeply to one side, and views of Bali’s north coast and Lean Valley are just stunning. After that, climbing down the mountainside into the bottom of Lean valley is an interesting scramble,” she wrote.
This small but thorough guide, full of enthusiastic tips and observations, provides everything you need for an enjoyable and memorable experience: a brief hike description, detailed step-by-step instructions, highlights of the hike, ‘fast facts’ charts listing all essentials such as distance, hiking time, start/end points, degree of difficulty, and amenities/facilities available in each hiking area.
Lash’s other book, Cycling Bali, guides you on a complete circumnavigation of the island. The circuit is divided into 15 manageable routes ranging in distance from 25 km to 75 km and varying in difficulty from easy to challenging. You may choose to cycle each segment as one day’s ride or combine 2-3 routes in one day, depending on your time frame, fitness level, preferred travel pace and interests.
Cycling Bali covers cycling preparations particularly well: pre-training, deciding whether to take your own bike or buy one in Bali, how to take a bike on a plane, Bali’s road and traffic conditions, and what to take on the trip in terms of bike components, spare parts, tools, cycling clothes and other needs.
So dedicated is this seemingly indefatigable woman that after your flight she recommends unboxing your bike at the airport in Tuban and straightaway cycling to Sanur (where the circumnavigation begins) and suggesting that “a completely self-sufficient bike tool kit should include axle grease and a spare derailleur cable.”
Meticulously researched on a borrowed touring bike, she dispenses ground-level no-nonsense observations like “narrow road, no shoulder; last 3 km very steep; easy coastal road; some tree shade; fairly well-paved; watch fast-moving trucks and buses; heat could be a problem.” All the cyclist’s initial groundwork has been done!
Lash emailed: “My favorite section of the cycling trip is Section 4: Seririt to Pemuteran, a region of Bali that is rural, untouched and authentic with rice fields, mountains, sea and lots of lovely trees. The road has very little traffic and very few outside visitors. It’s also a very easy ride: flat, short distance.”
Many of her observations are peculiar only to cycling conditions on Bali, citing the masses of motorcycles, the ultra importance of road safety, that bicyclist are never stopped for not wearing a helmet, forgetting about “who’s right and who’s wrong,” the almost complete absence of road rage and the very best cycling time (between sunrise and 11 am).
Hiking in Bali: 20 Hikes in Amed, Bali’s Remote Northeast Coast by Lash, published 2011, ISBN 978-146-366-8143, paperback, 184 pages.
Cycling Bali: Guidebook to Circumnavigating Bali by Bicycle by Lash, published 2011, ISBN 978-146-374-9378, 168 pages.
Both 13.5 cm X 20.5 cm paperbacks are available for Rp150,000 at Ganesha bookstores or for those with portable devices digital versions may be ordered directly from http://LashWorldTour.com for $10.
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