Experience the ‘real Bali’ and an awesome time on the only Tour of its kind!
The Bali RunVenture Tour is a 7 (and a bit) day tour of Bali – but not the Bali you may have heard of that consists only of busy beaches and Bintang Beer.
On this tour we’ll show you parts of this stunning tropical island the majority of tourists never even know exist let alone see. Sure, there’ll be some of the must-see sights included, but we’ll also go off the beaten track (sometimes literally!) so you can experience the ‘real Bali’.
An Amazing time for everyone, even without the running!
And yes, there’s a run every day, but we’ve specially designed this tour in a way that if you’re a non-running friend or partner, there’ll still be plenty for you to do as well, as you can join a guided, shorter-course walk in some of the same places or simply meet up with us after the run to join in the rest of the activities. Whether that’s a tree-top-high-ropes adventure, feeding elephants, a sunrise dolphin boat trip, rafting down the mighty Ayung River, visiting the baby sea turtles conservation area, jumping into spectacular waterfalls or even riding a bike instead of running!
Places are limited so register now.
It’s taken us 20 years of visiting this wonderful island to discover some of these Amazing things to see and do, and months of planning to put this tour together. Due to the nature of this tour and the practicalties involved, it will be limited to quite a small group – probably around 10 people – and with interest from as far and wide as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and South Africa already, we’re now facing the very real and Amazing possibility the tour might actually ‘sell out’. Which would be awesome for us, but not so awesome for you if you miss out. So let us know if you’re interested now and we’ll make sure we ask you first while there’s places still available.
Join the Facebook Group here.
(Click here to download the brochure – note, this file is approx 12mb and is the 2013 brochure with old dates)
We’ve decided to label this tour our ‘RunVenture’ tour of Bali because there’s a little bit of running, a little bit of adventure – and a whole lot of awesome.
It’s designed to be enjoyed by almost everyone – regardless of your level of running ability. In fact, we’ve gone out of our way to make sure you’ll have an amazing time, even if you decide to do absolutely no running at all.
Even non-runners will have a blast!
In our experience, ‘running widows’ (ie the partners of runners) tend to be pretty much left behind and left out while the runners are out doing their thing at most running events. But not on our RunVenture Tour!
Almost every day has a shorter, hosted walking option available and non-runners are able to join in the extra activities when the running is over. So if you have a husband, wife, partner, mum, dad, sister, brother, friend or anyone else you’d like to bring along but they’re not interested in the running part, rest assured they’ll still have an adventure filled week of fun they’ll never forget. Ever.
A totally unique running experience.
As for you crazy runners though, you are in for something really special and different. We won’t be breaking any speed or distance records, most of the runs are relatively modest and around the 10km mark, but you’ll be running in some truly beautiful and spectacular places most people never get to see.
Please understand, if you’re looking for a multi-stage race type event, this isn’t it. Or if you’re looking to show off your super-human powers of endurance over ridiculously long distances, this probably isn’t for you either. But don’t worry, each day will have its own challenges, and certainly with a run planned for every single day for seven days straight, on varying surfaces and in what may well be some pretty warm and possibly humid weather conditions at times, this will definitely give you the chance to test yourself.
It’s mostly about having an Amazing time.
But most of all, this Tour is about having adventure-based fun and a truly Amazing holiday. There’s enough running to keep runners happy. Enough adventure to keep those who want a more interesting and active holiday happy. And enough fun to, well, keep pretty much anyone happy!
Day by Day details of the RunVenture Tour.
Day 1: Turtle Release
This is an optional day and actually has a fairly major variable that is beyond our control. But our plan is to meet in Kuta at 4pm with the view to help release baby sea turtles into the ocean at approximately 5pm. As you can imagine, this is subject to there actually being some baby sea turtles ready to be released! At this time of year, we have an 87.3% chance of this happening, but should be considered a ‘bonus’ activity on the off chance the timings don’t work for us and we are not able to do this while we’re there. At the very least, we will be able to show you the baby turtle hatching area and almost certainly some baby sea turtles – even if they’re not quite ready to be released.
After this, we’ll head out to dinner for a casual ‘meet and greet’ at a local restauarant. Dinner will be at your own expense, but accommodation for the night will be included.
If you happen to fly in earlier and require accommodation, please contact us and we will do our best to help you out with this. If you can’t find a flight that arrives by luch time, we recommend flying in at least one day earlier to make sure you’re in town in time for the sea turtle visit and dinner. (To confirm, it’s not a turtle dinner, just a turtle visit!) If you fly in late, you can simply check-in to the hotel and we will have a proper briefing over breakfast.
Day 2: The Beach Run
We start with breakfast, a slightly more formal ‘meet and greet’ and a briefing of the day’s activities.
Today is the only day we run in the afternoon instead of the morning so after breakfast you’ll have free time to look around or pick up any last minute supplies – there’s a big supermarket and numerous sports stores nearby. We’ll then meet at lunch time for a quick bite to eat, before heading off at around 2pm for our 17km Beach Run. The exact time will depend on the tide as we need specific conditions to make it where we’re going. Even though it’s likely to be quite warm and with almost no shade along the way, there’s a reason we run in the afternoon – our aim is to arrive at the stunning Tanah Lot beach temple in time to watch the sunset.
A shorter distance 5 & 10km run and walk is also available.
We’ll then head back to Kuta by bus where you can either join us for a casual dinner or do your own thing which is how most dinners during the tour will work.
Day 3: The Jungle Run
We’ll head off quite early – probably around 7:30am, (right after breakfast) – as we have a few hours driving to get up into the mountains and start our Jungle Run. This will be through the stunning Botanic Gardens before venturing out the back of the gardens into a more untouched, jungle environment. This run is almost entirely on paved, bitumen roads and paths. Total distance is 10kms but with a ‘Figure 8’ route you can easily run a shorter distance or run at your own pace and explore the garden attractions along the way.
After the run we’ll regroup at the Tree Tops Adventure Course where you can enjoy a series of tree top ropes challenges.
(Note: We may actually end up doing the tree top course before the run on this day.)
After this we’ll have lunch, visit the Bedugul lake temple and head to our hotel in nearby Munduk. In the afternoon you can sit back and relax or join us for another short walk or run to see a stunning waterfall or two.
Day 4: The Lake Run
We start Day 4 with breakfast at the hotel before driving to Pancasari near the ‘Twin Lakes’ of Buyan and Tamblingan for our Lake Run. This 9km run will take us on trails through some lush, green jungle past both lakes and ending up at the village of Tamblingan where you can go for a ride on the lake in a traditional, wooden canoe. The trails on this route vary from nice, wide and relatively flat to reasonably technical and can also be walked – we can even arrange a canoe to meet you at the half way point and you can canoe the rest of the way if you like!
We’ll then head up the hill for lunch and some fantastic photo opportunities with a few of the more colourful locals – including a giant bat, python and chameleon!
After lunch we jump back on the bus and head further north to the coastal town of Lovina and check in to our hotel there where you can enjoy a relaxing walk on the beach or some down time by the pool.
Day 5: The Waterfall Run
It’s an early start (about 6am depending on sunrise time) as we head off before breakfast (sorry!) on a Sunrise Dolphin Tour. We’ll jump in a local boat and head out to sea looking for the friendly dolphins that swim past nine mornings out of ten. With or without the dolphins you’ll enjoy the cruise, but if we’re lucky enough to spot the dolphins swimming around it will easily be one of the highlights of our trip so bring your camera!
After heading back to the hotel for a quick breakfast we’ll do a Waterfall Run through stunning rice fields up to the Secret Garden of Sambangan to check out some of Bali’s most spectacular, and spectacularly fun, waterfalls! There’s a nice, natural pool to go swimming in, or for the more adventurous there’s several natural, rock ‘waterslides’ (the big one is slightly nuts, the smaller one is very civilized) and a nice, high waterfall jump – not for the faint hearted!
We’ll then have lunch at a nearby restaurant with views of the waterfalls in the distance before heading back down to Ubud to check in to the hotel where we’ll be staying for the remainder of the trip.
Day 6: The River Run
Day 6 is another cracker day and a real treat. After breakfast we jump on our bus and head North to the start of our nice, gentle, downhill run (with a few, slightly less gentle, inclines!) on a mixture of roads and trails through local villages, some light jungle and the rice fields Bali is famous for.
This River Run will also be approximately 10kms with a shorter option available and the finish line is at the Ayung River where we jump into rafts to do another 10kms down the river. This is quite a modest river ride and not really ‘white water rafting’ so while it’s plenty of fun, there’s nothing to be too worried about and there’s sensational jungle views along the way.
We finish up with a delicious lunch (you’re bound to have worked up an appetite by then) before making our way back to the hotel where, time permitting, you’ll have the afternoon off to explore, shop or visit the nearby Monkey Forest. But be warned, you’ll want an early night as we have a very, very early start the next day.
Day 7: The Volcano ‘Run’
Sorry, but there’s simply no way around this – we head off at the incredibly uncivilized time of 2am in order to make it to the base of Mt Batur in time to start our Volcano Run at around 4am. We head up in the dark and if you want to push yourself and blast your way up (mostly ‘fast packing’ on what is a reasonably steep and technical ascent, especially in the dark), this will take a little over an hour, but more likely closer to two hours for most. Once we’re at the summit (approx 1700m above sea level) we’ll settle in with a nice, hot cup of tea and wait for the sun to rise. If it’s a clear morning we’ll enjoy magnificent views over nearby Mt Agung (Bali’s highest and holiest mountain) and as far as Mt Rinjani on the neighboring island of Lombok.
Breakfast will be eggs cooked in the steaming, hot, volcanic soil and ‘banana sandwiches’. Probably not the finest meal you’ll enjoy in Bali, but a fun one for sure.
If you’ve had enough by this stage, you can just turn around and head back down, otherwise we’ll be making our way around the edge of the crater, running across to the secondary crater and site of some of the more recent eruptions, and visiting the holy ‘Bat Cave’. If you’re game enough, you might even go inside. Good luck with that!
Our descent will be down a slightly different route, passing through a small forest along the way, (which will provide what is likely to be some welcome shade), and finishing at the local hot springs where you can have a swim in the Olympic sized pool, soak in the hot water pools and refuel with some lunch.
After lunch we have one more little, and rather unusual, side trip for you – a trip across the lake to the unique cemetery of Trunyan. We won’t ruin the surprise by telling you too much about it suffice to say besides being something a little different, and potentially slightly gross, this is a great insight into original Balinese culture and tradition.
Then we’ll drive back to Ubud and again, whatever time is left will be all yours.
Day 8: The Elephant Run
We’ve left this one til last because truly it’s one of our favourite things to do in Bali. After breakfast we drive to the start of ourElephant Run which will take us through 10kms of villages and light jungle. Again, there are shorter distances available and this gentle downhill route is perfect if you’d like to join us on a bike instead of on foot.
While the run itself is nice enough and gives you another look at local, Balinese life which we can tell you a little bit about as we go, it’s the finishing point at the Elephant Park that’s the real treat. Here you can feed the elephants and see the elephant show. You can even take an elephant ride at a special discounted Swashbucklers rate.
We’ll also have lunch at the Elephant Park and celebrate the unofficial end of our tour before heading back in to Ubud.
In the evening, we’ll have a final, farewell dinner at a local restaurant before spending one more night in our Ubud hotel. The next morning is check out and you can either stay in Ubud or take our bus back to Kuta or the airport.
Sputnik is Chief Swashbuckler at The Swashbucklers Club and will be your ‘host’ on the Bali RunVenture Tour. He has been to Bali about 20 times over the past 20 years and is ridiculously passionate about showing people the ‘real Bali’ away from the usual tourist hot spots.
In February 2013 Sputnik visited Bali to research this trip and personally run and do evey single thing that now makes up this tour.He also stayed in every hotel guests will be staying in to make sure they met the standards of The Swashbucklers Club. (It has to be said, there were a number of things he did, places he ran and hotels he stayed in that have not made it into this tour so if it’s in here now, you can be sure it deserves it’s place!)
A few things you should know about Sputnik: He is not a world champiom ultra runner. So if you are thinking about coming on this tour to break the land-speed record, you’ll be doing that on your own. As a former Nike Run Club Leader in Adelaide, South Australia he is, however, experienced at running with, supporting and guiding runners of varying abilities – particularly those of more ‘modest’ abilities. And after running many of the planned routes in February 2013 he made the decision to make the majority of them more manageable to less experienced runners – often with shorter alternatives.
Because many of the courses will not be marked the runs will predominantly be ‘group runs’ where runners run together and will be speed-limited by Sputnik’s own pace or the slowest runner in the group. To give you a reference point, here’s a few details of Sputnik’s running in 2012:
Adelaide Marathon: 3:44
Tarawera 100km trail race (Rotorua NZ): 14:35
The North Face 100 (Blue Mountains, Australia): 19:30 (injured)
Manaslu Multi Stage 212km Trail Race (Nepal): Completed 3 stages of 7/(approx 90km) in just over 22hrs before suffering altitude sickness and recording his first ever DNF (Did Not Finish). Thankfully there will be no altitude issues on this trip!
Since 2010 Sputnik has completed 7 trail ultra marathons, 8 road marathons and numerous half marathons.
The gear list is a constant work in progress but here’s most of what you will need to know:
- Two pairs of running shoes in case one pair gets wet. Due to the humidity it can take a while for things to dry, so unless you like putting damp shoes on the next morning, bring two pairs.
- A pair of trail shoes. It would be a good idea if one of your pairs of runnig shoes were trail shoes. We’ll be running on everything from soft sand to bitumen to dirt to volcanic rock and the extra grip and protection of trail shoes will definitely come in handy. In fact, from experience, trail shoes will be the best all-round option so you coudl even bring two pairs of trail shoes. If you bring road and trail shoes, we can tell you which days will be best suited to which shoes. (There are way more trails than roads though, so we usually take two pairs of trail shoes that can handle some road.)
- Your usual warm weather running gear – whatever that consists of for you. Keep in mind most days it will at the very least be warm, possibly flat out hot and/or humid. Socks, shorts, tops etc. Even though there’s a slight chance of rain, it’s likely to still be warm so a rain jacket is unlikely to be necessary for an adventurous soul like yourself. We suggest steering away from ‘killer cotton’ as it tends to hold too much sweat and take ages to dry, regular tech gear is a much better option although it gets pretty stinky pretty fast, so we’re big fans of merino which stays comfy and is stink-resistant. Again, as with the shoes, bring enough so that if your gear doesn’t dry overnight you have something else dry and comfry to wear. (Especially when we’re on the move between hotels, there’s less chance to wash and dry gear. Once we hit Ubud it gets a bit easier. There’ll also be very cheap laundry available although is usually a 24 hour turn around.)
- Some warm clothes. On The Volcano Run it can get quite chilly at the top. We get up there before sunrise (hopefully!) and while you’ll sweat like a pig on the way up while you’re moving, when you get to the top and stand around, it can be uncomfortably cool if you’re standing around in sweat-soaked shorts and t-shirts. A light to medium sleeve top will be a good idea here. If you’re really soft in the cold, a buff/beanie, dry t-shirt and possibly even ‘tights’ for your legs might not go astray either. There’s not really anywhere too private to get changed, but if it’s still dark, you should be able to find a dark ‘corner’ to change quickly and reasonably discreetly. Just keep in mind once the sun is up, it will warm up fast and you’ll probably want to strip back down again.
- A hat/cap. It gets hot. And it’s likely to be sunny. Enough said.
- Some sort of water carrying device. We HIGHLY recommend a hydration pack with a small amount of extra storage space. If you’re hell bent on running without one, you could probably get away with a ‘fuel belt’ or even ‘hand held’ bottles, but a hydro pack will give you the best flexibility. You can carry more water, a few snacks and supplies and the warm clothes you’ll need on The Volcano Run. If you need suggestions of brands/models etc, please ask.
- Sunglasses. It will be sunny. So sunglasses will keep the sun out of your eyes. If you forget to bring your favourites, you can always buy a pair for about $5 while you’re there.
- Bathers and a towel! Duh, it’s Bali! All our hotels have swimming pools. Plus there’s the beach. And the waterfalls. And a river. (On The River Run there’ll be a chance to change into something other than your running gear before we go rafting, but basically just wear whatever you want as long as you don’t mind if you get a little wet.)
- To the best of our knowledge, it’s not easy finding ‘running nutrition’ etc in Bali. Bali is changing FAST so who knows, by the time we get there you may be able to find these sorts of supplies, but if in doubt, bring it with you. We can’t comment on specific Bali customs rules but we can confirm as of Feb 2013 there is a box on the customs declaration that requires you to declare “Animals, fish and plants including their products (vegetables, food etc)” so running gels and powders would fit in this category. Traditionally, they have absolutely no problem with sealed packets of food that are easily identifiable but this part truly is up to you.
- First aid supplies. Bali has some great chemists where you can buy all sorts of things over the counter – including what would be ‘prescription only’ in many countries. But if there’s something really specific you need you may want to consider bringing it with you. If you’re worried about Customs it may be possible for you to get a note/letter from your doctor confirming you need these supplies – particularly less recognisable things like syringes for diabetics etc. There is some official information on this subject here but if you can understand it, you’re doing better than us.
- Sunscreen. Many things are much cheaper in Bali, sunscreen isn’t one of them. You can buy it there easily enough, but at best it’s no cheaper than in places like Australia. And usually, the good stuff is imported and can be a bit expensive.
- A small ‘day bag’. Generally speaking, once we leave the hotel in the morning, we’re gone for the day. So anything you need for running, or the after-run shenanigans, you’ll need to bring with you. Dry clothes, toiletries to make yourself look beautiful etc. Some days we’ll have a mobile, improvised change room and you’ll need to make do. Some days we’ll have access to decent bathrooms. We’ll brief you the night before on what you’re likely to need so you can pack accordingly. Rest assured, you won’t have to walk/run/ride with everything, you’ll be able to leave your extra stuff in the car/bus.
- Bug spray. OK, this is a tricky one. We’ll be supplying you with a can of our favourite bug spray on arrival. It will be our welcome gift to you. BUT, we do need to remind you we are going to a tropical destination and the mozzies can be right bastards. And at various times there is an increased risk of diseases like Dengue Fever. Most of these things aren’t fatal, but aren’t very pleasant either. So protecting yourselves from mozzie bites is actually pretty important. Usually, we rely on the spray. But if you want to try one of those mozzie-repellant bracelets or any other form of protection please go your hardest. (Please keep in mind you can’t bring aerosols etc on the plane!)
- Torch/Head torch. It will basically be pitch black when we’re going up the volcano so a torch, even just a basic one, is going to be real handy. We’ve done it with nothing more than the torch function on our phone, but something a little more powerful is a good idea. Even better if you have a basic head torch so you can keep your hands free to fight off the killer monkeys. OK, there are no killer monkeys but having your hands free is nice.
- ‘Lady Clothes’. OK, this is a slightly delicate one for anyone who’s not been to Asia before. We’re not sufficiently qualified to go right into the ins and outs of local religions, customs and etiqutte, but if you’re a person of the female variety, it’s worth keeping in mind that in some places, particularly temples etc, there are sensitivities to exposed female flesh. So while you’re 100% cool to go for a run in shorts and a singlet, you most likely won’t be allowed into a temple that way. If you have a light sleeve etc this will come in very handy. We’ll do our best to alert you of any impending need for such a thing, and even carry a spare sarong etc for you wherever possible, but even outside of our tour, it’s worth remembering to carry something with you if you plan on going somewhere this may be relevant. Please know, this is not relevant in the more touristy parts of Bali where basically anything goes.
- Plastic sandwich/zip-lock bags. If you plan on running with something that needs to stay dry, (like a phone, camera etc) make sure it’s in a bag. Even if it doesn’t rain, it can be warm/humid enough for things to get damp so a dry bag is the best idea.
- Power adaptor. At the risk of stating the obvious, they have different power plugs to other parts of the world. If you have anything you want charged, you may want to buy one of those power adaptor thingies. Or ask us really nicely to charge it for you overnight.
- Liquid restrictions. OK, we’re no experts on this, but please also remember, you can only take certrain amounts of ANY kind of liquid on the plane with you. Whether it’s perfume, drink, moisturiser, your own urine to drink in case of emergency etc. Click here to read more about that cause the last thing you want to do is pack something awesome to bring with you, and then have to leave it at the airport.
Other Notes: It’s worth noting there are several big department stores and sports stores (Nike Store, Adidas store, etc) in Kuta. So if you forget to bring something, there’s an opportunity to buy regular running gear before we head off into the more remote areas.
- 8 nights accommodation at clean, comfortable, ‘mid-range’ hotels.
- 7 Breakfasts (Days 2 to 8)
- 7 Lunches (Days 2 to 8)
- Airport transfers (subject to your arrival and departure times)
- Air conditioned bus transfers to and from all runs/activities
- 7 hosted runs as per itinerary. (Beach Run, Jungle Run, Lake Run, Waterfall Run, River Run, Volcano Run, Elephant Run.)
- Western host for running group (English speaking Balinese host for walking group.)
- Local guides as required at various locations
- Entry to Tenah Lot temple
- Entry to Botanic Gardens
- Tree Top Ropes Adventure
- Traditional Canoeing on Lake
- Picture fee with animals (with your own or our camera – no prints, just digital files.)
- Sunrise Dolphin Tour
- River rafting
- Mountain bike hire on River Run (if required)
- Local guides at Mt Batur as required by local regulations
- Entry to Hot Springs at Mt Batur
- Mountain bike hire on Elephant Run (if required)
- Entry to Elephant Park
- Swashbucklers RunVenture Tour T-Shirt
- Bottled drinking water during all runs/activities
USD$2,450 (Per person, twin share room)
USD$2,900 (Per person, single room)
NOTE: 10% discount applies for multiple bookings (2 or more) or early bookings (before June 30). Ask us for more information.
A percentage of all profits go to a local Balinese Orphanage.
Does not include:
Drinks at ANY meal (other than water during runs/activities)
Flights – to be arranged at your own expense.