JOIN OUR CONTRIBUTOR GINO ANDRIAS IN RIDING A POLARIS BUGGY TO EXPLORE THE JUNGLE…
An adventure with Mason Jungle Buggies
So, you probably saw a jungle explorer on TV ride a seriously brutish, yet fun, fourwheeled machine that looked smaller than an off-road jeep but packed more muscle than an ATV or dirt bike. He revved the engine like a madman and went through all the foliage like a walk in the park. Then, you wondered, “What kind of machine is that?”
It’s a buggy car. And now it’s broken away from your TV screen and is literally available in Bali.
Mason Jungle Buggies, Bali Adventure Tours’ newest addition, is an activity that truly stands out
among other land recreation alternatives. It not only pumps up your adrenaline, but also makes it possible for you to steer and handle a four-wheeled machine.
Wondering how fun riding these buggies is? Come with me as I sit behind the steering wheel and experience the whole 4.5-kilometer dirt road, slide on the cornering section and go pedal to the metal. Now, put on a helmet, strap the three-point seatbelt and… enjoy the ride!
The buggies are made by Polaris, a brand that is trusted by a wide range of outdoor activity operators and institutions, from ranch owners who need a reliable work horse to pack the haystacks to law enforcement that utilize this unique vehicle to patrol the desert and the borders or the jungle. At Mason Jungle Buggies, the chosen rides are at the cream level, utilizing Polaris Ace 325 cc as the single seater and Polaris RZR with 570 cc for the double seater.
“These buggies are more than just reliable and safe. We adjust the wheelbase to get a lower center of gravity so people can go crazy without flipping over. We also added a horn to let other drivers know that you are overtaking,” stated Jian Mason, one of the experts behind the business. Obviously some parts have been modified for the sake of fun without forgetting the safety components, like the staggering
factory built roll bar to protect drivers and passenger.
The 28 buggies – that consists of 20 single seaters and 8 doubles – are on standby in the basement park under the Koko Bambu restaurant. The restaurant also functions as the starting and finishing point for this activity so riders can clean themselves up and fill their hungry stomachs with some quality food after their driving session is done.
Mason Jungle Buggies is located at Banjar Tagtag in Ubud where lush greenery becomes the feast to the rider’s eyes. The buggy ride is 4.5 kilometers long that runs through from a village road to the forest and then to the custom built road.
The difference between Mason Jungle Buggies and other ATV operators is that other operators use the village road which is often blocked on special days for traditional ceremonies. This is not the case with Mason Jungle Buggies as they created their own track through the forest. “My father and I actually dug it all by ourselves using bobcats. We also walked through the forest to decide what features need to be added,” Jian explained how they built the customized track, including the safety points.
The road is mostly soil with some layers of gravel added on the big turning section to give riders a sensational drifting experience once they give a deep revving thrust and splash dirt around. This is the ultimate driving experience that also tests your driving skills.
Before the ride starts, the five- to seven-minute safety briefing is the rule of thumb that should not be neglected.
Riders are taken to the neat well-managed garage where those 28 buggies are waiting. The rules are displayed on a flat LCD screen; the information includes how to handle the ride, what needs to be considered along the road and what should not be done during the ride.
After all is clear, each rider wears a helmet and their three point seatbelts are fastened. Then, there’s nothing else left than to hit the ignition button and the gas pedal. Surprisingly, the buggies are not blaring as loud as I thought they would be. The sound of the engine was more of a medium roar, resembling a prowling predator.
The petrol-fueled engine gave a good thrust as soon as I hit the gas pedal on full throttle. The ride was super fun as I went through the dense tropical forest, waved to the local villagers, and saw an old man feeding his cows while roosters were roaming around the road. But the most fun was when I spin the wheel and drifted on soft gravel, blasting dirt to the buggy behind me.
Mason Jungle Buggies Jalan Raya Taro, Banjar Tatag, Ubud (0361) 721-480 www.masonjunglebuggies.com
Are you ready to go?
The starting and finishing point of the buggy ride.