BUGGY WON­DER­LAND

JOIN OUR CON­TRIB­U­TOR GINO ANDRIAS IN RID­ING A PO­LARIS BUGGY TO EX­PLORE THE JUN­GLE…

Bali & Beyond - - CONTENTS - By Gino Andrias

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 BUGGY

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.

THE TRACK

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.

THE RIDE

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.

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