Driving in Bali – Handling the Traffic & Driving License

Stay on High Alert - ALWAYS!

The Basics

Traffic is on the left side like in the UK

  • Horn means: Please notice me, it’s not a sign of aggression
  • Many narrow roads, not many signs. Always bring your phone using a map-service
  • Your side of the road, will be used by others that come from the opposite direction. You don’t own the road or have the right of way
  • Trucks and cars can overtake recklessly and expect you to make space – in any direction
  • You will share roads with dogs, chickens, cows, children, fallen coconuts, parked vehicles.
  • Changing lines without using the indicator is normal, expect anybody to change lane anytime
  • Road conditions can be bad and change overnight
  • Roads get closed off for processions
  • Traffic flow is rarely faster than 30-40km/h
  • Main roads (Jl. Bypass….) ca. 60-70km/h

Bali’s Spiritual Traffic Principles

  • Don’t get angry
  • Don’t get offended
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • No need to rush things
  • Nothing is what it seems
  • Anything can happen anytime
  • Let things flow naturally
  • Don’t insist
  • Accept others how they are
  • Feel, sense, anticipate
  • Stay respectful
  • Always be alert, aware and fully conscious

Anything can happen – anytime. And Anything will happen, if you drive around long enough

Anybody can and does enter a main road at any time without looking. Here one of the main rules applies: Whatever you can see in front of you is your responsibility. So a motorbike driver cutting into your main road believes that you will notice him and that you would make space or slow down. If you want to overtake somebody you MUST use your horn, so they know you are coming; otherwise, they might move right or left unexpectedly. Also here, the unwritten rule applies, that you need to notice and adapt to what is or appears in front of you.

Many speed bumps are placed on villages or neighbourhood area, and they could be improperly built (too wide and too high). Always ride max 20km/ hour when you are entering this area.

Rather drive too slowly than too fast. NEVER drink and drive!

Driving License for Bali

  • Driving in Bali with Australian license? – NO!
  • Driving in Bali with Indian license? – NO!
  • Driving in Bali with Singaporean License? – NO!
  • Driving in Bali without license? – NO!

….you get the hint!

You need an international driving license which you have to apply for in your home country. You have to show your international driving license AND the normal licnse during a traffic stop. One is not enough.

You can get a temporary Balinese driving license (tourist driver’s license-but ONLY if you hold KITAS/ long term Indonesia visas) from the police station in Denpasar within a day. Check with your hotel or homestay; they will know how you can get there. The cost is ca. US$30. That’s one way how the local police creates some extra income. You will have to fill in a multiple-choices form (with the answers right next to you!), bring a passport picture and the money….anybody can get it between the age of 18 and 70!

Getting stopped by the police without a license, vehicle documents or helmet:

If you get caught without a license or speeding, or without helmet or get blamed for an offense you did or didn’t do, the police will usually try to scare you a bit and say: “Oh…really bad…expensive…court hearing…judge—blabla”. Always stay calm and friendly, that will certainly help the situation. Tell them you did not know, and you are sorry. They will usually charge you a fee and let you go. Expect to pay between 10 or 30US$.

Renting a Car

We do not recommend renting a car without a driver on Bali. A driver costs you between 10 and 15US$ per day but saves you a lot of hassle. Most people rent a car for a day-trip to discover the island, do some sightseeing, etc. A full-day sightseeing can be in itself exhausting because there is so much to see and to explore.

A driver will be faster, will know his way around, knows where and when it is possible to park and will wait at the car and watch your belongings at all times. More often than not, he will become a good companion and tour guide for your day trip. And after a full day of visiting temples, botanic gardens etc. you will be happy that it was not you sitting behind the steering wheel. And if something happens with the car, it won’t be you who gets the blame.

Car Rental with driver on Bali

Coming Back Soon

Due to the Covid Situation unfortunately we cannot offer you at the moment tour and transportation services.

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