Driving a scooter on your own is simply the best way to get around if you are not going for long trips. If you want to go to the beach, do some shopping, visit some restaurants etc., then a scooter does make things very easy and convenient. You can skip the traffic jams and make use of the small “gangs” (narrow roads and pathways), and shortcuts. Parking is easy, and in most cases, the distances are a bit too much to get from your hotel to other restaurants, shops, etc for walking. Sidewalks are often not perfect (or non-existant). And during the day, it can be simply too hot for a 10min walk.
For longer distances and day-trips we however still advise travelers to rent a car with a driver, it’s safer, also very affordable and much more comfortable.
3USD to 15USD
A scooter is a motorbike is a scooter. Anything on two wheels with an engine will be called scooter or motorbike without a real clear definition. The Iocals call it a “Sepeda Motor” or simply “Motor”.
Usually, when you rent one, you will get a Japanese (Honda, Yamaha) make with 125-150cc. Most of them these days are automatic, so you don’t need to bother with the gears. They are really easy to drive and can go even up to 100km/h; however we suggest not to go so fast in Bali – ever!
Two-wheelers are very affordable and the prices range from 3USD to 15USD for 24h, depending on the conditions, age, model, and the number of days you are renting. Prices are usually without any insurance coverage.
The Rental Places
Wherever you stay in Bali, a rental shop is never far away. And while walking around your area, you will usually be approached many times, whether you wish to rent a “motor bike” (or a massage, or transport, or or or). Don’t get offended by this, It’s for the locals just a “marketing method” to get customers.
But, choose your rental partner wisely. If the place is too cheap, looks shady or the people feel to you not trustworthy…then move on. No need to take a risk.
Is it Safe to drive a scooter in Bali?
Yes, and no. Getting and driving a scooter or motorbike in Bali is rather easy which is mainly due to a lack of law enforcement. This seems to encourage visitors to be a bit too careless about their own safety when it comes to renting a scooter or a motorbike, which leads regularly to horrible accidents and huge painful dramas. Scooter accidents are probably the most common “problems” travelers experience in Bali and in that sense, it’s also the most dangerous activity – but mostly self-induced, and sometimes even fatal.
Basic Safety Rules
- Always wear a helmet with a strap
- Protect your eyes (helmet or sunglasses)
- Closed shoes if possible
- Check the bike before driving off (breaks, lights, tire pressure)
- No alcohol, no drugs!
- Always horn when overtaking
- Expect anything anytime appearing from anywhere – no joke!!
- Don’t speed, anything between 25 and 35km/h is sufficient
- Roads can be slippery, particularly after or during rain fall
- Always watch the road for holes, stones, rubble
- Exhaust can be really hot, watch your leg
- Ask the rental guys about insurance
- Keep the name and mobile number of the rental guys with you
Main Factors for getting in trouble with a scooter
Adapting to the Traffic Conditions
The traffic itself is a challenge. It’s different to what most people are used to at home, so it can be confusing, overwhelming. Even though it looks as if there are no rules, there are indeed rules that everybody in a way knows and plays along with. CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE on handling TRAFFIC conditions in BALI.
Overestimating yourself and your skills
Accidents with scooters and motorbikes happen very often. Most accidents with tourists happen because they overestimate themselves and their driving skills. Driving too fast! It’s very easy, even for beginners getting used to two motorised wheels, to drive fast, but to control a difficult situation, to break hard or to take narrow curve is something that needs practice.
Drinking (and drugs)
It can be tempting to drink a few Bintang beers, and drive back home on your scooter in the middle of the night and save on the taxi fee. But you would not be the first one who would leave Bali in a wooden box because a dog crossed your way in the darkness, a truck appeared without lights, or a hole in the street was the last thing you remember when waking up in the hospital.
Construction trucks deliver sand, stones, building material to building sites. More often than not, this load will be dumped on the roadside. Nobody is offended and navigates around this pile because this is how things are here. At best, they put a stick or tree branch in it to warn you. Something very difficult to see, when it’s dark!
Small stones, loose chippings sand and if so rain creates a surface where your tire loses grip easily. Particularly when the street is wet, or in curves.
No helmet? Not a good idea. And if your helmet does not have a glass, then you should use sunglasses at least. It can be dusty and dirty. Never drive barefoot. Sandals and flip flops are the shoe-wear suitable for all occasions in Bali, but if can, use sneakers, then you will be much safer.
Please do us all a favour
DON'T RENT A LOUD BIKE
It's disrespectful to the Balinese and an unnecessary noise pollution
Good to Know when renting a scooter or motorbike
- Drive according to your skill-level.
- Always wear your helmet.
- Don’t forget to always turn on your headlights when riding a scooter in Bali. Even during the day, the main scooter lamp must be switched on (it’s a rule by the Indonesian Traffic Police).
- Always alarm others when you aim to go to the other lane or taking a turn by turning on the sign lamp.
- Consider having a tourists’ driving license if you plan to use the vehicle for an extended period of stay in Bali (30 days or if you happen to pass big roads most of the time). Some police might stop you at some particular streets at random time. To apply a tourist driving license, you will need an international license which you have to apply for in your home country. They are usually only valid together with your “real” driving license, so you need to bring both along. You can get a temporary Balinese driving license from the police station in Polresta Denpasar (Jl. Gunung Sanghyang No.110, Padangsambian, Denpasar Barat) within a day. Check with your hotel or homestay; they will know how you can get there. The cost is ca. Rp. 300.000 – Info on driving license in Bali
- Choose automatic gear
- Gas stations are run by the state company Pertamina. All over Bali you can find small gas stations in front of shops (Perrtamini) or even little shacks, selling fuel (bensin) in 1lt Vodka bottles
- Check the pressure of the air in your tire and the profile. You need a good grip! If it seems to start to flat, immediately go to the nearest gas station or some repair shops (Bengkel). You can say “Tambah Angin” to ask the stall keeper inflating the air to your tire. You can say “Ban Depan” if you want only front tire to be inflated, “Ban Belakang” if you wish the back tire to be inflated, or “Depan Belakang” to make sure both of your tires work well. You will need to pay around Rp. 5.000
- If something is broken you can contact the rental guys, or you can ask the locals aroundyou,where is the closest repair service by saying “Dimana bengkel terdekat?” and they will direct you to the nearest place to fix your scooter.
- Stay centered, in a good mood, and don’t take things personal (check out our “spiritual traffic rules”.
- Don’t give the rental guys your passport or your credit card as collateral. Your address in the hotel should be enough, or a passport copy.
- Accident happen, and medical cost in Bali for wound treatments (stitching, cleansing and debridement) need to be paid cash. There are 24h medical emergency services in the main tourism areas .
- if you have an accident, you usually need to pay for the damages that you caused unless you signed up for an insurance with the rental guys.
- You medical insurance back home, should allow you to claim back any costs occured, due to an accident, Make sure you get proper bills in English.
Adapting to the Traffic in Bali
You need to be careful and alert, and know a few things that keep you safe. We gathered a few tips for you that should help you to avoid getting you into trouble.
Coming Back Soon
Due to the Covid Situation unfortunately we cannot offer you at the moment tour and transportation services.