Riding a scooter in Bali, near Ubud

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So, you have decided you are traveling to Bali.

Congratulations on that! Because Bali is a very interesting place to travel to. I didn’t like Bali at first, but now I love it and keep returning to again and again. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. How to get around in Bali?

Is riding a scooter in Bali a good idea? Is it safe to drive in Bali?

Anything else you need to know before renting a scooter in Bali?

Answers to all these questions (and not only) you will find in this article.

Let’s get started!

At Uluwatu temple, Bali
Uluwatu temple, Bali

How to Get Around Bali

1. Public Transport in Bali

There is public transport in Bali. Buses and mini buses.

But it’s very hard to use it in Bali.

Because it’s not going everywhere, and it’s very tricky to find a bus stop in Bali. Unless it’s a longer ride and you are close to a bus station, I would say, that it’s not worth the hustle. Or if you are with a local, who knows when the bus is coming and where. Most  people don’t know, because they don’t use public transport. They drive scooters.

So, better don’t rely on public transport in Bali.

2. Shuttle Buses in Bali

Then there are Kura-Kura shuttle buses.

These buses are traveling between top tourist destinations in Bali.

Grab scooter driver
Grab scooter driver

3. Grab, GO-JEK and Uber in Bali

Can you use Uber in Bali? Not anymore.

Thanks to the efforts of local taxi companies Uber was having hard times in Bali. And as of May 2018 Uber has “sold its business” to its Southeast Asian rival – Grab. Same like Uber, Grab is a ride-hailing application.

It’s widely used in Southeast Asia.

In many countries it’s operating freely.

But Bali is… another story.

In many places around Bali ride-hailing apps are illegal.

Yes, people still use them. They use them a lot. But, unfortunately, there are many places, where your driver will tell you, that he can’t pick you up from there. For example, you can’t get Grab from the entrance of the Bali airport. You have to leave the airport first, which is rather difficult in Bali, where there are no sidewalks leaving the airport.

And then there are places, where they can’t drop you off.

Luckily, you can go to the airport using Grab.

GO-JEK is an Indonesian ride-hailing app.

I’ve used it a lot and can recommend.

There are GO-JEK and Grab scooters in Bali as well.

As of 2019 you can rent a car with a driver in Bali using Grab.

4. Taxi in Bali

Getting a taxi in Bali is relatively easy.

There are a lot of them.

Blue Bird Taxi is the most reputable taxi company, but just like Grab and Go-Jek it isn’t allowed to operate in a lot of places. As in any other place around the world, you can also just walk to a taxi on the street. Be prepared to haggle about the price, though.

If there is no taxi around you, walk into any hotel or restaurant, and ask if they can help you and call one. Hopefully, they will be able to help you. But, again, be prepared to haggle about the price.

Alternatively you can try the Blue Bird Taxi app.

Driving a scooter in Nusa Penida

Renting a Scooter in Bali: How? Where? How Much?

Most of Bali bike rental shops aren’t shops in fact.

Often these are just individuals who have a few scooters.

At the same time it has made scooter hire in Bali very easy.

Head out of the airport and there, already at arrivals, will be a bunch of man willing to rent you a scooter right away. Or walk around the streets, and you’ll be offered to rent a scooter. Just to be on the safe side, if it’s your first time in Indonesia I will recommend to rent a scooter through your hotel.

It might be pricier, but more safe as well.

1. Bali Scooter Rental Price

A daily rate is about 50 000 – 70 000 IDR.

For this money you’ll get a simple, automatic scooter.

Honda Scoopy is a good choice for this money.

Better, bigger and faster ones, like nMax, will set you back around 100 000 – 150 000 IDR a day, or around a 1-2 million for a monthly rental.

Monthly rate starts at around 600 000 IDR.

Mostly there is no deposit.

You just have to pay in advance for the number of days you agree on.

Indonesian money

2. Bali Scooter Rental Shop Recommendation

During my trips to Bali I have tried several scooter rental shops.

Some of them have been bigger, others – very small.

2.1 Made (Ubud)

If you just need a bike, any bike, in Ubud.

Then go to Made. I’ve rented from him several times.

I can highly recommend you this one Ubud scooter rental. It’s a very small shop, offering tours and renting scooters (on this junction, on Jl. Arjuna, a little bit to the right from Jungut Inn). What I like most about him is this guy’s attitude.

Something is broken? No problem, it gets fixed right away. Have you decided to use the bike for a few more days? No problem, send him a message on WhatsApp. Wanna return late at night? No problem.

We could always easily agree on everything with him.

WhatsApp: +628563993279

2.2 Purnama Bali Hostel / Rental (Ubud)

Bigger choice of scooters.

The same as nice and professional attitude.

Highly recommended.

It’s here – Purnama Bali Hostel. Also in Ubud.

WhatsApp: +6281246176016

If you prefer to travel in style, think of renting a vespa in Bali.

3. Renting Scooter in Bali Without License

Renting scooter in Bali without license is possible.

Simply because most probably you will not even be asked to show your drivers licence. If at one place you are asked to show a licence, you can always walk to the next one and rent a scooter there.

Do so at your own risk! Driving in Bali isn’t easy.

Driving in Bali is nothing like driving in Europe or US.

Riding a scooter in Bali, near Agung
Near Agung, Bali

Bali Travel Tips: Riding a Scooter in Bali

I’ve been to Bali several times, in all seasons.

Every time I’m in Bali, I rent a scooter.

Is riding a scooter in Bali same like in the photo above?

Not always everything is as beautiful, green and peaceful.

Bali is a relatively small island. But it’s a home to more than 4 million people. And about a million tourists visit the island every month. Hence the traffic here can be busy, sometimes very busy. In comparison driving a scooter in Thailand or Malaysia mostly is much more relaxed.

At the same time it’s the most popular mode of transportation in Bali. And not without a reason. Because with a scooter in Bali you can get anywhere you want, often faster than if driving a car in Bali.

It’s the best mode of transportation for getting around Bali.

1. Is It Safe to Drive in Bali? Yes and No

And I hear you asking yourself – should I drive in Bali?

If you don’t have any experience riding a scooter in Asia, then I think Bali is a bad place where to start. If you have a chance try riding a scooter at home. Because it can be very hard here for a beginner. For most part it’s nothing like you see in the photo above.

I’ll talk about it in more details later.

But in short – traffic in Bali is intense and roads are narrow.

Traffic in Bali is intense and roads are narrow.

Driving on the wrong side of the road is nothing out of ordinary here. If in Europe you can only overtake on one side of the other driver, here it happens on both sides. And Bali driving culture is also completely different. Seeing how close everyone is driving to each other here may also make you feel very, very uncomfortable at first.

Street lighting is almost non-existent. Or it’s bad.

People are walking on the roads, since there are no sidewalks on the outskirts of towns. It’s happening in towns as well. And, yes, quite many bikes in Bali don’t have lights. Pay attention to it when you’ll be renting a bike in Bali.

If that doesn’t scare you off, good.

Then go on and rent a scooter in Bali.

2. Always Wear a Helmet When Riding a Bike in Bali (and Pay Attention to the Road)

Mostly roads in Bali are OK.

But there there still are potholes in some places.

Sometimes these are very big potholes, potentially very dangerous potholes, and you see them also on seemingly very good quality roads. Keep this in mind whenever you’re out driving in Bali. 

Another thing – other tourists.

Many of them have very little if any driving experience.

3. In Bali You Drive on the Left

Remember that!

Evening traffic in Bali, Kuta
Afternoon traffic near Kuta, Bali

4. Avoid Kuta, Denpasar and Airport in Afternoons

Because in the afternoons traffic there is double-crazy.

Just look at the photo above to see what I mean.

Well, it’s always busy there. Also during the day and late at night. The road there is wide and for most part its quality is also very good. It’s just one of the main roads in a very populous part of Bali, and there are just too many people driving there. In the afternoon it’s that bad there that even on a scooter you might be moving only slightly faster than pedestrians.

5. The Same Happens in Ubud, Too

Because Ubud is a very popular town.

The roads there are two-lane and narrow.

And there are just too many people living and staying there.

Thousands of scooters going in all directions. Cars. Big tourist buses. Trucks. Occasionally some cyclists. Although, you don’t see that many people cycling in Bali. And I would highly recommend against it. Because it’s dangerous to cycle in Bali. It’s dangerous being on a bicycle with all this busy Bali traffic constantly all around you.

Of course, it’s safer in and near Ubud than on the highways near Kuta or Denpasar. Simply because the traffic there is more slow. But, yeah, don’t be surprised to end up in a long, long traffic jam, when… going for a yoga or meditation class in Ubud.

It happens.

6. Never Keep More Than 200 000 – 300 000 IDR in Your Pocket

Let’s start with a disclaimer.

No, I’m not saying that it’s OK to break a law. It’s not.

However, this is what’s happening on the roads in Bali.

If you are driving in Bali, chances are you are gonna be stopped by police at some moment. The chances are higher if you are driving on the highway near Denpasar and Kuta. What happens next is that you might be asked for a bribe. Especially if there’s something wrong with your bike or documents.

You’ll be “offered a help”  to solve it now and on the spot.

I was asked to give “all the money I have.

If you pay a bribe.

Just Google and you’ll find a lot of stories.

If you don’t have International Driving Permit, you may even be asked to pay 1 000 000 or 2 000 000 IDR.

Once I was asked to give “all the money I have.

That’s why also many locals advice everyone to have two wallets in Bali – one for police, another one for other spendings. I never keep more than 200 000 IDR in my pocket / police wallet, when riding a scooter in Bali. And I would recommend you to do the same.

Traffic in Ubud, Bali
Traffic in Ubud, Bali

How to Get International Drivers Licence in Bali

You can’t get international drivers licence in Bali.

Or International Driving Permit.

Because it’s being issued only by your state.

But you can get local drivers licence in Bali.

Obtaining Indonesian Driving License in Bali

It’s possible to get Indonesian drivers licence in Bali.

Even if you are in Indonesia on a tourist visa.

With so many foreigners living in Bali long-term it’s not a surprise there are quite a few articles on this topic. But they all seem to be saying opposite things. Some say you can just show your licence, pay the fee and get Indonesian scooter drivers licence.

Some say the fee is 1 000 000 IDR, others – 500 000 IDR.

Some also say it’s easily possible to buy a drivers licence in Bali.

I haven’t done it myself. But I have a friend from Latvia, who in spring 2018 got his licence for 100 000 IDR.

To get it done he had to go to the police headquarter in Denpasar. With his Latvian drivers licence, passport and a copy of passport and visa. There he had to do a theoretical exam as well as a driving exam. He did all of that and soon got his licence. Note that theoretical exam is only in Indonesian. You can use Google Translate. But you have to be FAST.

The drivers licence is valid for 5 years. The best part about it is that you can use it also in other ASEAN countries. Get it once, and have no problems in other neighbouring countries. Sounds like a real good thing to me.

Think of it if you’ll be staying long-term in Bali.

Scooter drivers in Bali

Bali Isn’t A Small Island

One last thing – Bali isn’t as small as it looks.

I remember coming to Bali and thinking of riding all the way around Bali in a day. You can probably do it. But it’s gonna be a very looooong day. So, how long does it take to drive around Bali? More like 2-3 days. Depending on how much you will want to stop along the way. And that’s also if you drive more or less along the coast.

Read about my experience driving around Bali in 1 day.

Have you been to Bali? What’s your experience renting a scooter in Bali?


1-Minute Bali Travel Guide

When to Go to Bali?

June – August is the top season in Bali.

March – May is a good time if you want to avoid crowds. There’s more rain during the spring, but it’s also my favorite time of the year in Bali.

September – October is also a very good time to visit Bali. But it’s just that everything is more dry during this part of the year.

Where to Stay in Bali?

Kuta / Seminyak is close to the beach, cheap, but also crowded. Canggu is also close to the beach, but it’s more stylish and not so crowded. Ubud is a good point from to explore the whole island.

Kuta / SeminyakIbis Bali Legian (value for money), M BOX SEMINYAK (nice and cheap hostel).

CangguSurf Motel (value for money).

UbudLili House Ubud (value for money), Halaman Depan Hostel (super cheap hostel, nice owners), Wijaya Guest House (cheap, value for money).

What to Do in Bali?

Check out the Balangan beach and Virgin beach.

Visit Pura Gunung Kawi temple and Uluwatu temple.

Visit Ubud, Jatiluwih rice terraces, Nungnung waterfall and Sekumpul waterfall. Go cliff jumping in Aling Aling waterfall. Go on a mount Batur sunrise trekking tour (volcano hiking).

Go on a day trip to Nusa Penida and Ijen volcano.

How to Rent a Scooter in Bali?

It’s cheap. It’s very easy. There are a lot of options.

Starts from 50 000 IDR / day (500 000 IDR / month).

All about renting a scooter in Bali.

Book Your Trip Like a PRO

1. Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights using Kiwi.com, Momondo.com. Or subscribe to Dollar Flight Club, if you don’t want to be searching for the flights yourself. Momondo usually is my first choice.

2. Book Your Accommodation

Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb. I use Booking and Agoda at least a dozen times a year, and Airbnb – when looking for a long-term stay. My best tip is to ALWAYS compare the price. Sometimes the same hotel is cheaper on Booking.com, other times – on Agoda. Always compare the price!

3. Buy Your Travel Insurance

World Nomads and SafetyWings are two companies I can recommend. World Nomads offers some extra benefits, that will be important for those doing some higher risk activities, while SafetyWings is significantly cheaper. SafetyWings is only $9.25 / week.