Do you want to rent a scooter in Bali but have some questions? Before my trip, I dreamed about riding a rental scooter in Bali and crossing rice fields and majestic landscapes. However, another part of me was afraid of getting stuck in chaotic cities with no scape.
To be honest I am not an experienced biker. Before Bali, I had never ridden a motorcycle in my life except for a couple of laps around my grandparent’s village with a friend’s scooter. So the question of whether renting a scooter in Bali was dangerous or not, was a constant concern during the previous days.
Upon my return, I decided to tell my experience of traveling around Bali by scooter for the first time, since it is one of the best things to do in Bali.
In this guide to renting a scooter in Bali to travel across the island, you will find information about where to rent a scooter in Bali, documentation, insurance, scooter rental prices in Bali and answer the big question: Is it really dangerous to rent a scooter in Bali?
Travel around Bali by Scooter
If you have already decided to rent a scooter in Bali, you will find the information you need to plan your trip here.
Is it dangerous to ride a scooter in Bali?
My recommendation is that the first time you rent a scooter in Bali, do it in a quiet place with no traffic, like Ubud, especially if you do not have much experience. You can start, for instance, by going through the rice fields around this village, one of the best things to do in Ubud.
Riding a scooter in Bali is as dangerous as anywhere in the world, so even if the laws are not very restrictive, always wear a helmet.
My second and probably most important advice is buying travel insurance for Bali and take your phone with you at all times because accidents happen. Even though renting a scooter in Bali is not dangerous, you always have to be prepared.
International driving license in Bali
It is simple: Yes, you can rent a scooter in Bali without an international driver’s permit. However, I don’t recommend it.
The policemen get a good bonus every day just by stopping tourists and issuing tickets for driving without a license. To avoid this, first, you must drive like a Balinese. For instance, you must drive among the crowds, drive on the hard shoulder, on the left, on the right, pass between trucks, and honk your horn.
If you look like a tourist, the police will pull you over and if you don’t have an international driving permit they will make up the ticket price, depending on the police officer on duty. There have been cases where they have charged more than one million rupees ($70), so plan ahead and do the paperwork to get your international driver’s license before your Bali scooter rental.
How can I get the international driving permit & license to ride a scooter in Bali?
It depends entirely on your country.
In the US, for example, you should get an international driving permit (IDP) and take it with you together with your US license. This is issued just by two organizations, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) for a price of 20$.
The process is very straightforward, and it can be issued immediately at any of the AAA branches or by mail taking 10-15 business days from both organizations.
For other countries, you should check the process you must follow with the Department of Transportation of your country.
Driving in Bali
Driving in Bali can be chaotic. The Balinese don’t usually use the turn signals or the rear-view mirrors. The law of the strongest is what prevails on the road.
Tellingly, there are fewer accidents in Bali than one could imagine.
Which side do they drive on in Bali?
As in most Asian countries, they drive on the left side of the road in Bali, so you have to take special care when cars come forward if you are not used to driving on the left side. In my case and, on the less frequented roads, I ended up driving in the middle or avoiding the great number of potholes on the road. Whenever I could see a car coming in the opposite direction I just remembered to drive towards the left.
Gas Price in Bali
Gas is very cheap in Bali, with a price of around 33,642 IDR per gallon ($2.38). However, the gas stations in Bali are very different from the ones in the US and other developed countries, where you can find pumps, rest stops, and bathrooms.
The usual way to sell gas in Bali is through small stands with wooden shelves full of glass bottles with gasoline, where they will fill your Bali scooter tank.
Can I travel to Bali without a motorbike?
Although having your own motorcycle to go wherever you want is very comfortable, you can go around Bali without a scooter with no problem. Luckily, there are a lot of tours in Bali that take you to the main places to visit in Bali.
I’ve never ridden a scooter, can I drive in Bali?
I did it and the truth is that for someone who is riding a bike for the first time, it might be overwhelming. It is true that renting a scooter in Bali has many advantages, such as deciding your own schedules and itinerary. However, there are many downsides like swallowing the dust when driving on unpaved roads or the endless hours of riding where I ended up with horrible back pain.
I don’t regret it at all, but I think that, if you can afford traveling by hiring tours in Bali is much easier and safe.
In any case, don’t ever try to learn to ride a motorcycle in Bali. I rented a motorbike in Madrid during the two weeks before my trip to learn and get used to the scooter.
Scooter route across Bali
When traveling on a scooter in Bali, the distances can be significantly greater than you previously thought. I recommend that during the planning of your trip to Bali, multiply by two the Google maps distance. This will leave you more than enough time to drive calmly and not feel overwhelmed if you find roads in poor condition.
Installing the maps.me app on your phone and downloading this Bali map, will be of great help when you have to stop in the middle of the route to look for a location.
In addition, it is always recommended to take a Bali road map on paper. I bought this one, which is also waterproof in case it rained.
Regarding the Bali route by scooter, you can use any of those we recommend in the article on the best Bali itineraries according to the days you have, just consider that distances will be longer than traveling Bali by car.
Bali Scooter Rental
Renting a motorcycle in Bali is very simple. There are many places where you can find them and the prices are fairly cheap, around 70-80.000 IDR ($6 approx). They rent them in many hotels in Bali, restaurants, shops, etc. You can find Bali Scooter rentals everywhere.
In my case, I asked where to rent a scooter in Bali to a friend who had visited the island a few months ago and told me that he had many issues with his rental bike. His kickstand was suddenly released and he had an accident in which, although it was not serious, he broke the phone. Since it was a small road, he had to wait more than half an hour for someone to take him to the hospital. Luckily, it was only a few scratches that his travel insurance for Indonesia covered, but I no longer trusted to rent my motorcycle anywhere.
I booked my bike in advance here, and although it was a bit more expensive ($7.86 per day) it was in perfect condition. I rented a 150cc Yamaha NMax that was delivered to my first accommodation in Bali.
Bali Scooter Rental price
The price of renting a motorcycle in Bali goes from ID 70-80,000 ($6 approx) per day if you rent it once in Bali or $8 if you rent it from an online rental company. In addition, it is highly advisable that besides of your international travel insurance, you hire a scooter rental insurance, if you don’t want to be charged for the damages that may have the motorcycle when you return it.
These insurances vary from one place to another but consider approximately 20,000 IDR ($2) per day.
Bali by scooter or car
If you are thinking of going on your own, it is better to ride a motorcycle instead of a car in Bali due to the road conditions (there are roads with so many potholes that it is more convenient to avoid them with the scooter) and the price of rental cars in Bali.
However, not everyone like scooter, so if you are thinking about traveling by car in Bali you have three options: rent a car in Bali (it can be quite expensive), hire a car with driver (it has some limitations) or hire a tour (the easiest option although you will depend on your guide).
Tips for renting a scooter in Bali
Finally, I want to give you some handy tips for renting a motorbike in Bali:
- Take your time to check the rental scooter. Check the brakes and power and if you are not happy with it, do not hesitate to change it for another.
- Buy the best travel insurance and have the assistance phone at hand.
- Always wear a helmet even during short trips.
- Check the weather in Bali before your trip.
- Avoid being fined by taking your international driver’s license with you.
- Learn to drive like a real Balinese. Even if you carry a license, if the police see that you drive like a tourist, it will stop you and he will make up something to fine you.
- If you have never driven, rent a motorcycle in your city a few weeks before your trip to familiarize yourself with it.
- Buy scooter rental insurance to save money on the damage of this.
- Don’t try to carry all your luggage on the motorcycle. Set up a base camp in any hotel or villa in Bali and leave most of your belongings there, carrying only a small backpack with the essentials for your scooter tour through Bali.
- Carry both a paper map and an offline mobile app with the Bali map downloaded.
- In case of a breakdown or puncture, keep calm, call the company where you rented the motorcycle and go to one of the hundreds of workshops on the island.
I hope this article has helped you decide whether to rent a scooter in Bali or not and have given you all the information you need to make your experience traveling the island by motorcycle unforgettable.
If you have any other questions about my Bali scooter tour, do not hesitate to leave me a comment!
* Thanks to our friends María and Juan who let us use some of their photos to complete this article.