When I decided that I was going to spend a month in Bali, my first thought was that I needed to get a scooter or motorbike so I could get out and explore some places like Tanah Lot and Uluwatu. But obviously, I had no idea how to do it. I also had no idea if it was legal for me to drive. The information I found on renting scooters in Bali was so vague, contradictory, and often incorrect so I have decided to clear the air on this one.
This is your guide to renting a scooter in Bali.
Do you Need an International Drivers License to Rent a Scooter in Bali?
The answer is no, you don’t need an international drivers license to rent a scooter in Bali. HOWEVER, you do need to get yourself a local license which is, according to some, available at any police station. That being said, it seems that only the police station in Denpasar is giving away Indonesian licenses. These licenses are given basically without thought, although you’ll likely have to bargain and bribe. You just need to show your home license, and your visa/passport. It will likely cost you anywhere from 150,000 Rupiah to 300,000 depending on how fast you want it.
If you have an international drivers license, you don’t need to get a local license, so just plan ahead and get one before you come.
That being said, I’d guess that the vast majority of foreigners that rent scooters here are riding without the proper paperwork. Police have made it a task to grab tourists riding since they know they can likely grab a bribe to pocket. It’s funny, but you’ll see a 10 year-old kid riding without a helmet without ever getting pulled over, as soon as a foreigner even forgets to signal, they’ll jump all over him or her. Hell, they jump on tourists even when they’re driving properly.
What if I ride without a license?
Fact of the matter is that, for right or wrong, the vast majority of tourists drive without a license. As a result, the police often pull over tourists without any cause. The police usually don’t really care about upholding the law, they’re just looking for a bribe which they’ll call a fine. According to locals, a fine should be about 30,000 Rupiah to 50,000. On the one time I was forced to pay, I paid 50,000.
That being said, you should demand to be given a ticket. This helps reduce the problem of bribery, which is really bad in Bali. It also forces the system to become more legitimate, and offer solutions.
I was pulled over 3 separate times in Bali, and on the first occasion I was in a police office and I really had no way of not paying. The second time I was pulled over I argued that the officer had no right to pull me over, since I was driving according to the law. When he insisted on seeing the license I told him that he needed to provide me with an explanation or he was impeding my rights. When he insisted, I told him I would not show him my license but he was welcome to write me a ticket for not complying and I would go to the office and pay it, which is the point he gave up. You see, he had no interest in upholding the law, just with lining his pocket. The third time, the officer was very nice, but still pulled me over for no reason. When I told him I was on my way home and was living there, he made up some story about how I stopped inches ahead of the stop line, and told me to have a nice day.
I’m assuming the reason that foreigners are required to have an international license to rent a scooter is because English isn’t an official language. However, the system is completely flawed, and needs to be changed. That being said, I tell you to just drive against the law; you should respect the laws of the country you’re travelling. If you have time to prepare, just get an international license, it will save you lots of hassle. You’ll still get pulled over because you’re a tourist, but you wont have to fight nearly as much.
What about Insurance?
This is another story. The answer is no. You can get insurance, but in the opinion of most it is completely silly to do so as most incidents are dealt with by the people on the spot.
In regards to personal or travel insurance, there is a very high chance any accidents that happen on a scooter wont be covered by your insurance, so be wary of that.
Where Can I Rent a Scooter or Motorbike?
In any tourist zone in Bali people are renting out scooters. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to arrange with your hotel to book one for you. That way you’re more likely to get a fair price for it. However, in Kuta or Seminyak you’ll find countless numbers of places renting them out. Be sure to inspect the bike before you take it out. Also, I’d recommend taking a photo with your smartphone so they can’t pin any old damage on you. Be wary of who you buy through, and as I mentioned, I’d recommend you rent through a hotel so that you know that the dealer is fairly legit.
How Much will it Cost to Rent a Scooter in Bali?
It really depends on how long you’re wanting to rent. Obviously, the longer the rental period the cheaper it will be. However, it is incredibly cheap in comparison with other places in the world. I rented a scooter in Legian for 700,000 Rupiah (65USD) for one month. Basically 2USD a day.
So essentially, these should be your bargaining points for a scooter. If you pay more, you’ve paid too much:
- Per Day: 30,000-50,000 Rupiah or $2.50-$4USD
- Per Week: 200,000-250,000 Rupiah or $14-18USD
- Per Month: 650,000-750,000 Rupiah or $54-62
What Happens if I get in an Accident?
Well, it really depends on the severity of the accident and what happened. If there is damage to your bike, you will have to pay for the repairs, as will surely be a part of your agreement with the rental agent. If you damage anyone else’s property, you will likely also have to pay for their damage. Most of these negotiations are handled between the two parties, and sometimes involve the police. Just be warned, as a tourist, you will always get the short end of the stick, so be careful.
How much does fuel cost?
Fuel is cheap, and driving a scooter means you wont spend much either. On the street, 1 liter bottles of fuel sell for 7,000Rupiah which is about 0.60 USD, it is slightly less if you buy it from a fuel station. 4 Liters of fuel should last you about 150km or so, depending on the terrain. The price for fuel at gas stations is about the same.
What are your Scooter Experiences in Bali?
If you had a scooter experience in Bali, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!