So you’ve finally booked the dream trip to Bali — you won’t regret it.
Once you’re out there, you’re going to want to get around and see what this amazing island has to offer. As this is Asia, by far the best way to get around is by motorbike and you can rent them very easily. (Bike rental is included in the Paradise Interns onboarding fee.)
I’m going to answer some of the burning questions you’ve always had about renting a motorbike in Bali!
Before you depart
Sensible travellers will have put some thought into renting a motorbike in Bali before they leave. By reading this, you’re already off to a good start and probably ahead of most.
International driver’s permit
The main thing to consider before you leave is your driving licence. An international driving permit (IDP) is mandatory in Bali to rent a bike. For most countries, this means sorting it before you leave home. It’s usually very easy and cheap to do and well worth doing to avoid large fines.
You may be able to sort it from your country’s embassy in Bali, but no one wants to take time out from their trip for admin like that. We suggest researching and sorting it before you depart.
Do keep in mind that you may be required to show your passport and home country driver’s licence (or copies of them) in addition to your IDP if you are pulled over.
If you’re not familiar with riding a motorbike, it might be worth trying to get some practice in before renting in Bali. The roads in many parts of Bali are hectic and take a bit of getting used to. If you’re already at least comfortable with the basics of a bike then it makes things a lot easier.
If you don’t have access to a bike to practice on don’t worry too much. I’d never ridden before renting a motorbike in Bali and was able to learn. It was just quite intimidating at first learning the roads and the controls. Don’t worry though, it’s very possible.
Bike insurance in Bali is not particularly common with rentals. You might be able to pay extra for insurance but most places won’t even offer it. It is not mandatory in Bali to have bike insurance and the locals don’t have it.
Accidents are generally sorted out at the roadside with bikes taken to one of the numerous small garages. Again, don’t let this worry you. Bikes are so common in Bali that most minor damage is very easily and cheaply fixed. Do be careful not to be ripped off and try and find a trusted local who can help with a fair price.
One insurance you really shouldn’t dream of getting on a bike without is travel insurance. You should have travel insurance going to Bali anyway as medical care is not free. Getting on a bike without travel insurance is downright stupid!
Also, make sure you check the conditions of your travel insurance. Many have conditions specifically relating to renting motorbikes. For example, insurance usually becomes invalid if you ride without a helmet. So make sure you NEVER get on a bike without a helmet, even as a passenger.
When you get your bike
When you get your rental bike have a walk round with the owner to look for any damage. Most rental bikes in Bali aren’t even close to pristine but it’s worth making sure you don’t get blamed for damage. It’s often worth taking pictures to prove any damage on the rental bike wasn’t your fault.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the controls. Rental bikes in Bali are generally scooters/mopeds and are very easy to control. Check that you know where all the controls are, including lights and horn, just to be sure. It’s a good idea to make sure you know how to pop the seat open as well, as the gas tank is usually accessed through there.
Also make sure you get given a proper helmet with any rental. Some helmets in Bali aren’t substantial and wouldn’t help in an accident.
Tips for driving
Driving in Bali can be carnage, but it’s fun once you get used to it. You do have to be more aggressive than you would be in western countries as there aren’t many lights to control traffic. Watch the locals to see what they do at intersections or junctions and you can use this to help.
That being said, don’t copy everything the locals do, as driving along the sidewalk or running red lights can attract the wrong kind of attention!
The police in Bali love to pull foreigners over. You’ll see locals without helmets or children on bikes being ignored. Westerners will be pulled over all the time.
Make sure you keep your IDP on you as this can help avoid a fine. Also, again, wear a helmet as this makes you less likely to get pulled over.
Corruption is unfortunately rife in Indonesia so be careful you don’t get ripped off. Try to talk to the police officer to explain you haven’t done anything wrong and reason with them. Try asking to speak to an officers superior to report corruption. If that doesn’t work you may have to pay. Hide most of your money and keep a few hundred thousand IDR out to pay fines.
Unfortunately, a large number of tourists get injured or even killed in Bali. Most of these are through motorbike accidents. There are a few things you can do that will help to stop you from becoming another statistic.
Firstly, as previously mentioned…several times… WEAR A HELMET. I can’t stress this enough. It could save your life.
Secondly, never ever drive a bike if you’ve been drinking alcohol. This is just plain stupid and how a lot of people get injured.
Finally, don’t push yourself to do anything you’re not comfortable with. If you don’t want to drive in the busiest areas – don’t do it. Take alternative transportation (I’ll cover that next).
If any of this is filling you with fear or you need another option – don’t worry! Bali is really easy and cheap to get around if you can’t drive or rent a motorbike.
There are apps such as GoJek or Grab Taxi where you can hire a scooter or car to come and pick you up. The journey is booked and managed through the app but you pay cash (if you open an Indonesian bank account, you can add credit and pay through that). These services are so much more detailed than UBER and you can use them to bring you shopping, house cleaning, a haircut, or even a massage.
If you’re more old school, there are plenty of taxis driving round that you can flag over and hire for not much more money. If you fancy saving the planet you can often walk and in some places this may even be faster with the Bali traffic.
Have some fun!
If you do it right, renting a motorbike in Bali can be an amazing thing to do and gives you a lot of freedom. Get around this beautiful island and see what it has to offer. Once you get out of the more built up areas, the driving is easier and some of the scenery is spectacular.