If you want to travel around Bali on the cheap, you need to know how to rent a scooter in Bali. The most common method of transportation in Bali is, by far, the scooter. For many locals, their only way to get from place to place is on their scooter.
We saw locals load up scooters with as many as 4 kids. Scooters are modified to carry large loads and are used for everything. We even saw an ice-cream scooter!
While you can take taxis for very little cost, having a scooter will give you a lot of independence on the island. Being able to drive yourself anywhere, at any time, is a really nice way to travel. That being said, there are definitely some things you should know before you rent a scooter in Bali. Keep reading to find out!
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How Safe is it to Rent a Scooter in Bali?
As with any vehicle, in any country, there are risks. However, since scooters don’t drive as fast and most people aren’t distracted drivers, it is very safe. While it can feel chaotic in busier parts of town, the flow of traffic moves along without issue.
drive on the left
In addition, like most Asian countries, you drive on the left side of the road in Bali. You actually get used to it very quickly. But you need to be aware of traffic coming from both directions when turning into traffic. A lot of tourists visiting from countries that drive on the right have accidents because they don’t look both ways. Look in all directions, no matter what! It’s important to pay attention to cars and other scooters coming from all directions!
Wear a Helmet
Most rental companies will have helmets to go along with a scooter rental, but they probably won’t offer it to you. Locals typically don’t wear helmets, unless they’re traveling far and fast. Around town, you will see many locals forego a helmet. We recommend wearing one, just in case. Although, I will admit that we were a little lax on wearing helmets on short trips, especially when it was super hot. But anytime we traveled farther away to visit temples, beaches, etc., we always wore helmets.
The main roads in Bali are paved and generally well-maintained. However, if you want to see the cool things in Bali that are off-the-beaten-path, you will end up on some rough roads. While these bumpy, jarring trips were literally physically exhausting sometimes, they were some of the most fun day trips we had. Finding untouched beaches requires an adventurous spirit. Be prepared for maneuvering around potholes, ruts and rocks. Despite compressing a few vertebrae and sore shoulders, it’s totally worth it to rent a scooter in Bali for these trips!
Ride like a local
In busy parts of Bali, there will be a never-ending stream of traffic. When turning into traffic, or crossing traffic, you have to ride like a local. Which is to say, just do it. Other riders will not stop to let you through if they see you waiting. You have to take initiative and go for it. It’s scary at first, but this is how Balinese people drive and they will stop for you once they see you entering traffic. Somehow, it all works out.
Do I need a permit?
Balinese officials will say that you need an International Driver’s to drive in Bali. Some countries accept other country’s licenses as a substitute. Americans are supposed to carry an International DL. Yes, local police can ticket tourists for driving without a permit, the price of which varies.
We did not have a permit, and had no issues. Locals say that if you don’t drive like a tourist, you won’t be hassled like a tourist. If you’re intimidated by riding a scooter in the first place, doing it in Bali is not the place to try and get more comfortable. You will likely drop the scooter, crash, cause an accident, or get a ticket from local police. Again, if you look like you don’t know what you’re doing, you will call more attention to yourself.
Where can I rent a scooter in Bali?
There are scooter rentals EVERYWHERE in Bali. We are not exaggerating. Most hotels have scooter rentals available for their guests, but you don’t even need to be a guest to rent one from them. You’ll see scooter rentals all over the place. Especially in areas where a lot of tourists are coming and going. At ferry ports, tourist hot-spots, etc. It is not difficult to rent a scooter in Bali.
How much does it cost?
Renting a scooter in Bali is really cheap, but the price can fluctuate A LOT! Know before you go, that it shouldn’t cost more than $6 – $8USD (or 70,000-80,000IDR) per day. However, we did experience one area that had an influx of tourists and scooter rentals were running out. Scooter companies started price gouging because they knew they had limited inventory and people were willing to pay a higher price. We were not, of course, so we hitchhiked instead!
Gas is also fairly cheap in Bali. Since scooters get really good fuel economy, you shouldn’t pay too much for gas. It is likely that you will not receive a scooter with a full tank of gas, so be sure to check the gauge before you rent it. If you’re not careful, you can end up with a scooter that has hardly any gas in it and have to get gas ASAP.
How to navigate
If you’ve read our blog on 15 Essential Travel Accessories for Bali, then you know how to get a SIM card for your phone in Bali. Since SIM cards are so cheap, we recommend paying for one so that you have the ability to navigate anywhere you want to go. Plan on having your back rider navigate and give you directions. If you’re riding solo, you’ll need to configure some kind of handlebar mount for your phone so that you can check your map hands-free while you drive.
If you don’t want a SIM card, you can download an app called MAPS.ME that will allow you to navigate while on airplane mode. You simply have to download an area (like Bali) while on wifi, and you can use it for basic navigation. However, it is not very helpful when it comes to searching for things. You basically have to know exactly where you want to go, and the app will take you there.
How far can I go?
The island of Bali is actually pretty big relative to riding a scooter. Since most scooter rentals top out at 35mph, it takes a long time to get anywhere far away. If you’re hopping around the island, it’s best to take a cab when traveling farther distances. Rent a scooter in Bali to explore smaller areas of the inland. For example, if you’re in Ubud for a few days, rent a scooter while you’re there, then return it before the next leg of your trip to Changuu. We certainly did some longer trips on the scooters, but they’re not very nice bikes, and anything longer than 45 minutes is tough on the body!
Have fun When you Rent a Scooter in Bali!
if you’re not super comfortable on a scooter, try renting one in a calm, quiet area rather than the bustling towns. If you’re doing it right, you’re going to have so much fun in Bali.
As always, have fun and be safe. Be sure to check out our post on 3 Reasons Why you Need Travel Insurance before you go!