Hiring a motorbike in Bali, 10 must read tips

Riding a motorbike is a probably one of the easiest ways to get around the island. Its cheap, relatively safe and a great way to avoid the traffic jams. For most people the first thing they do is rent a scooter and if they are into surfing, they will get one with board racks attached.

Imagine being able to by pass all those nasty traffic jams. However, there are a few golden rules you should follow before getting on your motorbike and exploring the island of Bali.

What You Need To Know When Hiring a Motorbike in Bali

1)  you are going to need an international drivers license or if you don’t have one of these, you will need to get a Balinese driving license, which you can get in Denpasar. Forget about riding around the island without on. Read this quick article to get the real scoop on whats going on with a drivers license in Bali: http://indonesia.embassy.gov.au/jakt/DrivingLicen.html

Eventually you will get stopped by the police. This will end up in a costly fine and a trip to the local police station. Be prepared to pay these guys if they ask for a payment. It saves a lot of hassle and wasted time. Offer them 100 000 Rp and that should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, this is the way it works here and it’s best to acknowledge this and move on. Never argue with he police and think that you’ll be able to talk your way out of it, because you won’t. Pay them and move on!

2) You have to wear a helmet. Again, if the police see you ( especially if you are a foreigner), you will get a fine. Plus think of the danger aspect. It is quite common to see tourists driving around in their swimwear completely unprotected. Unfortunately, it is these same people we also see fully bandaged up, walking around in crutches. Wear a helmet it’s a MUST! A good idea if you ride a motorbike back home and you intend to rent a bike for a long period of time, is to bring your own helmet. Generally a lot safer and a lot cleaner.

3) You can find a motorbike to rent easily. There are places all over Bali that offer this service. Start with your hotel,  and if they can’t help you I’m sure the concierge will be able to walk you across the street to a mates place to get your bike. Make sure you test the brakes, look at the tyres, as these bikes have been punished by many tourists. If it looks dodgy, move on to the next bike rental place; 5 metres down the road. I will make a bet with you that you can get a bike to rent within 15 minutes of looking. This is especially true in the main tourist areas such as Seminyak, Kuta or Legian.

4) Watch out for the traffic ( see below ). Be 100% alert as driving in Bali is completely different to driving here in Australia. Basically, the rules are a lot more relaxed and I find that the larger vehicles tend to rule the road – keep well clear of these trucks and other bigger cars – especially those water trucks as they drive like absolute lunatics!

5) Driving after you have had a few drinks seems to be quite common place in Bali. But, again if you are silly enough to do this, you are more than likely going to end up in an accident. They do not have drink driving in Bali and the police won’t care how much you have drunk but for your safety just don’t risk it. Taxis are plentiful and cheap enough so go that option.

6) Make sure the horn is working on your bike. You will need it as everyone honks, beeps and hoots in this place. Overtaking requires that you sound your horn.

7) Rental prices for motor bikes can vary – generally around Rp 50 000 – Rp 100 000 per day should cover the bike hire and insurance. Petrol is additional and is quite cheap. You will need to a petrol station called ‘Pertamina’ or there are actually street vendors that sell petrol for a premium price. It’s best to avoid these vendors as the petrol contents can be questionable.

8) Try to avoid driving too much at night as in some areas there are no street lights and the roads can have some big pot holes. If it’s doing the rainy season and your driving at night take extreme care.

9) Avoid hitting any stray dogs wondering on the street.

10)   If you have a surfboard, ask for surf bike racks on the side of the bike. This is a great way to check out all the main surf breaks around Bali. You will see heaps of surfers getting around this way.

If you renting a villa through us at Bali Villa Escapes and want a motorbike waiting for you at the villa when you arrive, we can easily arrange this for you. Please speak to your reservation manager who will be more than happy to get this organised for you so when you arrive it has a full tank of petrol ready for you to start exploring. Even better some villas have their own scooters available for guests to use, so ask about that as well.