We’ve spent a lot of time in Indonesia and a ton of time riding a scooter in Bali as our main form of transportation. One of the best reasons to visit Bali is for the adventures you can have on two wheels. Over time, you could say we’ve become quite experienced with the whole process of renting and riding a scooter in Bali.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Bali scooter rentals and our top tips for renting AND riding a bike on Balinese roads.
Bali Scooter Rental Tips, Jump to:
First of all, why should you rent a scooter in Bali?
We have to say, renting and riding a scooter in Bali has to be the most fun way to get around. Not only is it fun, but it often saves time too, as you can cut through the lines of traffic that you’d be otherwise stuck in if you were in a car.
Having your own transport also gives you the freedom and flexibility to decide your own Bali Itinerary as you please. The sense of adventure you’ll get from exploring Bali on 2 wheels is second to none.
And, Bali scooter rentals are often really cheap too, so you can save on your Bali travel budget while you’re at it!
But, is it safe to ride a scooter in Bali?
Let’s not get it confused, riding a scooter in Bali isn’t for the faint-hearted. The roads there are no joke and are often a bit chaotic.
Is it safe to ride in Bali? Well, on one hand, yes it is, at least mostly. That is if you follow the rules and already have some riding experience. On the other hand, if you’re a new, inexperienced rider who lets your nerves get the best of you then it most likely won’t be safe and hiring a private driver in Bali will most likely be the better option.
Even for the most experienced riders, the roads in Bali are unpredictable at the best of times. Fatal crashes are almost a daily occurrence for locals and tourists alike…
How much does renting a scooter in Bali cost?
It really depends where you rent from. On the whole, most Bali scooter rentals are CHEAP! However, the quality of the scooters is very hit and miss. Some are in good condition, some are old and wrecked. Some look like they’re in good condition…but the brakes don’t work.
There are some Bali scooter rental shops that only rent out shiny, new and reliable bikes. But, these come at a higher cost obviously.
Having said that, most of the time we’ve rented a scooter in Bali it has cost us 50K – 70K per day. Now though, having visited Bali many times before, we often rent a scooter on a monthly basis at a cost of around 600K per month (20K a day!)
Where can you rent a scooter in Bali?
Renting a scooter in Bali couldn’t be easier. It’s scary how easy it is actually.
There are places renting out scooters every couple of metres in popular tourist spots. Most guesthouses, hostels and hotels rent their own bikes out too.
You would be wise to do your research on reliable Bali scooter rental shops in your area though, to avoid being scammed. We often rent from our accommodation. In a way, we feel like they have at least some obligation to keep you and their bikes safe.
Which documents will I need to rent and ride a scooter in Bali?
None. Well, your passport maybe. Most Bali scooter rental shops won’t ask for anything but your passport, accommodation address and, most importantly, your money.
They don’t care if you have a driving license. Does that mean it’s legal though? No, of course not. You SHOULD at least have a driving license in your own country and an international driving permit.
Which kind of scooter should you hire?
Something you’ll notice when riding a scooter in Bali is that nearly all of the scooters are the same. The same make and model. There are, let’s say, 3 different types of scooter you’ll see around. These are Honda Vario’s, Honda Scoopy and Yamaha N-max.
The Honda Scoopy and Vario are smaller, less powerful and easy to ride bikes. N-max’s are much larger, more comfortable, powerful and more expensive to rent.
We’d recommend sticking to either a Scoopy or Vario. But, do try to get a 125cc scooter instead of a 110cc. The smaller engine scooters can really struggle up hills if you are riding with a passenger.
Will you be insured for your Bali scooter rental?
When it comes to personal damage and medical expenses you probably won’t be covered. For UK citizens, travel insurance requires you to hold an adequate UK bike license (which most travellers don’t have) AND hold an international driving permit.
The rules are different for other countries though. So, we recommend checking properly with your own travel insurance company to be certain.
When it comes to the bike, it’s most likely that the Bali scooter rental shop won’t provide any insurance. If you do happen to be in an accident, or have the scooter stolen, you’ll be liable for the repair/replacement costs.
What happens if you crash your scooter in Bali?
If you’re riding a scooter in Bali and end up in an accident what will happen? Well, the good news is the police probably won’t be involved. Most incidents are dealt with privately and whoever was at fault pays for the repairs.
The bad news is, you’ll have a hard time convincing a local it was their fault. This means you’ll end up paying for the damage to both their bike and yours.
As mentioned above, you may have some medical expenses to cover too!
12 Top tips for renting a scooter in Bali
So, getting a bike from a Bali scooter rental shop is SUPER easy. There are some precautions you should take though before signing anything and paying for your scooter. Here are our 12 best tips for renting a scooter in Bali that will help to keep you and your bike safe.
1. Research the most reliable scooter rentals in your area
Do your research. Ask your friends who have visited Bali before. Search on google. Ask your guesthouse. We can’t stress the importance of finding a reliable place to hire from.
Some Bali scooter rental shops are out to scam tourists for whatever they can get. The last thing you want is for them to hit you with a made-up bill when you return your bike.
2. Never give your passport as a deposit
To be fair, we’ve never really been asked for any deposit when hiring a scooter in Bali. But if they do ask for one, always choose the cash option and NEVER leave your passport. This gives them a dangerous amount of leverage over you if something is to go wrong.
3. Take pictures of the scooter
Before you ride away, always ask if the scooter has any known issues. Take as many photos or videos as possible highlighting all the damage you can find. Make sure the lighting is good so you can clearly see all the marks.
This can act as an insurance policy for yourself when returning the bike. You don’t want them to accuse you of further damaging their vehicle.
4. Check everything works
Before you sign for your scooter and pay for it, make sure it’s in good working order. Some Bali scooter rental shops would rent you a garbage can, made to look like a scooter if they could.
Always ask if you can take it for a quick spin first. Check that it starts well, runs okay and most importantly, has good brakes.
5. Check the fuel gauge
This is quite a silly tip but important, nonetheless. When renting a scooter in Bali don’t assume you’ll be getting a bike with a full tank. Often, they are bone dry. You’ll either need to buy petrol from the place you’re renting or a nearby store. That’s just the way it is.
6. Know where you can refuel
If you rent a scooter in Bali and run out of petrol, don’t go trying to find a gas station. They are few and far between. Instead, keep an eye out for old vodka bottles on the side of the road with either a blue or yellow liquid in them. This is petrol. The truth is, you’re probably never more than a 2-minute journey away from a local with their own petrol stand.
7. Make sure that you’re actually insured
We’re just trying to keep you safe here. It’s true that many people ride a scooter illegally in Bali and they won’t be covered by their travel insurance. Do your best to make sure you can legally ride a scooter in Bali and be covered in the case of an accident!
Look into getting a bike license in your own country and buying an international driving permit.
8. Don’t tell the Bali scooter rental shop where you’re staying
If you’re using a Bali scooter rental shop that you’re unsure of, don’t tell them where you’re staying. If they ask, maybe tell a little lie. It hasn’t happened to us, but a common trick is for shops to steal their own bikes from tourists and then demand they pay for a new one.
9. Haggle for your rental
Renting a scooter in Bali for a few days, a week, a month? Good. Haggle the price down. Most of the time, the single daily rate is much higher and you can get good deals on longer bookings.
10. Make sure you can get helmets
ALWAYS, before renting your scooter, make sure that your rental shop will provide helmets. Better yet, assess the quality of these helmets before you sign for anything. The last thing you want is to set off with a paper mache style helmet that offers absolutely no protection.
11. Ask for a lock
It’s not uncommon for scooters in Bali to go ‘missing’, whether intentionally (stolen) or unintentionally. We hear that some keys work in many scooters and some people simply ride away with the wrong bike by accident. Guard against this and try to acquire a motorbike lock.
At least you can rest easy knowing that your bike will be wherever you left it.
12. Write down or photograph your registration plate
We mentioned that nearly all of the scooters in Bali look the same, right? So, how will you find yours in a car park that has 1000 other scooters? The registration plate would be your best bet. We always take a picture of ours, just in case.
10 Top tips for riding a scooter in Bali
As mentioned, renting a scooter in Bali is EASY. But actually riding a scooter in Bali? That’s a whole other ball game! Here are top tips for riding a scooter that will go a long way in keeping you safe and sound out on the road.
1. Wear your damn helmet
We don’t really have to justify this one. It’s the law in your home country, it’s the law in Bali. The number one reason that local police will pull you over is for not wearing a helmet.
Regardless of the law, the main reason you should wear a helmet is for safety. Wearing a helmet in Bali can go a long way in saving your life, should you crash. If you see other travellers or even locals not wearing one, don’t copy them. It’s not big and it’s not clever. Look after your head…
2. Cover your eyes
Most Bali scooter rentals come with helmets, but these helmets, unfortunately, don’t come with visors to protect your eyes. Some of our best advice for riding a scooter in Bali is to wear sunglasses to protect yourself from the dust, flies and other things that may end up obscuring your view.
Busy roads are dangerous enough without being partially blinded by road dirt!
3. Be careful on the bends and when taking corners
Loose gravel, rocks and other debris are a big problem on Balinese roads. Be super careful when taking any bend or corner and keep an eye out for loose rocks. If you hit anything loose at speed you risk being catapulted off your scooter and into the emergency room.
4. Keep left
That’s right (well, left actually), the Indonesians drive on the left-hand side of the road. That’s fantastic for us (being from the UK) and you Aussies. But it might cause some trouble for Europeans and Americans who are used to driving on the right-hand side.
If you fall into the latter group, we recommend taking extra care to get used to the roads before you decide to head out on a long journey.
5. Understand and research local driving habits
We might call the roads in Bali ‘chaotic’, they are, but it’s also organised chaos. There’s a way of doing things there that is second nature to the locals but not foreigners. Like ignoring traffic lights and driving headfirst into oncoming traffic…
Take your time to understand Bali driving habits, like beeping as you overtake somebody. If somebody beeps at you, they aren’t annoyed at your driving, they’re just making you aware of their presence.
6. Go with the flow of the traffic
After some time of riding a scooter in Bali, you’ll notice that speed limits aren’t really a thing there. In fact, we don’t know if we’ve ever seen a speed limit road sign. Let the road conditions and traffic flow dictate the speed at which you travel.
If the locals are going slow, go slow too. If everyone else is moving faster, you might be a potential risk to yourself and others by driving at a snail’s pace.
7. Get familiar with riding with a passenger
Riding a scooter on your own is simple enough. Add somebody onto the back however and the dynamic changes slightly. The weight of the scooter will feel different, heavier and it might take longer to come to a stop.
Practice on quieter roads before heading out onto the main highway with your mate on the back.
8. Use your mirrors!
It’s not uncommon to find yourself riding on a busy road surrounded by 1,000 other vehicles. Even on empty roads, another scooter can appear next to you at any time and go unnoticed.
We advise you to ALWAYS use your mirrors and check either side of you before you manoeuvre anywhere. The second it takes to check your mirrors can help you to avoid many dangerous situations!
9. Research your route
If you’re heading out on a long ride in Bali then research your route. Maybe even ask your accommodation for advice. We’ve mentioned that being nervous on the road can be dangerous, so knowing what to expect ahead of time will help calm your nerves.
Some rides are easy and quiet, others involve navigating chaotic highways, steep hills or tough to navigate dirt tracks. It’s always best to be mentally prepared.
10. Think about the weather
If it looks like a storm is coming then you’d do well to not head out on your scooter in Bali. Driving in such storms can be dangerous. Wet roads and loose gravel are a recipe for disaster for inexperienced riders.
Likewise, if you plan to be out riding all day, wear sunscreen. It may feel cooler on the bike, but you’re still at risk of being sunburnt!
Other things to know about renting and riding a scooter in Bali
Below are a final few thoughts and answers for frequently asked questions relating to this topic.
How much is petrol in Bali?
Cheap. Like, very cheap! One litre of petrol from a roadside stand will usually set you back just 10,000 Indonesian Rupiah. For reference, that’s about £0.50 in GBP. Most scooters in Bali will only hold 2 litres of petrol and you’ll get a lot of miles out of your scooter for those 2 litres.
What happens if the police in Bali do stop me?
First of all, don’t panic. Realise that you’re most likely breaking the law unless you have a motorbike license in your own country and an international driving permit. Do the police care? In most cases, nope!
They’ll often ask you to show your international driving permit. If you don’t have one, they’ll generally accept a small 50K – 100K bribe and let you on your way. Just go with it, the official fine is about 1 Million Rupiah.
If you have one, you might be lucky and they’ll let you go. Sometimes, even if you have one, they’ll find another thing you were at fault for and give you a small ‘fine’ for that instead…
I’ve never ridden before, should I learn to ride a scooter in Bali?
You can do. In fact, many people do and are fine. Does that mean you should? Of course not.
We always tell people that learning to ride a scooter in Bali for the first time is dangerous. It can have disastrous consequences and the roads there are unforgiving. We highly recommend you at least get some experience riding a scooter in your home country on better roads FIRST.
Do I NEED a scooter to get around in Bali?
No, of course, you don’t. Whilst public transport isn’t really a thing in Bali, taxis and private drivers are. You can hire a private driver for a day or your whole trip. Yes, it will be more expensive, but it will also be more comfortable and a much safer way to travel around this island paradise. Plus, you can always make friends and share the cost of a driver with them!
Are you still planning to rent and ride a scooter in Bali?
Hopefully, by now we’ve given you a good overview of how to safely rent and ride a scooter in Bali. We know that, at times, this post might be on the more negative side. However, we’re just trying to be honest and keep you safe.
A lot of people do go to Bali and ride a scooter for the first time. But, a lot of tourists, for whatever reason, meet their end of the tough Balinese roads.
In any case, we hope that you stay safe and ride safer.
Have you rented a scooter in Bali before? How did you find it? If you know any great and reliable Bali scooter rental shops we’d love to hear about them in the comments.