When you travel to Asia you will see that scooters are everywhere and the traffic is just so chaotic. Netherneless, so many tourists and location independent people want to drive a scooter as well. It makes sense, in many cities, there are no pavements and a scooter is the fastest way to get to places. Walking is impossible if you use a car you get stuck in traffic. I accidentally stayed in Bali for 3 months and it was my first experience driving a scooter and I totally loved it.
Driving license and insurance
Yes, you need to have a driving license to drive a scooter. If you do not have a driving license at home country then you don’t magically get a permission to drive in Bali too. You have to have an international driving license to drive a scooter. Also, if an accident happens your insurance will not cover any hospital expenses.
Yes, you can rent a scooter without a driving license because the rental place does not care if you have a license or not. It is your responsibility to know the laws of the country.
If you were caught by police without driving license or wearing a helmet then police usually try to scare you so always be calm and friendly, everything will be fine, they will just write you a fee which usually is around 10 – 30$. But they can definitely try to ask way more money. My host who lives in Bali for 20 years suggested me to have two wallets and in one always have like 300k and if police stops then just say that you have only 300k and you can’t pay more.
To be honest I knew all of those things and I still drove my scooter without driving license which is always a risk.
Just because there are so many tourists and digital nomads in Bali it is not so safe to drive. All the traffic is just crazy. I was staying in Bali with 4 other girls and we all had a story about a stupid scooter accident which we made. It was just a lack of driving experience. Always follow these safety rules:
- Always look predictable, make sure that other drivers know what you want to do next.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Don’t speed.
- When you park your scooter be careful not to touch any metal on your scooter or a scooter next to you. It is so hot in Bali that you can even get burn it’s quite common it’s called Bali burn.
- Wear sunglasses, protect your eyes, flies and other bugs can hit you pretty hard.
- Always check the bake before driving, especially breaks.
- Don’t drink and drive and especially don’t do drug, it’s illegal in Indonesia with the death penalty.
- Roads can be slippery after rain.
- Always have with you your rental place phone number and address.
Also, read my blog post “How to stay safe as a solo traveler”
Bali traffic rules
- Bali uses left-hand traffic so if you are not used to it don’t rush to drive and firstly observe traffic as a passenger.
- When drivers use a horn it means they want to be noticed. There’s nothing rude about it.
- Roads can be closed quite often for processions.
- Share the road with all types of animals, for example, dogs, cats, chickens, cows, etc.
Driving at night
I love driving at night just because the streets become quiet and the weather bearable. Although, it is harder to notice people walking on the street and many drivers speed more. Also, note that dogs love to sleep at the road during the night because road is still warm from the sun.
Remember if you don’t feel confident driving then maybe it is not for you. To rent a car with a driver in Bali is extremely cheap so you can always choose this option. Also, before driving a scooter in Bali observe the traffic first and then the whole driving experience will be smoother. I hope it was useful for you and please always wear a helmet.