Last updated on December 18th, 2020
Do I need an international driver’s license to rent a scooter in Bali?
Is it safe to drive a motorbike on the island?
How much is a Bali scooter rental?
I had all these questions, and a whole lot more, when I first arrived on the island. This guide to renting a scooter in Bali covers absolutely everything you need to know so that you stay on the right side of the law.
If there’s one thing you take, it’s to err on the side of caution when renting a scooter in Bali. Remember that you’re a tourist in a foreign country and even if the laws aren’t enforced – and even if the police are corrupt – you still need to respect their rules.
Psst… Planning your Bali adventure? Check out these other posts!
9 Things you need to know when renting a scooter in Bali
Whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term scooter rental, here’s absolutely everything you need to know!
1. Always have your International Driver’s license on you
Yup, you have to have an international driver’s license to drive a scooter in Bali. It’s the law. Always keep it under your seat.
The reason why there is so much confusion around this is that the Bali scooter rental shops don’t actually ask to see your international driver’s license before you rent a motorbike from them.
They rent their scooters to anyone, no matter your age or driving record. This is why many travelers get away with driving illegally.
But, with more tourists on the road, and more accidents happening, the police have become stricter and there are now regular roadblocks throughout the island.
But how strict are they?
Thinking you won’t get stopped by the police? I’ve rented many scooters in Bali and up until this year (2020), I’ve never been pulled over. I did a full 2-month backpacking trip and if it was going to happen, that would’ve been a perfect time.
But, back then the rules weren’t so tight, and tourists got away with a lot.
Things have since changed! I’ve been stopped many times this year.
There’s an increase in police presence on the roads and tourists are paying big bucks so that they can continue their “care-free” vacations.
If you do get pulled over and you don’t have your international driver’s license on you – even if it’s sitting at your hostel just 50 meters away – you will have to pay a fine. In some cases, they may even threaten to confiscate your motorbike (worst-case scenario).
Also, if you don’t have your international license on you, it’s a great opportunity for the police to extort tourists and get them to pay “fines” directly to the police officer.
In order to get an international driver’s license, you don’t need to do any tests. It’s a quick, 20-minute process that needs to be done in your home country before you travel to Bali. It’s basically just a translation of your driver’s license into several different languages and it’s totally worth getting if you’re planning on renting a scooter in Bali.
2. Check the scooter before you rent it
Do a full check on the condition of your motorbike and note all the areas where there are dents and scratches. Check the indicators, lights, and breaks as well.
To be safe, take images and a close-up video of the scooter. This way, if there are issues when you return it, you’ll have proof that the damage was done prior to you renting the scooter.
Personally, I’ve never been questioned about the condition of my scooters when I return them.
3. Wear a helmet, ALWAYS
Wearing a helmet should become second nature when renting a scooter in Bali. Don’t leave your house without one, it’s just not worth the risk!
Bali traffic is hectic, and commuters fly past you on their scooters. There are drunk tourists who take chances and there’s been a drastic increase in accidents, especially in Canggu.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, not wearing a helmet is another good excuse for the police to pull you over and give you a fine.
I’m not sure what the rules are for locals as they can pretty much do as they please – you’ll notice kids driving scooters, a whole family of 5 on one bike, no helmets – but this doesn’t apply to foreigners.
4. How to rent a scooter in Bali: Know your options
Before you rent your scooter, you should know what’s out there.
- Scoopy: These are the pretty scooters and they’re super light and easy to drive. They aren’t all that powerful as they only have a 110cc engine, but they look good and are often the cheapest you can get.
- Vario 110cc: I’d classify this at Scoopy level but more “masculine”. These Bali scooters don’t have a lot of vooma but they get the job done and are better suited for driving around the area where you’re staying, as opposed to long distances.
- Vario 125cc: This is more powerful than the above two. I rented a Vario 125cc scooter for my Bali road trip and it was perfect. But, if you’re 2 people on the scooter and you’re driving pretty far (like I did when I drove from Bali to Red Island in Java), you will start to get uncomfortable after a few hours of driving and there’s not much storage space under the seat.
- NMax: The NMax has a 155cc engine and is the best Bali scooter rental out there. It’s got lots of power and plenty of space under the seat. Also, it’s super comfy! However, it may be a bit too heavy for those who haven’t driven a scooter before.
5. Bali scooter rental price
Before I rented a scooter in Bali, I had done a fair amount of research. I read everywhere that Bali scooter rentals shouldn’t cost more than 50 000 IDR ($3) per day. So, when I went in search of one to rent, I was expecting to pay just that.
But, this 50 000 IDR is the bottom end of the scale and honestly, you won’t find many good scooters at this price. The cost is dependent on the model and age of the scooter, as well as where in Bali you rent it from.
Costs for short term scooter rental in Bali
If you’re looking at a daily rental, expect to pay:
- Scoopy or Vario 110cc: 60-70 000 IDR ($5) p/d
- Vario 125cc : 70-90 000 IDR ($6) p/d
- NMax: 100 000 IDR ($7) p/d
These rates are not often negotiable, especially in the popular areas of Canggu, Seminyak, Ubud, and Uluwatu. There’s such a high demand for scooter rentals in Bali and the owners know that if you don’t take theirs, someone else will.
If you’re only looking for a one or two-day rental, it’s really not worth spending your time searching for the cheapest Bali scooter rental. Your efforts may save you 10 000 IDR in total, but you’ll have wasted such precious time where you could be exploring.
If you’d prefer to have your scooter delivered to your front door, you can order one here.
Costs for long term scooter rental in Bali
If you’re spending more than three weeks in Indonesia, it’s best to dig a bit deeper as you can find some great deals for long term scooter rentals in Bali.
I planned on spending 4 months in Bali, and so I searched far and wide for a good deal.
Below are the most common costs for long term scooter rental in Bali (but you can get lower – more on that below)
- Scoopy or Vario 110cc: 1 100 000 IDR ($70) p/m
- Vario 125cc: 1 500 000 IDR ($95) p/m
- NMax: 2 000 000 IDR ($125) p/m
But, through community Facebook groups and referrals, I managed to find a bike shop in Sanur who offered me the below rental rates. You can contact him via Whatsapp on +62 852 3818 1380.
It’s worth spending the extra time searching for a good deal and putting in a bit more effort if you’re looking for a long-term rental.
- Scoopy or a Vario 110cc: 700 000 IDR ($45) p/m
- Vario 125: 900 000 IDR ($55) p/m
- NMax: 1 500 000 IDR ($95) p/m
6. Process for Bali Scooter Rentals: Passports, Driver’s license and more
There are three ways to rent a scooter in Bali: through a reliable online travel agency, from your accommodation or at the nearby scooter shop.
Each one will have a different process when it comes to renting scooters but below is my personal experience.
First, you’ll need to show your driver’s license and passport so they can capture your details. This is not always the case though and if you have copies of these on your phone, they’ll be happy to take the details from there. Most don’t even ask for your international license.
I’ve heard that some Bali scooter rental companies keep your original ID or Passport until you return the scooter. Personally, I would never leave my passport or ID with anyone! Move on to the next shop if you feel the same.
Secondly, you’ll sign a form with the rental company details, stating the date of your rental and the return date. Ensure the details of the scooter are correct in this form. I always take a photo of this receipt in case I lose the physical copy.
Lastly, you’ll need to pay in full for your Bali scooter rental. If you’re renting long term they may ask for a deposit but this isn’t the case at most places. I’ve never paid a deposit and if I had to, I would also look elsewhere.
7. Taking your Bali scooter to other Indonesian islands
If you’re planning on doing an overland scooter trip to other islands – Lombok is another favorite – there are a few things you need to know.
- Ensure you have the original scooter papers on you. When taking ferries, you may be asked to show these. This is not always the case (I was asked for mine when going to Java), but ensure that you keep them under your seat.
- It’s also important that you tell the scooter rental company of your plans to explore other island. Sometimes they do not want this, especially if they don’t have the original papers.
- Always have your international drivers on you. When crossing from Bali to Java, I was asked to show mine – the standard driver’s license was not permitted.
- Make sure the scooter is in good condition. You’ll be driving far distances on busy roads so check that the tread on the tires is still good and that your lights and brakes are working properly.
8. Filling up with petrol
There are many petrol stations throughout Bali where you can fill up. But the most common place to refuel is with the vendors who sell petrol on the side of the streets in old vodka bottles. They are everywhere!
Standard is 10 000 IDR ($0.6) for 1 liter, don’t pay more than this!
9. Tips for Scooter Rentals in Bali
- When using Google Maps, follow the bike routes. They’re often a lot more scenic with less traffic.
- If you need a surf board rack, they’re easy to add to your scooter and shouldn’t be an extra charge.
- Remember that in Bali, you drive on the left side of the road.
- Keep a rain jacket/poncho under your seat if you’re renting a scooter in Bali, especially during the rainy season. You can buy these from any local store for around 30 000 IDR ($2).
- You’ll often hear people hooting around sharp corners, this is a safety measure to warn other cars that there’s an oncoming vehicle.
- Cover up or wear sunscreen when riding a scooter in Bali. You’ll be surprised just how burnt you can get.
- Don’t drive with your handbag around you. There are more and more cases popping up of bags being ripped off of tourists while driving. Keep them under your seat.
- Ensure you have travel insurance but remember, if you’re in an accident and you don’t have an international driver’s license, you won’t be covered.
Should you rent a scooter in Bali?
Yes, you should definitely rent a scooter in Bali – It’s the best way to explore the island and find hidden gems in Bali. You’ll also save lots of time as traffic is crazy and if you’re driving a scooter, you get to skip the long queues of cars and buses.
Never driven a scooter before? No fear, just give yourself some time to learn.
Find a quiet space in the area where you stay and familiarize yourself with the scooter first. They’re really easy to drive but can be risky if you’re not comfortable with the accelerator and brakes.
I spent a week driving the quiet roads near Balangan Beach before I felt confident enough to head to other areas in Uluwatu.
Do not drive in the busy parts of Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu or attempt to drive overland if you have zero experience driving a scooter in Bali. Seriously, these areas are choc-o-block full, there are scooters and cars coming at you from all directions and it can be very dangerous. Also, if you drive overland, there are many trucks and the roads are also busy.
Alternatives to renting a scooter in Bali
Not everyone will be comfortable riding a scooter in Bali. Perhaps you’re visiting with your family and a scooter isn’t an option. You should consider the below:
GoJek and Grab: Both Grab and GoJek have cars and scooters available. They work like Uber, which isn’t allowed in Bali. All you need to do is download the app, and order your scooter/car.
The drivers take cash so make sure you have some change on you. In certain areas, Grab and GoJek are not allowed to pick up tourists, so you may be able to get dropped off at say, Uluwatu Temple, but you won’t find a Grab or GoJek driver to take you back after.
In that case, you’ll need to get a local taxi or scooter from someone in the area. These are a lot more expensive, sometimes triple the price of GoJek, but it’s the only option you have if you don’t rent your own scooter in Bali.
Alternatively, you could get a driver and car for the day for as little as 500 000 IDR ($30). This will allow you to explore the hot spots and travel in an air-conditioned vehicle with a local guide.
Best scooter trips in Bali
Now that you’ve rented your scooter, let the adventure begin!
I found several hidden gems in Sidemen, including waterfalls and rice fields and this is a great area to visit on your scooter.
If you’re planning on exploring beaches, head straight to the Bukit Peninsula and visit these 12 best beaches in Uluwatu. This is also an awesome region to explore as the roads are less busy.
If you’re looking at doing an overland trip, I suggest you start with Ubud for some yoga, before going north to Munduk which has the most incredible views and sights in all of Bali. Take the short ferry ride over to Java Island and hike Mount Ijen. Then drive to Red Island in Java and enjoy a few days on the remote beach where you can learn to surf. On your way back to Bali, stop at Balian Beach – it’s one of the most secluded beaches I’ve been to. I did this trip over 10 days and loved every minute of it!
Psst… Planning your Bali adventure? Check out these other posts!
- Ultimate Guide To White Water Rafting in Bali: Telaga Waja River
- Komodo diving liveaboard: a guide for diving Komodo
- Guide To Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking in Bali