How to Rent a Scooter in Bali
While exploring Bali, the best way to get away from the well-beaten tracks and tourist hot spots can only be by scooter. The freedom you will experience will never be beaten. Once you feel the rush of cool mountain air passing you by, finding hidden waterfalls, the steady stream of green rice terraces and breathtaking viewpoints. You will never want to get in a car again.
Not only does renting your scooter get you to places much faster, easier and cheaper but you can also be in charge of when you want to arrive and leave. You need to be a confident driver to do so and make sure you are familiar with the bike you end up renting but once you gain this confidence, Bali is your oyster.
Where to start?
It is very easy to rent a scooter. In the main parts of wherever you are staying you will be able to find numerous rental shops. If you are also staying in a resort/hotel/hostel or homestay you will usually be able to rent one from the reception or owner. If you find yourself unsure about where is best to rent one, then I would suggest asking a tourist who is riding one or have a look on the trusty Trip Advisor website.
How much do they cost?
Generally, hiring a scooter can range in price from around 40 000-75 000 IDR per day which roughly equates to £2-4. While this is a bargain compared to Western prices, make sure you remember to barter as this is expected in Bali and all prices should be negotiated. It is also worth asking for a further discount if you are renting the scooter for a long period.
How much are fuel costs?
If you thought that the rental price was cheap then you will be blown away by the fuel price. There aren’t petrol stations like you would find in the UK or Europe, but instead little stalls by the side of the road where they sell 1L bottles for a maximum of 10 000 IDR (50p).
Should you wear a helmet?
I can’t stress this enough yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!
You will see many locals and the occasional tourist riding around without a helmet but this doesn’t mean it’s right. You can be the best driver in the world but all it takes is for someone else to not be looking where they are going to cause an accident. All scooters come with a helmet as part of the rental price, so why take the unnecessary risk?
Make sure the helmet you are given fits tightly. With the number of hire shops, there are around, you shouldn’t have any trouble in finding a helmet your size. Everyone knows everyone in Bali so don’t be afraid to ask for another if it doesn’t fit!
Do I need insurance?
It is always good to have travel insurance, and usually, it will cover scooter accidents on the condition that you have your international drivers licence. However, all insurance policies are different so be sure to check what yours covers you for and stay in the know.
Do I need an international driving licence?
To be honest – yes you do.
Even though the scooter rental shop may not ask you for it or even mention it, it doesn’t mean that as soon as you get on the road you won't need it. The police are always very keen to pull over any tourist on a scooter in the hopes of making a quick buck and fining them for not having an international licence. Not only will it get you out of trouble with the police, but you will also need it for insurance purposes if anything does happen to you while you’re out there.
What do I do if the police pull me over?
As a tourist, there is quite a high chance that you will be pulled over by the police at some point while you are driving the scooter around Bali. Unfortunately, corruption still exists in Bali and most of the time they don’t care about writing a ticket, but insist that you pay a fine that goes straight into their pockets.
If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then I would recommend just showing them your international drivers licence and they will usually just wave you on without any more hassle. If any problems do arise, politely refuse again to pay and ask to speak their manager or to go to the local station to sort things out and they again will just wave you on.
Be sure to check out the scooter
You must give your rental scooter a quick once over to check for any damage or large scratches. The best practice is to take a video of the whole bike before you leave with it and point out any damages that you can see. By doing this you now have proof of the condition of the bike on the rare occasion that the owner may accuse you of false damage.
Also, just like you would at home, you should check the bike's functions such as brakes, headlights, horn and signals for your safety.
Plan your routes
If you know the destination which you have in mind, be sure to find the best route on Google Maps and check the weather for the day and how long the whole return route will take you. There is nothing worse than getting caught in a tropical downpour while on a long-distance trip fully exposed to the elements.
Returning the scooter
If there is any damage made to the scooter while in your possession, then you can take it to any roadside workshop to get it fixed (as long as it’s not written off completely). You mustn't take the scooter back to the owner with any damage as they will usually charge you through the roof to get it repaired.
Be sure to check out my website for more information and travel advice as well as my Twitter @TakeLeapTravel and Instagram @taketheleaptravel.
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