It’s possible to rent a car in Ubud for as little as Rp150,000 a day (excluding petrol) if you have a valid Indonesian or international driver’s license, but this has several drawbacks for visitors who don’t know Ubud already. Firstly, the street-names are rarely marked and many crossroads look the same; it’s easy to get lost and not always simple to follow the directions offered. Secondly, any accidents have serious consequences for foreigners. Thirdly, the roads are often in poor condition and riddled with potholes, and there’s a lot of traffic including large numbers of motorbikes which weave in and out of traffic in a way you may not be accustomed to.
Unless you really want to feel independent, hiring a local driver is a better option – it’s more relaxing for you, and you’re safer in the hands of someone who knows the roads well.
If you do decide to rent a car, remember to have your driver’s license with you on your journey, as well as the registration and insurance documents that come with the car (check that these are all in order when making the deal), and make sure you wear your seat-belt.
The speed limit is 60km / hour in built-up areas, but you’ll rarely get the opportunity to travel at this speed. If for any reason the police stop you, be calm and polite with them. They may ask for an on-the-spot fine for a traffic infringement; this shouldn’t normally exceed around 100,000 Rp. Watch out for police looking for bribes – it’s not uncommon – so avoid showing the contents of your wallet if you’re carrying around a lot of cash.
Always drive extremely carefully, especially at night. Some motorbikes don’t have lights, and pedestrians can be hard to see in poorly lit streets. There are always plenty of obstacles in Bali (chickens, Bali dogs, children, potholes, motorcycle drivers who aren’t mindful of the vehicles around them) so don’t drive fast.