Along with the mobile phone, the motorbike has immeasurably transformed the lives of the local people in Bali. There are around 3 million motorbikes currently on the island, and this is by far the easiest and most convenient way of getting around, allowing great flexibility and a feeling of freedom, and permitting you to weave through traffic jams.

Dangers

Riding a motorbike in Bali is dangerous, and many tourists are involved in accidents each year. If possible, avoid the main arteries and stick to the small roads with less heavy traffic – this makes for a more scenic journey anyway. Always drive slowly and carefully, looking out for unexpected obstacles in the road such as potholes, dogs and chickens.

Don’t be alarmed when other riders use their horns a lot – it’s a way of alerting you to the fact that they’re there, and is not intended as an act of aggression.

Insurance

Check what level of insurance comes with renting the vehicle. This is usually third party, or sometimes none at all. Legal Requirements You’ll need a valid international driver’s license to rent a bike, or you can apply for one at the Denpasar or Gianyar Police Office. Officially there’s a 2 million Rupiah fine for riding a motorbike without a license, but if you’re stopped by the police and found to be without one, you’re more likely to be given an unofficial fine of around 50,000 on the spot. Many rental agencies won’t check that you have a valid license, however we strictly advise against going without one. If anything goes wrong, consequences for foreigners can he heavy and your insurance company may refuse to make a pay-out.

You’re obliged by law to wear a helmet, though most of the helmets that come from the rental agencies aren’t high quality. Be sure to keep the motorbike’s registration papers with you when out and about.

Renting a Motorbike

There are rental agencies all over Ubud, and both rental costs and petrol are inexpensive – expect to pay anywhere between Rp20-80,000 a day for the bike, and only Rp15,000 to fill up the tank.