Bali Driving Guide
Are you ready to drive in Bali? Learn more about some helpful tips, rules, and facts before driving there in this page!
If you’re looking into taking a trip to a country with beautiful beaches, a lot of nature, and an undeniably relaxing aura, then Bali should be on top of your list of choices. Bali is a province in Indonesia that has now been considered one of the best vacation spots in the world. With 1.5 million international tourists estimated to arrive in the country.
How Can This Guide Help You?
This written tour guide or driving guide was created to help you learn the dos and don’ts when driving in the country. That way, you won’t get in trouble with the local road traffic authorities in the country.
Bali, also known as the “Land of the Gods,” draws visitors with its breathtaking natural beauty, which includes towering volcanoes and verdant rice fields that radiate tranquillity. It is renowned as a surfers' paradise as well.
Bali is an island as well as a province in Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands. The confined Bali Strait divides it from the island of Java, which is located one mile (1.6 km) to the east. Province's size is 2,232 square miles (5,780 square km). Pop. Province population in 2000 was 3,151,162; in 2010 it was 3,890,757.
The majority of Balinese are at least bilingual (Indonesian, Balinese, English). Indonesian is the most widely spoken language in Bali, especially in the tourism industry, even though every Balinese speaks the language of his native island. Bahasa Indonesia is the language that is frequently heard on the streets because many Javanese and Indonesians from other islands have migrated here, entered the tourism industry, and now live and work here.
All government offices speak Bahasa Indonesia, which is closely related to Malay and is also taught in schools. All Indonesians, dispersed across this enormous archipelago with more than 13.000 islands, hundreds of different cultures, and more than 350 other languages and dialects, are united by a language that is relatively simple to learn.
The majority of Bali is mountainous (basically an extension of the central mountain chain in Java), with Mount Agung, or Bali Peak, which rises to a height of 10,308 feet (3,142 meters) and is referred to locally as the "navel of the world," proving to be an active volcano that erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,500 people and displacing thousands. South of the central mountains is where the main lowland is.
The dry season runs from May to November during the southeast monsoon. Java-like fauna and mostly hilly tropical rain forests characterize Bali's flora. On Bali, teak is occasionally found, and the Balinese revere the enormous banyan trees "waringin." In addition to many deer and wild pigs, the west is home to tigers.
Although evidence of Stone Age inhabitants has been found, the majority of Bali's rich heritage began to emerge during the Majapahit Empire (1293 to 1520 AD). At its height, Hayam Wuruk, who also ruled over other kingdoms in the southern Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Kalimantan and eastern Indonesia, as well as the Philippines, dominated the era. Hindu-Javanese literature and artistic endeavors, which continue to form the basis of Balinese arts today, were brought over during this affluent golden age.
Conflicts within the ruling family brought an end to the golden age after Hayam Wuruk's passing, but the influence of the kingdoms in Java only grew. Hindu priests, thinkers, artists, and members of the royal family fled to Bali after the Majapahit Empire began to decline in the 15th century.
Bali is the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands and a province of Indonesia. It is situated to the west of Lombok and east of Java. The province of Bali is made up of the island of Bali and a few other nearby islands. Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan are a few of Bali's well-known islands. The most populous city in the Lesser Sunda Islands and the capital of the province of Bali is Denpasar. One of the most popular islands for tourists is Bali. Ever since a wave of visitors began to arrive in Bali in 1980, tourism has increased dramatically.
Bali's economy has already grown by 80% as a result of the tourism industry here. The Pura Ulun Danu Batur Temple, Kuta Beach, Nusa Lembongan, Uluwatu Temple, and other popular Bali attractions are just a few. The Indonesian International Film Festival, one of Bali's cultural events, provides a window into the country's cultural landscape.
Renting a Car in Bali
Car Rental Companies
In Bali, though there are sites and people that do not advise you to drive a vehicle without a driver, it’s doable. For a day trip to explore the island, take in some sightseeing, etc., most people rent a car or even a bike. Because there is so much to see and discover, a full day of sightseeing can be exhausting.
Is it true that you need a Bali driving license to drive a scooter or a car around the province? Not necessarily.
This rule is only specific to people who intend to drive and live in the country for more than three months. However, if you are only driving in the country on a tourist visa for less than three months, then you only need an International Driving Permit (IDP) which most people name as an international driver’s license.
For the obvious reason that it is much harder to fall off a car and the safety features of the vehicle make collisions more survivable, driving around Bali in a car is safer than traveling on a motorbike. Mini SUVs and hatchbacks are the most prevalent vehicle types that can be rented, typically Toyota Avanza and Toyota Agya models, though car rental companies in Bali may offer other makes and models.
These car models are most suitable in Bali’s road conditions which are on off-road terrain, filled with potholes. So, if you are a tourist driver and want the best Bali experience, it is highly suggested to avoid the main roads in the country and go for a scooter rental.
Car Rental Cost
The cost of a car rental in Bali may vary per company, vehicle, and the duration of your rent. Although on average, you can expect the car rental cost to be around $49 which is $346 a week.
The Indonesian National Police is responsible for issuing driving permits in Indonesia (Polri). The general requirements for a license in Indonesia are to pass the theory test and the practical test, as well as to be at least 17 years old (for the A-class; there are different age requirements for each class).
Car Insurance Cost
For total loss-only coverage, the average annual premium in Indonesia is about Rp385,000 (25.76 USD), and for all risk/comprehensive coverage, it is about Rp2,1,000,000 (141.38). Numerous factors are used to calculate auto insurance premiums. The premium may be affected by a number of factors, including:
- Year of production
- Auto region
- Car model and variant
- Additional coverage (Rider)
Please take note that the Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), also known as the Financial Services Authority Number 6/SEOJK.05/2017 concerning Determination of Premiums or Contributions to Property Insurance and Motor Vehicle Insurance Business Lines in 2017, has been in charge of regulating insurance premiums since that year.
In accordance with the OJK regulation, the premium must be based on the region and the type of vehicle:
Car Insurance Policy
Although it isn’t necessary for Bali, Indonesia to get insurance unless you are carrying public passengers, if you want to get one it’s possible.
Coverage For Automobiles in Indonesia
In the event of an accident or other unforeseen circumstances on the road, car insurance protects your finances. Although various companies provide various insurance coverage options, the majority of standard policies include:
- Vehicle damage, including collisions, scratches, and slips
- Stolen, whether violently or not
- At partner workshops, make a claim (non-authorised)
You can purchase add-ons, also known as riders, in addition to the basic coverage to increase the level of protection. For riders, there will be an additional premium.
Road Rules in Bali
As a tourist, you are not exempted from Bali’s road rules while you are driving there. This is why you need to learn all the following basic road rules in the country before driving there.
Side of The Road
Bali drives on the left side of the road.
Why does Bali use the left-hand drive?
The practice remained constant. Japan, Indonesia's second colonizer after the Netherlands, is a left-driving nation. In actuality, after the French colonized the country, the Dutch changed the laws and implemented RHT.
There are no rules for overtaking in Bali. As long as you are courteous enough to beep to communicate to the car in front that you are overtaking.
Simply pass at any time while beeping, whether it be on the left, right, inside, or outside. Simply drive in the middle of the road, ignoring the lane markings because nobody actually follows them, and leave space on either side for motorcycles to pass. When a big tourist bus approaches, motorbikes can fit into some pretty small spaces!
Although there are rare cases of motorbike accidents in Bali, there is still a speed limit to follow. Urban areas have a 50 kph speed limit, rural roads have an 80 kph limit, and highways have a 100 kph limit.
Bali follows almost the same rules as Indonesia, being in the same country. Both the driver and front seat passengers are mandated to use seat belts. Road traffic authorities will give you a ticket if you are found not wearing one.
As for the back seat passenger, the law is more relaxed and seat belts are not required.
If you are traveling with your family with an infant, the use of child car seats is unfamiliar to many Indonesians. Although it is crucial for safety, using a child car seat is frequently disregarded because there is no law requiring people to do so when traveling with infants or babies.
Bali Travel Tips
Bali is considered one of the top tourist destinations in the world. So if it’s your first time traveling book your flight ahead before your accommodation, your travel insurance, plan your itinerary, and remember the following tips:
1. Download virtual maps or messenger apps.
If you want to drive a motorbike independently in the country, install Google Maps on your device in advance and Whatsapp. These apps are widely used in the country, so it is highly recommended to use them.
Hire a driver.
When you’re still doubting about knowing how you can drive around the country, you can always hire a driver through the car rental company you contacted. You only need to instruct them about our pick-up time and place, and then your drop off.
If you want to familiarize yourself with the roads before you drive, you can choose a half day tour. This is enough time to learn some of the basic road rules in the country.
Expect it to be crowded.
Being a top destination in the world, it is expected for this country to crowded with other tourists. Therefore, if you want to visit their beaches and top destinations especially Ubud, Canggu, etc, you can expect a lot of people there.
Pack some formal clothes.
Even if you’re visiting Bali with the goal of bar-hopping, there are bars on the island that require you to observe the proper dress codes. This means, you won’t be allowed to wear your bikini nor wear something that shows a lot of skin.
Respect their culture and religion.
Being a tourist in their country, you need to observe proper behavior and avoid doing actions that are against some religions. As a tourist, it is your job to research their culture and laws. Always remember that even if you are a tourist and their Tourism department might place you in high regard, you still need to respect their practices.
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