Scooter Rental In Bali Guide: What Families Need To Know

January 15, 2020

We can’t believe our time in Bali, and in Indonesia in general, is done. While we’ve had many great memories here, some of our favorite memories involved doing a scooter rental in Bali. It was a great way to explore the island like a local. And it was also a great way to get from place to place.

There’s something thrilling about hopping on a scooter in Bali and driving through the winding roads throughout the island. On our scooters, we rode past rice paddies, village temples, and forests. The experience really solidified a love of travel in our kids. And we had a chance to escape the touristy parts of Bali.

While choosing to rent a scooter in Bali does pose many risks for families, there are also many ways to stay safe on a scooter. And the freedom of travel it affords to families visiting Bali is well worth it!

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Rice field in Bali, Indonesia, where travelers can visit when they have a scooter rental in Bali.
Rice field in Bali (January 2020)

Our experience trying out a scooter rental in Bali

As a traveling family, we’re always looking for ways to explore the destinations we visit. Being able to get from place to place is important for us. And although Bali is a relatively small island, depending on the Bali accommodations you book, getting around can be pretty difficult. 

In the city of Ubud, for instance, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab are forbidden. And taxis cost an arm and a leg to get around the city. Renting a car can be an option, but it’s not cheap. For traveling families, doing a scooter rental in Bali can be the most affordable and convenient option.

We had a scooter in Bali while we were in Amed experiencing snorkeling in Bali, and while we were in Ubud doing our Ubud activities. We also had a scooter when we were staying at our aunt’s house near Tabanan. 

Since we spent at least a month in each location, we were able to get a lot of practice with the scooter. Our kids fell in love with the experience. And my husband and I also enjoyed learning a new skill.

Thankfully, our two and a half months of driving a scooter in Bali were incident free. If you’re thinking of doing a scooter rental in Bali, here are some things you should know, as well as safety tips to keep your family safe.

Visiting Saraswati temple in Ubud (January 2020)

How to rent a scooter in Bali

From a logistical standpoint, it’s easy to rent a scooter in Bali. You can usually arrange a scooter rental in Bali through your hotel or lodging host. Alternatively, you can find a company that rents out scooters.

Daily rates vary, depending on where you are. In Amed, we paid around Rp. 50,000-60,000 (roughly $3.50-$4.50) per day for a scooter in Bali. In Ubud, we paid between Rp. 40,000-70,000 (roughly $2.50-$5) per day. The most expensive rate we had was Rp. 100,000 ($7) per day, but that was because we were in a remote location near Tabanan and had to have a scooter delivered to us. 

Registration for the scooter is covered by the vendor. Make sure you see the registration document when you receive the scooter. Insurance is usually not included, so make sure your travel insurance covers motorcycles and scooters. If you’re not covered by insurance, then know that you’re driving at your own risk.

You will need to cover the cost of gas (called bensin in Indonesia) throughout the duration of your scooter rental in Bali. And remember that if you break something on the scooter during your rental period, you are responsible for paying for its repair if the owner requests it.

Here are a few other logistical things to consider when doing a scooter rental in Bali.

Looking for budgeting tips for Indonesia travel? Read my post about Indonesia trip costs.

My husband and me on a scooter in Amed (September 2019)

Make sure you have an International Driver's License

You won’t be able to rent a scooter in Bali without an International Driver’s License (IDL). Be sure to get this before you leave your home country!

In the United States, AAA offers IDLs for $20. You need to provide two passport photos and a valid driver’s license. The IDL is valid for one year, and will need to be used with your driver’s license from your home country.

International Driving Permits to be used for a scooter rental in Bali
Our International Driving Permit for renting a scooter (October 2019)

Do your research of where to rent a scooter in Bali

As I mentioned already, rental rates vary depending on your location. Likewise, the condition of your scooter in Bali will also vary depending on the vendor or owner. We’ve driven scooters that were brand new, and also ones that felt like they could sputter and die at any minute. If you can, ask around ahead of time to see where you can get the best condition scooters.

Most guest houses, Airbnbs, homestays, and hotels can help you arrange a scooter rental. This is the best option, although you may not necessarily get a good rate. Otherwise, you can look for businesses that specifically offer scooter rentals. In popular tourist cities like Ubud, Kuta, Canggu, and even Amed, you'll be able to find these pretty easily. But in more rural areas, and the outskirts of cities, scooter rental businesses are not so readily available.

The kids pretending to drive a scooter (October 2019)

Make sure to do a test drive and take pictures

Just like getting a new car, it’s important to do a test drive before going through with your scooter rental in Bali. You want to make sure that you feel comfortable driving the scooter. Likewise, make sure to take pictures of any parts of the scooter that are already in poor condition. That way you have proof that you didn’t damage the scooter.

Taking a spin in Ubud with my daughter (October 2019)

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Safety tips for using a scooter in Bali

Besides logistical considerations, there are also safety considerations to think about when you’re planning on doing a scooter rental in Bali. Driving a scooter has many risks. And you need to be aware that the possibility of getting into an accident on your scooter is very real, even if you’re following the rules or trying to stay safe.

While we were in Bali, a friend of mine was in a serious scooter accident that resulted in the dislocation of her jaw. It took her several months before she could eat solid food. Another family friend and her son were in a scooter accident which resulted in her son breaking his leg. And this is not to mention the countless scrapes and crashes I’ve seen from tourists on scooters.

I can’t stress enough how important safety is when you’re renting a scooter. In fact, you may want to pack a good travel first aid kit with you, if you're planning on doing a scooter rental in Bali. Here are a few other safety tips you can follow to help keep you (and your kids!) safe on your scooter in Bali.

My daughter in her helmet (October 2019)

Always wear a helmet

If nothing else, always request a helmet when you’re doing a scooter rental in Bali. Even if there are no kid sized helmets, have your kids wear adult helmets. And make sure you wear one too!

Black and red scooter helmets for use during a scooter rental in Bali and Lombok
Our helmets for our scooters (November 2019)

Practice first!

If you’re new to riding a scooter, it’s important to get some practice before committing to a scooter rental in Bali. Borrow a friend’s scooter and learn how to drive on a quiet road. Or if you don’t have a friend with a scooter, rent the scooter for a day and ask a local to teach you how to drive one.

Amed was the first time I drove a scooter in Bali, and actually the first time I ever drove one in my life. My husband and I took the scooter on a side road and practiced driving up and down the road until I felt comfortable. 

Most scooters in Bali are automatic transmission. That means you just have to twist the handle to adjust the speed. The brakes are on the handle bars, with the back brakes on the left and the front brakes on the right. Remember that people drive on the left side of the road in Indonesia, even in Bali.

Practicing on my scooter in Amed (September 2019)

Avoid overloading your scooter

Driving a scooter is much like riding a bike. It requires balance. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the weight distribution on the scooter. Avoid overloading it with too many things and people. Riding four people to a scooter is highly not advised! That will make the scooter more difficult to maneuver. And consequently, it will make driving more dangerous for you.

Running an errand with my daughter in Ubud (October 2019)

Keep little ones in the front

In the United States, kids are not allowed to ride on a scooter unless they are able to sit behind you. In Indonesia, though, it’s not uncommon to see little kids sitting right behind the handlebars of a scooter, right in front of their parents.

This may actually be the safest spot for your little one, especially if they’re not big enough to sit on their own behind you. Make sure they are seated securely in front of you. And also make sure they don’t move around when you drive, so it doesn’t throw off your balance.

Riding a scooter with my kids in Ubud (October 2019)

Make sure everyone stays alert

In many ways, driving a scooter is quite different than driving a car. The biggest difference is that you can’t zone out when you drive a scooter.

The roads of Bali can be unpredictable. At any given point in time, you might come across a dog, a little kid, cargo trucks, a pile of dirt for construction, a temple procession, or even an oblivious tourist. 

Make sure you stay alert when you’re driving. Also make sure that your passengers stay alert too. Falling asleep on a scooter can be dangerous.

Checking myself out in the rear view mirror (October 2019)

Keep a comfortable speed

It’s easy to assume that you have to always drive fast when you’re renting a scooter in Bali. But actually, everyone in Bali drives at the speed that they’re comfortable with.

While having some speed is helpful to maintain balance on a scooter, you don't have to go super fast. So if you’re comfortable at a slower speed (as long as you can remain steady on your scooter), then you’re welcome to drive at that slower speed. Just remember to stay to the left side of the road so that faster vehicles can pass.

My husband and daughter on the scooter in Amed (September 2019)

Familiarize yourself with traffic before you rent a scooter in Bali

Another assumption about Bali drivers is that they’re aggressive drivers. On the contrary, the Balinese drive cooperatively. That means it’s not an “every man for himself” or “the first one wins” type of mentality. Before you do your scooter rental in Bali, take some time to familiarize yourself with the flow of traffic and how people drive. 

In general, bigger vehicles will need more space and more time to get places. If you’re a small vehicle, you can squeeze into a small space as long as you’re not preventing the larger vehicle to move.

A side street in Ubud where you can do a scooter rental in Bali, with a scooters parked on the side of the road, and a person on a scooter driving on the road.
A street scene in Ubud (January 2020)

Don't force yourself to do a scooter rental in Bali if you're not comfortable

If you’re still uncomfortable with renting a scooter in Bali, then don’t force yourself to do it. Driving a scooter is risky. And you put yourself at risk every time you get on one.

Although the alternatives to driving a scooter are a little less convenient, it’s worth avoiding putting yourself at risk for doing something you’re not comfortable with. At the end of the day, you still need to do things that make sense for you.

Want ideas of where to explore in Bali with your scooter? Read my Bali posts here.

Enjoying a walk to the beach near Tabanan (January 2020)

Enjoying our scooter rental in Bali experience

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Bali. And much of that enjoyment was due to having the freedom to explore the island on our scooter.

If your family is planning a visit to Bali, consider renting a scooter. Your kids will enjoy the novelty and thrill of the experience, and you will enjoy the independence of being able to go somewhere on your own time.

Have you ever done a scooter rental in Bali? What was your experience like?

Are you planning to visit Bali as part of a bigger family travel adventure? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.

Scooter Rental In Bali: What Families Need To Know | The Wandering Daughter | Tips for families visiting Bali, Indonesia on how to do a scooter rental in Bali.

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