Car Rental in Bali; Does and Don'ts

To use a car rental in Bali is a big draw for many. You can easily move in and out of your hotel and go to restaurants, visit many beaches and do activities. The island looks peaceful enough, the streets in the south are quite wide and there are so, so many places one can explore all over Bali. So the question is should you?

Which of the Following Fits You?

  • Take a guided tour organized by hotels and tour operators
  • Take a taxi
  • rent a car with driver/guide
  • rent a motorbike with driver
  • rent a car and drive yourself
  • rent a motorbike and drive yourself

The answer is not that clean and clear as I would like to tell you. There are several things to consider before you jump into any of these options. One thing is a must though; have a good travel insurance from you country, just in case.

Here I Try to Give You the Positives and Negatives

Take a guided tour organized by hotels and tour operators

+ No stress and hassle, you are taken to the most memorable spots and history, culture and geography is explained to you

- You have to follow the leader, cannot do as you please or find your own adventure.

Take a taxi 

+ There are many taxis operating in and around the south of Bali and tourist destinations. The best known for quality and safety is Blue Bird.

- Make sure the taxi driver is using his meter, especially from the airport. If you want to rent it for a longer period and know your distance and price you might agree to a fixed price.

Rent a car with driver/guide 

+ Some of these drivers speak decent English and maybe some other languages; they can suggest to you an itinerary or you tell them what exactly you want to see and where you want to go. You will not have to deal with traffic and jams and parking etc.

- There might be misunderstandings because of language limitations. You might not like the attitude or mannerism of the driver/guide although Balinese people are generally very friendly and polite. 

Rent a motorbike with driver

+ this is similar to using a taxi; they are called ojek and are now available via mobile app called GoJek. The driver will bring you to your determined destination; (he might wait for you at a restaurant or shop).

- Best to determine the price before hand; make sure you have a clue about rates

Use a Car Rental in Bali and drive yourself 

+ If you have been in Bali before and have an idea where you want to go, this is definitively a good way to experience the island. Please see more information on car renting below

- Be aware of the many motorbikes driven by locals and foreigners. Some of the streets toward the north are quite narrow, steep and curvy.

Rent a motorbike and drive yourself

+ You are very independent. Motorbikes fit through most alleys, even if cars do not. Parking is relatively easy, it uses less space. Make sure you always wear a helmet, and drive defensively.

- Every year many accidents happen involving motorbikes. Analyze if the risk is really worth it? Maybe limit your commute to short distances and use safer transportation for longer rides.

What if you get into a police raid?

One day I was driving, when my brother with family and friends visited Bali, we planned to go to Benoa fly boarding. On the way we got caught up in a police raid. Police are usually quite polite to foreigners; they want to see your papers. I know all that and had my driver’s license with me as always. I could not find the car’s papers though, the STNK (Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan Bermotor), it was not in the car.

Kathy had it in her purse, since she drove the day before. An employee from Elang Laut Dive & Water Sport in Benoa brought it to the check point and we were eventually let go. I heard later that the police were trying to extort a bit of money from Elang Laut. This did not work because the STNK was only a photocopy not the original (as we in Jakarta need to have) and it did not matter that the police kept the paper. And anyway I let the Balinese sort out this problem of car rental in Bali.

We Use a Car Rental in Bali

Kathy and I rented a car from Dyatmika Sari Rent a Car & Tour Services, Jalan Uluwatu Perum. Taman Penta blok A no 19A Jimbaran, and we were very happy with it. They have quite a car park with different models and builds you can choose from. Prices also differ according to model and age of course.

We chose a Toyota Avanza Automatic; it can seat about 7 people and are very easy in handling. They accelerate quite fast for this kind of car and are fuel efficient. The down side is that they are not very heavy and are not suited for long trips on fast highways; which Bali does not really have.

You will have to (should have to) sign a contract that explains the details of the agreement; including insurance details and owners risk.

Your car rental contract might contain:

  • Your name
  • Passport and nationality for foreigners, other identification for locals
  • Driving license no (a local or international driving license is required)
  • Your local and home addresses
  • Arrival and departure flights if you want to pick up and give back the car at the airport
  • Insurance details and renters own risk
  • Vehicle type
  • Registration no
  • Dates and time period of rental
  • Condition of vehicle

And this is the short and the long about car rental in Bali; or at least how I see it!

Hotels and Such

First you need to catch a flight and get a car right at the airport or at a hotel near by in Kuta or Legian. More hotels are at beautiful Sanur Beach 

Get to know the island by reading our page on things to do in Bali

Explore Tabanan with your own transportation.

Car Rental in Bali

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