After being in Bali for 3 weeks it is an obvious suggestion for any tourist coming here to bring your international driving licence. This will enable you to rent a car or motorcycle. You can, of course, rent one without the appropriate paperwork but it's only a matter of time before you run into a police roadblock, that means a 50,000rp fine, if you’re lucky. Friends have told me they sometimes get pulled over 3 times a day, other times once a month. Sometimes off duty cops hang out in the gangs ( smaller streets ) in Seminyak waiitng for tourists. I don’t blame them, it's easy pickings, plenty of drunk people out at night.
What do you do if you don’t have an international licence? Well, you could apply for a Balinese licence if you have ‘kitas’, a special business visa. We’re getting that but don’t have it yet so have to find other means. Since you have to apply for an international licence in your own country and we’re here, we have to find a ‘solution’. Today we got passport sized photos from a high street shop and will ‘apply’ for our international licence through a contact.
I’m looking forward to ditching the taxis, won’t be as safe anymore but it will be cool to jump on a motorcycle and get anywhere we want fast.
Here in Bali there are a number of different color cabs, most with meters. The Blue Bird cabs (light blue) are the cheapest. The good thing is around tourist areas there are a ton of taxis. It’s only when you go to someone’s place that you have to walk to the main road or have to call a cab.
Road rules over here are definitely different from back in the west. On a decent sized road there are no lane markers and everybody goes freestyle. Our buddy Mick told me not to worry about looking behind me, there’s too much going on in front, just keep alert, watch for dogs, other vehicles and people crossing and go with the traffic flow.
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I have ridden with several locals and realise other bikes will try to merge into traffic in the most unlikely situations. For example they’ll pull out of a turning at 45 degrees and hope to merge sometime before getting smacked by a truck. Use of the horn is liberal and in fact a matter of survival. When approaching a parked vehicle with a person in, a blind corner, or another motorcyle travelling in the same direction a toot on the horn is the best way to say ‘don’t make any sudden moves’.
I asked Jason what the cops cared about, speeding, drunk driving etc. According to him they are shakedown artists and care more about finding a hole in your paperwork for a bribe.
Our friend Gerry Williams from BaliEats.com rents a Suzuki Samurai which is a perfect vehicle for Bali….small enough for the streets, economical and has 4 wheel drive for the muddy conditions.
We’ll probably rent motorcycles to start with and see what works best. After that we might buy a couple. Definitely getting the full helmet. Over here you must have a helmet but you can use a ‘cheap’ one that costs $1.20, which is like a cheap workman’s hat, really worthless if you fall off.
Our friend Mark rents a motorcycle and pays $30 per month ( 265,500rp ). Other nicer models might cost you $50 ( 442,500rp ). I want the new Dodge Viper motorcycle, v10 engine, top speed 400mph, complete with a rack for the laptop and cooler for 12 large Bintangs.