How to Rent a Car/Bike in Bali with an Australian Licence

How to Rent a Car/Bike in Bali with an Australian Licence | Solo Female Travel

I believe the best way to explore Bali is by renting a bike or car. Even though the rent of a vehicle per day may seem like a lot, but when you compare it with your everyday public transport expenses, it will actually be a lot less!

Having your own vehicle in Bali also gives you a sense of independence. You can check out any place that you like, even those where public transportation is limited. And you also save up on a lot of time and money by exploring places to visit in Bali at your own convenience!

However, if you have an Australian driving licence, you cannot use it to rent a vehicle in Bali. Many international driving licences, including Australia’s, are, unfortunately, banned here.

But, it is still possible for you to rent a car or bike on the island . All you need to do is apply for an International Driving Permit in Australia. And don’t worry, I will explain everything in detail that you need to know about renting a vehicle in Bali with an International Driving Permit!

What is an International Driving Permit?

In simple language, an International Driving Permit is like a document that validates your Australian driving licence in foreign countries, including Bali, Indonesia. You can even use this piece of document as an ID in a foreign country.

How does the International Driving Permit work?

1. Your International Driving Permit will have your identification details in about nine languages in total.

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • Greek
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • French
  • German

2. These languages will help you in case you need to communicate with foreign authorities regarding your driving permit.

3. From the date of issue of your International Driving Permit, it will be valid for exactly a year.

4. You need to keep in mind that your International Driving Permit is not a substitute for other identification documents or your original driving licence. So you must carry your original driving licence and all the other essential documents to Bali.

5. You cannot get an International Driving Permit if you do not have your original driving licence or you are on a learner’s driving permit in Australia.

How can you apply for an International Driving Permit from Australia?

Ok, so this is a very important step. And you can only make it happen while you are in Australia.

In Australia, there are two ways you can apply for an International Driving Permit. Either through the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) or the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

The easiest way to apply for the International Driving Permit is through their online portal. However, if you are in a hurry and need the document on an urgent basis, you can even visit your nearest RACV to fill out the details.

Steps to applying for an International Driving Permit through RACV

  1. Visit the official website of RACV to apply online
  2. Upload a recent passport size photograph along with a picture style file
  3. Then, upload a scanned copy of your current Australian driving licence (make sure you scan both the front and back of the driving licence)
  4. Lastly, make the online payment ($42)
  5. You will receive your International Driving Permit in ten business days, depending on the day you apply

Steps to applying for an International Driving Permit through AAA

The steps for applying for an International Driving Permit through RACV and AAA are pretty much the same. The only difference is in the website.

For AAA, you can visit their official website and scroll down to the “Apply For An IDP’ section and click on the ‘Apply Online’ tab.

Ok, so once you get your International Driving Permit from Australia, you can easily rent a car or a bike in Bali. It is essential that you apply for the International Driving Permit from Australia.

What happens if you get caught by the Indonesian Police for not having a driving licence?

This is a serious offence in Bali, Indonesia. Please do not leave your hotel in Bali without the essential documents (photocopies should do good). Even if you do get caught, it can go either of the following two ways.

  1. One, since you are a tourist in Bali, the police will try to intimidate you by imposing charges/heavy fines for traffic violations. And if you stay calm and composed and have a polite conversation with the police, they will charge a fine of about $30 and send you your way.
  2. Second, you get into serious legal problems.

Although option one sounds better, there are equal chances of both of these happening to you. So make sure you keep all the documents with you just to be on the safer side.

What if you lose your International Driving Permit in Bali?

Losing any piece of valuable document in a foreign country can be extremely bothersome. To avoid this, carry multiple photocopies of your documents. And when heading out, take the photocopies. This way, even if you lose a document, it won’t be the original one.

If you do end up losing your International Driving Permit in Bali, it is best that you file a complaint at a police station. And consult with them on how to proceed further.

Quick tips on riding or driving on the roads of Bali

Once you get your International Driving Permit and rent a bike or car in Bali, you are all set to explore this beautiful island . However, there are certain rules and regulations that you should know of.

1. Get an appropriate driver’s licence

Since you cannot use your Australian driving licence in Bali, it is very important that you get an International Driving Permit from Australia. Trust me, it may seem like a huge task applying for it, but it’s actually not!

You can also get a temporary Balinese driver’s licence in Bali if your International Driving Permit does not arrive in time due to some reason. For the temporary driver’s licence in Bali, you can go to the police station in Denpasar and file an application for the same. It will cost you around $30. I would suggest that you ask your hotel staff for a detailed walkthrough.

There are many tourists who visit Bali and rent a vehicle without the proper documents. It’s possible, but you will have to pay a hefty amount to get a vehicle this way. And not to forget the additional amount you will have to pay if you get caught by the police.

2. Ride or drive safely

Here’s a thing about Bali that annoys pretty much every tourist—the poor road conditions. Although not all roads are in bad condition, most of them are. And you can see loose rocks or large potholes on the roads, so make sure that you ride/drive slowly. The speed limit is 40 – 70 kilometres/hour.

Every day, about 150 motorbikers meet with accidents, both minor and severe. And also, if you are not confident in your riding or driving skills, I would suggest that you refrain from renting a vehicle in Bali. Considering the number of accidents that happen every day in Bali, you can easily be one of those if you are not careful.

3. Honk to let others know you are passing

This is an unspoken rule in Bali. If you are behind a vehicle on the road, you honk and let them know that you are passing. Do not honk too much either.

4. Seatbelt and helmet on at all times

how to rent a bike in bali with Australian licence

This is a very important rule when it comes to being on the roads of Bali. When in a car, always keep the seatbelt on as long as you are on the road. And when on a bike or moped, always keep your helmet on!

More often, you will see most Balinese not really following these rules. The police don’t say much to them. But tourists are an exception here. The Balinese police love to pull tourists over and charge them a big amount for breaking the rules in a foreign country.

5. Very numbered gas stations in Bali

It’s funny that there are not many gas stations on an island that functions mostly on motorbikes and mopeds. Of course, you will see plenty of signs on the road that will say that there’s a gas station. But honestly, there would be nothing!

Instead, you will see small roadside shops selling a particular pee-like liquid. It’s actually petrol! Yes, I was quite shocked to see this too. But that’s how Bali works. So I would suggest that you check your vehicle for fuel before hitting the road!

6. Drive on the left side of the road

Just like most countries, Bali has a rule of driving on the left side of the road too. If you are comfortable with driving on the left side, it will be super easy for you to do so in Bali as well. If not, you will have to be extra cautious.

Also, remember that overtaking happens on the right side of the road, so be very careful about it! Don’t get carried away with the thought of owning a vehicle in a different country and end up adding more places to your itinerary! Honestly speaking, it is not about visiting many places while on a trip. In fact, it might even ruin your peace of mind. Creating beautiful memories matters the most, so make sure you don’t give space for memories that you’d later regret!

7. Road signs are quite small

This is another thing that I found out after visiting Bali on my solo trip. The road signs are kind of small and not very prominently positioned. The chances of you actually missing some of these signs while on the road in the nighttime are quite high.

And if you get lost, you will have to use your phone for maps or ask a local for directions. Both of which can be quite annoying!

8. Make sure you are back at your hotel before it gets too dark

Again, this is important. Unless you have hired a private driver in Bali to take you places, it may not be that safe to be out on the streets of Bali after dark. First, the roads are not that great here, and your bike/car headlights can only show you the way to some extent. Second, the road signs’ visibility is quite a problem too.

If you have made plans to stay out late, you can select places that are in the main region and not the offbeat road. This will allow you to get back to your hotel safe and on time too!

9. Get travel insurance

And lastly, if you are planning on riding or driving in Bali, getting travel insurance would be a smart move on your part. Most tourists in Bali get into accidents because of their carefree attitude or just a chance of completely ‘letting themselves go’ on foreign land. Although there is no harm in enjoying your solo trip to the fullest, you need to be cautious, too, since you are all you have in another country!

Like I mentioned earlier about the road condition and accidents, it’s better to be on the safer side. If you do end up getting into an accident, you would be covered through travel insurance.

Ok, so this is it for this blog. Since the Australian driving licence is not valid in Bali, it will not really be of any use to you. If you plan to rent a vehicle to explore the island in a much more local way, you can do it by applying for an International Driving Permit from Australia. Carry that document and your original driving licence (for proof that you can actually ride or drive) on your solo trip to Bali , and you are all set! If this is your first trip as a solo female traveller, stay safe, and most importantly, be aware of your surroundings! You can read my blog on how to avoid unwanted attention from creeps when you are travelling alone.