How to Rent a Car/Bike in Bali with an Indian Licence | Solo Female Travel
When I had visited Bali for my first ever solo trip in 2017, I was clueless about how to travel from one place to another. Due to this reason, I ended up spending a lot of money just on transportation. I had set a budget for my accommodation in Bali, exploring the sites from my travel itinerary, and commuting between places, but it didn’t go as planned!
Learning from this mistake of not doing enough research on transportation in Bali, I made a second solo trip to the island. And guess where the research lead me? Renting a bike or car in Bali! Yes, I know I should have thought of it earlier.
However, I also came to know that you cannot rent a vehicle in Bali with an Indian Licence. You need to apply for an International Driving Permit from India before landing in Bali. Although it is not tedious work as you can easily apply for the International Driving Permit online, it requires a bit of research.
So, this blog is all about how you can rent a car or bike in Bali with an Indian Licence. And I will also be taking you through the steps of applying for an International Driving Permit from India.
What is an International Driving Permit?
Before getting into the other details about the whole renting cars and bikes in Bali, let’s understand what International Driving Permit means.
Basically, it’s a piece of document that allows you to rent or drive a vehicle in foreign countries. You can even use your International Driving Permit as an identification document. However, I would suggest that you carry your other essential identification documents, too, just to be on the safer side.
How to apply for an International Driving Permit from India?
International Driving Permit is only issued to Indian citizens who have a valid Indian driving licence. If you are an NRI, you may not be able to apply for it.
To apply for an International Driving Permit from India, visit the official website of Parivahan Sarathi. You will be asked to enter the state’s name. Then, you will be presented with the options of services available on the website. Select ‘Apply for an International Driving Licence’ and follow all the instructions that are given on the website. And you’re done!
The steps of the application are:
- Fill Application/Request details
- Upload a scanned copy of the required documents
- Upload a scanned copy of your recent photograph and signature
- Payment of fee
- Verify your payment status
- Print the receipt
Documents needed for the application of International Driving Permit from India
When you apply for the International Driving Permit online, you will need certain documents. You can keep a scanned copy of all these documents before you start the application to avoid the last-minute hassle. Following are the documents that you will be needing.
Valid driving license
Visa copy of the country you are visiting
Plane tickets for verification
Remember, before you start filling out the online application, you need to visit the local RTO (Regional Transport Office) and fill out the 4A form.
How long does the International Driving Permit from India remain valid?
As per the new guidelines by the current Indian Government, the International Driving Permit issued from the country remains valid for exactly one year. And it cannot be renewed.
What happens if you get caught riding or driving in Bali without an International Driving Permit?
Riding or driving in Bali without an International Driving Permit is considered a serious offence. I would suggest that you don’t leave your hotel or hostel without the essential documents. Although your International Driving Permit can be used as an identification document, keep your other identification documents in your bag too.
But, if you do get caught without an International Driving Permit in Bali, you can expect two things to happen.
- Since you are a tourist, the Balinese police may threaten you with claims that they will put you behind bars. However, if you stay calm and explain to the police that you have the document in your hotel, they might let you go. But you will be charged a fee of about $30 for breaking the rules and regulations.
- You end up in serious legal problems.
Since most Balinese police are strict and your chances of getting into legal problems are more, carry all the essential documents with you at all times. To be on the safer side, carry a xeroxed copy of all the documents!
What to do if you lose your International Driving Permit in Bali?
Losing any sort of document in a foreign land can be scary (speaking from experience!). To make sure that you don’t end up misplacing or losing your essential documents, I would suggest that you carry at least three xeroxed copies of all your documents with you. Even better, you can keep each set of documents in different places. Let’s say you can keep one in your main luggage bag, one in your backpack, and one in the everyday bag that you carry while exploring places in Bali! Trust me—I do this every time I go on a solo trip, and it works like a charm.
But if you do end up losing your original International Driving Permit, you will have to go to the police station to file a complaint. Make sure that you give them all the necessary details regarding your document accurately. Once you file the complaint, the police will guide you with everything that needs to be done.
Quick tips before you get on the roads of Bali
Although most rules and regulations of riding or driving on the roads are pretty much the same in every country, Bali has a few different ones.
Here are some tips that will come in handy when you rent a bike or car on your solo trip to the island.
1. Carry your International Driving Permit and Original Driving Licence with you
In Bali, it is practically a law to carry the driving licence along. And for tourists, both the International Driving Permit and original, valid driving licence are essential.
If your International Driving Permit from India does not arrive on time due to some reason, you can apply for a temporary Balinese driver’s licence from Bali. To do so, you can go to the Denpasar police station and fill a form for the same. It will cost you around $30. You will need your original driving licence for this procedure. For more details, you can ask a local or your hotel staff to guide you.
I have seen many tourists who visit Bali and rent a bike or car without official documents. It is possible to do so, but it will cost you a lot of money. And not to forget the additional fee you will have to pay if you get caught by the police for riding or driving without the appropriate documents!
2. Ride or drive slowly and safely
After visiting Bali a couple of times, one thing that annoys me the most about this beautiful land is the poor road conditions. Yes, these bad roads are extremely bothersome. In some remote areas, the roads are much worse, and it gets very difficult to travel.
I had rented a moped on my solo trip to Bali. While I was free and excited to explore as many places as I wanted, the roads were like a dent in my almost perfect solo trip!
I would recommend that you ride or drive slowly and safely on these roads. Since the rate of accidents due to poor roads and rash driving is quite high, it is important that you keep the speed limit around 40 – 70 kilometres/hour.
3. Don’t forget to put on your helmet/seatbelt
This is an important rule to follow when you ride or drive on the roads of Bali. During my solo trip to Bali, I saw that locals did not really follow this rule. And what’s worse is that the police didn’t say much to them. However, it is different for tourists. The Balinese police love pulling the tourists over and charging them a hefty amount for not following the rules!
So keeping your helmet and seatbelt on at all times will save you from two things—unnecessary fines and road accidents!
4. Driving on the left side of the road
This is quite common in a lot of countries, including Bali, Indonesia. You drive on the left side of the road, and overtaking a line of vehicles happens on the right side of the road. If you are comfortable with these rules, it will not be that difficult for you.
5. Small road signs on most roads and streets
This is something that I found out after visiting Bali a couple of times. The roads signs are quite tiny, and it would be very easy for you to miss them if you don’t pay enough attention. During the daytime, if you pay a little more attention, you might be able to spot a few signs. But the nighttime is quite challenging!
If you happen to get back to your hotel late at night due to some reason, it will be very difficult for you to spot signs. You may have to use your smartphone for maps or ask a local for directions.
6. Make it a point to get to your hotel before it gets dark
Bali is quite a safe destination for solo female travellers. And it is completely safe for you to explore Bali at your convenience, even at night.
But here’s what happens when you rent a bike or car and go out at night. You will come across two problems. First, the roads are in bad condition, and the headlights on your bike or car will show you very little of the way. Second, the road sign visibility is a problem. So, make sure you get to your hotel before dark!
To avoid getting lost on your way at night, you can hire a private driver in Bali. This way, you won’t even have to worry about reading the signs or constantly checking your phone to use maps.
7. Honk to let others know that you are behind
This is an unsaid rule in Bali. If you are behind someone on the road and want to get ahead of them, it is considered polite to honk and let them know instead of just overtaking. However, make it a point not to honk too much as it may seem rude.
8. Get travel insurance
If you plan on renting a vehicle in Bali (and I highly recommend that you do), then getting travel insurance would surely help you out a lot. Let’s say that you get into an accident and break your leg. You can only imagine how much that’s going to cost you in a foreign land. And not to forget the damages on the rented vehicle. The rental company will make you pay a hefty amount for the damages. Sometimes, these companies even scam tourists by charging way too much than the actual price of the vehicle!
If you get the travel insurance, you would be covered and would not have to pay for all the additional hospital and medical fees (depending on the terms and conditions of your insurance).
Have you applied for your International Driving Permit yet?
The process of applying for an International Driving Permit is pretty straightforward. Once you receive your document, you can easily rent a car or bike in Bali. However, remember to carry your original, valid driving licence with you, as the rental company may need to see it.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets, get your bags packed, and get ready to have one of the most memorable times of your life! If you are travelling to Bali for the first time, here are some tips for your first solo trip to Bali to help you have a lovely time on the island.
Let me know in the comments below about your solo trip to Bali. I would love to hear about your experiences. Till then, happy travelling!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.