The video below depicts the calm version of the roads and traffic in Lembongan Island, Bali, I am ‘safely’ sitting in the back of a truck getting a land tour and this is unbelievably relaxing compared to the city driving in Kuta. (Which I will get a clip of later).
The recommended way to get around Bali s by Scooter but if you’re not used to ciaos it might be best to just get a driver. They can be pretty reasonable if you choose a company like blue bird, but you have to negotiate. A 30min drive is about 150,000 to 200,000 or $15/$20USD or you can hire a driver for a full day that can be about 700,000/$70USD. There are luxury drivers as an option as well if you’re willing to pay a little extra.
Another small snag is the whole license to drive thing as well- if you do not hold an international license and especially if you are Caucasian there is a chance you will get pulled over. Some of the ‘Traffic Police’ here are not employed by the actual government but are Volunteers and get paid in Bribes. It’s very common practice to Bribe police here. If you are pulled over and have not really done anything wrong here are some tips for you to negotiate through it as well as getting around in Bali via Scooter:
- Do not keep all your cash in one place. Keep 50,000-100,000 visible and the rest hidden away or at home
- If they insist that you pay 1,000,000 keep apologizing and offer ‘what you have’ on you
- If they threaten to bring you to jail if you do not pay, accept the invite. Most likely they will still try and negotiate with you. If they bring you to jail then they are basically giving another police officer a chance to make a buck through bribes and they don’t want that
- If you have long blonde or light hair, tuck it into your helmet. Blonde hair is a great target for the traffic police
- If you are carrying a purse do not keep it on you. There is a real chance the purse can be cut off you while you are on a scooter or worse, dragged until you let go. Keep it in a safe place tucked between the floor or in seat console
- JUST FOLLOW STRAIGHT AHEAD OF YOU. Try not to focus on what’s going on to the back, side or anywhere else- just follow the flow of traffic and focus on the person ahead of you
- DO NOT drive through a red light. This is the one rule that you can get in trouble with. But I believe a red left arrow is OK (double check on that)
- Scooters can weave in-between traffic as well as drive on sidewalks
- There are Absolute Vodka bottles on the side of the road by vendors filled with petrol for you to purchase for about $2USD, which will last about a week or so
- They drive on the left side of the road, but sometimes the center if it pleases them