Information before you go
Learn from our Bali motor scooter adventures. It will avoid a lot of hassle....
Don’t be tempted to leave your helmet at your hotel. Despite many Balinese driving around without a helmet and other tourists cruising around with only shorts on, the Balinese police will not tolerate a tourist driving without a helmet.
We had to learn it the hard way...
After a refreshing shower my girlfriend and I did not feel like putting the helmet on again, so we went out for dinner leaving the helmets behind in our hotel.
The locals can get away with it, but you can't
After a delicious dinner we strolled over to our motor bike only to see that there were two police officers standing along the street. Right in front of the area where we parked our bike!
We kind of panicked and started to discuss with each other what our options were. By that time the police men were eyeing us too...
It must have been obvious that something was up.
At that very moment, when we decided that we would jump on the scooter and act if nothing was wrong, 4 other police cars parked in front of us. Now there were about a dozen of them!
Afterwards we discovered that we had parked exactly at the corner where the police always checks the traffic. So there was just no escape...
This is how it's suppose to be when driving in Bali
(with the strap tide around chin of course ;-)
We were lucky though. After a small chit chat with the officers we got away with only a warning. We did have to walk 20 minutes back to fetch our helmets first before we were allowed to take the bike with us...
Not my idea of a perfect ending to a perfect evening.
But it could have been worse. There are severe fines and sometimes imprisonment for not obeying to traffic rules. The officers were happy to inform us about them and to remind us how lucky we were with just a warning...
So just remember, when you plan to drive around Bali on a motorbike just put the helmet on. It’s for your own safety.
I am not sure what the reason was for my little accident in Ubud, but somehow I fell. I didn't fall hard considering I ended up in a running stream...
At that time I had found a nice home-stay that looked out over the amazing rice fields. However to get there I had to drive over a small path, with a wall on one side and a little stream on the other.
The whole time I was staying there I had no problem driving to and from the home-stay despite my girlfriend on the back shrieking a couple of times.
Getting to the accommodation can be tricky. Still dry here...
But just after check-out I hopped on my motorbike, rolled down the little hill from the home stay and before I knew it I was in the water with the bike and my fully packed bag!
Up till now I have no idea what went wrong...
The motorbike was under water and the mirrors had already gone down stream. Somebody taking a bath further down must have happily grabbed them…
Fortunately I took the dip by myself as my girlfriend had already walked ahead and was waiting for me down the small path.
Two men were there to help me pull the motor bike out. Luckily, after a thorough check the motor bike was up and running again..
We did have to go to the garage two times though. The first time the mechanics opened the motor bike to dry most of the parts.
I'm not very happy here
We also had to buy new mirrors, replace the cracked plastic shield and separate the petrol from the water that had run in.
We were able to drive on afterwards, only for the motor to stop completely at the end of the day. By that time smoke was coming out of the accelerator and the engine stopped running after a couple of meters.
It turned out that there was water in the motor as well, which was fortunately easily repaired the next day...
From the second experience in the garage we learnt that you should always try to go to the same motor bike dealer as the brand of your motor bike.
The bike that took the fall with me was a Yamaha. Instead of going to the Yamaha garage first, we ended up at a Honda garage that didn't check everything properly. The second one was a Yamaha garage who obviously knew every detail of the motor bike and fixed it again. So here is another warning when you are driving on a motorbike in Bali, if you have some trouble with your bike go to the same dealer as the brand you're driving on or call the owner of the bike.
And last but not least, try to keep your feet on the road when passing a very narrow path especially if there is water on either side!
As soon as you step into your first Balinese car, whether it's an airport taxi or the hotel shuttle you will immediately see something unusual but nevertheless really nice.
Every morning on the dashboard of almost every car in Bali the Balinese place a colorful offering.
Besides offerings in shrines, at the entrance of a house or on the corner of a dangerous junction the Balinese also have offerings in their vehicles to ensure a safe journey.
There is always an offering on the dashboard of a car
One day my girlfriend, our friend and I were driving on 3 motorbikes from Ubud, via Kintamani to Lovina. We decided to make the trip a bit more adventurous and took an off road tour through the mountains.
Half way we got a bit lost but we kept on driving on the dirt road towards the north. The area was very quiet, not many houses, hardly any people and no traffic at all.
Anyway, while we were driving full speed ahead a lady suddenly appeared on the middle of the road. She was carrying a basket which you often see in Bali. In it were several offerings made out of bamboo shoots and tiny flower petals.
She stopped us and asked if she could place an offering for us in order to ensure a safe journey to Lovina.
So not to offend her and of course to increase the chance of arriving in Lovina safely we agreed.
She chanted, made graceful movements with her hands and sprinkled water on our bikes. Then she stuck several rice grains right on our foreheads and placed a small offering on each of our bikes.
Every day offerings are placed on the motor scooter
We thanked her and were just about to turn the motor on again until she mentioned a price for her offerings.
We were kind of stunned but then understood that for a tourist in Bali hardly anything is for free. So we asked her again how much she wanted. She mentioned a price so high we could have had a grand dinner with the three of us for that same amount.
I told her that we were willing to give here something but that her price was pretty high. So at the end we gave Rph 15.000 and she seemed fine.
We drove off, rice grains flying everywhere and an offering blowing of the bike as soon as we reached 15 km per hour. We luckily arrived in Lovina safe and sound...
On our way back, just before Bedugul we saw another lady with a basket full of offerings on the side of the road. This time we decided to take the risk and drive on without an offering to ensure us a safe journey....
So remember, if there is a sweet lady standing with a basket full of offerings on the side of the road you can either stop to enjoy the cultural experience or drive on slowly and let her keep her offering for another traveler.
Follow a route that take you around the cultural and rural part of Bali and see stunning valleys filled with rice fields, crystal clear ocean views and stop at a tropical white beach.Read more
Do you want to see the stunning rice fields that you always see in Bali travel books? You can see them stretching till the horizon with this road trip through Central Bali.Read more
If you plan to drive from the South to Lovina why not do a great road trip at the same time. This routes takes you pass a Bratan temple and along the major lakes of the island.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.