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Motorcycling in Bali and Lombok

  • ade7

    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Posts: 12

    Hi,
    What is the deal with motorcycling in Bali and Lombok? We were hoping to hire scooters, especially in Lombok, but we have read in the Lonely Planet guide that you need an international license (which we dont have) and that police fines have become more common in Lombok. We have hired scooters in Java (Pangandaran and Jogja) with no problems.
    Any help much appreciated.
    Thanks, Andy

    #1 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 14:51

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  • somtam2000

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    Hi Andy,

    Yes, you are supposed to have an International license for riding, but in practise you'll never be asked for one when you hire a bike.

    If the police catch you, expect a small "fine" on the spot -- I've paid 50,000Rp in the past, but I was driving a car with an expired International license, perhaps it will cost less for a bike...

    I see tourists getting booked almost every day by the cops at a main intersection near where I live, so don't be surprised if they catch you.

    Best advice is to try to avoid looking like a tourist when you're riding around -- ie both wear helmets and shirts (preferably not BeerLao ones ;-)

    #2 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 15:05

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    I got pulled up when driving a 4WD in Bali back in '94 - yes, they were stopping tourists back the, too! I was determined not to pay, so turned it into a competitive little game.

    We sat in the little police hut on the side of the road, while I practiced my best bahasa. We talked about my visit to Bali, life in NZ, etc. He told me that I had broken the law (technically he was right - I was in a lane that was supposed to turn, but went straight). I apologised profusely. He asked what happened when someone did something like that in NZ?

    "Policeman in NZ are VERY good", I said. "For a first offence, they just give you a warning".

    He smiled, nodded, and eventually let me go with a wave. It took half an hour, but I didn't pay a cent.

    The next day, I got pulled up again - different intersection, different policeman. They discussion played out the same, word for word, almost. I 'volunteered' the info about how 'good' the NZ policemen were with the warnings. It took a bit more work, and I think he ended up exasperated with me - but eventually sent me off on my way. Not a cent was paid!

    If it happens to you:
    - remain calm, pleasant and respectful
    - have patience - think of it as part of the experience
    - don't argue with them - show your remorse (which doesn't have to be admitting guilt)
    - and finally... the worst case is, realise you might end up paying anyhow, but at least you tried.

    ---------------------------------------

    "Yes, you are supposed to have an International license for riding, but in practise you'll never be asked for one when you hire a bike."

    Now - a question from me. I have an international car licence but not for motorbikes. Do licences in Bali distinguish between the two? Can I legally rent a motorbike with an international car licence?

    #3 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 15:30

  • somtam2000

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    In Indonesia they're physically two separate licences -- one for the car, one for the bike (I know this 'cause I only got mine on Monday -- amusingly, the cop did the written test for me -- then marked it).

    So if you look at your international license, you'll see it is stamped as being one to drive -- not to ride -- at least that's the case with my old Australian one.

    The rental agents wouldn't care if you showed them a library card -- they'll rent a bike to anyone. The problem is if you get stopped, and legally, you are supposed to have an international license to ride in order to ride a motorbike legally.

    "- remain calm, pleasant and respectful
    - have patience - think of it as part of the experience
    - don't argue with them - show your remorse (which doesn't have to be admitting guilt)
    - and finally... the worst case is, realise you might end up paying anyhow, but at least you tried."

    Absolutely agree with all the above, though I wouldn't spend too long haggling with the cop -- I try to keep my exposure to the Indonesian policing system to an absolute minimum!

    #4 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 15:38

  • SBE

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    My French driving licence says I'm allowed to drive bikes up to 125cc... I haven't got an international licence handy but I think the last one I had said I could drive a motorbike too. I don't know why they allow me to do this because I can't drive a motorbike ... the wretched contraption leaps forward like a jet propelled rocket and you can't even break with your feet so I always end up in a ditch.

    #5 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 15:53

  • busylizzy

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    "the wretched contraption leaps forward like a jet propelled rocket and you can't even break with your feet so I always end up in a ditch."[/}

    Oh god - that will be me!! I haven't actually ridden before, but am arranging some 'lessons' before I leave. I wouldn't ride a bike in Bali, but thought maybe in some more remote, quiet areas in Lombok.

    Only problem is that I'm scared to do the lessons here beforehand. Last time I planned a big trip away (2 years ago) I broke my ankle on a flying fox the day before I was due to leave!

    Thanks for the info Somtam.

    #6 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 16:28

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Argh!.... edit button, edit button!

    #7 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 16:28

  • SBE

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    He knows and I may well remind him about in person at the pissup! It's probably just a question of some brackets and commas in the script because HE'S got got an edit button! How about you distracting him with fluttering eyelashes while I try out some innovative punctuation on his computer? ;-)

    #8 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 17:05

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    You're on! I'll start practicing the flutter now.

    Just think Somtam, we can avoid all this hassle of fluttering eyelashes and undercover computer espionage if you just dropped an edit button on the form. Then we can all just sit back and enjoy a few beers at the pissup. Really, it's just a little button. Drag and drop it from somewhere. I know these things - I work in IT. :-)

    #9 Posted: 19/8/2009 - 18:31

  • SBE

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    As you work in IT I'd better do the eyelashes then...I was just going to experiment with spaces, semi-colons and brackets and try and get lucky.

    I'm not sure how distracting my eyelashes will be though, might have to improvise a veil dance with my sarong or something.

    #10 Posted: 20/8/2009 - 11:38

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  • somtam2000

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    yes yes yes all these idle threats...

    If you people used Travelfish before the bordeaux, there'd be no need for an edit function...

    Lizzy, when you in Bali?

    #11 Posted: 20/8/2009 - 13:34

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Hi Somtam, I arrive 27 Sep and will be there for up to a week or so before moving on to either Lombok or Flores. I come back through Bali around 15-18 Nov or so, before flying out again.

    Should we start planning a proper catch-up - in Sept or Nov (or both!).

    (flutter, flutter....)

    #12 Posted: 20/8/2009 - 15:15

  • SBE

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    I can be there for the November bit ... wouldn't mind a week or two on Bali after Sulawesi.

    Somtam be afraid, very afraid. I know a way to keep your attention 100% riveted on me for about three whole minutes. Fast forward to about 3 minutes in on this utube film clip and see what fate worse than death awaits you if that edit button isn't fixed by the time we get Bali! :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOVToymJOH8

    #13 Posted: 20/8/2009 - 16:02

  • SBE

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    Sorry, edit. Fast forward to 3.21.

    #14 Posted: 20/8/2009 - 16:05

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    SBE, I like your style! :-D

    #15 Posted: 20/8/2009 - 17:08

  • oasis12wyatt

    Joined Travelfish
    8th December, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hey all,

    I don't have any idea how it works for other countries, but the U.S. makes it ridiculously easy to get an international drivers license. I believe it's $15 through AAA. you send them a check, copy of your valid drivers license and a few passport photos and they send you an IDL. i even applied for and received mine while i was in south korea. it'll take a few weeks, so do it ahead of time. there are very few countries that do not accept it and it will get you out of the rip-off-the-tourist traffic stops by local police.

    http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html

    this is the webpage that i used to get my IDL delivered to south korea. it took about 6 weeks.

    Good Luck!!!

    #16 Posted: 8/12/2010 - 01:20

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