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Indonesia forum

Bali - rent-a-car and driving at night

Posted by damjanco on 3/8/2012 at 06:02


I plan to rent a car for visiting Bali, but I have two worries.

1) I've never driven on the left side of the road. Has anyone had an experience with driving in Indonesia for the first time on the left side? I don't know how difficult is to adapt.

2) We will be arriving at Denpasar around 19:00 and our next stop is Bedugul . So it means my first drive would be Denpasar -> Bedugul at night. Is this a good idea? I don't know how easy it is to find the way.
I guess also an option is to take a taxi to Begudul.

Thanks for any hints,

#1 damjanco has been a member since 17/8/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by busylizzy on 3/8/2012 at 07:01

I have driven rental cars in Bali several times, but I also learned to drive by driving on the left side - so that was half the battle under control.

I have driven in the US several times (ie on the opposite side to what I learned) and it was fine on the big highways where you are nicely separated from oncoming traffic. But get on a narrow road or in a carpark, and face oncoming car, and you will instinctively to move to tje wrong side to let them pass. Driving on the other side takes concentration at the best of times - at least for the first few days.

Driving in Bali takes even more concentration: the roads are narrow, packed with cars and motorbikes that don't stay in lanes and don't pay attention to conventional road rules. Dogs, chickens, kids also have no respect for road rules. Bedugul is a fair distance away from Denpasar and will probably take you a couple of 2-3 hours I think by memory, depending on traffic. It's only 50km but you won't be following a state high way to get there.

My suggestion - don't try it at night. The roads aren't always clearly marked, won't be well-lit and navigation can be tricky. Stay the night somewhere within vicinity of Denpasar and head out the next day when you're refreshed, ready to deal with it, and you can see where you are going.

If you need to get to Bedugul that night, then a taxi might be a better option, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to get a taxi there at that time of night. Maybe Somtam (who lives in Bali) can help you with that info. If you don't want to drive and can stay the night somewhere around the airport, you will be able to easily and cheaply get a shuttle bus the next day.

There is some transport info here that may be useful:
FYI - when in Bedugul, pack a picnic lunch and check out the Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Eka Karya) for a couple of hours. They were immaculate, serene and there are some stunning carved statues.

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,153
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Posted by damjanco on 5/8/2012 at 15:36

Thanks for the detailed answer.
I will for sure avoid the first drive in Bali over night.
I'll check with our hotel in Bedugul , maybe they can help with finding transport from Denpasar. If it's not too expensive we'll take that option, else we can stay overnight like you say around the airport.
We definitely plan to visit the botanical garden. We'll stay 2 nights at Bedugul and then probably head to the north and 3-4 days through the north-east coast back to Denpasar. That part seems to be less touristy than the south part, we're not big fans of over-developed locations.

#3 damjanco has been a member since 17/8/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 5/8/2012 at 18:38 admin

Yeah, I'd advise against that first night drive. Partly because you'd be unfamiliar with the standard of driving here, but also because the roads are terribly signposted. Ask your hotel to arrange a pickup, or get a cab from the airport.

Once you're in Budugul consider a night or two in Munduk -- very untouristed and lovely this time of year. From there it is a beautiful drive down to the north coast from where you could head west to Pemuteran and Menjangan Island or east to Lovina and Amed.

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,644
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