Driving In Indonesia
We looked at some sources on the internet, that Indonesia didn't ratify or late to ratify the Vienna Convention of Road Traffic in 1968 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Driving_Permit), (are we surprised though?), but acknowledge the IDP itself, and therefore, foreigners who are not residents who wish to drive in Indonesia should have an IDP. Don't mess around with cops in Indonesia, especially tourists are their main target, say so many sources on the internet.
Other sources state that tourists can obtain a Temporary Driver's License, and this service is only provided in Bali, for the cost of only IDR 100,000 (USD 10). However, there is no reliable source we can trust of how long the validity of this Temporary Driver's License. One website says it's valid for one day, meaning you have to pay more to drive more days (http://www.expat.or.id/info/driverslicense.html). Another website says it is valid for one month (http://idlicense.com/IDLNews/post/BALI-DRIVING-TIPS-INTERNATIONAL-DRIVING-LICENSE.aspx). And I didn't want to make an International Direct Call all the way to Samsat Bali just to confirm about it. It is way easier to just obtain an International Driver's Permit in Japan that costs only JPY 2,700 (USD 27) done in one day and valid for one year.
Renting a Vehicle In Bali
Renting a vehicle in Bali is relatively inexpensive. Of course it depends on the type of the vehicle you want to rent. Generally, here's the price range:
- A motorbike usually means an automatic scooter or some places offer manual motorbikes. A unit costs IDR 50,000 (USD 5) per day (24-hour) rent. Some places charge IDR 60,000 per day and will give you discount for more than a day rent (e.g.: IDR 60,000 for one day, IDR 100,000 for two days, IDR 150,000 for three days etc).
- Cars vary from what you want to rent, but usually, a small van like Suzuki Karimun costs IDR 180,000 (USD 18) per day, self-drive. I don't really know about the price range for cars, because different car rentals offer different kinds of car, and I've never rented only a car except a driven car (with a driver).
- A car with a driver means someone drives you to the places you want to go. This is like a casually arranged tour. That's what we usually do with Nyoman. You tell the driver where you want to go, or you can ask for his advice where to go. A 6 hour tour costs around IDR 300,000 to IDR 400,000 (USD 30 to USD 40), and a 12-hour tour costs around IDR 600,000 - IDR 700,000 (USD 60 - USD 70).
- A tour package. This is basically the very basic, conventional kind of tourist transportation in Bali: joining a tour. Usually an SUV van takes you to go to defined places arranged in the package, e.g: a one day tour to Batubulan, Celuk, Ubud, Kintamani and Jatiluwih. Or a half day tour to Tabanan and Tanah Lot. The price range is around the same as the price range above.
- Bicycle. This one is not so common, but some places do offer bikes for rent. It is good if you just need to get around nearby places, especially when you stay by a beach, in a place like Double Six Beach, Seminyak, or Petitenget and you only need to go around Jalan Raya Seminyak. A bike usually costs IDR 35,000 (USD 3.5)
Errr... I can't Ride A Scooter!
As a hotel chain that is meant for savvy travelers, Tune Hotel chain barely provides any service: not even B&B (bed and breakfast), only a room, a bed, and a shower. However, they have partnerships with some merchants, like the ones in Bali are partners with Minimart Convenient Store, Es Teler 77 that open from 7 am to 11 pm, to cater your needs of breakfast, lunch and dinner (if you're not sick of the same menu), and also Ceria Transport to provide vehicle rentals. Soon as we arrived, well, the next morning we woke up, we came to Ceria Transport booth in the front office, asked if there was any automatic scooter available. We've planned to rent a Yamaha Mio, an automatic scooter that we both can ride. Unfortunately, the staff there said that all Mios were being rented. But she suggested us to rent from any of these many bike rentals along Jalan Arjuna. So that was what we did.
It didn't take us long to finally get a Mio from Edy's Rent-a-Bike. After some sort of administration thing, the owner handed us the STNK (Vehicle Number Certificate) and two helmets. One standardized helmet for the rider in front, and one modest helmet for the one behind.
I handed the scooter key to Joe and let him take the front seat before I got to jump behind him. Joe put in the key in the hole and then he said, "Eh... what should I do now?"
"Push it and turn the key to the left, pull the breaks and push the gas," I replied.
Joe did what I said, but for a few seconds, we didn't move and then he said, "Errr... Can you give me a lift? I forget how to ride a scooter, it's been a while since."
Ok, so I got off the scooter and so did he. And I took over the scooter and told him, "You know you're heavier than me, so I probably need a while first to adjust with this scooter."
He said, "Ok," and waited for me.
So I started to ride the scooter, and oh dear Lord... I couldn't ride it either! I wasn't able to lift my both feet. So for more than fifty meters along Jalan Arjuna I kept having my left foot on the ground. I didn't care people were watching me but I was surprised with myself, I couldn't ride a scooter either! What's this goin' on here, I screamed to myself, one year in Japan and used to biking everywhere and now I can't ride a scooter!
I finally gave up. I just gave up. I stopped the scooter. I shook my head to Joe. He approached, and I said, "You won't believe it, I can't ride it either! What is wrong with me?"
Driven by the urge to survive, we finally managed it somehow. Joe finally rode the bike, with me behind. Back to the jungle of the crazy roads of South Bali, to the center spots of the craziness, Jalan Raya Seminyak, Jalan Raya Legian, Kartika Plaza, there was no other choice but to join the street madness, driving like locals, crazy, crazy, and crazy.