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Bali Warns Tourists Must Have International Driving License To Drive Scooters On The Island

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Transport officials in Bali have made a huge announcement that will impact tourists who want to drive on the island. The news comes as the provincial government is working hard to crack down on badly behaved tourists on the island. 

Traffic Police in Bali's Denpasar.jpg

By ‘badly behaved’, the behavior officials are looking out for is outright illegal. From operating businesses without the correct visa to posing naked at sacred sites to driving without the correct driving license, officials in Bali are taking a stand against illegal behavior by foreigners on the island. 

Speaking to the press, the Head of the Bali Provincial Transportation Agency, Samsi Gunarta, has confirmed that foreigners who wish to drive in Bali must have the correct driving license.

While this has always been the law, it has been enforced with a level of flexibility. Motorbike rental shops have not been legally required to check whether a tourist has a driving license, and so many tourists hire scooters without having a local or international driving permit. 

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Gunarta told reporters, “internationally, actually people are allowed to drive vehicles; however, they must have the right license. This is what must be ensured, if they don’t have a SIM, yes they can’t [drive here]; they have to be disciplined, they have to have a license”.

There are two different kinds of driving licenses in Indonesia. The SIM C is the driving license required to drive a motorcycle, and a SIM A is required to drive a car.

International driving licenses are generally recognized in Bali, but since traffic law enforcement has been considered to be somewhat more relaxed than in other parts of the world, many drivers do not think twice about whether they have the correct paperwork. 

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Driving without the correct license in Indonesia is a legal offense. Violators face fines of up to IDR 1 million or four months imprisonment.

Gunarta’s reaffirmation of the law comes as a wake-up call for all foreigners on the island who wish to continue driving to double-check that their paperwork is in order. 

Following a series of policy overhauls by Governor Koster and a rise in viral videos of foreigners breaking a traffic law, a Tourism Task Force has been deployed in Bali.

In addition to cracking down on foreigners conducting activities that go against their visa conditions, the Tourism Task Force is also working in partnership with the traffic police to ensure that foreigners are driving safely and within the law. 

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Gunarta said, “We have a problem of the many foreign tourists only wearing bikinis while driving rented motorbikes and driving [mopeds] without understanding how to drive before [taking to the road]. Even if it’s difficult to fix this habit, we are trying to overcome it.”

In mid-March, as the situation regarding foreigners driving illegally in Bali seemingly reached a fever pitch, Governor Koster proposed a complete ban on tourists driving on the island.


In his announcement, Governor Koster said that he wants to ban all foreigners from driving in Bali, seemingly of their licenses.

He explained, “So those tourists have to travel, walk, and use cars to travel. It is no longer allowed to use a motorcycle or anything that is not from a travel agent.”

The proposed changes were hailed by many as the kinds of radical changes needed to address the issue, especially the issue of traffic management in Bali.

But for many bike rental owners in Bali, the news came as a shock to the system; many urged the government to rethink the proposed plans. 


While there are some large-scale bike rental businesses in Bali, the vast majority of moped rental services are small, family-run local businesses that provide the sole income for families on the island.

Families have invested huge amounts in their mopeds, and to suddenly be unable to generate income from their investments would be financially devastating. 


One senator from East Bali told reporters that the government must “Just apply the rules that already exist properly.”

This is just what the Head of the Bali Provincial Transportation Agency, Samsi Gunarta, has reiterated this week; only drive with the correct licenses, and all will be well.

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Sunday 4th of June 2023

Is this a joke? Coming to Bali soon for ten days for first visit with my Vietnamese wife. I haven’t been back home to the UK since before Covid, so can’t just ‘pop back’ for an IDP. Been riding motorbikes and scooters for over 4 decades including years in Thailand and Saigon, and the missus is an experienced scooter rider as well.

Had a couple of riding itineraries mapped out for Bali, but now looking like that will have to be shelved. Bet the tour companies are rubbing their hands, the prices will rise. Hate having to go on organised tours all the time.

Is there any practical workaround for short-term visitors, other than breaking the law?

Jack Oliver

Sunday 14th of May 2023

The problem has nothing to do with any of this !

I came to Bali for the first time 3 years ago - In Australia I had multi combination road ranger trucks and a 1200 cc BMW motore bike - NO problems

I had only been here 10 days and I came off a moped when a local overtook me and veered straight in front of me on a corner - I layed the bike over on my ankle - I had NO idea that is perfectly normal here !

Anyway open dislocation of the anklewas facing 45 degrees from where it should have been - cost me 200 million and came home in a wheelchair !

Good now!

You can learn some hard lessons in Bali when you don't understand the rules - because there are NONE !

I have lived here since then - NO problems now !

If they had a condition - well - it should be at least a one hour ride on the back of a Gojek and be shown how things are done :-)


Friday 12th of May 2023

I don't understand? So we need a Indo Sim A and C to drive a speda and mobil? Or just a international driver's permit that covers all? I'm on tourist visa.Thanks!


Monday 15th of May 2023

@Bill, Either Or.

Google it, many visa agencies have ads for a driving license. All you need is a passport. No test, no experience needed experience only money is required.

1.5 to 2.0 million rp.

And if you kmow your way around the police are only at certain spots close to their stations.

No need to panic, anybody on holiday will always be able to rent a scooter in Bali till eternity.


Saturday 13th of May 2023

@Bill, Yes need SIM A/C or an International Driving Permit based on home country driving license (Car/Motorbike). Both the International Driving Permit and original home country driving license are supposed to be presented for rental and when stopped by police.

I'm under the impression that only expats (not tourists) can get Indonesian SIM via official procedure (Go to police and do theory & driving tests).

Usual official requirements for documents: Original passport and its copy. Original, valid KITAS / KITAP and its copy. A copy of the latest entry stamp to Indonesia in your passport. A doctor’s note of good health (physical & mental).

As mentioned elsewhere among comments here there seems to be ways to get SIM A/C also as a tourist via local agents. I'm quite sure there will be introduced ways to get International Driving Permit as well via local agents.


Friday 12th of May 2023

If they want to fix the problem Fine the scooter owners if not supplied with licence and passport easy solution and make All people Wear Helmets not just Tourists There are more locals with NO helmets than Tourists Its lndonesian Law or is it different four Tourists


Friday 12th of May 2023

Eh, and what to think about the local people who drive without helmets on, or only with T-shirts and on slippers or bare feet on the motorbike. Not to mention the amount of local passengers on the moped. How many may be transported? 2 or 4 or 5 on a motorbike? And what about the licenseplates? I see different years variations from 2017 to 2029. Yes it’s not good that tourists drive without helmet, clothes and so on, but please police also look at the local drivers if you’re so concerned for the safety on the road and don’t stop only the tourists.


Sunday 14th of May 2023

@Hans, That others are breaking the law is not a defence. As an expat or tourist you know you can be targeted. If you get caught it's your own arrogance and stupidity.


Saturday 13th of May 2023

@Hans, Yep. A couple of days ago in my area a team of 4 minors boys on a motorbike (10-12 yrs) on the main road. The driver was standing up as he was to small to sit on the seat. Flip flops and no helmets and you can be quite sure no driving license!