Scootering in Bali & Lombok
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Apr 5, 2013 10:19 PM Last Post By: merantau
Apr 1, 2013 3:42 PM
Scootering in Bali & LombokI'm trying to get some perspective on what it's like to scooter around bali and lombok. I know they're common for getting around a specific area (i.e. around a town), but would you suggest it as a good means for getting around the entire islands? I do mean a small scooter, and not a motorbike. I rode scooters before around Phuket in town and am relatively comfortable but am hardly an experienced rider.
In other words, how long would it take to ride on a scooter from:
- Kuta, to Ubud, and then up to Lovina
- sengigi to kopang and then to the east coast
Also, is it pretty safe to assume that a bemo or truck will be going between major points on both islands on a regular basis?
Apr 2, 2013 12:47 AM
1Take a look at http://journals.worldnomads.com/merantau You'll find some information there that will help you make up your mind as to whether what you plan to do is a good idea on not. Doctors and hospitals in Bali see an on-going parade of the (mostly) walking wounded who thought it would be cool to go riding around Bali even though they had little or no experience on a scooter or motorbike.
Apr 2, 2013 1:29 AM
2Kuta to Ubud will take you 45-60 minutes depending on the traffic and the route you take. Ubud to Lovina would take you around 4 - 5 hrs depending ...
In Lombok to road from Mataram to to east coast is really busy. It's only 75 km but can take three hours in the middle of the day.
Your thoughts re bemos/trucks are a little dated. There are deluxe buses travelling east from Bali to Sumbawa and beyond. Ferries run 24/7 between Bali and Lombok. You need to travel a lot further east (Lembata and beyond) to find trucks being used as a regular form of public transport.
Apr 2, 2013 6:35 AM
3..and just to add to merantau's posts....... while in both Lombok / Bali (peak period) area for numerous weeks last year I watched many apprehensive tourists who travelled with their rented m/bikes from one island to the other.... at the time they (local police) were carrying out 100% checks on random ferry arrivals (notably more so on Padang Bai (Bali)..... probably on the lookout for adequate papers pertaining to ownership/rental, as well as relevant licences.... which many riders, i assume, didn't have!!
Apr 3, 2013 9:31 PM
4Bali's traffic is more hectic than Phuket's, with the addition of more bikes, people, chickens, dogs etc. walking close to the road. The cars, trucks, scooters also love to pass while going around blind curves! Once out in the countryside there are less cars, trucks, scooters etc. on the main roads. I also found the road system to be very confusing, and one would have to know exactly where one is going. I for one wouldn't even attempt driving a car or a scooter there, but that's me. There is also the fact that if a foreigner gets into an accident, it is usually their fault whether or not it truly is.
Apr 4, 2013 6:36 PM
5Here is a link to a youtube video of a Dutchman riding a scooter in Bali. The policeman in the video has since been sacked.
Apr 4, 2013 7:29 PM
6My partner (Chinese) and I (anglo-trash) recently spent two months around Bali by bike, with a bit over a week or so in Lombok and the Gilis.
We circumnavigated Bali, including crossing internal mountain roads in some parts of the island, but avoided the southernmost Kuta/Denpasar portion on advice from other travelers, locals and long term expats who explained that was the area that police were likely to cause foreigners issues. Throughout the rest of the island we had no issues.
We hired our bike in Ubud (taxi'd there straight from Denpasar airport), used it to explore the Ubud area then headed north. I would recommend doing the same as there are loads of bikes available there, and a good mix of heavy town and light rural road traffic environments to give you a feel for the local road sense. Try to get out of town before looking for a place to rent from - don't go to hugely advertised places in the middle of town - it's a sure fire way to get ripped off. I forget precisely what we paid in the end but we negotiated a long term rental and I think it was about 17,500 a day, not the 50/75/100,000 the ripoff places were asking. This was good for two people plus luggage on a tour of the whole island. Fuel is cheap. (The place we rented from is past the monkey forest southward of central Ubud, connected to an arts store, about 100m further on from the southern monkey forest gate.)
The roads are pretty good in Bali, generally speaking. Highlight areas for us were:
the far eastern cape, the hills around Lovina, the north/south cross-island roads up through the mountains, random parts of the northwest.
In general, the roads on Lombok are bad. Actually, compared to Bali, most things on Lombok are bad. (Getting bitten by a scorpion and being hospitalized didn't help improve our impressions there!) We asked around pretty heavily looking to hire a bike longer term there (we'd left our Ubud special on Bali). Unfortunately, some of Lombok lacks sealed roads, fuel, restaurants, hotels, etc. Internet is much harder to find. Primarily the northeast-to-east area seems a bit of a wild situation. There are hotels along the south and west, though the further east you go on the south the worse it gets. The locals informed us that there are very frequent power cuts in the major south-coast destination of Lombok, which is confusingly also called Kuta but should not be confused with the Bali one.
Anyway, I'd highly recommend exploring by bike. Great times. Cheap. Lovina has a special charm that takes doing nothing awhile to figure out. Massive recommendation for the pool at the Samsara(?) waterfront hotel, right in the middle of Lovina. They have super cheap rooms which are a bit crappy but if you take them you can swim in their pool which is really damn good.
Apr 5, 2013 10:19 PM
7I feel for the cop. He was only doing what the culture, which in the case of corruption flows from the top down, allows him to do. Sacking is far too harsh. Remember the Immigration officials at Ngurah Rai? They skimmed multiple thousands of dollars in a VOA scam. None were sacked - merely demoted. The policeman would have paid a lot of money for his job. Now his life and that of his family have become a lot more problematic.
He was a pretty soft target. He would have accepted IDR 50.000. He seemed like a pretty good guy. When you think of the situation like this maybe you will change your view of what transpired in the video: the tourist broke the law - no helmet. The cop knows the tourist is not going to be around for any court case so he gives the tourist a reduced fine and pockets it himself. I'm not sure what the fine is for not wearing a helmet. I suspect it's a lot less than what the cop quoted but more than the IDR 200.000 the tourist paid.
So the cop pocketed some money instead of the Indonesian State getting it. When you consider the spectacular, and on-going, history of corruption at the high end of town the cop has been hard done by.
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