To drive in Indonesia, you officially need an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your local automobile association. This permit is rarely required as identification when hiring/driving a car in Indonesia, but police may ask to see it. Bring your home licence as well – it's supposed to be carried in conjunction with the IDP. If you also have a motorcycle licence at home, get your IDP endorsed for motorcycles too.
Fuel prices are kept cheap by government subsidies. Unleaded petrol costs around 10,000Rp per litre. The opening of the domestic fuel market to foreign operators has spurred national oil company Pertamina to build petrol/gas stations (pompa bensin) throughout the archipelago.
Small self-drive cars can be hired for as little as 300,000Rp a day with limited insurance in tourist areas.
It is very common for tourists to hire a car with a driver, and this can usually be arranged from 600,000Rp per day.
With a small group, a van and driver is not only economical but also allows maximum travel and touring freedom. Hotels can always arrange drivers.
Motorcycles are readily available for hire throughout Indonesia.
Rental agencies and owners usually insist that the vehicle itself is insured, and minimal insurance should be included in the basic rental deal – often with an excess of as much as US$100 for a motorcycle and US$500 for a car (ie the customer pays the first US$100/500 of any claim). You can usually pay extra to reduce the excess.
Your travel insurance may provide some additional protection, although liability for motor accidents is specifically excluded from many policies.
A private owner renting out a motorcycle may not offer any insurance at all. Ensure that your personal travel insurance covers injuries incurred while motorcycling.
Indonesians drive on the left side of the road, as in Australia, Japan, the UK and most of Southeast Asia.
Considering the relatively small cost of a driver in relation to the total rental, it makes little sense to take the wheel yourself. Driving requires enormous amounts of concentration, and the legal implications of accidents can be a nightmare; as a foreigner, it's your fault.