The Struggle and Luxury of Driving Legally in Bali

The Wild West of Driving

One thing I didn’t like in Indonesia (well Jakarta and Bali) when I came here last time, was the traffic. I still don’t but at least I’m well prepaired.

No side walks. Everyone is on a scooter. For aussie tourists this place is the wild west where they can be cowboys with their barely road legal rental Honda Varios.

Walking is dangerous. Driving is dangerous. Every day there are people dropping off to the rice fields or crushing into others. Some die, some “only” break a leg.

This is not my first time in Asia but as a kid, I used to travel with my mother. She could, and – with one or more kids travelling with her – would, order a taxi. In Bali, taxi is a hashle if you don’t happen to have a trusted driver, or you can’t take a GoJeck or Grab for one of the many reasons (like the local ”taxi mafia”).

This time here, I’m driving legally unlike most people. In Finland, I got through 7 lessons, a theory test, twice a handeling test (because I failed the first one) and a driving test in traffic, all with a full powered motorcycle (A-kortti).

The Struggle of Getting My International Lisence

On Monday, the last day before leaving to Bali I woke up thinking that my struggle for getting the license was in vain. I had passed the last driving test on Friday so I was legit for driving in Finland. It would take a week or so to recieve my real plastic license via snail mail to my homw address. That would be too late.

I took the last chance and drove to Autoliitto office to ask if I could somehow get the international license without the final plastic license.

Lucky, I went to the office because the front desk was able to tell me (unlike plenty of other people who I had talked toand who are supposed to know this) that I could get a temporary liscence from another office (Ajovarma). With that Autoliitto could make me the international translation of the lisence. I’d be legit for driving anything with two wheels in Indonesia.

To my great surprise at the and of the day I had the international license, plus an EU approved helmet that I ended up purchasing during that last day in Finland.

Driving a scooter in Bali with a proper EU approved helmet

The Luxury of Driving Legally and with a Good Helmet

It’s luxury to drive here with all legal documents and a proper well fitting helmet. The police here cares more about briding but what matters to me, is that my insurance is valid. Having great motorcycle handling skills isn’t too bad either. Lucky life! It’s best to avoid stupid risks and stay safe while driving.

Leave a Reply