Is traffic on Bali dangerous?

by Maarten Rol

April 29, 2015
People often ask us how it is to go around on Bali and, is it safe? Well, you have options here.

First of all, you might go on foot. Note however, that whether a walking distance is short or not, is quite personal. Certainly when the temperatures are not what you are accustomed to. For everyone this is different, depending on age, physical fitness etc. Our villas that are within "walking distance to the beach", are always within 500 m from the beach. We think this is an acceptable distance for the average person with an average fitness.

If the places where you are further away from your destination, it is almost always very easy to get a Blue Bird taxi. And when you are in a villa, the Villa Management will be happy to get one for you. They are cheap. We always advice people, when they take the taxi, to go by the official meter and not make a deal with the driver on the price. The drivers will try that every now and then, but only because they can earn something extra. Nonetheless, we consider these taxis dependable and trustworthy.

For young people wanting to explore things a little further away, renting a motor bike may be an option. But be beware that the driving is quite a lot more hectic than in your average western country. And the driving is on the left side, to which people from a lot of countries are not accustomed. When this is your piece of cake: always make sure you rent a motor bike with an insurance. Also compare prices in order to get a fair rental price and try to familiarize yourself with the motor bike at first in a place where it is not too busy.

A lot more comfortable, but of course also a bit more expensive, is to rent a car with a driver. Note however, that a car with a driver for a whole day will be very cheap compared to a western country. The benefits are that you can relax, look in amazement at the way some young local dare devils on their motor bikes slalom through the traffic and you will arrive at your destination without your blood pressure going through the ceiling. Yes, sometimes the traffic can be pretty frantic.
But the good thing in Bali is: nobody gets angry and everybody stays calm. You will arrive at places where you will be amazed how the traffic from another street slowly pushes forward until somebody leaves a few millimeters of extra space, a signal for them to weave in. And no angry faces, no shouting, no middle fingers going up etc. It can be truly entertaining when you come from a country in Europe, for example.

Traffic knot
Gordian traffic knot

Last year we watched in amazement as we became part of some Gordian knot, when people from different sides tried to go first. And there were traffic lights! A young western woman on a motor cycle next to us was shaking her head in amazement as everything came to a stand still. But without any problems and a little extra movement here and there, the knot was untied in the friendly Bali way, as always!

Gloves for a beautiful skin
Gloves in the tropical heat

One more small detail: nowhere in the world you will see women drive on motorbikes as elegantly as in Bali. And when you are surprised to see them wearing woolen gloves in the tropical heat: they want to keep the colour of their skin as light as possible because that is considered more beautiful!

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