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Asia > Indonesia > Bali

See: Why rent a car in Bali ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Bali?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Bali?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Bali car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Bali with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Bali? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Bali, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Bali is in car rental price band: 8/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Bali? 

No. Car rental is very expensive by global standards.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Bali between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:4/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


The natural starting point for a beautiful island like Bali is that this is the sort of place where you might well just want to kick off your shoes and relax in and around your resort for a week, indulging in as little movement as possible. There are certainly no shortage of absolutely stunning luxury resorts in Bali which offer the full pampering service, with no expense spared!

However, if you are looking for a car in the first place, then the purpose of this advice is to consider whether or not a hire car is the best way to get around. We’re not here to say you should just go back to your resort and do nothing! If that’s your plan, you wouldn’t be here!

Yet it’s also worth saying that Denpasar itself has become increasingly commercialised, and that the romantic charm is completely lost amongst the tacky shopping malls and congested 6 lane highways that people think they are coming to Bali to get away from. But there is also no substantial form of organised public transport in Bali, outside urban buses in Denpasar, and a small number of scheduled buses shuttling between the other major cities on the island.

You might well be able to take an organised tour around some of the more impressive temple sites, but the ultimate question is – is this really the best way to see the island?

On balance, a hire car here might be quite a good idea.

Why? Visiting Bali using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bali ?

  • Explore the island in full, at your own pace.
  • A hire car is very useful to get well outside the city of Denpasar.
  • Denpasar is very commercialised, but public transport is still relatively poor.

Why? Visiting Bali using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bali ?

  • Many places can still be reached using local buses.
  • Denpasar is congested and strangled by 6 lane highways. Driving is not particularly pleasant until you get well beyond the city.
  • To reach really “unspoilt” places, you may prefer to keep them that way and stay on foot!
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Do you or don't you need a car in Bali ?

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