Get Ready for Driving in Bali
It always seems like anywhere you go other than your own home town, driving is insane. It also seems like wherever I currently am, it seems the most hazardous. This is true for Bali. The saving grace is that Balians are freakishly nice, so much so that in a travel weary world, it took several days to realize that the small talk from the locals wasn’t a solicitation for their business but sincere-ness at its finest. Therefore, when cars and mopeds are not following street signs and one almost takes off your side mirror, all is made well in the world with one of their genuine smiles. The truth is, the issue with driving in Bali had nothing to do with the quality of drivers, rather than the roads that frequently missed important chunks in them or the fact that a normal street was the width of a mini-cooper (not that you’d ever see a mini driving around Bali!) Somehow, two cars or trucks and a passing moped all simultaneously would cram together while turning on hairsplitting curves, often with nothing between you and the cliff of a mountain but a rail that acts as a buffer. The situation also was not made better with the fact that our rental car was sketchy at best (as were most Balian cars). My frequent gasps and “oh my god!!!”s were only infuriating my normally very calm husband so I opted for just closing my eyes and whispering to my self.
The drive up to Lempuyang
Switchbacks do not describe the 180 turns on one of the steepest roads I’ve ever seen. As Andy shifted into the lowest gear possible and put the petal to the metal, I started to imagine the worst possible scenarios
1) the car can’t make it up one of the turns/hills and with nowhere to turn we have to somehow miraculously retreat backwards along the twists and bends
2) in order to make it around a turn, we had to get as much momentum as possible and the crappy car would go flying off the side of the volcano instead of successfully completing a sharp turn
I reverted back to closing my eyes and whispering prayers that the Hindu gods at the upcoming temples would take pity on us.
You know that when your normally cool, calm and collected husband says in a very serious tone as we peer down the steep declining mountain road, “Ok, I’m going to aim for that tree. That way, if the breaks don’t stop us, the tree hopefully will.” That you should start praying a little more loudly…
The good news is that renting a car in Bali is a great way to get around. You are free to explore the back roads and go where you wish when you want, rather than on someone else’s time and dime. You can easily get away from the tourist areas and see more of the enchanting Bali you came for.
We were able to rent a car for the full eight days in Bali for a mere $105 total! (Yes, $13/ Day!!!) from Bali Car Finder (firstname.lastname@example.org). While it wasn’t a luxury car by any stretch of the imagination, it gave us the flexibility to drive when and where we wanted for a better price than hiring someone.
Google maps is a fond family friend wherever we go. However, in Bali, always note that whatever google says for time, you need to AT LEAST double that! Between the teeny tiny roads, potholes and switchbacks, you need to plan on extra, extra time to get to your worthy destination.
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