Renting a Scooter in Asia

Here’s our experience renting a scooter during our stay in Asia.  Renting a scooter is fun and a very convenient way to get around town and places of interests.  Check out a video of one of our favorite scooter “do-it-yourself” tours in Ubud’s famous rice fields just outside of the center.  The narrow and bumpy paths are challenging, a lot of fun and the views are fantastic specially during sunset.

Renting a scooter in South East Asia is very easy.  Most of the time, a driver’s license or documentation is not required.  Most rental shops would require to leave a passport or cash deposit until the scooter is returned.  Make sure to ask for a receipt with proper amounts agreed on.  It is highly recommended to choose the option to  leave cash deposit if possible rather than a passport.

How much does it cost to rent a scooter?

In general, it’s less than $5 per day to rent a good scooter.  The scooter is usually filled up with fuel, however there are times where the tank is almost empty so be aware of fuel cost from the rental shop.

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Where can I fill up the gas tank?

Don’t worry about where to re-fuel!  Fuel can be purchased almost anywhere on the streets.  Liter bottles filled with fuel is sold on small stalls and it’s very inexpensive.  Make sure to ask what type of fuel the scooter takes before leaving the shop.  Also, double check or have the shop go over basic functions of the scooter before heading out.

Do I need to wear a helmet?

For safety reasons, it is highly recommended to wear a helmet while driving and riding on a scooter.  Scooter rentals normally includes helmets, if not ask for one.  Traffic in Asia is complicated and there are “no rules” on the road.  It will take a few days to get use to driving in traffic.  Understand how the traffic flows and which side of the road everyone is driving.  Take a business card of the shop along with their insurance and registration documentation for the scooter in case of emergency on the road.

[box type=”notice” ]Renting a scooter without a valid driver’s license or international driver’s license is a common practice for tourists in Asia however, police can still pull over tourists to verify a valid driver’s license. It is different in every country in South East Asia but it is normally what happens. It is also common that tourist would bribe the local police if there is no proper documentation. Since scooters are usually used to get around tourist areas short-term, it is not usually a problem. Ask the rental shop or chat a bit with the locals before driving outside of town. Rental shops will not warn you when you rent, so ask.[/box]

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[quote author=”” source=”” ]Kathmandu, Nepal is the most hair-raising experience we had on a scooter! The roads itself are narrow, rugged, off-road dirt terrain, a lot of pot holes and very heavy traffic. Don’t expect paved roads and helmet is a must. If you are looking for a crazy adventure on a scooter, renting one in Kathmandu will satisfy the adrenaline. It’s just crazy![/quote]

The biggest benefits of renting a scooter in Asia is efficiency.  Scooters use less fuel, parking is not a problem and it is easy to navigate through traffic.  It’s a great way to see the country side, beach or markets up close.  Most of all, it is fun and an experience itself to drive in traffic!