The Route is Built: All About Navigation in Bali

Those who have decided to get around Bali by bike immediately come across the question of navigation. While the way to main points becomes memorized in a couple of weeks, for trips to other districts or to attractions, the route needs to be planned in Maps. Not only to not miss your turn, but also for convenient avoidance of traffic jams. Experts from Balimotion will tell you how to navigate on a scooter without losing your phone.
If you have a smartphone with mobile internet, the task of 'not getting lost on a paradise island' is practically solved.
The best option for orientation in Bali is Google Maps. They regularly update routes in Indonesia, monitor traffic well, and keep the data up to date.
One downside is that some 'goat paths' in Google Maps are considered as roads. It is important to trust your own eyes rather than blindly following the navigator's directions. If you see dirt, a field, a sharp narrowing of the road, or a cliff ahead, it is better to stop, turn around, and try to find another route. Even if the smartphone insists on continuing straight. Usually, the application offers several routes or adjusts if you miss a turn.
'Just not on a shortcut!'
Some beginners do not particularly like rural shortcuts and narrow paths in the alleys of Balinese villages. If you do not want to ride on secret trails that pass through the forest, fields, or someone's yard, always choose a car route, even if you are traveling by bike. The travel time will most likely increase, but the road will not surprise you with a narrow plank over a river.
Another nuance is the road surface that the navigator will lead you on in Bali. You cannot predict it in advance. Google may send you on a dirt road. If Maps suggest getting off the asphalt and it is not yet the end of the road, slow down and double-check the route. Zoom in. There may be larger roads nearby, and the maps just try to save you a couple of minutes on the way.
Important! When traveling to another part of the island, study the proposed route in advance. In some locations, there is an old (often impassable) road and a new, comfortable one. And Google Maps often choose the first option. 
'By eye or by ear?'
The most debatable question: headphones and navigation by sound, or a phone holder.
Wireless headphones.
  • Your phone is not visible and does not attract the attention of criminals. And there are many thieves here. Therefore, it is better to put your phone either under the seat or in a chest bag with a very strong strap during the ride.
  • The voice can sometimes confuse you, and you may miss a turn or turn too early. After a dozen misses, you will learn to understand the voice assistant with half a word.
  • You do not see the route and cannot make a decision to change it promptly. Sometimes, it is necessary not to turn on a small detour through the alleys but to continue on the highway.
A Phone Holder.
  • You always see the entire route and know exactly where to turn, see traffic density, and traffic jams.
  • You are always distracted from the road by your phone (including incoming notifications), and this can lead to an accident.
  • You attract the attention of thieves. A phone in a holder is like a tempting treat for them. And do not believe those who will argue that snatching a device while riding is impossible. Hundreds of tourists who have lost their phones will confirm that it is very possible.
It is better to use a spare and inexpensive phone that you don't mind losing. Thieves are less likely to notice it.
If you decide to use a holder and plan to ride a lot, it may be worth getting a quality one. Serious bike rental companies have good holders, sometimes even with phone charging.
A metal holder that bolts to the panel costs about 600,000 IDR. If it is a plastic one that attaches to the mirror, do not buy for less than 200,000 IDR — there is a chance that it will fly off during the ride.
And if there is no internet?
Offline navigation on the island is a lottery.
The only app that works reliably is, where you need to download the map of Bali in advance. Such navigation is less accurate and slower. However, it doesn't hurt to have it as a backup in case the connection is lost.
As for separate navigators as devices, they are not very accurate in Bali, the maps for them are not detailed, and sometimes quite outdated.
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