Bali is an awesome holiday destination with a bamboozling transport system of luxury limos, dirty old cabs, mini buses and motor scooter that can lighten your pocket if you are not in the know.
Before leaving home, become familiar with the many transport options on the Island of the Gods so you can travel seamlessly and inexpensively.
Don’t expect to be able to jump on a bus or train to get where you want to go. The island has no formal public transport, however that does not mean that it’s hard to get around. Bali has been a hotspot of transport innovation in recent years with Grab apps offering excellent service as well as Go Jek and the Kura Kura bus line.
Using Grab can get you from one place to another for small change when compared to hometown – perhaps with the exclusion of India. Just US$3 is likely to get a person where they want to go in the back of a clean and friendly Grab Taxi.
Go Jek www.go-jek.com – which is a motorbike service that is about half the price of a car. Canggu to Petitenget can cost less than US$2.
Despite this competition, Bali continues to have its share of shonky taxi drivers, bike taxi’s and private cars for hire that will happily fleece visitors while wearing that famous smile.
It is easy to avoid these pitfalls by establishing that a taxi will use its metre before you get inside, or at least agree on a fixed price. Unless you are going from Seminyak to Ubud – Uluwatu or Sanur –most trips should be between Rp50,000 to Rp100,000.
Always walk for a while before flagging a cab or private car when you are leaving beach clubs such as Finns in Canggu, Cocoon in Seminyak or Azul in Legian as they have turf wars where private drivers and ‘bike taxi’s’ wait outside to snare every unassuming tourist who leaves the place. Bikes will not have a helmet so are to be avoided for dear life. The car drivers will ask as much as Rp300,000 for what a Blue Bird Taxi – Bali’s most reputable company – would charge about Rp30,000 on the metre. These traps are no-go zones for Grab and Go Jek after violence established the closed turf, which remained with the drivers.
Save Blue Bird Taxi’s central reservation number +62 361 701111 or www.bluebirdgroup.com, which are for English speakers. In fact, Grab, Go Jek all have English options, which makes booking very simple from any smart phone.
Hiring a private car is always a great idea and comparatively inexpensive. This is perfect for day trips to Bali’s stunning rural communities, amazing temples and arty Ubud. Many are happy to do a one-way destination to places such as Sanur, where boats head off to Lembongan or you can have a day at the beach and get a taxi back to base. Though, with a day trip to the beaches on The Bukit such as Uluwatu – keep the driver close as there are precious few local driver for the return journey, which opens a huge financial an of worms.
The usual rates for a private driver are about US$50 for an eight-hour day. Ask for a recommendation from your villa or hotel and then compare with a driver that you will find on the street, usually sitting with a bunch of friend’s playing cards and waiting for customers. Hotels often take a cut so expect prices to be hiked to those on the street.
Hit the web to find and negotiate some great deals with drivers. Some of these drivers are former tour guides and holiday specialists who have bought their own car as a form of semi-retirement after decades as white water rafting guides, surfing teachers or drivers for hotels and other holidays corporates. These people are outstanding value, as they know locations well, short cuts, local intell, and entry fees to places from Waterbom Park to remote water temples. They can also advise on proper protocol when visiting religiously sensitive places.
www.balitourmagic.com is a great starting point to search tours and find a driver that is respected, reliable and not going to cheat anyone. They are top of our go-to list.
For the more budget-minded traveler, there are many options for getting around. If an island exploration is on the itinerary check out the many Facebook forums such as Uluwatu Community or Canggu Community to find like-minded people looking to share the cost of transport to the same destination.
If you are staying in the tourist hotspots, the air-conditioned Kura-Kura mini-bus line is a brilliant option. Tickets start at Rp20,000 and travel cards or Kura Kura coins are the currency. The clean little buses, that have free Wi-Fi, have well-thought outlines, including a Kuta loop and the inner Legian loop plus a cut-through from Beachwalk Mall through Seminyak, Petitenget to Umalas. Kura has a line to Ubud, a link and loop of Sanur and three further loops in Jimbaran and two lines in Nusa Dua.