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Travel Guide > Asia > Indonesia > Bali

Bali Getting around

  
 
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Bali is a fairly large island and you will need a method to get around if you plan on exploring more than the hotel pool. The traffic is chaotic and there are daily jams in Denpasar, Kuta and other major tourist centres.

For different excursions around the island, it is common to join a tour via your hotel or at one of the many street agencies which are found everywhere in booths normally marked "Tourist Information".

Once you arrive at your destination you may encounter difficult walking conditions as sidewalks in most parts of Bali are simply the covered tops of storm-water drains and in many places only 2 ft wide. This makes for uncomfortable single-file walking next to traffic. Often sidewalks are blocked by a motorbike or a caved-in section, necessitating dangerous darting into traffic. Many of the island's conventional streets are simply not pedestrian-friendly. Beach areas and major tourist areas are easier to walk around and Sanur in particular has a wide beachfront pathway with many cafes and bars.

By bus

The Perama bus company serves the budget traveller well in Bali and beyond, and they have offices in several major tourist destinations on the island.

There are other scheduled shuttle buses between many of Bali's most popular destinations, and these are cheap and reliable. Check locally advertised services (you cannot miss them) and book one day in advance.

By taxi

Metered taxis are very common in southern Bali as far north as Denpasar but few and far between elsewhere. The starting flagfall charge is Rp 5,000 for the first two kilometres and the meter ticks up Rp 5,000 per kilometre after that. Waiting time is charged at Rp 20,000 per hour. Trips outside southern Bali will incur an extra charge of 30%, as the driver has to go back empty. By far the largest and most reliable taxi company is Bali Taksi/Blue Bird; they have a telephone call service (+62 361 701111) for both instant taxis and for advance bookings. If you are hailing a taxi on the street, Bali Taksi cars are always sky blue with a white top light. The cars are modern and the drivers well-informed with a decent level of English-language ability. If day-tripping, it is often cheaper and more convenient to arrange for your taxi to wait and take you back.

By bemo

Bemos are minivans which serve as a flexible bus service and are Bali's "traditional" form of transportation. They have, though, largely given way to metered taxis in the south. Fares on shared bemos can be very cheap, but drivers will often insist that foreign tourists charter the entire vehicle, in which case they will usually ask for a price equivalent to a taxi or even more.

By self-drive car or motorbike

Driving in Bali is on the left-hand side. Car and motorbike rentals are widely available but you should think very carefully about your ability to handle driving in Bali with its lack of formal traffic rules. Consider hiring a car and driver as you can relax, be safe and not get lost. If you rent a car to drive yourself, a modern four door Toyota Avanza or Daihatsu Xenia should cost Rp 150,000 to 170,000 per day. If on a tighter budget, you should be able to get an old, rough Suzuki Jimny from about Rp 90,000 to 110,000 per day.

Renting motorcycles or scooters can be a frightening yet fascinating experience. They are typically 125cc, some with automatic transmissions, and rent for between Rp 50,000 and 100,000 per day. In areas outside of the tourist enclaves of south Bali, a motorbike is a wonderful way to see the island, but in south Bali, with its crush of traffic, the chances of an accident are greatly increased. Bali is no place to learn to ride a motorbike.

A word of warning when renting motorbikes. A sizeable number of travellers seem to leave their brains at home when visiting Bali and think it is acceptable to ride a motorbike through extremely busy streets in a foreign land without wearing a helmet. Obviously, it is not. You are both showing a great deal of arrogance as a guest in foreign country by thinking you are above the law of that country, and putting yourself at risk. When you rent a motorbike you will be given a helmet, so wear it.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for vehicle rental, with a motorcycle endorsement if renting a motorbike. The IDP is seldom requested by the person renting you the vehicle but will be required (along with the vehicle's registration papers) if stopped by the police (typically a Rp 50,000 "fine" will allow you to keep driving). An IDP is easily available from motoring clubs in your home country (e.g., AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance in the United States provides them for around US$15) and it is valid for one year.

By rental car with a driver

Rental car services owned by individuals or companies are easy to find in Bali and this is the best option for first time visitors. Using a rental car with a driver is certainly cheaper than taxis and far more efficient than using other public transportation. The drivers are usually English-speaking and they can also act as informal tourist guides recommending good destinations and restaurants. Choosing to rent from a large car company is naturally more expensive than sourcing from a private individual. Ask hotel staff to recommend a good individually owned rental car with a knowledgeable driver.

Price varies between Rp 300,000 to 600,000 per day (usually defined as 10 hours) depending on your negotiation skills and the class/age of the car. Make sure the price includes petrol and driver for the day. Petrol costs, after the removal of some government subsidies in recent years, have escalated dramatically (although still very cheap by international standards) and the distance travelled is a factor if you have not fixed a daily price. Entrance tickets to tourist destinations and any parking fees will be charged to you and it is good form to buy lunch for your driver. For those on a tight schedule, visiting most of the major tourist destinations in Bali will need about 3 days with a rental car and driver.

By bicycle

Travel by bicycle is quite possible and provides a very different experience than other means of transport. You should bring your own touring bike, or buy locally - there is at least one well stocked bike shop in Denpasar, but with a racing/mountain bike focus. Bicycles are also widely available for rent and some of the better hotels will even provide them free of charge. While traffic conditions may appear challenging at first, you will acclimatise after a few days, especially once you escape the chaotic heavy traffic of southern Bali.

Transport Companies in Bali

Airline Batavia Air
LCC from Balikpapan, Ende, Jakarta, Kupang, Labuanbajo, Maumere, Surabaya, Waingapu
in Bali
Airline Citilink
LCC <small> (operated by Garuda Airlines)</small> from Jakarta
in Bali
 
Airline Indonesia Air Asia
LCC from Bandung, Jakarta
in Bali
Airline IAT
(Indonesia Air Transport) from Mataram, Labuan Bajo
in Bali
 
Airline Lion Air
LCC from Jakarta, Jogyakarta (Yogyakarta), Menado, Ujung Pandang (Makassar), Surabaya
in Bali
Airline Mandala Airlines
LCC from Jakarta, Surabaya and Yogyakarta<br>(All Mandala operations suspended on 13 Jan 2011)
in Bali
 
Airline Merpati Nusantara Airlines
LCC from Bandung, Bima, Ende. Jakarta, Kupang, Lauanbajo, Mataram, Maumere, Surabaya, Tambolaka, Waingapu
in Bali
Airline Pelita Air Service
Charter
in Bali
 
Airline Sriwijaya Air
LCC from Jakarta
in Bali
Airline Travira Air
Charter from Benete/Sumbawa
in Bali
 
These are just 10 of 37 Transport Companies in Bali. Show more.




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