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Bali "Transport, Transport!"





"Yes, yes, transport, transport!" and "Where do you want to go?" (when you are not looking to go anywhere) are cries you will hear throughout the southern tourist areas of Bali. Here are a list of the various methods of getting around, and the corresponding things to be aware of and risks thereof.

TAXIS

Ok, these are official taxis, often with meters. Hawkers shouting "Taxi?" and "Transport?" at you are offering unlicensed rides. There are two colours for licensed taxis; Blue & White. The Blue taxis are the best, as white ones have a reputation for being less courteous, having "broken" meters (always ask if it is working before you drive off) and subsequently charging inflated rates. The blue taxis are run by Blue Bird who also provide very reliable daily driver services / rates, and may be a much better / safer / more comfortable bet then the street hawkers offer - Click Here For More

When you arrive at the airport in Bali you will find many offers from unofficial "taxi" drivers yet struggle to see a real cabbie. However, if you walk out of the aircon arrivals lounge area into the tropical heat of Bali and look around, you will find the Fixed Price taxi office / window with a board clearly showing the ride prices. Organise your taxi there and they will assign you a driver who will show you to the taxi. Be warned that many "porters" will try to grab your luggage and expect a handsome reward for the 50 meter conveyance! If you are happy with this "help", agree a price with them first.

PRIVATE HIRE (with driver)

It seems every 2 meters there is a "local" gesticulating as if they were at they wheel of their car trying to avoid a kamikaze chicken and shouting "Transport, Transport?!". By this you can tell transport is not a problem for visitors to Bali & Lombok. There are 4 rules to this process. Pick one you like the look of. Ask what car they have first (and whether they have working aircon). Only ask the price if you want to hire them (they will not leave you alone once you have). And don't accept the first price they offer you. If you pick a good driver, they will add immensely to your holiday, both with friendship and local knowledge.

If you are going to use them for a full day, it may be incumbent on you to buy them lunch (but not at a tourist restaurant!). If you want them to take you to another part of the island for 2 or more days, it may be incumbent upon you to pay for their lodgings (but not at a tourist hotel!). Bear in mind many Balinese drivers will try and make extra money off you by taking you to shops and restaurants where they earn a commission off anything you buy.

Be aware, most if not all of the transport touts operate unlicenced vehicles. This creates several potential health and logistical problems. The first of which is that unlicenced drivers often will not go through a police road block because they are looking for just that, unlicenced drivers. So you may suffer some significant delays or worse. Second it that you are likely travelling in a vehicle without any insurance and probably without any form of service history; which means everything from dodgy brakes to poor air conditioning.

Licenced vehicles and drivers have "Jasa Raharja" passenger insurance as part of the vehicle licence, they themselves have special "B Umum" tourism driver licences, and their vehicles are checked every six months by the Department of Transportation. Because of the risks involved in hiring an unlicenced car and driver, BLTF can only show fully licenced services on this page. You may search the forum for postings by people recommending other drivers of course, but BLTF only shows those who state they are fully legal / licensed here. If you contact a driver from a recommendation from a forum posting, it might be a good idea to ask them what licences they have.

Wayan Kamar (email) mobile: +62 (0) 8123 910056 has confirmed he is fully licensed, etc. He has a Mazda E2000 minibus which he charges around 400,000 rp a day for his and the vehicle's services (including gas / petrol) - this may be higher if he has to travel further to collect or take guests (he is based normally in the Ubud area). Wayan is known to the owner of this forum as a friendly, honest person who knows the real artists and artisans of the Ubud area (he does not take you to tourist traps where they pay drivers a percentage of whatever they sell them). 400,000 Rp is a bargain. Wayan has a young family and is struggling with Bali's recession and the costs of being licensed. Please be generous if he does a good job for you.

Putu Arnawa (email) mobile: +62 (0) 8123608079 has confirmed he is fully licenced and tries hard to offer individual tours around Bali without trying to make an extra buck of his customers by taking them to driver commission shops and restaurants.

If anyone can recommend a fully licenced driver with vehicle, please let BLTF know as it will be a pleasure to add them.

SELF DRIVE CAR HIRE

It depends on who you talk to as to whether you will be recommended to drive yourself or not. However, I think it is fair to say, if you simply looking to get about around Kuta / Sanur / Nusa Dua, it is probably better to get taxis and / or private hire with a driver. However, if you want to travel outside this area, you will possibly be better off renting your own car.

Driving in rural Bali & Lombok is often a pleasure, though sometimes a nightmare and the roads can get a bit potholed in some places. You might not want to overtake lorries going up mountains, as there is likely to be another one a few kilometres ahead. And anyway, they will try and overtake you going down the other side of the mountain. There is, therefore, a certain comfort in following a slow truck uphill. Knowing they will protect you against the "Mad Maxes" coming the other way!

If you are driving along a winding road enjoying the scenery, you might want to honk your horn every few seconds to warn other drivers you are coming, and listen for them honking theirs as that may well mean they are overtaking on a blind bend!

Driving in the tourist areas such as Kuta can be even more daunting as there are plenty of bikes, scooters, cars, buses and lorries all trying to get their nose in front of yours. You see, that is the rule of the road. You have to give way to anyone or anything (including chickens!) who are in front of you. If there is any doubt as to who has right of way, it is the larger of the vehicles.

Police officers regularly stop foreigners in rental cars (and on bikes). Sometimes at road blocks where they will check your car documents and check you have a valid International drivers licence; if not, they will most likely ask for money from you (a "fine without a receipt"). Sometimes they will tell you your paperwork is not in order even when it is, although repeating "It is in order, see here is my licence, here are the car rental papers" a few times will generally be sufficient. But even then you may be asked to make a "Donation for a friend". In which case, they have given up, so slowly drive off while saying "No thank you".

Police officers also stop foreigners in rental cars at unofficial "road blocks", where they simply pull foreign drivers over. Here many police officers will tell the tourist they have committed a traffic offence even when they clearly have not. When they are this brazenly corrupt you basically have two choices; pay a fine without receipt or get a ticket and go to court. Unless you have video or photographic evidence of the fact you did not do anything wrong, you will lose, end up spending valuable days of your holiday going to court, and end up paying more. If you do get leaned on for money by police officers, please read BLTF's recommendations on our Bali Police page. Please do not let them get away with it. Police corruption goes beyond harrassing tourists who can afford it for a few bucks, it results in murder, other human rights abuse, civil rights breaches and suppresses the economic and spirtual aspirations of the Balinese people. If you pay a Balinese police officer money for a "fine without receipt" you are part of the problem that plights other people.

Driving along some of the flat, straight, well kept rural coastal roads can be an absolute pleasure. If you are travelling around Medewi, Cekik, Pemuteran, Sambi Renteng, Tulamben, Amed etc., you should be in "seventh heaven", and be able to go places bemos and private hire drivers may not go. Petrol / Gas (Benzin) is the cheapest in SE Asia but the pump attendents are probably the most fraudulent in the world. When you pull up at the pump get out and make sure they reset the meter! You can buy petrol from street sellers (they have litre or bigger bottles of it on display), but you will probably pay more and you might not get 100% Premium! Most main towns have at least one petrol station, but they do run out from time to time. The best advice is to start looking once your gauge shows your tank is half full.

Wherever you drive, watch out for locals who come running towards you waving and shouting that there is something wrong with your car. There isn't, it's just a scam to fool you into getting it "repaired" at their brother's expensive "garage". You can rent a car in advance of your arrival, but you will pay substantially more for the privilege. Of course, whatever you do make sure the car is both licenced for rental use and that everything works (aircon, brakes, indicators, horn, lights, seat belts, clutch, gears, etc.) and the tyres are in good order with a spare (with jack). Also make sure they list every minute scratch as you may well get asked for compensation for these when you return if they make out the damage was not there before. Finally do not let them make a profit from you if you have an accident; insist the collision damage waiver is US$100, no more. Here are the web-sites of some and of one which lists a few local rental companies, handy for when you are there;

Bali Car Rental Company Information Click Here
Avis Rent-a-car www.avis.com

Most car rental companies will bring the car to you at your hotel and allow you to return it to them at the airport. The tourist south is the best place to rent a car, once you get to Ubud you will find less choice and maybe higher prices. Outside the south forget it; if you find a car rental "company" at all their cars will be the worst.

BIKES & MOTORBIKES

There are plenty of places around to rent either of these, but be careful in light of the above rules of the road. Also, expect to get stopped if you carry too much on either, especially a surfboard!

Recommonedations: If anyone can recommend a good, ethical car and / or bike rental company that only offers good quality vehicles that are fully licenced, please let BLTF know so they too can be listed.

FERRIES

Padang Bai (Bali) - Lembar (Lombok):
This is a slow ferry service. It leaves every 2 hours from 2:00 am to 10:00 pm and takes 4hr / 4hr 30min. Prices are 7,100 Rp per adult and 128,100 per car each-way respectively (you can not take rental cars). You can also buy a through ticket that includes onward transport the other side.

In Padang Bai, see the Perama office near the jetty for an inclusive ticket to Mataram, Senggigi or even the Gili Isles.

Gilimanuk (Bali) - Ketapang (Java):
These ferries are supposed to leave every 20 min, 24 hours a day. The crossing time is only 30 mins including loading / docking. Prices are around 3,000 Rp for an adult and 600 Rp for a child, one way.

Labuhan Lombok (Lombok) - Poto Tano (Sumbawa):
Ferries run every hour from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm - crossing time is 2 hours. One way adult tickets cost around 5,000Rp to 7,000Rp depending on whether you travel "Ekonomi A or B".

Senggigi / Bangsai (Lombok) - Gili Trawangan / Meno / Air (Lombok): "Public" boats are available or you can charter a "rigger" for a bit more.

Sanur (Bali) - Nusa Lembongan / Penida (Bali):
The boat leaves around 7:30 am every morning from the Northern end of Sanur Beach in front of the Ananda Hotel. Don't buy from the ticket touts at an inflated price - use the ticket office at the hotel. Crossing time to Lembongan is approximately 90 minutes and it can get rough in this small boat.

Benoa Harbour (Bali) - Nusa Lembongan (Bali):
Safer tourist option in larger, more modern boat. Costs are higher: Web-Site

Padang Bai (Bali) - Nusa Penida (Bali): Fast twin-engine fibreglass boats might sometoimes be available and can make this crossing in just 55 minutes - look for them on the beach just East of the main ferry car-park area in Padang Bai.

BEMOS

These are small inexpensive minibuses that the locals mostly travel on. So using them will ensure you get to meet the real islanders; the one's who most likely work outside the tourist industry. Bemos start very early in the morning, then start getting sparser as you get closer to 5pm; remember this if you are planning a day out. Bemos do not have air conditioning, are often busy and can therefore get really steamy! So be warned. On the plus side, they are very inexpensive. But unless you a well seasoned traveller in this area, you are likely to pay several times the amount charged to locals; which is still cheap. Different areas / regions of the islands have different coloured bemos.

Bemos can get you virtually everywhere around Bali & Lombok, but the more remote areas will have infrequent services. Very remote places such as Amed may have no regular bemo service. So, if you want to get there, you would need to take a bemo to Culik and then negotiate a ride with a local or walk the last 5km. Bemos can be flagged down anywhere you see them (they will probably double honk their horn as they approach tourists & locals alike while they are walking along the roadside). If you are carrying luggage / rucksacks, you should not be charged extra for this as long as it can sit on your lap. As to how much to pay, when the driver tells you the price, expect the worse, look shocked, offer a third of what they said (ready to pay half the amount) and then ask a local on the same bus how much extra you paid then you should (for the next time)! But don't end up with your principles intact, still on the roadside, watching the tail end of a bemo, driven by an offended driver, disappearing in the distance! If you have the nerve, you can try just getting on, waiting for the designated fare collector to come around and watch closely at what the locals pay.

The following are the main bemo routes. Originating points shown in blue are in Bali, those in brown are in Lombok. Destinations shown in bold are bemo stations where you can connect with another service. (Bracketed figures) denote approximate travel times between towns. The destinations from a particular bemo station are not necessarily serviced by a single route - this information is for general planning purposes only.

Tegal Terminal (Denpasar) - Ubung Terminal (10min) - Kereneng Terminal (Denpasar) (20min) - Kuta (25min) - Sanur (25min) - Ngurah Rai Airport (35min) - Nusa Dua (35min).
Ubung Terminal
- Batubulan Terminal Denpasar (10min) - Tanah Lot (30min) - Mengwi (30min) - Tabanan (35min) - Antosari (1hr) - Lalang Linggah (1hr 15min) - Bedugul (1hr 30min) - Medewi (1hr 30min) - Negara (2hr 15min) Gitgit (2hr 30min) - Sukasada Terminal (Singaraja) (3hr) - Gilimanuk (3hr 15min) - Surabaya (Java) (10hr) - Yogyakarta (Java) (15hr) - Solo (Java) (15hr) - Jakarta (Java) (24hr).
Kereneng Terminal
(Denpasar) - Batubulan Terminal (Denpasar) - Sanur (20min).
Batubulan Terminal
(Denpasar) - Sukawati (20min) - Mas (35min) - Ubud (50min) - Candi Dasa (1hr) - Gianyar (1hr) - Klungkung (1hr 20min) - Bangli (1hr 30min) - Padang Bai (ferry for Lombok) (1hr 40min) - Amlapura (2hr 30min) - Penarukan Terminal (Singaraja) (3hr).
Suci Bemo
Station (Denpasar - 5min walk from Tegal Terminal) - Suwung (for Pulau Serangan / Turtle Island) (25min).
Ubud Market Bemo Stop
- Camphuhan (5min) - Peliatan (5min) - Goa Gajah (10min) - Gianyar (20min) - Pujung (25min) - Sukuwati (30min) - Kintamani (40min) - Celuk (40min).
Bangli
- Gianyar (20min) - Batubulan Terminal (Denpasar) (1hr 30min) - Penarukan Terminal (Singaraja) (2hr 15min).
Gianyar
- Ubud (20min) - Klungkung (20min) - Bangli (20min) - Blahbatuh (30min) - Batur (40min) - Candi Dasa (1hr) - Batubulan Terminal (Denpasar) (1hr) - Amlapura (1hr 20min).
Klungkung
- Gianyar (20min) - Rendang (30min) - Candi Dasa (40min) - Besakih (45min) - Amlapura (1hr) - Batubulan Terminal (Denpasar) (1hr 20min).
Amlapura
- Tirtagangga (10min) - Candi Dasa (20min) - Culik (20min) - Tulamben (40min) - Klungkung (1hr) - Gianyar (1hr 20min) - Penarukan Terminal (Singaraja) (2hr 30min).
Penarukan Terminal
(Singaraja) - Kubutambahan (20min) - Sawan (30min) - Penelokan (1hr 30min) - Amlapura (2hr) - Gianyar (2hr 20min) - Batubulan Terminal (Denpasar) (3hr).
Sukasada Terminal
(Singaraja) - Gitgit (30min) - Bedugul (1hr 30min) - Ubung Terminal (Denpasar) (3hr).
Banyuasri Terminal
(Singaraja) - Lovina (20min) - Seririt (40min) - Pemuteran (1hr 30min) - Gilimanuk (2hr 30min) - Surabaya (Java) (10hr) - Yogyakarta (Java) (21hr).
Penelokan
- Toya Bungkah (15min) - Songan (25min) - Bangli (45min) - Gianyar (50min) - Batubulan Terminal (Denpasar) (1hr 30min) - Penarukan Terminal (Singaraja) (1hr 30min).
Gilimanuk
- Cekik (National Park HQ) (10min) - Labuan Lalang (for Deer Island) (25min) - Pemuteran (1hr) - Negara (1hr) - Seririt (1hr 30min) - Medewi (1hr 45min) - Lovina (2hr) - Banyuasri Terminal (Singaraja) (2hr 30min) - Tabanan (2hr 30min) - Ubung Terminal (Denpasar) (3hr 15min).

Sweta - Lembar (for ferry to Bali) (30min) - Praya (30min) - Pemenang (for Gili Isles) (50min) - Pomotong (for Tetebatu) (1hr 15min) - Labuhan Lombok (for ferry to Sumbawa) (2hr) - Bayan (for Mount Rinjani) (2hr 30min).
Praya - Sweta (30min) - Kuta (the other one!) (1hr) - Gubukdalem (1hr 30min).
Ampenan - Senggigi (20min).