Transports in Bali… that’s quite an adventure !
To wander around Bali, you have different possibilities :
- By bus : The problem with buses in Bali is that there are fewer and fewer, so you will have to be patient. And their prices are random (you will pay 2 or 3 times the price Balinese people pay). And it’s not a very practical means of transports if you have a big backpack. But if you have time and patience (which we had not haha), it will be the cheapest option for you. We would have lost too much time during our 2-week trip.
- Rent a car : not much advised in Bali, as the roads are not in the best shape, and very crowded, and people drive carelessly. I would never have dared driving in Bali (and I’ve driven in Los Angeles, Paris, and in Italy).
If you decide to rent a car, pay attention to the following :
- You will need an International driver’s licence (to get in your country before leaving)
- In Bali, you drive on the left side of the road.
- Be careful to the insurances, and don’t forget that people can be reckless on the roads.
- Rent a car with driver : we chose this option for one day (Jatiluwih), and it was pretty nice, as the driver will also guide you, and show you nice places. For French and English-speaking drivers, visit Balisolo 🙂
- Rent a scooter : for some people, it’s the best way (easy, fast as you can slalom between the cars, cheap, and everyone drives a scooter in Bali), but honestly, after seeing the “Bali Driving”, we weren’t so reassured :-/ But for small distances, and if you’re not scared, go for it !
- Taxi : you have to be extra careful, as the taxis we took weren’t all honest. We we got the the airport on the first day, we thought we could walk to the hotel : big mistake, as it was complicated to get out of the airport, we didn’t know where to go, and we were very tired. Plus, taxi drivers were calling us from all parts, so we gave in and took a cab. The taxi we took the next day to go to Uluwatu was so nice, talking about his family and asking lots of questions about Belgium! A very nice encounter.
But, the last day, when we arrived in Sanur, it was hell : we had read that the best option taxi-wise are the meter cabs, so we had to decline many offers from other drivers looking for tourists. When we finally found the Blue Bird cabs (THE meter-taxi company in Bali), we got in, relieved. But we quickly realized that the driver hadn’t started the meter… and when we asked him to put it on, he refused “no, it’s ok, it’s ok”. I still hear my friend Caro “NO IT’S NOT OK !!”. After a bit of a hassle, he finally agreed to turn the meter on, but the atmosphere got really quiet and cold… and he refused to drop us in front of the hotel, for some unknown reason… and of course, he didn’t have any change on our bill…
So here are a few tips if you take a taxi in Bali :
- ALWAYS take a meter cab, or fix the amount you will pay before going in.
- Ask the hotel reception to book you a taxi, and ask the price (the best solution we found !)
- Uber : we tried calling an Uber in Kuta… we never found our driver and called a taxi 🙂
- The boat : to go to the islands, you won’t have any other choice, regarding transports (unless you like swimming… haha). We had booked our boats in advance (you can read our adventures here), but I think the best way is to book everything there (and haggle !). We kinda regretting paying in advance and not getting everything we paid for…