Personally I used official taxis, bemos, organized excursions and banca, and my experience was good.
FROM THE AIRPORT
How to go from Bali airport to the cities? The prices refer to a trip to Kuta, which is the closest:
- Most hotels offer shuttle service to and from the airport; it is the simplest, but usually the least cheap option.
- Official taxis have a flat rate depending on the destination. The counter is in the arrivals hall. It is paid in cash to the driver upon arrival at the destination. 70,000 Rp (about € 7). To put another example, Ubud costs 300,000 Rp. Better not mess with an unofficial taxi…
- Blue Bird taxis, metered, have good reputation. They can be taken out of the airport, and depending on the destination may be cheaper than the official ones. It should cost Rp 40,000.
- The cheapest: leaving the airport to the main road there bemos, typical shared minivans, same as in many other countries. It will cost only around Rp 4,000, but they are uncomfortable, normally full, often very hot and do not stop you in your hotel.
- Although recently a bus line has been implemented that goes through Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Kuta and reaches Sanur, of Trans Sarbagita. It costs 3,500 Rp, they are blue, with air conditioning. There is no designated stop, you have to exit at the roundabout to the left of the airport exit.
- For the adventurous, outside the airport there are also motorcycle taxis for Rp 20,000.
BETWEEN TOWNS OR TO THE PORTS
- Taxis. Blue Bird is the most recommended company. Taxi drivers use the taximeter, they speak decent English and there is even an App to request them. In Bali is mandatory to use the meter, although many taxi drivers often refuse. In that case you have to find another taxi or negotiate a price; you should write it down on paper and show it to the taxi driver, so when you arrive at your destination he does not have chance to say a higher price claiming he said that price but there was mistake beacuse he does not speak English properly. There are many illegal taxis that imitate Blue Bird ones, you have to pay attention about this. The minimum fare is Rp 7,000 for two km, then up Rp 5,000 per km. Further north of Denpasar almost all taxis require negotiate the price.
- Uber has recently started in Bali, but for once, its services are now less reliable than those of taxis, at least those of Blue Bird.
- Bemos: the everlasting minivans of many developing countries, which usually are filled to the brim, are the cheapest transport. There ask the price and the destination that goes before boarding.
- Public buses: the government company is the most recommended, Trans-Sarbagita. Runs south through Bali’s main tourist destinations. It costs Rp 3,500 per trip. Cheaper ones often do not start until full and usually do not have air conditioning. They leav from terminals which in many cases can not be considered bus stations, basically they are squares where buses, bemos and motorcycles huddle.
- Tourist buses. Perama is the leading company. Newer, comfortable and air conditioned, and therefore more expensive, but the prices are more than reasonable, cross the island from north to south will cost you just $ 10. Its main drawback is they usually stop on the outskirts of the towns, you you’ll need a taxi to get to your hotel.
GOING TO THE TOURIST SPOTS
- The most common and easiest option is to book an excursion. Any hotel, travel agency or in the official tourism offices (which in my experience, were the best option), will offer day trips that combine several major temples with other points of interest, such as rice terraces, the Botanical Garden and others.
- Renting a vehicle, with or without driver:
- If you do not want to drive, it can be an official taxi or through an agency or hotel.
- Same as throughout Southeast Asia, I especially advise against the widespread practice of renting a scooter: the roads are bad and the locals drive like car thieves. I do not know how many backpackers I’ve seen with bandages and bruises from falling off motorcycles driving while wearing flip flops and bathing suit.
- In both cases, you need an international driving license; a very common scam is to rent a vehicle to a tourist who does not have it, then from the car rental business they call the police telling them who are the tourists driving without international driving license, but do not worry that you will not lose driving license points, the fine never gets to the administration because the money is shared between the police and the vehicle owner.
- I also include the bicycle; if the day is not too hot, it can be a great experience.
MORE ESSENTIAL INFORMATION IN BALI: