The Bali roads can look manic to the unknowing eye. Cars and motorbikes swerve past one another, cars try to fit down tiny lanes and traffic can stack up for miles!
But, have no fear, you aren’t expected to tackle these streets – unless you have the courage.
Taxis, motorbike taxis and drivers are a dime a dozen. You can easily order a car or motorbike to take you wherever you would like to go with trusted apps that will never let you down.
Here are some tips and tricks for taking a taxi in Bali.
#1 – Motorbike Taxis
I owe a lot of my Bali life success to motorbike taxis. With the simple click of a button you can have a driver ready and raring to go at your door. Grab and GO-JEK in Bali both offer the service, with a very minor difference in price – we are talking Rp. 1000.
The helmets are provided so all you need to do is hop on and hold on tight.
The app will ask you to enter your destination beforehand so a price is calculated and there’s no need for haggling. Simply hand over the cash – a tip of Rp. 10,000 – 20,000 is always recommended – and be on your way!
What I love about Grab and GO-JEK are the in-app wallets. You can top up your balance and not have to worry about having the exact cash on you – easy peasy.
If you are travelling locally the general price is Rp. 10,000 upwards – my trip to the grocery store is a consistent Rp. 10,000 for the 2.8km trip.
For a longer ride, such as 30km, you are looking at a cheap and cheerful Rp. 70,000. But for a big trip, make sure to tip your driver a little bit extra for the effort.
When first heading to your hotel, villa or hostel, be sure to check for any signs about Grab and GO-JEK. The motorbike taxis in Bali are sometimes banned from an area as the banjar – local community leaders – would like to keep transport open to only the local drivers.
It is also common for these app drivers to be banned from beaches. They can drop you off, but won’t be able to pick you up again.
#2 – Grab and GO-JEK Cars
In-keeping with the same theme, the handy Grab and GO-JEK apps in Bali also have car taxi options for you to choose from.
Grab app in Bali offers a regular Grab Car, Grab Car Plus, Grab Car 6 (for larger groups) and currently Grab Car Protect (with extra safety protections for COVID-19).
Similarly, the GO-JEK app in Bali has a regular car option and a ‘L’ option for extra passengers. They also offer BlueBird Taxi bookings – more info to follow.
The pricing for these car taxi options will vary depending on the destination, size of car and time of day. Rush hour, and even a rainy day, can push the prices up slightly due to increased demand.
My usual route to the supermarket will cost me Rp. 29,000 in a Grab Car Protect – travelling 2.8km. A longer trip of 30km will start from Rp. 184,000 – less than USD 15!
These app taxi options are still frowned upon under the same banjar rules as motorbike taxis. However, cars are a little bit more discreet.
If you don’t want to chance it, head out of the banjar juristrication with a short walk and order your app taxi from there.
For solo travellers, you can even share your journey with a friend! These app-bookings are one of the safest transports in Bali.
#3 BlueBird Taxis
By far the most well-known and trusted taxi group in Bali, BlueBird taxis are fairly-priced, reliable and legit.
When I am out-and-about looking to hail a taxi off the street, BlueBird Taxis are what I’m looking for. Their signature baby blue car has been copied by many other taxi companies in Bali to lure you into an expensive ride. But stay strong, a BlueBird is always just around the corner.
Look out for the light hue of blue, fleet number and driver wearing a blue-bird shirt to ensure you have the real deal.
These taxis will never try to haggle a price. Just hop in, let them know the destination and the meter will immediately be started.
Available through app bookings from the GO-JEK app, or from their own BlueBird app, it is a great way to know the price before you even confirm the booking.
Once again, BlueBird is considered a corporate transportation company in Bali so is discouraged from picking up passengers in certain areas. Head out of the vicinity and order away from prying eyes, or bite the bullet and take the slightly more expensive local transport to your next destination.
Additionally, there are many taxi companies who have tried to replicate the appearance of BlueBird’s cars and drivers attire. If you are unsure, ask to see the driver’s badge before getting in the car, the BlueBird badge proudly shows the company name.
This could get confusing, but it is literally what they are called..
The official-unofficial ‘guys on the street with a bike’. These have been a life-saver on many occasions when you have run out of battery or an app motorbike isn’t allowed in the area.
O-jeks are often found outside clubs, bars and restaurants as the night is winding down and people are starting to look for a way home. They are often wearing a jacket letting you know they are unofficially legit and will take you on any short trip, whether it be home – or to the next bar – for a small price.
Pay cash in hand, and get a cheap ride home without any fuss.
Not to be confused with a guy just trying to get home himself..
#5 Get a Personal Driver
It’s especially convenient to have a familiar face to call every time you want to get from A to B. It’s way more convenient to get a local driver’s number if you’ve got a few stops on your Bali itinerary. You can arrange for a pickup whenever you want and will know the price way ahead of time.
In fact, I’ll just give you my mate Made’s info! Made (MAH-day) has swooped me around the island every which way multiple times. And I rented bikes from him the first few times I visited. Arrange your rental, pickup or airport transfer with him on WhatsApp: +62 813-3824-9193
Here are a few more tid-bits to remember when taking a taxi in Bali.
- Check the meter – whether you are in a BlueBird or another type of taxi, be sure to check the meter before you head off. Oftentimes drivers will agree to a meter, not turn it on, and then demand a random price at your destination. A simple glance at the meter will help you to avoid any confusion.
- Remember your belongings – when leaving a taxi, make sure you have all your belongings. It won’t be easy to track down which taxi you were in if you realise too late.
- Tip – tipping is recommended in every type of transport you are taking. Grab and GO-JEKs are priced very low and deserve the extra, taxi companies like BlueBird get a big percentage of the fare handed to a driver, adding on a little extra won’t hurt your pockets and will help them out significantly.
- Watch where you are going – although local, not every driver knows the best and shortest route to every destination. By keeping an eye out the window you can help to advise on the shortest, least busy route to make the journey easier and faster. A win-win. Also, it’s always handy to know where you are in case your driver happens to pass a lane or road you are meant to turn down.
- Hailing a taxi – hailing a taxi on the street is an art-form.
- Make sure you are standing on the right side of the street to avoid any awkward U-ies. (U-Turns which will add time and cost to your journey)
- Stand in a clear spot where the driver can easily pull in.
- Be ready to jump in in case of traffic building up behind.
- Taxi availability – the majority of taxis in Bali have a ‘light’ on the hood. In the daylight these can be hard to decipher, but, when it’s lit the taxi is empty and ready for a passenger. If it’s off the driver is either not taking passengers or there’s someone inside. If you can’t quite see, just stick your arm out. Better the taxi drives by then missing out on a ride.
There you have it. You are now a Bali transportation pro!
Grab and GO-JEK motorbike taxis are by far my favourite form of transportation on the island. I have been known to take upwards of 4-5 a day! Whether I’m heading to the shop or meeting a mate, they are always keen and available – even late into the night.
With these hints and tricks you will be able to find the best mode of transport for you, without being ripped off.
Stay safe, and explore!