There are few ways to obtain transportation services. You can leverage an online app, word of mouth driver, off-the-street taxi or renting your own scooter. If scooting on your own is not an option, then you’ll need a driver for a car. You can rent a bicycle, but you may eventually get tired of it and turn to the other options.
Know that the infrastructure, your scooting experience, your location, and how long you’re willing to wait or not will dictate your mode of transportation while in Bali.
Online Transportation Service
The Uber Version for Bali
You can request a driver or a scooter taxi via Go-Jek. The competitor service is GRAB. This is great as they show up to your doorstep and it’s cheap. The one limitation is that online car services are not allowed in all areas. The local community puts a block on their access into certain neighborhoods so that you use their street taxis. With this in mind, many of us workaround this by agreeing with the Go-Jek driver to meet us at a nearby pickup/drop off location.
And like Uber, you will have to wait for them to get to you which will take a minute. So don’t be too hangry!
I strongly suggest to download this app and set up your account BEFORE you fly out as you will be texted to confirm your identity. If you wait until you arrive in Bali, this process lags and becomes cumbersome as you don’t have the ease of access to local texting.
When to Use Car versus Scooter Taxi Transportation
Online Scooter taxis are mainly used to get to/from cafes, restaurants, beaches, pharmacy, etc – inner city locations. They are super cheap (~$1-2/per ride) and easy to use. This will give you a bit more independence, say, if you want to go home earlier, get a drink, go to the store for something, etc. Very common for guys to ride on the back too. So, leave the ego at home.
Online Car taxis are ideal for the big nights out with a big group of friends. I also use them when I need to transport large items, groceries or luggage from one place to another within the city.
Word of Mouth Driver with a Car
It’s very easy to get a referral. They are ideal for the day tours/sightseeing drives and airport pickup/drop-offs. Drivers referred by the hotel are not as reasonably priced.
If you are in need of a driver referral, I have plenty. Send me a note and I can find you one.
Off The Street Scooter or Car Taxi
This is the most expensive option. If they see you’re a Westerner, they will up-charge. Do negotiate. I usually use these guys as a last resort. They do not like the Go-Jeks FYI as it’s taking from their business.
Renting Your Own Scooter
This is the most convenient and cheapest. Unfortunately, they give these out to anyone, no license needed, and many have grave accidents. Rent one if you are experienced.
One friend, an experienced scooter driver, had too much drink one night and ran into a tree. He had to fly to Singapore the next day to get surgery for his broken hand and finger.
One night, very late, I was scooting back home on a quiet road. Out of nowhere, I felt something hit the back of my bike. I thought I ran over a pothole. When I felt it again, I realized someone was right behind me, very drunk, and was drifting into my bike. Luckily, he heard me yelling, snapped out of it and accelerated out. No one was hurt thankfully.
Learning to Scooter
If you don’t know and you’re staying in Bali long term, then learning here makes sense. It’s essential to get around. If you are determined to learn how to scoot in Bali refer to Knowing the Scooter Rental Process for the most recommended training services.
If you do know how to drive or feel confident zipping around, this IS the best option. Sometimes the Airbnb Concierge Service (at your Villa) or Hotel can offer to reserve one for you. If not, they will direct you to someone down the street if so.
Side note: Westerners are far less aggressive than the locals here. With that said, driving in tourist-dense areas like Canggu will feel less intimidating. Ubud, on the other hand, while it is a small simple driving route, it is more congested with a mix of westerners and locals. The scooter space is tighter.
You can always wait until you get here to check the traffic out first.
Know how to rent a scooter because of scooter life rocks! But know this – if WILL NOT BE COVERED BY YOUR INSURANCE if you do not have a motorbike license. Check with them to see if an international or Indonesian license works.
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