Transportation in Bali
Updated April 2016
Although there are a few, very limited services available in the tourist areas, the quite reasonable cost of taxis makes them preferable, as they avoid the waiting time for the next bus, which can be quite long.
There are two routes in the south of the island, where most of the hotels are situated, operated by the the 'Sarbagita Trans'. One service (Koridor 2) runs from Nusa Dua, past Ungasan, going to Kuta, and on to Denpasar and Batubulan. The other service, Koridor 1, goes from Kuta to GWK ( Garuda Wisnu Kencana: a cultural park dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu), some 20 minutes south of Kuta . They stop at the International Arrivals.
The single ticket costs Rp. 3500, irrespective of destination. There are also 7 feeder microbuses that connects at various points of the main routes; one at Nusa Dua that covers most of the length of the Benoa Peninsula. The cost is an extra Rp. 3000. The payment is made on board to a ticket collector.
Recently Sarbagita Trans introduced another route that starts/finishes at the airport: Koridor 8 goes north as far as Persiapan, with separate fares between the airport and Teuku Umar Barat Street in Denpasar; then another fare to get to Mengwi Terminal; and a last one to Persiapan. So, you have to pay 3 separate fares ranging from Rp3000 to Rp3500 each. The bus, even if part of the Sarbagita Trans network may be operated by the Damri Bus System.
The entry or exit door is very high and the bus can only embark and disembark passengers at special bus stops that have a ramp at the same level as the bus floor (see the picture of the bus, above).
From Denpasar, various public bus routes cover the main towns of Bali. Cost and schedules vary, but rarely exceed Rp 5000. Before you venture on these services take into consideration the difficulty of communicating in the local languages, unless you can understand them, and know exactly where to get off.
A recent addition to tourists's transportation needs is the Kura-Kura bus. It operates along nine routes to the north and south of Kuta with an interchange at the DFS Galleria, at the junction of the Jl. Sunset Road and the Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai. There are regular services (every 20 minutes) to Kuta and Legian to allow a rapid change of buses. See map and fares below, and schedules here (click on the page to enlarge):
You can buy a smart card (pay-as-you-go) with a minimum balance of Rp.100000. Share it with others in your party, and you can get a refund for unused credit at the end of your stay. Alternatively, you can buy a Day Pass that starts at Rp. 150.000 for 1 day only.
For short journeys in the tourist areas, the best alternative is the much better taxi service. The widely recommended company is the BlueBird, which, as in Jakarta, offers the most reliable and trustworthy service. These taxis have meters (or 'argo' as they are called locally), although you must make sure that they are turned on when you start the trip. Fares between the main points of the tourist areas rarely exceed US$10 (for instance, between Kuta and the most isolated hotels in Nusa Dua). Ask any hotel porter to call one, or flag it down after making sure that the logo (a blue bird) is displayed on the body-work, usually in the door, or their website address is written in the rear wing. Taxis are mostly light blue, although some are dark blue, or light mauve, but all are supposed to operate in the same manner. However, some scams have occurred with non-licenced taxis masquerading as genuine. Therefore, whenever possible get the hotel to call a BlueBird taxi, and avoid those which are not light blue.
Lengthy traffic jams occur often and being stuck in one for over an hour is not unusual. The taxi meter will keep ticking but the final fare will not increase beyond a resonable limit. If you get caught in one, observe the smiling, good-humoured local drivers who will spend as long as an hour in a traffic jam without a single complaint; they actually seem to enjoy it!
If you have a portable GPS use it and make sure the driver sees it; that might discourage him from taking the usual tourist detours...
Motorcycle taxis (Ojek)
Ojek is the local name of for motorcycles. Because of the chaotic traffic in the Kuta, Legian, and other urban areas the ojek taxis have the advantage of being able to travel rapidly from point to point. The fares should be slightly cheaper than those of a regular taxi. They can and often do carry two passengers (or more...). The flip side is the concern for safety, even if you are being taken by, hopefully, experienced riders. Use them, at your own risk, if you are in a hurry.