A basic guide to getting around Bali...

Getting around Bali is relatively easy. Taxi operators abound and you can easily wave for one along the streets of Bali's major beach resort areas. For more convenience, you can rent a car or even charter one. Other budget ways to travel in Bali include public buses and the locally popular bemo - short for becak bermotor or ‘motorised rickshaws’ in the local tongue, a term which nowadays also applies to public commuter vans and minibuses. You can also ask for shuttle transfer services provided by your own hotel – ask your concierge.

But if you really want to see the sights and make the most out of your time, a well organised tour is a popular choice. For those who prefer the freedom to explore, motorcycles are fun, however be sure you are always insurance-covered, have an international license, and always wear a helmet. Following here are more ways to get around Bali to enjoy the island.


Using Bemos in Bali

The budget-friendly bemo is Bali's main public transportation and every town has a bemo or bus station. The capital of Bali, Denpasar is the hub of these unique forms of transport and it's good to know that Gilimanuk, Singaraja, Amlapura and Gianyar have major regional terminals, so you can get from one corner of Bali to another. Full-sized buses and larger minibuses travel along the longer routes from the same stations as the bemos.

It is quite impossible to be exact about fares, and unfortunately all tourists and visitors are regularly overcharged. The thing to do is to observe the amount other passengers paying and do as the Balinese do. But do remember to pay the fare before getting off so as to prevent the bemo driver from driving off with your change. It is normal to be charged extra for a large bag and also for a bemos to depart only when the vehicle is full - even though this can take quite a while.


Car Rental in Bali

The 4-seater Suzuki jeep is very popular vehicle in Bali - with the tourists, of course. These hardy yet comfortable roadsters are known as jimmy on the island. Local rentals usually include insurance, but often exclude petrol.

You will need an International Driving Licence to hire a car and drive in Bali. There is a steep fine for unlicensed driving. Also if you do not have a licence your insurance may be invalidated. Do take note that driving in Bali is hazardous and parking can be difficult, especially near a tourist attractions, with varying costs.

Remember: Wearing a seat belt is compulsory.


Motorcycle Rental

Prices normally include insurance and some petrol. Moving around Bali on two wheels is fun, more convenient and faster BUT, remember to check the motorcycle before use and ride safely and sensibly. Helmets are compulsory, of course.

If your International license does not include bikes, try to get a local 3-month licence valid for Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. You can expect help from the person renting out the bike, but be prepared to part with around 150,000rp or more.


Shuttle Bus

Tourist shuttle buses travel along Bali's main tourist several times daily. These are faster, more comfortable and convenient than the public bemos, although also more expensive. It is, after all, cheaper than chartering a car or renting a jeep, unless you're visiting Bali in groups of 3 or more. There are several operators of these shuttle busses, with Perama being the most established. Tickets are on sale at any of shops-cum-travel agencies scattered conveniently throughout Bali.


Bali Taxis & Private Cars

There are many metered taxis in Denpasar, Kuta, Sanur, Ubud, and Nusa Dua. Finding a taxi is extremely easy as taxis usually crawl along the main road beeping at tourists. Try to use the meters if possible.

There is an option of renting a car with driver, but there are no set rates. Negotiation is the key. It is interesting to note that these cars are not licensed to carry tourists, so don't be surprised at the detours around police stations.