Transport from the Kuta area
Arriving in Bali the transport situation may seem like like a madhouse but there are logical options to help you get around. Figuring out how to get your own transport will propel you into another reality and you’ll see another side of Bali.
• Perama Buses
The Perama bus company provides medium size buses to service the major tourist spots on the island. For a visitor starting out in Kuta these are a stress free way to get around. The Perama office is on Jalan Legian. From Poppies Lane II turn left heading south and Perama is on the right side about 300 meters.
Among the places covered are Ubud, Sanur and the Gili islands in Lombok. The buses are rarely full and are not air con. The prices are fixed with a set schedule and you can buy a ticket in advance or show up just before the bus leaves.
If you are staying at a large hotel they have their own shuttle buses that drop tourists off in front of the Hard Rock Cafe at the beach on Jalan Pantai Kuta and the airport.
Bemos are small Toyota vans that are independently run. They service many small villages on the island and are ‘local’ transport. Tickets are not needed and bemos can be found at ‘Bemo Corner’ in Kuta off of Jl. Legian and Jl. Raya Kuta. Prices for locals are cheaper than the Perama buses, but you have to negotiate. The price for a local to go from Kuta to Denpasar is about 5,000rp, but a foreigner will probably not get cheap a price.
The advantages of taking a bemo are flexibility of not having to check a schedule and meeting locals close up. You will be amazed at how many people can be packed into one of these tiny vehicles ( I’ve had a woman plonked down on my lap before ).
The disadvantages are having to haggle, not really knowing the correct price, uncomfortable ride and stopping at every village along the way to pick up more people. Bemos will go to Ulu Watu, Jimbaron, Nusa Dua Denpasar and other places.
There are many taxi companies in Bali the best being Blue Bird, which has light blue cars. The drivers have a permit with photo and the car has an ID number. Locals have told me if you lose something in the car you stand a good chance of getting it back. Blue Bird uses a meter which tends to run the cheapest of all cabs.
Other companies include Kowinu ( brown and silver cars ). They will go as far as Nusa Dua but you have to order over the phone to be picked up outside the Nusa Dua area.
Praja taxi ( white ) serves Denpasar, Kuta Beach and various hotels. I found their meter to be fairly decent recently.
There is an airport taxi that will take you from Ngurah Rai to anywhere. From the airport you can buy a voucher from the office just to the right of your exit at the airport. Prices are posted and are a little spendy compared to the downtown cabs but not way out of line.
There are an assortment of illegal taxis run by locals. Often these are Toyota vans. You can bargain, there is no meter. Ask the driver before you pay if he is going to be picking up other customers along the way. This is common and can be a pain if he’s waiting around for people. To hire a taxi and driver for a day (lunch not included ) you might pay something like 100,00orp depending on where you want to go.
• Rental cars
Renting a car can be a great way to explore the small villages in the highlands. For around town it is definitely safer than riding a motorbike. You can ask at your hotel or guest house for suggestions on places to rent a car. A couple of the larger rental places are Jimbaran Rd Toyota and Tuban Toyota near the airport. The price for a day is around 250,000rp ($28). Prices will come down for a monthly rental but you have to bargain.
A Suzuki Samurai will cost about 100,000 for a day depending on the condition of the vehicle. Suzukis are ideal for Bali’s small streets but give a very bumpy ride.
When you rent the car check its condition and make sure you have the registration. Take a map, there are many one way streets in the Kuta area and getting stuck going the wrong way can be frustrating. Get the staff to point out on your map where the gas stations are. You’ll find gas stations near to the airport, on Jalan Raya Kuta next to KFC / Geleal supermarket and on Jalan Raya Kuta near to JTB. Hertz at the airport has a selection of fancy cars for those who need them.
Motorbikes can be rented from small places all over the Kuta area. You literally have only to stroll down Jalan Legian or Poppies Lane and you’ll see many places. The usual asking price for a month for a 110cc Honda Supra is 500,000rp, though you can bargain for 450,000rp. ($50).
To rent by the day will cost you around 50,000rp. A Honda Tiger 200cc will cost 40,000rp per day and is a proper motorcycle. A Harley can be rented for $8 per hour if you’ve got the green.
You’ll need an International Driving License to operate a car or motorcycle in Bali. There are a multitude of places offering fake ones for 100,000-200,000rp. If you get caught at a police roadblock without one its a 50,000rp fine. I’ve been in Bali for 2 months and have been stopped 3 times, all on the same day. The road blocks are usually on large roads, the Sunset Rd ( bypass ) and by the Dewi Ruci roundabout.
A friend of mine got a fake Balinese Driving License by going to the police station and paying the cops! Another got an International License right here on Poppies II. Don’t worry, its all corrupt over here and as long as people get their palms greased everything rolls along. Make sure you store your driving license and registration in the compartment under your seat at all times, then you’ll be fine. If you insist on doing things legally then you can obtain a 2 week permit from the police station for 100,000rp. When driving or riding over here I suggest using your horn liberally when in doubt. Letting other people where you are is a good thing and people don’t take it as an insult.
Wearing a jacket is a good idea even when is not raining. The sun is extremely strong here and extra protection for the arms and neck is a good. Alternatively a long sleeve shirt will work too.
Bicycles can be rented from a couple of places on Jalan Legian for 10,000-15,000rp per day but considering the traffic and pollution I don’t know why anyone would want to ride a bicycle.