Best Ways To Travel Around Bali

Bali is quite a large island with three main roads around it and many smaller roads in the interior. Whilst conditions on the major roads are fairly good, there are often traffic jams and hold ups, particularly in the popular tourist areas. The roads themselves can be in very poor condition, especially during the rainy season when there is a lot of debris and the potholes are at their worst. There are various ways of getting around the island, the best of which are discussed below.

Best Ways To Travel Around Bali

Rice Terraces at Bali, Indonesia

Rice Terraces at Bali, Indonesia | (cc) Photo By riza

Hiring a Private Car and Driver

A private car with a driver can be hired by the day or the week and is really the best way of seeing the island. Sometimes hotels have cars and drivers available, or can recommend a local driver. Otherwise you can use an agency, although this may be more expensive. Most of the drivers are English speaking and it is a good idea to check how well they can speak the language as well as ensuring that they are properly insured and have all the necessary paperwork in place before agreeing on the price they will charge. This should include the vehicle, insurance and fuel and you will also be expected to pay for the driver’s food and accommodation, although this is usually quite inexpensive. A driver will be able to act as a tourist guide and recommend places to visit as well as helping with any translation you may need. This is a stress free way of exploring Bali and even just three days will allow you to visit the major attractions of Bali.

Hiring a Self-Drive Car

Officially you will need an International Driving License or a tourist driving license plus passport to rent a car, but many firms will just require to see your National Driving License. Traffic in Bali drives on the left, but there are few formal rules and Balinese drivers do not always check for oncoming traffic or obey traffic lights. Street lighting is not very good in many parts of the island and motorcycles often do not use their lights, so driving at night can be very stressful. If you decide to hire a car, ensure that you have all the relevant documentation and keep it with you in the car. The police often do spot checks and will fine foreign drivers for any infringements. If you are stopped, you should try to remain calm and only pay a standard fine the police may try to get more money from you.

Using a Taxi

In southern Bali, taxis are a good way of getting around, but they are few and far between in the north of the island. If you decide to use a taxi for the day negotiate a price before you start and if just taking a taxi for a short journey ensure that the driver uses the meter. You should also make it clear to the driver where you want to go, otherwise you may be taken to shops or businesses belonging to friends of the driver.

There are other ways to travel around Bali for example on the buses or bemos which are minivans that operate like buses but without fixed routes or timetables, but these are less convenient and do not necessarily cover the destinations you want to visit. A further alternative is to hire a motorcycle, but although this is cheap and can get you around the island quickly, it is dangerous and there are many accidents every year. If you do hire a motorcycle, wearing a helmet is mandatory.

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16 Responses to “Best Ways To Travel Around Bali”

  1. Leigh says:

    I’d love to see the rice terraces in Bali but I don’t fancy driving a car by myself. I think I’d opt for a driver as it’s also a great way to get some local knowledge.
    Leigh recently posted..A Rocky Mountain High in Banff National ParkMy Profile

  2. Nancie says:

    I’ve been to Bali a few times. I usually hire a car and driver, and set the itinerary. Also, if you are in Ubud you can do tours from the Tourist Information Ctr. at the top of Monkey Forest Road, for a reasonable price.
    Nancie recently posted..Come to Daejeon for the Best Burgers in KoreaMy Profile

  3. Sophie says:

    I was in Bali with my oldest daughter when she was 4. We hired a car and driver for the drive between Kuta and Ubud which turned out to be convenient and fun, as the driver was full of useful – and quirky – information. We made all kinds of unexpected stops along the way, to look at monkeys here, and unusual vegetation there. Very child-friendly.
    Sophie recently posted..World at a Glance: Beslan memorial in San MarinoMy Profile

  4. I’ve always found Bali enchanting and I would love to visit someday. I would definitely go with the Hiring a Private Car and Driver option though. It’s also a great way to learn more about the local culture and customs from the driver.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..The Otherworldly Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks in New MexicoMy Profile

    • Salika Jay says:

      Hiring a car with an English speaking driver is usually a great way to interact with a local and get more details about the attractions in the city.

  5. Great tips, Salika. I’ll keep these in mind for when I make my long overdue trip to Bali.
    InsideJourneys recently posted..Good Hope Great House & Plantation, JamaicaMy Profile

  6. Would love to go to Bali someday! Like the idea of hiring a driver that speaks English…a great way to get a local’s perspective and tips on the island!
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted..Going Off-Broadway With “F#%king Up Everything” + GiveawayMy Profile

  7. Kim says:

    its a beautiful place with deep culture

  8. I’ve never been to Bali, but it’s been in my bucket list for some time. I should add one more way to go around there: by bike!
    Aleah | recently posted..Best Day Trips from ManilaMy Profile