Getting around Bali is cheap, but not always the easiest to understand. There are lots of local rules, laws and traditions that make it difficult to understand as a visitor.
We just spent 2 full months in Bali and saw first hand how the change is affecting local ‘taxi mafias’, local entrepreneurs and tourists. Travelers keep pouring into Bali at record levels, and because of this, new (and cheaper) ways to get around are popping up!
GoJek and Grab are becoming super popular in Bali, despite the push-back from established cab companies. Many travellers that use ride sharing apps in their own country come to Bali with the hopes of using it there as well. That can come with big surprises, like not being allowed to call an Uber to your hotel and being forced to take a local taxi instead.
This guide will give you all the latest info you need on taking a Taxi, Uber and Grab in Bali in 2018.
- How to take GRAB and GOJEK in Bali
- How much cheaper Grab is compared to Taxi's
- Which Taxi's to take in Bali
- How to use Grab, Bluebird and GoJek at the Airport
*Note*: As of May 2018 Uber has pulled out of Southeast Asia, making Grab the go-to ride share app.
2018 Bali Taxi Guide
Although Taxi’s have now become the ‘more expensive’ option for getting around, they are still dirt cheap compared to most destinations.
In Bali you will find many different Taxi companies, all offering a strikingly different level of service and price structure.
The rule of thumb is: Only use cabs with a metre.
If haggling your thing, then knock your socks off with an un-metered cab. They set their own prices and let me tell you, first one they give is a doozy!
Our first experience with an unmetered cab showed us just how different the rates can be.
We went down to the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office in a metered cab to extend our Visa. (Full time travel problems). The metered Blue Bird taxi was 110,000 IDR ($8 USD) from Seminyak. We had no idea how long we were going to be there, so we told him not to wait.
After we were done at Immigration we walked to the road to flag a taxi. A darker blue cab, otherwise known as a ‘Blue Bird Imposter’ stopped for us.
Sitting inside the cab, we realized it was a ‘fake’. No meter, no A/C, and junk all over the front seat. He started driving right away, which I am sure is a tactic to lessen the amount of people who jump back out.
We told him we were going to Seminyak and he told us it was going to be 350,000 IDR! That was over 3x’s the price of the metered taxi! That is when the negotiating started. The driver kept laughing at our offers, shaking his head, yet refusing to pull over.
To be honest, it was just an awkward back and forth that lasted over 10 minutes, that STILL resulted in us over-paying. The lowest we could talk him down to was 200,000 IDR, which was blatantly unfair.
From that point on, we learned how to spot the correct taxi’s to take. Blue Bird became our favourite Taxi in Bali, but more on them later.
Here are some things you should know about Taxi’s in Bali:
- Some hotels ONLY allow certain cab companies in. These local ‘taxi mafias’ will put signs up at the start of certain streets and will restrict what types of transportation can come through. If you want to know if you hotel is in one of these zones, check Trip Advisor. Look up your hotel and search ‘taxi’ in the reviews. You will be able to tell right away if the property restricts Taxis/Uber/Grab.
- Beware of impostors. Many drivers will paint their cars blue and call themselves things like “Bird Blue” to look like the popular ‘Blue Bird’ chain. It’s not to say that these cabs are unsafe or ‘BAD’, it’s just they jack the price up.
- You will pay more for a taxi coming out of the airport. Know that and work it into your budget.
- A fair taxi price is: 7,000 IDR to start and 6,500 IDR per KM.
- A fair waiting price is: around 50,000 per hour.
- Can’t see if a taxi is empty? Don’t worry, they will honk at you if they are available.
- Always carry small bills. Bali taxi drivers notoriously don’t have enough change.
- Don’t assume the driver knows where to go. There are thousands of villas, hotels and restaurants in Bali and it’s impossible to remember them all. Have a screen shot of the address PLUS a map on your phone that you can access without wifi. (or use a portable hotspot like TEP)
Bali Taxi prices from DPS Airport
Like I mentioned above, getting a taxi from the Bali airport will be more expensive than a normal fare. Here are examples of the latest fares we saw in 2018:
Canggu 225,000 IDR
Denpasar 130,000 IDR
Jimbaran 100,000 IDR
Nusa Dua 150,000 IDR
Seminyak 110,000 IDR
Ubud 300,000 IDR
Cheaper Rides from the Bali Airport
The above prices are the set prices by the taxis at the airport booths. If you are travelling light and don't feel like paying inflated airport prices, you can get a cheaper ride.
How to take BlueBird from the Airport:
Option 1: Blue Bird from the Departures Terminal.
Hike over to the departures terminal from the arrivals terminal.
Exit international arrivals, (which is on the ground floor) Take the escalator up to level 3, which is the Departures floor.
Here, you can jump into a BlueBird that is dropping another fare off. Technically they are not supposed to pick up fares here, but many of course will!
How much it will save you:
By jumping in a metered BlueBird taxi from Departures, you will save an average of 20% off the posted Bali Airport prices.
How to Take Grab from the Airport:
Option 2: Grab from the Domestic Terminal.
The domestic terminal is a little farther, but will get you the best deal on your ride. You will walk for about 10 minutes from International Arrivals to get there. (ask for help, use a map, or follow the signs)
NOTE: You will have to have the GRAB app already installed and set-up on your phone, and have the ability to use your phone in Bali.
How much it will save you:
By jumping in a Grab taxi from Domestic terminal, you will save an average of 40-55% off the posted Bali Airport prices. (That's HUGE!)
Blue Bird Bali Taxi
Blue Bird Group is hands down the BEST Taxi company in Bali. They have great rates with no haggling required, and are super reputable.
I have heard many people call them expensive, but I think their prices are fair. The minimum ride tariff is 30,000 IDR which might not make them the best for super short trips, but that’s still only $2 USD. Their rate is 6,500 per KM, with a 7,000 IDR start.
How to spot a 'real' Blue Bird:
This becomes an art! It will take a little while to get a good eye for spotting a real Blue Bird amongst the fakes.
Side note: It actually shows you how great Blue Bird must be when every other company tries to imitate them!
In most parts of Bali, there will be a Blue Bird taxi everywhere you turn. We never waited more than five minutes before seeing a vacant one.
Here are some tell-tale signs you found a ‘real' Blue Bird taxi:
– Drivers Uniform. They wear a blue button up shirt with little blue birds on them.
– Corporate Logo (Blue Bird with a photo of a blue bird)
– Head Rest. It will be a white cover with the blue bird logo.
– Sun Screen. There will be a logo and big text in the sun screen on the windshield.
– Serial Number. This will appear on the side of the body, dashboard, and rear of the car
How to call/hail a Blue Bird Taxi
If you don’t see one on the street in-front of you, use their app! You'll need a portable hotspot or local SIM card to use the app, but it's easy and convenient.
You can also get your hotel to call a Blue Bird taxi for you, but remember to request them specifically by name.
Uber and Grab Bali 2018
While ride sharing apps are still quite TABOO in Bali, 2018 is bringing some major changes!
Here is the latest news on using Uber and Grab in Bali.
Is Uber in Bali?
Uber in Bali is quite the controversial topic!
When we were there in Jan 2018, Uber was ‘banned’ in many areas, but was still being used by hundreds of tourists a day. It's gained major popularity over the last few years for offering rates 20-50% cheaper than even metered taxis. (And of course because who doesn't love the ease of Uber?!)
However, it seems that Uber’s short lived existence on the island has come to an end.
As of May 2018: Uber has sold their Southeast Asian operations to Grab, a Malaysian ride share app. We are being told that the Uber app no longer works in Bali. Both riders and drivers are being asked to download the Grab app.
Grab in Bali - The NEW Uber
Grab is the new Uber for Bali transportation.
It has an app just like Uber, screens the drivers, and takes rider safety seriously. Many tourists and locals have already been using the app for years and have nothing but good things to say about it.
However, just because Grab is the shiney new toy in Bali, doesn’t mean it’s welcomed anymore than Uber was. Local taxi drivers are still furious about the government allowing ride sharing apps to take a portion of their business.
In April 2018 the DPS Airport in Bali set up a Grab stand at the airport, but only in the domestic arrivals terminal. Rumor has it, they are pushing to get a stand at the International Arrivals terminal later this year.
Should you use Grab in Bali?
It’s a very divided argument.
Many say “YES! Take it! Support entrepreneurs!”
Others argue “NO! It takes money out of the local villages!”
You do you.
Technically, ride sharing apps are LEGAL in Bali, but there may be certain areas where they aren’t allowed to pick up riders. This is a fast changing reality in Bali and it seems that Grab will continue to become more popular every day!
Grab has the benefit of up to 50% cheaper fares, driver tracking and paying through the app. If using ride sharing apps is your personal preference, don’t feel like you MUST change to using Taxi’s.
Tips on Using Grab in Bali:
- Do it discretely. It’s still taboo amongst local transportation professionals, so not being so obvious while you wait is a great idea. Don’t try and wait at a spot that is overflowing with Taxis, or be prepared to get questioned/harassed. Again, this is changing by the DAY, but for 2018, just use some discretion.
- Don’t try to order a Grab to a hotel that doesn’t allow it. It's an argument you don't need in your life. (Although it's mostly the drivers that get the slack.) Just walk down the street PAST the ‘No Grab’ signs and pick it up there.
- Have Data! Get a local SIM card when you enter Bali or have a portable hotspot like TEP.
- You CAN pay cash. Unlike Uber in North America, you can choose to pay cash or credit within the Grab app. If you choose cash, make sure you have correct change on you.
Go-Jek in Bali
Go-Jek is an Indonesian POWERHOUSE! It's quickly gaining massive popularity across the entire country.
It's been voted in the Top 10 Most Powerful Brands in Indonesia, plus GOOGLE just invested in it!
It’s rock bottom prices and easy food pick-up make it one of the best bargain transportation modes in Bali. We saw more locals that tourists using it, but that is changing constantly!
Just like Grab, Go-Jek has an app that you can order a ride on a scooter, but it’s quickly become SO much more than that!
Other Go-Jek Services in Bali
Go-Ride – What started it all. Motorcycle taxi at insanely low prices.
Go-Car – When you need more room than a scooter will allow.
Go-Mart – Get groceries delivered to your door, while they do the shopping for you.
Go-Food – Meals delivered from your favourite restaurants.
Go-Send – Instant courier service for documents and packages.
Go-Massage – Qualified and trusted massage professionals to your home or hotel, 24/7.
Go-Clean – On demand maid service, when and where you need it.
Go-Glam – Personal stylist at your home or hotel for makeup, hair styling, even waxing.
Go-Jek even has ticket buying services, cell phone top up, car maintenance and cleaning, and in app bill payments!
Go-Jek Announces Southeast Asia Expansion
With Uber pulling out of Southeast Asia, this has left room for both Grab and Go-Jek to expand!
Go-Jek just announced in May 2018 that it will be expanding to Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore.
Using a Private Driver in Bali
Hiring a private driver is not just for the posh traveler. In Bali, a private driver is insanely affordable and a great way to stop at attractions throughout the island.
We hired Enrico, the owner of Bali Flow and had a great experience. He picked us up in Seminyak and drove us to Ubud, with many stops on the way. He speaks incredible English, has a clean car and a great sense of humor!
If you are driving far or long, a private driver is the way to go!
Rates for a half day drive from Seminyak to Ubud start around 300,000 IDR ($21 USD)
Do you have any Taxi, Grab or Go-Jek stories? Tell me Below!