If you’re a young adult from Australia or New Zealand, there is a good chance you’ve either been to, or are dreaming of travelling to, the beautiful Bali. From its incredible market shopping, to its palm tree laden beaches, there is something for every kind of traveller.
I was lucky enough to be able to go to Bali with my best friend, and we spent a total of six incredible days wandering around Kuta, Seminyak and Uluwatu. During this time I picked up the tips and tricks that I will now share with you!
The safest and cheapest way to get around Bali would definitely be via taxi. In saying this, the only taxis that you should get into are the “Blue Bird” taxis. This is because they are the only taxis that will run the meter and charge you a fair price.
Blue Bird Taxis charge about 6000 Rp (60c) per km, with a minimum charge of 30,000 Rp (about $3nzd). We found we could drive for about 15 minutes before it would go over $3, and we rarely had to pay more than $3-$5 to go anywhere. Even the two hour taxi ride we took from Uluwatu to Ubud to visit a monkey temple was only around 250,000 Rp ($25nzd).
While Bluebird Taxis are pretty easy to identify, almost all of the other taxi drivers have tried to make their cars look similar in order to make you think that they are as reputable. You can usually tell a fake one by the shade of blue that the car is painted, the slightly “off” or lack of logo, the rear side missing the website, and also the absence of the “Blue Bird Group” text that should be written across the front windscreen.
The good thing is that they have a smartphone app similar to Uber! This was our lifesaver for the whole trip, because we could call a taxi to our location, instead of having to try and wave one down on the street. Just search Blue Bird Taxi on the app store.
If you do end up getting into an unofficial taxi, you are still safe! The only difference is that you will get charged a lot more, and on top of that the driver will likely try and guilt you into giving him a large tip.
Do feel free to tip though! They are just trying to make their living after all. A good tip would be 10,000 Rp for every 15 minutes, this is about 30% of the fare and $1 really isn’t too much to spare!
Getting From The Airport To Your Hotel
All official Blue Bird taxis are blocked from picking people up from the airport, so you do have to use an unofficial one to get from the airport to your hotel (but not vise versa). Just make sure to negotiate a price BEFORE getting into the taxi. We paid 50,000 Rp ($5) for our 10 minute ride, and then the driver also tried to guilt us into giving him a 50,000 tip (we gave him 10,000 as a tip).
Sometimes an unofficial taxi will run the meter. Hooray! you think, this one won’t overcharge me! And while this may turn out true, often the driver will take advantage of the fact that you don’t know your way around, and will take you the super long way to run up the meter. To avoid this happening, just bring up maps on your phone and show the driver the route you want to take, then keep watching it to make sure they stay en route.
Scooters And Bicycles
If you feel like braving the crazy traffic to save some money and/or get some exercise, a scooter or bicycle could be the way to go! There are many places street-side where you are able to rent a bike for around $1-$2 a day, but keep in mind you may find yourself struggling to load your new purchases on to your handlebars after a good go at the markets!
Scooters are the best way to get around if you want cheap and quick, however it is definitely the most dangerous. You will have to purchase appropriate travel insurance, keeping in mind that most packages will not cover a scooter and you will have to purchase additional cover, and have your international drivers license on you at all times. The police often pull over tourists on scooters and if you fail to produce your license you will receive an on the spot fine.
Cell Phone Data Plans
In Bali you can purchase a SIM card with mobile data for really cheap. We paid 80,000 Rp ($8) for a SIM with 4GB of LTE data, and these SIM cards worked perfectly in our New Zealand iPhones. We started our holiday in Kuta, and found our SIM cards at a little shop that sold every kind of electronic accessory you could ever need. The woman who worked there was even kind enough to help us set up the SIM cards in our phones so that the data would work right away. From here we also bought a wall plug adapter for 50,000 Rp, which we then able to plug a multiboard into to charge our devices.
We did notice, however, that the same SIM card in Seminyak would sell for 300,000 Rp ($30!!) so a trip to Kuta for it is definitely worth it!