THE SECRET TO GETTING AROUND BALI ON A BUDGET
When you’re planning your trip around Bali with friends, you’ll notice that a large chunk of your budget will go to transportation. Hailing a taxi can get a bit difficult on those narrow roads and they overcharge like it’s nobody’s business (except theirs, I guess)! Sure, you can also book a Grab between destinations, but some areas like Ubud discourages taxi-hailing apps.
Why? Because it ruins the business of local taxi drivers and it contributes to the traffic congestion of the aforementioned narrow roads.
So what’s a girl gotta do?
You charter a cab! You won’t have to take one overpriced cab ride to and from each tourist spot you want to visit anymore. It’s easy to make a deal with one of the drivers in the area for a 4-hour or 8-hour ride. The best is the ride comes with unlimited stops!
I know It sounds like a lot to pay in one go. But it’s best when you’re travelling in a group of at least 3 people. Because then, you can split the bill!
When people say they’re visiting Bali, it’s not just one small area. Here’s a map to make you understand better:
Denpasar to Seminyak
So, you’ll most likely start out in Denpasar (where the airport is) and head to Seminyak. I’m guessing since it’s like the best place to start any Bali trip! An airport pick up and drop off at your resort would cost around 200,000 IDR. Divide that by 3 people and it’s just a little over 250 PHP each! Taxi rides around Manila are more expensive than that!
Like I said, Seminyak is the best because there are so many beautiful tourist spots around the area. For a whole day tour (10AM-6PM), our driver only charged us 600,000 IDR. Best places to visit in the area would be La Plancha and Balangan Beach; Tropicola, Azul, and Finn’s Beach Club; Da Maria; and Dusty Cafe!
Seminyak to Ubud
For our trip, we wanted to transfer to a hotel in Ubud so we could better tour the area. That trip took around a couple of hours since we also stopped by a few scenic locations for photos lol! It cost us 600,000 IDR as well to cover for the return trip our driver would have to take.
Ubud is a great place to just walk around so you won’t have to worry too much on transportation. If you do want to visit the nearby attractions, I suggest the Monkey Forest, Tegalalang Rice Terraces, and even Tibumana Waterfalls! You can easily get a cab from the area for only 400,000-450,000 IDR.
Ubud to North Bali
On the last leg of our tour, we chartered a cab to bring us to North Bali for 550,000 IDR. Now this rate should have included a side trip to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. However, for reasons that will be explained later on, we had to cancel it and keep the same price.
North Bali to Denpasar
As our resort had free shuttles to some nearby waterfalls, we didn’t have to charter a cab during our stay. I just called up one of my go-to drivers to pick us up on our last day and we paid 550,000 IDR. You can negotiate a cheaper rate but we added a little extra since it was so early in the morning.
Should I be worried?
As much as I want to say that all drivers are great, I had a negative experience during our most recent trip. While we were in Ubud, we chartered a cab in the area as my usual drivers lived a bit far off. The driver was nice the first few days, patient while we took our time at some of the destinations, and even brought us to a restaurant that locals seemed to favor. So when we had to transfer hotels to North Bali, we turned to him, and that’s when things started spiralling downwards.
It started when we were 5 minutes late to the scheduled 12:00 noon pick-up time. And when we asked him if we could get lunch somewhere along Ubud, he refused because it was out of the way (even though we were still in the area and only three minutes away from the nice restaurants). We negotiated cancelling one of our side trips (Jatiluwih) and he agreed, only if we kept the same rate. It was weird but we agreed.
It only got more and more awful with him telling us that we were taking too long to have lunch, and when I wanted to go buy a souvenir for my Dad, he chastised me for taking longer than 5 minutes. He yelled at us, refused to let us play music in the car, and drove recklessly when we tried to argue. To cut the story short, we drove the rest of the way to North Bali in complete silence. We didn’t want to go down in case it agitated him more so we toughened through it and we got to our resort safe but a little shaken up.
Who you gonna call?
But don’t let that horror story of a driver put you off, because there really are a lot of kind and genuine drivers in Bali and it was the first and only time it happened to me. I just wanted you all to know what to be wary of!
My two favorite drivers in Bali are Yoke and Putu! Whenever I’m back on the island, all I have to do is send them a message through Whatsapp and they’ll be there. The two of them are very welcoming and treat you like you’re a family member touring the city. They have the best roadtrip playlists, but they’ll also let you connect to their hotspot and play your own tunes. They know all the best food spots for babi guling and nasi goreng, and the places to get the best currency exchange deals.
I’ll leave their instagram handles below:
PUTU – @verdapraha
I trust Yoke and Putu like they’re part of my family, and have always recommended them. The truth is, they’re the real secret to getting around Bali on a budget!