Getting Around Bali
The best way to get around Bali is with a hired car and driver. This option gives you the freedom of roaming around the country without the hassle of having to drive yourself. Biking is another option, just be prepared to weave through chaotic traffic. Boats are great way to get to neighboring islands, but they are not frequently used to get around Bali.
Most travelers arrive through Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), which is located between Kuta and Jimbaran. To reach your hotel, check in advance to see if there is a complimentary resort shuttle available. If not, grab a taxi at the airport exit.
|Bike||For short distances, bikes are the cheap and fun way to go. You'll get to see what's outside of your resort but have the means of easily getting back. Bikes can also be a faster option in traffic-congested towns. You can rent bikes through many of the resorts and small shops in tourist towns, like Kuta.|
|Hired Car and Driver||
This mode of transportation may seem like an extravagant route, but you'll find that this option can be cost-effective and worth every penny. You can usually arrange a car and driver through your hotel; however, there are numerous agencies, like Bali Island Car Rental, that offer the service. Expect to negotiate a price (unless it has been prearranged) and to pay for the driver's food, drink, and accommodations if you've hired him for a multi-day trip. A day's hire should cost about 450,000 IDR (about $50 USD). For the price, you'll have a worry-free means of getting around and potentially a local tour guide. For more information, consult your hotel's concierge.
Renting a car is easy and affordable, but driving around Bali is difficult with its traffic, its drivers, and its unclear signage. Balinese drivers are reckless by most standards; for example, using headlights at night is considered a courtesy rather than a requirement, and a red traffic light is seen more often as a recommendation than a command. By law, you are required to have an international driving license or a locally issued one. To obtain an international driving license, you must go through the IDL Service online. You can purchase the local option at the Foreign License Service in Denpasar for 150,000 IDR (about $16 USD). While the proper license is good to have, many agencies on the island are fine handing you the keys as long as you have an official driver's license and passport from your country of origin. Rental agencies are located in many resort towns and at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Travelers have had a mixed bag of fortunes with taxis. Drivers can be unreliable and even downright crooks. Luckily, most are fair and friendly to tourists. Some taxis run on negotiated prices, while others go according to a meter. Flag drop is usually 5000 IDR (about $0.50 USD), and each additional kilometer is 4,000 IDR (about $0.45 USD). You can hail cabs from the street in larger towns like Denpasar, or you can call for one. Blue Bird taxis are the most reliable, according to recent travelers.
Public and private tour buses are an affordable way to explore the island. That said, they don't allow the freedom to explore off the beaten path and can take a very long time to reach their destinations. Bali's most popular private bus tours are organized by Perama Tour & Travel. Bali's public buses go between major towns but routes, costs, and departure and arrival times can be hard to track down.
Travelers occasionally use boats and ferries to reach Bali's neighboring islands. This option is not only scenic, but also affordable. For instance, a one-way ride from Bali's Pandangbai to Lombok's Lembar costs about 28,000 IDR (about $3 USD). While public ferries can be cheaper, commercial boat services—like those operated by Perama Tour & Travel, Blue Water Express, and Gillcat—offer speedy and direct transport to the surrounding islands.
Entry & Exit Requirements
Indonesia requires that your U.S. passport be valid for at least six months from when you enter the country. You must obtain a 30-day visitor visa upon arrival at the airport in Bali. This temporary visa applies to tourist and short-business trips only. If you are coming to Bali for more than 30 days, you must apply for a special visa prior to arrival. For more information, check out the U.S. Department of State's website.