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Courtesy of Sara Marlowe/Flickr

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 a 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 on the island's southern tip. To reach your hotel, check in advance to see if there is a complimentary resort shuttle available. Some hotels also provide private transportation for a fee. Though it can be pricey, some visitors say it's worth the cost (especially if you're arriving at night) as the driver will know exactly where to drop you off – a convenience some say is worth the extra rupiahs. If you plan to take a taxi, you'll prepay your fare at the airport's taxi counter. Fares range widely depending on your destination, from 45,000 rupiahs (around $3) to 315,000 rupiahs (about $22).

Bike

For short distances, bikes are a cheap, fun way to easily explore outside of your hotel. 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, such as Kuta. Rental prices vary by company and bike type, but can cost between 60,000 rupiahs (less than $5) to 350,000 rupiahs (around $24) per day. Bali Bike Rental, Bali Rides and Bali Eco Cycling receive favorable reviews from past visitors. 

Due to the unstable nature of some of Bali's roads, you'll want to avoid biking in congested areas like Denpasar and 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 multiday trip. A day's hire should cost about $50. 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 – your hotel may offer a similar service (for a fee). 

Rental Car

Renting a car is easy and affordable, but driving around Bali is difficult with its traffic, its drivers and unclear signage. By law, you are required to have an international driver's permit or a locally issued one. Rental agencies, such as Hertz, Sixt, Avis and Budget, are located in many resort towns and at Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Taxi

Travelers have had a mixed bag of fortunes with taxis. Drivers can be unreliable and some can try to be sneaky. Luckily, most are fair and friendly to tourists. Some taxis run on negotiated prices while others go according to a meter. Fares typically start at around 5,000 to 7,000 Indonesian rupiahs (about $0.50), with each additional kilometer costing 4,000 rupiahs (about $0.25). You can hail cabs from the street in larger towns like Denpasar, or you can call for one. Blue Bird Group is one the most reliable taxi operators, according to travelers. The company even offers a smartphone app to finding an available cab easy. 

Whether you're riding with Blue Bird Group or any of the island's other companies, you'll want to keep a few safety precautions in mind. Always make sure the driver turns on their meter so you're charged the proper fare and take a look at a map to make sure your driver isn't taking the long route.

Bus

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. Reviews have been favorable for the newer Kura-Kura public shuttle bus, which operates five lines around Bali's major tourist hubs, including Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud. Buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, audio-visual announcement systems and luggage racks, though they do not run very frequently; some routes depart every two hours. Fixed fares range between 20,000 and 80,000 rupiah (about $1.50 to $5.50) for single journeys. Look for green and yellow buses with cartoon turtles painted on them.

Boat

Travelers occasionally use boats and ferries to reach Bali's neighboring islands. This option is not only scenic, but also affordable. While public ferries can be cheaper, commercial boat services – like those operated by Perama Tour & Travel and Blue Water Express – offer speedy and direct transport to the surrounding islands. Still, travelers should note that many of the boat operators may have little to no training and that safety regulations are nonexistent. Keep in mind that bigger boats are generally more safe, and travelers should also check for safety equipment before boarding boats.

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