When it comes to getting around in Bali, there are plenty of options – seeing the sights on foot, by cab, hiring a driver or using the mode of transport favoured by the Balinese – scooters.
Scooters are a great way to get around – they’re cheap to refuel, avoid traffic and are loads of fun. However, there are dangers involved in negotiating a scooter around Bali (especially within major towns where there’s a greater density of traffic and pedestrians). Drivers don’t stick to lanes, people cross the street as they like and bikes weave without indicating.
One thing to address before you even pack your bags is travel insurance – an absolute must no matter where you’re going. Will insurance cover me on my scooter? After my own bit research, I found it will almost always be an extra, so even if you’re just toying with the idea of getting on one be sure to add it to your policy. Your cost goes up, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re a risk taker (or confident rider) I’d suggest the following:
- Wear a helmet;
- Wear enclosed shoes (this is common sense, but we grew a little lax on the island. I’m lucky I didn’t lose my toe);
- Never, ever ride under the influence of alcohol (or while recovering from damage done the night before….trust me on that one);
- Stick to tarmac roads where possible (these bikes aren’t really made for off-road – the locals are seasoned riders so handle the terrain very well!);
- Take some time to get used to the bike prior to taking it out in traffic;
- If you’re riding with friends, stick together in case one of you gets into strife.
All of that covered, you’ve got nothing to worry about but enjoying the sights and hoping you remembered to pack your Go Pro 😉
TAXIS VS PRIVATE DRIVERS
The taxis in Bali are quite fairly priced, and it works out to be very reasonable when travelling in a group and splitting the cost! We caught a cab from the heart of Seminyak out to Uluwatu (over half an hours drive) and it cost us the equivalent of just under $20AUD. In comparison to that, we booked a private driver for our last day to go out to Ubud and it cost us around $35 for 5 hours – stand out value! Considering doing it this way, you have the comfort of a more luxury sedan, and the added bonus of a driver that drops you where you like and will wait around to take you to the next stop it is worth it when you plan to be out for the day.
We didn’t see a lot in the way of public transport. The infrastructure in Bali isn’t really equipped to support a lot of it, however it is available (see my link below).
A lot of villas/hotels will arrange a pick up and drop off for you to and from the airport, and some restaurants can even do the same, getting you right from your front door. When we caught the boat over to Nusa Lembongan the boat company had a driver collect us from our villa, take us to purchase our boat tickets from their office, then drove us to the beach the boat was docked at. When we arrived back in Seminyak, there was a driver waiting for us to take us back to the villa again – simple, stress free and you ride in total comfort!
For more information on public transport (including buses/trams etc) check out Lonely Planet here.
There’s so much to see and take in, and on foot you can go at your own pace. The footpaths in the centre of towns aren’t always wide enough to cope with the amount of foot traffic there can be, so always be aware of traffic passing by on the road as you navigate your way. Before long you’ll also get used to the countless taxi’s beeping behind you while you mind your own business, hoping for a fare. It’s nice to know that if you did get tired on your feet, there are plenty of cabs passing that can pick you up! I tend to prefer foot work over anything else when I travel (unless transport is absolutely necessary). I like being able to stop and go as I like, pause to take photos, see/talk to more people and get my bearings, while being so active all day means I get a great sleep in that night.