main forms of public transport on Bali are the cheap buses, minibuses
and bemos that run on somewhat set routes within or between towns.
Having your own transport can be arranged; there are bemos, cars,
motorbikes, and bicycles for rent. Tourist shuttle buses that run
between major tourist centers are more expensive than public transport
but are definitely more comfortable and convenient.
This is a generic term for any vehicle that is used as
a public transport, which is normally a minibus or van with a row
of low seats on each side. It is a great way to meet the locals,
even though it is hot, dusty and full of diesel exhaust. The exciting
part is that you do not have to get to a bemo stop to board a bemo,
just extend your arm and flag one down! The fares may be cheap but
beware of pickpockets.
It is easy to charter a bemo or minivan in Bali, and it
is an excellent way to travel anywhere with a group or family. The
benefits of chartering a bemo are: there is no worry about having
a license or insurance, the driver can be a real asset especially
in Denpasar or larger towns where they speak English, and you do
not have to worry about the horrific traffic. The chartered bemos
with yellow plates are the only ones allowed to carry passengers
anywhere around Bali. This type of bemo usually has conventional
seats rather than benches and is often air-conditioned. They are
more expensive than common bemos but are more convenient and comfortable.
You would only have to listen for the frequent offers of 'transport'
in the streets around the tourist centers or ask hotel staff; everyone
knows someone who runs a bemo service.
Renting a car is simple in Bali but do consider the drawbacks.
Firstly, you are removed from the people and the countryside, and
you wouldn't want to stop too long in one place, no matter how appealing
the place is as you are paying Rp. 70,000 or more on a daily basis.
Secondly, driving in Bali is potentially hazardous and the consequences
of an accident can be quite serious. Lastly, its effects on the
environment are obvious and severe. Of course, you must be in possession
of a valid Indonesian or international driver's license. Petrol
is not included in the price and it is advisable to buy extra insurance.
Test drive the car before paying in advance.
Motorcycles are popular means to get around Bali, but several
tourists are killed in motorbike accidents each year, and many spend
time in hospitals. There is no denying the dangers of riding a motorcycle
in Bali and the island is no place for beginners to learn motorcycle
riding. If you decide to rent one, drive slowly and very defensively.
This is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around the island,
helmets are required by law, and the ones provided by rental agencies
are not much help when it comes to protection. Bring your own helmet
from home if you know that you'll be using a motorcycle in Bali.
The major advantage of traveling on a motorbike is the enormous
flexibility. It is easy to stop wherever you want and recommence
your journey whenever you choose. You do not really require motorbikes
that are more than 200 cc as the distances are short and the roads
are rarely suitable for traveling fast.
The cost of hiring a motorcycle is negotiable in Bali and varies
according to the condition of the machine, length of rental, and
time of year. Buying insurance is a good idea to avoid being responsible
for damages, but be sure to test drive the vehicle to see that everything
is in good working order. A valid International Driving Permit should
be in possession or else spend a morning at the Denpasar Police
Office to obtain a temporary permit, which lasts for three months,
but the process can be a huge hassle. It would be wise to get an
International Driving Permit in your own country.
Seeing Bali by pushbikes has become increasingly popular
in recent years and the quality of rental bikes have improved. More
visitors have been bringing their bicycles with them and there has
been an increase in rental outlets. Some airlines will even carry
your bike in for free. The most common ones offered are mountain
bikes as their low gear ratios and softer tyres are better suited
to Bali. Do make sure that the wheels are aligned properly, the
brakes are working well, and that the bicycle has a light.
The most pleasant way to see Bali is by foot as it is a
small island. It would be possible to traverse the entire island
by foot and many people do day hikes in and around Danau Batur,
Danau Bratan, West Bali National Park, and around Ubud.