If you are coming here for a week or so, you might be tempted to rent a car and go out driving yourself around to explore Bali. Our advice: DON'T - especially if you are coming from a country where driving on the right is the norm. When you put together pedestrians, bicycles, tour buses, trucks, livestock and assorted immovable objects in the middle of roads that are not well marked with traffic controls are often ignored and little - if any - enforcement of rules that may exist - you have yourself one of the most creative driving environments imaginable.
First, forget about getting lost, that's the least of your
concerns. If you have an accident and there is an injury to
a local person you will not be able to leave until the matter
is cleared up. Better to hire a car with a driver, enjoy the
scenery and arrive at your destination relaxed. It usually
costs only about US$ 15.00 more per day to hire a driver with
your rental vehicle than without - so you be the judge.
If we have not convinced you and for some reason you still want to drive yourself, you will need to have either an International Driving License (see your local automobile club) or a Tourist Driving License. A Tourist Driving License can be obtained Jl. Cokorde Agung Tresna 14, Renon. You will need to bring a copy of your passport and the driving license from your home country. Cost is Rp. 100.000 and the license is valid for 30 days. The office is open Monday - Saturday 8.00am - 3.00pm. Tel. 243939.
For shorter trips, i.e. back and forth between Kuta and Nusa Dua, metered taxis are available. The best is BlueBird Taxi - the BLUE cabs. Clean, reliable, safe and honest with working fare meters. Flag fall is Rp. 5,000.- for the first kilometre with each additional kilometre charged Rp. 4,000.- (fares updated June 2011). To book or call a Bluebird Taxi call the number below (no booking fee).
If you are out on the street and can't get a Bluebird taxi, each area has its own cooperative some with meters and some without meters. For example in Nusa Dua taxi service is provided by Kowinu (brown metallic cabs with meters) that also clean, reliable, and safe but fares are a bit (5-10%) higher whilst in Kuta the taxi cooperative is Bali Taxi (white cabs without meters). As well some cabs have meters that "don't work". If you find yourself in an un-metered taxi and choose to stay, negotiate the fare first before starting the journey (the key words here are: Negotiate and First).
Bluebird Taxi telephone number is: 701-111
As well, the really adventurous visitor may want to explore Bali by motorcycle. Again we do not advise first time and short term visitors renting motorcycles for all the reasons listed above but if you do, be advised that you will need a motorcycle driver's license. You may get a Temporary Permit - valid for 6 months on Bali only - a simple enough procedeure but make sure to take 3 passport size photos, your passport, and a valid driver's license to the Police station in Denpasar - and by law you need to wear a helmet. Check the condition of the machine before you pay.
Bali also has a limited public bus system known as Transarbagita. The system was inaugurated in September 2011 with a route that pretty much follows Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai from Nusa Dua to Batubulan (and return) with 20 predetermined stops (known locally as halts). See banner above for the route. The buses are large, easily identifiable blue colour and air-conditioned with very reasonable fares, i.e. Rp. 3,500 per person per ride no matter the number of stops. To clarify, going from Danau Poso to Sindhu is Rp. 3,500 as is a trip from Nusa Dua to Batubulan.
Another interesting way to discover Bali is by Bemo, the small covered carry vans careening about. No better way to mix with the locals and very, very cheap (ask the driver the fare before you get in, a little negotiating is possible but only on routes that are busy) but there's no air-conditioning and the bemos can get very crowded.
Last but not least are 'dokars' (2 wheeled horse drawn buggies). More a tourist ride in Kuta at night but a still a popular mode of transportation for locals in Denpasar during the day.