At 2,232 square miles, Bali is a fairly large island – about half the size of Connecticut. If you plan to travel between popular cities like Ubud, Kata, Legian and Seminyak, you will have to rely on some form of transportation. Whether you decide to zoom into the back of an ojek or opt for a private car rental, be sure to keep the rupee close at hand, as most forms of transportation in Bali only take money.
What we call a “horse and cart”, the dokar was the only means of public transport in Indonesia before the introduction of cars and buses.They are still quite popular in cities, and it is not difficult to spot dokars next to motorized traffic in the heat of the tropical sun.The cart has only two wheels and a wooden and metal frame with a roof to protect passengers from the elements.In addition to the other decorations, the owner attaches bells to the horse’s body which tinkle when he walks; this sound lets motorists and pedestrians know it’s nearby.
Bemos are normally minibuses or vans with a row of low seats on each side and which carry around 12 people in very cramped conditions. They were once the dominant form of public transportation in Bali, but the widespread possession of motorcycles (which is often cheaper than the daily use of bemo) has withered the system. Expect to get to many places by bemo is both long and inconvenient. It is rare to see visitors on bemos in Bali.
The Bemos operate on a standard route for a fixed price (but not written). The minimum is around 5000Rp. If you enter an empty bemo, always make it clear that you do not want to rent it.
3. Terminals & Routes
Most cities have at least one terminal (terminal bis) for all forms of public transport. There are often several terminals in large cities. The terminals can be confusing, but most bemos and buses have signs, and if you are in doubt, people will usually help you.
To travel from one part of Bali to another, you often have to go through one or more terminals. For example, to go from Sanur to Ubud by bemo, you go to the Kereneng terminal in Denpasar, transfer to the Batubulan terminal then take a third bemo to Ubud. It is roundabout and long, which is why so few visitors take bemos in Bali.
Around cities and along roads, you can still get an ojek lift (a motorbike or a motorbike that takes a paying passenger). Formal ojek are less common now than anyone on a motorbike can be an independent ojek (standing by the side of the road, it looks like you need a ride and people will stop and offer). They are OK on quiet country roads, but a risky option in big cities. Ojek are more common in Lombok.
Prices are negotiable, but around 30,000 Rp for 5 km is fairly standard.
In the highly developed regions of Bali, Go-Jek is a popular mobile application that allows you to order motorbike rides on demand (in addition to anything you would like delivered). Note that you must have an Indonesian SIM card, and it can be difficult to be picked up or dropped off in high tourist areas due to territorial rivalries between local drivers.
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