Whether you’ve seen one of its superb beaches on Instagram or learned about its wellness and spiritual healing qualities from Eat Pray Love, Bali is undoubtedly a dream destination for the bucket list. Whether it’s your first or third time there, there’s always something new to discover, and so much to relive. What first-timers may not know, though, is that Bali is a vast place.
From the beach clubs and vibrant nightlife of Seminyak and Ubud’s rugged landscapes to Jimbaran’s high-end resorts, navigating all of Bali’s beautiful locations can be a challenge. The question is, how do you get to see as much of Bali as possible? While taxis are on the expensive side of the spectrum and public transportation is almost non-existent, there are some much more convenient options available – ride-sharing apps like Gojek and Grab.
Here’s a quick guide on how to travel around Bali via Gojek and Grab and everything there is to know about these ride-sharing alternatives if you want to try the apps.
Does Gojek & Grab work in Bali?
There’s been a lot of buzz and controversy in the news about the different means of transportation in Bali and more recent ride-sharing alternatives that came as disruptions. The first adopters were tourists, already using ride-sharing apps like Uber in their countries. Since there are millions of people visiting Bali every year, many of them staying for several weeks or months, and taxis are much more expensive than the ride-sharing options, the demand for apps like Uber, Grab, and Indonesia-based Gojek has only grown.
The introduction of taxi apps in Bali in 2015 has also attracted a lot of tension from taxi drivers who felt threatened and started reacting violently toward ride-sharing drivers. If we look at the Balinese culture, how each village is divided into multiple sub-villages (Banjar), and how the residents of every Banjar set their own rules for almost every aspect of the daily life, their frustration is somewhat understandable.
Some locals are still against the idea of ride-sharing alternatives, their drivers, and app users. They might even say the apps are illegal, but in reality, and according to new regulations, ride-sharing is legal, just that drivers need to register their vehicles.
Today, you can still see a lot of signs that say these forms of transport are banned, and while Uber is no longer available since it was acquired by Grab in 2018, Gojek and Grab still work, but not everywhere in Bali. Airports (upon arrival), some villages, and certain tourist attractions, for example, are off-limits.
How can I get Gojek & Grab?
If you’ve decided to give ride-sharing in Bali a try, the first thing you need to do is download the Gojek and Grab apps on your smartphone. They’re both available in Play Store and App Store. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you need to introduce your mobile phone number to register, and a credit/debit card to make online payments.
Grab is easy to use and super cheap; all the more reason for locals to dislike it. However, the app is perfectly legal, and they have official drop-off zones. Grab offers car services, and most drivers speak English and are very friendly and polite. A trip by car might take longer than traveling by scooter or moped, due to the heavy Balinese traffic, so you can also rent a Grab moped. Another perk Grab offers is that you can rent one of their drivers by the hour.
Gojek is more popular for their scooters, so it’s a great alternative if you’re traveling solo or you’re in a hurry. Riders will be equipped with an extra helmet and an optional hair mask for clients. Another big plus for Gojek is that it also does food delivery. There may be times when you won’t be able to find drivers in your area on one of the apps, so the best thing to do is download both and then decide which one you like better.
How much does a ride from Gojek & Grab cost in Bali?
Getting to the airport should be quite easy, and if you opt for a ride-sharing option, not too expensive either. A trip to the airport with a Grab car, for example, will cost around 10 USD on average, depending on the region you’re coming from, while taking a taxi can cost you double. If going by taxi to the airport, it’s essential to agree on a price with the driver before the trip.
You shouldn’t pay more than 6 USD from Kuta, Seminyak, or Canggu. The differences between Grab or Gojek and local taxis are even more significant on longer trips. To get to the airport from Ubud, for instance, you can pay a Grab car driver 15 USD, while a taxi driver will charge you 35 USD.
As for most short trips between different regions in Bali, like from Seminyak to Canggu, for example, the cost should be just under 1 USD, while longer trips will cost around 2 USD.
Taxi drivers, on the other hand, will charge you around 3 USD for a short trip and 7-8 USD for a trip of over 30 minutes. A trip from Penestanan to the center of Ubud should cost 2 USD by motorbike or 3-4 USD by car, while taxis will start negotiating with you at a much higher price, and often suggest you pay per person instead of by car.
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Things you should know before using Gojek & Grab in Bali
While the difference in price is considerable and taking a Grab or Gojek will save you the time and stress of negotiating prices with taxi drivers, it’s critical to remain cautious. The aversion taxi drivers have for Gojek and Grab drivers and their users is a reality, and their frustration is only growing as these ride-sharing apps become more and more popular and on-demand.
No matter your choice, there are several tips you should be aware of. If you decide to take a taxi, always choose one with a meter. You’ll be surprised how much un-metered taxis can charge tourists – twice or even three times more than the normal taxi, which is already more expensive compared to Grab or Gojek.
If you opt for the cheaper and easier-to-use Grab alternative, although perfectly legal, try to be discrete when using it. Don’t wait in areas with lots of taxis and try not to be too obvious.
Don’t order a Grab in front of a hotel that doesn’t allow it. Walk a few blocks until you pass the “No Grab” sign, and then order it. Make sure you have data as you’ll need it to use any of the two apps. It’s better to download the apps when you have a secure Wi-Fi connection.
Blue Bird Taxi
Blue Bird is the most trusted and, by far, the most reliable taxi operator in Indonesia. Some consider them expensive, but they have great reviews and a fair pricing system. The minimum ride fare is 2 USD. Make sure you watch out for impostors, as many try to copy Blue Bird, but they’re not the real deal.
Rent a motorbike
Driving a moped or motorbike is a faster and very cheap alternative, around 6-8 USD per day, including fuel. Make sure you always wear a helmet and be cautious in the Balinese hectic traffic. If you’re going to rent a motorbike, get an international driving license to avoid getting fined if stopped by local police.
Hire a private car driver
If you’re looking for comfort or are traveling with the whole family, consider hiring a private car with a driver. The cost will be around 33 USD/day, and the car will likely be a minivan that can fit up to 5 people. It’s great for days with lots of travel, as you don’t need to worry about finding transportation.
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Choosing the right option for you
Despite the controversies around the topic, Gojek and Grab are often the go-to apps for many visitors traveling across Bali. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the best option for you, and you may choose as necessary, depending on your own needs.
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