Bali and motorbikes go hand in hand. But what if you don’t want to ride one? Here’s how to survive travelling in Bali, without a bike.
There were so many reasons that I didn’t want to rent a motorbike when I travelled to Bali.
Firstly I have never so much as sat in the driver’s seat of any vehicle in my life and I wasn’t sure I wanted to start for the first time in a foreign country. Secondly, the traffic in Bali is crazy; particularly in congested towns like Canggu. Motorbike accidents are rife and I didn’t want to be another statistic. To add to all of this, my balance is awful and I’m enough of a liability on a bicycle, let alone a moped. To get the point, there was no way in hell I was renting a bike in Bali.
So what are the alternatives to getting around on the island?
On my first day in Canggu, I took the obvious option and braved the walk from one side of the town to the other. Although in distance, it’s not that far, the roads here were incredibly narrow and very congested. At times I was walking right in the middle of the road, sandwiched in between two bikes, and I wasn’t sure that I was much safer than if I’d been on a bike myself.
However don’t stress, there are much safer and more convenient ways if you want to get around Bali without a bike.
Let me introduce you to Bali’s taxi system instead.
If you’re not counting your pennies then Bali’s local taxi system is the best option for you. Price-wise, hailing a local cab works out a little more expensive than using one of the ride apps (which are technically illegal)- I’ll come onto this in a bit. However hailing or booking a local cab on your phone is hassle-free, plus it’s a great way to meet local drivers with inside knowledge about the island.
We found that many drivers were really chatty and very keen to give you their number so that you could contact them directly for future travel around the island. The only thing that you need to bear in mind when using a local cab is that you should get them to either put on the meter or agree on a price before you leave.
Ride apps are very controversial in Bali and there is a massive dispute between the local cab and Gojek/Grab drivers. These ride apps are technically banned in Bali and there are signs stating this every. Despite this, there are still loads of drivers in operation and these apps remain one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to get around.
If you do decide to use the ride apps, here are a few things to bear in mind.
- .Firstly, if you book a driver and they immediately send you a message quoting a higher price than the one stated on the app, cancel immediately. This is a common scam and there are a lot of drivers that will take you for the agreed price so it’s not worth your time.
- Secondly, a lot of drivers may message you saying that they cannot pick you up in your desired location due to it being near a local taxi station. This is not a scam. Hassle from local drivers is common and if you cannot make it to the specified meeting point, you may want to reconsider booking the grab altogether and switch to alternative means of transport.
- There is a lot of debate around whether local cabs or rideshare apps are safer. On one hand, hassle from local cab drivers means getting a rideshare app can be a little tricky. However, booking online means that you have a record of the driver’s name and registration. As with all things, it’s best to way up the situation in context.
Renting a car
If you can drive then renting a car in Bali is a great idea. There are loads of car rental companies to choose from and renting your car is cheap and easy to do. A car is a really practical way to get to Bali’s main attractions (which are spread out other the island). The only tricky thing is travelling in narrow and congested areas like Canggu.
Renting a bicycle
Renting a bicycle won’t suffice when it comes to travelling in Bali between towns like Seminyak and Ubud. However it a practical way to get around internally in the towns.
Getting around in Bali’s main destinations without a bike
Due to Ubud’s popularity as a tourist destination, local taxi drivers have made it a bit of a nightmare to use the rideshare apps. Ubud town centre is quite compact and very walkable so it’s better to do that or rent a bicycle to get around. If you want to do a day trip or day trips from Ubud, the best thing to do is to hail a local driver and arrange a set price with them for the day. We were lucky doing this and found a great driver who took us on a lot of trips throughout our stay.
Canguu was probably the easiest place to use the ride apps like Gojek or Grab. There is a bit of conflict from local drivers however generally there were loads of online cab drivers around and getting them was very easy and inexpensive. Canggu is small and walkable in parts, however walking is best avoided at busy times like around sunset or in the dark.
Local taxis and ride apps are all good ways to get around in Seminyak. It’s larger with more resorts that include on-site parking. This means that renting a car is a good option here too.
There were virtually no ride drivers around in Uluwatu and at times even finding a local taxi was a struggle. Out of all of the destination, Uluwatuu was the place that we probably struggled without a motorbike the most. My advice would be to rent a bicycle or a car to get around. Depending on where you stay though, you may be able to manage by just walking.
Do you have any questions about transport in Bali? Or any advice that you would like to add to this post in regards to Bali without a bike. Feel free to get in touch with me or add a comment below.