How to Ride a Taxi in Bali, Indonesia

Blue Bird Taxi and Other Fast Transportation Options

Blue Bird Taxi in Kuta, Bali

eGuide Travel/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

Taxis in Bali are abundant, with one at almost every corner in South Bali and Ubud. Riding a taxi in Bali is easy—but only in South Bali.

If you're only getting around from your hotel in Nusa Dua, or from Legian to Seminyak to the beaches of Kuta—you only have to stand by the side of the road, lift your arm, and watch a taxi stop to pick you up.

Special rules apply to the airport, where Ngurah Rai Airport Taxi holds a taxi monopoly at the arrivals gate.

In Bali (just as in Jakarta) taxis are divided into two types—Blue Bird taxis, and everyone else. Blue Bird taxis have earned a reputation for being honest dealers in the often-corrupt taxi industry. Non-Blue Bird taxis, on the other hand, are known for dirty tricks—not using their meter and taking roundabout routes, among other things.

Blue Bird taxis are light blue, with a bird logo enclosed in a rounded diamond, and "Bali Taxi" emblazoned on the side.

How to Take a Taxi in Bali
TripSavvy / Wenjia Tang 

Getting a Taxi at the Bali Airport

Taxis at Ngurah Rai International Airport can take you to any and all of Bali’s regions, for a price. Airport taxis are pre-paid at the taxi counter in front, with rates ranging from IDR 100,000 (USD $7.10) for Kuta in South Bali, to IDR 850,000 (USD $60.30) for fares to Tulamben in faraway East Bali. The updated list of airport taxi fares as of November 2019 can be read below.

  • Zone 1 (Tuban, Kedonganan): IDR 100,000
  • Zone 2 (Kuta – Discovery, Bakungsari, Kuta Square; Jimbaran I – Intercontinental): IDR 120,000
  • Zone 3 (Kuta II – north towards Jalan Melasti, Banjar Pelasa; Legian - Jalan Padma until Jayakarta Hotel; Seminyak – Double Six beach, Bintang Supermarket; Dyana Pura – Hotel Royal Seminyak; Jimbaran – Jalan Uluwatu, Four Seasons): IDR 150,000
  • Zone 4 (Kerobokan; Umalas, Banjar Semer, Kuwum; Denpasar – Catur Muka, Renon Tanjung Bungkak, Kereneng): IDR 180,000
  • Zone 5 (Sanur area; Nusa Dua BTDC; BTDC – Tanjung Benoa; Ayana Resort; Oberoi, Petitenget): IDR 200,000
  • Zone 6 (Denpasar - Jalan Nangka Selatan, Ratna, Kesiman; Jimbaran – Ungasan; Amanusa, Mulia; Hotel Hilton): IDR 235,000
  • Zone 7 (Denpasar – Sekar Tunjung, Tohpati, Penatih; Gatsu, Ubung station; Gatsu Timur, Tohpati; Sempidi, Dalung; Batubulan station): IDR 250,000
  • Zone 8 (Sukawati; Canggu, Pererenan; Kapal, Sibang, Darmasaba; Mambal; Blahkiuh, Sangeh; Mengwi, Taman Ayun; Banyan Tree; Pecatu, Uluwatu; Sawangan): IDR 310,000
  • Zone 9 (Tabanan Kota, Tanah Lot, Kediri, Bangli, Klungkung, Gianyar, Blahbatuh, Ubud center): IDR 360,000
  • Zone 10 (Padang Bai; Candidasa; Bedugul; Kintamani; Tegalalang; Taro, Sebatu; Payangan): IDR 450,000
  • Zone 11 (Medewi, Negara, Singaraja Kota, Lovina, Amlapura): IDR 650,000
  • Zone 12 (Gilimanuk; Tulamben, Amed, Alamanda; Celukan Bawang; Pemuteran, Matahari Resort): IDR 850,000

If you want to ride other taxis from the airport, you may need to step out of the airport premises entirely to hail a cab.

Restrictions on online taxis in Bali, Indonesia
Marlon Trottmann/Getty Images

Smartphone Taxi Apps in Bali

Another spoiler to traditional Bali taxi drivers' corrupt ways comes in the form of free smartphone apps that allow you to summon a taxi or hired car to almost any point on the island.

Blue Bird Taxi led the way with its own app. You need to register your name and cellphone number first, but after that's done, you can summon a Blue Bird taxi as you please. Download it here: Blue Bird Taxi on Apple Store | Blue Bird Taxi on Google Play. Southeast Asia’s dominant car-hire app Grab also has a major presence in Bali.

Unfortunately, online taxis have been banned from entire areas in Bali. Some hotels and major tourist destinations prohibit them from entering and picking up fares.

Culture is a major reason. What some dismissively call the "taxi mafia" are actually village (banjar) cooperatives that see Blue Bird Taxis and Grab cars as threats to their centuries-old consensus-driven ways. (This illuminating article from Business Insider is well worth a read.) As a result, whole banjar have banned these upstarts from ever entering. Areas closed off to Grab include the entirety of Ubud.

Do some online research beforehand to find out if your hotel or target destination disallows Grab cars from entering.

Bali Taxi Tips

Riding a taxi in Bali works the same way as everywhere else—you hail a cab, get in, and tell the taxi where you're headed. But here are a few tips you may want to keep in mind:

  • Take the traffic situation into account. Bali's traffic seems to get worse by the week, particularly fares from the airport. Look up possible detours before getting in the taxi.
  • Ask the driver to repeat your destination to you, or otherwise ensure that he knows your destination.
  • Explain your preferred route to the driver, if you have one.
  • Make sure the driver uses the meter; say so at the beginning of the trip. If he doesn't use the meter, he may just be getting ready to gouge you at the end of the trip. If he refuses to use a taxi or makes an excuse, get out and hail another cab.
  • If the taxi driver offers to wait for you at your destination, consider it. Some places do not get a lot of taxi service (such as Pura Luhur Uluwatu), so it might be handy to have a ride ready for you when you're set to leave. Agree beforehand if you want him to keep the meter running while he waits, or if he's willing to settle for an hourly fee. IDR 50,000 (about USD $3.50) is a good upper limit.
  • Keep spare change handy. Drivers often claim not to have any change for the fare, so they can then pocket the excess.
  • You can also consult this handy article for more tips: How to Avoid Taxi Scams.