Bali is open again to tourists all around the world. At the moment, you need proof of a complete covid-19 vaccination, and you can enter the country like before the pandemic. Of course, this is subject to change, and you should always check on official websites. For example, there have been some recent changes. You, for example, no longer need to prove that you have valid travel insurance that covers medical costs, including covid-19.
While writing this post, we are in the middle of organizing a trip to Bali in late September. One of the difficulties we are running into is arranging transport on the island. We need hotel transfers, a car, and a driver to bring our group around the island. This post explains how to do this most safely and comfortably possible.
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Previous experience with booking Bali cars
The last time I visited Bali was in late 2015. We were staying at a resort in Nusa Dua. We decided we also needed to get out of the bubble provided by Club Med. We had a friendly taxi driver earlier in the week, and we asked how much it would cost to bring us around the island for a day. For just 50 USD, he would get us to all the highlights, and we had complete control over the itinerary. Well, that was promised to us, but it turned out that we only had limited control.
We were picked up at our Nusa Dua hotel on the morning of the island tour. We left for the main attractions of the islands: temples, rice fields, Ubud, Seminyak, the giant volcanoes, and so much more. We immediately had our first (un)planned stop: a batik workshop where we pushed to buy things we didn’t need. The next stop was a Balinese dance we didn’t ask for. Third stop: an art and craft workshop and souvenir superstore.
We also stopped at the most expensive low quality restaurants and bars you can imagine. Clearly, our driver was getting commissions on all the stops. Our decision to do this unorganized was not playing in our favor. We could see most major highlights but couldn’t enjoy most of the day.
That is why we are doing things differently now.
How to book a driver and a car in advance
Our driver wasn’t getting any negative reviews or a claim for our money back with his dodgy itinerary. He could be as unfriendly as he wanted – which he wasn’t. But we were basically without any serious leverage to get the trip we wanted. That is why we will try things differently in 2022.
This time we will rent a vehicle and driver through GetYourGuide.com. You can easily book either a smaller car or a larger van, explore Bali at your own pace, and see what interests you the most.
The final review will be our leverage over the driver by booking the driver and vehicle through a third-party website. If the driver shows us all the highlights without all the tourist traps, he will get a good review and a very nice tip. If the 2015 experience repeats, there will be no tip, a bad review, and potentially even a claim for our money back. We will use GetYourGuide.com for safety.
What does a private car and driver cost in Bali?
The price of a private car tour in Bali depends on the length of the tour and the type of car you book. The cheapest fully customizable 10-hour tour will cost about 50 USD for a small APV that fits about 5 people. The total costs will go up for larger groups as a bigger bus will be needed. The most expensive version on GetYourGuide is about 150 USD for 5 passengers wanting to travel in luxury.
Is a private vehicle and driver cheap in Bali?
Renting a private vehicle and driver can be considered inexpensive in Bali. Renting a car plus a driver for a full day will cost around 50 USD. If you can split that amount between multiple passengers, costs are relatively low.
How to avoid tourist traps when you have a private driver in Bali?
Talk with the driver about what you want to visit and be very specific about what you don’t want to see. You can even specify this during the booking process. You can promise a cash reward (extra tip) for skipping all the art and crafts, souvenir stores, and Balinese dances. Alternatively, you agree with the driver that he will not stop at anything without prior approval.