Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport is immediately
south of Tuban and Kuta. From the official
counters, just outside the terminals, there are
usually hassle-free prepaid airport taxis. The
costs are (depending on drop-off point):
can expect journeys to be rather lengthy and
you'll find that getting to many places is both
time-consuming and inconvenient. It's rather
uncommon to see visitors on bemo in Bali.
On Lombok, bemo are minibuses or pick-
up trucks and are a major means of transport
for visitors.
See p334 for information on pickpocketing
on public bemo.
towns, according to the direction the bus or
bemo is heading. For example, Denpasar, the
hub of Bali's transport system has four main
bus/bemo terminals and three minor ones.
Terminals can be confusing, but most bemo
and buses have signs and, if in doubt, you
will be told where to go by a bemo jockey or
driver anyway.
To go from one part of Bali to another, it is
often necessary to go via one or more of the ter-
minals in Denpasar, or via a terminal in one of
the other larger regional towns. For example, to
get from Sanur to Ubud by public bemo, you go
to the Kereneng terminal in Denpasar, transfer
to the Batubulan terminal, and then take a third
bemo to Ubud. This is circuitous and time-
consuming, so many visitors prefer the tourist
shuttle buses or charter vehicle or taxi.
A famous temple carving shows the Dutch artist
WOJ Nieuwenkamp pedalling through Bali
in 1904. Bali's roads have improved greatly
since then, but surprisingly few people tour
the island on a sepeda (bicycle). Many visitors,
however, are using bikes around the towns
and for day trips in Bali and on Lombok; good
quality rental bikes are available, and several
companies organise full-day cycle trips in the
back country, including the following:
Atlantis Adventure (
can be totally immersed in the environment -
you can hear the wind rustling in the rice
paddies, the sound of a gamelan (traditional
Balinese orchestra) practising, and catch the
scent of the flowers. Even at the height of the
tourist season, cycle tourers on the back roads
experience the friendliness that seems all but
lost on the usual tourist circuit. Once you get
away from the congested south, the roads are
more relaxed and the experience sublime.
Lombok is ideal for touring by bicycle.
In the populated areas, the roads are flat
and the traffic everywhere is less dangerous
than in Bali. East of Mataram are several at-
tractions that would make a good day trip,
or you could go south to Banyumulek via
Gunung Pengsong and return. Some of the
coastal roads have hills and curves like a roller
coaster - try going north from Mataram, via
Senggigi, to Pemenang, and then (if you feel
energetic) return via the steep climb over the
Pusuk Pass.
Bemo operate on a standard route for a set
(but unwritten) fare. Unless you get on at a
regular starting point, and get off at a regular
finishing point, the fares are likely to be fuzzy.
The cost per kilometre is pretty variable, but
is cheaper on longer trips. The minimum
fare is about 4000Rp. The fares listed in this
book reflect what a tourist should reasonably
expect to pay.
Bemo are justly famous for overcharging
tourists, and finding out the harga biasa ('cor-
rect' fare) requires local knowledge and sub-
tlety. The best procedure is to hand over the
correct fare as you get off, as the locals do, no
questions asked. To find out the correct fare,
consult a trusted local before you get on. Note
what other passengers pay when they get off,
bearing in mind that schoolchildren and the
driver's friends pay less. If you speak Bahasa
Indonesia, you can ask your fellow passengers,
but in a dispute they will probably support
the bemo jockey.
The whole business of overcharging tourists
is a bit of a game; bemo drivers and jockeys are
usually good-humoured about it, but some
tourists take it very seriously and have unpleas-
ant arguments over a few thousand rupiah.
Sometimes you will be charged extra (perhaps
double the passenger price) if you have a big
bag, as you will be taking up space where other-
wise a paying passenger could squeeze in.
Make sure you know where you're going,
and accept that the bemo normally won't
leave until it's full and will usually take a
roundabout route to collect and deliver as
many passengers as possible. If you get into
an empty bemo, always make it clear that you
do not want to charter it. (The word 'charter'
is understood by all drivers.)
Kuta Beach
Nusa Dua
If you have a surfboard, you'll be charged at
least 35,000Rp extra, depending on its size.
Ignore any touts that aren't part of the official
scheme. Many hotels will offer to pick you up at
the airport however there's no need to use this
service if costs more than the above rates.
The thrifty can walk across the airport car
park to the right (northeast) from the interna-
tional and domestic terminals and continue a
couple of hundred metres through the vehicle
exit to the airport road (ignoring any touts
along the way), where you can hail a regular
cab for about half the above amounts.
If you are really travelling light, Kuta Beach
is less than a 30 minute-walk north.
Any taxi will take you to the airport at a
metered rate that should be about half what
we have listed.
Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Merpati
Airlines have several flights daily between
Bali and Lombok. The route is competitive
and fares hover around about 280,000Rp,
although new entrants in the market may
offer better deals.
The main form of public transport in Bali and
on Lombok is the bemo. A generic term for
any vehicle used as public transport, it's nor-
mally a minibus or van with a row of low seats
down each side. Bemo usually hold about 12
people in very cramped conditions.
There are plenty of bicycles for rent in the
tourist areas, but many of them are in poor
condition. The best place to rent good qual-
ity mountain bikes in Bali is in the south and
Ubud. On Lombok you can find good bikes
in Senggigi.
Ask at your accomodation about where you
can rent a good bike, often hotels have their
own. Generally prices range from 20,000Rp
to 30,000Rp per day.
0361-284312; www.atlantis Rides start from US$35.
Bali Bintang (
0361-973138; bintangtours@hotmail
Bali Eco & Educational Cycling Tour (
See Road Conditions (p359) for more infor-
mation, and make sure your bike is equipped
for these conditions. Even the smallest village
has some semblance of a bike shop - a flat tyre
should cost about 4000Rp to fix.
The Periplus Bali and Lombok maps are
a good place to start your planning. Pick the
smallest roads for real peace and remember
that no matter how lost you get, locals are
always happy to help with directions.
Public ferries (adult/child 21,000/14,000Rp)
travel nonstop between Padangbai in Bali
and Lembar on Lombok. Motorcycles cost
975557, 081-833 6580)
Popular tours start high up in the central
mountains at places such as Kintamani or
Bedugal. The tour company takes you to the
top and then you ride down relatively quiet
mountain roads soaking up the lush scenery
and tropical scents. The costs with bicycle,
gear and lunch is US$25 to US$40.
Some people are put off cycling by tropical
heat, heavy traffic, frequent showers and high
mountains. But when you're riding on level or
downhill, the breeze really moderates the heat.
Multigear mountain bikes make it possible
to get up the higher mountains in Bali or on
Lombok, but with a bit of negotiating and pa-
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