I was compelled to write this post and share the insider’s guide to Bali Airport Taxi business because after living on the island for many years, I heard so many travelers complain about the terrible experiences they had upon setting their foot on this paradise island.
Being ripped off or “hustled” is no way to start your vacation, and certainly doesn’t leave a good impression on anyone hoping to experience the beauty of the island.
If you are new to Bali, you may not know that Bali airport taxi company operates as a monopoly, and does not allow other taxi companies such as Blue Bird Taxi Group to pick up passengers at the Ngurah Rai International airport (also known as Denpasar airport with airport code DPS).
And as an official Bali airport taxi, the taxi fares are inflated nearly 3 to 4 times the normal street fare.
So what should you do about Denpasar Airport taxi services? What are your options for the best Bali airport transfers?
Worry not my friends. I will walk you through some of the best ways to navigate out of Bali International airport with affordable airport taxi options.
But before we dive in, there are some things you should know about the Ngurah Rai airport taxi service.
About Bali Airport Taxi
The official company name of the Bali airport taxi is Koperasi Taksi Ngurah Rai.
There is nothing wrong with the Bali airport taxi operators per se. Transportation is just as safe and reliable as any other official taxi company.
The abundance of Bali airport taxi drivers around the International/Domestic Arrivals certainly makes it convenient if you are looking for the quickest way out of the airport.
The only downside to Bali airport taxi is that they ridiculously inflate their fares.
But, if you are looking for the most convenient option and willing to pay extra for it, then by all means, take the official Bali airport taxi.
You are basically paying the additional cost for the ease and convenience.
To give you an idea about how much you can expect to pay for transportation in Bali airport, the table below displays a price comparison for airport transfer service options:
Note that the Bali airport taxis offer a flat rate, not a metered fare.
I will share with you some of the alternative options to Bali airport taxi company included in the sections that follow, but in general, you can expect to pay more at the airport than if you were outside the airport.
For example, the fare from Denpasar airport to Sanur is about IDR 100,000 using Grab, which is the cheapest transport option. But if you were in Sanur trying to find a Grab taxi driver to the Bali DPS airport, your average fare is around IDR 60,000.
If you decide to directly hire a taxi driver at the Bali Ngurah Rai airport you can either:
- go up to the taxi counter and order a driver.
To find the taxi counter at the international terminal, exit out of the arrival building through the Duty-Free shops, turn right, and you will see the ticket stand. You will receive a paper ticket confirming your taxi fare. The payment will be due in cash directly to the driver at your destination.
Tip: you can try to negotiate with the ticket counter staff, although they usually don’t budge much.
- hire a driver directly on your own. The Bali airport is swarming with taxi drivers and they will approach you from left and right. If you are up for haggling, negotiate a firm price with the driver BEFORE getting in the car.
Also, don’t get confused by the blue shirt worn by most drivers. Just because the driver is wearing a blue shirt does not mean he represents Blue Bird Taxi.
Now let’s get on to the Bali airport taxi alternatives!
Alternative Option #1: Blue Bird Taxi Bali
You may be confused.
Yes, you read correctly when I said that Blue Bird taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers at Ngurah Rai Airport.
BUT, they are allowed to drop off passengers. Aha!
So there’s the trick.
You need to leave the Arrivals area and head to the Departures area.
At International Arrivals: you will arrive on level 1 (ground floor). When you exit, take an escalator or elevator to level 3 for departures level. Walk towards the parking building and you will find a curb where cars are dropping off departing guests.
At Domestic Arrivals: when you exit the sliding doors, keep walking to the left of the building. Follow signs to the departures area. It’s a short 3-5 minute walk.
Once you are at departures area, you will find Blue Bird taxis coming through the ramp dropping off passengers.
Quickly hop into a taxi, making sure the driver turns on the meter, then off you go!
Taking a metered taxi should still save you about 50% compared to the Bali airport taxi fares.
Warning: you will see many variations of the “Blue” Bird Taxi in different shades of blue. I have even seen a taxi nearly identical to Blue Bird that says “Blue Biro Taxi” – if you were not paying close attention, you would think its a Blue Bird!
Always stick to Bali Blue Bird Taxi – do not get into any other taxis.
There are other transportation options in Bali but having a Bluebird app may come in handy during your stay in Bali – I recommend it! It is by far the best Bali taxi app because you can hire a transport even when there are no Grab or Go-Jek drivers around.
You can also call BlueBird taxi ahead to schedule a pick-up service (for a minimum charge of IDR 30,000).
The BlueBird taxi number is (0361) 701111 or (0361) 8498008. You can call 24 hours/day.
Heading to Bali? Check out these helpful travel tips!
Alternative Option #2: Grab Taxi Bali
Grab Cars are drivers who can be hired using an app – it is essentially an equivalent to Uber. The Grab drivers are even cheaper than Blue Bird taxi, helping you save up to 70% of the published Bali airport taxi fares.
I think Grab is the second best taxi app in Bali. I use it all the time, as I find it to be the cheapest method of transport.
Even though Grab Car drivers used to be banned from picking up passengers at the airport, quite a few drivers now hang around near the parking lot in both domestic and international terminals.
Before you walk out of the International arrival terminal, make sure you either 1) buy a local SIM card with an internet plan (costs only a few bucks), or 2) have an international internet plan on your phone already.
SIM cards are conveniently sold as soon as you exit the sliding glass doors out of the arrivals building. Once your SIM is activated, download the Grab app if you didn’t do that before arrival.
Once you have the Grab app on your phone, your driver is just a few touchscreens away:
- When you open the app, select “Car.”
- For your pick up location, make sure you specify domestic or international terminal.
- You should see “Grab Pick Up Zone” as a pickup location in both domestic and international
At International terminal: walk over to the parking garage, and your driver will meet you at area C80.
At Domestic terminal: walk about 5 minutes, pass the Starbucks on your left and Circle K on your right. You will see a restaurant Solaria on the left and a parking lot in front of you. Your driver should be waiting for you somewhere around the parking lot.
For a detailed explanation on how to get around the island using the best taxi app in Bali, check out Beginner’s Guide to Bali Transportation.
Alternative Option #3: Go-Jek
Go-Jek is another Uber-like app; only you can hire a motorbike driver who will transfer you on the back of his bike. While a Go-Jek ride is the cheapest option, you can use it only if you are traveling with a backpack and can easily and safely hop on the back of a motorbike.
Go-Jek also has a distance limitation so make sure you correctly enter your Bali hotel in the app to calculate the distance and price.
With a Go-Jek you can get from Bali airport to Kuta for about IDR 8,000 or USD .50 (you read correctly – less than a dollar!) If you hire a Bali airport taxi, however, you will pay nearly a digit more around IDR 80,000 or USD 5.
To find a Go-Jek driver, you must exit the airport.
- From the International terminal, walk towards the Domestic Terminal
- Follow the signs to the Bali Airport hotel, then to the domestic parking lot
- Once you reach the end of the walkway, you will see Solaris restaurant to the left and Alfamart convenience store ahead of you, slightly to the right.
- Head towards the parking lot, passing the Alfamart on your right and keeping the parking lot to your left. Once you pass Alfamart, stay on the sidewalk with the parking lot on your left side.
Within 5 minutes, you will see the gates where you can exit. Right outside the gate, you can usually find a handful of motorbike drivers waiting to pick-up passengers.
You can walk up to the driver, inform him of your destination, and enter the info into the app. The driver than can accept your request and the transaction is complete. You can hop on and be on your merry way!
Note: please make sure you wear a helmet! This is a law, and you can get stopped and fined by the police for not wearing one (not to mention it’s for your safety as well).
Alternative Option #4: Private Airport Transfer
While not the most economical option, pre-arranging a pickup service via your hotel or online booking is another convenient option.
This method saves you the hassle of seeking out your transportation, as the private driver will be waiting for you at the Bali Airport Arrivals Hall holding up a sign with your name on it!
Depending on the time of the day, there will be a sea of private drivers holding up the names of their pick-up passengers when you exit the arrivals building. It will be a bit overwhelming – but once you find your driver, go through the Duty-Free passage and meet him on the other side of the arrival wall.
Alternative Option #5: Kura Kura Bus
Kura Kura bus is Bali’s best version of pubic transportation. You can travel to most of the popular destinations in south Bali such as Nusa Dua, Kuta, Jimbaran, and Legian with only IDR 20,000.
For Sanur and Ubud route, the one-way fare per person is IDR 80,000, which is still the cheapest transportation option.
The only caveat to Kura Kura is that the closest bus station is “Aston Kuta Hotel” (the first stop on the green line) which is about 15-20 minute walk from the Ngurah Rai airport.
Due to the walking distance, the Kura Kura option may not be optimal for travelers with multiple or heavy pieces of luggage.
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