Bali,  Travel Tips

How to Effectively Avoid the Bali Airport Taxi Mafia: Insider Tips

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.

bali airport transer: taxi drivers at international arrivals
Bali airport taxi drivers

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:

a table comparing prices for various transportation options to avoid bali airport taxi mafia

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. 

Heading to Bali for the first time?  Check out the Ultimate 14-Day Bali Itinerary for destination ideas an guides! 

If you decide to directly hire a taxi driver at the Bali Ngurah Rai airport you can either:

  1. 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.

  2. 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

bali airport transfer: blue bird taxi
Find a Blue Bird taxi dropping off passengers

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. 

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:

  1. When you open the app, select “Car.”
  2. For your pick up location, make sure you specify domestic or international terminal. 
  3. 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.

bali airport taxi blog: signs to domestic terminal
Follow the signs to reach the Domestic Terminal

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.

  1.  From the International terminal, walk towards the Domestic Terminal
  2. Follow the signs to the Bali Airport hotel, then to the domestic parking lot
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Bali airport taxi: Go Jek driver outside airport
Go-Jek driver outside the airport gate

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. 

Bali airport taxi drivers waiting for guests at the arrival hall of Ngurah Rai International Airport
Private drivers at International Arrivals waiting to pick-up passengers

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. 

kura kura route map. Kura kura is a shuttle bus that is a budget alternative to bali airport taxi
The Kura Kura shuttle bus route map

Found it helpful? PIN it for later!

If you are heading to Bali, Indonesia, be sure to check out this important Bali travel guide on how to avoid the taxi mafia at the Bali airport. There are many budget transportation options you can use during your Bali vacation. Click here for all the Bali travel tips on how to save money at the airport! Southeast Asia Travel | Solo Travel Bali | #bali #indonesia #southeastasia #asia #traveltips #balitravel #baliindonesia
Bali | Bali Travel | Travel Tips | Bali Transportation | Bali Airport Transport | Don't Get Ripped off by the Taxi Maria at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali - Read this guide for budget transportation options! #bali #baliairport #airporttransfer #traveltips #balitravel #baliindonesia

21 Comments

  • gonewild

    Questions, taxi touts inside the barrier as you exited the terminal? Porters inside the barrier as you exited the terminal? Did you use any other taxi company on the streets apart from Bluebird?

    • Mo

      Hi there – yes there are plenty of “taxi touts” and porters as you exit the barrier – although, the porters are mainly at the Departures terminal and I don’t recall seeing any as you exit the Arrivals Hall. The only companies I have used for airport transportation are Bluebird and GrabTaxi. There are hundreds of companies out there though, so if you want to pre-arrange transportation you have a ton of options!

  • Unga

    Hi, I got dropped off at Denpasar International Departures today by Go-Jek taxi-car.

    There is a barrier for entry to the drop off zone, and the machine provides a ticket which has two fees listed on it IDR50 & IDR25. It is very unclear as to what these amounts are for, or what they represent.

    But my driver tried to add these amounts on top of the original Go-Jek meter fare, which was IDR60.

    After some arguing (I suspected the fees on the barrier ticket relate to actual parking rather than drop off) I told him i would only pay IDR100 and he seemed fine with that. Which suggests the barrier ticket fee does not apply as he would not have accepted a loss.

    There is no clear information about this type of thing either online or otherwise, Bali is full of scammers, it can be almost impossible to avoid.

    • Mo

      Hi Unga, thank you so much for sharing your experience – the entrance fee to the airport should only be IDR 5 per car. And this is an additional fee (to GoJek or any taxi fare) that is the responsibility of the passenger. I have never heard of IDR 60 charge at the airport but unfortunately, scamming is an inevitable part of any destination…we can only be informed of these scenarios so that we can better be informed when we travel. Thanks again for sharing this.

  • Ra

    Hi Mo, I need info the other way round: can I order a Grab car with the app to take me from my DenPasar hotel TO the international airport? I tried ordering one on the app just to see if it works, and they DO offer a car to the international terminal. But my hotel says grab cars are not allowed into the airport – but I suspect they just want me to order their own service!

  • karen

    Hey Mo, Thanks for your detailed descriptions! I’m about to go to Bali for the first time and your site has been very helpful. Just wondering if you have any suggestions for me, I’m a single female traveler and my flight will be getting in past 1am, my hotel is booked in Sanur and I am traveling with just a backpack. Would the best transportation option be using Grab, or can I still get a Go-Jek at that hour?

    • Mo

      Hi Karen,

      You shouldn’t have any problem finding taxi drivers still hanging around the airport during that hour, but I am not sure about GoJek or Grab drivers – they are freelance drivers so they come and go, and their availability will vary throughout the day.
      That late at night, I wouldn’t suggest walking out of the airport in search of GoJek drivers – if you cannot find GoJek or Grab drivers at the airport when you arrive, then negotiate with the taxi drivers as they will likely be willing to negotiate at that hour.

      • kwiadny

        In my opinion, arriving late at night is a double-edged sword; you may be in better position to bargain but at the same time the driver may hold the same view.

        I have never been faced with this dillema but I believe the key is to have something pre-arranged. Troll the internet to find some driver that you can connect to and arrange for pick up (if you don’t want to use the airport taxis). You spend much time arranging flight ticket, then you can definitely spend a little time to ensure the 1st mile of your ground transport is taken care.

        I am in the same opinion with Mo with regards to airport taxis. The organization is linked to some high ranking offcials in the government (aka parliament) and the culture trickles down to the staff on the ground. I recommend to not touch them (Bali Taxi) even with a 10-foot pole. It is so unfortunate that the island is under the tight grip of this mafioso that they benefit so much from the traffic chaos that I am sure is intentionally created. We have “Bus Sarbagita” that is a dying service and I belive this is just another victim from this scheme. Jakarta is so moving ahead with its Transjakarta system. Why does Bali sink into the dark ages in mass transport?

        My favorites? Get a pre-arranged transport (1. Family, 2. Car rental+driver, 3. Internet/online drivers recommended by friends, etc). Next is Bluebird taxi in departure hall as I am a devout believer in Bluebird taxis.

  • Troy Trouncelle

    Thanks you so much for the information. We are 3 people and we are scheduled to land in Bali, the 03/07/19.
    Coming from South Africa and especially Cape Town it is difficult to scam us, because we are exposed to it daily, but we never know what is ‘waiting’ for us over there…Hopefully we would be in a position to enjoy our holiday and not worry about scammers…lol.

    • Mo

      Hi Troy! I think scammers are likely to be in every country, unfortunately – it’s an inevitable part of the tourism industry – but sounds like you are somewhat familiar, so I hope you get to enjoy the beautiful Bali and have an amazing vacation!

  • Jackie

    Thanks for the helpful blog Mo! One of the easiest and comprehensive guides about Bali that I’ve read so far. I was concerned though, my flight gets to Bali around 9pm, I might disembark/get luggage by 10pm. Will I still be able to buy a sim card from anywhere or will shops selling SIM cards all be closed? Thanks

    • Mo

      Hi Jackie! Than you so much for your kind words, I am so glad you are finding my posts helpful 🙂
      If you are landing at International Terminal, the SIM cards stand which you will find right outside the sliding glass doors should still be open. But the one at Domestic terminal will likely be closed by 10pm. Any shops outside the airport will be closed at 10pm, as most local SIM card shops close by 7-9pm.

  • Richard Bryans

    Thank you for your sharing nice info. Before I’am vacation to Bali i try to search pre-book Bali airport taxi and i found a very nice guy and helpful. Easy to find driver at arrival gates.

    • Mo

      Hi Richard, Welcome to Bali! I am glad that you were able to find a driver upon arrival. I hope you have/had a great time on the island!

      • Gemma Shiels

        Thankyou for sharing this info, very helpful. I have used Grabcar a few times in kuta and Seminyak and it is indeed a cheaper option. Its good to know about Grabcar and the airport.

      • Mo

        Hi Gemma, glad to hear that you discovered Grab taxi during your stay in Bali! Now have a better option when you come back 🙂

  • Or

    Thank you so much for all the tips! I think some expenses are taken for granted (like transportation from the airport), and that’s where you can save a lot of money. Plus, no one wants to get ripped off just for being a tourist, so your guide is very helpful 🙂

    • Mo

      You are welcome 🙂 Unfortunately, the airport is the first place where you will develop your initial impression of the destination. And the Taxi system at Bali airport is so off-putting. I would hate for the visitors to get the wrong idea about the local people here, as I have found most Balinese people to be warm, welcoming, and honest people.

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