Once you’ve landed on the ‘island of the gods’ you’re going to need to find your way around. Many of Bali’s best areas are spread out and some travelling will be necessary. You don’t need to worry though, as getting around Bali is easy. If renting and riding a scooter sounds like it’s out of your comfort zone, then hiring a private driver in Bali might be the perfect option for you!
In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about hiring a private driver in Bali. We’ll discuss why you should hire a driver in Bali, where to go with them (itinerary ideas), how much they’ll cost and where to find the most reliable Bali drivers.
Hiring a driver in Bali, Jump to:
What do we mean by a ‘private driver in Bali’?
Well, when it comes to getting around the island by car you have a few choices. You can pull a taxi on the side of the road or you can use an app, such as ‘Grabcar’ or ‘Go-Jek’. These taxis will take you from door to door and charge you for each journey. Alternatively, you can hire your own private driver in Bali who will take you from door to door and everywhere in between!
Private drivers tend to work ‘freelance’ and will take you, and only you (or your group), wherever you want for a pre-negotiated fee. Most of the time, these private Bali drivers will show up in a fairly large and comfortable air-conditioned people carrier.
Why should you hire a driver in Bali?
There are a number of great reasons you should hire a driver in Bali. First of all, the roads in Bali are slightly chaotic and riding a scooter to get around is not for the faint-hearted.
Another great reason is that the local Bali drivers know the island like the back of their hands. They know the best routes, getting you to wherever you need to be quickly, comfortably and safely.
The use of a private driver in Bali is especially good for: full-day sightseeing trips, long journeys with all of your luggage, shopping trips where you intend to pick up a lot of new items and evenings for when you plan to go out drinking.
Of course, you can use individual taxis for all of your transport needs. But, this means paying for each individual journey which can be expensive. On the other hand, a private driver will negotiate a reduced fixed-rate for the entire day or pre-agreed route.
How to find and book a private driver in Bali?
Actually, it couldn’t be any easier! In Bali, there might just be TOO MANY local Bali drivers. At times, it seems like every man and his dog will take you somewhere for the right price…and in popular areas, you can barely walk 10 feet without being asked “taksi boss?”
Of course, jumping in the car of a stranger at the side of the road probably isn’t the wisest idea. Luckily, there are better ways to hire a driver in Bali.
Word of mouth – Know somebody who has visited Bali recently? Maybe some friends or family? Great, ask them if they used a local driver. If they did, and they still have the drivers details, this might be the best way to find a reliable driver in Bali. After all, a friend or family recommendation is probably the most trustworthy.
Through your accommodation – If you’re staying in a guesthouse, hostel or homestay, then the chances are the staff will know a reliable private driver. We don’t recommend this if you’re staying at a hotel though. Hotels notoriously charge a premium so they can make their money too.
Facebook groups – There are some great Facebook groups like the Canggu Community or Ubud Community. Ask for recommendations here and you’ll be plastered with responses from self-promoting Bali drivers willing to chauffeur you about. We advise you to be cautious though. Do check out the profile and make sure they actually do this for a living. Don’t take an offer that seems too good to be true, i.e. 300K for a full-day tour…
We once took the cheapest option offered to us in a Facebook group. We ended up being driven around in this small, uncomfortable, albeit quite cool looking, car that didn’t have air-con or seat belts! See above…
Tripadvisor and Google – Some quick searches will lead you to websites or TripAdvisor posts advertising the services of private drivers in Bali. Always look for reviews of these drivers before booking to make sure they’re legit. Also, never accept their first quote, it will start high and allow for you to negotiate a lower price.
Ask US – That’s right. We have our fair share of contacts and know a number of private
drivers in Bali. Reach out to us on Instagram and we’ll be happy to hook you up!
How much does it cost to hire a driver in Bali?
The cost of hiring a driver in Bali will really depend on the purpose of your trip. If you’re going on a single door-to-door journey, you will be charged a set fee based on the distance.
Typical prices for hiring a driver in Bali (airport to accommodation):
- Seminyak: 200K
- Uluwatu: 200K
- Nusa Dua: 250K
- Canggu: 250K
- Ubud: 300K
- Amed: 600K
- Lovina: 1,000K
On the other hand, if you plan to hire a driver to go out sightseeing (or shopping for example) you’ll generally be quoted for the amount of time you need the driver. These types of trips are usually quoted as either ‘half-day’ or ‘full-day’ bookings.
Typical costs to hire a private driver in Bali for sightseeing:
- Half-Day (less than 5 hours): 400K – 500K
- Full-Day (5 to 10 hours): 700K – 1,000K
These costs are only rough estimates but should give you a good idea of how much to pay. You’ll notice that many private Bali drivers will give you quotes a lot higher than this at first.
Don’t worry, they often expect you to haggle the price down to something more reasonable. At times they won’t budge on pricing. If this is the case, move on to another driver until you find a price you think is fair.
Our best advice would be to avoid any drivers who massively undercut these prices. Have you been offered 400K for a full day trip? Don’t take it. You run the risk of being scammed.
What to expect when you book a private driver in Bali? Who will pick you up?
When it comes to booking private drivers in Bali, you’re never quite sure what you’ll get. Some Bali drivers take the job seriously and act professionally. Others just drive for the extra income.
Some drivers speak great English, other drivers speak none besides the basics. Some drivers will try their best to tell you about each place you visit, others will say nothing other than when and where to meet them.
Remember, you’re booking a driver, NOT a tour guide. So, as long as you get where you need to be, then you’re getting your money’s worth. Anything extra is a bonus.
In all cases, at least for us, we have found our drivers to be friendly, flexible with the itinerary and easy to communicate with.
Should you book private Bali drivers in advance or on the day?
We always recommend booking in advance. This way you can agree on a pick-up time (they’ll often arrive early) and get your day off to a quick start with no waiting around.
If you do need a last-minute ride, or decide last minute to go sightseeing, then finding a driver will still be easy enough. But, you may have to wait around for your driver to arrive if they don’t live locally.
4 Ideas for amazing day trips in Bali
Great, so you’ve decided you’re going to hire a driver in Bali. The next question is, where are you going to ask them to take you?
Bali is probably bigger than you think and takes longer to get around than Google Maps might suggest. Knowing this, you would be wise to focus on exploring one part of Bali at a time.
Check out our 4 top Bali day trip recommendations below, the itineraries focus on exploring North, East, Central and South Bali!
Itinerary 1. Explore Northern Bali
Northern Bali has some of the island’s most amazing natural and man-made attractions. It might surprise you then that this area, due to its inaccessibility, isn’t as commonly visited by Bali’s many tourists!
Here are some of our favourite places to visit on a day trip there…
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Handara Gateway – Visit the iconic, and super Instagrammable Bali Handara gateway. This one is best visited early in the morning when the sun is just rising and low lying fog gives the mountainous backdrop a mystical feel.
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Wanagiri Hidden Hills – Enjoy the view across the beautiful Danau Buyan lake and capture some amazing holiday photos to remember your once in a lifetime trip to Bali. The Wanagiri Hidden hills have a number of amazing photo spots that look out across the lake and include cool structures like hanging Balinese nests and swings.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan – Take a trip to one of Bali’s best and stunning Hindu temples. This temple sits on Lake Beratan and is photographed on Indonesia’s 50K IDR note…
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Leke Leke Waterfall – Hike down to one of the best and most secluded waterfalls in Bali. You might be surprised to find you have this amazing waterfall all to yourself!
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces – Make the journey to Bali’s lesser-known but by no means less beautiful rice terraces. The massive, 600 hectares of rice fields are a listed UNESCO world heritage site for a reason!
These aren’t the only great places to visit in Northern Bali. In fact, the area has SO MANY great waterfalls. If you have more time or want to alter the above itinerary, you can also check out Gitgit, Aling-Aling, Banyumala or Nungnung waterfalls!
Itinerary 2. Explore East Bali
The Eastern side of Bali is one of the islands least visited areas by tourists. This could be because it’s far away (from the tourist hotspots of Southern Bali) and doesn’t have the same tourist infrastructure as other parts of Bali…
Does that mean it’s not worth visiting? Nope. Actually, quite the opposite.
It might not have the fancy hotels or cool beach clubs, but it does have some of Bali’s most beautiful spots! You can make a day trip around East Bali visiting the following places…
Bukit Cinta – Watch the sunrise at Bukit Cinta (Love Hill, in English). There is a lot to love above this viewpoint. Watch on as the early morning sun lights up the beautiful green rice paddies in the foreground and the amazing Mt. Agung volcano in the distance!
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Pura Lempuyang – Head up the mountain to visit what is probably the most photographed spot in Bali. Pura Lempuyang has the famous ‘gateway to heaven’, the beautiful Balinese temple gates with a perfect view of Mt. Agung. You can visit for the view, or to explore the huge and historic temple complex.
Tirta Gangga – Visit the tranquil setting of Tirta Gangga, a former Royal Palace and a throwback to an ‘old Bali’. Hop across the stepping stones and feed the gigantic Koi fish that live in the ponds.
Visit Amed – Venture out to one of Bali’s most eastern villages. Walk along the amazing black sand beach of Jemuluk Bay and go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of this sleepy fishing village.
Itinerary 3. Explore Central Bali
Central Bali is lush green and an artistic hub. It is home to some of Bali’s most famous cultural and natural landmarks. There is so much to do in central Bali that one day trip might not be enough to experience it all.
Our suggested itinerary will show you some of the best places that central Bali has to offer in a single day trip…
Tegenungan or Tibumana waterfall – Visit one of Central Bali’s beautiful waterfalls to start your day. Tegenungan is bigger, but also more crowded. Tibumana is smaller but more secluded and less ‘touristy’…
Tegallalang rice terraces – No trip to Bali would be complete without visiting the world-famous Tegallalang rice terraces. You’ll have seen these rice fields a million times before on Instagram. However, nothing beats seeing them in person!
Tukad Cepung Waterfall – Hike down and explore the cave with the waterfall inside. Visit at the right time and you’ll see some magical sun rays bounce through the roof and illuminate the inside of the cave!
Tirta Empul Temple – Check out one of the most significant temples on the island. You can, like many of the Balinese Hindus do, jump in the famous holy spring waters and carry out your own purification ritual.
Campuhan Ridge Walk – End your day with a peaceful, sunset walk along the beautiful Campunah ridge walk enjoying the surrounding rice paddies and lush green hilltop views as you go.
Of course, Central Bali is home to the artistic town of Ubud too. This town is famous for its market, temples and sacred monkey forest. We’d recommend staying in Ubud itself and exploring the town on a different day. Ubud is the perfect place to stay when visiting and exploring Central Bali.
Itinerary 4. Explore South Bali
The South of Bali, Uluwatu in particular, has a much more laid back vibe and peaceful way of life. It’s also home to Bali’s best beaches and some of the best places to watch the sunset!
Explore the best of Southern Bali with our favourite places to visit on a day trip…
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Melasti Beach – Start your day by chilling out and sunbathing on, what we think is, Bali’s best beach! It’s one of many great, white sand beaches in the South of Bali. However, the softer, less rocky beach and calmer waters allow you to go for a swim in the stunningly blue waters.
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Karang Boma Viewpoint – Stand on top of the tall Karang Boma cliff and look out right across the Indian ocean. This high, sheer cliff face protrudes out into the ocean, offering amazing views of Bali’s coastline and some epic photo opportunities!
Suluban Beach – Climb down the many steps to explore Suluban (Uluwatu) beach. This gem of a beach is unique for its caves, great surfing opportunities and…mischievous resident monkeys.
Uluwatu Temple – Said to be one of Bali’s most spectacular temples and sits right on top of a 70-metre high cliff. Explore the 1000-year-old temple and enjoy more amazing views of the ocean as you go.
Kecak Fire Dance – Stick around at the temple and grab yourself tickets to the famous Balinese fire dance. This pulsating dance happens in the temple, with the sunset and ocean as its backdrop.
Other great things to do in South Bali include visiting the GWK cultural heritage park which is home to the gigantic 122 metres tall Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue. Not fancying the fire dance? We recommend heading over to Sunset point, a laidback clifftop bar to relax, have a beer and watch the sunset.
Top tips and FAQ’s for hiring a driver in Bali
The process of hiring private Bali drivers is easy that’s for sure. But there are a number of things you should know and watch out for.
Below we give you some of our top tips and answer some FAQs for hiring a private driver in Bali.
1. How long is an “all-day tour” with a Bali driver?
Does all day literally mean you have your private driver for the entire day? No. Generally, if you pay for an all-day trip, you will have the driver for anywhere between 5 and 10 hours.
If you decide you’ve seen enough after 6 hours, you’ll still pay the ‘all day’ fee. Alternatively, if you decide you want your driver for more than 10 hours you’ll need to negotiate a fee.
Typically, drivers will charge an extra 50K – 100K per hour afterwards.
2. You need to understand the size and time it takes to navigate Bali
Bali may only be 90KM from it’s most Southern to its most Northern point, but that doesn’t mean it’s a quick drive. Narrow, windy roads, congestion and a number of other factors drastically slow down how fast your driver can go.
Whilst Google may suggest the trip only takes 2-3 hours, you may find it actually takes 5-6 hours. The same applies going from the West to the East of Bali.
So, hoping to spend the morning on a beach in Uluwatu, the afternoon in Amed and the evening in Ubud probably (most definitely) isn’t a realistic itinerary.
3. Communicate clearly where and when you want to go somewhere
If you’re hoping to make it to, let’s say, Bukit Cinta for sunrise, you will need to make sure your driver picks you up early enough. If you’re leaving from Ubud for example, this will require a pickup time of between 3 and 4 am.
Likewise, you might be dying to watch the sunset from a particular spot and the sunset won’t wait around for you…
Make this clear to whoever you’re organising your day trip with so that you’re not disappointed.
4. Make sure you have enough time
Similarly to the above point, if you have a full itinerary, ask your driver how long you can spend at each place. If you spend too long in one location, you may not have time to visit another.
The last thing you want is to miss out on somewhere you REALLY wanted to visit. Usually, the driver will be able to tell you roughly how long you have if you are to still keep to the schedule.
5. Should you book a private driver in Bali through your hotel?
Probably not. Big hotels often charge a premium so that they can bag their own commission.
Smaller, family-run guesthouses or homestays are different though. Generally, one of their family members or friends will be a reliable and private driver. If this is the case, book away.
6. Do privately booked Bali drivers wait around for you?
Yes. If you’ve hired a driver in Bali for the day, they are YOUR private driver. So, if you’re spending a few hours shopping, lying on the beach or exploring a temple, your driver will stick around outside. This is all included in the cost.
7. What about toilet breaks?
This is something to discuss with the driver. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, a toilet break might require a fairly long drive and take time out of your day/trip.
It’s possible to plan ahead and make a scheduled stop off (or two) for this purpose. Most likely, your driver will know if there aren’t any facilities for a while. We recommend asking them where and when the best place to go is…ideally before you need it.
8. Should you tip your private driver in Bali?
You don’t HAVE to. But, it is nice to. We recommend tipping anywhere between 10% – 20% of the trip cost. Usually, this will translate to anywhere between 50K – 100K. If you’re feeling generous and your driver did a great job, tip even more. The small amount of money makes a much bigger difference to them than it does to you. Remember that.
9. Can you leave your belongings in their car?
Yes. However, we’d advise you to not leave any of your valuables. Your driver might seem friendly and trustworthy, they most likely are, but the same can’t be said for all private Bali drivers.
At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take that extra bit of precaution.
10. If I hire a driver in Bali, will they also act as a tour guide?
Some privately booked drivers in Bali will try to share everything they know about each place. We think this is their way of practising their English and telling you, proudly, about their amazing island. But, that’s not their primary job…their job is to drive you around. Other local Bali drivers won’t say a word.
It’s not that common to have an out and out tour guide in Bali. Most locations, temples or waterfalls, will have a separate, freelance tour guide at the location. You will need to pay extra for this of course.
Be wary of any individuals selling you “full-day tours” around Bali. Often, they will just mean you’ll have a driver to take you between each place.
Did you find this post useful?
We’d love to know if we’ve answered all of your questions relating to hiring a private driver in Bali. Have you hired one before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments down below!
If you’d like some contact numbers for local drivers that we know then don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Instagram!