Taking a taxi in Bali can be a daunting experience for newcomers to the island, what with the similar look and color of these rental vehicles, the difference in currency and the constant barrage of honks from drivers (personally, if I need a taxi I will seek one out proactively, negating the need for a shrill honk thank you very much).
Thankfully though, catching a cab can be quite a simple task if you follow our expert tips listed below to help you navigate the local taxi scene here in Bali.
Many taxi drivers will try to get away with not turning their taxi meter on (likely by claiming it’s broken) so that you are forced to negotiate a price in a new place where A) the currency is foreign to you and B) you’re probably not familiar with what an appropriate cost should be. As you can imagine, this can escalate quickly into an unpleasant situation.
Reliable taxis in Bali
In spite of the widespread taxi frauds, the Bluebird Taxi Group has earned a reputation for being the most reliable and honest taxi company in Bali over the past few years. As a whole, they represent a fleet of cars in good condition and drivers who do not try to hustle you for the highest possible price. Due to their stellar reputation, many other taxi businesses have attempted to replicate Bluebird taxi’s branding in an attempt to confuse tourists and leverage on the reputability of Bluebird taxis (but not providing the same level of services!).
A few weeks ago, I hailed down a Bluebird taxi to drive me home, or at least what I thought was a Bluebird taxi. It was blue and it had a bird logo on the front and side, exactly like a Bluebird cab. However, the driver refused to use the meter despite my insistence, and that’s when I realised that the taxi was in fact not a Bluebird, but instead one from another company that looked almost identical. In order to save yourself from such an encounter, here is what you can do to ensure yourself a no-fuss taxi experience in Bali from the get-go:
1. Call the taxi number of the Bluebird Group ahead of time: +62 (0) 361 701 111
If you want to be absolutely sure that you’re getting in a Bluebird taxi, call their 24/7 phone line to have a car and driver sent to your location. This is what I ended up doing when I mistook the other taxi for a Bluebird, which I should have just done from the start; a Bluebird taxi promptly arrived less than 5 minutes after I called for one. If you stay in a villa, you can ask the villa manager to help you call the cab. Check out our villas in Bali here.
Their hotline allows you to call in advance to reserve a time (for an early airport departure perhaps) or call at the moment you need a ride. This way, a taxi will be dispatched directly to you (almost always within 5-10 minutes) and there will be no doubt about the legitimacy of the taxi driver.
2. Some of the things to look out for:
o A light blue car with dark blue writing
o Their bird logo in a diamond shape on the side and top of the car
o The words ‘Bali Taxi’ displayed on the side
o ‘Blue Bird Group’ on the windshield in big letters
o Two letters such as ‘VV’ or ‘RB’ followed by the taxi ID number (remember this number in case you need to locate the taxi again, say, for any forgotten belongings)
3. Make sure that the taxi meter is on and set to IDR 6.000
In a Bluebird taxi, the meter should always be on and set to six-thousand rupiah (as a base price) so that you don’t have to negotiate a taxi fare with the driver when you arrive at your destination. If the driver tells you that the meter is broken or the distance is too short to use a meter, do not take the taxi and report the errant driver afterwards to the company’s customer care hotline: +62 (0) 361 701 621.
4. Have small change with you if possible
It is common for drivers in Bali to act like they don’t have any small change to give you when you pay your taxi fare with big notes. To avoid this, have a few small bills on hand or insist upon your change being returned to you (10,000 and 20,000 rupiah notes are useful). If you are in a populated area, you can ask a shopkeeper nearby to break your big notes into smaller change for you.
If you follow these few basic taxi tips and safety pointers, getting around the island will be easier than hopping on a plane to Bali!
Want to stay in the center? Here are our selected villas in Seminyak!
Want to go around Bali on a scooter instead? Check out our complete guide to renting a scooter in Bali.