Most international visitors will fly to Bali directly.
There are many modes of transport to help you "Jalan Jalan" your way around Bali. A variety of excellent half day, full day and overnight tour packages are available from your hotel desk or any of the numerous travel agents and tour operators which abound in Bali. Or you can find a car and driver who will also act as your guide.
Whilst walking about, you will be barraged with constant questions of "Transport, transport?". Competition is tight and many drivers know several languages. Tell the driver your desired route and negotiate a fee.
An important virtue to have while on the road in Bali is patience! Although the road system in the heavily populated areas is quite reasonable (condition wise) in comparison to other developing countries, it can be heavily congested at peak periods. Ceremonial processions often overtake the whole road so if you're caught behind a procession, enjoy the colorful experience.
In less populated areas, roads may not be sealed and the famous "gang" (very small road just big enough to accommodate one car, but very often two-way) is ever present no matter what area you may be in.
Walking is still one of the best ways to see Bali. You'll be close to the action. Don't forget a sun hat and bottle of water. If you're walking in Kuta be wary of the undulating footpaths and open access holes placed every meter or so in the footpath. Every so often, the access holes are left open or the lid is broken, which can result in a nasty fall especially at night.
The public transport system in Bali can virtually take you anywhere you want to go but slowly. Buses and bemos are often over-crowded and hot and are recommended for short trips only. Wait by the side of the road and one will inevitably pass by for you to flag down to stop. Get out where you want, by loudly saying "STOP!" Metered taxis are readily available at very reasonable prices.
Bicycles are available but bear in mind heavy traffic in Kuta, Legian and Denpasar. Bicycles are ideal in Ubud and the countryside if you're fit. A few companies offer mountain biking excursions.
If you're feeling brave, hire cars and motorbikes are the thing for you. You will need your license from your home country and an international driving license for renting a car and a special permit available at police stations for renting a motorbike. The rental company can help you obtain this, but it can take half a day of your precious holiday time. Types of cars available are usually small jeeps or Kijangs (larger car with room for 6 people).
There are some important points to remember while driving in Bali. It is not unusual for cars and bikes to swerve into your lane without indication. Because there are often obstacles such as parked cars or the ever present procession of bakso trolleys and salesmen of all types of paraphernalia on the sides of the road, a system of "sharing lanes" has developed.
Quite often red traffic lights are considered "only as a suggestion" and there are a few lights where traffic in the left lane may turn or continue straight through whilst the light is red.
Remember to "hoot" your horn when going around curves on mountainous roads as it is very common to drive in the middle of the road here. There are a lot of one way roads in Bali. If you miss your turn off you may have to drive quite a distance before being able to turn back. Be alert!
It is not recommended to drive at night especially road to Gilimanuk where the ferry to Java commences. Truck drivers to and from Java are notorious for overtaking on corners. Obstacles such as pot holes or road construction is often marked only by a leafy tree branch. By the time you think "What's that there for?" you could well be in a pothole!
We highly recommend you fill up at any of the numerous government owned petrol stations. In more remote areas at stalls by the side of the road sell bottles of clear liquid. The quality may not be as good as at the petrol station and could cause damage to the rental car.
One way to beat the traffic is to go by air! Air Bali can provide helicopters and seaplanes for joy rides or charter. Or go by boat. One ingenious individual who wanted to avoid the flooded and traffic jammed By-pass chartered a boat from Benoa Harbor to Nusa Dua. It's all possible in Bali!.
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