Daniel and I both don’t have any experience driving motorbikes, so when we went to Bali, our preferred (and only) mode of transport was by taxi as there is little to no public transport in Bali. Bali’s tourism economy relies heavily on its taxi industry and rental car/scooter business. Taxis come in both metered and unmetered varieties, so you can imagine when Uber was launched in Bali, it caused rife amongst the taxi industry and a lot of hate towards Uber drivers.
Uber around Bali
So what was our experience like taking Uber in Bali? It changes drastically depending on where you are. Here’s what we found:
- Catching Uber in Kuta/Legian/Seminyak is relatively easy. Uber is generally more accepted in this area.
- Catching Uber in Ubud is extremely difficult for you as the passenger and is also dangerous for the driver. Ubud’s taxi drivers are a lot more aggressive than down in the tourist-heavy Kuta/Legian/Seminyak.
- Catching Uber from Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar is not impossible, but extremely tricky to navigate as you’ll be hounded from all sides once you get to arrivals by taxi drivers. Make sure you follow Uber’s instructions when you try to get an Uber once you get out into the arrivals section.
- On neighbouring islands such as Nusa Penida, there are no (or very few) Uber drivers.
Cost of Uber Versus Taxi
From our experience, Uber is usually about half the cost of getting a taxi. This obviously fluctuates depending on traffic (if you’re taking a metered taxi) or if you’re getting a fixed fare taxi. Uber is cheaper for one way journeys compared to regular taxis in 99% of cases.
For example: Going from Ngurah Rai Airport to our resort in Ubud cost 236 000 rp. Using official airport taxi, the cost would have been more than 300 000 rp.
Uber’s rates (as of Sept 2017)
- Base fare 7000 rp
- Per Minute 650 rp
- Per KM 4400 rp
- Minimum Fare 15 000 rp
- Cancellation Fare 10 000 rp
Official taxi rate from airport (as of Sept 2017)
- Base fare 7000 rp
- Reservation tariff 10 000 rp
- Waiting tariff 45 000 rp p/h
- Per KM 6500 rp
- Minimum fare 45 000 rp
Tips and tricks to take Uber
Here are our tips and tricks we used to successfully catch Ubers around the island:
- Find a quiet street without any local taxis as your pick up point. Pick up points in the middle of a huge tourist attraction with local taxis buzzing in and out will not work, especially in Ubud!
- Turn down the brightness on your phone when you’re on the Uber app so taxi drivers on the street walking up and down can’t see it
- Be prepared for a long wait - there may not be a lot of drivers around, so you may need to wait 5 to 15 minutes.
- Act like the driver is your Balinese friend and hop into the front seat instead of the back seat.
- Bali is still largely a cash economy, so remember to select cash as your payment method. Have close to exact change as well, as Uber drivers might not have change for you.
- You will be using the contact feature in the Uber app. Drivers will usually contact you through the app to confirm pick up locations or request for you to walk a little to avoid a particularly dangerous area.
- Make sure you download WhatsApp - some drivers might use WhatsApp to contact you instead of using the contact feature in the Uber app.