GETTING AROUND BY BUS IN BALI
Getting around by bus in Bali is undoubtedly the least used option by tourists. Being the slowest transport on the island, travellers visiting Bali prefer to move around by car or motorbike to save time. If you go with enough time to tour the Island of the Gods, the bus can be a good option for you. Also, if you are an adventurous person and want to live Balinese life more closely and move around Bali like the locals, the bus is undoubtedly an option for you. In Bali, there are several types of buses: public, tourist, and also long-distance buses.
PUBLIC BUSES IN BALI
If you want to move around the island in public buses, you have to know that they are quite slow, have many stops, and usually go to the top. The good thing about public buses is that they are the cheapest form of transport in Bali. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll probably be more interested in getting around by bus than renting a car or motorbike. Public transport is always a lot cheaper than private transport. In Bali, there are several public bus companies, and among them are Trans Sarbagita, Perama, and Kura Kura.
Trans Sarbagita is a public transport company that connects the city of Denpasar with some Bali regencies such as Badung, Gianyar, and Tabanan. This company started to operate in 2011 and at first had two lines: City of Denpasar – GWK/Garuda Wisnu Kencana and Batubulan – Kuta – Nusa Dua. In 2015, Trans Sarbagita introduced two more lines: Tabanan – Mengwi – Airport and Lebih Beach – Sanur Beach – Mahendradata. This company had planned to cover the whole island with 17 bus lines, but most of them are still not available. The price per journey is between 3,000 and 5,000 IDR, and the buses run from 5:30 to 21:00, although the timetables are not very exact.
Perama Tours also offer bus transportation between the main points of Bali. The schedules for this company are not very frequent, but they have excellent prices. For example, to go from Kuta to Ubud costs 60.000 IDR the way (about €4) or from Ubud to Sanur 50.000 IDR (about €3,3). You can see all the routes of Perama Tours, the schedules, and prices on the 12go.asia website.
The vehicles of this company are quite old but are ideal for moving without spending much money. Perama Tours has offices in Kuta, Ubud, and Padang Bai. We recommend buying tickets at least one day in advance, or even more if you are traveling in high season.
Kura-Kura Bus is another of Bali’s bus companies. Although it does not have as large a fleet as the other companies, it is much more modern. Kura-Kura bus runs much more frequently than the others, and the routes are very economical. The only disadvantage of Kura-Kura is that it covers mostly the south of the island and goes as far as Ubud. Still, you won’t be able to travel with them to the other areas of Bali. Currently, this company has 5 lines and has excellent prices.
Line 1 – DFS Bus Bay (in Kuta) – Nusa Dua – DFS Bus Bay (20,000 IDR/trip)
Line 2 – DFS Bus Bay – Kuta – Legian – DFS Bus Bay (20,000 IDR/trip)
Line 3 – DFS Bus Bay – Jimbaran – DFS Bus Bay (20,000 IDR/trip)
Line 4 – DFS Bus Bay – Legian – Seminyak – Legian – Kuta – DFS Bus Bay (20,000 IDR/trip)
Line 5 – DFS Bus Bay – Sanur – Ubud – Sanur – DFS Bus Bay (80.000 IDR/ trip)
Kura-Kura also offers the possibility of buying 1, 3, or 7-day passes. Kura-Kura Card is a card that offers unlimited travel in all areas for 1, 3, or 7 days. The cards are activated the first time the QR code is scanned when boarding the bus and are valid for 1, 3, or 7 days after that. For example, if you have a 3-day card and you activate it on Monday at 10:00, it will be valid until Thursday at 10:00. These passes can only be used by one person at a time and are very economical:
1 day – 100.00 IDR (about €6.6)
3 days – 150.000 (about €10)
7 days – 250,000 (about €16.6)
If you travel around Bali by bus, you will most likely arrive at the Mengwi terminal sometime. The Mengwi long-distance bus terminal is located about 17 km northwest of Denpasar and 20 km southwest of Ubud, on a detour from the main road in West Bali and is the largest station in Bali. This terminal connects Bali with Java cities like Jakarta (24h), Yogyakarta (16h), Surabaya (12h), and Banyuwangi or with Mataram in Lombok. These routes are quite long and often have prices similar to those of the flights, so we recommend you look first at the costs of the airlines. The ferry crossing to Java or Lombok is included in the services of several bus companies. We recommend that you buy your bus tickets at least one day in advance from a travel agency or at Mengwi station itself. Here are the prices of some of the routes you can take from Mengwi. Please note that each bus company has its own prices, but here is an estimate.
Mengwi – Gilimanuk (West Bali) – 40,000 – 70,000 IDR (€2.5 – 4.5 approx.)
Mengwi – Probolinggo (East Java) – 140.000 – 160.000 IDR (€8,5 – 10,50 approx.)
Mengwi – Banyuwangi (East Java) – 80,000 – 100,000 IDR (€5 – 6.5 approx.)
Mengwi – Surabaya (East Java) – 180,000 – 200,000 IDR (€11 – 12.5 approx.)
Mengwi – Malang (East Java) – 160,000 – 200,000 IDR (€10.5 – 12.5 approx.)
Mengwi – Yogyakarta (Central Java) – 250.000 – 300.000 IDR (€15 – 18,5 approx.)
MINIVANS OR BEMOS
The Bemos are vans or minibusses that make trips between the main points of Bali. Like the public buses, the routes in bemo are usually quite cheap. You can book your bemo for any destination within Bali at one of the thousands of travel agencies in Bali. These agencies are private, usually small family businesses, and are literally everywhere.
The routes in this type of transport are generally direct, so they take less time than public buses that make multiple stops along the way. You should know that these mini buses are usually old, and most of the time, do not have air conditioning. Still, they include other facilities such as pick-up at your accommodation. To give you an idea, the journey between Kuta and Ubud takes approximately one hour and costs around 70.000 IDR (€4,5 approx.) with pick up from your accommodation included.