If you’re looking for the best and cheapest way to travel in style during your stay on Bali, look no further than your phone and the app Grab. I’ve been a huge fan since I first moved to Malaysia earlier this year. I use their service Grab Car instead of taxis almost daily in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve used their drivers the couple of times I’ve travelled to Singapore, and I used Grab Car instead of taxis or Uber exclusively during my recent month in Bali. From the airport to Jimbaran, in and around Seminyak, from the Sheraton in Kuta to Ubud, and from The Mulia near Uluwatu to the ferry port in Padangbai, Grab was the BEST! And, they offer the cheapest rides to and and from Denpasar’s International airport and their drivers are kind and keep well-maintained vehicles.
Unless you live in one of the six Asian countries where Grab operates you probably haven’t heard of them. They are basically the Uber of Asia but with fixed rates instead of variable rates when you use Grab Car, which I absolutely love. Especially in south Bali where the traffic can be so insane that it takes 40 minutes to travel just a few kilometres.
Now, with that said, depending on the driver it may not be all sunshine and rainbows either if you don’t speak Bahasa when you have a complicated pick-up situation but there are ways around it. Asking hotel or bar or restaurant staff to explain where you are is the best way around it. Or sharing a screen capture of your location with a quickly marked X does the same trick sent via SMS.
The app is easy to install and simple to use, and one of the things I like best is that you don’t have to set it up with a credit card. From the moment you install it you can pay with cash OR an associated credit card.
Cheapest Airport Transfer/Pickup/Drop in Bali
I forgot to take a screen capture during my airport pickup so I don’t remember how much that cost to be honest but my return drop from the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort cost only IDR 39,000 / USD $3 / EUR 2.70 (insanely less than a taxi or hired car), check out the screen grab above!
After spending a combined 3 months on Bali, I hope you’ll trust me when I say that Grab Car is the cheapest transfer service to and from the airport that you’ll find on Bali. Taxis add on crazy surcharges, hotels that don’t offer free pick-ups often charge upwards of IDR 200,000 / USD $15.50 / EUR $14, and private car and drivers — while they are absolutely comfortable and you can be guaranteed they speak English — are the most expensive option of them all.
Given that Grab is experiencing the same thing that Uber does in every new country it enters, it’s good to have a precautionary mindset to keep yourself and your driver safe. Sadly there are still taxi drivers protesting Grab and Uber on Bali who will block a suspected ‘app’ vehicle so it can’t leave … which is a pain in the ass for you to have to transfer around to a new car but it can be dangerous for the driver if the crazy taxi guys heat up. I used Grab for a whole month and never had any issues with pesky taxi drivers but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Tips for the Best Bali Airport Pickup
- Pick up a local SIM card (click the link to the left to check out my how-to video to see where to go once you’ve collected your bags). It’s very expensive to call foreign numbers from Bali so often times the drivers won’t pick up your ride if they see only a foreign number because they’ll normally call to say hello and confirm your location, etc.
- Once the SIM is in, order Grab Car from the app. I would do this while still in the area near Telkomsel and the money exchange kiosks before you head into that Duty Free shop at the exit. Some of the taxi drivers come into the duty free shop and mill about looking for people who haven’t pre-arranged a ride and you don’t want anyone else knowing that you’re ordering from an app.
- COPY/PASTE the information below to the NOTES TO DRIVER area after you type in your destination. Customise<#> with your new local SIM number. What you’ve copy/pasted says: My local number is # and I only speak English. Please collect me at the international departures exit, street level just in front of the parking garage (pick up in front of Bangi Kopitiam).
- Once your driver has confirmed and you see that he/she is only a couple of minutes away, head out to the pick-up point (it’s covered, so don’t worry if it’s raining). You want to be there when the driver arrive. You’ll walk through the duty free shop (NOT the least expensive or best selection of wine and spirits on Bali FYI, so only buy if you won’t be close to shops). Then, you’ll walk through a sea of taxi and private drivers all trying to win your business (even if you say you don’t need them, some may follow you. As a single woman travelling solo I found this very frustrating as they stay VERY close. That’s why I recommend using the Grab app BEFORE the duty free area, so you don’t have people lurking over your shoulder). You’ll then exit the lovely orange and white monument in the pics above. Cross over the 1st street, then across the centre covered island (you’ll see a couple of food and coffee shops and newsstand). Stop before the 2nd street, which is just in front of the main parking structure. That’s where you’ll meet Grab.
COPY/PASTE for Airport Pickup:
Nomor Hp lokal saya adalah <#> dan saya hanya berbicara bahasa Inggris. Silahkan jemput saya di pintu keluar keberangkatan internasional, di jalan depan area parkir (diseberang jalan Bangi Kopitiam).
Definitely download Grab from home so you know it’s on your phone and working when you arrive. When you change SIM cards, DO NOT change your phone number in the account settings … simply be sure to always share your local # with the driver in the ‘notes to driver’ area. For more information about Grab, visit their website.
To download the app, either scan the QR code above or choose the link to your phone’s store and click the link below:
- App Store (for iOS)
- Google Play
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