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When you mention Indonesia, it’s usually the first thing that comes to mind. It’s not really surprising. Bali is one of the most visited island destinations in the world. Much of the country’s tourism revenue is generated within this island, especially after the construction and later renovation of Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Ngurah Rai International Airport is often called Bali Airport or Denpasar Airport. It is located over a couple of kilometers south of Kuta and near the capital city, Denpasar. It serves as the main gateway to Bali and is one of the busiest airports in Indonesia.

When you arrive at Bali Airport and you are done with the immigration, you will then pick up your luggage, and finally, custom security check. Right after customs check, there’s a currency exchange station on your right and ATMs on your left. Withdraw money or exchange your money here for your transportation expense from the airport to your hotel. When you get to the Arrival Lobby, you will see a lot of drivers and tour guides flashing names of people, groups or hotel guests. Welcome to Bali!

Most tourists choose these four areas as their base: Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, and Canggu. All of them are located north of the airport. Estimated travel duration:

  • To Kuta – 30 minutes
  • To Legian – 1 hour
  • To Seminyak – 1 hour
  • To Canggu – 1.5 hours

Getting to these areas from the airport is easy. Here are your choices:

Arranged Airport Transfer Services

Image courtesy of Klook

Before you book, inquire about the airport transfer service. Some hotels offer it for free, others for a fee.

If your hotel doesn’t offer airport transfer and you are traveling with friends or family members, the most convenient option is arranging a private transfer. This will ensure that you will be shuttled comfortably from the airport to your hotel. I saw quite a number of Klook drivers waiting at the arrival lobby. You can easily spot them as the drivers are wearing orange Klook shirts and are clustered in one area.


Airport Taxi

Airport taxis have fixed rates that are relatively expensive compared to metered taxis. The Airport Taxi Counter is located near the duty-free shop at the Arrival Lobby. Note, however, that the counter doesn’t operate 24/7. It usually opens at 8:00 AM. For reference, here are the current rates:

  • To Kuta: IDR 100,000-120,000 (PHP 360-434/USD 7-9/EUR 6-8)
  • To Legian: IDR 130,000-150,000 (PHP 470-542/USD 9-11/EUR 8-10)
  • To Seminyak: IDR 130,000-150,000 (PHP 470-542/USD 9-11/EUR 8-10)
  • To Canggu: IDR 225,000-310,000 (PHP 813-1,120/USD 16-22/EUR 14-20)

Metered Taxi

kenjira /

While you may find it a bit challenging to find a metered taxi at the arrival area, it’s your best bet if you’re traveling on a budget but don’t want to take the bus. You might want to try to go to the departure area to get one.

Remember to always insist on turning on and using the meter. Some drivers at the arrival lobby may offer you unreasonable rates, you may try to negotiate but it should not exceed the published airport taxi rates. The highly recommended taxi company is Bluebird Taxi.

Metered-taxi rates start at IDR 7,000 (PHP25/USD.50/EUR.45) and IDR 6,500 (PHP24/USD.46/EUR.42) per succeeding kilometer.

Ride-hailing Apps

Grab and GoJek operate in Bali, but I think not within the airport grounds. If you want to use Grab/GoJek, you will need to walk a bit, about 150 meters, and be picked up just outside the airport.

It is often cheaper than airport taxi or even regular taxi at times. This should be the most convenient option in theory but it’s a bit tricky in practice. There are reports online that even Grab drivers try to negotiate the fare despite the indicated fare on the app. There are also certain streets that don’t allow these vehicles to pass and certain hotels that discourage their guests from hailing a ride using the app.

For example, ride-sharing services are not allowed in Ubud.

Public Transportation

  • Angkot or Bemo. If you are not a light packer or traveling with seniors and/or kids, this option is not for you. If you travel light and are heading to Kuta, you need to get out of the airport premises to get on a bemo/angkot (open-air minivan).
  • Trans Sarbagita. This is Bali’s bus rapid system that serves mainly Denpasar and the southern Bali area. Public buses that stop at the airport have no fixed or regular schedule. Not recommended to take if you are pressed for time. The fare is around IDR 3,500 (PHP13/USD.25/EUR.22).

From Manila to Bali

The airport is linked by reputable airlines, like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia, offering direct flights from Manila to Bali. The travel time is about four hours. There’s no time difference between Bali and Manila, unlike Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, which is an hour ahead of Manila.

More Tips for the Poor Traveler

  • If you are staying in Ubud, keep in mind that some taxis will charge big because, by certain regulations, they are not permitted to pick up passengers, only drop them. Also, ride-sharing service is not allowed in Ubud. You might want to book your airport transfer to and from Ubud through Klook.
  • Always insist on using the meter when riding a taxi.
  • It’s best to carry small bills with you should you decide to take the taxi so you can pay the exact fare and not fall for the rampant no-change excuse.

Top Budget Hotels in Bali

Search for more Bali Hotels!

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Asta Alvarez
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