Traffic in Bali can be chaotic and there are far fewer rules. On the roads in Bali you’ll be negotiating your way through traffic, avoiding ditches and dodging stray dogs. There are barely any traffic lights and road signals except on the major highways, and these are sometimes turned off late at night. In Bali red signals are there only as a ‘suggestion’ and drivers will often cut in front of you without indicating.
Beeping your horn is not considered rude or aggressive, it is simply a way to make sure people know you are there.
Bemos, or mini-buses, are the standard form of public transport in Bali, the word bemo comes from the words becak (bicycle rickshaw) and mobil (car).
Fares are relatively cheap and most operate on a standard route for a set fare. Most bemos only leave when full and often make unscheduled stops at passengers' requests.
There is a danger of foreigners being over-charged on bemos, however, and pickpockets operate on certain routes, particularly between Denpasar and Kuta or Ubud.
Denpasar is the hub of Bali's transport system, with four main bus terminals as well as stops for bemos. The main bus terminals in Bali are:
- Ubung Terminal - bus services to the northern and western parts of Bali, also a bemo terminal
At: Jalan Cokroaminoto, Denpasar
Tel: (0361) 427 172
- Tegal Terminal - bus services to southern Bali
At: Jalan Imam Bonjol, Denpasar
Tel: (0361) 980 899
- Kereneng Terminal - bus services to Sanur
At: Jalan Hayam Wuruk, Denpasar
Tel: (0361) 226 906
- Batubulan Terminal - bus services to eastern and central Bali
At: 8 km van Denpasar
Tel: (0361) 298 526
Every large town has at least one terminal for long-distance buses, called a terminal bus, which is usually also the stop for bemos. Smaller towns have stops for both buses and bemos.
Larger mini-buses and full-size buses operate on longer routes, particularly linking Denpasar, Singaraja, Amlapura and Gilimanuk. Buses are faster than bemos as they tend not to make stops along the way, however, there may be long delays waiting for them to fill up at terminals before departing.
It is not possible to book tickets in advance except for inter-island routes. (like Bali - Java).
Tourist shuttle buses are considerably more expensive than public buses, but are quicker, more comfortable, air-conditioned and in general more convenient than public transport.
The largest operator of tourist shuttle buses is Perama, which operates regular, fixed-price buses to and from the airport, as well as all over the island. It has offices in Candidasa, Lovina, Padang Bai, Sanur and Ubud, and is headquartered at Kuta.