Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bus from Bali to Central Java

Previously I blogged about transportation in Bali which can be found here.

If you want to head to Java from Bali, the best way to go from Ubung bus Terminal which is located outside the Kuta and Seminyak. For us, we hired a driver from Ubud to Ubung bus terminal for 200k rupiah.

There are actually two bus terminals in Bali, Ubung Terminal and Mengwi.  Most of the locals only talked about the Ubung terminal. I googled up the Mengwi Terminal and I'm thankful that we didn't choose to go there. Here is why and why .

Ubung Terminal. Don't expect much, just a shelter to rest. No ticket counters present. 

Our initial plan was to catch a 9am bus from Ubung Terminal to Probolinggo (10 hour bus ride) but we only found out that there are actually no specific timings for buses leaving Ubung Terminal. The officers at the counter were not helpful and we were skeptical ourselves hence we asked the local people around the terminal before committing to the ticket.

It costed us 175k rupiah each , including the ferry ride and a crappy meal at some roadside restaurant in Situbondo town. Our bus final destination was actually Surabaya but the buses here will wait for the bus to be filled up with people going to other destinations along the way. We waited for 2 hours, 11am, before departing to Probolinggo.

While waiting for our bus to depart, I took the opportunity to talk to the other passengers. We were relieved that a few other people were also heading to Probolinggo town and they mentioned that this was the only way to get to Java island.

Some tips/things to note :

  • Bus ticket fares are fixed. Do make sure to ask them to show you the ticket cost price instead of them quoting you. We were shown 175k rupiah by one of the vendors but after walking around to source for information, another lady from the same vendor told us the ticket price is 200k rupiah. Spotted the discrepancy and asked why is there a difference. 
  • No toilet breaks. However, you can use the toilets at the Ketapang ferry.  The bus will take the ferry across, reducing the hassle of buying separate ferry tickets. You can buy food on the ferry as well. 
  • People are helpful! Guess all the other passengers were equally lost as us on the bus ride and we got tips for our Bromo Trip from a good samaritan. He even asked the bus driver to stop us directly in front of our hotel. 
  • You can stop at Bayuwangi town to go to Ijen Crater. A number of passengers on our bus did that
  • Ubung - Gilimanuk (Ketapang Ferry) - 3 hours
  • Ferry ride across to Java - 1 hour
  • Bayuwangi to Probolinggo town ( Mt Bromo) - 6 hours
  • Probolinggo to Surabaya (Final Destination) - 2.5 hours
I'll continue to write about travelling up to Mt Bromo later! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Transportation in Bali.

Just got back from Bali and would like to blog about how to get around Bali.

Airport to City Center (Kuta/Seminyak)
The Bali International Airport is called Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar). The moment we arrived at the airport, we were quickly greeted by eager cab drivers to ferry us to our hotel. The first cab driver quoted us 300k rupiah to bring us to our hotel at Seminyak. After fishing for the best deal, we paid 100k rupiah for a 15 minute ride which was quite pricey.

Our 'cab driver' flashed us an unofficial taxi license which we initially believed but I soon realized he wasn't an official cab driver because he called his friend during our trip to ask for directions.

This link here are the rates from the airport to any destination in Bali, which I only found out after my trip ;/

Do take note that there are no metered cabs from the airport to city center.

What could you do to save more/better?

  • Ask your hotel if they provide free airport pickups. From my experience, most of them only do free airport shuttles from the hotel to airport, not the other way round. Makes more sense for them in terms of logistics.
  • Walk out of the airport and flag a BlueBird Cab. This will get a metered taxi and potentially save your some extra cash. This was suggested by a BlueBird taxi driver on one of our cab rides. He even told us that we paid a bomb for our taxi ride from the airport to our hotel. Oh well, lesson learnt. 
Took a couple of cabs and majority of Blue Bird drivers are honest and used meters.

Around Bali 
There are many modes of transportation here ranging from walking to renting a private car. This is quite straightforward.
  • Walking.
  • Bus. You can take the Kura-kura around. More details can be found here. Below is the route map as of Dec 2014.
  • Taxi. Do remember to always ask for a metered taxi.
  • Car/ Motorbike
Kuta to Ubud
Majority of people will spend a few nights at Kuta then head to Ubud, vice versa. We hired a driver + tour around Ubud after spending our first few nights at Kuta. It costed 500k rupiah (10 hours), with the driver picking us up at our hotel in Kuta and ending up at our hotel in Ubud. 

A good tip is to use the hotel tour rates (600k rupiah for 6 hours) as a benchmark for your tour prices. Also take note that everyone in Bali is practically a tour guide/driver. So open your mouth and ask around for good deals. 

Their primary vocation are mainly supermarket assistants, taxi drivers, hoteliers and masseurs and their average monthly wage is 1.4 million rupiah. This means that if they work 3 days as a driver, they probably don't have to work for the month and often they are more desperate for your service. 

Hope this helps as I had a hard time consolidating all the info I needed so I figured that I should write a post. Next up, Getting from Bali to Java Island :)