Apr 30 2014

Bali airport taxis: A new screw up

Published by at 3:09 am under Transport

Late last night I arrived in Bali’s new airport, cleared immigration and customs and headed out to get a taxi home from the official taxi kiosk. I’ve written about Bali’s airport taxis on a number of occasions, primarily advising of the set fares and updating it when the fares went up after the rise in cost of petrol.

My 100,000 rupiah saviour approached. Note the tourists walking back into the terminal behind him.

My 100,000 rupiah saviour approached. Note the tourists walking back into the terminal behind him.

As I walked out of customs, I noticed a taxi stall before the exit (just before they force you to walk through another idiotic duty-free area) and assumed it was one of the overpriced limo service scams like what they continue to rip tourists off with in Bangkok. With no price signboard, I ignored it, and walked through to go to the kiosk.

Problem: The kiosk was gone.

I continued to walk down to where the taxis park and passed some disgruntled looking foreigners heading back up to the terminal. Hmmm, not good. Upon arrival, I found no kiosk and no price list. I did though find a guy in an Airport Taxi T-shirt sitting in the gutter writing out chits for taxis.

“Where you go?”

“Umalas Satu.” (Umalas 1, where I live.)

“The Melasti, in Legian?”

“Umm, no, Umalas 1.”

This was followed by a long discussion between a bunch of the drivers about where Umalas 1 is.

“120,000 rupiah.”

“No, the fare is 100,000 rupiah; I catch airport taxis there all the time.”

“No, 120,000 rupiah.”

Some back and forth here, and there were now myself and two other groups arguing with drivers, then:

“You no pay, you walk out to the street and get your own taxi.”

Ahh, a great welcome to Bali from Bali Airport!

I wasn’t going to budge so I went to walk back to the terminal — after all, you have an official taxi booth to avoid the crap of haggling over a fare. One of the guys then got on the radio and called another driver, who said yes, sure 100,000 rupiah, no problem. We moved to leave.

A female traveller, new to Bali, was asking for the meter to be used and was told, “No no, we’re airport taxis, no meter.”

So a new sole traveller arriving in Bali was being told to pay a random and inflated fare by a guy writing tickets sitting in the gutter.

No signboard. No clear prices. No information AT ALL. Midnight arrival, tired travellers being ripped off by the official Airport Taxi guys. Nice.

Welcome to Bali.

What a disgrace.

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51 responses so far

51 Responses to “Bali airport taxis: A new screw up”

  1. Donnaon 30 Apr 2014 at 4:31 am

    Still the same as it was years ago, and it will never change. These guys get my hackles up as soon as i exit the arrivals doors. One day i had enough and just yelled at them all (yes, i must have looked like a crazy woman, but they pushed and pushed).

    Angkasa Pura has to clean them up. And grow some balls so that they are not pushed round by these thugs.

  2. Goodmangoon 30 Apr 2014 at 6:03 am

    I will be traveling to Bali this summer. What should I expect to pay for a taxi to Ubud in the evening? I’d like to arrive informed so I don’t get ripped off.


  3. Adamon 30 Apr 2014 at 6:09 am

    Yeah, they’re thugs. Try getting a vehicle which fits 4ppl with lots of luggage and you’re essentially charged the same prices as 2 taxis — about $20 to go to Seminyak less than 10km away.

    I’m sure some people just never return because of it. I just walk to the road and figure something out with the guys down there, but still at an inflated price.

  4. matthew barkeron 30 Apr 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Similar thing at Chiang Mai airport. There is a private car service and a meter taxi booth (and passing songthaews if you know what you’re doing). The meter taxi booths won’t use the meters and will only take you to well known hotels – if you’re going anywhere else (to your house, for example) they’re not interested: “Go outside by yourself thank you.” Meanwhile the private car service is at least 100 baht more than regular rate, but at least they’ll pick you up.

  5. Ciccio Belloon 01 May 2014 at 5:38 am

    So, let me understand ya, because maybe I’m the one wrong (or maybe i’m just Mr. Obvious): you did all this mess for 1.7 USD. SERIOUSLY???
    Ah, no, sorry… it’s “the principle”….

    Whatever, try to go to Rome, Milan, London or even Singapore, Hong Kong, Perth etc and you will realize that what you pay “overinflated” here to a guy on a gutter would not even pay you a trip on a public transport to the city center! (Let alone to your door step!!)

    In this case, I stand with the cab guy: you don’t like his price, you can walk the 2 km out to get a taxi with meter and save another 3 bucks.

    (IMHO, if you are not able to afford this fares, just don’t go, better stay in your own town for holidays, everything is cheaper!)

  6. adminon 01 May 2014 at 7:54 am

    Hi Ciccio,

    Ahh it was more like $1.80 ;-)

    The point of the post is that for years the official taxis at the airport had a kiosk and a sign that clearly displayed all the fares. They were set fares – so no meter and no negotiation. Has been this way for the 6 years I’ve lived here. If you didn’t want to pay the fare, there were plenty of other cabbies you could go and negotiate with if that’s what you wanted to do.

    Sometime in the last week or so, the kiosk and the signboard have vanished and so new arrivals are being greeted by a guy sitting in the gutter, seemingly making up prices. Meaning if you don’t know what the correct official fare is (as many new arrivals wouldn’t) its a confusing situation — and as my experience illustrated, open to abuse.

    If the airport wants to have a set taxi fare concession, that’s their call, but having set fares that need to be bargained? Why bother with an official taxi? I don’t think it is unreasonable that these set fares are displayed so people, especially those arriving in Bali for the first time, know what is going on.

    The official fare to central Ubud used to be 250,000 rupiah – not sure what it is now as, well, the sign has gone ;-)


  7. Maxon 01 May 2014 at 7:56 am

    how greedy are you? for 20’000 rp (not even 2 usd) you spend more time to find a cheaper taxi and spend time to write your blog?

    I see that you are this kind of weirdos bule who cannot accept anything here in bali and instead of letting it go and acceptance, you complain the whole time.

    pfui,pfui pfui. better go home!

  8. adminon 01 May 2014 at 8:07 am

    Hi Max,

    Thanks for your insight.



  9. Nyomanon 01 May 2014 at 10:54 am

    I am a Balinese and study in Melbourne. Do you want to know how much I pay for a taxy for just 2.0KM????? $8! Do you want to know how much I pay for a bottle of water? $3, while you can get it for only 60C in Bali? I paid $10 here for shitty food, and you can get a royal food in Bali for only $5. Still complaining???

  10. adminon 01 May 2014 at 11:06 am

    Hi Nyoman,

    Thanks for the comment – yup can imagine cabs in Melbourne are expensive.

    What I’m complaining about isn’t so much the 20k – it’s the fact that what used to be a really simple process — go to official taxi kiosk, look at official fareboard, pay the money on fareboard and catch official taxi — has been changed to a very confusing system where none of the official fares are clear.

    It’s needlessly confusing — that’s what I’m complaining about.


  11. Tanon 01 May 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Oh..cmon! you should have a look from the other point of view..this taxi driver might have to make living for his family of 4 or more and you want to bargain over $1.8..and he were?..oh seriously.. . please dont breed! i fear for my next generation..

  12. Not a touriston 04 May 2014 at 7:29 pm

    While it might sounds like a cheapskate for complaining a USD 1.8, the story reveals more than that. It’s about customers’ need to feel safe, being treated fair, including not being charged with prices based on someone’s gut feels.

    For example, while the prices in Circle K Bandara is a rip-off compared with Circle K elsewhere, people still prefers to shop here instead on the generic private shops, because of the clear price tags: meaning they know they’re being treated fair, knowing that everyone else is paying the same amount of money.

    That’s why the official Airport taxi need to put the distance and fee information board back up, so passengers know that whatever the price they’re paying, everyone else is paying the same price. Then USD 1.8 will only be about choices: the convenience of having the taxi service right away, or having to walk 500 meters outside Bandara to hail for a passing cab?

  13. bali tourson 12 May 2014 at 4:27 am

    Yes, sounds exactly like Bangkok.

    But I think them scamming you a few dollars is just how they operate, but the taxi fares are so cheap to begin with that you should not let it mess up your day.

    Life is too short to let that bother you, but I totally understand where you are coming from :)

  14. John don 16 May 2014 at 7:30 am

    They are scum simple…
    And to the people that think its only 1.80usd that is far from correct as the fairs that used to be signed were already close to double a metered fair….
    Its a service and drivers that provide a good service will normaly get a tip.
    Bali Airport taxis are run by the mafia and it is common knowledge, Bluebird taxi on the otherhand that use a meter and always provide a great service get rocks thrown at there cars when they drop off passangers in the early hours off the morning. Whats your thoughts on that Cicco Bello all the norm maybe and to be expected ?
    I travel home to Bali every other month and when i arrived a few weeks ago the normal ripoff was 100k now the counter is gone was 150k. metered fair would be about 60k.

  15. Eevaon 16 May 2014 at 8:43 am

    When you live in Bali you understand whats the fuss is about. 20 000
    is my lunch money, when you counted by five its already that weeks food for me.
    Tourist may dont care, they pay what ever they want, but as living in Bali i want the same respect as i give to locals.

  16. Theodoraon 16 May 2014 at 8:53 am

    Just for the record, the minimum wage in Badung, Bali, is 1,700,000 rupiah per month, which is sufficient to support a non-working wife and children: many are unlucky enough to have to support a family on considerably less than that.

    Airport taxi drivers are far from on the breadline, particularly given there are apparently people out there who will pay US$60 (roughly a fortnight’s work at the minimum wage, and very much more than the cost of a room in a kos for a month) for a one-way trip to Ubud.

  17. Todd Briggson 16 May 2014 at 9:54 am

    Its more than the $1.80. The workers have to realize people won’t come back if they feel ripped off or unsafe. It starts at the cab, then a money changer rips them off, then a shop will charge 50 bucks for fake Oakley’s then a tattooist charges double his normal price and these people sit down and discuss what they paid and people laugh at them. We have one customer that won’t return. I know a couple of people myself that will not return to Bali because of something as little as $1.80.
    No one wants to feel like an idiot.
    We only shop at fixed price shops, we have our regular moiney changers and we refuse to get in a cab that is trying to rip us off. Just try and get a cab from Waterbom, what a joke. This costs the Balinese long term.
    Not all of us have thick hides and just take it as another lesson learnt.

  18. Bali Benon 16 May 2014 at 10:30 am

    All these people complaining about the blogger, you need to stfu.

    Its an endemic problem in indonesian society; the ‘bule tax’

    If you continually make excuses for it and accept it, the more prevelent it becomes.

    $2 scam for each individual taxi fare adds up to a sh1tload of money.

    Its bad enough that the Bali customs exit fee has gone up $5.. WTF for? The service has gotten worse since the new airport opened.

    We waited 1 hour for baggage to arrive at the carosel last trip.. THERE WAS ONLY 2 PLANES THAT LANDED LATE AT NIGHT!!!

    Give me the old airport anyday, where you could bargain with the taxi touts, or better still, have your mate roll up on his bike and pick you up 5 meters from the door. The baggage beats you to the carosel and cheap shops right outside the door.

    Everybody wants to cry the plight of the Bali people.. its their weak a$$ corrupt government that screws them all over, not bule’s wanting a fair deal on taxi fares.

    A large % of these clowns are from Jawa anyway.. not even Balinese born.

  19. shameon 16 May 2014 at 11:49 am

    The taxi drivers can get very rude, as ive experienced. I live here and i dont like when they try to rip me off. When i explain in indonesian language that i live and work here, sometimes their response is ‘fuck off’ basically. So as a place that relies on tourism and foreign money, youd think they would care to make a better impression, especially at the airport where they are probably a lot of peoples first impressions of locals attitude.
    On another note, youd also think people who spend years driving would actually wise up and get the hang of being behind the wheel. This is not the case. But that goes for everywhere, taxi drivers usually seem to be the worst drivers on the road. Now multiply that by tenfold as there is now traffic violations here to deter them from being extremely dangerous.
    The airport wants to set a standard and present itself well for tourism, well cover all the bases. Just because you got thru the gates doesnt mean the responsibility of the airport is complete and they can let this bullshit go on outside.
    For anyone who says ‘oh its only two dollars’ youre whats wrong with the world. You have the same response when your governments pass fucked up laws, or start wars, or cheat you out of your social security, pensions etc etc etc.. you accept the ass f*cking and then hand a tip out afterwards. Pathetic.

  20. Bobon 16 May 2014 at 2:04 pm

    The taxi board and fixed prices still exist, they have just moved the desk inside now the renovation is more complete. Yes, it’s confusing at first but not worth getting too upset about.

  21. Andreaon 17 May 2014 at 3:17 am

    Please use the small amount of logic that was gifted to you at birth, like most taxi drivers they don’t just magically own a 20,000$ car that runs on free air, note that although there are some who privately own a car most most work for a company with a percentage which is about 10 -15% so out of that 100k he would have been making 10-15k from the ride, being midnight (away from his family at such an odd hour) he thought off adding 20k which would have been his meal or his family meal of the nite, and get off your high horse about feeling safe bla bla if you wanted to feel safe rent a private car/security/bodyguards/Secret service and then you will really feel safe, even if you pay a “fair” amount a rapist/Murderer/Kidnapper/robber will do what he pleases regardless if you paid the fair amount or not, I have been to Malaysia where I was threatened by a taxi driver when I tried to haggle for a second trip (even though I knew it was cheaper) I didn’t cry/complain/ wrote an attention seeking blog I just didn’t accept his price politely and found another taxi driver who did, we don’t know what these people are going through Debts/Bills/family problems and you are there pissing in their pants for 20k, i hope to god that you won’t be there when this person is pushed over his limit and something happens where you cannot blog about it anymore.

    these people are human beings not animals just because you make/have more doesn’t mean they deserve less to nothing.

  22. #bali is still okon 17 May 2014 at 4:00 am

    I’m a local and of course never has any problem with taxi scam here since I always have family or friends to pick me up at the airport.

    I agree with Stuart about the board sign for taxi meter. However, instead of complaining on the net about being ripped off and also there is no taxi meter fare board , why don’t you just send a formal letter to the Angkasa Pura 2 inquiring the asking them about the matter?
    And also why didn’t you just try to go to the information centre and asked them how to find the taxi stall?
    I understood that you live in Bali, and of course you notice that our airport is under development. It is normal to have changes, and I’m pretty sure that the taxi stall will not permanently disappear as it is a standard for every international airport.

    I do travels to some other Asian countries, this shits happens everywhere, so what will you say? Welcome to Bangkok? Welcome to Chiang Mai? Welcome to Cambodia? And also say “WHAT A DISGRACE” to all those countries?
    All you need is to be smarter as a traveler or airport user. Arrange a pick up from the hotel etc. Find out info on the net (if you’re a backpacker on budget).

    You can’t expect everything to be the same as your own country, you know that everything takes more time here in Bali. It also doesn’t mean that you won’t get ripped off in your country or other countries. You are already live in a beautiful island, so live with it or if you want to change it, address your complain to the right institution instead of whining on the net and disgracing the land you live and (maybe) make a living. (And instead of warn them, you scared the tourist).

    Ps. If you want an affordable transportation you know you can always use Trans Sarbagita – it’s only $ 0.30 per trip.(Kuta – Nusa Dua – Sanur – Uluwatu – Denpasar, full aircond, clean bus, flat fare)
    See? We are trying to keep the tourist & foreigner feeling welcomed and have an affordable holiday here, in Bali. Welcome to Bali!

  23. Cindyon 17 May 2014 at 4:00 am

    Ya i am tottally agree! Too greedy
    The taxi cub is not make the price even double
    And if you complaning about the taxi kios then dont mention this all of those taxi cub in this blog they just working to many for their family
    And for sure he is not put naip on your neck says you have to ride with his taxi cub and must pay him 120$

    Enjoy your 20 $ bucks

  24. adminon 17 May 2014 at 4:35 am

    Lots of comments all of a sudden!

    As some have picked up on, the point I’m trying to make isn’t the 20,000 rupiah, but rather the needless confusion to newcomers. I did go to head back to the information area to get some clarification – and that is when the driver agreed to take me for the correct fare – which does suggest the pricing they were trying to get me to pay was a bit improvised.

    The sign board was there two weeks previous and I’ll be back at the airport on Tuesday and will take a look and ask around to find out what is going on. Really all that they need to do is put the signup and give the ticket guy a desk – surely not too much to ask.

    Re the comment asking do I complain about the other countries – I sure do. :-)

    Thanks all for the comments, as I said there’s been a sudden rush of them – I’ve not approved the abusive ones – please keep it civil!


  25. Kristianon 17 May 2014 at 5:45 am

    Not every taxi is like that. However, for your convenience, rent a car (daily) and ask them to pick you up at the airport. It starts around 30USD (exclude petrol and tips for the driver).

    Better yet, ask your hotel to pick you up if possible.

  26. debbieon 18 May 2014 at 2:59 am

    I can understand yr frustration problems with taxi drivers and drivers all over bali is being caused by us the consumer a good driver will tell u how much u should b paying compared to wat drivers are asking for ,i visit bali 2-3times a year ,even the bluebird taxis are asking more dont turn on the metre and generally refuse the fare because people are paying inflated prices without any discussion ,there has to be a happy medium we dont want to rip these people off its not about that these drivers need to no were they stand and we are giving them thecwrong idea and this causes inflated orices and problems between drivers

  27. carolineon 18 May 2014 at 11:46 am

    I am an indonesian, and I agree that I hated the fact …it is not about the money, but the chaos and the illfeel when you arrived and greeted with very very persistent people offering their services, if you are not robbed on the way…. I think the solution is if you don’t want to hassle with those people (In Indonesia…it is sooo normal and annoying – NOT ABOUT THE MONEY ! ok ? – it is about how impolite those people can be when they are rejected – simply maybe because you have someone else picking you up)is to hire a pick up car from the hotel….
    I think it will cost almost the same if you are overpriced….
    and for people, maybe with USD incomes….they find the price VERY CHEAP…but I guess for poor people like me living in Indonesia..it is expensive (surprised to cost that much just to go to the beach – it is not that far) …I am quite offended to read that you think the value is not a matter…. ? hmm….sorry no offence…

  28. Komangon 18 May 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Ok.. Here.. For all the travelers who wish and will come to Bali , or even the backpacker or whatever they call, local or tourist.. Prepare ur money for around 100-150 thousand rupiah or 10-12$ just for the taxi.. That’s already the normal price, I am local, I accept and willing to pay that cost,( I’m not rich anyway) that’s the matter of peace of mind.. 10-12$ to pay taxi will never make u poor, that’s their way to get more income, and we have to believe and agree there is reason behind they put that price.

  29. Nitaon 19 May 2014 at 7:51 am

    No doubt that Indonesia is still a low compliance state. Not only a foreigner comes to Indonesia would be ripped off by transport guys nearby. If a local with ‘traveler appearance’ (with neat outfit and travel bag) comes to Denpasar or Surabaya bus station I’m pretty sure the transport guys there will do the same thing as in your story.

    No place is perfect. No Indonesia, not in your country. Please be more tolerance. These taxi guys live on very low income with their family. Unless you are traveling on very very tight pocket, why don’t you let that $1.6, get into the taxi, save time & energy then call it a day.
    I know it’s bad to know that the official taxi booth is gone. But with only $1.6 difference (while you spent hundred or maybe thousand $ for the entire travel), I will not take it seriously.

    As for new travelers, it would be better to make sure everything and maybe book everything including private airport pickup (if affordable) before going.

  30. Elleon 19 May 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Reading your post, I understand your frustration very well. Even as an Indonesian, I found those practice a disgrace. Although in this case, i think BALI AIRPORT (ANGKASA PURA 2) was very much accountable for the mess. It’s time for them to improve their airport transportation system, moreover with the latest increase in their airport taxes. I think most foreign (or even domestic) tourists won’t mind to pay additional money for transportation. But of course, as a normal human being, I don’t think we would ever enjoy the feeling of being “obviously ripped off” and not being able to do anything about it. Just because they have more money, doesn’t mean they have to give you more money than what should have been. Why not earn your extra tips or bonus by doing your job well? I don’t think this post was intended to attack Bali as assumed by some people here. I think it’s more like a yelp “Come on, Bali, wake up, time for a change! Don’t level yourself with the likes of Chiang Mai or Cambodia (as some people here mentioned) where “ripping off” tourists are probably such a common practice. You are better than that!” Indeed, I believe Bali is better than those :D For all tourists, if you expect a hassle free holiday minus all the headaches from haggling with greedy taxi drivers, just arrange an airport pickup from the hotel or better yet, arrange for a car rental from the internet. Most of them come with a driver (confirm ahead) and you could use them for a 10-12 hours depending on the agreed rates.
    A special shout out to Nyoman: If you could pay less than 3$ for a bottled water and less than 10$ for a royal food instead of the shitty one you’re getting, then how foolish are you to be in Melbourne instead of our beautiful Bali? Peace out!

  31. Anitaon 21 May 2014 at 4:39 am

    A cab ride to Legian use to be rp55,000, how all of sudden the prices more than double? Sure the petrol has gone up and it’s a new airport but this is BALI, not New York. A bit of perspective is needed I think.

    Also I do empathise with the situation you were placed in too. It’s not a good look and I would have thought with the new airport, that this would have improved. But that’s what I love about Bali, mayhem and being ripped off. They speak about karma but how your react is your karma too.


  32. jim conanton 28 May 2014 at 4:54 am

    thanks stuart for being strong and voicing my opinion EXACTLY re airport taxi ripoffs. No excuses. It is a disgrace. And thanks for being an agent of change. If every travel writer/blog spoke up, it will make a difference. I make it a game and I walk out to the street/parking garage (in bali it is a 10minute walk) and hire a local moto driver to take me to kuta for $3usd. It is easier to do this in other airports as the distance one needs to walk to get outside is a but further in bali (somebody mentioned the walk 500meters and that sounds correct).

  33. Oslynon 13 Aug 2014 at 3:05 am

    I wish I did some homework and read this before I arrived at the airport. I share my below experience in my local forum:

    Just want to share my recent experience here as there is now a complete change of gameplan with the BALI airport newly renovated. It’s my third trip to Bali and I confidently walk out and turn left once I am out of the airport. I saw an airport taxi counter just before the DFS shop and dismissed it as a more costly option, now that i think back, this could have been the official taxi counter! On the left side where all the bluebird cabs corrugated, the fixed rate meter signboard was no longer around, then one guy scribbled 200,000 on a receipt and I was surrounded by 6-7 cab drivers all convincing me it’s the fixed rate. I shouted and bargained but to no avail. On hindsight, I could have walk away from the area and try my luck with a private driver or share the cab with other travelers. Hungry, tired and have not got adjusted to the value of the currency (so a bit blur) and with Bali now at the high peak holiday season, I lose my composure and gave in to the ripped off price! It could have cost between 90,000-120,000rp as my place (Kerobokan) is 15km away from the airport, while the hotel I stayed in offer shuttle service for 135,000rp. Kena tok carrot head like siao la!

    So bargain and insist for a more comfortable price, go with another private driver maybe, or insist to go by the meter.

  34. Michaelon 22 Aug 2014 at 1:40 am

    I am an Indonesian (but I am not a Balinese) and for the past 5 years living & working in Bali

    I hear what Stuart’s saying and everyone else here. All are totally legit
    This taxi experience unfortunately happen in almost all over Indonesia
    and already been reported & discussed many times by the local consumer service organizations, and still in progress for improvement

    However let’s not be discouraged
    Bali & Indonesia in general is much more than just that
    It is so beautiful that many people (including those who wrote in this forum) returning back. The nature, culture, people, and the lure of high potential economy power, etc

    There are taxi counters at domestic and international arrival at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, with clear fixed prices written and plenty of taxis are available all day & night.

    To give you ideas, the fares from the airport to most major hotels or residential area in Kuta, Legian, Seminyak & Kerobokan, are about 80 thousand to 100 thousand rupiah , some thinks cheap , some thinks expensive, well that’s the way it is and we should consider it as part of the budget of going to Bali ya.

    There is also freelancer transportation and of course the rates are negotiable which is just like other major airports in the world (especially in South East Asia)
    It is very difficult to eliminate this practice (doesn’t mean impossible) hence it involves corruption to the airport officials

    Before planning on holiday to Bali or those expats living in Bali, please put on the budget on this transportation costs, so no more wrong expectation that could lead to disappointment and complaint. There are official sites that you can check and even pre-book

    From your hotels to the airport, you can use the taxi company Blue Bird, they are the only taxi that use meter, with good condition taxi & polite drivers
    Again with other taxi companies, you need to bargain before hoping into one

    And now for those who feels that value of 100 thousand Rupiah (about USD 8.35) for 5 kilometers drive is okay, then please give it to our local community, let’s not think too much about it, let’s just think you are doing good deed and helping out local community

    For those who feel that the principle of the fixed price, polite & good conduct of taxi drivers are significant, then use the official counter, again please be prepared to include this transportation cost as part of your traveling budget.

    You must realize that not all of these taxi drivers in Bali are coming from lower income families, some of them are actually land owners in their villages that have land or shops rented to others. But since they do not have high education / skills or don’t have entrepreneur skill to run their own business, thus they become taxi drivers to occupy their times, hence it explains their attitude

    Bali is a peaceful island, let’s not think too much about little things, relax and let’s tolerate each other’s weakness, hence nobody is perfect, let’s not bring the stressful environment from our original places, keep Bali serene
    That’s why many people attracted to keep coming and live in Bali . . .

    peace :-)

  35. Billon 04 Sep 2014 at 3:08 am

    Hi it is my first time to Bali with my wife . We have been travelling through many SE Asian countries for the last few months . Never ever been ripped off my a money changer till here . I am pretty street wise , from near London originally now live in Australia . Just a slight distraction and speed of hand scenario , robbed me of $ 100 dollars . My fault very tired , evening time after long day of travel .should like I usually do have read about ” scams ” in counties we are visiting . But another tried it , but caught the bastard out . It leaves a very bad impression of Bali . This all happened near ” double six” . I find in general , people very pushy , over aggressive and on the take . So I agree with the taxi scam, stop it now before it gets out of control and people stop coming ! It is not about the $ 2 bucks but the attitude and principal . Went to Ubud yesterday , first impression was we loved it . Moving there now .

  36. Gavinon 16 Sep 2014 at 1:33 am

    It’s funny all these people coming to the defence of these poor innocent workers just trying to feed their families. It’s like in Phuket where the taxi mafia have controlled taxis for many years using heavy handed tactics that have left people bashed and ripped off. These ‘poor’ mafia types are criminals who are involved in a lot more than just driving a taxi and are part of organised crime syndicate. All the suckers with their western guilt bleating that we should just pay inflated prices as it is do these people can feed their families are naieve. If you want to make a difference to poverty in Indonesia then donate to the various official organisations not the mafia.

  37. Dias Vargheseon 18 Sep 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Just landed in jakarta airport and wanted to get connected to domestic terminal. Since it was mid night I was told that the shuttle buses are not functional and hence was guided by some taxi driver charging 150000 rupai.. later once reached found out that it was just a 4mins drive and we were looted .. First experience was awesome. !! At least it made me sit and search online and found out this website and reviews.. Thanks. Guess was a bit late

  38. Bryanon 30 Sep 2014 at 4:07 am

    The blogger is correct. If they try to overcharge him 20,000 they could easily double or triple it for some unsuspecting foreigner going there for the first time. A tricky driver can have other tricks up his sleeve and can change the price once you put your bags inside the trunk. Random pricing doesn’t work.

  39. Richardon 08 Oct 2014 at 2:00 am

    I arrived here (Bali) last year just days after the new airport opened. It was chaos, and a lot of taxi drivers were confused too. One guy who took me to the airport days later so I could pick up my family insisted the old airport was still good.

    I arrived again this week and just had a similar experience as the original blog, but luckily I saw the counter before passing through duty free and after not finding the old signboard and desk, looped around and used the fixed counter. Prices have gone up, for sure. And still no signboard. But it was the same service as my previous 15 visits. But agree with the original blog – it’s confusing. And as Stuart said, I don’t mind paying a higher rate – I just want it clear and straightforward, like at the convenience store.

    By the way, does anyone know whether that taxi desk is open late at night? My friend arrives on a late flight at 140am. If that desk is closed I’ll be at the mercy of the touts. (Unless I can find alternative transport to pick her up).

  40. Mikeon 19 Oct 2014 at 8:21 am

    We come to Bali twice a year and this last trip was by far the most stressful , taxi wise , had the same problems at the airport as other travellers but made it to semenyak in the end .
    Never used to have a problem with the taxi drivers putting the meters on but the attitude has really turned negative , couldn’t count the amount of people we saw getting in and then exiting taxis because of hassle with the drivers .
    . We would on previous trips always jump into a cab even for the shortest trip because of the cheap flag fall Rp 6000 and would always pay a minimum of Rp 20,000 but when you are continuously being quoted Rp 100,000 for short trips it’s easier to walk and save yourself the drama .
    It’s too easy to say the driver only gets a certain percentage , if it’s not enough then put the flag fall up to Rp 20 or 30,000 , it is after all a tourist service and I for one grew tired of the constant battle and have started to think about alternative holiday venues .
    I wonder also how the owners of the taxis who pay the cost of running must feel as they see tourist numbers growing and there fare takings going down .
    It’s a situation that needs addressing because as I’m surely not the only person who is over having to get past an aggressive cabbie to get to my destination .

  41. Ianon 22 Oct 2014 at 2:21 pm


    If I may just a point of view from an expat living in Indonesia.

    Unfortunately Bali airport taxis have the monopoly at the airport as the airport is run by PT Ankasa Pura and the taxi company is tied in with them somehow aswell. As a result the airport itself doesn’t let other taxi’s have a stand. The organisation is quite well known in Bali for thuggish behaviour and have been known to physically abuse drivers of other taxis. I’m sure you all have experienced to a lesser extent the “mafia” type company culture when trying to get a taxi or when trying to pay!

    Let me set one thing straight, these drivers are not poor. They are putting away very good money for Indonesia, money me and my fiance would be very happy with living here. 10 dollars to go to our house which is 6 minutes drive away? Why should we give our hard earned money to these thugs?

    While Bali airport taxis do have a stand, late at night this stand closes. This makes it even harder to negotiate your price as it will then be done directly with the driver with no sign to indicate the “normal” Bali airport taxi price (which is already double what you would pay over a metered taxi).

    2 options; the first is go upstairs to the arrival area and wait for a Bluebird or Express metered taxi dropping someone off and hailing it.

    The second is to call Bluebird taxi’s on (0361) 701111 when you arrive to arrange a pickup. I usually get them to pick me up from the “Gedung parkir Sepeda motor” (Motorcycle parking garage) which is a short walk from the arrival terminal, just follow the signs; if not to save a few dollars, to feel good not contributing to the scam. They will also pick you up from your hotel after calling that number when you are ready to leave.

    This is not the true Indonesia, it happens because we let it, please keep spreading the word.. I hope everyone has a nice time, stays away from the scams, and experiences true Indonesian hospitality!

  42. Danon 25 Oct 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Good advice Ian. However these criminals are not tied in with Angkasa Pura but are directly related to the provincial administration. Typical Indonesian government criminals. Every expat should use Blue Bird. The taxis are clean, the drivers are identified, and they know the roads. Contrast this with the broken down Bali Taxi service with no a/c, drivers that will drive you in circles to bump up the fare, dirty, smelly dangerous, etc. Blue Bird can be called by text, phone or the Bluebird app.

  43. Daveon 06 Nov 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Agree with this post.

    I arrived mid evening in August 2014, and looked for the taxi booth as I had read about in the online guides.

    No sign of the taxi booth but I was surrounded and heckled by a group of taxi drivers. all quoting fares several times what I had been led to expect.

    In the end I gave in and paid, I had no choice, after a long flight I just needed to get to my hotel. This was not a good first experience of Bali, I remember the bad vibes during that taxi journey.

    Later in my stay I used the regular hailed street taxi’s, Bluebird and others, with no problems. I was impressed by the pleasant drivers and low cost.

    There is a world of difference between the band of threatening thugs I met on arrival in Bali, and the honest, decent taxi drivers I met later on in my visit.

  44. Laotaon 22 Nov 2014 at 9:19 pm

    #Dan, it is sad to let you know that Blue bird is not welcomed at Bali airport. You can call and get Blue bird only outside the airport but not inside the airport. The driver won’t pick you inside the airport area. This stupid practice is common Indonesian corrupt mentality practice. Sorry if I sound rude. As Indonesian I am also tired with all this kind of madness and stupidity.

    In Bandung, I experienced the similar situation when I called Blue bird taxi from a mall and was end up being told that Blue bird wouldn’t come except if I went to nearby area outside the mall, because Blue bird driver would be beaten by other taxi drivers to pick passenger in ‘their’ territory.

    Similar thing happened to Blue bird in Bali airport. Blue bird was attacked and intimidated in 2010 for being the choice of customers while others were not ready to join fair competition to deliver the best to the customer. They just want protection to do their crime legally!

    Blue bird was also not welcomed in Batam few years back. This kind of corrupt system is endemic in Indonesia! That is why our new president wants mental revolution.

    If I were Stuart I also would loudly shout my anger for being played fool by the stupid corrupt system protecting shitty corrupt bureaucrats and their thugs! I know very well how this kind of system work! It is shame on Bali Government!

    It is not about the USD 1.8 or USD 2 difference but all what happened signaling you about safety and security. When you are cheated and ripped off, you feel angry because you feel attacked, like something has been taken from you. You feel unsafe and insecure.

    So far only 1 taxi company in Indonesia (yes, in all over Indonesia) who takes challenge from Blue bird seriously. It is ORENZ taxi in Surabaya. Their service is almost comparable to Blue bird, and to add to it, you can get printed receipt!

    What is the solution to problem of getting taxi at Bali Airport? Join online travel forum, visit travel website, get enough information from others. Equip yourself with information to avoid being tricked and if it still happens then accept it as a fate, don’t let it ruin your holiday in Bali!

  45. adminon 23 Nov 2014 at 3:02 am

    So just an update on this as I came through the airport again late last night, and got the following from the “Official kiosk”

    1) Asked to go to Umalas 1 (actual fare 100,000)

    2) Told the fare is 220,000 rupiah

    3) Ask to see pricelist

    4) Told fare is 120,000 rupiah

    5) Ask to see pricelist

    6) Given pricelist and I point to where it says Umalas 100,000.

    7) Told no, that is Umalas 1, you want to go to Umalas 2

    8) I say no, I want to go to Umalas 1

    9) Told for 100,000 they’ll take me as far as the junction with Pettitenget and the jail road, after which I’ll have to walk the last 500 metres or so to my house (at 1am)

    10) I lost my temper, told the guy he was talking bullshit and walked out to the touts where I got a ride within a couple of minutes for 110,000 rupiah.

    Sidenote, petrol prices have increased in the last week or so, which probably explains why they are asking more — SO GET A NEW PRICELIST guys!

    At this point I’d suggest going to these idiots and looking at the pricelist (you’ll have to ask for it as they keep it out of sight) so you have a ballpark fare, then leave and go out and deal with the touts informed of a baseline price you can bargain from.

    What a complete shambles.

  46. shy swanon 25 Nov 2014 at 4:23 am

    Thank-you all for sharing and to admin for your latest update.
    I will be arriving in Bali from Perth WA in Dec, staying in (relatively central) Ubud. Wayan’s Family II homestay has just quoted me rp. 350.000 for an airport pick-up at 2200hrs. That’s A$33 and almost comparable to Perth prices, well, two-thirds at least for the same journey in guaranteed door-to-door comfort… with my general rental, food, cost of living way, etc., way higher than in Bali.
    As a female travelling alone, having travelled the world and fond that the initial trip from the airport is almost an obligatory rip-off (try Dublin!) and after reading all of the above, I’m thinking I’ll negotiate with my homestay. It seems that safety and convenience always comes at a cost, even with global oil prices plummeting. Also, I just question those parents sending their schoolies o/s Yikes!
    Thanks again. Very informative.

  47. Rachelon 01 Jan 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks for the info. I totally agree that to have a price board would be far better. The current system is a mess. My friend paid 80K from the hotel in Seminyak to airport to meet me. At the airport they wanted 250k to take us back to the hotel in Seminyak. We walked around & bartered until we got a taxi for 150k. If it’s more for a taxi from the airport that’s fine but I hate the feeling there is corruption involved or feeling I’ve been ripped off. Not the price but the principle. Also not a nice welcome to Bali. I’ll just book a driver through the hotel next time.

  48. […] So here’s the background story of the chaotic taxi situation at Bali airport, pieced together from comments found here: […]

  49. susanon 22 Jan 2015 at 3:25 am

    Thanks for the advice all. I will be arriving at 2am in the morning and going to Denpasar. I am going to try and organise a set price pick up through my hotel. The thought of haggling at that time of night gives me the horrors.

  50. Crissaon 12 Feb 2015 at 8:18 am

    Feel free to judge expats and locals living in Indonesia, when you are one.

    Otherwise, let us fight for our Rp.20.000 and the right to be treated fairly and like a human, not a dollar-sign.

  51. alivoon 13 Feb 2015 at 3:25 am

    I am in kuta now, the last day of my trip in bali and sure I will never come back. Few good things: traditional food, shopping, surfing, mountain trekking. Loads of suck: got ripped of 500k while change money at money changer in kuta, taxi from airport to ubud 350k then had to walk 100 meters to hotel, trekking guide asked for more when I gave him 150k he didn’t look satisfied, why so greedy, vendors offers bother all the time on the beach, people curse when don’t buy their products, I also heard a sucker said bitch when I denied buying dress. eat at the restaurant, giving 10k tips they dont even say thanks. They made me feel irritated and uncomfortable with the feeling being ripped off. I don’t feel safe here. Been travelling for the past 7 years thru 11 ASEAN countries but never felt wanting to quit the country ASAP like this time.