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Hiring a driver in Bali

London
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Hiring a driver in Bali

Hello all

I'm new to this forum and wonder whether anyone could answer this question please.

My wife and I will be going to Bali/Lombok in March and we will be hiring a driver for a few days. My question is: how does this work exactly? We will be trying to fit in as much as we can and will probably be visiting more than one place/temple etc each day. Once we are driven to our first place of interest, what happens to the driver while we explore/take pictures etc for what maybe a few hours? Does he just sit and wait in his car or does he follow you around? I must admit I don't really want a walking guide, just a driver. How did you guys get on?

Any help much appreciated.

Paul

Australia
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1. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

Hi.

In regards to whether your driver comes along with you on your tours is purely up to you.

We were in bali on 28th Dec 05 for 2 weeks and hired a driver by the name of Made Sika.

When we arrived at a destination he was more than happy to sit in the car but on most occasions we invited him to come along which by no means did he expect and was more than grateful.

He comes from a traditional fishing village in Ahmed.

If you would like more information look out for our previous post titled Excellent driver in Bali(Made Sika).

If you do book Made as your driver please say hi to him from Craig & Lindsay from Australia.

Regards Lindsay.

London
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2. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

OK, thanks very much for your prompt reply.

Asia
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4,187 posts
68 reviews
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3. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

Hi,

When you hire a driver for a day, you will arrange with him your pick-up time. e.g. He will stay with you the whole day and drive you to anywhere you wanna go, but normally, you should tell it your plans the day before.

He will normally sit in the car - and probably sleep - until you go back to the car.

Some drivers count 8 hours as one day, some don't count the number of hours - i.e. you can make them work 12 hours if you really want to, but of course, that's not nice.

You can also buy your driver lunch/dinner - if he is with you the whole day. Some will accept, some won't. If you are on a budget, you don't have to give a tip, you can just pay the agreed price.

Hope this helps.

London
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4. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

I think I'll ask him politely to stay in the car , but 8 hours driving is enough for anyone.

I take it you pay him at the end of the day? Otherwise what's to stop him running off with your cash after the first destination. Of course, I could also run off without paying (not that I would ever do that) but he will know where we're staying.

Anyway thanks for you help.

Asia
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4,187 posts
68 reviews
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5. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

Yes, you pay him at the end of the day.

New Zealand
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6. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

Its best to just organise a driver when you get there as it is much cheaper. When i went last march I had a tour organised, and the girls in the room next to me had nothing organised and ended up hiring their taxi driver from the airport for a few days over their 7 day stay. They just organised the days and he turned up. They brought him McDonalds once for dinner and he took it home for his kids as they have never had mcDonalds before.

have a fun trip.

Toronto, Canada
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1,360 posts
35 reviews
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7. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

I'd be interested in knowing what Aimes experiences were with having a driver by lottery. It may be you do not know what you have missed.

If you want to be assured of having a good driver, at a fair price, in a safe vehicle with a good view, then I would go with those that come highly recommended.

After the fuel price increase, booking a driver for the day is running about IDR500,000. (US$50.) and the range seems to be from US$45-US$55. I think it would be silly to waste a day in paradise to save US$10 on a driver who is not very good.

There are three drivers consistantly recommended on this forum as described by Jadedu:

1) I Nyoman Rusma of Meta Sari Transport

Tel: + 6281 2361 0391

Fax 62-361-975073

Very gentle man, careful driver. Very nice.

2) Putu Nastra:

Tel: +62 81 641 08497.

Former tour guide, speaks Spanish, knows his stuff.

3) Dean

Mobile: +6281 8344 807

Email: bali-dean@dps.centrin.net.id

My personal Favourite is Nyoman.

Rishku on a recent post indicated he has just booked Nyoman for a trip over the Chinese New Year and advised:

"has quoted a price of US 50 per day because :

a) fuel prices have increased

b) he would have to travel from Ubud to Jimbaran and then back again everyday."

So you may find Nyoman will be under US$50 for you.

Jadedu used Nyoman recently and had this to say:

"He's actually good for the Ubud area. I did hire him on a trip in Oct and he's a very gentle man, and a careful driver. I don't find him as expereinced as Putu in the history/culture sense, but he is a very nice man, and will go out of the way to find out which temple has a ceremony and bring you there - even the type of things that I want to see in the ceremony. e.g. I wanted to watch a procession and some other people in my group wanted to watch a cockfight (which is actually banned - very difficult to find; only certain temples have it now, under the surveillance of some policemen), so Nyoman had to find a temple which had both."

My plug for Nyoman is as follows:

For transport from the airport in Denpassar, or for tours outside of Ubud itself, you may wish to arrange your ride in advance by contacting my favourite driver "Nyoman Rusma" of "meta sari transport" (you call him "nyo/man"). He lives with his family in Ubud and is also a painter (artist). He won't try to sell you any paintings though, or even show them unless you ask him to. If you do, you may have the chance to catch a glimpse of local Balinese life in the process and meet some his very charming young children. You can contact Nyoman direct ((tel 081 2361 0391 fax 62-361-975073) or you may make arrangements through my favourite local resort, the Ulun Ubud, if you choose to stay there (info@ulunubud.com or ulunubud@dps.centrin.net.id).

With Nyoman Rusma, you will get a driver who speaks relatively good English, is very polite and respectful, as quiet or as chatty as you want to be, an immaculately clean vehicle with good fully adjustable a/c and a good view -- you ride high up -- he drives a sort of mini SUV -- and you get a good smooth ride. He will have a cooler with compentary soft drinks and bottled water on ice for you too.

You may want to DO THIS TOUR. Hire Nyoman for a one day private tour. Leave Ubud at 8:30 a.m. Drive through one of the adjoining river ravines to the rice fields. Continue on to the "Water Temple". Bring your camera. To enter a temple you must be conservatively dressed (no halter tops or short skirts but bare shoulders may be ok). Observe the president's palatial residence on the hill overlooking the temple. Continue on to a private stand to sample various fruits, coffee, tea, and cocoa. All at no charge (but offer them something and buy if you like what you sampled.) Continue on to Lake Batur lookout (admission or road toll is IDR10,000-15,000). Take your camera. There are restaurants serving buffet meals but if you can, hold off on lunch until you get to Manggis (site of Amankila Resort). Ask Nyoman if he will kindly drive the next hour to Amankila on the east coast for lunch. This may be the best resort in Bali. On the way, note the distinctive double outrigger fishing boats and the black sand beaches. Get out and check it out if you'd like. At Amankila, note that rooms start at US$850. and end at US$2,600 per night. At Amankila, eat lunch (at only US$8.50 to US$12. per person!). If you want familiar food, try the Quesedilas US$8.50). Offer to feed your driver. Bring your camera. Ask to see a room with a pool. Then be sorry you did, because you will want to stay here. Check your wallet to see if you have the US$2,600 to spare and then continue on back to Ubud arriving at about 4:00 p.m. If you see anything along the way, ask your driver to stop.

Hope this is of some help.

New Zealand
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8. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

ROB1.

It was not me who hired the driver from the airport it was the aussie girls in the room beside ours. We got a full tour which ended up being dearer than the girls one and they saw everything that we did.

And for you information, females are NOT allowed bare showereds when entering/visiting temples.

Aimee

London
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9. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

Thanks again everyone for all your replies.

I must admit that $50 per day seems to be a good living for them, as it's quite a bit for me too!

Toronto, Canada
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1,360 posts
35 reviews
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10. Re: Hiring a driver in Bali

pgd2000,

The average family in Bali lives on less than US$2. per day. So US$50 sounds like a lot there.

But...

For details on the recent fuel price increase, see:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294226-i7220-k294…

Essentially, the price of auto gas went from IDR2,400 to IDR4,500 which at US$0.45 may sound cheap to you but, if you calculate the following:

Average cost of fuel for a fuel efficient mini-van in Bali = 10 litres per hour or IDR45,000. In an eight to ten hour day your driver will use on average IDR225,000 based on driving about half of the time. Some days will be more driving and some will be less.

Your driver's mini-van cost him IDR35,000,000 to IDR700,000,000 which he pays over time at a rate of IDR100,000 to IDR150,000 per day.

So his average profit when hired for a full day at US$50. is 500,000-375,000 or IDR125,000. Making US$12.50 a day certainly will be supplemented by his wife's income, assuming she is working.

And it sure beats the average of US$2. per day.

But...

Your driver doesn't work every day (would you want a driver who drives 10 hours a day 7 days a week?) and every day he works is not a full day. Those days the vehicle isn't running or running at less that optimum use (half day rental for example) and he still has to pay IDR100,000 to IDR150,000. per day in car payments. So not working costs him US$10. to US$15. in car payments just to have the vehicle sitting there.

And then there is maintenance, and repairs...

For a true measure of value, try pricing a car rental in Bali (no driver and no fuel) and do the comparison.

Or try pricing a package tour where you get on a bus with 40 other people, go on the tour company's schedule, and go only where there are large crowds (in part because you bring the crowd with you.) And learn nothing about the local culture directly through interacting with your driver, his family, and people that he knows.

US$50. is a bargain.