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How does this driver setup work?

Vancouver, Canada
5 posts
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How does this driver setup work?

Hi Guys,

I've been reading more and more things about getting around Bali and I guess hiring a driver is the way to go. Now when i first saw postings about drivers i just assumed it was an alternative to finding a taxi, and was a one time thing and you could try and call them again the next day to see if they were available for driving in the region you happen to be in. However after digging a bit deeper it seems like people hire these drives practically full time for the duration of their stay and some will take you all over the island?

Can anyone give me a break down of how an arrangement with a driver typically works?


Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
669 posts
22 reviews
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1. Re: How does this driver setup work?

We met our driver on our first trip to Bali 2 years ago and used him for all of our 'touring' trips that year.

When we returned to Bali last year we emailed Nyomen in advance and organised another couple of days with him as our guide.

A lot of people end up with their driver through word of mouth and then 9 times out of 10 keep them for 'life' - as you will learn most of us go back year after year.

Any trip that is not within the tourist strip as I like to call it lol, you use your driver.

They are pretty reasonable considering the experiences they can give you, the distance (in time) that they travel & the time that they spend with you on a given day.

We usually book our driver for a full day which is around AU$50-AU$60 for a full day - being around 8 hours, but a lot can be covered in that time.

We have also become friends with our driver and invite him to share a meal with us (lunch) with me paying for it. Some people may not choose to do this, but I find it near impossible to sit and enjoy a lovely meal that our driver has taken the time to find for us knowing that he is sitting outside waiting....... We have event been lucky enough to share a meal with Nyoman and his lovely family at his family compound...

You can google Bali drivers and a massive list will come up.

Everyone will have their favourite, and it will end up being a choice that makes or breaks your holiday.

The DEFINITE is to make sure that your driver is licenced to carry tourists... otherwise you can end up with a fine with the polisi if pulled up.

If you want our drivers email address, drop me a private message and I will send his details back to you

good luck with your search for your perfect driver :)

Bali, Indonesia
Destination Expert
for Ubud, Pemuteran, Yogyakarta
Level Contributor
10,459 posts
104 reviews
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2. Re: How does this driver setup work?

Your first impression was correct., You can just hire a driver for whatever you need..short hops, half day trips, full day trips, whatever...and yes it's an alternative to hiring a taxi but with the added benefit that they are more customer oriented and usually more communicative!

Some people form a bond with a certain driver and use them frequently,, or do not know of alternatives so only use one driver. I have a car myself but use freelance drivers and call people from my list and whoever is available I hire on the spot. for right away or for tomorrow...

In Ubud and outside of the southern beach areas there are no metered taxis btw

Level Contributor
2,539 posts
99 reviews
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3. Re: How does this driver setup work?

Yes, pretty much what Kiajas says. In most of the main tourist places there are loads of guys on the street yelling 'transport?' as you walk past who you can book for sightseeing trips around the island. Outside of the resorts of the south, there isn't much in the way of taxis or public transport and the private drivers usually have a better car, more comfortable for longer journeys.

If you don't have a driver booked in advance, you can easily get someone on the street (plus any hotel will be able to organise it for you). But you'll need to negotiate prices etc in advance and you should double check that their car is decent and that the driver is licensed to drive tourists. Drivers who are official licensed guides are another step up. These ones can accompany you into temples and so on. The ones who are only licensed to drive, have to wait outside. Payment is usually in cash at the end of the day. It's entirely up to you whether you invite them to lunch with you or not, but if you do, you should pay.

Like Kiajas, I prefer to book my regular guy in advance. Once you find a good one, you might as well stick with them. If you're going to spend 8-10 hours in a car with someone it's preferable if they speak English and is someone you trust, and who is keen to do what you want them to do and help with suggestions that are of benefit to you, not them. Some drivers have been known to lead their unwary first-time Bali guests to expensive shops and restaurants where they get commission for bringing in business. And some might not know the more remote areas as well as others.

The good ones get snapped up quickly so it's worth trying to book them in advance. You're welcome to PM me too if you want the details of my guy.

I believe the 'official' TA driver's list was taken down some time ago.

Destination Expert
for Bali, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Tuban, Ubud
Level Contributor
13,960 posts
317 reviews
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4. Re: How does this driver setup work?

You won't need to book a driver full time unless you wish to do day trips every day which is unlikely as time to rest, relax and walk around is all part of a good holiday.

Use a driver for half / full day trips and rely on taxis for the times you simply want a short transfer. Taxis are everywhere so too are drivers. You will be offered 'transport' everywhere in Bali.

There are also recommended drivers that you can e mail ahead of your trip and they will help you plan your day trips.

Maitland, Australia
Level Contributor
610 posts
57 reviews
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5. Re: How does this driver setup work?

Hi. How do you know if they are licensed to drive tourist or not and also how do you know if they are just a driver or a guide as well? Thanks Sam

Level Contributor
2,539 posts
99 reviews
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6. Re: How does this driver setup work?

You can tell by the number plate. But it never hurts to ask them straight out to show you their documents, it's in your interests after all.

There is a useful thread here:


7. Re: How does this driver setup work?

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