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How far in advance to book a driver?

Atlanta, Georgia
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33 posts
24 reviews
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How far in advance to book a driver?

I've seen postings on various driver recommendations on this board. How far in advance should we book a driver and do we have to be specific on the times / days / locations we want to go when reserving? Or can we just say we want a driver certain days, and give a list of all locations we'd like to visit over those days and let them design the tours?

We will be in Ubud for 5 nights and in seminyak area 5 nights. Are there better places to tour from Seminyak versus Ubud (i.e., Tanah Lot).

We'd also like to do the Kecak one night and dinner at Bembu Bali, would that be best done from Seminyak?

Any feedback is appreciated! We are heading to Bali in late May.

Thanks!

Andrea in Atlanta

Asia
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4,187 posts
68 reviews
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1. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

Hi,

If you want to be safe, you should book a driver in advance and yes, you should have specific dates as these drivers will block off those dates for you.

You can either decide where you want to go and ask the driver to take you there or leave it up to them.

If you have beeen to Bali before, you can actually just get a driver from teh street - especially if you know what you want and where you wanna go. There are many of them who would want to be hired and who also need the money.

Having said that, those on the forum are also very good - and obviously get more business that the regular guy off the street. The ones recommended on the forum will have things like baby seats, drinks, etc....

The nicest Kecak dance (in my opinion) is the one at Uluwatu. Go to the temple for the sunset and watch the dance there after that, with the setting sun as your backdrop and yes, you can probably head to Bumbu Bali after that for dinner - though it would be a pretty late dinner - not sure what time you have dinner in Atlanta...it might be considered early for Spanish standards! ;-P

Vero Beach, Florida
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351 posts
163 reviews
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2. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

You should get in touch with a driver way in advance. Communications is not the easiest thing in Bali. And as far as a driver - do not hire one off the street. The price may be smaller but many are not tour/guide drivers. They pick you up and drop you off and point. Hire someone who knows about Bali. We have used Merta on both our trips and will use him this February when we go back for our 3rd trip. Honest, trustworthy, very knowledgeable and reasonable. Also if your hotel is not picking you up at the airport you may want your hired driver to do that also.

mertagct@telkom.net

(62)981 337 377 925

You probably do not have to be specific on dates, , but you may want to specify at least the first one and then plan the rest when you get there. Give a rought idea, "we are looking to go on 3/4 tours but would like to discuss them when we get there"

Have a great trip, I know we do when we go. John

UK
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1 post
6 reviews
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3. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

Hi Andrea,

I was in Bali for 6 days back in September 2007 and one of the highlights of my driver, Herry.

Herry (+6281 933 030 185) is part of Dean's team of Drivers of Distinction and I have to say doesn't disappoint. On my arrival, Herry was at the airport waiting to pick me up. Was off towards Tanah Lot within an hour of landing!

He's very professional, speaks fairly good English and is both a driver and tour guide. He drives safely (the airconditioning on his Toyota Kijang is fantasic) and takes pride in keeping his vehicle in good shape.

He also takes the time to find out what you want. During the trip, he offered multiple times to take pictures for me and my wife. We were very impressed with his local knowledge, as well as his advice on the do's & don'ts of buying souveniers. And when we were suffering from the heat, he's always ready with a few bottles of chilled water/coke all inclusive.

Having said that, not booking early enough was another mistake I made because Herry was not available for the other days I wanted. Because of this I got stuck with a driver who for the exact same price (this guy wanted more initially) was well...only a driver. He just drove us to where we wanted and slept in the car while we were out exploring. I had to get my own stick to keep the monkeys away at Uluwatu temple! I really missed Herry's commentary.

While I am sure there are many good drivers out there, it definitely pays to get in touch with them early.

Have a great trip!

Perth, Australia
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266 posts
16 reviews
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4. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

HI we just returned 2 days ago and the drivers were one of our main issues. We did actually book one from home before we left to pick us all up from airport and told him we had planned lots of trips which we would discuss on arrival, but unfortunately although he was very nice his van was old, with worn out seats and uncomfortable, so kids were all moaning and were not happy to have him again.

I spent months on here and the 'other' forum researching drivers and while everyone is very diligent about giving opinions on the drivers themselves and how good their english is etc... I did not find many references to anyones cars and/or conditions of them. This really is an important factor as most day trips take several hours and so your comfort is a factor both under your butt and the A/C. Obviously having someone attend your every need is great bonus too.

We did eventually find two other drivers that we alternated who had bigger size newish vans that accommodated us all better and we got one from front of hotel and other from outside Pappa's resturant we went to one night. Neither of them gave us water or any special treatment but they were nice chatty and friendly and resonable english. As someone told me on the forums(when i was in a panic 5 days before we left as I had not booked anyone) there are lots of drivers about, you will be asked everytime you leave your hotel !!! and you will use plenty to get about just for dinner etc, so if you dont use ones from the forum and you like one you have found on street then ask for their business card and at least have their names as a back up for if your regular person is busy, or ask other hotel patrons to suggest someone although we didnt speak to any other hotel people in 15 days - and no we are not unfriendly, just werent many about and no one ever said Hi!!.

When it came to booking things with drivers i was glad i didnt in some respects as being January we had lots of really rainy days and did not want to have planned some trips for those sorts of days so to be able to decide each day or evening before what to do was better for us and one driver was happy to be rung as late as 10pm for our decision.

If your travelling in middle of year then factoring in weather wont be an issue for you.

My best advice... book someone recommended off forum as they must be good but ask about their car first.

Austin, Texas
7 posts
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5. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

Sooner is better !! you may know what you are going to pay for your tours or transfers. And if the driver knows bali very well, he will recommend you good tours and also good activities to do with very good deals of course. You may ask my best driver in bali, just email him at arsana_balidriver@yahoo.com He knows everything in bali, and he will save a lot of your holiday budget.

Good luck.

Sydney Australia
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220 posts
17 reviews
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6. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

Booking ahead is best of course, and even if your preferred driver is booked when you try, if you don't have one, you should try again when in Bali as often there are last-minute cancellations. So bring your numbers with you.

The driver I always use, and I do always book well in advance, is Eddy Kus www.myspace.com/baliexplore findkus_usa@yahoo.com He charges around 150,000 airport pickup to Ubud, about 200,000 half day and 350,000 full day and he has a new 7 or 8 seater car. But you should email or a quote.

I highly recommend him as he is a nice, honest and knowledgeable guide, and he has had many tripadvisor people as customers. I think he had one negative posting when he doublebooked a year or so ago, but now is very careful with his bookings. He is the one who told me that people who book still cancel at the last minute, usually because of change of plans, and sometimes due to cancelled trips.

Atlanta, Georgia
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33 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

Thanks for the info! I did hear there was a driver info page on Trip Advisor for Bali, how do I find that? Are there any particular Ubud area drivers that are highly recommended. Yes, we definitely want a newer car with good A/C and a driver that will help guide us as far as itineraries. We like the slightly off the beaten path stuff combined with the major sites, but definitely not someone who'll guide us to spots where folks will try to sell us stuff left and right.

A good honest driver is a key point on a vacation in my book, and I hope I'll be on this board after we return highly recommending whoever we use!

Andrea in Atlanta

Asia
Level Contributor
4,187 posts
68 reviews
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8. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

Hi,

Here is the link:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294226-s1/Bali:Indon…

Safe travels!

9. Re: How far in advance to book a driver?

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