Stuck in never-ending Bali traffic? Sitting next to live chickens in a Bemo bus? Tired of getting into taxis without taximeters? Never operated a scooter in your life? Getting around Bali can be frustrating, and if you don’t have a plan before you get there you could end up wasting a lot of time trying to figure it out.
You’ll likely have to use several methods to get around efficiently. If you’re traveling on a budget or if you’re an adventure junkie like me, this one’s for you! I stumbled upon the service while talking to the staff at our hotel in Jimbaran. My friend and I had already taken taxis, hired drivers and walked everywhere. We were ready to try something different and much faster.
GO-JEK is an Indonesian mobile application that provides cheap transportation services on motorbikes. The GO-JEK app allows you to order a motorbike taxi by entering your location and destination. The app will tell you how much you’ll pay the driver and send you updates on the driver’s location and arrival. No negotiations, no hassle, no bargaining!
Ok… being on the back of a motorbike isn’t very luxurious, but it’s faster than a car, maneuvers very well around traffic, saves you time and money, and most of all it’s so much fun! Using this service, we got from Jimbaran to Uluwatu (a 17 KM trip) for around 34,000 IDR. That’s $2.50 USD! The same trip with a taxi would have cost us $15-$20 USD.
Getting around Bali in a car just wasn’t as exciting. By choosing to ride with GO-JEK, we experienced the island in an adventurous and scenic way. Here are some things to expect when choosing GO-JEK and tips on how to prepare ahead of time.
What To Expect When Riding GO-JEK?
- Rain: You can’t control the weather, but your GO-JEK driver should give you a rain poncho if it rains. If he doesn’t have an extra one on him, buy a plastic one at a market to have on you ahead of time.
- Dust & Fumes: It’s everywhere, and when you’re whipping away on a motorbike you’ll definitely need protection. I strongly suggest wearing the helmet and surgical mask that your driver gives you. The helmets come with plastic drop down visors to protect your
eyes from the dust, but if you prefer not using the visor, make sure you have sunglasses with you to protect your eyes. Wearing the mask will also protect your nose and mouth from breathing in all the fumes.
- One Passenger Policy: If you’re traveling in pairs, you’ll have to order 2 GO-JEKs. You cannot have more than two people on a bike. It won’t make sense to you when you see 4 person families on a single bike, but that obviously doesn’t apply to us tourists. Ask your drivers to follow one another when riding to make things simpler. You may lose each other at some point, but the drivers know your destination so don’t worry because you’ll meet up again with your travel partner on arrival.
- Danger: This is a given. It’s far more dangerous to ride on a motorbike than to get around in a vehicle. Stay calm, GO-JEK promotes safety as part of their service. GO-JEK drivers are pre-screened and rated by their customers. From my experience, all the drivers that we got respected the rules of the road. Do other tourists a favour by rating your driver on the app according to your experience.
- Service Limitations: In more remote areas, you’ll be limited by the number of drivers in the vicinity. If you’re spending the day in Uluwatu or Tegalalang, you’ll probably have little luck finding a driver. In this case, you’ll have to get to a more urban area from where you can order your GO-JEK. Do your research ahead of time to decide where you may have limitations and be ready to make alternative transportation plans.
- Cell Service & Wi-Fi: Before you can start using the mobile app, you have to enter an Indonesian mobile number. You also have to have data plan or be connected to wi-fi to order and manage your trips. You shouldn’t have any problems connecting to wi-fi except in remote areas. I strongly suggest purchasing a pre-paid Sim Card to get access to a mobile number during your trip. You can get a sim card with Sim Jek , an inexpensive and convenient service that allows you to buy a card online and pick it up at the airport or at your hotel.
From my experience, GO-JEK is a great alternative to traditional methods of transportation. It’s cheap, fast and allows tourists to experience the atmosphere of Bali in an incredibly exciting way. I’ll definitely be riding GO-JEK again when I’m back on the island. Will you?
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