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Bali - recommendations for car and driver?


Oct 30th, 2011, 06:01 PM
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Bali - recommendations for car and driver?

Hi, just booked a 6-day holiday post-New Year's in Bali. We are staying at the Conrad in Nusa Dua. We were looking to do a couple of full-day and maybe one half-day tour while we are there and want to do some independent sightseeing the rest of the time. My question is - has anyone used a local travel agent they can recommend for the tours, and do they offer a car and driver service we can use on the days we are not doing tours?

I did a quick Google search. Saw an agency called Nak Bali - are they good? Or does anyone have experience with any other agencies that are good? Please do pass along any and all suggestions.

Thanks much!
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Oct 30th, 2011, 10:56 PM
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There are literally hundreds if not thousands of drivers with good cars that can take you on any independent trips you want. Cheapest will be to just ask one of the drivers you meet (maybe the one who picks you up at the airport) If you want to go with a travel agency you can ask the hotel to organize it for you (but will ++ service charge added on and it will be more expensive than booking a freelancer. One of the most reputable agencies is the Bali Discovery site http://www.balidiscovery.com/transfer/charter.asp Although I haven't ever booked a "tour" since I live in Bali, I do occasionally book hotels thru them. The owner is a long time Bali resident from America who is also very well respected locally.

You might also think about doing at least one night in Ubud if you are interested in the countryside and it's also more centrally located for day tours. It will save you at least an hour and a half each way.
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Oct 31st, 2011, 08:54 PM
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Several of us on this forum have hired Putu Arnawa (and his car). You might find his contact info here by searching for his name. Or google it.

Putu apparently has gotten married. Here are several "pre-wedding" photos on a few pages:
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Oct 31st, 2011, 09:17 PM
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putu got married about 2 years ago..
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Nov 8th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Just returned from Bali a couple of weeks ago and found an excellent driver. Made (mah-day) Wijaya has a nice car, speaks excellent English and was a delightful guide. We'd started our two week vacation in Sanur and needed someone to take us to the remote NW corner of the island near Pemuteran. Made drove us there, stopping along the way to see the sights and never took us anywhere where we might have to buy anything. Cost to hire him all day was US$45.. and he paid tolls and parking charges along the way. We then hired him at the same rate for returning us from Pemuteran to Ubud. Getting us to the airport after Ubud was cheaper. I can highly recommend Made. Tell him you heard of him through Rick from California. Contact him via email: He also has a cell phone but I'll let him give you the number.
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Nov 11th, 2011, 09:32 AM
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I should add as for a guide/driver with van we paid 650,000 (~$75 for 10 hours) IDR the first week of Sept. We used a fellow named Putu who is on this thread. He also goes by the name Balifriend. He is very knowledgeable having been guiding for 17 years. If you chose to contact him you have to make it clear that that you want him and not his cousin who is just learning. Also his cousins car has a poor A/C system. But Putu's car is in fine shape. He can be quiet at times but will always answer your questions completely. I would give him an A-.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 09:39 AM
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Dewa Marco [email protected] or [email protected]
His web site is: http://discoverbalitour.com/
I can't say enough about him. He was completely flexible and accommodated our wishes & preferences, was punctual, friendly, reasonable and completely dedicated to our sightseeing pleasure.
Here are some reviews: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/asia/...dations-3.html

Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
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Jan 10th, 2012, 03:42 AM
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Thanks everyone. We actually went through this travel agency called Natan Bali that a friend recommended and had a wonderful experience. They have new cars and very reliable drivers. Although the drivers don't speak much English, they always have a guide accompanying the driver who speaks good English. They were fabulous - they picked us up at the airport, on subsequent days, we had three full day tours and one half day tour, and two additional free days for sightseeing and shopping on our own, and on the last morning they dropped us off at the airport. They were super reliable and always punctual, took care of all admission fees and tolls, etc. and overall could not have been nicer or more helpful. Our guide was Bakti who was an absolute doll and had the patience of a saint, putting up with all our whims! It's also very affordable if you wanted to keep them on in the evenings if you had dinner plans, just pay the overtime rate. Highly recommended!
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Jan 10th, 2012, 09:19 AM
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We didn't hire a driver/car until we get there. There were so many of them hanging out in front of our hotel where we negotiated and got one who spoke very good English too.
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Jan 11th, 2012, 01:48 AM
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I HIGHLY recommed Wayan -- [email protected]

He was our driver for about a week in Bali, and is the sweetest man and great driver. He actually helped re-arrange our itinerary to maximize our time after I gave him a list of the things/places I wanted to see.

I actually got his contact from someone on the Fodor's forum who had also hired him.

Case in point: my friend and I got food poisoning a few days before our departure from Bali. We were supposed to hike up Mount Agung, and were in no condition to do much of anything, so after we recovered a bit (and still didn't want to do anything at all) Wayan actually took us for some easygoing activities--to art galleries, craft markets, and to his house in Ubud to show us around.

We met his family, his wife (who teaches Balinese dance), dressed us up in traditional Balinese dance outfits, and we had a blast just hanging with the locals. It was a total random afternoon, but we were thankful he could just string together a really enjoyable, easy afternoon, because we just felt like utter horror after our bout of sickness.
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Jan 11th, 2012, 02:00 AM
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Oh, and also, from what I remember, Wayan cost about $45/day (I think that's pretty average for a good driver in Bali). He's very well informed, speaks English fluently, and is overall a great driver--made my trip to Bali seamless.
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Jan 11th, 2012, 02:13 AM
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sorry, his name is actually MADE. i forgot--his wife is named Wayan (and I believe they share that email)
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Feb 12th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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"Case in point: my friend and I got food poisoning a few days before our departure from Bali." You probably contracted Bali Belly!

Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
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May 30th, 2013, 06:48 PM
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I prefer to use a driver so the tour is more flexible.

n 2012 and recently this April/May 2013, I used Ketut Suwendra from Discover Bali Driver (www.discoverbalidriver.blogspot.com or www.iketutsuwendra.blogspot.com and email [email protected] & by phone number 08179781331 local here, +628179781331 overseas).

I have used him many times and each proved to be the right choice. I find Ketut to be a very safe driver who is professional, patient and punctual.

First time in Bali in 2012, I actually got him through his brother, Made, which indicates he is trustworthy. Ketut took us around Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, then to the Kecak Dance in Uluwatu, at his recommendation. It was stunning! We were very late getting back but Ketut remained flexible amiably. My son had fallen asleep at lunch and Ketut babysat him while we grabbed lunch.

On a second excursion, both Made and Ketut were booked so I tried another company. It was then I realised the difference in service. The other driver was preoccupied with the next day's itinerary and kept checking his sms! I was so nervous that I couldn't nod off despite being tired.

When I planned this 2013 trip, I made sure I booked Ketut once my itinerary was sorted. I wanted to stay in Lovina so used the trips to and fro for sight-seeing. On the journey there I wanted to include the Munduk drive as I had read it was scenic. I was indeed relieved it was Ketut driving as that route is steep with fish-hook turns all the way. It was also raining. Ketut concentrated hard and was extra cautious.

On route he also recommended a stop at Coffee Break in Bedugul which was more than a coffee tasting place. It was educational and had other herbs labelled in the garden. We found that really interesting and wouldn't have bothered to include if not for Ketut.

He chose a scenic spot to stop for lunch as he had picked up by then that I am camera-happy. We got some of the best pics of Lake Bratan without having to pay fees. The warung was well located and reasonably priced.

Ketut is not one to pour out tourist info like a textbook but he listens well as we chat and intuitively makes suggestions along the way. I prefer to chat about life in Bali, his family, etc and read up the tourist info online! He is informative no doubt about local info that you can't find online. I prioritised safety over info-overload, as is often the case with tourist guides.

On our return journey, Ketut was well prepared and punctual. He took us to Gitgit and to the falls appropriate for our kids. He also knew my fascination with padi fields! That stop offered more than the falls.

I wanted to go to Jatihluwih and explained my disappointment with Tegalalang on last year's second excursion with other driver. Tegallang was so commercialised and packed that it was hard to get pics without ppl in the background. He asked if I would like to have the Jatihluwih views without the crowd and fees. I went with his suggestion and it proved amazing. We had views, food and a manicured garden to photograph. There was also a bale set up with a tinglik that my boys played on later.

At another coffee tasting place, Ketut explained it was a good one for price though it didn't provide an educational tour.

All through, Ketut would always offer choices for meal breaks - price, setting, taste - instead of taking us where he gets the highest commission.

We used Ketut again in the city. When he realised we were just using him as an expensive taxi service, he told us the taxi fare equivalent to save us money. Even when we wanted to tip him, he discounted the tip and said the half day fare was sufficient!

When we wanted to go on a date, my husband booked Ketut straightaway to take our boys on a tour of their own.Yes, he can be trusted to that extent. Ketut took them all round on a cultural tour and to the night zoo. My husband left him with a wad of AUDs but Ketut was so careful with what he spend, and how he accounted for the expenditure, that we were amazed. He never once took advantage of the responsibility he was laden with. My sons keep stating that day with Ketut as their best day in Bali.

The other aspects of Ketut is his punctuality and professionalism. He rings up your accommodation on his own volition, to check location, etc.

Ketut now has a nicer, larger car with great suspension so it is more comfy than the smaller cars for hire.

Lastly, Ketut is unassuming which may explain why this site has no review yet. We would not hesitate to recommend him and will certainly book him again in Bali. We consider Ketut to be family and friend now. I'm happy to help with any other detail you may have.
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Nov 13th, 2013, 06:37 PM
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I am a female solo traveller. I know how important safety is for travelers, especially those traveling alone. With my wonderful experience with Buda, I felt I should share his contact information with everyone looking for a Bali driver.

Rather than hiring a hotel driver for a day for US $80, I located an excellent driver from a TripAdvisor referral - Buda. He only charges 500,000 RP a day (about US $43) for 10 hours!! He drives a nice 7 passenger van with air conditioned. He was honest, punctual and courteous. I also found out he used to work at the 5 stars Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa. No wonder he treats his customers so well.

What makes Buda so special, he definitely goes above & beyond.
- He is flexible with his personal schedule just to be available for his customers. He drove all the way from his village on Galungan Day just so he could take his customers to the airport.

- He willingly stayed late so he could take me back to the hotel safely - after I watched the sunset and had dinner on Jimbaran beach.
- He doesn't rush and cut through traffic like some other drivers I found in Bali.
- I told him I was Herpetophobia (fear of reptiles). He stayed close by, yet giving me room to wander, making sure I didn't get attack by any forest monkeys or reptiles.

My solo trip in Bali was amazing - thanks to Buda for keeping me safe my entire time there. I hope to go back to Bali one day and I know to reserve him for the whole week next time!

If you get to meet him, please forward my hello from San Diego to him & his family.

Buda Bali Tour
email: [email protected]
Phone : +62 81 9999 64379
+62 821 4571 0559
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Nov 28th, 2013, 08:19 PM
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Bookmarking, thank you!
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Dec 29th, 2013, 08:15 PM
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We just had eight wonderful days in Bali. Based on gkwan1998's recommendation above, I contacted Buda. All she says is true. I was a bit hesitant at first because she has no track record on these forums but decided to give it a try. So glad that I did.

We had three wonderful days with Buda. He was very punctual, answered all emails promptly, was always on time, polite and nice. Buda knows all major and minor roads in Bali. We were able to avoid traffic jams a few times because he knew alternative ways of getting to the destination ( can't say the same about another driver). His rate is very competitive. My kids liked him very much, too. I wholeheartedly recommend Buda and would hire him myself again.

His contact information above is up to date.
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