There is only one airport in Bali, the Ngurah Rai Airport, which is located just south of Kuta, but it is usually referred to as Denpasar. The domestic and international terminals are just a few hundred meters apart. Although Jakarta is the national capital and gateway airport to Indonesia, there are a number of direct international flights to Denpasar. You can fly to Jakarta and choose between traveling overland through Java to Bali or via a domestic flight to Denpasar.
You have a choice of flying to Jakarta, traveling overland through Java to Bali or via a transfer to a domestic flight to Denpasar. Flights to Bali from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport are frequent and you can generally make an ongoing connection if you arrive in Jakarta before 5 p.m. The 80-minute flight allows you to gape in awe at the spectacular view of several volcanoes through the windows.
Taxi services are accessible from the airport. Fixed rates for air-conditioned and non-airconditioned cars will be displayed at the counter while payments are made at the desk and a coupon will then be handed to you to be surrendered to the driver. It is worth noting that you can only share a prepaid airport taxi with those who are heading for the same destination, as drop-offs along the way are not be allowed. Ignore and refuse offers from informal 'guides' who may be loitering within the airport. To save on fares, you can also walk out to the main road, which is about one kilometer away, and hail a local bemo to Denpasar. There are also 'wild taxis' in the parking lot, which will take you to your terminus for a bit less than the airport taxis, although bargaining is a must.
From Jakarta, Bandung or Yogyakarta, travel first to Surabaya's Gubeng Station. A first-class train, Mutiara Utara, connects Jakarta with Surabaya everyday. This train departs from Jakarta's Kota Station in the late afternoon and arrives in Surabaya early the next morning. From Surabaya, you can choose between two daily departures from Gubeng Station for the 8-hour trip on the Mutiara Timur, a non-airconditioned train headed for Banyuwangi, and later catch the ferry to Bali. A bus will then take you across the straits on the ferry and over to Denpasar.
It is true that you cannot actually travel to and from Bali by bus, but there are plenty of buses that link Bali with the rest of Indonesia by using the public ferry - the cost of which is included in the bus fare. With improved roads, the bis malam or night bus from Java to Bali is now faster than the train, although one cannot deny its dangers. There are air-conditioned buses from Surabaya to Denpasar, which take about 10 to 12 hours, and from Yogya to Denpasar, which is a 15 to16 hour trip. Most Indonesians travel this way, but you must be prepared to tolerate cigarette smoke and noise. Non-smoking buses are not available and the volume of videos are usually at their highest. Be sure to specify air-conditioned to avoid inhaling the noxious fumes spewed out by trucks and buses. Look up the Lorena buses, which are suppose to be the best in Bali; it will cost you a little more but deluxe services and a toilet is included. Buses usually depart from Jakarta at 9 a.m., 1.30 p.m. or 2 p.m. and arrive in Denpasar 24 hours later.
Cars are up for rent in Java and can be driven to Bali. However, the cost will be as much as hiring both chauffeur and car, and there is always the hassle of returning the car. Drive to Banyuwangi in East Java first and then take the ferry over to Bali.
There are ferries traveling between Gilimanuk in west Bali and Ketapang in Java every 15 to 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. The actual crossing takes under 30 minutes. From Ketapang, bemos do travel to the terminal, where buses leave for Baluran, Probolingo, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta. A train station near the ferry port will enable you to go to Probolingo, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.
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