Bali Bemo Guide

The Cheapest Way to Get Around Bali island

Here we’ll show you how to ride a bemo in Bali. These regulated public minivans are a shuttle service for villagers, farmers and market sellers. Despite struggles against advancements in local transportation and traffic conditions, including the new Sarbagita public bus services, bemos still roam both rural and urban streets today.

As one of the cheapest modes of transport on the island, bemos are a reasonable choice for budget travellers and backpackers, particularly the bold and adventurous type looking for a unique sensation on their Bali holiday. However, there are limitations. Let us provide you with some valuable tips and practicalities, and what you need to know on riding a bemo in Bali.

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How it Works

Hitching a ride in a Bemo can be fun, especially if you’re backpacking to rural areas outside the popular beach resorts and looking for a local experience. You might share your ride with locals, such as women coming back from the market with their groceries, farmers carrying some of their harvests, and sometimes schoolkids. However, Bemos don't roam the streets 24/7 and you may even find it hard to spot one.

The nearest terminal to Kuta is Ubung in Denpasar, where you’ll certainly find one waiting for passengers. Simply, ask the driver or determine the route that’s usually printed on the front of their windshields or doors, and deal a price. Then, the driver will usually only go when the seats are full – unless you managed to get a Bemo that’s amid dropping passengers along the way.

Yellow Kei Truck Bemos

The most common are either painted yellow or light orange, modified Suzuki kei trucks or ‘microvans’ with their cabins cleared and maximised to make room for bench style passenger seats. These were the main bemos that ruled the rural areas. A larger capacity bemo comes in the form of Isuzu Elf medium duty trucks, cabins also modified, exteriors in navy blue and sometimes bearing savvy airbrushed artwork by their owners.

Feeder Bemos

The small yellow kei truck bemo was the dominant public transport until the early 90s. Their numbers largely decreased following the rise of private vehicle (motorcycle) ownership among locals, and their conversion into feeder shuttles serving the state-owned Trans Sarbagita bus services that launched in 2011. ‘Sarbagita’ is acronym for Bali’s south regencies: Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan, which the bus majorly serves.

Some yellow bemos still operate apart from their newer feeder duties, but are quite hard to find if you’re on a rush – you’ll need to go further into rural areas to find one, or around town by chance. They’re great for short distance trips, but not for longer journeys, as you need to switch cars and eventually pay multiple fares. You’ll also share the cramped ride with market sellers who bring with them baskets of produce: flowers, fruits, and even chickens.

Komotra Buses

A specific type of bemo serving Kuta Beach is the Bus Komotra, akin to the Isuzu Elf bemos, but with open cabin walls and front facing passenger seats for up to 20 persons. Their paintworks are flashier, heavily airbrushed with surfers on waves, sunsets, beach palms and other touristy themes. These ‘buses’ pool at the Kuta Central Park (Sentral Parkir Kuta) and take passengers to contiguous beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Simply hop on one.

Trans Sarbagita

Feeder bemos take you from rural areas to designated Sarbagita bus stops for free, which are at roadsides throughout the mentioned regencies. Buses are clean and take up to 35 passengers. Trans Sarbagita serves three main ‘corridors’: Nusa Dua-Batubulan, Denpasar-Jimbaran and Tabanan through Ngurah Rai International Airport. Buses operate between 05:00 and 21:00 daily.

How Much On Average?

  • Bemos: IDR 5,000 to 15,000 per trip.
  • Komotra buses: IDR 60,000.
  • Feeder bemos: Free.
  • Trans Sarbagita: IDR 5,000 per bus stop.

Bemo Tips and Advice

Bemos aren’t metered; short trips are mostly within their designated routes. Most times, prices are negotiable. Simply state your desired destination up front and work on an agreeable and reasonable price. Naturally, drivers ask for higher prices for foreigners. They’ll only go when their cabins are full, but perhaps a nudge in price can speed things up.

Locals commonly charter bemos for longer trips such as temple pilgrimages, therefore beware of drivers who think you want to charter their cars instead of just single trips (might cost you more than a metered taxi). They’re also not air-conditioned (Sarbagita buses are). All bemos have yellow number plates (designated for public transport), so beware of rogues.

Where and How to Find Them

Simply flag a bemo down just like you would a taxi; usually they’ll veer and stop abruptly, so be considerate of traffic situation.

The main bemo terminal is in north Denpasar, referred to as Terminal Ubung, which serves northwest and central Bali such as Tanah Lot, Bedugul and Tabanan.

Terminal Ubung

The main bemo terminal is in north Denpasar, referred to as Terminal Ubung, which serves northwest and central Bali such as Tanah Lot, Bedugul and Tabanan.

  • Location: Jalan HOS. Cokroaminoto, Ubung, Depensar
  • Tel: +62 (0)361 427 172
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Terminal Batubulan

South of Ubud is Terminal Batubulan that serves most of the Gianyar and eastern Bali region, including Candidasa and Padangbai.

  • Tel: +62 (0)361 298 526
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Terminal Tegal

Terminal Tegal, just south of Denpasar hub, serves southern areas such as Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua.

  • Location: Jalan Imam Bonjol, Denpasar
  • Tel: +62 (0)361 980 899
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Trans Sarbagita

Various bus stops around southern Bali roads, including at Kuta Central Park (see above).

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