Denpasar is Bali’s bustling capital and the island’s main transportation hub. Virtually all longer distance public mini bus (bemo) routes start and finish at one of Denpasar’s four main terminals. Despite heavy congestion, getting around town by bemo is pretty straightforward with most major roads well served by frequent services.
Taxis can be found on every street corner and like Kuta you are likely to be offered rides from the ever present transport touts at every opportunity.
Motorcycle taxis stands are located on most major streets and are the quickest way for short trips, zipping through built up traffic at hair-raising speeds.
Getting around town
The cheapest way to get around within the city and the most pleasant way is to take a horse drawn cart known as a ‘dokar’ which is quite a quaint way to meander around town if so inclined.
Due to the rather pedestrian pace, however, consider this only if time is not an issue. Most short trips within town will cost no more than rp5,000. Although Denpasar is a pleasant enough city, it is not the sort of place to idly wander around looking for something to happen.
Shopping and attractions are quite well spaced out around the city and there are no pedestrianised areas and very few green spaces. Like many other towns in Bali, Denpasar is made up of many confusing one way systems. A seemingly short journey as the crow flies may take quite a while and heavy traffic congestion worsening matters.
Getting out of town
Travelling across Bali between towns and resorts by bemo inevitably means transiting in and out of Denpasar. This can be a time consuming exercise as it will involve a change of bus terminals in most cases. As a general guide for longer cross island journeys, travelling by bemo is likely to take at least one hour longer compared to a taxi. It is often more cost effective to pool resources with other travellers and take a taxi or even charter a car and driver for the day.
Public bemo terminals in Denpasar
Tegal (Jalan Imam Bonjol) is located in the southwest of the city and serves Kuta, Legian and Ngurah Rai airport before heading south as far as Jimbaran Bay and Nusa Dua.
In Ubung (Jalan Cokroaminoto) buses leave for the north of the island calling at Kediri (for Tanah Lot temple) Medewi, Negara and the port of Gilimanuk for ferries across to Java. There are also regular services to Singaraja and on to Lovina for those that want to experience the volcanic black sand beach there.
Out on the eastern fringes of the city is Batubulan bemo station, located in the village of the same name. Buses here travel the short journey to Ubud, Gianyar and on to east Bali resorts such as Padangbai, Candidasa and the town of Amlapura.
Finally, Kereneng terminal (Jalan Kamboja) serves the nearby resort of Sanur and acts as a connecting point between all the other bemo stations.
Renting vehicles in Denpasar
Motorcycle and car hire can be arranged at many places in Denpasar and is generally much more professional and cheaper than in Kuta or Legian. Driving within the city can be a hassle with confusing one way systems everywhere and a rush hour that seemingly lasts from dawn until dusk. As with many places in Bali, hiring a car and driver for the day can work out cheaper and definately more convenient.
Very few tourists choose to stay in Denpasar as Sanur beach is so close and has much more variety of accommodation and tourist orientated facilities. there are no scheduled tourist bus services to the city and most people visit Denpasar on day trips for shopping and sightseeing.