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Bali Community Bans Online Taxi Services At This Iconic Tourist Destination 

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For years there have been tensions between online taxi service providers and local taxi groups in Bali.

While leading transportation officials in Indonesia insist that online taxis are legal in the country, many communities have established localized systems to help ensure local drivers don’t miss out on business. 

Worshippers at Tirta Empul Temple in Bali

Local drivers and the management team at Tirta Empul Temple in Gianyar are calling on online taxis to provide a drop-off-only service at the famous tourist attraction.

Tirta Empul Temple is one of the most famous temples in Bali, with thousands of tourists and worshippers visiting every week to take part in water cleansing ceremonies.


Water purification ritual at Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple in Bali. Where people come to clense and ward off evil spirits.

♬ original sound – destination_anywhere_anytime

The management team has shared that they are growing increasingly frustrated with online taxi drivers dropping guests off and then hanging around the area waiting for a return or onward journey to come through on the app.

For local drivers and the Tirta Empul management teams, this creates what they see as a two-fold problem.

The first is that more vehicles are idling in the car park or on the roads surrounding the entrance, creating traffic, and secondly, they feel the online taxi providers are creating unfair competition with local drivers.

The Head of Manukayalet Traditional Village, I Made Mawi Arnata, told reporters, “We respectfully and firmly urge online taxis not to hang around or pick up passengers in the Tirta Empul parking area. If they violate this, they will be subject to the customary penalty of 100 kg of rice. Online taxis drop must only.”

@kurniawantee #melukatdibali #liburanbali #guidebali #tirtaempultemple #tiktok #fotohidup #vacationbali #navabalivacations #storypemandangan #bali #baliholyday ♬ Balinese Traditional Music Rindik Bali (Acoustic) – Miracle777 Music

He added “This is a response to the conditions experienced by the people of Manukayalet who also work as drivers. So far, they have also been treated the same when they are in other places.”

And this is true, many tourist attractions and villages where many expats and long-term tourists rent villas have a similar system in place.

Online taxis may only drop off, and there are fines in place for those who try to pick up passengers in these areas.

This is why many tourists who try to call an online taxi in these spots will either have their request canceled or will be asked by the online taxi driver to walk to a spot closely, out of sight of the local taxi drivers in order to avoid conflict. 

@paulenexplores Save this for your next visit in Bali! Visiting the temples has been the highlight of this trip. The island has a rich culture and one must not miss visiting the temples for a unique experience! 💯 #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #fy #travel #traveltiktok #travelmemories #traveldiaries #travelbucketlist #traveltip #itinerary #bali #indonesia #temple #uluwatu #ulundamu #lempuyang #tirtagangga #tirtaempul #holywater #tanahlot #pinay #filipina #girlsthattravel #girltravel #solo #backpacker #solotravel #solotraveler #solotravelwoman #girlstravel #girlstravellingsolo #beautifulplaces #culture #beautifuldestinations #paradise ♬ original sound – bestspedup

The system has been effective so far at Tirta Empul Temple. Arnata explained to reporters, “Disembarking passengers is permissible, pick up passengers is not permissible. This was only installed one week ago and no violations have been found.”

However, this decision has not been well received by online taxi drivers and has been condemned by the Chairman of the Indonesian Transportation Society.

I Made Rai Ridartha has issued a statement to say that the prohibition of online taxis searching for passengers at Tirta Empul and similar tourist attractions in the area is inappropriate.

According to him, tourists must have access to affordable and accountable transportation when traveling in Bali.


Ridartha said “There shouldn’t be anything like that anymore. It will give a negative impression to tourists there, especially since nowadays there are so many transportation options that can be cheap and comfortable. You can’t force it, the guests will run away.”

This is an all too common scenario in Bali and while the drop-off-only policy works effectively in some places, across the board it is causing further tension between drivers in others, and ultimately creating frustration for tourists.


Earlier this year, following an altercation between a tourist and their online taxi driver and a local taxi driver the Bali Transportation Agency issued clear statements about the legality and legitimacy of e-hailing taxi services. 

The Head of Disub, I Wayan Gede Samsi Gunarta, reiterated the Bali Governor Regulation Number 40 of 2019 concerning Application-Based Special Transport Vehicles.


He said, “There is no prohibition for online motorcycle taxis to operate anywhere. That means if he [a local taxi driver] is officially [legally registered], yes he must work together with online motorcycle taxis [drivers] to be able to pick up passengers.” 

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Saturday 30th of December 2023

I highly recommend any expat staying there to immediately get their money out of any bank they have there and ship it to any reputable country. The corruption index for Indonesia rates it 6 more rows down since last year. Maybank will not release my Time Deposits after I left. A circle jerk runaround for two months.

Keep it light while there and be ready to exit stage left any time of any day.


Sunday 31st of December 2023

@Edward, Agree. I transfer monthly from overseas.

Unless invested otherwise, I can mention that reputable international banks overseas offer monthly time deposit above 5% for USD, so why get slaughtered using an Indo bank.


Friday 29th of December 2023

What a bunch of greedy monkies.WTF lets band a business. The online taxi service should sue these idiots


Friday 29th of December 2023

Yet another reason for tourists to stop visiting Bali. They pay maybe one hundred thousand to go there and maybe 3 hundred thousand to go back.


Monday 1st of January 2024


Maybe millions of USD.


Thursday 28th of December 2023

I'm sorry, they wont do anything. Whoever on this stupid Bali Sun says anyone is in charge of anything here is a liar. Its local gangster mentality, village to village.

For anyone who is new to this place...well, it may take a while but eventually you realize this country is a terribly greedy shithole. Dog eat dog. Screw the neighbor.

I left a beautiful home west of Ubud after I was run out by the local thugs.


Saturday 30th of December 2023


Same here. Finally had enough, left everything, and now even Maybank will not release my Time deposits. Bali is a filthy toxic toilet full of shit brain primates and crooks. They shit on each other steal from each other and anyone who seems to be off in yoga spirit dreamland.. These are not nice people.


Friday 29th of December 2023

@Francia, great comment and absolutely true. It really makes me laugh when I read anything about wellness, friendship etc run by the Balinese. They all scamming scum,run by the local Mafia "village police", headed by the Godfather who is the "village headman".


Friday 29th of December 2023

@Francia, Yep. For those staying more than a few weeks they will soon enough face thug life here.

I had to leave early a rented villa in Sanur due to terrible noise from nearby nightclub owned by an "Ida Bagus" who told me I should be careful when I complained and that local police was his friends.

Next door kost (also in Sanur) was raided to arrest a local for murder. A dude that was keeping fighting cocks and liked to chat me up when I walked by.

In my latest location (Denpasar Selatan) the local pecalang boss was arrested a few weeks back as he apparently was involved in a prostitution racket and then managed to beat up Satpol PP (public order police) who raided the venue he was "securing".


Thursday 28th of December 2023

The only reason for this, is that they want the blue cabs to be able to overcharge tourists when they want to leave. I Made Rai Ridartha is absolutely right in his statement that this bs will make tourist stay away and choose another temple. Already in the south there is a healthy force of expats and business owners spreading the word to tourists to stay as far away as possible from blue cabs and download grab or jek as soon as you arrive.


Friday 29th of December 2023

@James, You mean all "blue cabs" except Bluebird that are already using meter and also online app with fixed price.