How to get from Bali to Java by bus – 2019

In May 2019, I travelled to the island of Java (to climb Mt Ijen) by bus and I wanted to write this up so every traveller knows how to do it!

This step by step guide will show you practically how to get from Denpasar to Gilimanuk (and return).

The bus from Ubung to Gilimanuk

I arrived at Ubung Bus Terminal at 8:50am, the guy at the front gate asked where I was going and I told him “Gilimanuk”.

I walked towards the smaller mini buses that were parked there and some had “Gilimanuk” written on the window.

I was first told 70,000 IDR then it went down to 50,000 IDR when I was on the bus. So that’s only $5 Australian dollars. Easy done.

(People have also mentioned they got it for 40,000 IDR…..so do the best bargaining you can!)

Inside the mini bus

The mini bus left Ubung at 8:50am.

It did NOT stop at Mengwi.

It’s a local bus so people got on and got off at random points along the way.

A guy stuck his head out the door yelling “Gilimanuk” to try and get more people on as we drove through Denpasar.

Hanging out the door yelling “Gilimanuk”

It left Ubung at 8:50am and arrived at Gilimanuk at 12:30pm. So 3 hours and 40 minutes.

I got on a ferry straight away which left by 1pm.

Closer to Gilimanuk I was the last one on the bus so I hopped up the front next to the driver

HOW TO GET THE FERRY?

There are literally dozens of ferries going back and forth between Gilimanuk (Bali) and Ketapang (Java) 24 hours a day/7 days a week, leaving every few minutes.

The minibus will drop you at the bus terminal and then you must cross the road and walk down a hundred metres to the ferry terminal entrance.

Here you fill out a small ticket with your name, age, address and passport number. Hand that over to the person behind the window and you pay 6500 IDR for an adult ticket (65cents AUD)

When in doubt, follow everyone else!

Start walking through the gate and up the stairs and if you aren’t sure which way to go, ask someone there by saying “Java?” and they will direct you which dock to walk to.

My ferry from Gilimanuk to Ketapang

Hop on the ferry and there we go!

Ketapang Ferry Terminal

SCAMS AT KETAPANG FERRY TERMINAL

As soon as you get off the ferry, people will ask you if you need a taxi and where are you going and do you want a tour to Mt Ijen. Smile and say no thank you firmly and keep on walking.

What you need to do next is walk out of the terminal and turn RIGHT along the main road and walk that way for a couple of hundred metres. Strong and confident like you know where you’re going.

Once you’re a bit of a distance away from the terminal, bring up your Ojek/GOJEK/Grab app on your phone and order a motorbike or car.

DON’T DO WHAT I DID!!!!!

When I got out of the terminal I thought I was all smart and I turned LEFT (wrong way!) and started walking down. But if you turn left you run into a group of scammers who ask if you need a taxi. I ended up stupidly saying yes. DO NOT DO THIS.

This guy will take you in his blue minibus to your hotel. But first, along the way, he will stop at his friends hotel and his friend will come to your side of the car and start asking where you’re staying and then he’ll look “very concerned” when you tell him and he’ll say it’s not a good one and that you should stay there instead and that you should buy his tour package of Mt Ijen and it’s a “good deal just for you”.

I’m not stupid and knew exactly what was going on, so I put on my acting and was apologetic and said unfortunately I’ve already booked everything but I will be coming back in October and will definitely contact him when I’m back and he seemed fine with that.

The guy then took me to my actual hotel which was good!

TIPS ABOUT THE BUS FROM DENPASAR TO GILIMANUK

People smoke on the bus, but all the doors and windows are open so just sit near one of them and you’ll be fine.

Like this! Sit near the door and you’ll be fine

Everyone was so friendly who got on the bus! Smiling and genuine.

An elderly lady got on and smiled at me (I was the only foreigner) and said hello. And then when she got off the bus she said hello to me again which was adorable 🙂

You also get a lovely view along the way too!

Yes the driving is all over the place and they overtake on bends which we wouldn’t do haha but they seem to know what they’re doing.

So that’s how you get from Denpasar to Gilimanuk by bus. If you have any questions, please just ask! I’m more than happy to help 🙂

This is the bus I took from Gilimanuk to Ubung on the reverse journey

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