Short answer: it depends. If you Google “Bali taxi mafia” you will get an idea of how things work in Denpasar and surroundings: taxi drivers have several scams going on, which include not using the meter, re-routing to random areas or day tours.
Tips for hailing a taxi in Bali:
- Blue Bird is the only taxi company that will not try to scam you. They are available around Denpasar, Canggu, Seminyak… but not in Ubud.
- Always ask for the meter. If the cab driver says it’s broken or that it doesn’t work at night, look for another taxi. Fixed fares are a scam and you’d be overpaying.
- Taxis are a good way of transportation for short trips or airport transfers. For longer trips, try booking Uber’s alternative in Bali: Grab or Go-Jek.
- Taxis usually don’t accept credit cards, so bring some cash with you.
But the best advice is to avoid taxis altogether. Renting a motorbike or upgrading your airport transfer to a car service are some of the best alternatives to the scammy and not so safe taxis in Bali. Also, you will be pre-booking your transfer and paying by credit card, avoiding last-minute surcharges.