I am one of those people who like to move and do everything fast. On a typical day, I’d like to get many things done in an efficient manner. For example, if I am working upstairs and have to take out the garbage later that day, I will make sure the plastic bag needed for the garbage is upstairs with me so I can start collecting the trash from the bins upstairs and work my way down. If I have to go out, say to the supermarket, around the same time, I will get myself ready first before heading downstairs bringing everything I need… including the trash. Well, you get what I mean :p
An invitation to come along on a friend’s epicurean adventure arrived at 9 o’clock in the morning yesterday. It was for dinner but my mind started to work even before I had my breakfast. I checked out the venue which, later I found in Google Maps, was located on Jalan Pantai Kuta, somewhere between Beachwalk (mall) and The Stones (hotel). Hmm. Quite ‘far’. The invitation was for 6:30pm, so combined with sunset-at-the-beach traffic, it would be an expensive trip, too, if I were to go by taxi. I racked my brain and found this stored in one of my memory cupboards:
Kura-Kura Bus is a shuttle bus service operating in popular tourist areas (Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Ubud, Sanur and Nusa Dua).
“Ah! It seems like the perfect time to check this out,” I thought. So the plan was to go by taxi to Seminyak area and start from there. I perused their website and decided that, although Fave Hotel Umalas [SM 03] is the nearest bus stop from Kerobokan, where I live, it would make more sense to start from Seminyak Square [SM 01/LG 01/KT 08] which also serves as an interchange. Besides, I would have to buy a coin/card for the ride and both can only be obtained at SM 01 along the Seminyak line (See that person wearing a cap icon? It’s telling you where the ticket booths are). I planned to take the Kuta line bus to Beachwalk stop [KT 04]… then walk to where the restaurant was.
Considering the unpredictable beachfront traffic and every-20-minute bus schedule, by 4pm I was already on the road. I arrived at Seminyak Square [SM 03] 18 minutes later. A bus, I didn’t know which line, was already waiting by the entrance. I hurried to the ticket booth and was greeted by a female officer who asked me kindly where I was heading. When I told her my destination, she suggested that I take the ready bus, which turned out to be a Legian line bus, to Lippo Mall Kuta [LG 05/KT 02] and change lines there rather than wait for the Kuta line bus at Seminyak Square. Consequently, I had to pay double for the trip. Well, between money and speed, you know which one I would choose, right?
Since this is my first time and I didn’t know when I got to ride the bus again, I chose coin over card. After exchanging my IDR20,000 for two green coins worth IDR10,000 each, the officer took me to the bus and told me to put one of the coins into the box at the front of the passenger cab (passengers using card should tap their card to the reader by the bus door).
At 4:20pm the bus departed (yep, the ticket buying was that fast). I happened to be the only passenger on that particular bus so I could choose to sit anywhere I liked from the 12 seats available. I chose to sit right behind the driver, on one of the molded plastic chairs. The AV system reminded me to buckle up and I did, though I found the seat belt was too big, even for a big girl like me, compared to relatively small seat (again, for a big girl like me). Although (thinly) upholstered, the seat was still too hard for a long ride… especially when the bus shook along the bumpy streets. I eventually moved to the next seat so I could rest my head on the window.
I noticed there were several power outlets along both sides of the bus, allowing passengers to recharge their gadgets during the ride. There was also supposed to be free WiFi on board, but too bad the connection was unsuccessful (although detected). I do hope it was just having a bad day. On a normal day, you just need to type in the username & password stuck on each window to connect.
Dutifully, the bus dropped by every bus stop though there were no other passengers picked up until I hopped off the bus at Lippo Mall Kuta [LG 05/KT 02] at precisely 5 o’clock. I didn’t have to wait too long for the Kuta bus as it arrived 8 minutes later. This time there were two other passengers traveling with me and I chose to sit at the very back, trying out the fully upholstered seats. Much, much better. There was not enough leg space, but considering it was only a short trip, it’s nothing to complain about. The WiFi, once again, didn’t work. My device would detect the WiFi from the venues we passed by but no signs of life from the sought-after. Oh, well.
At 5:30pm the bus entered Beachwalk and that marked the end of my journey.
Total damage: IDR50,000 for taxi ride (Kerobokan – Seminyak) + IDR20,000 for bus rides (Seminyak – Kuta) = IDR70,000 (about half the fare I had to pay if the trip was entirely done using a taxi. Yep, so expensive I’d rather treat you lunch at my feel-good eatery.)
Total time: 18 minutes taxi ride + 62 minutes bus ride + 10 minutes waiting = 90 minutes (though, to be fair, I still have 1 hour to spare before the dinner starts).
Would I use this service again? Definitely, for the value of money. Speed? Not so much. In fact, I think I know why they call the bus “Kura-Kura” (tortoise). Because the speed drives the hare (read: me) crazy. Haha. Naah, all in all I would still recommend this quite excellent service to my friends, tourists and locals alike. It’s a superb alternative to Bali’s expensive taxi fare as long as you’re not in a hurry. I hope more and more people use Kura-Kura Bus to ensure their existence in the long run.
P.S. Excuse the blurry images. Told ya it was a bumpy ride.