Travelers recommend Bali driver

By Gail Wang
This item appears on page 38 of the May 2019 issue.

Gail and the orangutan at the Bali Zoo. Photo by Richard Newlin

My husband, Richard, and I were in Indonesia and needed a car and driver on Aug. 13, 2018, to take us to the Bali Zoo and the Bali Bird Park from our hotel in Sanur.

I had read on TripAdvisor.com about a driver named Made Baragan (phone +6285 237 109 442, WhatsApp +6282 145 299 327 or email made.baragan@yahoo.com), so I contacted him and he agreed to take us to both places and wait for us. We hired him for eight hours at a cost of IDR400,000 (near $28).

Because we wanted to attend “Breakfast with Orangutans” and tickets sell out quickly, Made booked the reservations for us before we arrived.

Made picked us up in a shiny, clean car with air-conditioning. He speaks English fluently, so we had no problems communicating. We arrived at the Bali Zoo 20 minutes before it opened, and Made spoke to the staff, who seemed to know him well. They let us enter the zoo early so we could find a prime table near the orangutans.

I had an orangutan reach over to kiss my hand, and then, while I was distracted, she proceeded to pick my pocket, taking my hat! We have Made to thank for such a great orangutan encounter.

When we were ready to leave the zoo, we gave a staff member a slip of paper that had Made’s phone number on it, and they called him for us. This was a nice service, as we didn’t have a cell phone.

It was a 15-minute drive from the Bali Zoo to the Bali Bird Park, and we arrived around lunchtime. It’s customary to give your driver IDR20,000 (the equivalent of $1.40) for his lunch. We spent the afternoon there, after which Made took us back to our hotel.

We added a tip to his fee (and gave him a little extra money for his newborn son). Hiring him for the day cost less than $50 for the two of us and was well worth the money. We would hire Made Baragan again; we highly recommend him.

GAIL WANG
Troy, MI