Gojek: the Indonesian Uber, but better

Alexis
Modified on February 1, 2024

You may have heard of Gojek without knowing what it truly is. Here is what you should know along with some tips to use it as a foreigner.

What is Gojek, the Uber of Bali?

Gojek is a ride-hailing application, much like many others available nowadays. In short, you could say that Gojek is the Uber of Indonesia, but Uber on steroids!

The application is widely used in all major Indonesian cities, and of course, Bali is no exception.

Since 2014, many Indonesians have embraced the Gojek application, making daily use of it for various purposes.

The application is clearly a valuable aid for many aspects of your daily life or your travels in Bali. The offered services are very diverse and help simplify life, even if you don't speak Bahasa Indonesia.

What can you do in Indonesia with the Gojek application?

You can do almost everything with Gojek. Here are some of the most commonly used services (there are even more!).

Take an Ojek, a scooter taxi, with GoRide

An ojek is a motorcycle taxi, or more precisely, a scooter taxi, which has existed in Indonesia since the invention of motorcycles.

Before the arrival of Gojek, ojeks would wait for customers on the side of the road, take them to their destination, return to their starting point, and/or look for new customers along the way.

The customer had to choose a driver from the many ojeks present and negotiate the fare before hopping on the motorcycle. This process was quite tedious and exhausting.

The idea of Gojek originated from this realization, and the first service offered by the application was logically motorcycle taxis.

Today, these ojeks are very easy to find on Gojek (often in less than 5 minutes!), the fare is fixed in advance, and their routes are optimised.

A very simple, safe, and efficient way for you to get around Bali without having to drive yourself and avoiding traffic jams.

Travel by car with GoCar (like with Uber)

GoCar is the equivalent of Uber in US/Europe. A car picks you up and takes you from point A to point B.

GoCar is a very convenient option for traveling around Bali with family, with air conditioning and without paying the often much higher fees of taxis.

You can very well do most of your trip to Bali using only Gocar if that's what you're looking for. It is for instance entirely possible to go to the other end of the island in GoCar. I've even heard a driver tell me that he once went to another island! (don't count on that though!)

If you plan to consume alcohol, it's also one of your best options for getting home in one piece. You can find GoCars even in the middle of the night.

Have food delivered to you with GoFood (like Uber Eats)

GoFood is the equivalent of UberEats or Deliveroo. But once again, on another scale.

It's simple, there must be between half and three-quarters of the restaurants and warungs in Bali on Gojek. You can really order almost anything from your home and have it delivered to you.

A great way to discover local dishes when you don't have the motivation to leave your home, hotel, or guesthouse.

Pay in many places with GoPay

GoPay is an electronic wallet that allows you to pay all Gojek services.

It works like a regular e-wallet: you top it up (see below for how to do it), and then you can spend the money in GoPay as you wish.

With GoPay, you can not only pay for anything related to Gojek, but also other online sites, like the famous Tokopedia (the local equivalent of Amazon), which can be very convenient when you don't have a local bank account.

Send a parcel directly with GoSend

Did a friend forget their keys at your place and you want to send them quickly without having to cross the island yourself? GoSend is for you!

Yes, you can basically send anything and everything, to just about anyone, from Gojek via Gosend. The application is even connected to Tokopedia, and you can receive an item ordered online almost immediately (sometimes within an hour) if you choose the option.

Move in / Move out with GoBox

You're not dreaming, it's also possible to rent small trucks with drivers to transport heavier things or simply to move.

Very often, the person asks you what you're going to transport, and if you're moving, they can come with two or three strong arms to help you! Very convenient for those who live there, probably less so for those who are just on vacation with a suitcase (unless the suitcases are really big!).

Is it easy for a foreigner to use Gojek?

Gojek is generally very easy to use for a foreigner. At least much simpler than if you had to interact in person to do a quarter of what you can do with Gojek.

This is for several reasons:

  • The application is available in English and well-translated
  • The interface is quite explicit and not confusing
  • "Template" messages are offered with automatic English-Indonesian translation

This last point is very important for those who don't speak Indonesian or speak it poorly.

Since communications between drivers and customers are often the same, Gojek automatically suggests sending "template messages" in English. If your driver doesn't speak English and you don't speak Indonesian, it's not a problem. You'll simply exchange these template messages, which is enough in 90% of cases.

What You Need to Open an Account with Gojek

Opening a Gojek account can be done in just a few minutes. Simply download the application from the Google Store or the Apple Store and follow the instructions.

What you need to open a Gojek account is ultimately quite basic:

  • A smartphone with internet
  • A phone number (local or foreign)
  • An email address
  • A payment method (see below)

It is not necessary to have a local SIM card to open a Gojek account. However, you will need the internet to use it, either via roaming, Wi-Fi, or with a local SIM card and plan.

Possible Payment Methods to Top Up Your Gojek Account

Several methods exist to top up your Gojek account, but not all are equal, especially when you are a foreigner without a bank account in Indonesia or if you don't speak Indonesian.

Transfer Funds to Gojek from a Local Bank Account

For those residing in Bali and with a local bank account, the simplest option is often to transfer funds to GoPay from your online banking. All major Indonesian banks offer this option.

You can do this through your bank's mobile app, website, or at an ATM, depending on your preference. You can even ask a bank employee to do it for you in person, although this option has no real advantage unless you prefer going to the bank for some reason.

Bank cards can also be used for Gojek, but only Indonesian cards seem to work. Many foreigners have difficulties linking their bank cards with Gojek. Don't ask me why, I don't know.

Top Up Your Gojek Account at an Alfamart (Supermarket)

If you are unsure how to use your local bank account or don't have one, one option is to top up at a minimart that offers this service, such as Alfamart.

You can pay either by bank card or cash. You tell the cashier the amount and provide your associated phone number with Gojek, and they will top it up for you.

This is an option to consider when you are a foreigner without a local bank account. Most Alfamart employees are used to this, so you should be able to manage without speaking Indonesian with some basic English on both sides.

Pay in Cash

It is always possible to pay in cash on Gojek. It is not very convenient, neither for you nor your driver, but if it is your only option, it can be used.

Ask Someone to Top Up for You

If you are a bit lost, there is no Alfamart nearby, but you know someone trustworthy, you can always give them the cash or make a transfer in exchange for a Gojek account top-up.

This is clearly not the most convenient option but can still be helpful in a pinch.

Wise (Formerly Transferwise): The Ultimate Hack to Top Up Gojek from a Foreign Bank Account

If you only have a foreign bank card or account and still want to use Gojek when you come to Indonesia, there's no need to struggle to make your card work, or to go through Alfamart, or ask everyone to top up your GoPay; you can simply use Wise.

Wise (formerly Transferwise) is a bank that allows you to have multiple currencies and make international bank transfers almost instantly and at a minimal cost compared to traditional banks.

When you go to Indonesia, you just need to open an account on Wise, transfer Euros/AUD/USD/SGD... from your home country bank account directly to your Wise account, and then convert them into Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR).

Once you have your Indonesian Rupiahs on Wise, which usually takes 3 seconds, you can then transfer them to your GoPay with the built-in facility that Wise has.

There you go, you can now use Gojek via Gopay with ease.

Note that if you do not have a "verified" Gojek account, the maximum amount you can hold in your GoPay account is 2,000,000 IDR.

Top Up a Gojek Account with Wise: Step-by-Step Guide

If you are new to Gojek, Wise, or both, here is the step-by-step guide to top up your GoPay via Wise.

1. Sign up on Wise (if you don't have an account yet)

2. Open an Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) balance

On the homepage, click on Add a Currency, then Open a Balance, and select Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).

3. Transfer Euros / Dollars from your regular bank account to your Wise account

In your Euro (or dollar) accounts, click on Add, choose an amount you want to transfer, and select a method to reload your Wise account. For example, you can add your bank card or manually make a transfer.

If you want to top up your GoPay account quickly, I recommend using payment by credit card. Your transfer will arrive in just a few seconds.

4. Convert the added Euros (EUR) to Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR)

When your euros are in your Wise account, go to your Wise Euro account and click on Convert. Choose the amount and the currency you want to convert them to; in this case, it's the Indonesian Rupiah for topping up GoPay.

SFollow the procedure, and there you have it, Indonesian Rupiahs in a matter of seconds! Now you just need to transfer them to your GoPay account (which you have opened beforehand).

5. Add your GoPay account as a Beneficiary in Wise

Still in Wise, add a beneficiary and choose Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR) as the currency right away.

In the bank details of your recipient, choose "E-Wallet," then Go-Pay E-money as the provider. Add the number you used to open your Gojek account.

6. Transfer your Indonesian Rupiahs from your Wise account to your GoPay account

In your Indonesian Rupiah account, click on Send.

Choose the amount to send and make sure you are in the "Same Currency" category (it's a domestic transfer, not international!).

Choose your GoPay beneficiary account added earlier and follow the final instructions.

Congratulations, you have topped up your GoPay account, which you can now use all over Indonesia!

Conclusion

Gojek has revolutionized the lives of many Indonesians and, by extension, the lives of many foreigners living in Indonesia.

Using Gojek is extremely simple, even without speaking Bahasa Indonesia, and allows you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture and move around the island with ease.

Opening a Gojek account as a foreigner is entirely possible, even with a phone number that is not Indonesian. However, Indonesian payment methods are usually the ones accepted most often.

The simplest solution as a foreigner is undoubtedly to top up your Gojek account via Wise to overcome this limitation.

Similar Articles

See More | Category