Here is a useful list of ‘Things you should know before you go’ compiled by several travellers who wished they had it on their first trip. To avoid experiencing those ‘First Time in Bali’ classic mistakes, scan this page and in only 5 minutes you will be a little more prepared for your Bali holidays!
To make it even more useful we added some basic information you will also find handy before and during your trip. We have split the information into categories so you can find the information you need quickly and easily.
These tips are often quite basic and easy to follow, but when added together they can make a huge difference to your first experience of Bali.
Getting to Bali
- VISA: Nationals of 169 countries can visit Bali visa-free (for 30 days), while Visa on Arrival applies for others at USD 35 (extendable once).
- WEATHER: Wet season: October-April; Dry season: May-September; Best time to go: May-August.
- SPECIAL DAYS: No travel during Saka New Year, aka ‘Nyepi’ (usually coincides March – specific dates vary every year based on the Saka lunar calendar).
- DRIVING: Drive on the left.
- RENTALS: International drivers’ license required to drive and rent cars and motorbikes.
- Taxis: Taxis in Bali are easily your most viable choice for getting around the island, due to their wide availability and convenience. Within Bali’s most popular resort areas, especially in the southern area, it is easy as getting by a roadside and simply flagging one down. Some operators are known for their reliability and for regularly updating their fleet with the latest car models. Generally, all taxis get you to your intended destination in comfort and in time, and are actually the safest way to get around.
When asked for, Bali taxis are also easy to call from your hotel front desk, or information counters at major shopping malls, restaurants and venues. Most are metered. Some also have English-speaking operators, making it easy to call from your own mobile phone. Starting fares are at IDR 7,500 then go for IDR 4,000-5,000 (approximately US 40 cents) per kilometre. Typical transfer fares for a few kilometres, say from Kuta to Jimbaran, ranges between IDR 50,000-75,000. Here are some useful tips and good things to know about taxis in Bali.
- TRAFFIC: Getting around Bali is relatively easy. Taxi operators abound and you can easily wave for one along the streets of Bali’s major beach resort areas. For more convenience, you can rent a car or even charter one. Other budget ways to travel in Bali include public buses and the locally popular bemo – short for becak bermotor or ‘motorised rickshaws’ in the local tongue, a term which nowadays also applies to public commuter vans and minibuses. You can also ask for shuttle transfer services provided by your own hotel – ask your concierge.
But if you really want to see the sights and make the most out of your time, a well organised tour is a popular choice. For those who prefer the freedom to explore, motorcycles are fun, however be sure you are always insurance-covered, have an international license, and always wear a helmet. Following here are more ways to get around Bali to enjoy the island.
- CURRENCY: USD 1 = IDR 14,000
- ATMs: ATMs dispense IDR 50,000 or 100,000 bills; withdrawal fees using foreign bank cards, Visa or Mastercard vary and can be high. Beware of skimmers and rigged units, and remember to take your money and card after each transaction.
- EXCHANGE: Always check your money
- SIM CARDS: SIM cards are widely available at kiosks and convenient stores; most are mobile internet-ready. Verify SIM and micro-SIM factors upon purchasing.
- ELECTRICITY: 220 Volts, 50Hz. Electrical plugs are two-pronged ‘Europlug’ type.
Customs and Etiquette
- TEMPLES: Must-wear on temple visits: sarong (usually with sash around your waist). Temples are generally free to visit. However, most keepers will show visitors to a ‘donation box’, or rent sarongs at the entrance for around IDR 10,000 (don’t worry if you didn’t bring one). Always use right hand for gesturing; never left hand or feet.
- WATER: Tap water is not potable; ice in drinks at established bars, hotels and reputable restaurants are usually safe. 18) DRUGS: The penalty for drug is death. Take it seriously.
- MONKEYS: Wear minimum accessories when visiting monkey forests; don’t feed or approach the monkeys – they are wild animals, not pets.
- EMERGENCIES: In case of emergencies, dial 110 for police and 118 for ambulance.