Going to Bali? Dot Your I’s And Cross Your T’s!

Thinking about visiting Bali sometime soon?  Coming to our wedding in Uluwatu in July?  These 9 incredibly useful bits of information should help you get started with the planning process.

1. Entry/Exit Requirements – A passport valid for at least 6 months is a must upon arrival.  If you plan on visiting Indonesia for less than 30 days, a Visa on Arrival is all you’ll need.  A VOA will set you back $25 US, and a 30 day extension can be purchased later in your trip for another $25 US.  Staying longer than 60 days will require you to leave Indonesia and reenter.  Some countries do not require a visa.  Check out this site for specific country listings.  Departing from Bali will set you back another 150 000 Rp in airport tax.  Be sure to have some cash set aside for this, as it generally isn’t included in ticket prices as it is for many other airports.

2. From the Airport to Your Hotel – The Ngurah Rai International Airport is often said to be run by the “taxi mafia”.  The only way to hire a taxi to your hotel from the airport is to visit the Taxi booths located outside after clearing immigration.  They have set prices for destinations all over Bali, which is nice, but charge at least 5x what you’d pay for a return visit to the airport.  Pay what they ask, it’s not worth the argument.  Just know that you’re getting ripped off, and there isn’t much you can do about it.  Alternatively, you could exit the airport completely, and walk to the main road where hailing a taxi shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Driving in Bali – An International Driver’s Permit is all you need to legally drive in Bali.  That isn’t to say that you won’t get pulled over and hassled from the police even if you do have one.  Motorbikes can be rented for around 50 000 Rp per day, and a car can cost upwards of 350 000 Rp per day.  Driving in Bali can be crazy at times.  Drive with caution and be sure to carry a little extra cash to pay any “fine” that might be imposed upon you if pulled over.  Helmets are an absolute must on motorbikes, if not for you safety, it will at least help prevent you from being pulled over.

4. Getting Around – There are no shortages of “Taksis” in Bali, and certainly no shortages of people offering transport.  Taxis are nice because they offer set metered rates.  But hiring somebody off the street to take you around may be a better way to bargain for a day trip or more.

5. Access to Money – Bali is littered with ATM’s and moneychangers.  Signs with posted exchange rates are a common sight in Bali, and are updated daily.  You’ll likely get a better rate from an ATM, though the bank fees for withdrawal may likely balance out with what you lose by going to a moneychanger.  If changing cash at a moneychanger, count your money slowly and carefully after receiving it before you leave.  Some money changers are pros at shorting foreigners a bill or two.  It wouldn’t hurt to double check the amount you should receive on your own calculator.

6. Don’t do drugs. Don’t buy drugs. Don’t sell drugs. Stay away from drugs.  Even on The Gili Islands where magic mushrooms are served in nearly every restaurant, Indonesia has extremely strict laws surrounding drug possession, use, and smuggling (Read up on the story of Schapelle Corby).  If you’re young, and especially if traveling alone, you’re almost guaranteed to be offered “something”.  What you can never be too sure of is if the seller is secret police.  According to local Balinese, there are secret police all over the island, and even a small purchase could land you a US $50 000 fine and/or a lengthy jail term.

7. Travel Advisories – Since the Bali bombing’s in 2002, Bali has been the subject of many advisories from countries around the world.  While travel advisories for Bali and Indonesia have almost become the norm, keep in mind that millions of people continue to visit Bali annually.  It’s an island that welcomes anybody and everybody, from kids to seniors, and honeymooners to backpackers.  Travel advisory or not, while there, you’ll likely never sense any danger.  That being said, continue to use common sense.  If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.  Avoid large gatherings, and be aware of your surroundings.

8. Climate – A visit in Bali’s dry season, from June to September will almost guarantee you daily sunshine.  December to March is monsoon season, bringing frequent rains to the island.  The mountainous areas of Bali can see rain all year round.  Temperatures are quite comfortable in the dry season, as humidity is lower.  With the rain during the monsoon season comes an increase in humidity.

9. Electricity – Like most Asian countries, electricity in Bali is supplied at 220V 50Hz.  If your gear doesn’t have converters built in already, you’ll need to pick one up.  Be sure to pack a couple of adapters – the two round prong type.

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Categories: Bali, Destination Guides, Tips For Travellers

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

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