|Bali Health tips||International food/products|
|Indonesia Visa or not||Clothing|
|Bali Weather||Driving in Bali|
|Flights to Bali||Electricity|
|When to Go||Telecommunication|
|Bali Airport||Avoiding Disappointments|
|Currency||Tips for a cheap Bali holiday|
|Traveling with young children or disabilities|
With its location just south of the equator Bali can be considered a real tropical island with an average temperature of 22ºC in the mountain regions and up to 30ºC along the coast and inland.
Just like any tropical destination Bali has only two seasons: the wet season (monsoon) and the dry season. During the monsoon the humidity level can reach 97%. So you can imagine that if you add the high temperature to the high humidity it can become a sweaty situation.
However from my own experience I never really thought it was too uncomfortable to travel to Bali during the monsoon. Sometimes I thought it was even pretty chilly. Just make sure you have some warm clothing with you too.
Theoretically the monsoon starts around the end of October until April. But in reality the rain can come later or it can keep on pouring well into the month May.
Generally the best time to go is from May to September. But still expect some tropical rain spells during this time, especially around the mountain areas.
The good thing about it though is that the rain can fall from the sky like a bucket of water and often stops within an hour leaving a refreshing scent everywhere.
To be honest my girlfriend and I don't really take the weather into consideration when we travel to Bali (unless if we want to do some hiking).
We of course prefer the bright sunny skies to the rain but we enjoy going to Bali even more when it's less crowded.
So if you prefer to visit the island outside the high season too then you should avoid going between mid-June till end of September and the days before Christmas until the first week of the New Year.Return to top
The local currency in Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah, however many places also accept US dollars and Euros. If you are paying with Rupiahs for the first time, it might be wise to have a look at the bills first since the notes have a lot of zeros on them.
The Rupiah has fluctuated a lot these last couple of years. In
general you can say that Rp. 10.000 is about USD 1. But to be more
precise I always check the current
currency rate on www.xe.com.
Rupiah bills come in 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000 and 100.000 notes. As you can imagine, you will be carrying a big bundle of notes when traveling in Bali considering that a Rp 50.000 note is about USD 5.
When in Bali I prefer not to have that much money on me, since there are many ATM's that accept my bank card. The only cash I have on me when I arrive in Bali is for the first few days.
It is for instance convenient to have some Rupiahs for the airport taxi and when you want to go to a restaurant upon arrival. Except in areas such as Amed and small villages, in most tourist places in Bali there are ATM's available.
Here you can use your VISA card, Master card or debit card with a Cirrus network. Check first what the maximum amount is you can get from an ATM machine, because each withdrawal will cost you.
For instance BCA (blue logo) usually has a maximum withdrawal of Rp 150.000 -Rp. 200.000 only while Danamon (yellow and green logo) ATM's usually have an higher withdrawal such as Rp 2.000.000.
I always had trouble with Manderi (blue with gold/yellow logo) as they usually didn't accept my foreign bank cards.
Many hotels, restaurants and big shops also accept credit cards, so this is also a convenient way to pay.
Make sure though to inform your bank that you are planning to use your card in Bali. If you don't, chances are that their security system will block your transactions for safety reasons. Believe me it's no fun at all.
Luckily I had the phone number of my bank on me so I could settle things immediately.
Also make sure that you keep your receipts and that you check your bank statements regularly when you are back home.
A friend of mine used her credit card when traveling throughout Indonesia and a month after she got back home she saw that her card was used to pay large amounts in Karaoke bars.
Obviously it was not a nice surprise but luckily she was able to receive her money back.
Another option is of course to go to the money changer. Here you have to be more careful about the rate exchange and commission. And never leave before counting your money yourself first.
As mentioned before, the notes have allot of zeros so the amount you will receive can be quite confusing. On top of that the Rp.10.000 note has almost the same red color as the Rp. 100.000
And the seller at the money changers knows this and will take advantage of it. Don't make them feel you need to rush things, take your time to count what you have received. Or to be more safe, change at your hotel.
When traveling with young children or with a disability it is always good to know what obstacles you can encounter. The facilities in Bali are well developed compared to other parts of Indonesia, but unfortunately still quite far from perfect.
When you visit Bali with very young children you should bare some things in mind. Powdered milk is widely available in Bali. So if your child doesn't mind changing his/her usual brand you don't have to bring it from home.
Diapers are also available in supermarkets such as Hardy's or other supermarkets in Kuta, Sanur, Denpasar and Ubud.
However since the Balinese do not use diapers they are imported and therefore much more expensive then at home.
On top of that don't expect baby changing facilities in public places. I recommend just strolling into an international hotel as there is a higher chance they do have these kinds of public facilities.
Also another thing that is of importance is to prevent a lot of sun exposure for your child. Bring a hat, sun block and try to find the shade as much as possible.
Since I don't have a child I can't really say if you should take your child around Bali in a buggy or not. The pavements in Bali are usually not well maintained and you will encounter a lot of stairs or other obstacles.
However I have seen travelers with buggies and strollers so I can imagine it can be useful if you are going to eat out and your child just wants to doze off.
Another option is to carry your child in a backpack-carrier. It makes moving around more easily.
Children car seats are not common when you hire a car or tour around with a private driver. So make sure the rental company can provide one before making any final bookings.
If you are traveling with a disability then you will soon realize that Bali does not provide a lot of facilities. The curbs are often high, pavements uneven and ramps are absent.
Fortunately the island is working on creating less obstacles for travelers with an disability. But to prevent disappointments you should personally check the hotel about their facilities before bookings.
there is a company in Sanur that provides service for travelers with a
disability. They offer transportation, tours, equipment hire,
accommodation etc. To find out more about there service check their website.
Additionally perhaps it would also be more convenient to book your holiday through a travel agency that is specialized in traveling with a disability.
They are able to give you Bali travel information on hotels, restaurants and sights that are easy accessible. Plus they can arrange suitable transportation.
Despite the great indonesian food I can imagine that some travelers crave for some different food on their holiday in Bali.
Well don't worry about that, you don't have to bring a whole food supply with you. Bali is one of the best places in Indonesia to get international food.
Not only do restaurants serve terrific food from all over the world, but there are supermarkets and shops that sell all types of international goodies from peanut butter to chocolate bars.
Hardy's is a supermarket that can be found in most tourist areas. They offer a wide range of international food. Other small shops such as Cafe Batu Jimbar in Sanur have international delicacies too.
We were surprised that they even sold 'stroopwafels' there. Stroopwafels a typical dutch cookie made from waffles and sticky syrup. Always a nice treat if you are away from home for a while...
Seminyak is also the place to be for specific food such as organic and international yummies.
The Bali Deli is a gourmet supermarket and is probably the most popular place in Seminyak to buy international food. It has high quality imported food, delicatessen and bakery delicacies.
So enough choice to satisfy your taste buds!
As for toiletries I advice you to bring the ones from home, especially women. My girlfriend always complains when she needs to buy some cream here. Since the Indonesian beauty standards is to have 'nice white skin' women not only avoid being in the sun but also use whitening cream
Therefore the Bali shops mostly sell whitening cream only, with exceptions to body lotion. So if you want to maintain your tan in Bali bring your own cream. Good shampoo and soap is plentiful in Bali though and really cheap.
Since you will be heading for the tropics the most comfortable things to wear will be loose fitted clothing, preferable made from cotton. Also long sleeves and long pants are recommended to prevent mosquito bites and constant sun exposure.
I usually don't bring that much clothes when I visit Bali. Not because I'm a guy (my girlfriend also travels light) but because the laundry service in Bali is very convenient. You can find it everywhere and it is sooooo cheap.
Usually you can pick up your clothes the next day and they will be so fresh and clean that you can even smell it when you get back home days or weeks later.
I have heard that travelers warn others not to bring their best clothing to the laundry, but so far I have never got my cloths ruined.
If you are planning to rent a car or motor bike/scooter you must have an international driving licence.
I'm not going to advice you to do differently, but ever since I have been renting a bike in Bali I have never been asked to show my driving licence at the rental place.
But...if you do get stopped by the police, then your heart will not be jumping like crazy if you have the right papers on you.
The police can stop you easily for minor traffic mistakes. For instance for changing lanes too suddenly because you noticed a sign to late is an enough reason for them to stop you.
And, as you can read in our motorcycle diaries I was always relieved that I could show my international driving licence whenever they stopped us.
The Bali police also set up road blocks at unexpected places. They will stop everyone, not just tourists. If they catch you without the correct papers you will be fined immediately. It will cost you around USD25.
It is basically up to you. If you want to run the risk then it's possible to rent a motorbike without a driving licence. As for a car I know it is more strict and many Bali car rental places ask you to show a valid driving licence.
So to be on the safe side, arrange a international driving licence before you leave for Bali and carry it on you together with your normal driving licence.
If you haven't got both you can obtain a tourist driving licence at Palayan Sim Tourist in Kantor Bersma Smasat on Jalan Cok Agung Tresna in Denpasar (0361-243939). The licence is about Rp 200.000.
Don't forget that they drive on the left side of the road!
In tourist areas the volts is 220-240, but in somewhat remote areas it can be 110 volts. Outlets are plugs with two rounded pins. If you forget to pack an adapter there are many shops in Bali that sell it.
Internet shops (Warnet in Indonesian) are available everywhere, whether it's broadband or dial up. But with the fast development of internet in Bali there are many other options to make it easier for you to call home via Skype, email to friends and family and to share your Bali holiday on Facebook.
Almost every where on the island you have access to Wifi internet. For some you still need to pay but at many Bali accommodations and restaurants you can connect for free.
At major villages such as Ubud, Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, Lovina and Nusa Dua Wifi is found at every corner and it works pretty well. So if you have brought your smartphone, ipad or laptop you can connect with anybody anytime.
If you don't have the latest gadgets on you then another option is the payphone, also found in the internet shops or special public telephone shops called Wartel. Of course this is a much more expensive option.
You can also use your own mobile in Bali just in case you want to send text messages or always want to be reached.
If you are staying for a longer period you might want to buy an Indonesian Sim-card which you can put in your own mobile. It is widely available and very cheap to get one.
I hope my Bali Travel tips have been useful for the preparations of you travels. If you have any other Bali Travel tips that might be useful and haven't found it on this website please let me know!