Before You Go To Bali
GETTING TO BALI
You can enter Indonesia visa-free if you’re from any of the listed 169 countries and sovereign states (as of March 2016), which includes: China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Macau, among others. With that out of the way, get yourself the cheapest airfares to Bali.
AVOID THE SCAMS IN BALI
The moment you touch down at Ngurah Rai International Airport and go right out through immigration, not only does Bali welcome you, so do the scams! Anything from trickster money changers to non-meter taxi rides and peculiarly too-friendly people, you better always keep your radar on and ensure that you and your money are not so easily parted. Getting out from the airport particularly requires you to get a taxi, but if you want to avoid the monopoly in place there, you can grab your backpack, go the length and walk out of the airport to fetch the meter taxis roaming the public roads (who aren’t allowed to pick up passengers inside). For this inconvenience, expect to save up to IDR 20,000-50,000 depending on your destination.
GETTING AROUND BALI
There are several types of ways to get around Bali. Although still in its early phase, Bali has a new public bus system called the Trans Sarbagita. These bright blue buses stop at various sheltered bus stops at unpredictable time frames due to the unpredictable traffic conditions in Bali. Fares are very cheap, from IDR 3,500 per transit; the bus operates from 05:00 to 21:00. Mostly targeted at locals, reflected by its routes that aren’t much related to tourist destinations. For the true spirit of exploration and venturing off beaten tracks, hire a motorbike. Just be sure you have an international license. Rental fees for a moped range IDR 50,000-150,000 per day. It goes without saying to drive with caution and always wear a helmet – the police will surely stop you and it will cost you more cash.
BUY AND BARGAIN IN BALI
Cheap knock-off items sold by peddlers at the beach can be tempting, especially if that’s Oakley or Rolex is offered at a price that is too good to be true. Because it obviously is! Better avoid. Bali’s wealth of art market is a good starting point but it is always a hit-and-miss, and all goes down to how well-honed your bargaining skills are. They offer the most unique shopping experience, where you can discover a treasure trove of artworks and handicrafts by talented local craftsmen, all at bargain prices. Aggressive bargaining is by going down to half of the offered price and working your way up to an agreeable amount.
USING RUPIAH IN BALI
Starting from 1 July 2015, all businesses by Indonesian government law will be required to quote prices in Indonesian Rupiah and process all transactions in Rupiah (both cash and electronic payments). Ensure you have some small Rupiah amount with you for emergency needs. Indonesia is still very much a cash-based society, and credit cards are still not accepted in many places. Don’t be afraid to ask locals or other tourists where they went to change currency or where they recommend. Please note some places e.g. Kuta, have a reputation for bad/dodgy moneychangers. If you are unsure or you cannot find one you trust, use an ATM instead. For reasons never fully explained, foreign currency bank notes must be in pristine condition; no marks, tears or folds. $US bank notes must usually be a new series – 2006 or later. If you had a stopover in a nearby Asian country – e.g. Singapore or Malaysia – and have some local currency leftover, you could use a moneychanger at that airport instead.
VACCINATIONS FOR BALI
Bali is much more developed than most regions in Indonesia and the main tourism areas match international standards when it comes to hygiene. If you plan to travel to other areas in Indonesia or venture out for a longer period into the more remote areas of Bali, then a more careful approach is recommended. Because vaccines need to be taken before arriving at your holiday destination you need to plan your vaccine strategy 4-8 weeks before scheduled departure. Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.
WEATHER IN BALI
Bali is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. So you can expect a tropical, warm and humid climate all year around with two main distinctive seasons: Dry Season and Rainy Season. Best time to visit Bali depends mainly on the weather and on high and low season, which does affect the overall price for accommodation. High season is during the months of July and August, during Easter Holidays, and Christmas / New Year (December till 1st week of January). This is the time Bali is the busiest. However, for many reasons, best time to come to Bali is April, May, June and September, just before and just after high season. It’s still dry season, it’s slightly less humid, and room prices and villa rentals can be 30-50% cheaper than during high season. Many shops offer sales and promotions, restaurants are less crowded in those mid-season months, and in general Bali is a bit more relaxed. Not to forget, in general the traffic and hustle bustle on the roads is more bearable. Especially in Kuta, Legian and sometimes even Seminyak the narrow streets are packed during certain times in the day with cars and motorcycles
STAY CONNECTED IN BALI
Whether you come to Bali for leisure or business. Staying connected to the internet and being able to use all the great communication tools that come with it, is for many travellers a must – a basic need. Although you cannot expect everywhere a super-fast internet connection, the infrastructure, coverage, and service has improved greatly over the years, and it is nowadays very easy to stay online. A 3G network is available in most areas, if it’s not too remote. Getting a Prepaid local SIM Card will be your best option if you want to skip all of the hustle of finding a Wi-Fi free restaurant or shop every time. SIM cards on Bali are very affordable. No need any more to pay a crazy amount of money for roaming. For 10 USD you can be online for 30 days with a package of 4 GB. Local SIM cards can be used as long as you have an unlocked phone.
NYEPI DAY IN BALI (7 March 2019)
The first day of the Caka New Year, also known as Hari Raya Nyepi, is a Day of Complete Silence in Bali. The whole island will be void of people on the streets, no noise, no lights and no activities in whatsoever form. It is mandatory for everyone to stay indoors. The whole island of Bali shall appear deserted and therefore it is believed that the remaining evil spirits will pass over the island. One day before Nyepi, Pengerupukan Day, there will be a nearest Ogoh-Ogoh parade performed by our neighboring Nagi villagers in the evening. Ogoh-Ogoh is the manifestation of a person, an object or anything that disturbs human lives. This parade is an exorcism ceremony at the main village crossroad, the meeting place of the demons.