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Bali Travel Information
Practical Information for Travellers to Bali
Passport & Visa
Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months post-departure, with a minimum of two empty pages.
Onward ticket: You must also have proof of departure from Indonesia – or, preferably, the actual ticket.
Visa on Arrival (VoA): Most – but not all – nationalities are eligible for VoA. Please contact your travel agent or local Indonesian Embassy/Consulate (in good time before you travel) to check if your nationality is eligible.
Free VoA: Of those nationalities eligible for VoA, many (but not all!) are now free.
However, for some free VoA nationalities, you can ONLY enter and leave Indonesia through 9 designated points (5 airports and 4 harbours). If you plan to arrive into or leave from any other airport/harbour, you need to pay for your VoA.
And yes, Bali’s airport is one of the designated points.
Again, if in any doubt: Please ask your travel agent or Indonesian Embassy/Consulate.
Extending (non-free) VoA: You can only extend a 30 Days VoA once to a maximum of 60 days. However the extension process can be frustrating. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, I suggest you get a 60 Days Tourist Visa in advance.
The Free Visa on Arrival cannot be extended.
Health, Insurance, Driving in Bali. Language
English is widely spoken, particularly in areas catering for visitors. As all education in Indonesia is conducted in the Indonesian language, most Balinese are trilingual as they speak Balinese and Indonesian (very different languages) as well as English. Many also speak another language – often Japanese, although other European languages are gaining in popularity. Several of AMD-B’s guides are quadrilingual.
You must have an International Driver’s Permit to drive a car or ride a motorbike in Bali. If you are stopped by the police, it is always the first document they ask for.
Whichever country you come from, driving conditions in Bali will be quite different to those you are used to. We therefore recommend using a car and driver rather than driving yourself. This will also give you the opportunity to actually sit back and enjoy the scenery rather than either trying to navigate (with inadequate maps and on badly signposted roads), or keeping your eyes fixed on the road for dogs, chickens, motorbikes, potholes, and so forth.
Indonesia’s standard electricity is 220V and you will find the strength of the power supply fluctuates depending on local usage. You should also bring an international adaptor. If you bring rechargeable batteries, make sure you also bring the charger! Disposable batteries are easy to get in the south of the island.
Bali’s tap water is not drinkable although a lot of people use it to clean their teeth. Bottled water is available everywhere you look although, in rural areas, it may not be chilled.
In south Bali there are several international health clinics catering to expatriates and visitors. Please ensure you have adequate medical insurance as costs are very high in Bali.
We suggest you contact your primary health care provider for specific medical advice.
We strongly recommend that you bring mosquito repellent with you – the higher the percentage of DEET, the more effective it will be but avoid getting it in your eyes and remember it will melt plastic and other man-made materials. Malaria and dengue fever are both carried by mosquitoes but although dengue is found in Bali, malaria is not. In places such as West Papua, anti-malarial measures are recommended although (wherever in the world you travel) you need to weigh up the pros and cons of taking anti-malarial medications against the possibility of contracting a strain of malaria. If you take the anti-malarial Larium (Mefloquine), you must leave a minimum interval of three (3) weeks before you go scuba diving.
We strongly recommend travel insurance, including cancellation coverage. You should ensure that your policy covers medical (including scuba diving, evacuation and repatriation), theft and loss of possessions.
You are covered by our diver medical insurance while diving with us in Bali. If you plan to dive elsewhere or in the future, it’s a good idea to have your own diving insurance. We recommend DAN (www.diversalertnetwork.org) who provide insurance for divers in different regions. Be sure to sign up from your own region/place of residence and include AquaMarine’s referral code (DS-0239) to assist DAN in tracking information about how, where and why divers sign-up.
You can also buy DAN Insurance through AMD-B. Contact us and remember to include your full name, address, email and date of birth.
ATMs & Cash
ATMs are plentiful in south Bali, however more remote areas may only have one machine available and it may not be serviced or stocked regularly. Note: Tulamben does not have an ATM.
You can get cash advances on major credit cards at ATMs and also at banks in south Bali (you need to take your passport).
It is a legal requirement to use Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) in Bali.
If you are bringing hard currency cash:
- In south Bali most currencies can be exchanged, however preferred currencies are USD, GBP, Euro, AUD, SGD, MYR.
- Elsewhere in Bali you will find that only the above referenced currencies can be exchanged.
- Exchange rates vary with higher denomination notes getting a better rate.
- If bringing bank notes ensure that they are crisp and new – notes which are folded, bent, torn, stamped or scribbled on may not be accepted. Also banks are unable to receive USD notes issued prior to 2006 so it is wise to ensure you bring recently issued notes.
- When using money changers be sure to recount your money before you leave; keep a close eye out for skimming at ATMs.
Using Credit Cards in Bali
Credit Cards are widely accepted in tourist areas although generally there is a surcharge for credit card use (3-4%). Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. Only some outlets will accept payment using American Express and Diners Club.
Banks are generally open from 09:00 to 14:00 but don’t rely on these hours. There are many ceremonies in Bali that necessitate offices opening and closing earlier than posted.
Indonesian Rupiah notes are available in the following denominations: Rp100,000, Rp50,000, Rp20,000, Rp10,000, Rp5,000, Rp2,000 and Rp1,000. There are currently Rp1,000, Rp500, Rp200 and Rp100 coins.
The concept of tipping has been introduced to Bali by the West. The bill for your evening meal may very well come to more than the monthly salary of your waiter or waitress, therefore rounding up your bill will be gratefully received.
For everything – everything – except things like scuba diving, bottled water, chocolate, and in fixed-price shops, you need to bargain, and bargain hard. The innocent sounding questions that you are asked upon entry into a shop “Where are you from?” and “Which hotel are you staying at?” are used to gauge the seller’s starting price.
What to Bring / Clothing
You would be better off arriving in Bali with next to nothing in the way of clothing and buying anything you need once you are here – it’s cheaper and great souvenirs! We do suggest you bring your swimwear with you.
You will need sunglasses, sunscreen and maybe a sun hat, but they are easy to obtain in Bali, as are soap and everyday medicines. Many prescription medicines are sold over the counter. However, any medications that you rely on, including the contraceptive pill, or your favourite shampoo and conditioner, you should bring with you.
For more Bali Travel Information: