7 things you need to know about travelling to Bali

The view from Anantara Resort and Spa Uluwatu

If you’re planning to head to Bali, here are a few handy hints to get you started.

1. There is a visa on arrival system – When you get to Denpasar airport, you will need to line up and buy a visa. It will cost you USD$35 per person. Your visa will be valid for 30 days (not a whole month in months where there are 31 days). You also need to have six months validity on your passport so make sure you have that before you travel.

2. Currency – In Bali, most places accept US dollars, rupiah (the local currency) and some places accept Australian dollars too. Most resorts, restaurants, bars and fashion retail/gift shops in tourist areas will accept major credit cards. If you’re shopping in smaller villages or in markets, you will need to use cash and it’s OK to barter. The general rule is to offer half of the original asking price and negotiate up from there.

3. Tipping – Tipping is appreciated but not expected.

4. Taxis or airport transfers – There are loads of taxis in Bali that are very cheap to catch. You need to find out what it will cost up front as most cabs charge a set amount for a certain distance. An airport transfer can cost up to about USD$30, while a cab will cost you as little as 100,000 rupiah. For more information on this, click here.

Coming from the airport, go to the taxi counter, tell them where you want to go and they will give you a voucher and allocate a driver. You pay the driver when you have arrived at your destination.

Going to the airport, ask the hotel concierge to order a cab for you.

5. Drinking water – In all the high-end resorts, they will provide bottled for you to drink in your room but they will also most likely run filtered water through their plumbing system so that even tap water is safe.

In cheaper accommodation, be careful not to brush your teeth with tap water or swallow water in the shower.

Most mid to high-end restaurants in tourist areas use filtered water to make ice so it’s safe to drink things with ice in them. Cheaper restaurants may not take this precaution so order your drinks without ice and only drink bottled water where the seal is intact.

6. Know your area – See below for a guide to the popular tourist areas:

Kuta – Lots of cheap bars, shopping and budget accommodation. Great place to party if you’re into that sort of thing. Located on the main beach.
You will love it if you love: Bogans, Bintang and titty bars.

Legian – Mid-range accommodation, decent shopping and a few good restaurants. Located on the main beach.
You will love it if you love: Cheap massages and eating overpriced nasi goreng.

Seminyak – Mid to high-end resorts, villas and houses for hire. Lots of well-known brands in stores charging Australian prices. Some famous restaurants and bars including Ku De Ta and La Lucciola. Located on the main beach.
You will love it if you love: Sunset cocktail happy hour and shopping.

Jimbaran – The higher-end and quieter part of the island that is still relatively close to the airport. Home of Ayana’s famous Rock Bar. Not much shopping, lots of resorts.
You will love it if you love: Traditional Balinese architecture and gardens, landscaped pool areas and the full resort experience.

Uluwatu – This out-of-the-way surfer’s paradise is blissfully quiet but the beaches are hard to access (you need to get down a cliff to get to the water). Not much happening in terms of shopping or nightlife. Very much a place to chill out.
You will love it if you love: Watching the waves roll in, the sun set and peace and quiet.

Ubud – Located in the mountains, Ubud is known for writers festivals and yoga retreats. Surrounded by rice paddies, Ubud is very green. The centre of town has a lot of shops and restaurants catering to the tourist market, and further out of town you will find the bigger resorts and more expensive restaurants like Mozaic.
You will love it if you love: Jungle, rice paddies, yogis and you’re not afraid of a feral monkey or two.

7. Departure tax – There is a departure tax of 200, 000 rupiah (approx. USD$20) so make sure you have enough cash on you when you are departing to pay for this.

Got any great Bali tips? Care to share?


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