Bali: The Online Travel Guide General Information.
"Cleanliness is important - wash frequently and wear clean clothes."
Useful Hints and Tips for the traveller.
Power supply is usually 220 volts, 50 hertz. Normal outlets are European style sockets, accepting plugs with two rounded pins.
Travel Adaptors are available to convert most plugs to suit European style sockets. The adaptors do not convert voltages!
It is advisable to check that your appliances will operate at 220 volts before using them. In any case, hair dryers are not really needed on a hot tropical island, nor are clothes irons. A blade razor is far lighter than and electric shaver, so it may not be necessary to use any electrical appliances at all.
Electricity blackouts can be common in rural areas, so it is a good idea to bring a torch or flashlight.
Reconfirm your departing flight 24 hours ahead of time.
Respect the culture and remember you are a guest in Bali.
Take the new style $100 USD notes with you if possible. Larger denomination notes means better exchange rates.
A back-pack is far more convenient than a suitcase. Purchase a good quality lightweight pack with a comfortable harness, and learn how to pack it. A smaller day-pack will also be useful. Travel light. Adopt a less is best approach when packing, and only include items that you know you will need. If you think you might need an item, then chances are you wont need it. Try to eliminate anything that falls into that category.
Think twice about heavy items. Grooming items, make-up etc. are usually heavy, and are unneccesary for a trekking holiday. Pack only a basic toilet bag, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, anti-perspirant, blade razor (far lighter than and electric shaver) etc. Hair dryers are not really needed on a hot tropical island, nor are clothes irons.
As you step outside of the airport doors, you will notice a couple of money changer booths, and a Taxi information booth. There is a sign posted in the window that states the correct prices - keep a look out for the sign, and use it as a basis for the price you will pay for taxis. Note that Taxi prices aren't that negotiable to or from the airport, as the driver must pay a tax for entry into the airport grounds - outside you will find that travel over a similar distance will cost less.
Above: A stylised Balinese carving of a pigs head, set into the steps at Pura Kahen (Bangli).
Indonesian time is generally referenced by a 24 hour clock. 6:00 PM is 18:00, and 11:PM is 23:00.
In Indonesia, timetables are generally fairly flexible, and the concept of "jam karet" or rubber time is widely practiced. In practical terms, this means that most busses will run late (they will depart when the driver is satisfied that there are enough passangers), the taxi that you ordered to take you to the airport will arrive just in time (hopefully), and the temple that you visited at 6:00 AM will probably open at about seven. Take it easy, you are on holiday!
Always swim between the red and yellow marker flags on the beaches. The areas between the flags are patrolled by surf lifesavers. Swimming outside the flags is a foolish risk, as the placement of the flags specifically identifies safe patrolled sections of the beach.
If you intend taking lots of photos, bring spare batteries for your camera, especially if you have a new camera that uses unusual batteries. These will be difficult and expensive to obtain outside of the major tourist areas.
When in Ubud, try to see Balinese dances that are performed as part of temple festivals in preference to the secular performances that are put on for tourists.
Most accommodations in Bali have a safety deposit box service. They are there for one simple reason, don't leave anything valuable in your room even if you're staying in the best resort.
Carry items such as facial tissues (which can double as emergency toilet tissue), a small sewing kit with needles, thread and some spare buttons, and some strong string or twine for emergencies.
Take only the barest minimum of clothing. Take a look at our guide to what to wear on Bali.
Your own towel is useful when staying in budget accommodation, as you will not always be supplied with one where you stay. Try to find one that dries quickly and is lightweight. Lightweight travel towels may be bought from camping and travel centres. A sarong makes a good alternative.
A first aid kit is essential and even the most basic kit may prove invaluable of you or one of your party has a fall, gets cut or scratched or is involved in an accident. Take a look at our section on travel health for more information.
Sunscreen or sunblock should always be used, especially for those arriving from winter and whose skin has no natural protection from the burning sun. A hat is also useful for sun protection. Even of you do have a tan, be aware that your skin may still burn, and the affects may not be realised until perhaps many years later as skin cancer.
Always be aware of the risks of fire, especially if you intend to burn mosquito coils at night. Be very careful that they cannot set your room alight.
Business offices are open either from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a break for lunch between 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Some offices work half days on Saturday, but quite a few are closed.
Government office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, and till 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Banking hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and till 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Some bank branches in hotels keep longer hours. Money can also be changed at hotel cashiers, and authorized money changers. Daily exchange rates are published in newspapers.
Credit cards are acceptable at all major hotels, department stores, restaurants and travel agencies, and at many smaller traders around the island. The Australian dollar, US dollar, UK pound, German mark and Japanese yen are the most readily accepted currencies.
Some of the major cities have shopping complexes, supermarkets and department stores where prices are fixed. Shopping hours are usually between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. for department stores and supermarkets in the large cities with shorter hours on Sundays.
Above: Typical of the many giftshops that line the streets of major towns.
Bargain: Learn the art of bargaining--it is essential when buying from markets, gift shops, and even when finding accommodation. Bargaining is customary at small shops and markets, the art of which is to start at about half the asking price and going up till a compromise is reached.
The hasslers: Walking down the streets of Bali's major tourist villages is often quite a chore. There will always be someone trying to sell watches, perfume, transport or other items such as paintings, post-cards or wood-carvings. These are the inevitable hassles that one must face. To reduce the stress of conflict, try to ignore unwanted sales-pitches, keep walking, and retain your composure even under duress of pressure sales tactics. A useful phrase is, "Sudikah anda membiarkan saya sendiri?", which means, "Will you please leave me alone?". This is far better than offering to buy later ("Maybe tomorrow Miss?" - and they will remember you!).
Try not to buy anything on the first day you arrive in Bali. Wait until you have had the chance to understand the prices, and until you are confident to engage in bargaining, and don't be tempted to buy anything on the beaches as the prices are much more expensive compared with the small stalls in the streets of Kuta.
To keep your sanity on the beach, simply ignore the hordes of beach vendors, especially those offering to sell ganja, weed, grass or pot. Always smile, and indicate that you are not interested by saying "Tidak mau".
You will need a police report to replace a stolen passport or for your personal insurance claims.
If you are stopped by the police for a traffic violation, you may be requested to appear before a court in Denpasar. A possible way of avoiding this situation is to offer to pay the fine on the spot. Obviously, you should not suggest a bribe to any police officers, however many officers will be willing to levy an on the spot fine (which may be negotiable by clever bargaining) so you may avoid a court appearance.
Don't leave your valuables on the beach while you are swimming.
Hotel rooms aren't a safe place for your valuablesleave valuable possessions in a safety-deposit box and lock your room. Many losmens and guest houses allow you to use your own padlock.
How expensive is a Bali holiday? In early 1999, the standard domestic airfare from Melbourne to Perth (Australia) was about AUD$1,000. A package holiday to Bali for a week could be purchased for around the same price.
Buy a package holiday if you intend staying in Bali for less than 35 days, even if you wish to find your own accommodation. Choose from the lowest cost packages available, and ask your travel agent to book your return flight according to your own schedule. Almost all packages use return airfares that are valid for 35 days, which allows you to book your return any time when flights are available within that period. You do not need to book or pay for any additional accommodation as part of the package deal. Few travel agents will tell you that.
Copyright © 1994-1999, Wayne Reid.
Contributions, including corrections, updates, new information and suggestions are welcome.
Disclaimer: All of the information available within this site is believed to be correct, however the author accepts no responsibility or liability for any outcomes that may result in using this site's contents.