The essential and complete travel checklist for Bali
Passports, tickets and visas
If you have a Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thai, Vietnam, Chile, HK, Macau, Brunei, Morocco or Peru with you, you do not need a visa to enter Bali.
For all other passport holders, you will need USD $25 upon arrival (valid for 30 days and renewable) to pay for your visa on arrival. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Indonesia and you must have proof of onward transit (return or via tickets).
When leaving Bali, you must pay a departure tax of Rp 150,000 per person at the airport. You pay this in rupiah, not US currency. Put this money aside and don’t spend it on groceries!
Pro Tip: If you want to avoid the queues and luggage pick-up, use the Bali Concierge airport service for a VIP pick-up experience. For USD $50, they will escort you from your arrival gate, arrange all visa stuff and take your bags through immigration – while you wait at the bar and enjoy snacks.
Insurance when traveling anywhere is a must. Especially somewhere like Bali, where you’re likely to be doing outdoor activities, riding scooters and getting into the surf. You don’t want to be without insurance. We recommend using a reputable insurance company such as Zuji, which is underwritten by Allianz.
Don’t even try Indonesia is very strict with drug laws and even has the death penalty for drug trafficking. Plainclothes police also patrol the streets looking for vendors and users. Actually, don’t even try – otherwise you’ll end up like the Bali 9 or Schapelle Corby.
Take them with you, but be careful It’s always good to have a credit card with you when you travel, especially for unexpected expenses. Don’t forget to notify your credit card company that you are traveling and give them your overseas contact details – otherwise they may cancel or suspend your card on suspicion of fraud. If you use credit cards in Bali, make sure they are only used on legitimate looking credit card machines – watch out for devices that ‘skimm’ and steal your card details. Avoid places that use the old style manual copiers – any decent place should have an electronic unit. Rule of thumb: If you’re not sure, just use cash.
Stay healthy and avoid “Bali Belly”.
Indonesia is a developing country and as such does not have the same level of sanitation and healthcare as we are used to in developed countries. It is recommended to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Influenza. It is best to consult your doctor about vaccinations. The water in Bali is not recommended for drinking, so to avoid the infamous “bali belly”, stick to bottled water. If you want to be extra careful, use your bottled water to brush your teeth as well. Avoid ice in drinks from food stands and small warungs. But ice cream from the supermarket or from a bar should be fine.
Alcohol and beverages
Alcohol can be quite expensive Apart from the locally made Bintang beer (similar to and owned by Heineken), which is refreshingly Delicious and dirt cheap, and the horrible hangover Arak causes, most alcohol is very expensive in Bali. This is said to be due to the ‘moral’ tax levied by the Indonesian government. E.g. A bottle of Smirnoff Vodka can cost us Rp 500,000 (about USD$55). So it is a popular option to bring your own duty-free alcohol. Indonesian law allows a maximum of 1L per person, which is not much. If you choose to bring more and get caught, you’ll have to hand it in or pay a, *ahem*, “fine” of anything from 20,000rp to 100,000rp and you can keep your alcohol.
The best way to explore Bali, if you don’t like driving/driving your own vehicle, is taxi and car+driver services. Taxis are cheap (i.e. a metered taxi for a 45 minute ride costs less than USD $7), see bottom of this post for taxi companies. Make sure the taxi is metered and starts at 5,000 rp. You can also get car+driver services from around USD $35 for a full day – it is recommended to tip the driver at the end of the day.
Cell phones and Wi-Fi
Your own phone will probably be able to roam globally on Indonesian networks, but it can be very expensive to make and receive calls. It’s best to buy a local prepay SIM card (like SimPati or 3) and put it in your phone – you’ll then benefit from the low local rates. iPhones and Blackberry work, but you need a SIM card with internet data. It’s easier to stick to the free Wi-Fi available in many cafes and bars.
In Indonesia they use 220V, 50 Cycle and the plugs are double round teeth of the European variety. Adapters are available at some hotels OR can be purchased from Matahari’s (supermarket) for approximately Rp 35,000.
Tipping is good karma
Tipping Service charges are sometimes added to your restaurant bill. It is not required, but it is good practice to tip your hotel doormen, masseuses, maids and other staff during your stay. It doesn’t have to be much, but you will be assured that you will be taken care of, and it is much appreciated by the staff who earn only a few dollars a day.
Sunscreen and moisturizer are expensive in Bali for some reason, take your favorites from home. Condoms in Indonesia are not of the best quality, it is safer and wiser to bring your own. Imodium (diarrhea medication) is worth keeping with you, you can buy them at any pharmacy (called apotik in Indonesian) in case of the infamous “bali belly”.