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Ok, so if I had to choose one place to spend the rest of my life there, it would be Bali for sure. The vibe, the calmness you can feel there, the delicious food, the cheap massages, the freedom in the air… it is something close to heaven. So if you are planning to go there I’ll be happy to share with you everything you need to know before your trip on this quick guide to Bali.
Tickets to Bali
This is one of the most challenging things to find if you are on a budget.
The prices vary:
If you are travelling from Europe you can find a ticket between $800-1200, although if you are really on a budget wait for a promo. I’m flying with Qatar Airways and the first time I went there my ticket both ways was $550. I know they have amazing discounts on their birthday as well.
If you are travelling from the United States the price will be around $700-1500
If you are travelling from Australia the price will be $400-600
I suggest using my favourite site and the only search tool you will ever need for flights from now on, to find the cheapest and best prices for your trip.
In Bali, you will land at Denpasar International Airport. From there you have a couple of options to reach your place of staying. The most expensive one is to find a taxi driver right in front of the airport. If you have a hotel transfer it is the best and easiest way to go to your hotel. If you feel a little adventurous – you can pre-arrange a driver, there are a lot of taxi companies or drivers and tour guides that offer airport transfer aswell. Last time I choose this site to book our taxi and they were really nice.
Weather in Bali
The weather in Bali has 2 seasons – wet and dry. When you hear wet don’t think about raining all the time. It turns out it rains 2-3hrs/day and then it’s hot like summer.
So if it’s important to you the wet season runs between October-November and March-April, the hot season is from April-May to September-October. Although it really depends. A lot of people say that the popular time to visit Bali is July-August, but the truth is that each year it gets more and more popular and no matter when you go there will always be a crowd.
If you want nice weather for sunbathing and not being too hot I recommend going in May.
Tourist Visa for Bali
Most of the countries in the world have visa-free entry for a stay up to 30 days. So at arrival, they just ask you for how long you will stay and if you have a plan for your next flight out of the country. If you want to stay for more than 30 days/up to 60 you can extend your visa for a fee. For a longer stay, you have to talk to the Indonesian embassy in your country before your trip.
Currency exchange in Bali
One of my favourite travel apps is XE CURRENCY. With it, you can convert easy all the currencies you need. Have in mind that the exchange rate is not exact so make sure to check out the info in your native bank about it. In Bali the use Indonesian Rupiah, so it is most likely that you will become a millionaire when you go there.
For a quick reference:
1 USD = 13900 IDR
1 EUR = 15450 IDR
1 AUD = 9560 IDR
You can exchange some money before the trip, or at the airport when you land(probably the exchange rate there won’t be in your favour). You can also find cash exchange places almost everywhere. But count the money they have to give you beforehand to be sure they won’t scam you. You can also withdraw cash from ATM but most of the time the fees are not worth it.
Accommodation in Bali
You can find a variety of places to stay in Bali – guest houses, Airbnb, hotels, luxury resorts.. it all depends on your budget. And the most amazing thing, for now, is that you can still find cheap places that are amazing.
If you want to find something more exotic in Airbnb – use this link and receive a US $30 off your first booking. There you can find some epic villas if you are more into a luxury experience.
Here you can see the best hotels in Bali as well. Just make sure to check all the comments people are leaving before booking.
And if by any chance you plan to stay in Kuta, this is my recommendation- Grandmas Plus Hotel Airport. The staff was amazing and the place was great for its price.
Transport in Bali
This is the fun part. The easiest and craziest way to get around Bali is on a scouter. But have in mind they drive like nuts and you have to be familiar with driving at the opposite side of the road if you are from USA, Europe, etc. The price of a scooter per day is $2-3. If this is not your cup of tea you can always arrange a private driver/tour guide, you can get a taxi. The best one is My Blue Bird and it has an app that is better to use instead of getting one when you see it on the street – there are a lot of fakes. If you are staying in the central part of the island you can use the local uber – Go Jek, Grab (they have apps that you can download and use). Just check in which regions they operate.
Planning your route around Bali
This is a map of my favourite places to see in Bali. If you are making your trip just put some stars on your Google map and decide – will you travel on a bike or you will use a driver. If you have a lot of luggage with you a driver will be the better choice. They have bigger cars that can take up to 7 persons if you are a huge group. No luggage in this case though.
If you hate waiting for the traffic to move a car may not be for you, although everything is a couple of hours away.
My personal favourites are Ubud, Seminyak and Uluwatu. And if you have only one week at this amazing place you can visit all of them.
Cost of travelling
This is something that depends on your budget. In Bali, you can live in extreme luxury and extreme poverty. And this contrast in one place is something that amuses me.
So the cost of travelling there depends on what you decide to experience. There are luxury resorts, or local villas, local restaurants with local food or luxury ones way more expensive than the ones you can find in Europe. I’ve managed to have an amazing experience there with a budget of $20/day with no problem last year. But prices are getting higher so this year my budget was more than that.
Here a price guide for you to get the idea:
- Accommodation with air-conditioning starts at 200,000 rupees ($15AUD) per night. Depends on the region you are staying in you can find one with a pool for that price as well.
- Scooter hire – 30,000 – 50,000 rupees ($2-4 AUD) per day.
- Petrol – 30,000 rupees ($2 AUD) per tank.
- Food – Local food and beers cost around 20,000 rupees (AUD 2) each. Western food and cocktails cost around 100,000 rupees (AUD 10) each.
- Massages – 60,000 – 150,000 rupees ($6 – $15 AUD) for a one hour massage.
Also if you are staying in Kuta – the prices there are higher and get lower once you go further. In Kuta, the price of a dish was something between 40,000-100,000 rupees, when we went to Ubud the prices were like 20,000-60,000 rupees. In Amed and Lovina prices are even lower.
Food in Bali
Trying traditional food in Bali is a must. Have in mind they eat spicy things and even if it’s not stated the food is spicy probably it is. For my taste, it was too much.
Some traditional dishes you can try are:
- Nasi Campur – mixed rice served in banana leaf
- Nasi Goreng/ Mee Goreng – rice or noodles with vegetables, egg and snacks
- Tempeh – Indonesian Tofu
- Gado-Gado – vegetable salad with peanut sauce
If you are not a fan of Indonesian food you can always find sandwiches and french fries. There are a lot of western food restaurants everywhere you go.
Bargaining in Bali
This is a must here. If you go to an open market and don’t bargain you will lose a lot of money that you can save. The first price they offer you is maybe 2 times more than the real one. So don’t be afraid to say really low price and don’t be disappointed with their reaction. The shopkeepers there are really good actors. And actually, they love doing this. It’s really fun for them too to play this game of bargaining.
Tipping in Bali
This is something that isn’t expected. But if you are really happy with the service you received it is ok to tip them. Have in mind that it can be insulting to them if you give them too much.
Internet in Bali
If you want to keep in touch with the outer world and to be able to post your amazing photos to Instagram and Facebook from this awesome place, you will need an internet connection.
You can buy sim card only with data in it that will cost you around $8 for 16GB and you can pick it up at the airport. Last time I just ordered the airport transfer and the SIM card at the same time and it was really easy. Here a link to the website I used. Make sure that your phone is not locked to your cell phone carrier.
Other options you have is to use free wifi from the restaurants and cafes or to choose a hotel with free wifi.
They are not necessary but local people really like it when you say something in their language. So here my list of words and phrases I’ve remembered from there:
- Hi – Hai
- How are you – Apa Kabar?
- Thank you – Terima Kasih
- Excuse me – Permisi
- nice, well – Bike
More tips to know when going Bali
- The tap water is not drinkable, so buy yourself a bottle from the supermarket, or if you are in a more expensive hotel they will give you a bottle a day every morning
- You can get a death sentence if you get caught with drugs
- There are 2 active volcanos in Bali
- The monkeys are not as sweet as they look on photos – they steal a lot of things from tourists like sunglasses and shiny accessories, so be careful
- There are more than 20,000 temples in Bali
And there you have it – my quick guide to Bali for your first trip! I hope this article can help you plan one unforgettable trip to this fantastic island – and if you know other great places and nice tips for first visit to Bali that you think should be included – just let me know in the comments below so I can add them to this list!
Where to stay in Bali:
- My choice if you want to stay in Kuta – Grandmas Plus Hotel Airport, they were really nice to us, the breakfast was epic and the pool was clean.
- Find the best price for hotels in Bali.
- Sign up to Airbnb with this link and receive a US $30 off your first booking. Find amazing villas with pools and the real feeling of being in Bali.