Do I need a VISA to enter Bali?
Indonesia has a free 30-Day visa-on-arrival system (tourist visa). If you would like to stay more than 30 days, then you will need to pay $25 at the airport when you arrive at the airport for the option to extend with an Indonesian agent for up to 60-days.
Important note: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months or else Indonesia will NOT allow you into the country and your airline will NOT let you on the plane. Make sure your passport is renewed before you travel to Indonesia.
Is Bali Safe?
Yes. Bali has always been peaceful, it is the only Hindu island in the Islamic Indonesian arcapelago and up until the 2002 and 2005 Kuta bombings, planned by outsiders. However since the attacks, the Indonesian goverment has taken the threat of terrorism very seriously and use measures to monitor and work to prevent future attacks. As for safety in the streets, there is very little violent crime in Bali, especially in Ubud - just be cautious against pickpockets in the beach areas and with handbags on motorbikes late at night. Always put your valuables under the seat of your motorbike/scooter.
Should I rent a car?
It is not necessary, nor advisable to rent a car in Bali. Taxis will cost about $25-$30 will take you from the Airport at Denpasar to Ubud (1.15/30hours drive - depending on traffic!) Most hotels offer free shuttles or a taxi service included to take you to the town center (in Ubud). You can also hire a private driver and a car for $40-$50 per day for day excursions.
Can I drink the water?
No! Always drink bottled or filtered water. 99% of restaurants in Bali use bottled water for all cooking purposes and it is advisable to drink and brush teeth with bottled water to avoid 'Bali Belly' - a mild dysentery which can occur but passes in a few days.
Do I need immunizations when travelling to Bali?
If you are staying in civilized, built up areas of Bali (like Kuta, Nusa Dua, Denpasar, Sanur, Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu/Jimbaran, Ubud, Amed) and staying in clean accommodation and eating in good restaurants you will be fine. A Typhoid shot is recommended and if you are worried or will be working with animals or somewhere in the jungle and more remote, a rabies shot is advised, but there is no need for Malaria tablets, Japanese Encephalitis or Polio shots if you are in urban areas.
We suggest you bring medicine in the case of Bali Belly like diarrhoea rehydration sachets/immodium or a oral antibiotic for stomach ailments as well as plenty of water, coconut water or even electrolyete tablets are recommended for the hot humid weather. Otherwise spray plenty of mosquito spray in the evenings (especially during rainy season) to prevent bites. Dengue fever is common in Bali and there is no immunisation against this - make sure you wear mosquito spray.
What about health care and insurance?
There are plenty of international medical clinics in Bali - especially in Ubud and around Denpasar, Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua. Since the Bali Bombings, the Indonesian government spent invested a lot of money to improve the local hospitals and many more private ones have opened since. If you have a minor illness or ailment, you will be just fine. It is strongly advised that you have international medical insurance to cover your costs should you need to go to hospital or in a dire situation be evacuated to Singapore or Australia for specialist care or life saving surgery. Read more about health insurance and hospitals in Bali here
What clothing can I wear in Bali?
Where you will stay will 99% of the time be air conditioned or with a fan, but outside it is hot and humid. Flip flops or comfortable walking sandals are a must with light clothing like t-shirts and shorts to keep you cool are recommended and a light pullover in the evenings if you are riding a motorbike. When entering temples you must be respectful and have your shoulders covered and wear a sarong (for men and women) - usually sarongs are provided for you when you visit a temple. You may want to always keep a waterproof jacket nearby if you are in Ubud between November - February as quick and heavy showers can occur and you may get caught!
What About Credit Cards, Cash, Exchange Rates and Money Changers?
Most small shops, warungs/restaurants and tour companies run on cash only. ATM machines are rampant on the island, most having the Cirrus and Plus connection. You often get a very good exchange rate via ATM and it is convenient. Money Changers are all over the island, although not all of them are trustworthy. Try and stay away from the small storefront Balinese money changers (the guys with hand written signs and made up rates). The larger establishments, or those that say 'authorized money changer', will be a safer bet. In a dire situation, you can always do a cash advance at a local bank, but it will cost you 18-20% from your bank PLUS another % from the Bali Bank. As far as exchange rates go, if you have travelers checks, their rates are different than CASH and the smaller the bill, the less the rate. $5 is worth less to a money changer than $100, and the rate they will give you will reflect that. For US citizens, do not bring USD$100 notes from the year 1996 (as in 1996 Loads of counterfeits entered Indonesia and the stigma still stands). Visa and MasterCard are the cards of choice in Indonesia. Remember to inform your credit card's issuing bank about your intended trip or else you will risk getting your credit card accounts frozen from 'un-expected activity'.
What's the exchange rate in Indonesia?
The exchange rate is approximately IDR.13,000 = USD $1.00. See the most updated exchange rate here. There are ATM's all over the place that take Cirrus and Plus. Asia loves Visa and Master card so nearly all shops and ATMs take these cards, but very few restaurants and shops take American Express.
What's the normal price for food in Bali?
Local Indonesian food like nasi campur and nasi/mie goreng will cost you a lot less, around IDR 30,000 (USD $2.50), a meal at a mid range restaurant in will cost between IDR 100,000-250,000 ($12-20) and fine dining restaurants could cost anywhere between IDR 500,000 and 1,000,000+ ($40-$80).