Bali is the perfect island to explore and relax at the same time. We spent a great two weeks in Bali. In a post, we share our tips for travelling to Bali.
Bali – the island of the gods
Bali is a popular destination for many people around the world, and it’s easy to see why. The island offers everything from beautiful sandy beaches, rice fields and volcanoes, waterfalls, amazing restaurants and bars, mysterious temples, romantic sunsets, great food and extremely friendly and smiling people.
Bali is an Indonesian island with a population of over 4 million, located in the southern part of Indonesia. Denpasar is the capital of the island, also as the airport. The island measures more than 10 km from north to south, and is more than 150 km wide. Bali gained its current recognition, thanks mainly to the book and movie hit Eat, Pray, Love.
Best time to visit
Bali has warm weather throughout the all year, with two main seasons – dry and rainy. The dry season lasts between April and September and the rainy between October and March. The rainy season does not mean that it rains all the time, there is only more rainfall (storm) during this time. The high season is July and August, and the peak of the dry season. During the peak season Bali is very populated and accommodation prices are higher compared to other months. The best months to visit are April, May and September.
Visa is free of charge for Slovenian citizens travelling to Indonesia for less than 30 days. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months before travelling. More information about the visa can be found here.
There are two types of tourist visas for Indonesia:
- A 30 day free visa that you arrange at the airport. The visa is free of charge and cannot be renewed. More than 140 countries are eligible for the free visa, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries.
- Extended 30-day visa upon arrival, for which you will deduct 494,000 IDR (about 30 euros), which can extend your stay for the next 30 days (after the first one). Please arrange your visa at the airport.
Indonesian is the main language in Bali, but many people in the tourist areas speak English. The people are very friendly, so there should be no major problems with communication.
Paying and changing money
The Indonesian currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The current exchange rate is IDR 100,000 = 5.68 €. You can withdraw money at an ATM or exchange it at a currency exchange. ATMs and exchange offices can be found in all tourist destinations.
- Withdraw at an ATM
Caution is required when raising money at an ATM. If an unusual accessory (at a keyboard or card slot) catches your attention at an ATM, you should avoid it and find another one. You will be charged some commission when withdrawing, and the highest amount we could withdraw at the ATM was 2500000 IDR (140 €).
- Money exchange
Even when changing money at the exchange office, a little caution is needed. Look for official exchange offices for exchange, but avoid the local ones. Local ones are well known for scamming tourists. One of the most famous scams is that a person counts money in front of you and secretly throws some banknotes in a drawer. They do it so fast you don’t even notice it if you don’t pay attention.
Therefore, you prefer to exchange money at official exchange offices that have cameras, and they will issue you a receipt when you change it. If you decide to make a change on the street and find that they have brought you around and do not want to return the money, you threaten them to call the tourist police. They will probably give you money back. We have to say that we didn’t have any bad experience about changing the money.
- card payment
The card is acceptable at all major shops, hotels and restaurants. You may be charged a 3% commission upon payment.
How much time to spend in Bali?
As much as you can, because Bali is simply wonderful. For Bali it is recommended that you book at least 14 days. In two weeks you will have plenty of time to explore the main sights, but you will still have plenty of time to lie on the beach or at the hotel pool. In case you have more days, or if you would like to explore something else besides Bali, you can jump to a neighbouring island, such as the lovely three islands of Gili or the increasingly popular Nusa Penida, for a few days.
Transportation at Bali
Public transport in Bali is very poorly developed and not exactly a popular mean of transport for tourists. The traffic in Bali is (for the most part) chaotic and with many congestions in cities. The best and most convenient way to explore is to rent a motorbike.
- Buses connect different (tourist) places around Bali. The most well-known bus companies are Sarbagita and Peramatour, which mainly serve the transportation of tourists
- taxis are the most convenient form of transportation when changing places. The biggest and most reliable taxi service is Blue Bird (taxis are blue). When renting a taxi, make sure that the drivers have meter on, and if not, you can negotiate the price
- Bemos are smaller vans and are a major form of traditional public transport. Prices are fixed, but tourists are usually charged a higher price
- motorbike taxi is Gojek or Grab, where you order transportation via mobile application. A scooter driver comes to pick you up. The advantage is mainly in traffic jams and the price is lower than in taxis. The ride costs about $ 1
- renting a motorbike is one of the best options for exploring Bali. There are many providers to rent a bike from. You can rent a motorbike also at your homestay. All engines are in good condition, only before picking it is advisable to look at the bike if there are any scratches. So when you return it, they cannot accuse you of damaging your bike. Scooter rental rates range between IDR 50,000 and IDR 60,0000 per day.
- Renting a scooter (or car) will require an international driver’s license. The traffic in Bali is on the left, so the ride will require a little more care and awareness. Road conditions and heavy traffic can be frustrating at first, but get used to it quickly, especially when you move away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Bali is considered the most tourist island in Indonesia, so the offer of accommodation is large and various. For a little money, you’ll get a lot in Bali. You will find an affordable offer suitable for backpackers as well as lovers of luxury resorts. Prices for basic accommodation start at 8-10 euros to 25 euros per room, and breakfast is often included in the price. In Bali we always chose cheaper accommodation (15-20 euros), and for that price we always got a large and spacious room with air conditioning, wi-fi, breakfast, safe, and occasionally access to a shared pool.
You can book your nights in advance or search for them from door to door. As we travel around Asia, we are usually don’t book in advance. The reason is quite simple. Searching for overnight stays is not tied to any place or date, so you can adjust your trip instantly. The second reason is that we made a reservation in advance and the room was completely different in the end.
Due to its size, Indonesia has an extremely diverse cuisine, showing the influences of traditional cultures. The main ingredient in Balinese food is rice, which is found in almost all daily meals.
For authentic local dishes, visit local “warungs” and street stalls. Warungs are local restaurants and are the best way to try authentic local dishes where you will eat very cheap. The most common dish is “nasi goreng” (nasi means rice, goreng – fried), fried rice with vegetables, meat and egg. One of the popular and quite similar dishes is “mi goreng”, except that they are noodles instead of rice.
In general, Bali has a diverse range of food, both local and international. You will also find well-known fast food chains such as KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Starbucks.
We definitely recommend eating locally as the food is very tasty and cheap. In smaller and less well-known restaurants where locals eat, the food is much tastier, fresher and cheap. Tasty meals cost only a few euros, at more tourist restaurants the prices are at least once higher. We, for an average meal, together with freshly squeezed juice, we paid from 5 to 7 euros for both.
- satay – pieces of meat stuffed on a dagger and grilled. Dishes are found in most restaurants and street stalls
- soto ayam – A great yellow spicy chicken soup found in almost every restaurant. The soup is stuffed with noodles, squeezed rice cakes, hard-boiled eggs and vegetables
- nasi campur – This is a mix of food with rice. The dish contains grilled chicken, beef, tofu and a mixture of vegetables and rice
- grandma guling – grilled young pig
- lawar – salad with thinly sliced vegetables, minced meat, coconut and spices
- babur sumsum – dessert made from coconut milk, rice flour and topped with palm sugar syrup
Travel plan for 2 weeks
Day 1: income: Kuta
Day 2: Kuta – try your hand at surfing
Day 3: Ubud – visit Tegallalang rice terraces, explore the market, visit some warung
Day 4: Ubud – early morning walk along Campuhan Ridge Walk, exploring Ubud streets, Monkey Forest
Day 5: Ubud – trip to Bratan Lake, Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, Jatiluwih rice terraces
Day 6: Ubud – Visit Batur National Park and see any of the waterfalls in the vicinity of Ubud (Tibumana, NungNung, LekeLeke, etc.)
Day 7: Nusa Penida – arrival at Nusa Penida
Day 8: Nusa Penida – snorkeling on Crystal Bay
Day 9: Nusa Penida – Broken beach, Kelingking beach, Angel’s Bilabong, Diamond Beach
Day 10: Nusa Dua – enjoyment
Day 11: Nusa Dua – enjoyment
Day 12: Canggu
Day 13: Canggu – Tanah Lot
Day 14: going home