Hotels & Accomodation Questions | Bali and Terrorism? | Renting Motorbikes on Bali | Nyepi Day 2003 | Working in Bali | Bali Airport | Airlines | Flights from Denpasar to Lombok | Merpati Airlines | ATM Machine in Denpasar Airport | Credit Card or Traveller`s Cheques?   | Passport  | Vaccinations  | Visa | Travel Documents for Children  | Do Cell Phones work in Bali?  |  Climate in Different Regions of Bali | Weather from November to March  | Weather from May to OctoberTravelling in the Rainy Season  | Diving, Snorkeling & Surfing  | Back to Bali Online Travel Guide  | Deutsche Version |35 Hotels in Bali | Current INM Asia Guides Newsletter | New Question


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Bali and Terrorism?

Q:  Hi,  I'm wondering if it's safe to travel to Bali *right now*, after 11.09.2001,  as an American citizen? I know that the rest of Indonesia is supposed to be pretty bad right now according to the US state department.  Thanks for your help.. I have a flight from Australia in two weeks and I have to make a decision soon!

A: There are never any guarantees, but Bali is hinduistic, not islamic, and  it should be safe. 

Renting Motorbikes on Bali

Q: We are planning to come to Bali in October in the area af Kuta.
We want to know if there is a possibility to rent a motorbike and if the companies have internet adresses. Thank you very much for your care.

A: Yes, it is possible to rent motorbikes. There are lots of shops; though I know  of none with internet access. But you should have no problem finding something. 

A hint: please check the bike carefully before you rent it. And take care  when driving - road conditions are not the best in Bali.

Voltage/Electric Current

Q: Could you please tell us what voltage the electric current is on Bali ?  Thank you

A: The voltage is 210/220. 

Plugs and Power Supply

Q: I'm interested to know exactly  what plug adapter I need to fit a Standard North American 3 prong plug into a wall socket in a typical Bali Bungalo in Kuta. The transformer is equiped to handle voltages from 100V-240V at 50-60 mHz but I don'to know if I need an additional adapter to fit the plug into the wall.  Please let me know  and if there is a way I can see a picture of the proper plug required. 

A: It is unlikely that the plugs on your transformer will fit the sockets. Sockets vary - ususally they are the three pole, flat type,but it is best to buy a "world adapter" - that is, a wheel-like adapter with lots of different plugs. For picture of all kinds of sockets and plugs used worldwide, try Kropla World Electric Guide .

Nyepi Day in 2003 Q: We will be visiting Bali March 29 through April 20, 2003. Can anyone tell me when the Balinese New Years Day falls on this year (2002)?  Thank you. And are there any restrictions concerning swimming or walking on the beach? 

A: Nyepi Day in 2003 is on April 2nd. Yes, there are restrictions. You cannot leave the premises of your hotel (e.g. no swimming on the beach, etc.) Everybody is supposed to stay at home; there are severe restrictions on transport (only with a special permit). The airport will be closed this year for Nyepi. For the Balinese, Nyepi is a day of silence and meditation, relecting on the year just past and the year that's coming. There are three days of festivals, processions, and parades leading up to it. It begins at sunrise on the 13th and goes to sunrise on the 14th.

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Getting Married in Bali

Q: Can you tell me about a hotel on Bali, where i can get married. My friend says that only one Hotel on Bali can do it.

A: A lot of hotels offer so-called "wedding packages" (just check this out in hotel`s webpages or ask a travel agent. You can also try the following web page: http://www.bali-paradise.com /baliwedding/booking.html). There is, however, a lot of paperwork involved with getting married in Bali and it is always a "church" wedding - and  both bride and bridegroom must have the SAME religion (both protestant/both catholic/both Buddhist, or whatever). Mixed weddings are not possible. You can find more information and attractive "wedding packages" at Bali 1 Dream Weddings .

Travel Safety

Q: I will be in Bali February 1st to the 13th and I will be staying at the Bali Cliff Resort.  I will be by myself for the first week and a friendwill be joining me on the second week.  I'm concerned about the political  and civil unrest going on in Indonesia right now.  The time I will be there is their parliamentary elections.  Is it safe to be in Bali in general?  People are expressing genuine concern about my trip and Iam hesitant at this point in time.  I looked up the travel advisory issued by the Department of State and it did not sound too inviting to visit, even in Bali.  Please advice me on this.

A: The German Au´┐Żenministerium`s (something like the State Department)  travel pages state that Bali, Lombok and Bintan (an Indonesian Island in front of Singapore) are still quiet. There is no travel warning for Bali (only for Irian Jaya, East Timor, and Aceh in Sumatra. I`d add Java, or at least Western Java with Jakarta to this list. Don`t go there!)  Although there is no guarantee, personally I believe that Bali will remain quiet. Bali is wealthier and better off than the rest of Indonesia and nobody wants to scare the tourists away. So, probably, it is going to be safe (it also helps if you are staying in a reputable resort), but the decision is yours!

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Rental Cars in Bali

Q: What is the cost of a simple rental car in Bali (no luxury limousine, but just a normal rental car)?

A: The cost of a regular rental car with driver is, including petrol, about 40 US$. Rental cars for self-driving are also available, but they don`t cost less, sometimes more. We do not recommend self-driving in Indonesia unless you are really familiar with road and traffic conditions in South East Asian countries AND with driving on the left side. If you want to spend less money, consider sharing the car and the cost with fellow-travellers or think about going by bemo (the local version of a bush taxi). The bemo will certainly  be a lot more fun than struggling with bad road as well as dogs, chicken, and people darting out of the middle of nowhere on the street, and, at night, other vehicles that drive with the lights switched off!

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Tap Water in Bali

Q: Is the tap water in Bali drinkable?

A: No. Drinking tap water is not recommendable. Some hotels have their own artesian wells and in this case the water may be used for teeth brushing, but not for drinking. The better hotels (from lower middle class up) all offer complimentary drinking water in bottles. Outside the hotel buy bottled drinking water, but make sure that the seal around the cap is intact (Aqua is a reliable brand). Avoid ice cubes with your drinks - you do noto know what kind of water it is made from. (In addition, iced drinks have tendency to upset a stomach that is already irritated by strange foods and a different climate.)

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Hiking in Bali

Q: Is hiking possible in Bali - despite the climate? And where are nice hiking areas?

A: O yes, hiking in Bali is possible, even pleasant, especially  in the highlands and the lake district around Lake Bratan (because the air is cooler and less humid than in the south) Nice areas are the beautiful rice terraces near Jatiluwih (on the way from Lake Bratan to Pura Batukau), or the Tegalalang Valley near Ubud. You can also climb Gunung Batour, the smaller one of Bali`s volcanoes - it does not require alpinistic mountineering experience, but you should take a guide with you or ask at least before you set out about possible volcanic activities.

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Airlines

Q: Which Airlines go from London to Bali? And which one is the cheapest? I want to travel in October.

A: If you want to travel in October, make a reservation now! A lot of airlines offer several kinds of booking classes in Economy and the least expensive ones are usually sold out pretty early. Good airlines for going to Bali are: Thai Aiways (via Bangkok), Cathay Pacific (via Hong Kong), and Singapore Airlines (via Singapore), to name the three most recommendable ones. All of these airlines offer besides the regular economy fare attractive holiday rates. Garuda, the Indonesian Flag Carrier Airline, of course offer also flights to Bali, ususally with two stops: one in Bangkok or Singapore, and one in Jakarta (whereas the other airlines mentioned make only one stop). Garuda also offers bargain rates.

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Bali Airports?

Q: Could you please send me a list of airport cities around in the north or east of Bali where flights from London Gatwick/ Heathrow or Manchester Airport arrive in.  Thanks for your help.

A: There is only one airport on Bali, Ngurah Rai. There are no non-stop flights from europe to Indonesia; it is always either via Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Singapore. 

Flights from Bali to Lombok

Q: Hi, we want to visit Bali in August, but also want to go to Lombok. Are there still any other airlines besides Merpati that fly from Denpasar  to Lombok? We heard that Merpati is not such a safe airline.

A: No, there are no other airlines besides Merpati that go from Bali to Lombok - there used to be Sempiti, a private carrier, that went bankrupt, and Bouraqu, another private carrier, that exists but does no longer operate flights to Mataram/Lombok. It is true, Merpati has had a number of accidents in recent year, but they have mainly occured in other regions of Indonesia.

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Garuda Airlines Safety

Q:  Your site is extremely helpful and informative.  We have scheduled a trip to Bali on July 2 but are  somewhat concerned about Garuda Airlines.  Do you have any opinion about flying Garuda?

A: Dear Reader,  Garuda itself is not so problematic, especially not on the intercontinental routes; they have a good safety record for this. The problem is Merpati, their domestic sister airline. Merpati usually has at least one accident per year; however, less on the "big" routes (Jakarta-Denpasar or Denpasar-Mataram) but on the flights to more distant islands, where the weather conditions and also the airport conditions can be quite bad.

Merpati Airlines Tickets

Q: How can I buy a Merpati Airlines Ticket  outside Asia?

A: Merpati has no sales offices in Europe or the Americas, so that you cannot buy the ticket in advance. Every good travel agent, however, can make a reservation for you. (or you can call a Garuda Airline office. Garude does not SELL the tickets, but they can reserve one for you). You purchase the ticket at the Merpati ticket counter at the airport once you are in Indonesia. Just make sure that you have the reservation number at hand and that you are at the airport well in advance of the scheduled departure time - if you arrive late your reservation may be cancelled.

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Balinese Hospitals/Doctors

Q: Can you tell me something about the standard of Indonesian/Balinese doctors and hospitals?

A: Indonesia and also Bali has, compared with e.g. Singapore or Thailand, a relatively poor  health system, especially as far as high tech medicine is concerned. On the other hand, Balinese doctors are competent in diagnosing and treating tropical diseases (probably more than your family doctor at home), and if you suspect you have, for instance, malaria, you should not hesitate to see one. Most Hotels in Bali can recommend doctors that speak English. In the case you need surgery or treatment for a serious disease, however, you should fly to Singapore or Darwin and get the necessary treatment there. Please make sure before your trip that you have adequate health insurance AND adequate financial means for covering cost for medical care (because you have to pay for the treatment yourself, and get it reimbursed by the health insurance company only later).

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Working in Bali

Q: Aloha....Im interested in moving to Bali....I am currently living in Maui, Hawaii, and working for a Helicopter company out here.....I would like to stay in the airline industry, and was wondering how hard it would be to do this out there, and if it would be possible? ....... Mahalo for your time,....Aloha, Teri:)

A: Dear Teri, the economic situation in Indonesia is still very bad and the unemployment rate is high (and salaries are low ...) Relocation to Indonesia is probably not a good idea at the moment. However, if you want to check yourself, you can look for jobs in the online Bali Gazette
 

Women Travelling Travelling Alone in Bali

Q:  Hi, I am interested in going to Bali but I am a women (aged 31) and am going to travel alone. Is that going to present a problem? How are women travelling alone treated in Bali?

A: Bali is in general a safe destination for women travelling alone. As always, of course, it helps if you are a little bit assertive, not in the sense of being aggressive or unfriendly (that would be countereffective) but you should know what you want. Second,  you will feel a lot better, accepted, and safe, especially as a woman travelling alone,  if you respect the local clothing etiquette: knees and shoulders always covered, and everything clean and ironed.
 

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Travelling in Bali with a Baby

Q: My wife and I are planning a trip to Bali, but we have a baby (6 months old). Can you tell us something about potential problems? What about babysitters?

A: You should make sure that your baby is not overexposed to sun and also carefully protected against mosquito bites (but remember, Autan and the like may NOT be used on a small child. Hotel rooms with aircondition provide the best protection against mosquito bites).Western Baby food and other supplies are available in Bali`s major tourist areas, like Sanur, Nusa Dua, or Kuta. Every hotel can arrange for a babysitter (usually, though, you must give them at least some hours notice.) Indonesians in general, and also the Balinese, are fond of children and your baby will probably be quite content and happy .

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Cost of Living

Q:  In September I plan to go with my husband to Bali. We managed to find an inexpensive flight and a reasonable hotel. However, we are not sure about the general cost of living in Bali - for instance, costs for meals, drinks etc. Are they really as low as our travel agent told us?

A: The cost of living - meals etc., depends very much on the kind of accomodation you choose. In the international resorts like Sheraton, Hyatt, or Nikko, prices tend to be higher (i.e. normal from a western European or American point of view) and these hotels often quote prices in the menus in US$, not Rupiah.  Prices in simpler hotels or restaurants are considerably lower.

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Budget Accomodation in Bali

Q: The hotels on the hotel page are all so expensive! Where can I find information about cheaper (but not too primitive) accomodation? Is there any?

A: Yes, there is. The only "problem" is that these places don`t have fancy websites or accept reservations from overseas in other ways (if they did, they would have to be more expensive). You can find acceptable accomodation (i.e. clean, with private bathroom, though NOT directly on the beach and  without phone, TV, etc) in Sanur, Kuta or Legian (not in Nusa Dua). For instance, in Kuta  you could try Kuta Pari Bungalows (4 US$ per night),  or the hotel Camplung Mas (1 US$ per night). In Legian rooms at the Sayang Maha or the Puri Tanah are available for 8 - 20 US; in Sanur, the Taman Agung Hotel or the Bumi Ayu Bungalows offer contemporary rooms for about 25 US$ per night. Take a taxi or a bemo and tell the driver the hotel name; they know these places.

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Credit Card or Traveller`s Cheques?

Q: What is better: credit cards or traveller`s cheques?  Are credit cards accepted in Bali? And does it make sense to change money at home, in advance?

A: Credit Cards (Mastercard, Visa, AMEX) are accepted at hotels (from lower middle class up), at rental car agencies and the like, and at major department stores. You cannot use credit cards for paying at the petrol station, in restaurants, or small shops. The big advantage of a credit card is that you get a much better exchange rate - the credit card companies use the interbank exchange rates and this is always more favourable than the local rate. Whenever possible, you should use the credit card. On the other hand, you need also cash  - and instead of carrying bank notes in your home currency, it is better and safer to carry traveller`s checques (American Express or Thomas Cook) and cash them at a bank (most banks cash only US$ cheques) or at a money changer (all currencies). The rates are unfortunately worse than the interbank rate. Changing money at home is not recommended (you`ll get much less than in Indonesia).

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ATM/Bank Machine at Denpasar Airport

Q: Is there an ATM/bank machine at Denpasar airport?

A: Yes, there is an ATM machine at the airport - but its maximum amount is 500.000 Rupiah (something like 50 or 60 US$, enough for a taxi to the next bank or to your hotel, though). ATM and bank machines are favourable, because ususally the exchange rate is far better than those of a money changer, but on the other hand, they might be broken when you need them  most.

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Passport

Q: Do I need a passport for travelling to Bali?

A: Yes, you need a passport for travelling into Indonesia and the passport must be valid for at least the next six months.

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Travel Documents for Children

Q: What kind of travel documents does a child (7 years old) need for travalling to Bali?

A: The child needs a passport with a photo in order to be admitted into Indonesia.

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Visa

Q: Do you need a visa for Bali ?

A: It depends on which country you are from. Western Europeans, Australians, Canadians etc. do not need a visa, or rather they get the visa on arrival (valid for a stay of up to 30 days). This is very uncomplicated - difficulties can only arise if you have no return ticket (then you must demonstrate that you have sufficient means, ie. at least US$ 1000,00 for paying for your stay in Bali and the outbound flight) If you can prove that there is no problem you will get your entry permit.

Please see more about visa  for Indonesia at Regulations and Requirements for Indonesian Visa

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Do Mobile Phones work in Bali?

Q: Do cell phones work in Bali?

A: It depends on the type of the phone - Indonesia has GSM 900 and GSM 1800 networks and if you have a compatible phone and your provider has a contract with one of the Indonesian providers (e.g.Telkomsel) , you will be able to use your phone with your normal plug-in card in Bali.

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Vaccinations

Q: What  kind of vaccinations are recommended for Bali? My family doctor says, nothing unusual, typhus, tetanus, and hepatitis.

A: Your family doctor is certainly right. You need the usual vaccinations like tetanus, polio, hepatitis, and a prophylaxis against typhus or better, against salmonella infections (In Europe, there is a special prophylaxis against typhus and salmonella infections that is taken orally on three consecutive days before the trip and lasts for about one year , ask your doctor if it is available in your country).You should be careful when you choose your food: fruit only if it is peeled (by yourself!), no green salads (parasite and amoebia infection!) or other salads, meat and fish only well done and served hot.

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Malaria

Q: Do I need malaria prophylaxis for Bali?

A: Bali is, in general, not a malaria area, and if you restrict your visit to Bali and have no plans for visiting other islands in Indonesia, you should need no malaria prophylaxis. Nevertheless,  you should  try to avoid mosquito bites as mosquitos can transfer not only malaria, but also other diseases, like dengue fever. It is best (but not for babies and small children) to use a repellent like Autan or something similar, especially in the evening. The spray versions work best. Spray yourself and  your clothes and (this may sound outrageous, but it is important!) the sheets and pillows of your bed - even in an airconditioned room (at least one mosquito somehow always finds a way to sneak in).

If you plan to stay in simple accomodotion, bring a mosquito net - and spray it as well.  You can also try vitamin B: two capsules per day (not advisable if you suffer from liver problems) can change your body odor slightly so that mosquitoes find you "unattractive".  Vitamin B also reduces nervousness which is often a problem when you change surroundings and climate. A final tip: if all your preventive efforts failed, put tiger balm or anti-burn (yes; anti-burn!) jelly on the bite - the itching will go away and you will not be tempted to scratch - which could result in a nasty infection.

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Different Climates in Bali

Q: Are there any differences between the climates in the various regions of Bali?

A: Yes, it is more rainy and less sunny in the highlands (Lake Bratan, Jatiluwih, Ubud), a little drier in the south (Sanur and Kuta), and more dry and sunny with clear skies in the east (Candi Dasa) and especially in Northern Bali.

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Weather from November to March
 

Q:  Our travel agent recommended the months of January and February for a Bali visit. What are the experiences with travelling in these months?

A:  Unfortunately, January and February are two of the rainiest months on Bali - this does NOT mean that it rains all the time, but it rains very often (mostly, but not always, the rain is restricted to the afternoon). The rainy season or monsoon season on Bali lasts from November until March.  Although it cannot be denied that a south east asian monsoon has a certain charm of its own, it ist not the ideal season for a trip, especially not for a first visit to a Bali . If you can travel only in these two months, go elsewhere (e.g. to Thailand or Malaysia) and postpose your visit to Bali to another year when you can come at a better time - you will certainly enjoy it more if you wait.

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Weather from May to October

Q: How is the weather in Bali from May to October? Every travel guide recommends this time of the year, but due to negative experiences with other countries we are sceptical. In a travel video on Bali we saw that the sky was not blue, but extremely milky. Is that the usual sky colour on Bali or are there times when a clear blue sky happen more often? We would appreciate your answer.

A: The months from May to October are indeed the best time for a trip to Bali (the monsoon is different here than in Thailand or Malaysia). A completely deep blue sky is rare on Bali in all seasons. (The air is very humid - this is why everything is so green!) Your best chance, if you insist on the blue sky, is the north of Bali, which is much drier than the rest. However, clear sky or not, the air is always very warm and pleasant.

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Travelling in the Rainy Season

Q: A lot of people say that a travel to Bali also worthwile in the rainy season. But - can you tell us something about what it is really like?

A: It is of course possible to travel in the rainy season (it does not rain all the time, just more often than in the so-called dry season) - but you must be flexible with your plans for excursions and sightseeing. When the sky is clear and the sun is shining - just go off to Ubud or Pura Uluwatu or Pura Besakih. And if not, find something else to do. Perhaps the most important thing for a Bali visit in the rainy season is to choose a nice hotel or other place - that is pleasant enough to stay comfortably in the room or on the terrce or balcony (make sure the room has a balcony with a roof!) if it rains.

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