Useful tips for first time travelers to Bali…

If you’re a first time traveler to Bali, the following tips should be handy for you.  If you’re a frequent traveler to Bali, please add any extra tips that I have not included.  Safe travels!

PASSPORT

Ensure passports at least SIX MONTHS VALIDITY from your return date from Bali to your country of origin.
Take a photo of your passport or photocopy it and send it to your email address so you have easy access.

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PACKING and CLOTHES

Pack lightly as Bali is hot. Natural, loose fabrics have the benefit of breathability as opposed to synthetics.
Shorts and T-shirts are fine for males and light sundresses, three-quarter trousers or same for females.
If dressing up, a loose shirt and long shorts/loose trousers for men and a long summer dress is mostly suitable for women.
Thongs and sandals are commonplace. Joggers are handy if you are to do a lot of walking.
Make sure you have a hat as Bali is sunny.
Cozzies are a must and a cover-up eg sarong for women is handy.
Leave expensive jewellery at home. Inexpensive dress jewellery is readily available to purchase.
Hairdryers are commonplace in rooms of midrange plus hotels.
Forgot something? Buy it there; shopping is cheap!
Assorted toiletries are inexpensive and readily available in supermarkets. Often your favourite products are cheaper there too!
A pashmina is handy for the flight in case the temp is too cold. Even a sarong packed in your hand luggage can come in handy!

LUGGAGE

Ensure you have adequate luggage allowance if you intend to shop. Most airline bookings include 20kgs but you will be charged if in excess of this.
Most hotels do have scales you can use to check your luggage weight.

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SUNSCREEN

Take your own as it is pricey in Bali.
Remember to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP and wear a hat!

TOWELS

Hotels supply their own bath towels and pool towels. Taking your own towel is not necessary. A sarong is handy for the beach.

ELECTRICITY:

220 volt 50hz is supplied in Bali. A 2 pin plug is required. These adaptors can be purchased inexpensively. Alternatively, borrow from your accommodation reception.

CHARGERS

Pack your camera, phone, ipad, laptop etc chargers and take a multi-plug POWER BOARD for ease of charging several items at once as they will only need 1 adaptor plug.

Exclusively bali - power board cordial

MOSQUITO REPELLANT

Apply it regularly as Dengue Fever is prevalent.
Mosquito repellent is readily available in supermarkets eg. Autan, Soffel
Many hotels regularly use a preventative outdoor fogger spray.
Suggest spraying your room regularly also, including below bed and in cupboard, behind curtains.

PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS

Take your medication in their original packaging and take the prescription with you in case you need to replace them.
Apotiks are chemists in Bali.
Circle K supermarkets often sell basic medicinal needs.

OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS

Be aware that over the counter medications in Bali may appear similar to those you are familiar with, but may in fact significantly differ.
Panadol, for example, comes in various coloured packaging denoting differing ingredients. Ingredients include pseudo-ephedrine for “cold and flu” and caffeine as “Panadol Extra”.

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VISA ON ARRIVAL

Don’t worry if you haven’t changed money to pay the $35US VOA. This can be paid in Australian dollars (allow approximately $55AUS at current rates) and change will be given in Rupiah. So handy to have a few rupiah to pay your taxi driver!
Or, if you wish to take US dollars, purchase from your Australian Post Office with no commission. It will take 3 days and there is a minimum spend of $200.

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AIRPORT PORTERS

Porters will offer to take your bags when arriving at or departing from the airport. They are dressed in uniforms and appear “official”. Politely say NO if you do not want them as they will expect payment for handling of your bags (approx 10,000 IDR per bag).
If you have multiple pieces of luggage (especially departing with lots of shopping), the porters can be a godsend!! They will also take you straight to the correct check-in line, so very convenient for a small payment eg.50,000 IDR as a ‘thank you”.

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MONEY CHANGERS

WARNING: Unscrupulous Money Changers are common: if the rate on a board seems too good to be true, it likely is! Always change money at Authorised, reputable dealers.
An Authorised Money Changer must be formally authorised and identified with distinctive markers. All Authorised Money Changers are obliged to use a logo, they must also prominently display their registration number provided to them by Bank Indonesia on their signboard. If there is no logo and registration number then they are NOT Authorised Money Changers.
DO NOT use a Money Changer at the back of a shop, down an alley or laneway. Always count your Rupiah before handing over your dollars.
DO NOT accept small denominations as it is often a sure sign they will attempt to short change you. (50,000 and 100,000 are best).
DO NOT rely on their calculator as they are sometimes rigged.
DO NOT rely on the person counting out the Rupiah in front of you as their hand is sometimes quicker than the eye.
DO NOT hand over your dollars until you are satisfied they are giving you the correct amount.
DO NOT be distracted or intoxicated either when you change money.

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HOTEL SAFES

Remember to use the hotel safes or safety deposit boxes for your money and passport. I divide up my $100 or $50 Australian notes into envelopes containing $200 each. I label the envelopes 1, 2, 3 etc. This way I know how much I have left and whether anything has been tampered with. Hotel safes should be without reproach, but there have been stories otherwise.

CREDIT CARDS

Visa, Mastercard, American Express are all readily accepted in hotels and shops (not market stalls!) A surcharge of a few percent may be charged for the convenience.

ATM’s
ATM’s are available. You can nominate the language you want the machine to use, and it will usually say on the ATM what note and amount it dispenses. ATM’s are handy to use if you would rather not carry large sums of cash and are a convenient way to obtain local currency at a reasonable exchange rate
Always be sure you don’t reveal your PIN and be careful that you do not leave your card in the machine.
Keep in mind that your withdrawal may be subject to a nominal fee for an international transfer, so check with your bank before leaving home. The other point to note is that your bank may freeze your card if out-of-the-ordinary transactions (such as withdrawals in 4 different countries over the course of a week) appear, so keep a copy of your bank’s contact information on hand.

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TRAVEL INSURANCE          

You cannot afford to travel without Travel Insurance!

Ensure you are covered for “medical evacuation” as costs can be preventative.

Be upfront with all pre-existing conditions.
Consider paying a little extra to exclude an excess as each claim, even during the same trip, you will be charged an excess.

Send a copy of your Travel Insurance documents to your email address so you have easy access.

Carry a copy of your insurers emergency contact number and your policy number in case you need to contact them while out.

BALI BELLY

Take precautions such as:
Do not drink tap water
Wash your hands regularly
Use antiseptic hand sanitiser/wipes
Eat from reputable restaurants only
Avoid food and beverages from street vendors
Do not use ice made from tap water
Consume fully cooked food that is still hot, or fruit/vegetables you have peeled yourself

If you succumb to Bali Belly, the sooner you seek medical treatment the less valuable holiday time it is likely you’ll lose.

SCAMS

Ensure your taxi driver has his METER on.
Don’t use non-authorised Money Changers.
Don’t enter competitions. They are often “time share” schemes eg. someone approaching you with a clipboard – or jumping off a bike, offering you a scratchie and tell you you’ve won a prize!
At small supermarkets check the price of your goods and question it if in doubt as tourists are sometimes charged excessively.

MONEY

The Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is the official currency of Bali. Australian dollars are readily exchanged in most of the tourist areas. Foreign currencies like the US dollar, UK pound, Euro and Singapore dollar are also readily exchanged. Major credit cards are widely accepted too.

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BAG SNATCHERS/PICK POCKETS

Be aware that unfortunately this does occur! Avoid walking with your bag over the same shoulder as the road is on. Motorbikes have been known to ride past grabbing the bag and often injuring the pedestrian.  Whilst riding a motorbike, place your bag under the seat as again, bikes have been known to ride past and grab your bag off your shoulder.
If children surround you selling postcards/beads/bracelets be warned you could pick pocketed. This also goes for someone bumping into you or grabbing men’s private parts as a distraction.

DRUGS

SAY NO! Airport signs state, “DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS”. This also applies to drug users. Be wary of anyone selling any narcotic substance. Corruption is rife and sales are often setups to being caught!

RESPECT

Be conscious of the predominantly Hindu religion of Bali. Cover up when entering sacred temples and follow any instructions of conduct. Honour the many religious days and festivals held.

It is impolite to receive or hand anything over using your left hand or to touch the top of anyone’s head.

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LAUNDRY

It is inexpensive to have your clothes washed and ironed. Hotels can be a little pricier, but local laundries are common in the tourist locations and charge by the kilo.

Laundry 3

SMARTRAVELLER

Register your travel with smartraveller.com
Keep up to date with any travel warnings via government webpages.
SOME EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS:
1. The Police 110
2. Ambulance- 118
3. Bali International Medical Centre Hospital, Ngurah Rai Bypass open 24 hrs +62 361 761263
4. Kuta Tourist Police Post, Jalan Pantai Kuta, (0361) 7845988
5. Sanur Tourist Police Post : BK3S Post, Jalan Danau Tamblingan, (next to Bali Hyatt Hotel, Sanur), (0361) 8531960
6. Nusa Dua Tourist Police Post : Bundaran Tugu Mandala Kawasan BTDC Nusa Dua, (0361) 7442622
7. Ngurah Rai Airport Tourist Police : Airport Police Sector Ngurah Rai, (0361) 751 023
8. Tourist Assistance Centre : Bali Regional Police, (0361) 224111
9. The Australian Consulate , Jalan Tantular 32
Renon, Denpasar , Telephone: +62 361 241 118

TIPPING

Tipping is not compulsory, particularly when a service charge is often added to services. If you feel the service has been extra good however, it is appreciated.
Rounding up taxi fares and restaurant bills is polite.

TAXI

Bluebird taxis are preferable as they have a good reputation and use their meter for your journey.  There are many taxi’s in Bali these days and a lot of those are now trying to make themselves look like a Bluebird – even going to the trouble of trying a new tactic where they have a sticker on the front of their cars saying “Blue Taxi Group” to confuse people. They also have a back to front bird like the Bluebird Group so be careful.

When using a non-Bluebird taxi, ensure the meter is used otherwise it will be necessary to try to negotiate a fare prior to travel.

You can call a Bluebird taxi ahead of time on  +62 (0) 361 701 111

MARKET SHOPPING

Shopping in market stalls or from beach sellers can be a challenge at the best of times. Consider these handy tips:
 Negotiation is expected. First offered prices are often double or triple the real price
 Don’t reveal this is your first trip to the island (even if it is)
 Have a clear price you are willing to pay before you start negotiating
 Knowing a little Bahasa indonesian will often reward you with a better price
 Be aware shopkeepers do this for a living and are persistent and “athletic” negotiators
 Go early for best “Morning Price”
 If you think it’s a reasonable price, then do the deal
 Remember that 10,000Rp is equal to approximately $1.00Aus
 Watch the zero’s on your notes as it can be confusing.
 Be prepared to walk away
 If you buy multiple items, you should be able to negotiate a lesser price
 Maintain your sense of humour and be polite

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HENNA TATTOOS

Do reconsider having one of these! A toxic chemical known as phenylenediamine- PPD is often used in henna tattoos. Serious scarring and adverse skin reactions with hospitalisation has often resulted in henna tattoos.

WEATHER

May to September is the dry season.
October to April is the rainy season.
The dry season offers the best weather with cool, pleasant evenings and sunny days. Unfortunately, this also coincides with “high season” so offers the highest prices for accommodation.
The wet season is more humid with heavy rainfall however it mostly never rains all day. Rainfall is most likely to occur in the afternoon and can be quite heavy, warm, tropical and pleasant.

PHONE PICS 24-11-13 (369)

LANGUAGE

English is so widely spoken in the tourist parts of Bali that in my opinion, the only words you really need to get you through your whole next holiday to Bali are:
 Terima kasih – Thank-you (pronounced Treema kasi)
 Tidak – No
 (So, Tidak terima kasih is used often)
 Sama sama is a response to Thank-you. It means you are welcome.
 Permisi – Excuse me
 Jalan Jalan – Walking (This is handy to use if being hounded by Transport people on the streets)
A few other basic conversational skills are:
 Apa kabar? – How are you?
 Baik – Fine/good
 Baik, terima kasih – Fine, thank you.
 Maaf – Sorry
 Tidak/Ya – No/Yes
 Nama saya – My name is…
 Selamat Pagi – Good Morning
 Selamat Siang – Good Midday
 Selamat Sore – Good Afternoon
 Selamat Malam – Good Night
 Sampai Jumpa Lagi – See you later

Bali June 2014 with Cindie 542

IN CONCLUSION

Relax, show respect and enjoy your journey through Bali. x

all images ©Exclusively Bali

  • I hope you have found these handy hints useful.  Please feel free to comment and share. xx

 

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