Bali Newbie Kit
For those who belong to the following 11 countries, you do not have to get any Visa to visit Bali, or Indonesia. You'll be entitled to a visa-free 30 days permit free-of-charge (note: your passport have to be valid for a minimum of 6months at the time of entry)
Visa-free: Singapore, Vietnam, Philipines, Brunei, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru and Thailand.
Visa On Arrival
Visa on arrival is where you're eligible to obtain visa on your arrival to Indonesia either by sea or air. There's 2 types of VOA, which is 7-days visa which is for US $10 or 30-days which is for US $25. The visa can't be extended once you have chosen the type (7-day or 30-day). You'll have to leave Indonesia and re-enter Indonesia the next day if you want to have a new valid visa. Please do note that your passport have to be at least 6-months valid and you have to prove that you're able to fund your stay in Indonesia or Bali in particular
Visa On Arrival:
Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, People's Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
What if you're not eligible for VOA or Visa-Free?
Citizens of countries neither on the VoA nor Visa-Free lists are required to apply for a visa overseas before travelling to Indonesia. Please visit the Indonesian Embassy in your country to apply for one.
DO TAKE NOTE: Nationals of ALL countries planning to stay for more than 30 days in Indonesia also have to apply for the appropriate visa (tourist, business, social-cultural, etc.) at an overseas Indonesian Consulate or Foreign Mission before departing for Indonesia.
Bali's main currency is Ruppiah (IDR) with denomination notes of Ruppiah 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2000, 1,000 denominations. USD or United States Dollar is also widely acceptable in Bali. Normal changing rate is IDR 10,000 for USD $1. Australian Dollar is also acceptable in most hotels.
PLEASE EXCHANGE YOUR MONEY IN LICENSED MONEY-CHANGERS. Although this is rare, however there have been a few reports where tourists got cheated with FAKE Ruppiah notes. It's easy to spot a licensed money-changer, they will have a "Izin Assosiasi Pedagang Valas" license, if you do not spot any license, do ask them to show it. All the money-changers in Bali's airport, NGURAH RAI AIRPORT, are licensed money-changers.
Where is Bali and Bali's Timezone:
Bali's timezone is +8 hours, same as the timezone in Singapore, Bangkok and Malaysia. Do take note that Bali is one of the few state in Indonesia whereby it is 1 hour ahead of Jakarta, Indonesia's capital.
Bali Island is part of Indonesia and is located 8-9 degrees south of the equator between Java in the West and Lombok and the rest of the Lesser Sunda Islands (Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba and Timor Leste) in the East.
Flying to Jakarta is about 1 1/2 hours, to Singapore and Perth (Australia) 2 1/2 - 3 hours, to Hong Kong about 4 1/2 hours, and to Sydney/Melbourne about 5 1/2 - 6 hours. Unfortunately, there is no direct flight from USA to Bali. If you travel from New York the best option is to fly to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific or American Airlines and then transfer on a flight with Hong Kong Express Airways straight to Bali. This ‘fast’ option will take approximately 22 hour.
Weather & Climate:
Bali's temperatures are in between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. From December to March, the "monsoon season", Bali may rain heavily with high humidity, but usually it only rains in the early morning or early afternoon. So do not worry as you still have alot of "sunny time" to explore Bali. From June to September the humidity is low. Evenings and afternoon can be cooling. For example now in September, Bali's "rainy period" is over and we rarely have any heavy raining.
Bali's population has grown to over 3 million people. The majority of them are Hindus, who are really pious. With the recent migration of Javenese and other Indonesians to seek work or do business in Bali, the number of Muslims is steadily increasing with more "Masjid" or mosque being build. Do not worry though as these group of Muslims are not fanatic and they are definitely NOT TERRORISTS! I'm a Christian though, however I must be fair and dismiss "myths" that Muslims in Indonesia are terrorists. The Muslims in Indonesia are certainly not TERRORISTS and they are very friendly and welcoming people.
Most people live in the South coastal areas, and the island's largest town and administrative center is Denpasar with a population of over 400,000. The villages between the town of Ubud and Denpasar, Kuta which includes Legian, Tuban, Jimbaran, Seminyak, Basangkasa), Sanur, and Nusa Dua are spreading rapidly, and it won't be long before the whole area from Ubud to Sanur, Berawa, Amed, and Nusa Dua will be fully urbanized.
Is Bali Safe?
Yes! You can bank on that! It is even safer then your hometown. Ever since the bombings in 2005, Bali's security level have really been beef up. Don't be shock even you, a tourist, may be politely stopped by the police for a random check. There are frequently-held spot checks, roadblocks and more being conducted by the police to prevent terrorist activities. What about political demonstrations? Don't worry about that. Bali is different from Jakarta. We, Balinese are fun-loving and peace-loving people and I'm proud to say there's only a 0.01 % chance of demonstrations being held in Bali. Do read my Bali Bombings article.
The best way to explore Bali is by renting a car or bike. Bring along a GPS or map, trust me, it's not that hard to explore Bali. Even if you get lost, you can count on the locals to guide you or help you with directions. If you must get a guide, don't engage tour guides or rent taxis in the airport or from your hotel, they are REALLY EXPENSIVE. If you must rent a car, rent it from "transport rentals" in Denpasar. For a decent sedan such as Toyota Camry, it cost only Rp 300,000-Rp 400,000 or US$30 - US$40 a day as compared to taxis or car rentals in airport, which cost at least USD $60? You can rent bikes at only USD $8 - USD $10 a day.
Food is really cheap in Bali. Skip those fancy restaurants and eat in "warungs" if you really want to get a feel of the Balinese culture and lifestyle. "Warungs" are small eateries by the roadside. Trust me, you'll get hooked. Nasi Goreng, Ayam Penyet, Bakso, Soto, Babi Guling, Satay and more! It costs only Rp 8000 - Rp 15000 for a meal with Ice Tea. I've never had any friends or colleagues from other countries who get sick or dislike eating in "warungs" In fact they got hooked and asked me to bring them to "warungs" instead of fancy expensive over-hyped restaurants. For a rough idea on Balinese foods which are a hit with tourists, do read Bali Food Famous With Tourist.
Contact and Communication with your friends or family:
Internet access: They are many "warnet" or cybercafes spread all over Bali, especially in Kuta. You can practically spot cybercafes all over Kuta! It cost about Rp 4000 - Rp 7000 an hour. Most hotels in Bali also have free wifi hotspots.
Handphone: Buy yourself a "kartu perdana" or sim cards. You can find it in "counter pulsa" or small handphone shops. They are all over Bali too. Get yourself "Simpati Telkomsel". They have the best signals. To call overseas, please use 01017 + country code + area code(if applicable) + phone number you're calling to. International call charge to USA is Rp.3,100 per minute; to Australia is Rp. 3,500 per minute, to New Zealand is Rp. 4,980 per minute, to Europe from Rp.5,000 to Rp. 7,000 per minute. Long distance call to Jakarta is around Rp 500 a minute. For additional information, most hotels add a surcharge of 200% or more. Local calls cost Rupiah 180 per minute (most hotels charge Rupiah 1,000 and more). So skip the hotel lines and just get a local sim card which will save you alot.
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