A tropical paradise with an intriguing culture and plenty to explore. Bali, known for its lush green rice terraces, cascading waterfalls, palm fringed beaches, warm friendly people, Volcanic mountains and some of the world’s best resorts. Everything blends seamlessly into one another making it one idyllic island that really has it all!
I’ve rounded up some of the must know things before you go to this place, Here it goes-
Shed all your visa related worries, It’s free of cost and Indonesia provides ON-ARRIVAL visa! It’s just perfect if you intend to stay for 30 days or less. You just need to pass through the immigration using the visa on arrival lane and then the foreign passports lane. Also, keep your return ticket ready just in case the passport official asks for it and that’s it, it’s done!
2. Currency & Sim Card
It’s best to carry USD from India as it’s easily convertible into Indonesian Rupee.
As per the exchange rate today-
1 USD= 13360 IDR
1 INR= 210 IDR
I’d suggest you to withdraw bare minimum money from airport and rest from your hotel as the rates are little less. Do not go to any random shop because there are lots of currency scams. In fact there you’d see different exchange rates on all the shops which might tempt you to get it done from them but simply REFRAIN! And You can easily get a SIM card at the airport without any hassle.
3. Where to stay?
South/ North Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Ubud, Sanur, Jimbaran (You can stay at any of these places and see most of the places in Bali).
Each area is different and it’s little difficult to narrow it down to the best places to stay in Bali. It depends on you whether you are looking for action packed time full of shopping, water sport activities and parties or a relaxing stay in a luxurious resort, serene yoga retreat and quite blissful time.
•Kuta/Legian usually attracts young crowd who’re looking to party all night And is a surfing Mecca!
•Seminyak is more upmarket,offers luxury, relaxation, is slightly less overrun with people and is loaded with stylish beach resort areas. The magic of the sunsets is unbeatable here!
• Ubud is known as Bali’s culture capital and you’ll see ancient temples, forests, rice terraces, waterfalls and is less congested.
It’s kind of a village but don’t get it confused with a conventional one as it has many western shops, and you’ll see Starbucks, Pandora shops but still it’s quite peaceful and is a must visit!
We’re a bit for lounging, like to explore and be active but at the same time don’t want to forgo too much of our trip shuffling around.
So we chose to stay in ‘Bali Dynasty Resort’, Kuta. This premier beach resort is nestled in tropical gardens within walking distance to Discovery Shopping Mall, beach cafès, restaurants and nightlife of central Kuta.
It’s just 15 minutes drive from the airport. We absolutely loved the Balinese hospitality and cheerful faces who would make sure of your comfortable stay.
You’ll be blown away by the huge range of facilities they offer. It’s got a great swimming pool, well maintained bar, six restaurants serving exotic and delicious food to whet your appetite and a lot more!
4. How to move around?
We loved walking down the streets and exploring the cool cafès, nightlife and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the town. Choose this option only if your hotel is within 1-2 km of sightseeing otherwise you’d end up tiring yourself unnecessarily.
•Hire a bike-
There’s nothing compared to the freedom you have while riding your own set of wheels down the road. The whole experience of the wind wiping in your face, sound of the engine simply enlightens the senses! Yes walking is a great option but you can’t do long stretches and need to rent a bike to explore the town and nearby areas. It’s easy to move on two wheeler even in traffic. Explore this beautiful island by motor bike, there isn’t any better and fun way to see Bali than cruising around the island on a bike!
•Rent a car-
It’s a big NO as the roads are jam packed most of the times and chances are you’d get stuck in heavy traffic, forget to see anything and roam around!
Tips and Tricks for hiring a vehicle
• You can rent a bike through your hotel or nearby shops as there are plenty of places to get a bike from.
• The rent is 75,000-1,00,000 IDR per day and the rate can be negotiated, rather you need to haggle well for anything to everything while you are in Bali. We got it for 80,000 IDR.
• You don’t really need an international license and Indian license does work. But We weren’t carrying our license so the guy asked us 1,00,000 IDR as a security deposit.
• Fuel isn’t included in the price and you can get it refuelled at major petrol stations. However it’s very difficult to find any unlike India. You’d see many small roadside shops with Absolut vodka bottles, and that’s not the liquor but petrol! Haha I know it’s funny when you dream of swigging it down but it’s gasoline, In Jakarta they sell in Coca Cola bottles! I wonder which are the bottles of choice for other cities in Indonesia! If you spot any unusual bottles, let me know! And the price at these shops is 10,000 IDR per litre.• Be sure to inspect the vehicle before you take it out. Also I’d recommend taking pictures of the vehicle because some times the price quoted initially is less and once the person comes back to return it, the shopkeeper would accuse you of damaging it. Such scams are very common so you need to be extra cautious. This also implies that you go to a legit dealer.
5. Things to do in Bali
Coffee plantation tour- Bali swing, coffee tasting and Nesting!
We went to Uma Pakel Agro Tourism in Tegallalang. It’s something not to be missed, a nice stop-over if you want to mix fun and quiet times together. Kopi Luwak/ Luwak Coffee is the costliest in the world, selling in London and New York for up to $ 100.00 a cup! Taking a stroll in lush green gardens and seeing how the coffee is prepared from Civet, an animal is so very interesting!
Not only this, the place offers Bali swing on rice terraces and various kinds of coffee tasting.
Temples to see-
•Uluwatu Temple- It’s perched on a cliff over the sea and offers breathtaking view of the ocean, you should definitely go if you are a sucker for sunsets! There’s also famous Kecak dance but we weren’t much interested in that so skipped it. You may include it in your itinerary.
•Goa Gajah Temple- It’s also known as Elephant cave and is 5 kms of Ubud town. The cave opens on an open space, the entrance is the monster’s mouth which is carved onto a rock and as you move towards the mouth, it swallows you into the dark and damp cave.
It’s quite an amazing sight with a river and jungle which are the real charm of this place.
•Tegenungan waterfall in Gianyar
The island is home to many gorgeous waterfalls, it’s best to see while you’re in Ubud. And Tegenungan waterfall is an absolute delight! To get to the actual fall you’ll need to walk down few steps, hmm ok not few but a hundred may be lol! Since it rained a day before so the fall was very strong and wasn’t clear blue as it usually is. Nevertheless it was gorgeous and enjoyed quite a lot in this tropical jungle.
Kuta & Legian
There are endless options for nightlife and can choose whatever that interests you.
• Sky garden- Want to dance among the stars and get blazingly high? You must go to have an unforgettable pubbing experience.
• Potato head beach club- It’s an amazing destination with quirky sophisticated architecture and chill ambience,great music and delicious food. What’s different here is the decor and the use of teakwood shutters which gives it a unique feel.
I’d recommend to do pre reservations as you wouldn’t want to wait in a long queue that too on a holiday.
You’re going to just love every bit of it and can’t tell you how much visually appealing it is!
Gili islands, Nusa Dua, Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan
If you’ve time you may go to these islands, You should have at least two days for one place otherwise you’d be exerting yourself. They are just a couple of hours away from Bali by fast boat. However my recommendation is to stay on one island, simply for the sake of spending your vacation wisely and save them for another trip!
Enjoy your trip if you are heading Bali anytime soon( you lucky souls!)
I’ll be doing more detailed posts on the things mentioned here. Stay tuned for more updates and if you have any query, do let me know in the comments below.