- Introduction: Going diving in the Ring of Fire
- Review: GVK Lounge East Wing, Mumbai
- Review: Jet Airways Mumbai to Singapore, Economy (Airbus A330-200)
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Singapore Terminal 1
- Review: Jetstar Asia Singapore to Bali, Economy (Airbus A320)
- Things to keep in mind while visiting Bali
- Where to go if backpacking solo in Bali
- What to eat when in Bali, Indonesia?
- Review: Premier Lounge, Bali
- Review: Hong Kong Airlines Bali to Hong Kong, Economy (Airbus A330)
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge (West Hall), Hong Kong
- Review: Jet Airways 9W77 Hong Kong to Delhi, Economy (Boeing 777)
- Conclusion: Elevating my backpacking trip
In the past two years, Bali has suddenly become a trendy destination for Indians. I would even put this place in the same league as Malaysia and Singapore. As it is still early days, there is a lot of things which we Indian’s won’t be aware of the place when compared to our comprehensive knowledge about Bangkok and Dubai.
Remember, Bali has been on the tourism map for a very long time, primarily attracting young folks from Australia who head there for the nightlife and the surf culture. And like all any tourist destination in Asia, the chances of getting ripped off are high. Here are a few things to keep in mind while planning your next trip to Bali
Indonesia has a liberal visa policy for most nationalities including Indians. If you plan to stay for less than 30 days, you don’t need a visa. When it is your turn at the immigration counter, tell the officer there about your duration of stays, and you should get a “Visa Exempt” stamp on your passport. If you want to stay a bit longer, get a Visa on Arrival which will cost you USD 35.
When you arrive at the terminal after disembarking from your flight, you’ll notice that the immigration queues are long. But don’t worry, things move pretty fast. There were at least 50 people ahead of me, but I managed to clear the checkpoint in 15 minutes. Premium cabin passengers do not have dedicated lanes here.
Getting ripped off by a taxi driver is a rite of passage for many when they arrive in a new destination. Bali is no different. Though there are ride-hailing services like Grab and GoJek, I highly recommend booking an airport transfer as ride-hailing taxis are banned in the airport premises. I ended up shelling out close to INR 1200 (USD 16 or IDR 2,50,000) for an 8 KM ride.
Why wasn’t I able find anything better? It’s because the taxi mafia in this part of the world is powerful. They have cleverly cordoned off popular tourist areas such as Canggu and Nusa Dua where ride-hailing services are now banned.
Talking about ride-hailing services, Grab, and GoJek are the main players in Indonesia. The process of booking a cab is similar to how you’d book an Uber or Ola taxi. One thing to keep in mind is that the traffic here is horrendous (even for a Bangalore/Mumbai resident). The fastest way to get around is a motorbike or a scooter.
The local currency here is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). If you want to convert your USD to IDR, I recommend you wait till you get to the city to get a better rate. The spread between rates offered at the Airport kiosks and money changers is around 4%. If you are in need of cash, you are better off hitting the ATMs.
On the credit cards front, Visa and MasterCard Cards are your best bet. Amex’s acceptability is extremely low, even at premium beach clubs and bars. I never found a place which accepted Amex during my two-week trip.
All in all, Bali is a gorgeous place with beautiful beaches and warm, cheerful locals. I don’t need to say this, but after reading about how Indians tend to go wild, please respect local culture and customs and behave responsibly.
Hope these tips would help make your life easier. If you have any questions, tweet to me @AshAtALounge and I’ll try my best to answer all your queries.