Things to keep in mind while visiting Bali


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.

things to keep in mind while visiting bali

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

Visas

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 around

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.

things to keep in mind while visiting bali

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.

Money

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.

Comments

  1. As this article is in retrospect, this comment may be helpful for other tourists. Try getting a Blue Bird taxi (beware of many copy cats). They even have an app of their own. I found out this service provider to be the most reliable of all. Drivers cheat less often in this one. Language is a huge barrier while hailing via app.
    Link: http://www.bluebirdgroup.com/my-blue-bird/

    For exploring different places by enjoying the scenery without driving / riding yourself, do get contacts from websites where the private drivers bring in their own vehicles (Avanza and ONLY Avanza!!) and charge some 30-35 USD for 12 hours.

  2. To add to the taxi issue. If you just walk straight ahead through the parking garbage to the road on the far side. Turn right and follow the sidewalk. Then once it ends follow the road out through the toll booth. There is another sidewalk once you get through the booth. I think the taxi mafia influenced airport design here. There grab and Uber can pick you up. Or walk a little farther and you will come upon the Hilton garden inn. Which I believe is still 5k per night. At that airport you can’t get picked up by grab/Uber but you can get dropped off. So you will only need to walk along the road when arriving. The Hilton is maybe a 15 walk. I’ve been quoted like 40$ USD just to go to that Hilton. So walking can be worth the time.

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