How to Stay Connected in Bali
Whether you come to Bali for leisure or business. Staying connected to to the internet and being able to use all the great communication tools that come with it, is for many travelers a must – a basic need. Staying in touch with friends, booking a flight, villa, hotel, rental car, activity, checking out the restaurants around you, navigating your way around with maps, all can be done online with your smartphone or laptop, and makes your life as a traveler on Bali so much easier.
Although you can not expect everywhere a super fast internet connection, the infrastructure, coverage, and service has improved greatly over the years. A 4G network is available in most areas, if it’s not too remote.
Since April 2018 the regulations have changed however and you need to register with your passport if you wish to buy a SIM CARD.
Local Sim Cards with internet connection
Unless you are planning to move to Bali, getting a Prepaid local SIM Card will be your best option. SIM cards on Bali are very affordable. No need anymore to pay a crazy amount of money for roaming. For 10 USD you can be online for 30 days with a package of 4 GB. Local SIM cards can be used as long as you have an unlocked phone. The vendor needs to take your passport details and name and will then usually register the new sim card online for your you. This will take anything between 2-24 hours.
Where to Buy Prepaid SIM Cards on Bali?
You will find a booth usually at the airport, just after exiting the airport building. Unless you need internet connection quickly you might want to wait as prices can be significantly higher here. Mobile phone shops that sell SIM cards can be found in the main tourist streets, but if you are willing to step into a less touristy street you will find the best prices at small open shops easily recognized by the logo and big banner of the provider. If you are on your way to more remote areas or the smaller islands around Bali, then we advise you to get your SIM card sorted before going there. Incase you are still confused in how to register your sim card, going to the “Grapari…Telkomsel/ Indosat or XL” can be a great alternative. They are the official store of sim card in Bali, with customer services who ca help you with activiting your number, mostly are located in Kuta and Denpasar area.
Prepaid Cards & Internet Package – How it works
You need to register with your ID or passport when buying a prepaid Sim Card. The process is very easy. Many Balinese do also only use prepaid cards, so the whole infrastructure around prepaid SIM cards, the availability, affordability, top-up services, and pricing is great.
How it works:
You buy a SIM Card at a vendor or SIM card booth (see below), which comes with your new local phone number. He/she will help you to cut the SIM card into the fitting size for your phone and also activate the card online. Depending on the vendor they will offer you a package or simply ask you how much money you want to deposit. The deposit is called PULSA.
What package to get:
There are so many internet packages and special offers depending on the season and the provider. Because Whatsapp, Facetime, and Skype are mostly used for communication instead of normal phone calls, they do use much more internet quota than emails and text messages. It might therefore make more sense to buy a 1 month internet access “flash”-packages for around 10 USD which gives you enough GB to do all that you need.
Tips: You can also top-up your mobile data and talk time at Indomaret, Alfamart and other minimarts around the island.
Example: You buy a card for Rp. 50,000-70,000
You add Rp. 130,000 pulsa
You buy a 30days 4-12GB package for Rp. 70-120,000
Main SIM Card Providers
Indonesia has a mind boggling amount of providers you can choose from; each offers prepaid packages at different prices and features (which can be confusing even for Indonesians themselves). Like in your home country, the prices for those packages do change quite frequently and to understand the pricing policies of telecommunication companies is as hard as building a space rocket.
Below we have listed the three most popular providers:
Telkomsel’s most popular SIM card is called simPATI and although slightly more expensive than SIM cards from other providers, it is currently said to offer the most highest internet speed. Other SIM cards from Telkomsel are called Kartu As and Kartu Halo, and Loop. SsimPati Flash is the name for the prepaid internet packages. A 4 GB quota package starts at 7 USD, a 8 GB package is 12 USD. Telkomsel can provide 4G LTE and 3G connections, But of course not everywhere.
XL most popular SIM card is called ‘XL Baru’. It provides cheap domestic calls combined with internet access. The prepaid internet package called Kartu Perdana Super Hot Rod 4G is the latest and most popular package and starts at 8 USD for a quota at 4 GB. XL also offers a 8 GB quota for around 16 USD.
Indosat/ IM3 Ooredoo
Indosat is another options if you are mainly will be located in South Bali area. They offer many options of internet package as well the phone package. For Rp. 100.000 you will get 40GB in total, it seems a lot but you need to understand that they will allocate some quotas for specific hours.
Telkomsel is considered the most-stable and widest signal coverage provider. XL is a bit limited in areas as Ubud etc. but is stronger in the Denpasar and Badung area.
Internet coverage is not the same as your old-fashioned phone calls coverage. 3G internet is available in the more populated areas but can drop to the slower GPRS or even Edge in remote areas.
How to top-up the Pulsa
Once you run out of your deposit or you have used up all your GB from your internet package, you will have to buy more PULSA. Usually you will get an SMS before you run out, so you won’t be too surprised.
Most of the 24h convenience stores that line the streets of Bali (Indomaret, Alphamart. Circle-K, M-Mart etc) offer that service. Some fo them don’t even charge for it.You can buy pulsa also at the same shops, and kiosks, where you get the SIM Cards. The convenience stores do not sell the SIM Cards.
Just give the seller your number and the amount you wish to load. Keep in mind that they will charge a small fee of 1, 000,- to 3,000,- Rupiah for that service.
After the sales person has topped up the pulsa, you should receive an SMS right away on your phone, that confirms the purchase. Make sure the amount shown is what you pay for. Don’t leave the place, before you have received the confirmation SMS.
You may not feel the need to buy a prepaid SIM card as most hotels, restaurants and cafés offer free WiFi access. Do not expect superfast internet as you will be sharing access with all the other customers but it will be good enough to keep family and friends updated.
Some mini markets offer free WiFi to their customers. They are easy to recognize by the table and chairs placed outside and filled with people glued to their mobile phones.
When booking your accommodation you might want to make sure your hotel provides free WiFi in your room as some only provide access in common areas as the lobby or the restaurant.
Don’t expect that to handle large files or use the streaming services. Even youtube can be at times very slow. The quality of wifi in hotels and restaurants is not standardised. Some 5 star hotels provide worse connection than a 3 start property next door.
Digital nomads or people looking for a daily dose of good internet connection will be happy to know that Bali offers a growing number of co working spaces. The professional co-working spaced provide probably the best internet infrastructure on the island, as they cater to the clientele that make a living by working online. The rates are usually based on a day pass package or a fixed amount of hours and sometimes include printing and photo copy services.
if you are happen to be in Canggu, there is a new coworking space attached to a nice cafe called “Zin Cafe” in Nelayan street (only few meters away from Nelayan Beach). This place has a nice atmosphere with large open air bamboo shala and you can enjoy healthy and good food also while doing your work.
Due to the Covid Situation unfortunately we cannot offer you at the moment tour and transportation services.