100 Insider Tips – Must-Know

Save yourself some time and money

It will take you probably 10 minutes to run through this list. But it will save you valuable time, money and hassle. Bali is a beautiful island, but it’s not a tourism destination that is designed by tourism managers like the Maldives or Bahamas, where everything is streamlined and predictable.

Bali is unpredictable. It is the beauty and fascination that attracts so many people who come here regularly and fell in love with this place. It’s a vibrant and dynamic island that is home to more than four million Indonesian who live and work here. Bali is ever-changing. Knowing some tricks will make things easier for you 🙂

Know what’s coming

Visa and Passport

1 Free entry stamp and Visa on Arrival both valid 30 days. Remember: day of arrival and departure day count as full days each
2 Your passport must be valid for 6 months when arriving. Otherwise you won’t be allowed to enter Bali (happens to quite a few)! There are NO EXCEPTIONS
3 One page must be empty for the visa stamp
4 Keep your boarding pass when you arrive, you MIGHT have to show it to the immigration officer
5 Free Entry stamp is valid 30 days and CANNOT be extended
6 Visa on Arrival is not needed for most travelers, but if you wish to stay longer and extend, you can apply and pay for one at the immigration office

Accommodation & Going Out

7 Most prices are subject to tax (10%) and service charge (6-11%)
8 Value for money is incredible on Bali. Whatever you decide to go for. Streetfood or fine dining. The choice is endless
9 Ice cubes in restaurants are generally safe and government controlled
10 For 3-5US$ one can have a decent meal in most restaurants
11 Vegetarian and healthy food on the rise, epicenter Ubud. Try the detox smoothies.
12 Roof Top bars and Beach Clubs are getting more popular, for good reasons.
13 Don’t trust the name. Always check the map. The “Kuta Hotel” might not be exactly in Kuta 🙂
14 Look at the maps closely. A hotel near the coastline could still be far to the next beach, due to lack of road access.
15 One can still stay for 10-15US$ per night in homestays
16 New budget hotels offer clean rooms with AC for 20US$
17 Price for hotel room in 4 star hotel or resort 70-120US$
18 Private, serviced Villas are a great alternative offering stunning value for money
19 Areas: Every area is different in Bali. Better get to know the areas first, before booking rooms
20 Room Payment: Even if prices are quoted in US$, the bill will be converted into Rp. first. (currency converter)

Traffic & Transport

21 Left-hand traffic on Bali – kind of ;-). Call it creative driving. More Tips on handling traffic.
22 Scooter rental costs 5-8US$ per day. Always put safety and reliability first. Never compromise. Enough people have serious or fatal accidents. Never hire run down scooters to save a buck.
23 Keep the mobile no. of the motor bike rental shop with you. You might need it.
24 Car with driver for 8-10 hours costs 40-70US$ per day. Always check drivers and car’s condition. Make sure they have a driver’s license and the permission to be a driver (izin, insurance issues). International driving license
28 Yes, there is UBER and Grabtaxi on Bali. But in many areas drivers are afraid to go because the local communities are against it. Legal situation still unclear in Indonesia.
29 Motorbike Taxis can be arranged through the app Go-Jek. Most of the times easy to get one. But also not eerywhere and anytime.

Communication & Internet

30 Get a SIMCard in one of the mobile shops for your smart phone (ca. 3US$)
31 Mobile Surfing Internet. Get a SIMcard and ask for internet package /4GB, 1 month ca. 10US$
32 Many restaurants have free wifi
33 At the international airport just when you exit, you can buy a simcard
34 Prepaid Credit is called pulsa
35 Hardly anybody is using phones in hotel rooms anymore. Whatsapp, Skype, and Facetime are the best and cheapest way to stay in touch with your loved ones at home
36 Most hotels offer free wifi. Better check before you book and make sure it is available in your room and not only in the lobby and restaurant
37 Internet connections are still slow. Don’t expect to be able to stream easily or transfer huge amounts of data

Activities & Wellness

38 Bali is scuba paradise. More than 100 dive centers and great dive spots
39 Bali has the highest spa density in the world.
40 Full body massage starts 7US$ per hour, but can go up to 60US$/h in 5 star hotels
41 Nail & Hair Salons, Massage parlours of any quality and even cosmedical centres of the highest standards are available
42 Surfing for beginners at Kuta, Legian and Seminyak Beach
43 Bali has a wave for everyone, all year around
44 Top Temples: UluwatuTanah LotBesakih
45 Climbing a volcano, Canyoning, downhill cycling, or a hike through traditional villages will get you closer to nature and Balinese culture
46 Ubud should be part of your tour program. It’s indeed special.
47 It’s a Shopping Paradise; art work, handicrafts, oils and essence, clothes, shoes, furniture, accessories
48 Day of Silence, Nyepi, no check-in or check-out from hotel. Entire island incl. airport is shut down!
49 Manta Rays and Mola Mola fish Nusa Penida and Lembongan
50 Getting married on Bali is easy; wedding companies offer full service.
51 Don’t smile at the monkey in the monkey forest or temples, showing teeth is a sign of aggression for them
52 Water sport activities can be found at Benoa (jet ski, para gliding, water ski etc). Direct Booking.
53 Neighboring Islands Lembongan, Ceningan and Nusa Penida less than 45min by boat from Sanur. PARADISE.

SAFETY & Manners

54 When it’s raining the sidewalks can be extremely slippery
55 Sidewalks can have large and deep holes, that can’t be seen at night.
56 Driving a scooter. Never go too fast. Fatal accidents happen daily.
57 Loose chippings are everywhere on the road. Expect cats, dogs, chicken…anything can cross your way. And any vehicle can come towards you from any direction, anytime.
58 Never drink and drive, if you want to leave Bali in one piece.
59 Currents in the sea can be dangerous, and change depending on the weather and wind conditions; also good swimmers have drowned on Bali
60 Night swimming (under the influence of alcohol and drugs) seems like fun, but will most likely lead to Bali being your last destination.
61 Ocean and beach hazards. Nature is unpredictable. Watch rip currents, undertows, and big waves in general. Watch your kids at all times.
62 Don’t do drugs – it’s not worth it, when you get caught. Read our page about nightlife, prostitution and drugs on Bali
63 There is crime on Bali, although not much compared to many other destinations), so stay alert
64 Prostitution is illegal on Bali
65 HIV is widespread among prostitutes
66 Kuta and Legian Clubs and Bars can get rough at times. Some security guys here might not be as calm and objective as you expect at times. Don’t trust the security guys. They are often part of the problem and not part of the solution
67 For ladies Topless on the beach is not allowed and not well appreciated in hotels.
68 Balinese are open-minded but they don’t like: people using their streets as toilets, topless guys in restaurants and shops, disrespectful and loud behavior, somebody touching their head, overly public display of affection.
69 Use mosquito net and repellent when possible. Dengue fever is widespread. More info on vaccination.
70 The red light district and night life areas attract criminals of all sorts – like in any other place in the world, so always stay alert and don’t drink too much, stay with friends if you can
71 ATM machines: always put your hand above the keypad when typing your code. ALWAYS!
72 General rule – like in any other place in the world. If a place looks dodgy and you can avoid it and go somewhere else, do so

Environment & People

73 Bali is a fragile island. Trash, Water and Traffic are big problems, like in any other part of the developping world. Help by being a conscious consumer.
74 Try to take short showers and avoid wasting water.
75 Everything you throw away stays on Bali or will be washed into the sea. Efective rubbish management in this part of the world is not really existing.
76 Plastic is problem no. 1. Avoid plastic bottles, straws, plastic bags when shopping.
77 Most workers you will meet have a salary of around 130 to 150US$ per month and work hard for their money, travel long distances and share their income with other family members.
78 Balinese are super friendly and welcoming. They are also proud and are happy if you respect their customs and island.
79 Being angry and shouting is not appreciated. If you have a complaint, be polite, calm and insist on a solution in a friendly manner if you wish to get any result.


80 Kuta is wild at night.
81 Seminyak has most clubs and beach clubs, more upper class
82 Ubud is laid back, art, small shops, great food, healthy life style, yoga
83 Lembongan and Ceningan Island is easy to get to and like Bali 30 years ago – just with more comfort. Paradise
84 Sanur is more quiet, a bit upper class in general, calm beaches, great restaurants at the beach side (pantai sindhu). Lots of live music.
85 Indonesian Glove cigarettes are called Kretek and are smoked everywhere
86 Rainy season, October to February, Dry season March to September
87 Bali is one of the best surf destinations in the world, because of the quality and quyntity of surf spots and their easy access.
88 Amed is the place where most scuba divers stay and where you can dive around the famous Japanese shipwreck
89 Nusa Dua, 5 star resort area, large properties, lavish gardens, nice beaches.
90 Jimbaran – seafood restaurants and BBQ directly on the beach, every night (busy, fresh seafood, tasty)
91 Bukit Penisula in the south, surfer’s paradise and still a little bit off the beaten track. Padang Padang Beach, Bingin Beach, Dreamland, Uluwatu, Balangan


92 Visa and Master Card are most accepted. Credit Card payment in hotels, most restaurants and shops is possible these days. But the more remote, the less likely. A surcharge of 2 – 4% is applied when using credit cards. Street vendors: only cash and best in IDR
93 You can pull money from ATM easily (in remote areas like Lembongan, you might not find a working machine).
94 US$, AUS$, EUR will be accepted changed almost anywhere.
95 Make sure to go to official money changers. If the place looks small and dodgy, it most certainly is dodgy – and they know many tricks how to give you less than you expected.
96 Payment is done in IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). Even if many hotels publish their prices in US$, the actual payment will be done in IDR and the exchange rate will usually not be very good.
97 Bring some cash, your credit card and a normal bank card.
98 Max amount you can withdraw in one go at an ATM is either 1.250.000 – 1.500.000 (machine with a 50.000 sticker) or 2.500.000 – 3.000.000 (machines with a 100.000 sticker). You will be charged a fee between 2 and 5 US$ depending on the bank. But exchange rates are good, which makes it roughly the same, as if you bring your cash and change it here
99 Traveler cheques are a memory of the distant past
100 Bargaining with street vendors is a must. But it’s also nice to respect and value their work, effort, and services, and to pay fair prices. Live and let live! More Info on Money and Handling Cash

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