When planning to trip to Bali, there are certain things you must make sure to know and do. Here is a non-exhaustive list of important points to consider before going to Bali, including visa, currency, vaccines, climate, what to pack, time zone, official language and safety level.
Which visa do you need for Bali?
You will need a passport and a visa to fly to Bali, which belongs to Indonesia. Make sure your passport is at least valid for 6 months after your return date.
The Southeast Asian country currently offers a visa on arrival for 75 countries, which is valid for 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days. The visa-on-arrival fee is 500,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about 30 USD / £26).
You can now ask and pay for an e-VOA (electronic visa on arrival) directly online with the official e-visa website for Indonesia. It is usually granted almost instantaneously, and you receive a PDF with a QR code by email. The price for the e-visa (also called B213), including the fees, is currently 519,000 IDR, and you can now renew it online, should you wish to stay longer (you have to pay the same fee again).
After passing the immigration, you are likely to see a crowd a bit stuck as they are either struggling to connect their phone to the internet or lining up to access one of the few computers available. To make your arrival as smooth as possible, be aware the customs form is now also electronic and you can prefill it here. So make your life easy and get your QR code before flying to Indonesia!
[Update Jan 2024]
What is the currency in Bali?
The currency used in Bali is the one used all over Indonesia: the Indonesian Rupee (IDR). You can easily change your dollars, euros or pounds before coming. You can change them at the airport, but you won’t have the best rate. It’s actually better to withdraw money with an international credit card.
I recommend using the ATM from BNI since I never had an issue getting cash with them (contrary to BRI). As an alternative, many of the Indomaret convenience stores have ATMs that work well with international cards. In all cases, these ATMs don’t charge extra to withdraw money; you’ll only pay the fee from your bank.
As of December 2023, the current exchange is :
- 1 EUR = 17,000 IDR
- 1 USD = 15,500 IDR
- 1 AUD = 10,500 IDR
- 1 GBP = 20,000 IDR
- 100 JPY = 11,0000 IDR
Health & vaccines for Bali
Before travelling to Bali, it’s recommended to check your vaccines, especially for Typhoid and Hepatitis A, in addition to your standard vaccination routine. Prepare a small medicine box as well, containing at least mosquito spray, painkillers and an antiseptic solution. You cannot drink water from the tap, so you can consider having mineral water, using a filtered flask or using water cleansing tablets. In any case, don’t forget to apply for travel insurance as well.
Useful gear & accessories for Bali
Bali is a warm and humid destination. Therefore, you should have adapted gear with you for your stay and diving experiences. For example, take. Don’t forget to take at least two swimsuits, flip flops and a quick dry microfibre towel, which is so light and so useful. To go scuba diving in Bali, a 5mm wetsuit is a great choice when diving in Bali if you are going to Nusa Penida (a bit colder); otherwise, a 3mm is more than enough.
To avoid single-use plastic waste (which is unfortunately still a big issue in Indonesia), I recommend travelling with a refillable water bottle in stainless steel, a set of bamboo cutlery and a straw (this you can easily buy in Bali, in bamboo or stainless steel, especially in scuba divers community like Amed).
Timezone in Bali
The time zone of Bali is GMT+8, which means the time difference is +7 hours with London in the summer and +8 hours in the winter. The easiest way to get rid of your jetlag is to drink a lot of water during your flight and take things easy after arrival for a day or two. Having a flight which arrives in the evening will also make things easier as you are likely to be exhausted after a long journey to reach Bali so you just need a few extra efforts to reach your first hotel bed. You are then more likely to wake up not too early the next morning and then deal with jetlag faster.
Language in Bali
In Bali, the official language is Indonesian. Note most locals also speak their regional language, Balinese, which is different from Indonesian, not just a dialect. Many people working in the hospitality and tourism industry speak good English. As a survival kit, you can learn how to say a few words in Indonesian:
- Hello / Hallo
- Good morning / Selamat Pagi
- Good Afternoon / Selamant Siang
- Good evening / Selamat Sore
- Good night / Selamat Malam
- Good bye / Selamat Tinggal
- See you / Sampai junpa
- Yes – No / Ya – Tidak
- Thank you (very much) / Terima kasih (banyak)
- You’re welcome / Sama sama
- Please / Silakan
- Excuse me / Permisi
- How are you? Good! / Apa kabar? Baik!
- How much? / Berapa ?
Is it safe to travel to Bali?
At last, Bali is a very safe place in general. You should always apply basic precaution and common sense, but except in Kuta, where the risk will come more from other drunk tourists, there is not really any place which represents a significant risk. To stay safe in Bali, here are 3 tips. First, keep your passport safe, with you or in a locker. Second, never drink water other than mineral water. And be careful with ice cubes. Finally, really be careful when driving, as road traffic can be insane. If you don’t feel ready for it, you can still hire a driver or book a shuttle with your dive centre.