I recently promised to give you all the low down on ‘my’ Bali. If you are thinking of visiting Bali, there are a few things every visitor to should consider before jumping on that plane. Being well prepared makes for a much better trip so do your research well. Below are just some of the things you should consider before leaving on that jet plane. Read on for all the details …
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Documentation Required For Visiting Bali
Every one needs a valid passport with at six months validity. The Visa On Arrival (VOA) payment for Australians was scrapped in 2016 and means you can now sail straight through to immigration. Try and spend that $50 on supporting local businesses instead. Most other passport holders can also enter Visa free for less than 30 days. For stays longer that 30 days you will need a visa. Fines are steep for those that overstay so make sure you abide by the rules.
When To Visit Bali
There is no right or wrong answer to this question because it will be different for everyone depending on what they are looking for. There are a number of factors to consider that will help you chose the best time for you to visit. July and August are the busiest months with many Australians trying to escape winter for a spell of sunshine. Expect to pay more during this peak period. Bali has two distinct seasons, the wet (Nov – April) and the dry (May to October). While the temperature is fairly consistent year round expect it to be slighter warmer and much more humid during the wet. Afternoon thunderstorms can also somewhat hamper outdoor activities during this time. I have visited in February, March, July, August and December. Bali has many festivals and events and visiting at least one makes my epic list of 110+ amazing things to do in Bali so check the dates before you book. Nyepi (silent) day is one to be particularly mindful of. The whole island, including the airport and all ATM’s shuts down. You will be confined to your hotel for the entire day but are welcome to continue to use the facilities. If this doesn’t suit you should plan your visit to avoid it, which is exactly what I will be doing in future. The days preceding and post Nyepi include many local festivals and parades. Also be wary of Ramadan if you are looking to get clothing tailored as many will not be working during the holy month.
Visiting Bali is possible on a budget and I never pay full price. Ever! Read all my tips on securing a bargain airfare here. Jetstar, Virgin and Garuda all fly the Sydney – Denpasar route direct. Air Asia is an option but after 1 September 2016 it will no longer be direct so get in quick. Read my Air Asia X business class review here, it’s not half bad for a budget airline! Flights after thus date will transit through Kuala Lumpur so for the inconvenience you would be wanting to get a damn good price. Check Agoda to compare all flights in one convenient location.
Accommodation ranges from budget backpackers through to luxury villas so depending on your taste and budget there really is something for everyone. There are five main areas you can stay in Bali; Ubud, Jimbaran, Sanur, Nusa Dua and the Seminyak/Legian/Kuta area. My preference is Legian when visiting Bali, it’s close to the airport (20 mins drive), smack bang in the middle of Seminyak and Kuta so that you can walk to both (about 25 mins) but far enough away from the craziness of Kuta that you can still relax. Jimbaran and Nusa Dua are generally more luxurious (read expensive). Ubud is a charming mountain ‘village’ and where you will find all the picturesque rice paddies you have seen on postcards. Check TripAdvisor for thousands of Bali hotel reviews from people just like you. Make sure you check out my review on The Magani Hotel in Legian. We loved our recent stay, particularly our private pool (see below).
What To Pack
It’s hot year round and very laid back so you don’t need a lot when you are visiting Bali. It is possible to do a week with your 10kg carry on limit. I don’t, but it is possible lol. Here’s a few things I recommend you don’t leave home without:-
- Sunscreen – It’s pricey in Bali so BYO. Make sure it’s 30+
- Feminine Hygiene Products – I paid $10 for a box of 8 tampons. Extortion!
- Chocolate – While of course they do sell chocolate in Bali don’t be fooled by the familiar purple wrappers, Cadbury here is imported from the Philippines and not a patch on the Aussie stuff.
- Chips – Asian countries seem to have very strange flavour choices … Spicy Crabmeat and Seaweed anyone? Unless this is to your taste bring some from home.
- Plug Adapter – At least a double, better yet a power board. Electronics seem to trickle charge here so plug space will be at a premium. You can grab a single from most mini-marts for around $5 if you get stuck.
- Jeans & Jacket – Only one of each and just for the plane. You won’t need them while you are here. The North Face fleeces are perfect and so comfy for travelling (sleeping) in.
- T-Shirts/Tanks/Shorts – One T Shirt/Tank for everyday you are here. You will get sweaty and they won’t be able to be backed up for another day. Even if you live in tank tops like I do, I suggest at least one T-Shirt in case you need to give your shoulders a rest from the unrelenting sun for a bit. You can probably get away with wearing the shorts more than once if needed. Opt for natural fibres if possible. Synthetic is not your friend in the heat.
- 2 Pairs Swimmers – It’s humid and swimmers take a long while to dry out. Take two so you can alternate without the need to drag on wet swimmers each time. Throw in a sarong or cover up if walking around in your swimmers all day in public is not your thing.
- A Summer Dress – In case you go somewhere really nice for dinner. Keep it casual.
- Thongs – The ones for your feet not your butt! 2 Pairs, one everyday and one blingy pair for evenings. Yep that’s how casual it is, blingy thongs are considered evening wear. I like Holsters and havaianas.
- Make Up – Seriously you really don’t need much. My make up routine here is simply mascara (check out this awesome travel size Mascara by Two Faced), eyeliner and lip gloss. And that’s making an effort for dinner! Pack moisturiser in your hand luggage. Flying dries you out like you wouldn’t believe.
- An Extra Suitcase – I use Samsonite Cosmolites and pack the 75cm spinner inside the 81cm spinner. on the way over and separate them on the return journey.
- Travel Pillow – It’s usually an overnight flight home. This makes trying to get some sleep a whole lot easier. I have the Cabeau Evolution and it’s awesome.
Indonesian Rupiah. AUD$1 = IDR10,000 so AUD$100 = IDR1,000,000. Probably about the only legitimate time you can call yourself a millionaire. No need to worry of you arrive without any of the local currency as there are ATM’s in the airport that will sort you out. Many ATM’s give a max of IDR1,000,000 but a few will give you IDR2,000,000. Your dollars will go a long way when visiting Bali and most things are considerably cheaper than at home.
I know that you have probably heard of the dreaded Bali belly and you may be wondering what on earth you can eat safely when visiting Bali. Well I can’t say it will never happen but over 7 visits I have never had a single problem. If you want to know the places I personally recommend click here and here. I guarantee the photos will have you drooling!
So that’s the basics covered. Ready to book yet? Check out this suggested two week Bali itinerary to seal the deal!
Until Next Time …
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