Bali is an island with a famous beautiful landscape and is one of the more than 13.000 thousands islands of Indonesia that has its own uniqueness.
Located in the south of equator and a part of Sunda Islands, Bali lays in between Java and Lombok Islands. The combination between friendly people with the various cultures makes Bali an unforgettable island for those who ever experienced it.
There are more than 500 languages and dialects spoken across the Indonesian archipelago but it is Bahasa Indonesia that is embraced as the national language.
Bahasa Bali is used mostly by the native people of Bali in daily life. It is greatly complicated by its caste influences. There are three levels of Bahasa Bali: Low, Middle and High. It is possible to identify the social status of a person through the kind of the language that they normally use to communicate.
Almost everybody related to the tourism industry speaks English.
Balinese population is around four million, and the local religion is Hinduism. Religion and culture is a unity that cannot be separated in Bali.
Religion has big impact in Balinese daily life. Various kinds of religious ceremonies are commonly found at the temples, either large or small. A small temple can be found in each home for devotions and offerings to the gods.
Climate in Bali
Bali has a wet season and a dry season, with average temperatures varying between 26ºC and 32ºC in the rainy season and between 24ºC and 28ºC in the dry season.
The wet season starts from November and ends in March. This does not mean that you will have rain every day or all day. Sometimes it will rain "cats & dogs" for one hour, some days you will get no rain, or it can also rain for the whole day, but most often during the night.
The official currency in Bali and the rest of Indonesia is the Rupiah (IDR).
Upon arrival to Bali, try to avoid changing currency at the airport, as you will get a very bad exchange rate. The best way to change your foreign currency to Indonesian Rupiah is at an official Money Changer. There are many spread everywhere.
Be aware of many unofficial money changers offering ´especially attractive´ exchange rates as they will try to cheat you. They do it with a smile, but they do!. In any case, always make sure you always count the money yourself after they hand you the money before leaving the office.
The best exchange rates are normally given on working days from 9 am to 5 pm. Out of this period, as well as on Saturdays, Sundays, and official holidays, the exchange rate will drop below the official exchange rates that you would normally find in the Internet.
It is also very common and easy to obtain money from ATM cash machines with your own credit card and pin code. Major credit cards are accepted in many shops and restaurants. Normally, there will be a charge from 3% to 5% for administration costs.
Most electricity home lines in Bali are 220V at 50 Hz, using the two-pronged plugs variety like most European Union countries. It is easy to find plug adaptors in many shops in Bali but if you have electrical devices that use a different type, we suggest you to bring your own adaptors and transformers as the local ones are of a very poor quality.
Indonesia has 3 time zones, WIB, WITA and WIT. Bali is part of the WITA time zone, which is 8 hours ahead GMT.
Citizens from most countries have free tourist entrance for 30 days with no possibility of extension. Other countries are required a Visa on Arrival valid for one month stay with possibility to extend an additional month. For some other countries, Indonesian Authorities could ask for a special visa that could take several days to obtain in your own country before departing to Indonesia.
Details of visa formalities should be checked at the Indonesian Consulate in your home country several days before departure.
Please keep in mind that all passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the day of entry to Indonesia and should have at least 2 empty pages for immigration stamps.
For a visit to only Bali you do not need vaccinations. Bali has no Malaria or other contagious tropical diseases, but a few observations and cares should be taken as in any other tropical country.
Even though it is not a big issue in Bali, the use of mosquito repellent is advised in certain locations, especially while in the proximity of rice fields and rivers and mainly one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset.
Never drink water from the tap, drink only bottled water. You can find it everywhere under the commercial name AQUA and many other brands.
Be aware that Bali is very close to the equator so a special care should be taken using an effective sun block to protect your skin from radiation.
If you want to swim at the sea, you should be aware of the strong currents in some areas, especially in the west coast of Bali. Please be careful with kids and only swim in safely marked areas.
In case you need hospital care, there are many high qualified hospitals in Bali, but very expensive for foreigners without a valid international medical insurance.
Driving in Bali
In Bali you will drive on the left. If you wish to hire a car during your trip and drive it yourself, you must be over 18 years of age and must carry a valid International Driving License.
Some foreigners drive motorcycles and cars without a valid International Driving License, and a small “donation” will probably get them out of trouble if they are caught driving without a valid license but, in case of an unfortunate accident causing injury to a person, the foreigner will probably live a nightmare with the police, paying ridiculous amounts of money, fines, and probably spending a “paid holiday” in one of the worst jails of the world.
Because of this, if you don´t have an International License, we recommend you to hire a car with a driver and enjoy your holidays in peace.
Every tourist in Bali must be registered at the local Police Station upon arrival. As soon as you arrive to the villa, our staff will ask for your passport to do the required registration. They will ask a small fee (around 2 USD) to pay the Registration Fees. Next day, after the registration is completed, the House Manager will give your passports back.
Indonesia gives a very harsh punishment to drug users and even death penalty to drug dealers. For your own sake, please, don't bring or use drugs in this country.
Avoid also relating to people connected with drugs or assisting to parties where drugs are involved. You could be involved in a nightmare you will never forget.