What do I need to do before travelling?
We suggest that all our customers review foreign office advice for Bali before travelling. Click here for the latest information from the foreign office.
What are the visa requirements?
British passport holders will be issued a 30 day visa on arrival at present free of charge. Travellers will need to have a passport valid for 6 months after their planned exit from Indonesia.
What is the currency in Bali?
The official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. Major credit cards are widely accepted at more upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants, however smaller businesses may not have card facilities. ATMs and moneychangers are found in the major tourist destinations and foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks. US dollars cash are also a good option to carry and are widely accepted.
Is Bali safe?
Following the infamous bombings in Bali in October 2005, there remains some risk of terrorism directed against foreigners throughout the country and caution is advised in public places. Most luxury hotels have security guards and vehicles are checked over as they enter a resort. Theft and petty crime is common in tourist areas and on public transport. As a global rule, never leave your belongings unattended and always maintain eye contact or a firm grip on cameras and shoulder bags. Do beware of scams and touts that remain fairly common in popular tourist destinations. Credit-card fraud is a growing problem, so only use your cards at established businesses and guard your credit-card numbers
Are there any customs or public holidays I should be aware of?
In Indonesia, the majority of the population follows Islam but most Balinese are Hindu. Religion plays a major role in their everyday life – from the traditional daily ritual of Balinese offerings to the regular temple ceremonies. Indonesian people are generally friendly and polite and while they understand that western culture is different to their own, it will be appreciated if their customs are respected. When visiting a temple or private home remove your shoes before entering and dress conservatively.
Nyepi Day (Balinese Day of Silence) is a day dedicated to warding off the evil spirit by the belief everyone on the island has to be silent/hidden for the whole day. Visitors to Bali are expected to respect the beliefs of Nyepi Day, so nothing is open – including the airport - and tourists are asked to remain within their hotel grounds. The exact date is confirmed nearer the time but will fall between mid-March and mid-April.
What is the cuisine like in Bali?
The staple of an Indonesian meal is rice, usually steamed or fried. The meal is complemented with main dishes of vegetables, meat, seafood, egg, fish and soup. Although Indonesians generally prefer hot, spicy food, not all dishes are so intense. Specialties include Nasi Goreng – a fried rice dish with vegetables, topped with an omelette egg and Babi Guling – slow roast suckling pig.
As you would expect on a tropical island, seafood is in abundance and there’s a large variety of tropical fruits such as mango, mangosteen, rambutan (hairy red skin fruit) and jackfruit.
Local beer is very good, with the two most popular brands being Bintang and Bali Hai
What can I expect to pay for eating out locally and in resorts?
There are plenty of places to eat in Bali with offerings from streetfood to gourmet restaurants.
The island's warungs (street stalls) serve freshly prepared local dishes for under £1 - dont miss the satay! You can dine equally well in a small local restaurant (generally on plastic chairs - no frills!) on local food and expect to pay around £5 per person. If you are staying on Jimbaran Bay there are a handful of local seafood restaurants located on the beach. Get there for sunset and dine on delicious fresh seafood, feet-in-the-sand and you will pay around £10 for two! If you prefer a more gourmet experience then Seminyak and Ubud have a handful of luxury restaurants.
For a bottle of local beer you will pay around £1.50 in a local restaurant increasing up to about £4 in a luxury hotel. Wine has to be imported and can be quite expensive. Expect to pay around £2.50 for a glass in a local restaurant increasing up to about £7 in a luxury hotel. Try the local Hatten wine, made from grapes grown in North Bali and you'll pay 50% less than a bottle of imported wine.
If Asian food is not to your taste then western options are also plentiful. Recognisable fast food chains such as Pizza Hut and McDonalds have outlets in the main tourist areas in which you can expect to pay the same price as you would in the UK.
(Prices are simply a guideline and subject to change.)
What nightlife is available?
Kuta Beach is the centrepoint of Bali's nightlife scene, with many lively bars and nightclubs that stay open until the early hours of the morning. Seminyak also offers nightlife, attracting a more well-heeled tourist and offering more classy entertainment (think chillout DJ's).
What is the language in Bali?
Bahasa Indonesia is the official national language, but many dialects are spoken. A large majority of the population, especially the youth, speak and understand English, so tourists should have no problem being understood.
Will I need to bring an adaptor?
Yes. Sockets in Bali are two-pin, so bring a two-pin adaptor.