Bali is also known as the “Island of the Gods” or the “Paradise Island” is one of the many islands in Indonesia, but Bali is one of the most famous and visited places in Indonesia for its abundant natural treasures including a beautiful landscape filled with hills and mountains with sandy beaches and lovely and attractive coastlines providing a picturesque backdrop to its unique culture and heritage. It has something to offer for every kind of traveller from young travellers to the super rich wishing to spend thousands of dollars in the paradise on earth. It is also known for word-class surfing and scuba diving along with a lot of archeological and historical attractions. You can very every kind of accommodations from cheap dorms to ultra-luxury resorts and is also one of the most popular island destinations frequented by people from all over the world.
Bali is located just 1.5 miles from the eastern tip of Java and west of the island Lombok. It is flanked by the Indian Ocean on the south and the Java Sea on the north and it lies eight degrees to the south of the equator. It is one among the numerous islands numbering to around 17000 in the Indonesian archipelago. It is home to around 4 million people and occupies an area of around 6000 sq.km.
Bali has almost an even climate all through the year as it just 8 degrees south of the equator. The average temperature is around 30°C. The temperatures during the day time can be anywhere around 20-33°C, but in the mountains it can be much cooler though. Rainy season starts from October to April when the west monsoon arrives to Bali and particularly during December to March, you can see a significant amount of rain pouring down in the island. Apart from this period you cannot expect much rain in the area and the humidity levels are relatively low.
Best Time to Visit
The best season and the time when most visitors frequent Bali us during July and August, which is also called as the dry season. Visitors can also be seen enjoying the paradise island during the Easter and Christmas holidays, even though the weather is very unpredictable during that time. Domestic tourists visit Bali during the national holidays and mostly the Australians visit the island during the annual school holidays during the period from April-September. It is estimated that around 80% of visitors to Indonesia are here to visit only Bali. But outside of the peak season, the island seems to be quite and you can even get some great discounts on accommodation and food.
People in Bali are very friendly and modest and tourists are also expected to wear some modest dress. Even though bikinis are good at beaches and at swimming pool in the hotels, it is not considered appropriate in the public like shopping or at the restaurants.
Things to Do in Bali
Bali is definitely a huge island and is loaded with a lot of activities and lots of places to visit and things to do. But if you are a first timer to Bali, then consider placing these activities on top of your list as these some of the most frequented and some of the most popular locations and activities that no visitor should miss out on their visit to Bali.
Visit the Ancient Temples of Bali
Bali is also known as the land of thousand temples and as the name suggests there are many beautiful ancient temples spread all over this lovely island. You cannot visit all the temples, but atleast make not of it to just visit these temples as you can’t tour Bali without visiting any of its famous temples like Saraswati, Bedugul, Tanah Lot and te most popular among the lot, the Besakih Temple in the mountains. Make sure you wear some modest dress and cover your knees and shoulders while going inside the temple.
Enjoy a Visit to the Volcano
If you really want to make the best out of your Bali trip, then you should really consider visiting one of the volcanoes. But it takes some serious trekking and if you are fit and walk for nearly 2 hours then you can reach the top of the volcanoes to witness some breathtaking scenario by watching the sunrise. It is really a spectacular feeling to watch the sun rising slowly with all its grandeur.
In Bali there are around four volcanoes namely the Mount Batur, Mount Agung, Bratan and Mount Merbuk. Among the four, Mount Batur is the most beautiful volcano, but please understand that all these four volcanoes are active and it is recommended to travel with a local tour guide to the volcanoes.
Explore the Beautiful Rice Terraces
Another beauty that embraces Bali is the beautiful lush terraces that adorns the hills of Bali. Ubud is famous for its rice paddy terrace fields with spectacular views and the ones in Tagalalang, a 30 minute drive from the north of Ubud is a must visit place. You can also hire a bike to ride along the paddy fields and am sure it is one hell of a breathtaking ride and the best time to visit is during sunset or sunrise.
Learn to Surf in the Blue Seas
With its beautiful blue seas, Surfing is also one of the favorite past time and it offers some of the best surfing opportunities than anywhere. You can also learn surfing as its very cheap when compared to other places and also the safest if you are trying to learn surfing. One of the best places to learn surfing is the beaches in Kuta, where the waves are soft and perfect conditions for a beginner to learn surfing.
There are also a lot of excellent schools to teach you how to surf, but if you are on a budget you can find some locals who can teach you surfing for a small fee. Professional surfers can visit the seas at Uluwatu, Canguu and Nusa Dua to enjoy surfing in perfect waves.
Enjoy the Healthy Cuisine
Bali is also known for its food and spiritual yoga. Ubud is famous for its spiritual center and helps you to get healthy and in shape. It is also home to some of the amazing restaurants that offer many varieties of delicious and healthy food. Without any doubt, Ubud is the best place to get all kinds of food including vegan, organic, vegetarian and any kind of food you can think of.
You can also find KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Pizza Hut in the island, but don’t think anyone will go for the same kind of food that they eat at home, but would definitely like to try some new varieties of food to give some treat to their taste buds.
Adventure with the Monkeys
Bali is also known for its monkeys all around the touring places. A visit to the sacred monkey forest in Ubud is a great adventure trip with the monkeys. You can see a lot of monkeys in the area, but you also need to be careful with your possessions as anything loose or hanging will be easily stolen or grabbed away. You can also see a lot of these amazing creatures at the Uluwatu temple.
Indulge in the Mesmerizing Balinese Dance Show
Bali is also famous for its fascinating dance shows as the Balinese people love their dance and drama. Hence, you can find dance shows and dancers in beautiful costumes everywhere there is a festival celebration in Bali. If you are lucky enough, you’ll be witness some of the spell bounding dance performances in your Bali trip.
Uluwatu is home to one the finest dance performances called the Kecak Dance Show amidst the beautiful backdrop of the scenic ocean. The performance starts everyday in the evening with some unique performances by the women dancers who move every part of their body, hands and eyes to perform some beautiful movements.
Visit the Beautiful Beaches
Even though Bali doesn’t have the most scenic beaches when compared to the beaches in Philippines, there are some beaches that are worth to be mentioned including the Mengiat, Gegr, Legian, Jimbaran and the beaches around Sanur. If you are need of capturing a picture perfect white sandy beach, then you should take a boat and leave the mainland of Bali and make a trip to the islands nearby which offer some spectacular views.
Some of the popular islands nearby are the Gili Islands, the Nusa Lembingan and the Nusa Penida. To reach Gili Islands, it takes merely 2 hours by a speedboat, and even though it is not part of Bali anymore, it is worth to a make a visit to these beautiful islands. But make sure to check the weather conditions before you take the trip.
Go for Madness Shopping
Bali is truly a shopping paradise for those who want shop till you drop. You can all kinds of clothing right from cheap surfing accessories to beautiful sunglasses for less than a dollar to high end designer fashion outfits from the premium outlets. You definitely cannot resist the bargains and deals you get in Bali. You can find beautiful casual wear for less than $3 in the streets of Kuta and if you bargain hard, you can get those for much less. The best places to go for shopping in Bali are Kuta Square in Kuta, Jl. Legian, Bali Collection in Nusa Dua and the Monkey Forest Road in Ubud.
Visa and Custom Procedures
Basically for visitors from most of the countries the Indonesian Tourist visas are issued on arrival at the major airports and seaports all across Indonesia. You cannot convert the tourist visa to any other type of visa and cannot extend your date on the visa.
Visa Free Entry on Arrival
For these 11 countries including Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam Visa Free Entry on Arrival for 30 days is issued free of charge as these countries offer the same kind of visas for the Indonesian nationals.
Tourist and Transit Visa on Arrival
For tourists for 52 countries, Tourist and Transit Visa on Arrival is made available. You can avail a tourist visa for a maximum of 30 days for $25 and a transit visa for 7 days for $10. Please check the immigration website to check if your country is listed. The facilities are made available at the immigration check-point in the airports and the seaports.
Tourist visa is valid for 30 days including the day of your arrival and you should definitely leave Indonesia by the 30th day. It can be only extended under extraordinary circumstances including a natural disaster, a major illness or an accident. Visa on Arrival is usually not extendable and not convertible into any other type of visa. A fine of $20 is posted for overstaying for a maximum of 60 days. If you are found to be staying more than 60 days in Indonesia then you can face a prison sentence of upto 5 years or fines ranging up to IDR 25.000.000. Make sure your passport is also valid for six months from the date of your entry into Indonesia.
Bali is a large island and you need to definitely plan a way to get around places in Bali. The island of Bali is not known for its great infrastructure with damaged roads and uncontrolled development everywhere. Most of the tourist areas are crowded with chaotic traffic issues during the peak travel season. If you prefer walking around the island, then the streets of Bali will not be comfortable to your walking conditions as the sidewalks are pretty much narrow and most of the sidewalks are occupied by vehicles and small shops. But if you go to some the beach areas like places near Sanur, you can find some wide pathways to walk freely.
If you are looking for budget travel in Bali, then you can opt for taking a bus to visit several places in Bali. There are several bus services including the Perama bus company that operates a lot of buses to the important tourist places and also some scheduled shutter bus services are also available for some of the popular touring destination for cheap fares. There is also a government bus service named the Trans Sarbagita service that operates throughout Bali and the fare is pretty cheap.
You can also find metered taxi mostly common in the southern regions of Bali. Local trips are cheap and if you need to travel outside southern Bali then an additional 30% of fare is charged. But the best taxi service is the Bali Taksi service that can be booked through phone. These taxis can be either booked instantly or booked in advance and it is always good to book in advance to be free from worries of waiting for a taxi. The Bali Taksi service have some decent cabs available with drivers having a fair knowledge of the English language.
By Bemo or Minivans
Bemos are similar to minivans that act like shuttle bus service and is one of the most preferred form of transportation in Bali. Fares on these minivans are very cheap and most of the locals use the bemos to get around Bali. Even though the fares are cheap, if they spot a foreigner they will ask you to book the entire bemo and if you bargain hard then you can get a fair deal to your destination without the disturbance of other passengers.
By Renting a Car or a Motorbike
There are cars and motorbikes available for rent in Bali, but before renting please make sure that you can handle the traffic in Bali as people don’t often obey most of the traffic rules. But renting a car and if you know the proper directions, then it is an excellent option as you don’t want to bargain with taxi drivers or wait for buses to go to each and every destination.
But driving around Bali in a rental car requires International Driving Permit (IDP) along with the license from your own country. Both these should exactly specify the type of vehicle you are driving or it is ot accepted by the local police and you can be fined. You must carry both these licenses along with you while travelling around in Bali in a rented car. You cannot ride a motorbike with a car license as the license should clearly permit you to ride a motorbike if you are going to rent one.
Helmets are mandatory in Indonesia and riding without helmets is illegal and you can be booked for that offence. You can ask the motorbike renter to issue helmets or you can buy cheap helmets in Denpasar. According to road traffic regulations, you need to keep your head lamps and rear lamps on even during your rides in the daytime. Rental car services with drivers are also available in Bali and if you are first time visitor, this should be the best option to get around Bali.
If you are looking to get around Bali with a bicycle, it is definitely available and also one of the cheapest option. There is a god bicycle rental shop with some decent bikes in Denpasar and is also widely available in many areas in Bali. Some major hotels also provide bicycles free of charge. Even though riding around Bali in a bicycle is tough at first, you can soon acclimatize to the conditions.
Accommodation in Bali
Bali is also known for its boutique hotels, beautiful and comfortable private villas and vacation rental properties offering clean and relaxing accommodation for the travelers in competitive prices. If you are looking for right royal luxury, you can live a king’s life at very reasonable prices. But before you start searching for hotels through some of the hotel booking websites to browsing through the facilities offered by the hundreds of hotels, you need to finalize your budget and the type of facilities you require, so it will be easy to filter the hotels that cater to your services. For example, if you need spa services or hotels that offer yoga lessons then you should only look for hotels that offer these services and select the best one out of them.
So before you start your search through 4000+ Hotels, Resorts and hundreds of private villas get a feel for what's your preference and read up a bit on the areas and what they are offering in general.
Then, while browsing through our hotel online booking partner site, make use of the filters, map views, select the matching areas and decide on a rough budget; this will help you to get fast results on deciding where you wish to stay on Bali and short list the properties.
It is pretty much simple to book hotels online and get the best deals and because of this reason most of the visitors don’t stay at the same place for more than 3-5 days and look to experience another kind of hotel at the same prices.
You can get excellent value for money hotels when it comes to accommodation and healthy food in and around Bali. But in Bali, whether you choose to go for luxury or stay in budget accommodations, you cannot find cheaper and reasonable hospitality services than anywhere in the world.
One problem in Bali is you can’t find many public telephones in the streets and it is always better to get some cheap local SIM cards for your communication needs when getting around Bali. If you are looking to make many calls during the day, it is recommended to get some SIM cards from operators like Telkomsel or IndoSat. Local calls from hotel phones are normally charged higher at a minute rate and it is better to get a local SIM card.