What a joy it is to welcome you to our Bali adventure! I have no doubt that this will be one of the most remarkable times of your life and one that you will cherish. Before the fun begins we have a few items that need your attention.
Specifics for most of the items below can be found here.
Be sure your passport is up to date. Indonesian insists that your passport be valid at least 6 months from the time of entry. As of this writing you will receive a visa for Indonesia when you arrive at the airport in Bali. The current charge for visa is $25.
Here is a checklist of things to take, things to leave, and some options.
1. You may want to take anti malaria pills with you. No immunizations are required for Indonesia at this time. The World Health rep. in Jakarta said that the type of malaria in Bali and Java is the weakest strain and suggested that since other, more dangerous, problems such as hepatitis are present we should do everything we can to insure a strong liver. The preventatives of malaria weaken the liver. They suggested that malaria is not really a problem in Java and Bali and in any case can be treated after the fact quite successfully. Generally Java and Bali are not considered a major health problem requiring inoculations. If you are worried, ask your doctor.
When planning what to pack for the trip, think relaxation and grace. Travel Light! The weather range from warm to hot and it will be rain a bit in the afternoon each day (during rainy season Oct-April). Appropriate clothes can be brought in Bali very cheaply. You will want to wear Balinese clothes most of the time, especially when visiting Temple.
Here is a great specific list of reccomended items
Take comfortably yet light walking shoes. These are difficult to obtain in Indonesia. Most people wear flip-flop. You need canvas shoes or sandals so you can walk comfortably.
Here are some specific reccomendations.
4. Money belts
Indonesia is a poor country and although theft is rare, it should be considered careless to temp theft. It is advisable to use fanny packs or money belt instead of a pocketbook. Use one with a zippered compartment capable of holding your passport, keys, and the large money bills of Indonesia.
A link to a good suggestion for a money belt can be found here.
Take sunscreen with you, as it is expensive in Bali, and prescription drugs that you will need. The availability of over the counter pharmaceuticals is well established in Indonesia but getting your brand might be difficult. Be sure to take extra contact lenses or glasses if you use them. Take small collection of first aid supplies such as band aid, and external antibiotic such as Neosporin to take in your bag.
Note that you will only drink BOTTLED WATER, bottle drinks, or water that has been boiled such as tea or coffee. Use bottled water to brush your teeth. Your time in Bali is short and you don't want to spend a good percentage of it in your hotel room.
You can buy very beautiful baggage in Indonesia for very little. Haul as little as you can, buy as much as you wish over there. We will help you ship whatever you wish by freight if necessary. The point is to stay light.
8. Spending Money
You don’t need much money, although the temptation to buy things is everywhere. If you have travelers check for $500 with you it should be enough. Naturally Indonesia offers the ultimate temptation in exquisite objects and bargains in art. Although some stores and banks accept credit cards, your best exchange rate usually comes from cash. ATM machines are there for the major credit cards. If taking cash, they are very picky, they do not accept worn currency, currency with creases, $100 dollar bill dated 1996. Be sure you go to a bank at home and get new, clean and crisp $100 bills.
9. Cameras and Computer
Film and good processing are readily available and cheaper than they are here. Be sure your Camera straps are adequate for the job and that you bring extra batteries. There are many internet cafes where you can read and send email.
10. Bring a small Flashlight
11. Bali Temples
In order to enter Temple in Bali you must wear a sash in your waist you can purchase this in Bali.
12. Men and Women must wear a wrap around cloth of some sort to enter a temple. Pants are not correct dress in temples. A cloth called Kain or Sarong, can be purchased in Bali. We provide most tours with temple gear for free so just ask us if it will be provided on your tour.
13. Take your swimsuit.
Preparation for Travel to Bali
1. Passport must not expire for at least 6 months after your Bali travel ends.
2. Suggest copying the relevant pages of your passport and store them in a safe place that is different from where your passport is kept.
3. The World Health Organization suggests that, while low grade malaria is present in Bali it is not recommended to take the current precautionary drug as post incident cures are safer than these precautions. Be sure your Tetanus shots are up to date. Consult your physician.
4. Plan to arrive at the terminal at least 3 hours ahead for international travel.
5. Drink plenty of water during flight. Bring airborne, high vitamin C so you can take them in the plane. Bring hand sanitizer.
6. Have back up change of clothing with you if you plan to stay over in another country on the way over.
7. Some people like to take melatonin to help sleep during long flight and time zone adjustments. Plan to start sleeping and waking up according to Bali time while you ‘re in the air.
1. Pay $25 for VISA to enter country. Upon arrival, before the customs check you will see sign of VISA on ARRIVAL you want to get in the line to buy you the visa for the country, it is valid for 30 days. For this they want cash. Keep the Visa paperwork in your passport as you will need it later.
2. Look for Driver holding Balifornian sign.
3. Concerning tips. Except for the airport, tips are not expected or demanded. The airport can be greedy. If you have to have a redcap pay him about Rp.20.000
4. When you get to Bali, try very hard to stay awake during the daylight hours. It will help you adjust to Bali time.
5. Always brush your teeth with bottled water.
6. The traffic there is English style, meaning it goes in the opposite direction from in the USA. Be sure to look both ways before we cross the street. If you plan to drive, you need to obtain international driver license.
7. The best exchange rates are not in the Airport.
8. Please let us know if you want to stay longer in Bali as we can arrange your accommodations post tour for you.
Pay 150.000 Rupiah (around $16) to leave country
Learning about Bali
The best book about Bali is the double volume Sekala and Nisekala by Fred Eiseman Jr. Also Bali Island by Miguel Covarrubias. There are others available, and just ask us if you would like more suggestions. The book on Indonesia that we recommend is The Ring of Fire series by The Blair Brothers.
You will pick up the language there very quickly as the people are most eager to speak with you and help you learn. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, which everyone under the age of 30 speaks, mostly as a first language. Bahasa Bali, on the other hand, is an extremely difficult language to learn because it is really composed of four different languages, the use of which is dependant upon whether one is talking with superiors, inferiors, equals, or spiritual leaders. But Bahasa Indonesia is very easy to learn. Mostly vocabulary. There is no tense, no plural, no declensions. The future or the past is indicate by a word (besok = tomorrow and kemarin=yesterday)
Plural is obtained by doubling the word. There are a lot of honorifics involved but you will not have to worry about them. A few words:
Selamat Pagi Good Morning
Selamat Siang Good afternoon
Selamat Malam Good night
Selamat Tinggal Have a pleasant stay
Selamat Jalan Have a good trip
Terima Kasih Thank you
Apa itu? What is that?
Kamar Kecil Toilet
Rumah Makan Restaurant
Diman? Where is?
Kemana Where to?
Tidak apa Nothing/don’t worry
Nasi Goreng Fried Rice
The Exchange Rate
The exchange rate of Dollars for rupiah is better in Bali than in USA. I will have some money already exchanged for you when you arrive in Bali. But you can exchange money in Bali almost everywhere. Food, Lodging, Land Transportation, Temple, Entrance fees and Guide fees are already covered. Once we are in Ubud, your host Village, on the second day you will have ample time to exchange more money.
Finally a word about the Western Press and the current political situation in Bali. Indonesia is a very large country and it is made up of many, many different ethnic peoples. Many of whom have long history between them. Generally, however most of the peoples are extremely peace loving. The western press is notorious for not understanding Indonesian events and tend to project western brutality as “natural” in Indonesian affairs. Bali especially is extremely peaceful. No peoples on earth want peace more, and practice it, than the Balinese.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
The Balifornian Crew!