What the weather is like…
Bali is just south of the equator and has a year round tropical climate with only 2 seasons – wet (Oct – March, high humidity) and dry (April – Sept). I have visited in both seasons, and found both are unpredictable, however, the temperature is usually constant at around 28 – 30. Even if it does bucket down with rain, you’re never cold! The mountain regions are always a little cooler, particularly at night, so if you are staying in that region it’s a good idea to pack a warm jumper.
What to pack…
– As little as possible!
– Smart-casual and comfortable is the norm, but remember to pack comfortable walking/hiking shoes.
– Sunscreen, insect repellant, hats and a folding umbrella for those sudden showers.
– A long skirt for the ladies and pair of long trousers is a must, particularly if visiting temples where this etiquette is a requirement. (As a substitute sarongs may be hired or purchased at point of entry very cheaply).
– If you wear glasses, it’s a good idea to pack your spares in your suitcase.
– A face washer or hand towel for long trips – if you suffer humidity stress, a good refresher is to freeze a bottle of water and take the frozen bottle & face washer in a plastic bag on your trip for quick ‘cool downs’.
– Anything you may have forgotten can be purchased very cheaply in Bali!
– Travel insurance is a must – if you don’t already have it – consult your travel agent or travel insurance can be purchased on line.
– Make 2 photocopies of your passport, credit cards, travel insurance and I.D. info – leave one copy at home (with a relative or friend) and take the other copy with you (in your suitcase) keeping it separate from the original documents.
– Take some spare cash (for medical emergencies or otherwise).
– Most hotels & accommodation have safes – either at reception or in-room – use them for your own security & peace of mind.
– Using your credit card to make purchases in Bali is a safe and widely accepted practice, however, always take care as you would anywhere e.g. don’t let your card out of your sight at the point of transaction.
– Bali has its share of petty crime the same as any country – take care with your handbag or valuables at all times. (Drive past ‘snatches’ are becoming more prevalent).
– Only change money at your hotel, resort or reputable looking locations where you trust the changer (and the calculator used) – usual practice is to count your money back before you and a receipt is given.
– A good tip is to take a ‘cheat sheet’ currency converter with you – it will only be a rough guide (as currency exchange rates change daily in Bali) but it can save the frustration of haggling over something which may only be a few dollars difference. You can make up your own ‘guide’ from any of several on-line exchange currency websites.
Health – and avoiding the dreaded ‘Bali belly’…
– Remember the golden rule – drink ONLY bottled water from sealed bottles.
-Ice in drinks is government-quality controlled in established hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants, and many places now rinse food, dishes and cutlery in bottled water.
– When brushing your teeth – DON’T rinse your toothbrush under the tap – rinse in bottled water poured into a glass.
– Take some Immodium with you, but if you do have an attack that lasts more than a couple of days, seek medical advice as quickly as possible.
– To avoid the heat & humidity, outdoor & market shopping is best done in the early morning or late afternoon/early evening – check where you will be visiting for opening times as many Balinese businesses do not open until later in the morning.
– For minor emergencies it’s always convenient to take some of your preferred basic items with you: sunburn lotion, cold & flu tabs, antiseptic, bandaids and paracetamol. (All of these items are readily available in Bali) Refer to the Australian Customs website for details on prescription medicines.
– For more serious emergencies there are a couple of modern high quality international 24 hour medical centres in Bali – BIMC – and International SOS. Have a look on the internet at their websites and write down their contact numbers/addresses in a convenient place with your travel documents.
Telephone & communications…
– Telephone to and from Bali can be very costly – one of the cheapest ways to stay in touch with your loved ones is by sms messages using your mobile phones (or by email if you are computer savvy). Check with your phone company for costs. Remember: if you want to exchange SMS by mobile phones you need to delete the ‘0’ and add ‘+61’ (sending to Aust) or ‘+62’ (sending to Bali).
– If you don’t mind dialing at least 25 numbers, a cheaper way to make phone calls to Bali from Australia is by purchasing a phone card from your local post office, newsagent or retail outlet.
– Remember to take your phone charger with you
– Keep your laptop with you at all times, unless your hotel room provides an in-room safe. There are many Internet cafes throughout the island, however, you may not find many wireless Internet connections away from high-end hotels and resorts. Check with your accommodation house before you go.
Passport, Entry Visa and Departure Tax…
– Your passport must be valid for at least six months from date of arrival.
– A 30-day visa costs US$25 and is extendable for another 30 days. Be aware that Immigration officials calculate the 30-day period as follows: your arrival day is counted as your first day, and you must leave the country on the 30th or 60th day!
– Check with your travel agent or on the internet for all other entry requirements.
– 150,000 Rupiah Indonesia departure tax is payable (in Rupiah only) at the airport after you check in and before you proceed through immigration. It’s a good tip to put this amount aside after you arrive.
– The above information is correct at time of writing this article but as it is subject to change it is essential you check with your travel agent or on-line for any recent changes.
Customs regulations for entering Bali…
Prohibited Items: Weapons, narcotics and pornography are prohibited to bring into Bali. Pets are strictly banned to prevent the spread of rabies.
Alcohol & Tobacco: You are only allowed to bring a maximum of one litre of alcohol, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 100grams of tobacco and a reasonable amount of perfume into Indonesia.
Currencies, Etc: Another subject is the import and export of currencies; one is not allowed to import or export Indonesian currency exceeding Rp. 5 million. I n addition, the export of national treasures is frowned upon – genuine antiques, tortoise shell, crocodile skins and ivory are not to be taken out of Indonesia.
What you can buy to bring back to Australia…
Australian Customs and Aqis websites contain valuable and helpful information – please take the time to visit their websites on the internet and read them both.
Some final advice…
All Australians travelling overseas, whether for tourism or business or for short or long stays, are encouraged to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before travel. The registration information provided by you will help find you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family emergency. It may also be used to pass other information to you such as, new travel advisories, notice of elections and information on other matters relevant to travellers and expatriates. Register on-line at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au