Frequently Asked Questions
Travel Information and General Info You May Be Wondering...
- Do I need to have a VISA for entering Bali?
Indonesia has a visa-on-arrival system for AUS, CAN, US & EU citizens. When you arrive at the airport in Denpasar you will enter the Visa-on-arrival line, where you will be asked for US$25.00 and then your passport will be stamped for 30 days. If you would like to stay more than 30 days, then you will have to apply for a 60-day tourist visa at the Consulate of Indonesia closest to you. For more info on Indonesian Immigration click here*.
- Is Bali Safe?
Bali tourism is touted by all the major US travel magazines and was recently featured in the Travel Section of the New York Times. Although The United States State Department has put out a travel warning on Indonesia, there is no such warning for the island of Bali. Bali is the only Hindu island in Indonesia and has always been peaceful - up until the 2002 Kuta Beach Club bombings, planned by outsiders. Since the Bali Bombings the Indonesian government has really taken the threat of terrorism seriously and arrested many potential criminals. As for safety in the streets, there is very little violent crime in Bali, especially in the areas where our tour will occur. When traveling, one has to take precautions against pickpockets, just as you would in any tourist oriented area or resort.
- What is Bali's weather like?
Generally the Central and Northern area of Bali has warm, sunny days (up to the 90’s) and cools off at night. Rain is frequent but usually light and of short duration. Tropical weather is one of things that makes Bali's gardens so lush!!! Other areas down south are warmer and usually drier near the coast. We will be planning our days accordingly to avoid the hottest parts of the day for the more intensive garden walks and there will always be plenty of water on hand. http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/cities/intl/Pages/IDXX0019.htm
- What about sanitation?
In most mid-range restaurants & hotels, water is purified, 95% of these restaurants use bottled water for all cooking. In your hotel it is adviseable to drink and brush your teeth with bottled water. For meals that are included within the tour, we will be eating at establishments with a high level of hygiene that regularly service travelers. Care must be taken when eating at smaller 100% Balinese cafes where the water is not purified, so take care when eating raw foods. The result of eating food that has not been properly cleaned is that you develop dysentery (Bali Belly), but it passes in a few days and the worst of it passes within 24 hrs.
- What about health care?
There are plenty of international medical clinics in Bali - especially in Ubud and outside of Kuta. Since the Bali Bombing, the Indonesian government invested in improving the local hospitals and many more private ones have opened since. If you have a minor illness or ailment, you will be just fine. These clinics usually do not accept health insurance, but they do not cost much. Should you need specialized care in a dire emergency, you would need to be evacuated to Singapore. For this trip, It's best that you buy travelers health insurance with evacuation coverage.
- What about immunizations?
You will be traveling in civilized, built up areas; so even though your doctor may suggest all kinds of things for traveling in the jungle, please impress upon him that you are staying in five star resorts and eating at good restaurants. As recommended by Meghan Pappenheim, an American resident of Bali here is no Malaria, Rabies, Encephalitus or Polio on the island of Bali. A Tetanus shot is a good idea. You do not need Malaria Medication, as malaria is a rarity in Bali. You might want to bring a prescription of Keflex, Cyprio, or another type of oral antibiotic that can help with stomach ailments (Bali Belly - a mild dysentery that passes in a few days).
- What about Money, Credit Cards, Cash, Exchange Rates etc?
The Indonesian currency is the Rupiah and the exchange rate is approximately Rp.9,500 = US$1.00. Most small shops, restaurants & tour companies run on cash. ATM machines are rampant on the island, most having the Cirrus and Plus connection. You often get a very good exchange rate via ATM and its convenient.
For Credit Cards in Bali - PLEASE tell your bank and credit card companies the dates that you will be in Bali or elsewhere, as they might cut off your funds for fraud protection if they don't know it is you. Asia loves Visa or MasterCard, Diners is non-existent & American Express is rarely accepted, although there is an American Express office somewhere on the island where you can go to buy travelers checks and report stolen cards if need be. In dire time, you can always do a cash advance at a local bank, but it will cost you 18-20% from your bank PLUS another % from the Bali Bank.
As far as exchange rates go, if you have travelers checks, their rates are different than CASH. And, the smaller the bill, the less the rate. $5 is worth less to a money changer than $100, and the rate they will give you will reflect that. Make sure that you do not bring US$100 notes from the year 1996. In 1996 Loads of counterfeits entered Indonesia and the stigma still stands. Money Changers are all over Bali, although not all over them trustworthy. Try to stay away from the small storefront Balinese money changers - the guys with hand written signs and made up rates. The larger establishments, or those that say 'authorized money changer', will be a safer bet.
To see the most recent exchange rate, check here: www.xe.com, but realize that the online rate is rarely 100% correct and will be off by a few cents.
- What about clothing and other items to bring?
Upon confirmation of your trip, we will send you additional information that will include a checklist of items to bring, general travel tips and other information to help you prepare for your trip. One of the most important things included on the list will be comfortable walking shoes and/or "sport" sandals with a sufficient level of traction. You may want to even consider bringing a "back-up" pair should you need to dry your shoes out due to a heavy rain. The atmosphere in Bali is generally relaxed, and even in the most exclusive Spas and resorts clothing tends to be rather casual. An exception to this is that certain attire is required when entering temples or attending traditional Balinese events and we will advise you prior to departure of clothing items to bring for those events.
- Suggested Reading about Bali
See here for great books on Bali: www.ganeshabooksbali.com
(Information provided in part by www.balispirit.com)