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Bali travel tips for first timers

There is nothing like a good vacation in a charming destination. A good holiday is refreshing at many levels from the mind to the soul, ultimately, you feel alive. And a vacation in Bali ticks every box for a good vacation. Whatever you are looking for, Bali has it. As one of the most frequented islands in the world, hosting roughly 4 million tourists per year, Bali comfortably occupies a space in the list of the most amazing places in the world.

Bali travel tips

As a tourist aiming to make the most of your visit to Bali, you shouldn’t travel blindly; without any prior information. When traveling, it is your responsibility to ensure you position yourself in a way that allows you to fit in and have fun. After all, you don’t travel to one of the most amazing places in the world for the sake of it! The following are things you should know before embarking on your journey to Bali.

Customs

Every foreign government takes customs seriously, and Indonesia is no different. Clearing with immigration at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is a straight forward procedure though can take some time to clear a large number of passengers who arrive in Bali on a daily basis. There are porters positioned at the baggage claim who offer to take your luggage to the custom tables and out of the airport at a fee. They ask for up to US$20 but its best to agree on a fee before you engage their services.

Regulations

When visiting Bali, and Indonesia in general, do not carry the following as they are prohibited:

  • Drugs
  • Weapons
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Pornographic material of any kind

However, in an attempt of not being a total buzz kill, the following items are allowed:·

Cigarettes (200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100g of tobacco.

  • Alcohol (Not more than 1 liter)
  • Perfume of reasonable quantity
  • Foreign currency but import or export of Rupiah is capped at 5 Million. Higher amounts require declaration.

Any items that the customs officials suspect are going to be sold in Bali, or the greater Indonesia are subject to additional fees. Consequently, it is advised to carry things in moderation or risk a massive charge at the customs.

Tips for first time visitors to Bali

Passports

Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of arrival. At the immigration desk, you may be requested to fill a disembarkation card which is split into two where you leave one, and the one you carry is required when leaving the country.

Visas

Visas are easily obtained, but nationals of the currently listed countries and sovereign states are eligible for visa-free visits for 30 days. These listed countries and sovereign states include USA, Canada, China, South Korea, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, and New Zealand among others. To obtain or extend your visa- which is an overly complicated process- it is advisable to use Visa agents to relieve yourself the long bureaucratic work involved.

If you overstay your visa expiration date, you are subject to a fine of 300, 000Rp for each day you overstay.

Weather

Weather can make or break your holiday. As such, it is better to travel during the dry season as it is easier to explore the magnificent island. The dry season is from May through September with the wet season kicking off from October to April. The optimal time to travel to Bali is from May to August.

Transport

There are several options of transport as you explore the magic of Bali. The most common means of transport include taxi, motorbikes, and minivans (bemos). When taking a taxi in Bali, use reliable Taxi companies whose taxis are metered thus don’t charge exorbitant prices. The Bemos are a public means of transport which are flagged down as you would a regular taxi. With Bemos charges vary but are generally cheap.

If you want to drive yourself around Bali, you can rent cars and motorbikes. However, an international driving license is a must when renting. When driving, keep to the left.

Traffic

Bali being a crowded Island, the traffic is typically congested. Consequently, when planning your day’s schedule, allow a lot of time to account for the time you will be sitting in traffic.

Internet and Communication

I probably should have put this higher for the Millennial’s sake! Our communication devices have become integral to our lives, and in Bali, this is accounted for as Wi-Fi is available in most restaurants, cafes and hotels. Alternatively, mobile-internet Ready SIM cards are readily available at convenience stores and kiosks.

Electricity

For you to use the readily available internet and communication networks, you need your gadgets powered up. The power in Bali flows at 220 Volts, 50Hz. The electrical plugs and sockets fixed on walls are the “Europlug” type which is two-pronged.

Special Days

The day to remember is the Saka New Year (Nyepi) as there is no traveling during this day. It falls in March but not on specific dates depending on the Saka Lunar calendar.

Dress the Part

Not only in Bali, but it’s always wise to dress appropriately depending on the place and occasion. In Bali, you can’t be going to the beach and halfway decide to take a detour to a temple. The same applies to some high-end bars and clubs which have adopted different dress codes. Violation of the set dress codes will have you denied entry to these prestigious establishments so call beforehand to ask for this information.

As for the temples, wearing a waist cloth and sash is a must. Unlike other places, temples don’t require entry fees though the keepers may direct you to the “donation” box.

Safety

Irrespective of some bad press on the world media, Bali is generally safe. Be that as it may, it is upon you to ensure you stay out of the harm’s way. While you out and about, stay on the right side of the law. The penalty for drugs is death so take it seriously because the last thing you want is to be stuck in a foreign jail and the middle of a diplomatic row between two nations.

Food and water in most hospitality establishments are safe for consumption, but occasionally first timers to Bali will suffer from the dreaded Bali belly. Be sure to keep hydrated from drinking bottled water. Aqua and Cleo are the most well known brands.

Emergencies

You may be used to calling 911 in times of emergency, but in Bali, the emergency numbers are different. Call 110 to reach the Police and 118 if you need an ambulance.

With this information, you are all set for a dream vacation in one of the most amazing places in the world. Equipped with this information, you may be new to Bali but not a stranger.

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