A volcano-dotted, beach-fringed paradise that’s serene and sensational by turns, from the green slopes of Mt Batur to the Bintang bodegas on Seminyak’s main party strip. But for all its mega resorts and yoga studios, Bali’s really about the little treasures. An out-of-the-way village stay at Sidemen, diving the impossibly blue waters off Lovina, soaking in the Banja hot springs, or sipping smoothies in Ubud’s organic cafes. As always, when it comes to paradise, the hardest bit is choosing what to do first.
Sitting a snug 8 degrees from the equator, Bali’s climate is classic tropics. There’s a dry season and a rainy season, and not a whole lot in between. The best time for a Bali tour (weather-wise) is the July to August peak season, or from December to the first week of January. Although if you’d like to avoid the crowds (and why wouldn’t you) shoulder months like April, May, June and September make an excellent alternative. The weather is dry and slightly less humid, and the island in general is a lot more relaxed. October isn’t too bad either, especially if you’re into water sports like scuba diving, surfing or snorkeling (the rainfall is much lighter than November).
Passport holders for most nationalities are now permitted to enter visa free for up to 30 days for tourism purposes. In March 2016 Australia and Ireland were added to the list of countries now exempt from visas for visits for tourism purposes under 30 days. Please check with your relevant consulate or embassy.
Some nationalities are required to obtain a visa on arrival, or in advance. Citizens of countries who aren't on the visa on arrival or visa free lists are required to apply for a visa overseas before travelling to Indonesia. We recommend checking with your relevant consulate for the latest up to date information on visas.
To enter Bali, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
Nationals of all countries planning to stay for more than 30 days in Indonesia must apply for the appropriate visa at an overseas Indonesian consulate or embassy before their arrival.
Local laws require that you must be able show your valid passport at any time when required to do so by an immigration office. We recommend taking a clear photocopy of your passport photo page, and visa (after arriving), to carry with you
Tipping isn’t compulsory in Bali, or anywhere else in Indonesia. But, like most countries, it’s very much appreciated. Remember that many Balinese rely on tourism as a main source of income, and a tip is always appreciated.
In tourist centers like Kuta, Seminyak, Denpasar and Lovina internet access should be fine, and there will be plenty of internet cafes (or cafes with free internet) to choose from if your Wi-Fi isn’t up to scratch. In more rural areas, there could be little or no coverage, particularly during homestays. Just remember to plan ahead.
Restaurants and hotels in developed tourist centers will have western-style flush toilets. In more rural areas however, the traditional squat toilet will be more common. We recommend packing a bottle of hand sanitizer if you plan to visit rural parts of Bali.
Indonesia is one of the world's favourite budget travel destinations. Here's what you can roughly expect to pay for a:
Street food snack = 0.15c USD
Fresh juice = .40c USD
Bottle of beer in a bar = 1.50 USD
Souvenir sarong = 1.80 USD
Dinner in a restaurant = 3 USD
Drinking water from taps isn’t recommended in Indonesia, but for environmental reasons try to avoid buying bottled water every day. There are a number of filtered canteens you can purchase or bring a supply of water filtration tablets that you can drop into your bottle wherever you go.
If you’re travelling on an Intrepid Travel trip, we always carry with us a large drum of water in our truck to refill your bottles on the road. Our hotel operators will also provide water free of charge to refill your bottles.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in Bali. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Bali.
ATMs are found widely throughout Bali, so withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic in most areas. Some smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so be prepared for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.
Yep, you sure will. All our travellers are required to have travel insurance booked before the start of the trip. Your leader will take down your insurance details on the first day in case they are needed during the trip, so make sure to bring your policy documents.
For a current list of public holidays in Indonesia go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/indonesia/public-holidays
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Bali can be a difficult destination for travellers with disabilities because pavements are uneven, steps are frequent, paving is poorly maintained, and footpaths are usually obstructed with parked vehicles, street stalls and debris. Accessible public toilets are rare other than in big modern shopping malls. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available only through specialist tour operators, but cars and drivers can be hired readily and are good value. Local guides are easy to find in tourist areas. That said, Bali does have a wider range of tourism services and more developed facilities, including some accessible accommodation options.
Visitors generally find that Indonesians are very welcoming and willing to help those with access needs. The Asian Para Games took place in Jakarta in 2018 and have helped raise the profile of people with disabilities in the country as well as give new direction for making facilities more accessible in the capital.
Homosexuality is not currently illegal in Bali, however the LGBTQI community has been known to be targeted and harassed by police. Revisions to Indonesia’s criminal code are currently being considered that would allow prison sentences of up to five years for sex between unmarried people. These changes would criminalise same-sex relationships. Advocacy groups fear this would represent a profound setback to human rights in Indonesia as a result. A predominantly Muslim country, Islamic organisations have increasingly been pressuring the government on moral issues and in the past few years politicians and public figures have frequently been using anti-LGBTQI rhetoric as a means to win votes. Gay dating apps and media portraying LGBTQI behaviour as “normal” have been banned. Same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, and adoption are all illegal, and the lack of anti-discrimination laws means that attacks on the LGBTQI community in Indonesia regularly go unpunished.
For travellers to Indonesia, there are few gay-friendly venues outside of Bali, with the last gay club in Jakarta closed down in 2017. Because sex in general is a taboo subject in Indonesian society, the issue of sexuality is unlikely to arise while travelling here. The majority of the country is safe for LGBTQI travellers, provided you are willing to be discreet and cautious with public behaviour.
Bali, with its Hindu majority, has always been more liberal, tolerant and relaxed in attitude, however public displays of affection are still not the norm for any couples anywhere in the country. Upscale hotels will likely not have any issues with same-sex travellers sharing a bed, however at budget or family-run businesses if you are allocated separate beds you might feel more comfortable not to draw attention to your relationship.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Bali, we support Sea Communities, a social enterprise that creates unique programs for scuba divers to come and help to rehabilitate the reef. Divers pay for their own transport, lodging, diving gear, just like on a diving holiday, creating a livelihood for the people who live in the local community.