Travel Tips

The best time to come to Bali (and Indonesia)

It is a good time to travel to Bali throughout the year. This is because Bali offers many choices of activities and attractions. During rainy days you can visit museums and arts centers. However if you are eyeing beaches or mountain tours, then choose the dry seasons between April to September. In addition, you need to pay attention to high season or peak season of tourists. During these seasons prices will go up, especially for airfare, car rental and accommodation. The increase in price can reach up to 25 percent. The crowded season of visit is in June-August and November-January. Not only the price is going up, at this time Bali will be crowded with tourists. So get ready for the more traffic road conditions and more crowded attractions.

Accommodation

Before you want to find an accommodation in Bali, ask first which area in Bali you want to visit. Usually, for the tourists visiting Bali for the first time they will go directly to the southern area of Bali which is indeed the hustle and bustle of tourist attractions. The famous southern area is the Kuta area. In Kuta there are many accommodation facilities. Customise your budget. If you are looking for cheap accommodation under Rp 400,000 per night, you can look for it in the area around Gang Poppies (1 and 2), Three Brothers Street, Tuban Highway, Gang Puspa Ayu, to Jalan Bakung Sari. Getting into the small alleys of the main road such as Jalan Raya Kuta and Jalan Raya Tuban, then you will find small hotel a la guesthouse which is cheap. The hotels can be found in Jalan Kartika Plaza, Legian Street, and Jalan Raya Kuta. Villas that offer privacy can be found in Seminyak area

If you are not too happy with the hustle and bustle of Kuta, you can choose another destination in Bali. Try the quieter areas of Sanur, Jimbaran, and Nusa Dua. The three are adjacent to the beach. Only the hotels in Nusa Dua are expensive because of the resort area concept. You can also choose to stay in the area of Ubud that still feels natural. But there is no beach in the area. Only, Ubud is located in Gianyar Regency. Gianyar has many interesting attractions, such as zoos, safari parks, cultural tours, and beaches further south. Another option is the area of Lovina, Singaraja, the prices here are still cheap. They have good hotels and food. But the distance is far from the airport, about three-hour drive. In eastern Bali, the most dominant attraction is the Candidasa area in Karangasem with its still relatively uncrowded beaches. Many cheap inns as well as expensive resorts are available in the area. Another option is Nusa Lembongan. While West Bali, you can try to stay in the famous Canggu area as a surf spot or around Tanah Lot.

Transportation

Public transportation or commonly called bemo in Bali is relatively difficult to find. The fleet is rare and the schedule is not fixed. If you are already familiar with Bali, riding the Bemo and Trans Sarbagita bus can indeed be an option. But if this is your first time experience to Bali, it is not recommended to take public transportation. You can find a selection of cars for rent as well as organized tours. Car rental with driver in Bali is normally only for 10 hours. If using more than 10 hours, the renter carries an hourly surcharge. Another option is renting a motorbike, but it is a hassle if you do not know the way. You can also ride a motorcycle taxi or ojek for short trip. Ojek options are suitable if you travel alone.You can also take advantage of the hotel’s shuttle car facilities.

Food

Whether you want expensive or cheap, want a local typical Indonesian cuisine or foreign cuisine, everything you can find in Bali.

Indonesian cuisine is one of the most rich culinary traditions cuisine in the world, and is full of strong flavours. It is a mirror of the diversity of cultures and traditions of the archipelago consisting of approximately 6,000 inhabited islands. Almost all Indonesian dishes are rich with spices such as candlenuts, chili peppers, galangal, ginger, turmeric, coconut and palm sugar with the use of cooking techniques depending on the ingredients. There are also influences from India, China, the Middle East, and Europe especially the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

Basically there is no single form of “Indonesian cuisine”, but rather the diversity of regional cuisine that is influenced locally by Indonesian culture as well as foreign influences. For example, rice is processed into white rice, ketupat or lontong (steamed rice) as a staple food for the majority of Indonesians, but for the eastern part is more commonly consumed sago, corn, cassava, and sweet potato. The common form of Indonesian food consists mostly of staple food with meat, fish or vegetable dishes on the side of the plate.

Business hours and Time Differences

Generally business hours are Monday through Friday 9a.m to 5p.m. though some offices are open until noon on Saturday. Banking hours are Monday through Friday 9a.m. to 3p.m. Shops and restaurants in large tourist destinations are open seven days a week.

There are 3 time zones in Indonesia.

Western Standard Time (WIB)
The western side of Indonesia follows Western Standard Time, known as Waktu Indonesia Barat (WIB). The area covered are the whole of Sumatra Island, the whole of Java Island, West Kalimantan province and Central Kalimantan.

Central Standard Time (WITA)
Just an hour difference from WIB, the central part of Indonesia follows WITA. Adjust your watches accordingly to this time zone if you’re visiting cities in South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, the whole of Sulawesi island, the whole of Bali Island, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara.

Eastern Standard Time (WIT)
This time zone is for the eastern part of Indonesia. It has a two-hour difference from WIB and applies to only Maluku and Papua.

Measurements, electricity and temperature

Indonesia uses the metric system. Most hotels use 220volts, 50 cycles and round. Most power plugs and sockets in Indonesia are type C and F. This plug is the 2 pin socket and plug design which is the standard European plug. If you’re coming from a country that does not use this type of sockets, you should buy an adapter. To charge your gadgets, you can find a socket in almost all restaurants in Indonesia, especially in a tourist area. All hotels and airports have sockets and plugs you can use for free as well.

There are two climates, wet and dry, varying by region but typically the heaviest rainfalls are in December and January. Temperatures average 21-33 degrees Celsius (70-90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Curerency

In cities, travelers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted though a 3 percent surcharge may be charged for credit cards. ATM machines are widely available. However, in outlying areas, be prepared with cash in small denominations in Indonesian rupiahs. Indonesian banknotes come in denominations of IDR1000, IDR2000, IDR5000, IDR10000, IDR20000, IDR50000, IDR75000 and IDR100000. Coins in circulation include IDR1000

The rupiah (Rp) is the official currency of Indonesia. Issued and controlled by the Bank of Indonesia, the ISO 4217 currency code for the Indonesian rupiah is IDR. The name “Rupiah” is derived from the Sanskrit word for silver.

Introduced in 1946 by Indonesian nationalists fighting for independence, the currency replaced a version of the Netherlands Indies gulden which had been introduced during the Japanese occupation in World War II. In its early years the rupiah was used in conjunction with other currencies, including a new version of the gulden introduced by the Dutch.

Credit Card
In recent years Credit and Debit Cards have been commonly used as a method of payment in Indonesia. Indonesian people especially living in major cities have opted to bring less cash at hand and use Credit or Debit Cards for practical and convenient reasons. So foreigners traveling to Indonesia need not worry to use credit or debit cards for your traveling pleasure. 

What kind of Credit or Debit Cards Acceptable in Indonesia?
Most international credit card networks are acceptable in Indonesia’s major cities and tourist hotspots like Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, Medan, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Lombok, etc. 
Cards such as JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) is acceptable in Indonesia because it is affiliated with some of Indonesia’s major well-known bank such as BNI (Bank Negara Indonesia), CIMB Niaga, Bank Mandiri, BRI (Bank Rakyat Indonesia). While American Express (Amex) is also acceptable however Amex has fewer affiliated local banks in Indonesia. Bank Danamon is currently one of the local banks affiliated with Amex. The most widely accepted card in all merchants in Indonesia is Visa and Mastercard. There will be instances where stores may not display the symbols of the cards they accept. Be sure to check with the salesperson in the store prior to using your card if your card is acceptable or not. In same cases where certain small stores charge certain fee such as 3% from the total price, please check if the store charge this fee before payment with a credit card.

How Much Cash Can I Bring to Indonesia?
A
lthough debit, credit and prepaid cards of well-known brands are generally accepted in the major cities, carrying rupiah in a sufficient amount at hand is highly advisable especially when traveling to smaller towns and remote area as local stores could only accept cash. The amount of cash allowed into Indonesia or taking it outside the country is in the amount of IDR100,000,000.00 (one hundred million rupiahs) or other currency equivalent to this amount. More than this amount, then travelers must declare it to Indonesian Customs.

Which ATMs Could I Withdraw Cash From?
ATM machines are widespread throughout Indonesia’s major cities. Cards with Cirrus, Maestro, Plus network seems to be the most prevalent card accepted and could withdraw cash nationwide in most of Indonesia’s major bank ATMs. Cirrus and Maestro logo are associated with Mastercard, while Plus is associated with Visa. Be sure to check if the Cirrus, Maestro or Plus logo is displayed in the ATM machine prior to inserting your card. JCB cardholder could withdraw cash in Indonesia’s affiliated banks such as BNI (Bank Negara Indonesia), CIMB Niaga, Mandiri, BRI (Bank Rakyat Indonesia). Be sure to check if the JCB or Cirrus Logo is displayed in the ATMs. While American Express cardholders could use the facility of express cash and withdraw cash from Danamon Bank ATMs throughout Indonesia.
Although it is practical to carry credit or debit cards around for your travel, when traveling to remote areas and visiting local or traditional markets, it is wise and preferable to have some small change at hand for purchasing purposes.

Money Changer
You can exchange foreign currency in major cities throughout Indonesia at banks and money changers. Most tourist resorts have money changer facilities but if you are traveling to villages or more remote areas it is recommended to exchange your money beforehand. If you need a large amount of foreign currency, it is best to order the money the day before. Local banks keep a limited amount of foreign currency in their smaller branches.

What to pack

There are many basic necessities you can buy in Indonesia, pack only the essentials; insect repellent, sunscreen and prescription medicines and plan on buying t-shirts, sarongs and tropical clothes upon arrival. If you plan to visit some destinations beyond Bali such as Sumatra and Java, modest attire is required, with women keeping their knees, midriffs and armpits covered. Comfortable footwear or walking shoes is essential. In mountain regions such as Kintamani and Bromo with cooler air, a light jacket may be needed. A light hat to protect you from the sun is also a good thing to bring.

Telecommunication

Many hotels and public areas offer free WiFi for their customers. Check with your hotel. The public areas where there are free WiFi normally have sign.

If you bring an unlocked cellular phone, unless you are planning to move to Bali, getting a prepaid local SIM card will be your good option. SIM cards on Bali are very affordable. No need anymore to pay a crazy amount of money for roaming. For approximately US$ 10 you can be online for 30 days with a package of 4GB – to 8 GB of data depending on the service providers. Local SIM cards can be used as long as you have an unlocked phone.

You could find SIM Card in airports where they held a number of local cell phone company providers booths for you to choose from such as Telkomsel, XL, Smartfren, 3/Tri, Axis, Indosat/IM3, etc. Foreign tourists will need either their Passport, or KITAS, or KITAP (the last two is for visitors with a long term stay) to register the local SIM Card.

Plugs & Electricity

A Guide to Plugs and Electricity in Indonesia
Charging your phone, laptop and other important gadgets is essential, especially during trips like this. For your trip to Indonesia, understand that plugs and electricity in Indonesia might differ from one back home. So what do you need in Indonesia? An adapter? A voltage converter? Maybe both. Check it out below!

How is the standard voltage and electricity in Indonesia?
The standard voltage throughout Indonesia is normally 230 V and with a standard frequency of 50 Hz. If you’re from the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia or Africa, most of your phones, laptops and other gadgets could be charged like normal. However, if you come from countries like the United States, Canada, and most South American countries, the range of voltage differs here in Indonesia. 
Charging it like normal is possible, but only for a short time and with a few risks. So you should consider buying a voltage converter instead, which is also available on Amazon or electrical stores in Indonesia.

How does the power plugs in Indonesia differ from my country?
Most power plugs and sockets in Indonesia are type C and F. This plug is the 2 pin socket and plug design which is the standard European plug. If you’re coming from a country that does not use this type of sockets, you should buy an adapter. Amazon sells plenty, but you can also find them in many local minimarkets around Indonesia.

Where can I charge my gadgets in Indonesia?
Y
ou can find a socket in almost all the restaurants in Indonesia, especially in a tourist attraction. All hotels and airports have sockets and plugs you can use for free as well. In trains, a plug is provided for all classes (economy and business) and in most shuttles, you can plug in a USB cable to charge your phone.

How about stepping on offering?

Offering or banten in Balinese in the form of flowers and other offerings in the ordinary Janur container is placed at the entrance and the areas that are often passed by people. Often there are questions about how to accidentally walk on them. It really does not matter if you accidentally step on it. When this happens simply say “Sorry “. When you visit temples or places that are considered sacred by local people. Respect and follow local customs. Wear polite clothing. If you wear shorts, wear a holster or cloth. Some places also require that you wear a sarong. Do not walk in front of people who are praying, do not take photos with flash during a ceremony. For women, do not enter a temple during your period.