Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TOP 5 TIPS FOR BALI

Yum

If you've been following me, you know I'm just back from a lovely vacation to Bali.  For a small island, Bali has a lot of variety - it has a wonderful clean long coastline as well as picturesque hills and lakes. It has so much to offer for every kind of traveler. You can read about what to see in Bali right here.



We had a relaxing, stress free vacation, and we wish you could too. Hence, a few tips that we feel will make it easier for you and give you a feel of Bali before you even arrive. 

Currency:


Indonesian Rupiah or IDR is the official currency in Bali. Since it is a non-tradeable currency, you cannot exchange for it in your own country. It is best to travel with USD, AUD or EUR or any tradeable currency. There are a few Forex counters right at the airport, but if you don't need it immediately, you are better off converting in the city as the counters in the city offer you a better exchange rate. USD may be accepted at certain stores/restaurants, however, they will not give you a good exchange rate, so advise you to convert to IDR as soon as possible. Cards are accepted too, but you may need to bill a certain amount before they do. Counters in Kuta/Legian gave a better rate than Ubud.

It is good to know that when the locals say for example, 50 or write the rate of anything as 50, they actually mean 50,000 IDR. The smallest denomination we encountered was a coin of 200 IDR and the largest was 1,00,000 IDR. 



Shopping / Cost of Living:


Bali is not too expensive, but I would not call it cheap either. A meal for two in Ubud can cost you around 1,25,000 to 2,00,000 in a mid-range restaurant, while in Kuta, you may be paying appx 2,00,000 to 3,00,000. The same supermarket may price the same item differently in the 2 cities with Kuta being more expensive. 

Ubud is the center for art and handicrafts. You may want to pick up wooden artifacts on the outskirts of Ubud, mostly on Denspasar-Ubud road. Bali is famous for its ceramics/pottery and Ubud is the place to buy, watch out for my next post on the best ceramic shops in Ubud. Batik clothing and Silver jewellery are other things Bali is famous for, you can pick up both in Ubud. However, all the shops I frequented for Batik were very expensive in comparison to India, so I did not pick up any.


Ubud closes down early, the market closes by 6.30-7pm and the shops close by 8pm. Kuta closes later than that. Bargain in the market for sure. You may want to start at 50% the price and move up. You can try asking if you will get a discount in the stores as well. Buy beaded jewellery outside Legian beach, they are really cheap and there are many stores.


Ride


There is literally no public transport in Bali. You can easily hire a cab - Uber and Grab are the app based taxis available in Bali. There are other local taxi companies too, but they are slightly more expensive than Uber or Grab. 


But your best way of transport is actually a two wheeler. Priced at 50,000 IDR to 1,20,000 IDR per day depending on the type of motor bike, this is your cheapest mode of transport. Indonesians drive on the left side of the road. Fuel is considerably cheap at Fuel stations/Petrol bunks. Within villages, you will find small shops selling you fuel in bottles, however, they charge you more. The northern part of Bali is hilly and most of the roads in and around Ubud are narrow. Google maps works really well, so you won't get lost. so rent a two wheeler only if you have experience riding one and are not scared of the terrain. 


There are 10-13 seater shuttles available between major towns and to the airport at really reasonable prices. A cab from Ubud to Kuta will cost you around 2,50,000 IDR while a shuttle will cost you 60,000 IDR per person. So if you are single, it really works out financially. You will be picked up from your hotel or the closest main road and dropped at a single point. There are fixed time departures, so use this only if the time works out for you. You need to book these in advance.

Sarong:


Bali is predominantly Hindu in religion and most of the attractions, other than the beach are actually Hindu Temples. You have an entry fee at all the famous temples and tourists are not allowed inside the main temple. However, a few of them expect you to wear a sarong even to enter the premises (men have to wear one too). You will find a lot of hawkers trying to sell you sarongs outside the temple, before you even buy the ticket, but be aware that there are free of cost sarongs given at the entrance of the temples, such as Goa Gajah. But there are a few temples where they will rent it out to you. My suggestion would be to carry one if you already have it or buying one if you plan on visiting a lot of temples. 


Cell/Wi-fi:

You can buy pre-activated SIM cards in Ubud/Kuta or at the airport. The one at the airport is really really expensive and you are better off pushing it until you get to the city. You have several plans and different service providers, so select what works best for you. 

Most of the restaurants offer free wi-fi, ask the staff for the password and stay connected.


1 comment:

  1. MAN !! When will i ever get to have a holiday like this. It is the no 1 on my bucket list, great place BALI. ONE DAY, some day...

    ReplyDelete