Bali is a small island in the south of Indonesia which is famous amongst the tourists for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats. The primary language of local population is Balinese but majority of them can speak English.
Petitenget Beach, Seminyak
Ubud Monkey Forest
With sun shining throughout the year, Bali has a tropical monsoon climate, with pleasant day temperatures between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainy season starts from October to March, when the West monsoon brings heavy showers and high humidity. June to September is considered the driest season, with low humidity and it can be fairly cold in the evenings, the best time for any outdoor activities.
Mount Batur volcano, Kintamani
Visas are easily obtained but can be a hassle if you hope to stay longer than 30 days. Your passport must
be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia. No Visa required for majority of countries including Indian passport holders – FREE entry
(30 days valid, NOT extendable). Then there is Visa on Arrival for few other countries- 35US$, 30 days valid, extendable (once for 30 days). More details here
CURRENCY AND COSTS
Primary currency of Bali is Indonesian Rupiah. 1 Indian Rupee equals around 200 IDR and 1 US Dollar around 13000 IDR. The currency is cheap but mostly the prices are quoted in thousands here. Central Kuta Money Exchange and such trusted money exchange outlets are spread across the city but beware of the fraudulent self acclaimed authorised money exchange dealers operating in local small shops. Traveling within the city is cheap but visiting temples and other sightseeing spots comes at a price. An average cost per day would be around 500,000 – 600,000 Indonesian Rupiah which includes your commute by taxi, lunch/dinner, entrance tickets to tourist spots such as temples etc.
Most of the hotels have continental breakfast included. Scuba diving
starts at around 800,000 and other water sports such as parasailing can be done in around 300,000. For massage
the rates ranges from 50,000 to 300,000 rupiah. Bali Hai cruise
is one of the most popular cruise which departs from the Benoa Harbor
to Lembongan island
costs around 1,300,000
per person and safari marine park tickets starts from 800,000
per person. It’s always better to plan your budget for the trip in accordance to the activities you want to do in Bali. An extravagant 6 nights stay for 2 persons in Bali’s 4/5 star hotel/villa including return flights from New Delhi, dining at fine indian and italian restaurants/cafe, visiting almost all the local sightseeing tourists spots and doing a few water sports along with the cruise can cost somewhere around Rs.1.5 lakh
given the flight tickets were booked well in advance for May-June season.
Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak
However the majority of population here follow Hindu religion but they are primarily non vegetarian. It is quite a struggle to find good vegetarian food options. But for non vegetarian people who love sea food, there are unlimited choices. Kuta offers few vegetarian indian restaurants such as Spice Mantra
opposite Discovery mall, Ganesha
in Lippo mall, Queens of India etc. which were a saviour. There is another busy and famous Indian cuisine restaurant in Seminyak named as Queen’s Tandoor
. Cafe Bali near Seminyak Square offered good vegetarian italian food options. Potato head beach club
near Petitenget Beach
in Seminyak is one such happening and lively club that you would not want to miss if you visit Bali. Just make sure to reach the restaurant bit early before sunset so as to reserve your spot where you can watch the sun setting into the sea along with a drink and appetizer by your side. Average cost for 2 if you dine at any of the fine restaurants is around 300,000 rupiah
without drinks. I haven’t tried the local food being a vegetarian but it may cost cheaper than this.
Bali Rani Hotel Resort, Kuta
Fun times at Nusa Dua Beach
Watching sunset at Seminyak Beach
GETTING AROUND IN BALI
The infrastructure of Bali is not too modern with narrow roads connecting most of the places. The city encounters slow moving traffic on roads. Many people here prefer two wheelers in order to avoid the traffic jams and carry raincoats with them all the time which is much wiser provided you travel light. Taxis
are easy to get but might be difficult to negotiate. Bluebird
taxi, Ngurah rai taxi services are easily spotted on the roads but are best and cheaper to commute if the taxi driver agrees to charge as per meter. Many taxi drivers refuse to run the meter and may ask double the estimated cost. So refrain from paying lump sum amount for taxi and better navigate using GPS to avoid more congested roads. Bike and car rental
is cheap here. We rented a two wheeler for 750,000 a day in Seminyak with fuel costing about 8200 a litre. For local sightseeing tour a taxi driver may charge around 50,000 rupiah for upto 10 hours. You can negotiate on the price if you like. It is advisable from my personal experience to start early if you are going to the north of the island from Kuta since the traffic is gonna eat majority of your time on the road.
PLACES TO STAY IN BALI
I stayed for 3 nights in a 4 star resort ‘Bali Rani‘
and then for next 3 nights in a 5 star private pool villa
‘Transera Grand villas
‘ in Seminyak
. Kuta is very near to the airport, around 3-4
kms only. But has very busy and narrow streets. My hotel was located in between the Lippo mall
and Discovery mall
. The street was quite happening with live music playing at many open air restaurants and cafes. The buzz in the street rose until 11pm
along with the traffic. The best way to enjoy this street was to walk alongside the road. What occurred to me the only disadvantage of this place was that it is quite far from most of the tourist attractions of Bali and has really slow moving traffic. Ubud
on the other hand is in the heart of Bali and in close proximity to most sightseeing places. However Ubud is quiet and close to traditional culture of Bali unlike Kuta. There are various high end beach resorts too near Double six
and Kuta beach
which are slightly away from the congested streets of South Kuta. In case you want a mix of both fun and culture then Seminyak is the place to be. Seminyak
offers various luxurious private pool villas located in the quiet interiors along with those near the main market area. Sunset road is the main road connecting Seminyak with other parts of the city.
Bali Hai Cruise
Banana boat ride
Bali offers a mix of all flavours for every individual. If you are a nature and culture lover then there are relaxing beaches, spas and massages centres, green paddy rice fields, sunset by the cliff, view of active volcanoes and plenty of wildlife basking in the sun. But if you are more adventurous then Bali has pretty good water sports to offer along Benoa Harbor and Nusa Dua, hiking trail to Mount Batur
in Kintamani, wildlife safari
and marine park, biking tours etc. For party lovers there are amazing beach clubs, nightlife and open air live music shows. Cruise to Lembongan island is something which you cannot afford to miss anyhow. Take a peek into the underwater marine life with Scuba diving and snorkeling in the middle of indian ocean. Parasailing, banana boat ride, fly boarding, jet skiing are among other water sports that you can try in Bali at competitive prices.
I have shared my day wise itinerary in my following post here
. Please mention in the comments below if you have any specific queries and need any help planning your trip to Bali. Happy vacation!