Tips, suggestions, advice and (hopefully) useful information based on my recent travels throughout Bali. If you have questions on topics I didn’t cover just ask.
Itinerary… to plan or not to plan? I would suggest planning accommodation for the first few days and then going with the flow. After all isn’t traveling all about being open to new experiences and going with the flow?
What time of year to go? Anytime! I was in Bali from June to September and never had a problem even though it was the busy season. I found there was plenty of accommodation and there were only a few instances when rooms were overpriced. The weather was great. If you overheat simply get out of the sun and drink plenty of water (or Bintang). I can’t imagine a time of year not being a perfect time to go to Bali.
strolling through the rice fields on a beautiful June day in Ubud
Traveling as a Solo-Female… Do it! Bali was my first solo travel adventure. I felt completely safe the entire time. Sure I was nervous and had my concerns in the beginning, but they were quickly diminished. The Balinese are the friendliest people I have ever come across and will make you feel quickly at home. You won’t be the only solo-female traveler and it seems Bali is a mecca for meeting amazing people.
Of course use your best judgment. You will be traveling in a 3rd world country. Also, remember Bali is one of the thousands of islands in Indonesia and is the only island that is Hindu. If you travel outside of Bali be extra cautious.
What to pack (for women)? Loose clothing. Loose yoga pants. Loose tank tops. Loose Maxi dresses/skirts. Light sweater. Bathing suits. Flip flops. Don’t pack too much. You can purchase most of what you need there and trust me you will want to go shopping. Also, depending on the length of your stay, make sure you pack plenty of womanly products. Tampons can be purchased but are expensive.
The Techy Stuff… I traveled with an iPhone which I kept on airplane mode to avoid roaming and overseas costs. I used my iPhone for WiFi (which is readily available almost everywhere) and to take pictures. WhatsApp is a handy app to keep in touch with people back home or other travelers you meet along your journey. I also suggest purchasing a cheap phone once you get to Bali and getting an Indonesian sim card/number. I purchased a phone and minutes for 300,000 Rupiah (about $30). Other useful items can be a Kindle/Nook for reading and a laptop or iPad.
The Visa “Issue”… possibly the only pain about traveling in Indonesia. I suggest getting a 60 day visa from the Indonesian Embassy in your home county (if possible) before arriving to Indo. If you do not sort out your visa out beforehand you will pay $25 USD or 250,000 Indonesian Rupiah for a 30 day VOA (visa on arrival). If you are only staying in Bali for 30 days or less then the VOA makes the most sense, if not, read on…The 30 day VOA can be extended once for another 30 days. 7 days before the visa expires you will need to start the extension process. You can extend the visa yourself by making several trips to the Immigration office near Denpasar or pay someone to do it for you. I suggest the ladder. Every expat has a visa lady (or man) or there are businesses which handle extending visas. Just ask other travelers/expats, they will be more than willing to help. After 60 days (30+30) you must leave the country. Singapore is the most common visa run destination and flights can be purchased from Air Asia for an affordable price. This is the one part I wish I would have planned better. But then again, I was going with the flow and always wanted to check out Singapore.
the Singapore visa run!
The Famous Bali Belly… it does exist, it’s horrible and should be a concern. I had a few upset stomachs, but never (luckily) did I catch full on Bali belly. However, many of my friends did. Always be careful what you’re eating, but unfortunately you can get sick from Westernized food places too. To prevent Bali Belly travelers swear by Yakult, a pro-biotic drink that is readily available in Bali. Or you can take Acidophiles Capsules (another pro-biotic). Remember to never drink the water and wash your hands frequently. Charcoal and raspberry cordial are popular cures for Bali belly among travelers. I am not a doctor and am just sharing my knowledge from my recent travels. I suggest visiting your primary physician before you leave for Bali. They can prescribe the appropriate antibiotics for Bali belly and any other antibiotics you may need.
Health Kit… this is one place I do plan ahead and travel prepared. In my kit… band-aids (plasters), aspirin, condoms, Sovereign Silver, anti-bacterial ointment, Cortizone cream, Tiger Balm, charcoal pills, D-Mannose pills, cure for yeast infection, antibiotics for a UTI and whatever else the doctor recommends.
Are Bali dogs dangerous? YES! Avoid them at all times and especially at night.
Currency… Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)… 100,000 Rp = $10 USD (roughly)
How much do things cost, really? On average I spent $40 USD a day. I stayed in nice places, ate great food, attended yoga classes and drank Bintang.
my accommodation on Gili T… which cost 180,000 Rp
The above is based on my travels throughout Bali. I fell in love with Bali instantly. Everyone is different and travels different. Remember to travel safe, be open and enjoy the journey. Drop me a line if you have any questions. Safe travels my fellow wanderers!