The ultimate Bali travel guide: Hotels, beaches and things to do

Bali

Luxurious beaches, thriving nightlife and diverse culture.

Fondly referred to as the “Island of the Gods”, Bali is a mecca for tropical island escapees, adventurists and party-goers alike.

Drawing 12 million visitors every year, Bali’s coasts are fringed with inviting white and black sands, as well as enviable surf conditions. Inland, the island houses enchanting volcanic hillsides, ancient temples and sacred sites, and a party landscape that can only be defined as infamous.

Whether you choose to stay in the thick of things or wander the road less traveled, Bali is truly a paradise on Earth.

Documents to get through immigration and customs in Bali

Once your plane touches ground in beautiful Bali, you’ll still have one more thing to do before you’re allowed to explore the Indonesian island — getting through customs. It may sound like a to-do, but if you get all of your documents in order, you’ll be all set. Here’s what you’ll need to have:

  • Passport. Your passport must remain valid for six months from the date you’re departing Bali or you will not be granted entry into the country. Also, be sure there is an empty page for the visa stamp.
  • Visa or visa on arrival. US citizens can visit Bali with a free visa that is valid for 30 days with no extensions. If you opt for a visa on arrival, you’ll be subject to a $35 fee, valid for 30 days with the option to pay for a one-time extension.

If you plan on staying longer than 30 days, be sure to extend your visa as you’ll incur some hefty fines for overstaying — $73.50 for each day!

What to know when you get to Bali

You’ll be in a completely different part of the world, meaning you’ll have to adjust to the way of a life so you don’t look like such a camera-touting tourist. Here a few tips to make your Bali vacation a breeze.

  • Dress appropriately. You’re on vacation, but that doesn’t mean a bathing suit is going to cut it everywhere you go. Restaurants and nightclubs will typically have a dress code, so pack some semi formal nightwear.
  • Keep an eye out for animals. If you run into an animal that appears to be wild or stray, it’s in your best interest to keep some distance. You may want to get the perfect selfie with a monkey, but you probably don’t want to risk getting a disease or rabies.
  • Respect the law and religion. If you don’t comply with the law, you’ll likely be fined — so don’t argue with police officers. As for religion, if you’ll be visiting any sort of holy site, dress modestly and act appropriately.
  • Rainy season. In Bali, this is referred to as low season — between January to April and October to November. You’ll likely find discounted trips to Bali around this time of year, but you should know that some afternoons will be rainy.
  • Bargaining is OK. Any informal market or service where prices aren’t set in stone are up for bargaining. If haggling is your game, remember to be respectful. And if you can’t happily agree on a price with a vendor, thank them and walk away.
  • Local slang. If you’ll be interacting with locals, it wouldn’t hurt to know some common slang. Selamat pagi means good morning, tolong means please and terima kasih means thank you.

How to spend in Bali

First, bring some cash over with you so you can purchase your visa on arrival. Next, you should know that the currency used in Bali is Indonesian rupiah (IDR).

You can either exchange your cash with a bank or money changer, or you could withdraw local money from an ATM with a travel-friendly debit card. Most ATMs will only allow you to take out a maximum of 3,000,000 IDR (roughly over $200). If you prefer spending with plastic, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, just make sure you bring a travel-friendly credit card to beat the extra fees. However, having extra cash is always a smart move, as not every location is going to accept credit cards.

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