In my previous Bali blogs I covered off on different parts of Bali to live and schooling. I also discussed visas, passports, vaccinations and where to stay. I know I haven’t covered off on flights or travel insurance yet (this is mainly because I have been sharing the journey as I do it and as I haven’t booked flights I haven’t written about it yet). Today I thought I would share with you 20 things I have learnt about Bali since planning for the move that I have found very interesting and helpful. I hope you get something out of it too.
- Getting around: Your options for getting around are hire a car and drive, hire a driver, take a taxi or use a shuttle bus. For us with kids, we decided a driver was the best option. This meant we wouldn’t need to remove our car seats every time we left the vehicle.
- Car seats: If car seats are important to you, you will need to bring one from home or rent one for the duration of your stay. You will also need to attach/detach it yourself. There are baby equipment hire companies in Bali that you can rent car seats from.
- Hiring a car: Car hire in Bali is relatively cheap. However, Bali is renowned for crazy drivers and crazy traffic. I ruled out hiring a car when I read that if you are involved in an accident you can expect to be held responsible as a foreign driver even if it was not your fault.
- A driver vs hire car: I recently heard that a hire car will set you back around $300 per month whilst a full-time driver will set you back around $600 per month
- Traffic: Traffic can be really bad (as in really heavy traffic) and is something worth taking into consideration. When I was looking at a school in Ubud and living in Sanur I quickly found out that the 20-25km drive would realistic take about an hour to drive. This wasn’t because of the roads but because of the exceptionally heavy traffic.
- Rent: Whether you’re renting for one year, three years or twenty years, the entire rent is paid upfront.
- Villas: Some of the Villas are not completely enclosed. Eg. The lounge room or kitchen may have a roof but not all 4 walls. This is something to strongly consider. Open living invites the potential for being bitten by mosquitoes or not having the option of air-conditioning.
- Pools: You will find that the majority, if not all villas with pools do not have a pool fence. If you have kids this can be a great concern. You can however hire pool fences in Bali.
- Mosquitoes: There can also be a lot of mosquitoes in Bali, particularly in the wet season. Dusk is when the mosquitoes are most active. It is worth mentioning that Dengue fever is prevalent in Bali. It can be transmitted by mosquitoes, so using repellents and mosquito nets is a must.
- Washing: I have read a lot of expat & travelers discuss washing their clothes and they all mention that as cheap as the laundry mats are whites never seem to stay white. You either need buy Napisan (or equivalent) and request that they use it with your clothes or if you are staying long term consider purchasing a washing machine. That way you can wash your own clothes.
- Visas: Visas are fiddly. Australians can get a free 30 day Entry Stamp upon arrival. The 30 day Free Entry stamp can not be extended. You can however ask for the old tourist visa on arrival at the airport. It costs around $35 and lasts 30 days. This visa can be extended for another 30 days for around $30 or you can use an agent and pay around $40. You can not extend the tourist visa after that however. You will need to leave the country at the end of those 60 days (the old departure tax is now included in tickets). If you want to stay longer there are other visas you can apply for like the Social/Cultural visa (6 months).
- Foreigners Cannot Own Property Under Indonesian law, foreigners cannot own land or property in Indonesia, though many can and do take long leases on rental properties.
- Seasons: Bali has 2 very distinct seasons, the wet season between October and April and the dry season May to September. I’ve heard that the busiest times in Bali are during the Australian school holidays, especially December and January, and July & August holiday period and during these times accommodation can go up another 50%.
- Nyepi Day: Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence”. This is the one day of the year that you cannot arrive or depart from Bali. It’s a religious day and nothing happens on that day. I have even seen hotels say there is no check in or check out. This year Nyepi day was on 28th March 2017, last year it was 9th April. Make sure you don’t get caught out with your travel arrangements.
- Left hand side driving: Driving in Bali is on the left hand side, same as Australia, but, have been warned numerous times the road can be insane.
- Motorbikes and Scooters: If you rent a motor bike YOU MUST wear a helmet at all times. Never think you can get away with not wearing one. The police will pounce on you immediately. I’ve also been warned that police like to make sure westerners have their international drivers license on them. They may stop you in order to perhaps get some “extra pocket money”.
- The currency: The currency as of today is 1 AU = Rp 10 000. Their currency is called Rupiah and if you change say $100 Aussie into Rupiah you will feel like a millionaire as you get wads of notes back. The easiest way to work out the conversion is to remove four zeros. Eg. If a second hand washing machine is going for 3,500,000 by removing four zeros you will see it will be around AU$350.
- Haggling: The Balinese local vendors expect bartering. I’ve been told a general rule is to offer somewhere between half or three quarters of the asking price and work your way up from there to a price that is reasonable for both parties.
- Alcohol: Buying alcohol is expensive unless you are drinking the local beer.
- Bali Belly: (traveler’s diarrhoea – stomach cramps and pain, nausea, diarrhoea) Bali Belly can be caused by contaminated water or food. Do not drink the water from the tap. Don’t even use the tap water to wash your mouth out when brushing your teeth, instead use bottled water. Buy heaps of them and put them in your bathroom.
So there you have it, 20 tips I have learnt since researching our move to Bali. Next week I’ll go over flights and Travel Insurance. If you want more tips I found this great article whilst researching Bali
Must Know: Top 100 Insider Tips, you might find it helpful too.