Selamat Datang di
"They handled all of the "difficult" parts of travel so that I could simply show up there and have a life-changing experience."
- Leah Pearlman, author
Finding Flight Deals
Check out our blog post for some ideas you may not have thought of to find good flight itineraries.
How to Get Money
Bali is a predominately cash-based society. The money of Indonesia is the Rupiah (IDR). There are plenty of ATMs in our area as well as most areas you may visit, however get money at the airport before you meet your driver (2 Million IDR is a good amount to start with).
The ATMS are associated with Indonesian banks, which are part of global banking networks so you may get a waived or reduced fee if your bank is part of one of the networks (my Credit Union is not but I still find this to be the best deal for getting cash.) Sometimes ATMs will eat cards so if you can, bring more than one card. Read this article about how to protect yourself against card skimming. This is useful anytime you are in a tourist area anywhere in the world. Call your bank and tell them you are traveling to Indonesia.
If you really want to exchange money, bring crisp bills and the bigger the bill the better exchange rate you get. So hundreds are better than tens. When traveling anywhere in the world, I avoid using the safe in the room. Plan another hiding place for your money.
While some places accept credit/debit card, they might add a fee of up to 3% (and your bank might too – call to find out what is the currency conversion fee). When using a card in Bali, ask to have your purchases transacted in local currency (IDR) rather than your home currency. This will likely be the best exchange rate and avoid hidden fees. Install the app Currency XE for checking real-time conversions.
When you arrive at Ngurah Rai Bali Airport, step out in to the atrium, and smell the distinct aroma of Bali - Frangipani flowers and the burning of offering incense - you forget the long journey and you are simply on a faraway island in the Indian Ocean in your holiday mindset. This is disrupted when you leave the secured area of the terminal and are bombarded by dozens of men trying to take your bags to their "taxi" so they can drive you to your hotel and make up a price to charge you. And if you were overwhelmed and forgot to go to the ATM before getting in the car you ask the driver to stop at one. He has a "cousin" who is a money changer so he takes you there and before you know it you got ripped off twice. While negotiating can be fun and satisfying, you will have plenty of opportunity to do it throughout your stay.
Send us your flight arrival and departure information and our friend Ketut, Wayan, Putu, or Made will be waiting for you with a big smile, and a sign with your name. We have negotiated a fair rate (250k-300k IDR) and they know exactly how to find our villa while you relax in the air-conditioned car. As soon as you clear customs with your baggage, you will walk out the doors and directly across from you all the drivers will be waiting on the other side of the glass railing. Notice the Kantin Kafe - this is where you will meet your driver. Then turn around and go to one of the ATMs and get your first wad of cash. Walk through the duty free shop/area ahead and around the corner to Kantin Kafe. Depending on your arrival time, the drive will take between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours so grab a drink and a snack if you need it.
Is the water safe to drink? What about the ice?
We drink bottled or filtered water here in Bali and we have dispensers at the Club House serving up hot and cold bottled water. It is safe to drink water at restaurants because it is bottled or filtered a well. Ice is also safe because it is made from filtered water. Some people brush their teeth with the unfiltered tap water and keep a bottle of water by the sink!
Bintang is the beer of Indonesia and it is refreshing with a lime. Wine is available but quite expensive compared to other things in Bali since it is imported and there is a very high tax. Liquor is cheaper than most American cities but it can get expensive. Furthermore, it’s possible that you are not always getting the product that is shown on the label when you order it at a bar or even buy it in a bottle at a local market. If you’d like to have your favorite drinks while in Bali you might want to stop by the Duty Free shop before you get to Indonesia.
Staying In Touch While in Bali
It is imperative that you have either an international data/texting plan or get a local sim card. WiFi alone won't be enough. Simplify your life and read more about these options. Also set up a WhatsApp account on your phone. This is how we will stay in touch with you and how to contact your driver if you have trouble finding him at the airport.
We have "Island" WiFi at the ClubHouse and it works most of the time for browsing the internet and checking email. (password: canggubungalow) If you need to stream anything or make VoIP calls, there is a co-working space with a high-speed connection close by. Most cafes and bars also have free WiFi.
Check with your mobile operator for their international rates for calling, texting, and data usage. We switched to T-Mobile because we can use text and data just the same as if we were in America. Calling is $0.25 per minute.
Local SIM cards are available inexpensively in Bali and you get a local number for calling and texting within Indo plus pretty much unlimited data. Have your driver stop on the way from the airport at a place you can buy one. This is definitely optional. You will need an unlocked smartphone or flip phone that you bring from home.
The country code of Indonesia is +62.
Phone numbers here start with a "0".
To Call or WhatsApp or Text an Indo number from your foreign phone, drop the 0 and add +62.
Comfort During Your Stay
We do our best to help keep Bali green and beautiful and conserve limited resources. Our staff is here every day to help with your comfort. They will clean your room and if you need fresh towels or sheets or more TP out of cycle, just let one of them or us know. If we aren't around, send us a whatsapp.
If your A/C isn't getting cold, it might be out of Freon or the door to your bathroom may be open - haha. If your shower isn't getting hot, it might be out of propane. If you flush a normal American amount of toilet paper, your island plumbing might get clogged. These things happen, it's part of island living! Just let us know and we'll get you sorted.
Some people ask what they may expect to spend during their trip. Indonesia caters to so many different budgets. It's possible to eat for $2 a meal or $1200. It's possible to find accommodations for $5 or $3500 a night. It's possible to get a massage for $7 or $170. Quality and experience vary widely within and between these price-ranges. Activity prices vary depending the activity.
Guests staying with us invest on average $125-300 per day, for their Transformational Travel experience. This estimate includes everything, except airfare.
Check the Weather2Travel website for your packing planning needs. In general, we spend the days in our bikinis or boardshorts, and flipflops. Bring a selection of lightweight and casual clothes to wear when you venture outside the ClubHouse. The early mornings and nights can be a little cool on the motorbike so sometimes I wear a lightweight long-sleeve shirt and pants. I also do this for sun-protection in the middle of the day for my first week or so here. In July and August I will wear sweaters, sweatshirts, and even a scarf at night.
We all tend to wear the same stuff for days in a row. Most people pack way too much stuff. Send-out Laundry service is available. It is possible that these services don't use the same level of care as you do at home so clothes could change colors or not come back; sink washing is my method of choice for my favorite items.
Remember to pack clothes and footwear for activities you choose — diving, surfing, golf, trekking, yoga, etc. — and know that equipment is available to rent or borrow.
Indonesia uses European power. If you are coming from the States, Australian, the UK, or Japan, for example, you will need an adapter plug. Most devices require just an adapter and not a converter. Do a little internet searching and reading if you are not sure what your devices will need. We have a few extras at the villa you can borrow while you are here.
Most everything you need or want is available to buy in Bali, however remember to bring medications and other self-care items you can’t live without.
Passport, Visas & Entry Requirements
US Passport holders are required to have at least 6 months remaining on their passport before it expires AND at least 2 blank pages when they enter Indonesia. Check your government website to find requirements for your country.
For those coming from the US and many other western countries, you are eligible for a Visa On Arrival (VOA) when you get to the Bali airport. If you are staying in Indo less than 30 days and there is NO CHANCE you will stay longer, then you qualify for a visa exemption and can get in to the country for free (US Citizens and many other countries qualify but check the list to be sure). If you think you might stay longer, buy the VOA at the airport for 35USD (they started making change and accept many currencies now) and it is extendable for one additional 30 day period (60 days total and you will need to visit the tourism office to do the extension and we can help with that process).
A return ticket out of Indonesia is required to embark on your journey to Indonesia. The airline agent checking you in at the first leg of your flight will most likely ask to see proof of this. A printout or confirmation email on your phone is all you need and it is unlikely they will do any further inquiry into whether it is an actual booking.
I never leave the country without it and I use World Nomads. It’s inexpensive, provides peace of mind, and we feel better when our guests have it. We've been thankful more than once to have it!Book now so that if you have unexpected changes to your itinerary you are covered. Read the policy to know what plan is right for you and make sure it has coverage for repatriation and medevac in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are stopping in several places on your travels, this policy covers all of it whereas a policy booked with your plane ticket might only cover you on that part of your journey. Reserve through our link above and it helps us out.
There are several 24 hour clinics around and if you need hospital care there is a very good Singapore hospital on Sunset Road. Ask to be taken to Siloam Hospital opposite Carrefour.
The local cuisine consists of a lot of rice and fresh seafood. There are plenty of places to chat with locals and enjoy the daily meals. Warungs serve traditional fare and there are several good ones near our house. Here you can eat for as little as $3 a meal.
What may surprise you is the amount of PIZZA in Bali. Haha! It surprised us. Seriously, though, we love the diversity of food at the cafes around here - Italian, Japanese, Indian, Smoothie Bowls, Vegan, Avocado Toast, and oh the coffee culture. Come indulge! Many restaurants take care to source organic and locally as much as possible. At these more "western" cafes you may spend $5-20 per meal. And then there are higher-end places where prices may be comparable to nice restaurants in a big city.
Install and set up the GoJek App to get food delivered from all your favorite restaurants for the times you feel like relaxing instead of driving.
International Driver's License
Our favorite way to get around is by scooter and technically one needs an international drivers license to do so. I didn’t know this my first time in Bali and ended up having to pay a fine when I got stopped at a road block. While it is a good story, avoid the hassle and get over to your local AAA to get your license ($20) before you leave the US.
If you do not want to drive a scooter, let us know before you book and we can talk through alternative ways of getting around (Install the MyBlueBird taxi app to easily request a taxi for local trips. For day trips or airport, it's better to hire one of our drivers.) Scootering is really the best way to be self-sufficient and discover things in the area. We have taught many people how to drive and it ends up being their favorite part of the trip, even though they were nervous to try. Where we live has long, straight, quiet roads to ease you in to it. Don't let the craziness you see on the drive from the airport intimidate you. Let it excite you! If you are with someone who will drive you on the back of their bike, this will work well too!
The Indonesian Language
Learning Indonesian is fun and easy with this free podcast. Although it is not necessary and you can get by with English and hand gestures, the locals appreciate attempts at speaking Indo. www.LearningIndonesian.com
Hello = Halo
Thank You = Terima Kasih
You're Welcome = Sama Sama
(Good) Morning = (Selamat) Pagi
See You (aka Bye) = Sampai Jumpa
One, Two, Three = Satu, Dua, Tiga
Tip: All the "Cs" are pronounced like a CH. E.g., Kecil (meaning small) is pronounced like KEH-chill.
"Sharon tunes in to her guests and then works the back end logistics so that even the spontaneous "wouldn't it be cool if" items seem carefully planned. When you muse about something over happy hour, and then the next morning it's all planned and ready for you...that makes for a great vacation. She makes it look easy, and that makes for a fun trip where wishes come true."
-Ed (happy repeat customer)