Some helpful Do’s and Don’ts
- Photocopy all your travel documents & passport, and keep them separate from the originals.
- Barter when buying (except on goods with fixed price tags)
- Be careful with your belongings at all times. Crime is on the increase and can ruin your holiday. Instances of handbag snatching have been reported so leave your important documents (passports etc) in your room safe.
- Wear your bag across your shoulders and have the opening on the side away from the road.
- Try to avoid stepping on offerings in the street (go around them)
- Change money at a reputable looking establishment. See money matters for more details.
- Buy Immodium to relieve bouts of Bali Belly. It’s better to pack some and not need them, than to be caught unprepared. Buscopan can also be helpful to help with tummy pains.
- Respect the slow pace of processions.
- Don’t drink the local water. Drink only bottled water.
- Worry too much about the ice…in established bars & restaurants it’s government-quality controlled and is made with filtered water.
- Forget to take your passport.
- Do drugs. It can carry the death penalty and there are more than enough foreigners staying in Kerobokan Prison.
- Touch people’s heads - it’s very offensive to Hindus.
- Swim outside the designated swimming areas on the beach. Currents can be very strong. Swim between the red and yellow flags.
- Enter a temple during menstruation.
- Forget to look and listen while you cross the road. Cars may stop, motorbikes may not.
Bali Time Zone is GMT + 8 hours (same time as Perth)
The Rupiah (abbreviated, Rp)
Banknotes come in a range of denominations 1,000 5,000 10,000 20,000o 50,000 100,000
Foreign Money can be exchanged at most banks in Bali. Banking hours are usually 9am to 3.00pm from Monday to Friday
Exchange rates are published daily in newspapers and are usually posted prominently wherever money can be changed. There are also certain iphone, ipad & ipod apps that you can use to check.
Most authorised money changers operate 7 days a week, and remain open daily until about 10 pm.
Ask about fees and charges. Many money changers add a service fee after calculating the rate. This is sometimes negotiable.
Always calculate (even if only in round figures) the amount you expect when you make a conversion transaction. Change sums you can convert easily, like $100. Write down the amount you expect. Check the notes you receive, to ensure Rp. 10,000 notes aren’t substituted for Rp. 100,000 notes.
There have been reports from travellers who claim to have been robbed by money changers who use a variety of tricks to short change customers during exchange transactions. The tricks include…
- Using rigged calculators to trick customers (use the calculator application on your phone or buy a small calculator)Inserting folded notes within the wad of Rupiah that is given to the customer (count out the cash carefully before leaving the exchange office).
- Substituting Rp. 1,000 notes for Rp, 10,000 notes (again, you must know how much the cash transaction is worth and you must count it carefully).
- Recounting the money for you at the end of the transaction to ‘check’ it for you – by sleight of hand they manage to ’drop’ some money to their side of the counter – it’s done so deftly you won’t notice.
- For travel to remote areas, it is advisable to change money in advance, as rates are often not as good outside the main tourist areas.
Try not to flash your wads of money around too much. Rp.1,000,000 may only be a small amount to you, but may represent a month’s wages to a labourer.
There are many ATM’s in Bali, generally located in shopping centres and in areas nearby the large hotels and tourist precincts. Be careful, though, as almost all bank and credit facilities charge high fees for withdrawals and cash advances from overseas ATM’s. Ask your bank about their overseas withdrawal charges before choosing ATM’s as your travelling money source.
Most major credit cards are acceptable at large restaurants, department stores, travel agencies and many businesses that cater to the tourist trade, including galleries, arts and craft sellers.
Passports are generally required and forms filled in whenever Travellers Cheques are cashed.
Bargaining is customary at markets and small shops but is not accepted in supermarkets, department stores and boutiques. Look for signs that indicate ‘fixed price’ before attempting to bargain.
People will often ask you “Where are you staying?” If you answer honestly that you are staying in a villa in the Seminyak area, you will pay more for everything you buy. When asked, always tell shop owners and stall holders that you are staying in a budget hotel in Kuta.
Driving in Bali
If you wish to hire a car you must be over 18 years of age and hold an International Drivers License or license from ASEAN (Association of South East Nations) countries.
If you do not have an international driver’s licence a Tourist Driving Licence in Bali can be obtained at Denpasar-Bali. The office is in the Police Station at Denpasar.
- One copy of passport (photo and identification pages and entry visa page).
- One copy of valid home country driving license.
The cost for a tourist drivers licence for a scooter is 500,000 rp and is valid for 1 month. Obtain and complete the application form, pay the fee and have your photograph taken on the spot.