When we told everyone we were starting our year-long holiday in Bali most people said we were mad. And when we said we were starting in Kuta they said we had totally lost it. Many had had some shocking experiences during their holiday in Bali and were not keen to return.
Some of our friends have been many times and have found it a small piece of heaven that they never want to leave. They all had a small piece of advice for us that in the big picture meant so much as we landed and hit the ground running to make Bali
Know before you go! Our top Bali travel tips
When visiting a new place there are so many things you just don’t think of and this was the same for me when we started our holiday in Bali. We chose it because it was hot, very Westernised and for us, this was what we needed to settle into the slow travel we wanted to do.
Our friend’s advice has saved us on a few occasions while we were visiting Bali and there are a few things we had to learn the hard way, as you do! We hope our top Bali travel tips will keep you from getting into strife the next time or the first time you visit this amazingly beautiful island for your Bali vacation.
Do you need a sim card for your trip to Bali?
Relying on Wi-fi when you are travelling can be hard. Making calls and staying in contact with who you need is a top priority. Plan your trip out and order your sim before you leave home to stop any stress about travelling, data and calls.
Let the successful holiday in Bali begin!
There are so many ways to make your holiday in Indonesia a complete success. With these top tips and brilliant guide, you’ll be confident and enjoying your fuss-free holiday to Bali in no time.
Accommodation in Bali
So many people are looking for cheap Bali holidays and why not? With the cost of travelling within Australia skyrocketing every year you can come, stay in Bali and have a brilliant time at a fraction of the cost. There are so many amazing places to stay in Bali and some of the best places to stay in Bali are a little back from Kuta Beach or out of that area completely. Don’t get me wrong you can stay right on Kuta Beach if you like but we find once people holiday in the same spot a few times they really get to know where the best places to stay in Bali really are.
Resorts in Bali
Many people will opt for a stay in Bali at a resort. Some of the best family resorts in Bali offer a kids club, kids pool and include many of the meals you will need. Bali holidays are meant to be relaxing for everyone especially if you are travelling with kids so if this is what you would enjoy with some small trips out organised through your resort then one of these may be the best place to stay in Bali for you.
Hotels in Bali
There are so many hotels in Bali for families. Picking one will be hard and will need to really reflect on what you want to do while you stay in Bali. We stayed at the Harris Hotel Riverview and we found it to be just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of central Kuta. Next time we may venture out of Kuta to stay in one of the other areas but you can totally do Bali on a budget and still stay in a great hotel with so many extras.
Villas in Bali
These types of accommodation are great for families. If you decided to stay in Bali and stay in a villa just make sure you have some help. I always like a desk when we first arrive in a place just so you can get your bearings and if anything goes wrong you have some support like if you were to need the doctors in Bali.
Resort, hotel or villa? Check here for the best deals to suit your trip.
For accommodation in Bali we recommend you look for:
- Ease of travelling to where you want to go.
- Kids club if you need a break – check ages of your children, are they too old or too young?
- Are you able to book some day trips through your resort, hotel, apartment?
- Does it have EVERYTHING you need? Wi-fi, air con, pool etc.
- Is breakfast included? This is important for us as our youngest is so fussy we can always tell if she is getting at least one good meal a day.
- Cost. This is a big one. Whether you are doing Bali on a budget or you are splashing out know what you get for your money.
- Check out from your Bali hotel. What time are you leaving? Will you be left hot and sweaty in Bali hours before your flight leaves
Where to stay in Bali
You’ll never be short of options for your accommodation in Bali. In Bali, you find a range of hotels, apartments and hostels. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families and groups on every budget. If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Trip Advisor and Booking.com to find the best prices in Bali.
- Luxury: Featuring 2 outdoor pools and a waterslide Bali Dynasty Resort features luxury rooms for families. Within easy walking distance of the markets and restaurants of Kuta. Rooms start at $200USD/$300AUD per night
- Mid-Range: Traditional style Balinese villas greet you at Hotel Jati Sanur. Comfortable family rooms for 4 with 2 bedrooms, air conditioning and wifi await you. Rooms start from $80USD/$120AUD per night
- Budget: Located in an authentic neighbourhood Harris Riverview features family rooms, 3 pools and a gym. Located a short 5-minute drive from Kuta Beach. Rooms start at $50USD/$75AUD per night.
Money in Bali
There are so many zeros and they can be so hard to work out when you first get to Bali. I remember the first time we went shopping and they said it was 135,000…I did a double-take straight away and didn’t know what to do. Then it dawned on me that it was like $13.50AUD! Wrapping your head around the money as fast as you can, will save you from getting ripped off during your holiday in Bali.
So one Aussie Dollar is 10,000 rupiah. 10 cents = 1000 rp
Money changing in Bali
This is something that we have seen a lot of people having trouble with on their holiday to Bali. They use the wrong money changing facility and get ripped off sometimes by a couple of hundred dollars. ONLY use official money changes that DON’T charge commission.
If you are worried you can ask at your hotel and they should be able to point you towards a good one but the saying goes ‘if it is too good to be true it normally is’. If a place is offering a higher rate there may be a reason why!
Many people take money to Bali with them and then change it over there. We took $700AUD to get us through the first 7 days of our holiday in Bali. The advice we had been given was to
Related Post: No trip to Bali would be complete without a visit to Kuta Beach. Survive your visit like a champion with our top tips for surviving Kuta Beach!
Food in Bali and Bali Belly
Eating is one of the top things to do in Bali. But your holiday in Bali can be severely affected if you get a terrible dose of Bali Belly. You do need to remember there is a big difference between the travellers runs and Bali Belly. Our doctor told us that if we had a small case of the runs it was just our body getting rid of something that did not agree with us and to try and let it run its course. If you did not recover quickly or had other severe symptoms then you should see a doctor.
Many people will tell you to have pro-biotics every day before you go or red cordial. While some of these Bali travel tips came in handy especially Yakult for our youngest, it seemed to work until we didn’t do it for a few days. We also used hand sanitiser and didn’t drink the water but we have all managed to be sick in some way.
I think unfortunately from the many forums we have read about other peoples Bali experience, if you are going to get sick you can get it from so many different places and there is no telling where you got it from. It is best to just be careful and hope for the best during your Bali vacation.
Declare, Declare, Declare!
If you are entering Bali Indonesia with any type of medication DECLARE IT and make sure you have a letter from your doctor to state what you have and why you have it. We did this with the medication we bought from home and it totally put my mind at ease as we went through customs.
I told them we had antibiotics and medicine for Marley with a doctors letter and they seemed not to worry about it. If you are unsure just declare it as Indonesia does still have the death penalty for drug trafficking. JUST DON’T DO IT. This also goes for drugs on the street.
Drinking in Bali
It doesn’t matter if you are going to have a cocktail by the pool, a beer on the beach or you are just going to enjoy a glass of water there are some things you need to know about drinking in Bali…even brushing your teeth needs tips!
If you are planning on going out in Bali you need to take a little extra care with your drinks. It is reported that Arak is sometimes substituted for alcohol and it can be very dangerous. You are best to drink bottled already mixed alcohol if you can rather than mixers made by the bartenders. Same as at home never leave your drink unattended as well.
Water in Bali
It is really important to remember not to drink that water while you are staying in Bali. This also means you need to use bottled water to brush your teeth as well. Most accommodation in Bali will supply you with bottled water in your room complimentary. Ice in drinks is where you can also get into trouble but most places use the correct ice that is government regulated. If it is round with a hole through it you should be right.
Learn More: Not sure what to eat and drink in Bali? Join the guys from Good Indonesian Food for an epic food tour of Ubud. Get all the best and local knowledge on what you should have…and what to avoid!
Travel Insurance – Doctors in Bali
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you cannot afford to travel and this is no different from travelling in Bali. On our last night in Ubud Marley could barely keep anything down and we made the decision to call the doctor. I was so worried as to how were we going to navigate our way there and back on a place we did not know and we were leaving the next day.
What I didn’t know was how easy it would be. All we had to do was call the reception at our accommodation and they organised the doctor to come to the hotel for us. He was seriously at our bedside in under 30 minutes and I was astounded at how easy it was to see the doctors in Bali.
He assessed Marley with his nurse as his assistant and told us what he thought was wrong (upset tummy but did not say
It did cost 1.7 million
Do I need travel insurance in Indonesia?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in Indonesia from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend AXA Travel Insurance
Getting ripped off in Bali
This will happen to you at some stage during your Bali holiday and maybe before you even know it. And there are so many ways that it can happen. If it does happen learn from it and then
Our top Bali travel tips so you don’t get ripped off!
1 – Change your money at an authorised money changer. They don’t charge a commission and they will count the money in front of you. COUNT IT AGAIN. Make sure you have the correct amount before you leave. Pay attention, don’t take anything with you that will distract you while you are changing money in Bali. This is the best piece of Bali info we can give you.
2- If you go to an Indomart, Circle K or any sort of mini-mart they MUST SCAN YOUR ITEMS. If they aren’t scanning them and using a calculator you are more than likely getting ripped off. This happened to us…he used a calculator and the amount was 243,000rp. I then politely asked him to scan it all and to give me a receipt and suddenly it only came to 208,000. Maybe he was just really bad at using a calculator.
3- Know the amount you hand over and know the amount you should get back. This can be so hard with all the zeroes getting thrown about but KNOW YOUR MONEY. Best Bali travel tip you will ever get!
4- Grab is a very unpopular form of transport for many of the local drivers but there are so many that just rip off people with no meters or changing the price when you arrive at a place or getting lost on the way and the bill can triple. With grab, you know exactly what the trip will cost you BEFORE you even get in the car and they are a fraction of the local taxi costs.
*Side note. There are some places that grab will not go due to it being so unpopular so don’t get stranded.
Bartering in Bali
This is something that I struggle with whenever we visit a country that has the bartering system. I am not used to it and I have a problem with going as low as I can. We have been told that going half of what is originally asked for is a fair start and then go from there. These people still need to make a living off what they sell so please remember this when you are bartering for something you really want.
Crossing the road in Bali
One thing you will be astounded with on your first visit to Bali is the sheer amount of traffic on the roads, especially scooters. And if you have taken a car from the airport you will have at some point held on for dear life!
I am not sure if this is something that even seasoned travellers to Bali get used to but I can tell you I was like a deer in the headlights the first time I tried to cross the road. We got some top tips from the security guards out the front of our hotel on the first few days. So I hope they help you!
- You should try to find a crossing if you can but there are no actual pedestrian crossings like at home, even though there are lines on the road. These are probably one of the safest ways to cross.
- Stand on the side of the road with your hand up in a stop sign.
- Walk with purpose across the road at a constant pace
- Hold your child’s hand and try to walk altogether. Don’t dawdle or suddenly run
- Cars will see that you are crossing and slow down or go around you. Obviously common sense should prevail. If you are on a busy road you need to be careful.
If you are really unsure you can seek out a security guard that is manning a gate at a hotel. They helped us plenty of times across the road in heavy traffic. We also saw them help so many families with prams cross the road too. A couple had a joke with us about paying them but they were honestly just a joke.
Transport in Bali
There are so many ways to see all of the top Bali destinations but one of the top ones we can recommend is getting a Bali tour guide. You can hire a Bali driver for the day for as little as $60AUD. A brilliant Bali driver knows exactly where to go in Bali and we found it the best way to travel in Bali.
Your Bali tour guide will pick you up at your hotel or apartment and show you the best of Bali. They will wait for you or they will go with you into the place and give you a private tour with all the Bali info you will need. A Bali tour guide will make your holiday in Bali unforgettable and here are four of the best.
In Bali you can hire anything and we mean anything
When we were first considering our Bali holiday there were so many things to think about. We had to take as little as possible with us due to our long term travel plans but keep that stuff in top-notch condition. I was stunned when talking to a friend and she said you can have you washing done for as little as $10 Australian dollars. So I looked into some other things that you can hire in Bali and the list is never-ending.
Things you can hire in Bali:
- Baby equipment-cots, prams, car seats
- A Bali driver for the day
- Scooters and helmets
- A nanny for your children
- Someone to wash your clothes
- Someone to shop for you
So many services will come to you at your hotel or your resort. You can also ask in forums for people to recommend the services they have used before. We used both a driver and a washing service that our friends had used on previous Bali trips.
Basic prices in Bali
One thing I couldn’t find in all my research was the basic prices in Bali of groceries and food. Western style food is expensive at nearly prices like home buut you can get to a local restaurant (warung) and enjoy a brilliant cheap meal in Bali.
These prices are from a
circle K, mini mart or an Indomart.
|Beer (Bintang)||23,000||Water 600ml||7,000|
|Sunscreen (small)||180,000||Noodle cup||7,500|
|toothpaste||10,000||Yakult 5 pack||10,000|
|Chicken and veg dinner||20,000 (warung)||Nasi Goreng||20,000 (warung)|
|Fresh mango juice||15,000 (warung)||Apples (royal gala)||54,500 per kilo (supermarket)|
|1kg of washing||20,000 per kilo|
Learn More about Indonesia: Are you thinking of more than Bali? There are so many places to see in Indonesia out of Bali. A visit to Yogyakarta is an epic place in Indonesia for temples and UNESCO sites.
General Bali travel tips
Before I left I like to ask people who have been to a place to give me the most honest and best travel tips they can. I am lucky that we have some great friends that have been to Bali and were happy to share their experiences with us and I am also a barista so people are normally very happy to share experiences, sometimes in a very blunt way too. Here are some of the best Bali travel tips we got…but be ready some are not for the faint-hearted!
- Never trust a fart in Bali. No seriously stop laughing, they can be dangerous!
- If you do put too much trust in one always made sure you have spare undies, some wipes and a sarong in your backpack. These will help you get back to the hotel if you are out.
- Bring the lightest weight clothes you can find. It is HOT over here!
- Prepared to sweat…then sweat some more all over, al the time.
- You are going to say no thanks so much you will just end up saying it to each other accidentally! Yep, we did that!
- Sunscreen is super expensive over there. If you have checked luggage pop some in there.
Tipping in Bali
While it is not customary in Bali to tip, we always just rounded up every bill or left a small amount. You can pretty much guarantee you will get awesome service and a warm smile everywhere you go. I remember hearing a man going off at a lady for her bad service in a restaurant we were at.
We had the same lady and she was awesome…I believe the way you treat someone from the get-go effects them and the service you are perceiving to get. She looked afraid of him and to be honest from what I saw the star treatment would still not be good enough for this guy.
We also found when we went to a place with a tour guide or driver if we ate then we asked them to eat with us and we paid for their meal. If we got a cold drink we got an extra one for them as well. We like to be able to sit and talk to the people that we are with so we can get a better understanding of their life and what they do and this is a perfect way to do that.
I really hope that this is a great guide for your trip to Bali and that you have found some very useful tips in it to prepare you for an awesome time away.
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit Bali with teenagers. There are so many things to do in Bali with teenagers that will have you entertained for your families whole stay in Bali. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in Indonesia click through to our Indonesia Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.
Some more travel inspiration for your trip to Indonesia
More about the Author
Bec Wyld is a mother, wife, community care worker and once reluctant traveller. But now Bec has been to over 35 countries across the globe and is always seeking more adventures. She has planned, stressed, laughed and chatted in all of them. Bec’s writing can be found on Wyld Family Travel, as a guest poster on popular sites and contributor on travel websites including Lonely Planet Kids.