Things to know before planning your Bali trip

Embarking on a journey to Bali promises an immersion into a world of enchanting beauty and cultural depth. To ensure a seamless trip, it’s essential to consider the optimal travel period, visa regulations, health precautions, and cultural practices. The dry season, spanning April to September, offers the perfect backdrop for your adventures with its sunny skies and gentle breezes. Visa policies may change, so stay informed about the requirements for your nationality. Prioritize your well-being with necessary vaccinations and reliable travel insurance. Lastly, embrace the island’s customs with respect and openness, as this will not only enhance your experience but also foster a genuine connection with the local community. With these insights, your Bali escapade awaits, promising memories that will last a lifetime.

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Best time to visit Bali:

Bali has a tropical climate, hot and humid all year round. Except for a couple of months in the wet season, Bali is wondrous during most of the time of the year. If you want to enjoy the best of Bali’s scenery and outdoor activities without the rain being a spoilsport then the best months for a classic Bali trip are between April to September. This period falling in the dry season is also popular for all touristy activities as well as sees higher prices in terms of stay. The attractions, beaches, and hotels get crowded, but for those who love surfing, snorkeling, and diving, these are your go-to months. Also, a lot of big festivals like the Bali Art Festival, Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud Food Festival, etc are organized during these months.

October to March is best if you want to take advantage of price cuts. You can find discounts and great deals on flights, accommodation, tours, and activities. However, these are also the wet months and you can come across some heavy rains and thunderstorms now and then, December and January in particular the worst months with maximum rainfall. Although rain may hamper outdoor and other water activities, certain months like October, November, and March are not completely off the charts if you planning on just relaxation, yoga retreats, or exploring fewer sites. Rain also brings the forest and the paddy fields to their full glory providing many photo-worthy opportunities.

We traveled during the second week of October. While we could make the most of our itinerary during the first week with bright sunny days and occasional drizzles, towards the end of the trip for a couple of days we encountered cloudbursts around the clock.  Our stay in a bubble hotel and visit to Bali’s biggest temple were not so pleasant because of such rainy days. Overall, we feel although it was not the best time to visit, we could still get the benefits of less crowded attractions and restaurants, cooler weather, and lower prices on stays and activities. 

Bali Tourist Visa and On-Arrival Requirements:

In 2024 the Indonesian Tourism Ministry is planning to double Indian tourist arrivals to 1.2 million with additional flights and a proposed visa-free entry scheme. Until visa-free entry is materialized for Indians, you can get a Visa on Arrival which costs 500000 IDR (equivalent to 2600 INR) for a stay of up to 30 days. The requirements are fairly minimal and the process of obtaining a visa is quite fast. All you need are a few simple documents;

– A valid passport with an expiry date of at least 6 months beyond the applicant’s date of travel and two blank pages

– Two passport-size photos 35mm x 45mm (may not be asked but have them with you)

– Proof of stay, and return/onward tickets (although we were not asked to show them at the immigration counter these are important documents)

– Proof of COVID Vaccination certificate with two shots of approved vaccines. (International certificate can be downloaded from the CoWin portal). No RT-PCR is required as of writing this blog.

– Registration in the Pedulilindungi app (similar to Arogya setu in India) doesn’t seem to be a mandatory requirement at present, however can be downloaded from iOS or Google Play Store beforehand.  We downloaded the app a week before our travel dates and uploaded the COVID vaccination files but even after landing in Bali the status of the app did not turn green. However, when in the immigration queue we showed the Covid vaccination certificate and they turned the app status to green.  More information can be found on

– Filling out a customs declaration form. This is mandatory for all. As we were collecting our boarding passes from the Bengaluru International Airport the ground staff suggested scanning a QR code and to fill the details. You can find the declaration form online at

You will need to show it upon arrival, so try to fill it out before boarding the flight to avoid a longer wait at the customs counter.

– From Feb 2024 Bali introduced a tourism levy of 150000 IDR that needs to be paid one time by all tourists

– Recommended to have Travel Insurance (we were not asked to show, better to have it for travel safety)

Note: If you are transiting through Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, or Sri Lanka then no Transit visa is required.

Always validate the visa and arrival requirements online in case there are any new updates or changes. If not clear you can check with ground staff at the airport counter.

So, upon arrival at the Bali airport the process somewhat follows as such;

    • You pay the visa-on-arrival fees in USD and they will provide you with a sticker.

    • Pass through the immigration counter where you will need to get your passport scanned and stamped.

    • Show proof of vaccination at the COVID vaccination checking desk

    • At the customs counter show the proof of filled declaration

    • Exit the airport and enjoy your vacation

More information on the latest travel regulations for Bali can be found here

Currency and Exchange:

The official currency of Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). You cannot exchange Indian Rupees for Indonesian Rupiah while in India or once landed in Bali. Hence the best option is to convert your cash into USD first and later exchange that into IDR from a local authorized money changer. Visa fees you will probably need to pay in USD but the rest everywhere IDR is what you will need to use.

Unless immediate cash is required, avoid exchanging large amounts of currency in the airport as you will get a much better rate outside the airport. We only converted 100 USD into IDR at the airport to buy a sim card to book the taxi to the hotel as well as pay for the taxi fare. Later we requested our Taxi driver to take us to a local currency exchange that would give a good rate. And in fact, we got a great rate. 

How much cash do you need to carry? Well, that completely depends on what you are planning to do and on your budget. We paid all our hotel bookings and ferry transfers to Nusa Penida in advance and carried hard cash to incur day-to-day expenses which included meals, transportation (mainly taxi rental), activities, and entry tickets for attractions.

You will be quite thrilled when you get the Indonesian banknotes in your hand, you will feel like a multi-millionaire. That is mainly because Rupiah notes denominations are on the higher end like 100000, 50000, 20000, etc. The lowest denomination is 1000. Though the 100000 IDR might sound like a lot in terms of value it is not that strong against USD, Euro, Yen, etc. The rate may fluctuate, but 1 USD is roughly 15700 IDR or 100 INR is around 18900 IDR.

To give a fair idea, A 10000 IDR note can buy you a 1 ltr water bottle, 20000 is good enough to get an Indonesian breakfast from a local warung (restaurant), and 500000 IDR can rent you a taxi for the whole day (8 hours).

More breakdowns on budget and expenses are mentioned below.

How to reach Bali:

Currently, there are no non-stop flights that connect India to Bali. There are multiple international carriers (Air Asia, Scoot, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Airlines, Singapore Airlines) that operate flights from several Indian cities with 1 stop layovers in other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc. Depending on where you are located you can take flights from Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, Vizag, and a few other cities. Airfare may vary based on the route and airlines you choose.  The average one-way fare ranges between 12000 to 35000 INR. Some of the best cities to fly from are Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Kochi, and Tiruchirappalli in terms of finding lower air tickets.

We booked our return tickets with Air Asia for around 28000 INR Per person. We boarded at Bengaluru airport and had a 4-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur before reaching Bali.

Also, Bali is well-connected to many other international destinations.

How to get around in Bali:

Over the years Bali has become a holidayer’s dream destination, aptly so for many reasons like affordable luxury accommodations, innumerable activities and places of interest, tropical climate, best beaches, endless coastline, nightlife, and whatnot. With more and more tourists every year the options to get around on mainland Bali have improved than the surrounding islands. While Bali’s transportation system might lack high-capacity urban transits like the metro, light rail, or trams it is quite possible to get around from one end to another conveniently. According to our experience, we could categorize Bali’s transport options into two – Economical & Expensive

The more economical or pocket-friendly mode of commuting around the island would be a moped/scooter rental, using an app-based cab/bike taxi, or taking local buses. Whereas a more convenient and relaxed way of exploring the island is by hiring a car with a driver. Although later can be a bit expensive.    


Scooter/Bike Rental:

In Bali, scooters/mopeds run the show, as locals and many tourists alike use them for day-to-day commuting. Seeing the increasingly growing traffic congestion in the city areas, the scooter is an easier, cheaper, and faster way to cut through the chaotic jams and explore the island. You can rent a scooter or bike through one of the many rental stores or even from the resort/hotel or guesthouse you are staying at. The costs may depend on what kind of bike you are renting and from which locality though it averages between 60000 to 100000 IDR (300 to 530 INR) for a 24-hour rental. The price can be further bargained if rented for longer periods like weeks or a month bringing the cost further down. Fuel costs around 15000 IDR or 80 INR per liter.  

Do wear a helmet at all times while riding for safety purposes and to avoid heavy fines from police. Keep in mind that an international driving permit is required for all tourists to legally ride a scooter in Bali however to rent one you don’t need an international permit. To avoid any questioning from the police it is better to be aware of and follow all the regulations while riding.

App-based Car/Bike Taxi:

Bali doesn’t have Uber but the two main alternatives that are equally useful are Grab and Gojek. Both ride-hailing apps offer car taxis and bike taxis. A bike taxi can be way cheaper but it can accommodate only one person whereas a car taxi can be booked for 2-3 people for a price 3 to 4 times higher.

For comparison, a 20 km journey from Ngurah Rai International Airport to Nyang Nyang Bungalow in Uluwatu (where we stayed for the first two days) would cost 40000 IDR in a GoBike and for the same distance, a GoCar would be around 140000 to 170000 IDR. A ride to Uluwatu temple which was 2 km away from the same stay did cost us 20000 IDR, but if taken two GoBikes then it would have been just 14000 IDR. We found Gojek’s prices a little cheaper than Grab’s but we used both a few times only. These apps also offer food delivery, and courier services like how Uber and Ola work in Indian Cities.

Note: Finding a Grab/Gojek might not be a problem in prominent and touristy areas like Kuta, Denpasar, Ubud, Canggu, Uluwatu, and Seminyak. But in a few areas like Candidasa, Bedugul, and Bangli it was hard for us to book any cab even after long waits. So, we had to rely on local taxis from tour providers or rather catch a running taxi.

Metered Taxi:

If you are unable to find a grab or gojek then you can call for a taxi. There are many Taxi operators, but Bluebird taxis are most recommended. It even has an app. Although few other looks like Bluebird make sure you check for the Bluebird branding.

Most of the drivers are good to tourists however some can try to overcharge than the normal fare if you are not being cautious. Always ensure that the driver is starting the meter from the base fare and that he is not taking longer routes. If the Driver is not willing to start the meter or asking for an upfront price then better avoid it.

The base fare for meter Taxis starts from 7000 IDR, then between 6500-10000 IDR per km.

Local Bus:

Public buses in Bali are a lot cheaper (fares start from 20000 IDR and go up to 80000 IDR) than other modes of transport but it might not be suitable for those having limited days in hand and desires to explore the offbeat places. The disadvantage of Bali’s bus network from a visitor’s perspective is that it runs less frequently covering limited areas, routes, and tourist sites. Also, departure and arrival times may not work to your advantage if you plan to see more places in a day.

That said, taking buses can help cut costs for those who are doing long trips (a month or more) and have a limited budget or are into slow-paced travel.

If you are looking to use Buses in Bali then Kura Kura Bus/Shuttle currently covers the route between Kuta and Ubud. More details can be checked on the website

They have Airport transfers to different areas of Bali

Car Rental/Self Driving:

It is quite easy and affordable to rent cars in Bali and drive on your own. All you need is an International Driver License. The challenge though with self-drive is to steer through the hectic traffic and narrow roads. But if you are a seasoned driver then rental agencies, such as Hertz, Sixt, and Avis can help you to get a car.

Expensive mode:

Renting a car with a driver:

For someone like us who doesn’t drive, renting a scooter or car was out of the question. With a set itinerary and multiple places to visit throughout the day, searching and waiting for Grabs or Gojek was not an option either. So, on days when we had a lot of sightseeing to do, we just hired a car with a driver for 8-10 hours.

It may seem like a costly affair compared to other available options but trust us when we say it was a relief from impatiently waiting for cab drivers to accept our booking request. Plus, the freedom of stopping at desired locations, and spending more time at certain places without the worry of having to find a cab. In this way, couples or families can travel in a relaxed manner.

The general rate drivers quote range between 500000 to 800000 IDR (2600 to 4200 INR) depending on the route, number of places to cover, and how far they are from each other. You can always negotiate the price further down, especially if you are choosing to go with the same driver for multiple days. During our 2 weeks of travel, we never paid more than 600000 IDR for a full day. One day we even booked a car just for 430000 IDR for the whole day.  When we calculated the overall price of an app taxi between all the points vs full-day booking with the same driver, though the latter was a bit more it was all worth in terms of the comfort and freedom we experienced. 

Engaging with numerous drivers and locals during our journey provided an opportunity to forge connections and gain insights into their lives, cultures, and the various challenges they face. Beyond merely serving as drivers, they assumed the role of knowledgeable guides, enriching our experience. One driver, who accompanied us for three days after picking us up from Sanur port, emphasized the significance of booking directly with local drivers rather than using app-based taxis, particularly in the post-pandemic recovery period. Supporting them directly ensures that they receive the full benefit, whereas booking through multinational platforms like Grab might divert profits away from the drivers and towards the corporate entity.


Bali might not be a cycle-friendly country like many European countries but few guided cycle or e-bike tours are available through which you can explore rice terraces, Mt. Batur, and certain parks. The tours are not very cheap though and cost nearly as much as the cost of a car rental with a driver. Still, if this is something that you are interested then you can check some of the below links;


When planning trips to the nearby Nusa or Gili islands, remember to arrange for ferry or boat transfers. While public ferries offer a budget-friendly option, their reliability and condition may be compromised, especially in inclement weather. On the other hand, opting for commercial fast boat services such as Blue Water Express, Angel Billabong Fast Cruise, or Bali Hai Cruises might entail a higher cost, but ensures better safety measures and cleanliness standards.

Where to stay in Bali?

Bali is known for its luxury within a low budget and perfect island life. With options like resorts, seaside villas, B&Bs, Homestays, Hotels, and Guesthouses, you will be spoilt with choices. We will be listing all our stays in Bali in the upcoming blog here.

Now that you know everything you need to about Bali, let’s proceed to plan a trip. Read our blog here about an extensive two-week itinerary.

Author: Sourab

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