Travel Info Bali
Indonesia is the world’s largest insular state. Nobody knows exactly how many islands are part of Indonesia. The most common figure is 17,508. About 6,000 of these islands are inhabited. The islands are distributed over a length of 5,000 kilometres on the Equator. Tropical rain forests, rice terraces, white and black sandy beaches, active volcanoes and friendly people await you on your journey to Bali. The presence is blending with the past in Indonesia.
The tropical landscape of volcanic origin and the multi-faceted culture of over 360 ethnic groups fascinate Indonesia’s visitors.
The capital Jakarta is a modern, industrial metropolis whereas unknown tribes of headhunters can still be found in the thick, primeval forests of Kalimantan (Borneo) and Irian Jaya (New Guinea).
Since 1949 Bali belongs to Indonesia.
Nearly 3 million Balinese live on the island, which measures 5,620 square kilometres. The capital Denpasar has 300,000 inhabitants. The airport is located in Denpasar.
The majority of the population lives in small, pristine villages, which are distributed over the island along the picturesque rice fields.
From East to West, a row of volcanoes is extending across the island. With 3,142 metres, the Gunung Agung (the navel of the world) is the highest summit.
Bali is mainly influenced by the Hindu culture whereas Java, which is only 2 kilometres East of Bali, is predominated by the Islamic culture. There hardly is another place in this world with so much to see and experience as in Bali and where daily life, religion, art and landscape have melted into such a fascinating entity.
Location and Size
For Indonesia, tourism is one of the most important economic factors. Every year 4 million tourists from Europe, Australia and the USA travel to Bali alone.
The ecological movement of the industrial countries on the one hand and the objective troubles of uncontrolled growth on the other hand have lead to the following approach to tourism: gentle, ecological, socially responsible and future-orientated travelling is the response to the developments in mass tourism. This new movement encourages a thoughtful and considerate way of travelling in a foreign country.
The judicious traveller can contribute to a considerate and environmentally friendly tourism. Most tour operators are very open to relevant questions and suggestions. The individual traveller will be able to interact with the people and with nature in a positive way by simply being thoughtful.
Entry regulations / Visa
European tourists require a passport which is valid for at least 6 months after leaving Indonesia.
Children do need their own passports. As from 26.06.2012, children cannot travel on their parent’s passport anymore. It is not possible to travel with an ID card.
At national departures an airport tax of 75.000 Rupiah per person has to be paid up from 1st of August 2014.
All details given here are for information only and we take no liability for changes in the requirements. Please inform yourself at the consulate of the latest requirements.
Money / Currency / Credit Cards
The Indonesian currency is the Rupiah (exchange rate as of September 2013: 1 Euro = about 15,000 Rupiah), with the smallest denomination of 500 RP being a coin and all other denominations from 1,000 to 200,000 being notes. Travellers cheques in US$ and credit cards are widely accepted, but it is advisable to always have enough cash with you. It is possible to change traveller cheques or your home currency into local currency. It is often worthwhile comparing the exchange rates of the banks and money Exchangers.
NOTE: When paying with credit cards a charge will sometimes be added. Prices are often written in US$.
Bahasa Indonesia, a Malaysian language, is the language spoken in Indonesia. The official language in Bali is Indonesian. English is common enough in the main tourist areas, so that communication is possible. However, the mother tongue of the inhabitants is Balinese, which is rooted in Sanskrit, with a separate written language. Tourists are most likely to encounter this language during ritual festivals.
A small tip:
Bahasa Indonesia is the easiest language in the world to learn, and it is possible to learn a couple of words within a short time, with the help of a travel dictionary.
In general special vaccinations and precautions are not necessary when coming from Europe. It is recommended, however, to check if your standard immunisations are up to date.
The following vaccinations are recommended: Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, mumps, measles, influenza and Hepatitis A and B. When coming from a country where yellow fever is present, a valid vaccination against yellow fever is required.
Dengue fever is widespread in Indonesia. Day-active mosquitos transmit it. The only protection is mosquito sprays and protective clothing, also and especially in daytime! The risk exists all-year-round, but especially during the rainy season. There is no cure for dengue fever, only symptomatic treatment.
There is a very small risk of malaria in Bali. Night-active mosquitos transmit it. Untreated the disease can take a fatal course. The decision to take malaria prophylaxis should be made individually, but it is important to protect against the mosquitoes with sprays and appropriate clothing. The disease can break out weeks or even months after your stay. It is highly recommended to see a physician without delay if any symptoms appear.
Climate / Weather
Wining & Dining
Western, or international cuisine is more widespread than local food in Bali’s tourist areas. Various international specialities are available, not only in the larger hotels, but also in numerous restaurants. Even sausage and mash or black forest gateaux is available – although it seems a shame to go all the way to Bali for such things. Even fast food chains are represented, although it should not be necessary to take quick meals whilst on holiday.
Balinese food includes Roast Pork (babi guling) or rice wine (brem balik). Balinese specialities such as fried banana (pisang goreng) or fish ball soup (Bakso) are offered at the snack bars (warung) and on the beach. Fresh fruit juices (jus) give an impression of the variety of fruits available and a young coconut direct from the tree is a unique refreshment unlike anything obtainable in Europe. For those who have no special dietary needs, Bali has more than enough culinary variety on offer.
Habits and Cutoms
It is not common practice to shake hands except for farewells or congratulations.
Intimate touches and embraces in public are not appreciated. It is forbidden to swim naked or sunbathe topless.
If Balinese people have a wash in the rivers by the street, you should overlook this discretely and resist temptation to take a picture. The right hand is used to give or take something since the left hand is used for personal hygiene. Another useful hint: Balinese people love bargaining. Especially on markets it is common to beat down the prices. It is best to investigate the value of an article and to decide how much you are prepared to spend on it first so you don’t get disappointed.
Festivals and Public Holidays
The Balinese Year or Wuku calendar consists of 210 days with 30 weeks of 7 days.
The Saka calendar is based on another calculation and is approx. 80 years behind the western Gregorian calendar, so that 1925 is the equivalent of 2003. In addition to the specific Balinese time, the Muslim-Arabian, the old Javanese and the Chinese calendar are also followed here. Although this sounds very complicated, the traveller is not affected.
Because of the various calendars in use, there are many public holidays and festivals in Bali. Having information about the Balinese calendar is helpful when planning to visit one of the many festivals. Independent of the official public holidays, the following local festivals occur on a pretty much daily basis: funerals/cremations, temple festivals, tooth-filing ceremonies, temple offerings and prayer ceremonies.
Contrary to European habits, travellers are always welcome to take part in these festivals and ceremonies (including cremations), please note however that the proper respect and behaviour is expected.
Galungan and Kuningan
One of the most important festive days is Galungan. It is celebrated every 210 days and is the beginning of a 10-day fasting period. The fasting period is ending with the Kuningan feast.
According to Balinese lore, the gods and the deified ancestors come to earth on Galungan day and leave again on Kuningan day.
Streets and houses are decorated with a bamboo stick for this occasion. The stick is decorated with various fruits, small rice cakes, flowers and a piece of white or yellow cloth. This so-called “Penjor” is a symbol of God’s presence and is prepared one day prior to Galungan.
During the ceremonies all Balinese are on the streets. There is a lot of traffic and it is recommended to do sightseeing tours on another day.
Flora and Fauna
Bali lies in the tropical zone south of the equator and the climate is influenced by the monsoons. The main agricultural product is rice and large areas of land consist of rice fields. The soil is volcanic and therefore very fertile. To the west is a rainforest national park, to the southwest large areas of palm trees combined with mangrove swamps, to the east mountains right up the coast and to the north mainly a plain with numerous lakes. This region is dominated by volcanoes, with little growth along the slopes.
The Banyan- or Waringin tree is a typical characteristic of each village.
The flora is dominated by useful plants, used as food: fruit, vegetables, coffee, cacao or tobacco, bamboo and palm trees. Flowers such as hibiscus, the kamboja flower (Frangipani) and the bougainvillea are used as offerings or decoration by certain festivals. Grapes are also grown in north Bali and used in the production of wine.
The fauna consists of a variety of tropical animals including monkeys, water buffalos, snakes, lizards, numerous birds and insects, as well as oxen, pigs and dogs. Recently, conservation has also become an official matter. Although the Balinese farmers use ecological and economical methods, conditions are changing due to many outside influences such as tourism.
Accommodation is available, for all requirements, be it from luxury hotels to simple cabins or guesthouses. Accommodation is typically selected through pre-booked package tours. However individual travellers will have no problem finding somewhere to stay.
Travellers who are willing to search an alternative accommodation to the more or less standardized hotels, are recommended the Natour-Bali hotel in Denpasar, for example. This is the oldest hotel in town built in the thirties of the colonial period. Something completely different is offered by the small facility Sua-Bali in Kemenuh (near Ubud) where you can spend so-called socially integrated holidays. Most tourists prefer hotels by the beach, though. In Kuta you mainly find small hotels and guesthouses whereas in Sanur you mainly find the bigger international hotels. In Nusa Dua the hotels are competing for the number of stars. You find a big range of accommodation in Ubud as well as on the coasts in the north and east of the island.
Kanwil X Depparpostel
Kompleks Niti Mandala
Jl. Raya Puputan
Denpasar 80235 Indonesia
Tel. 00 62 (3 61) 22 56 49
Fax 00 62 (3 61) 23 34 75