Bali Tips for Newcomers

First Time to Bali?

Bali is an amazing Island, full of diversity, there is something for everyone.
If it is your first time it can be a little daunting.
We have some tips for you to make your stay more enjoyable

Once you have decided to come to Bali

Here are some tips for planning your holiday

Travel Insurance

So, you have booked your flight and you are heading to Bali.  

Well, the first thing you need to do is get your travel insurance.  

We advise to get this first, even before booking hotels etc. That way if there is a need to cancel, or the airline cancels you are covered.  We have a lot of volcanic activity in Bali, which causes flight cancellations so check your poilcy covers volcanic erruptions.

Other things to check on your policy:

Is it for Bali or all of Indonesia?  Why is this important?  

Well, if you are on a plane which gets diverted to say Jakarata due to a volcanic erruption then you need to be covered in another part of Indonesia.

If you plan to go Island hoping, maybe to the Gilis then they are not in Bali.  Some policies do not even cover Nusa Lemongan Island (which is actually part of Bali, but some insurers do not consider it to be).

Check that you are covered for an International Hospital, the public ones here are not good for major problems.

Please note that hospitals require payment up front before treatment so maybe bring a credit card along just in case of an emergency.

Check the fine print

Check you are covered for medical evacuation, sometimes they can't do certain operations here so you would need to be treated in a Western country.  Evac costs about $120,000.

If you plan to use a motorcycle taxi here, check you are covered as a pillion passenger

If you plan to ride a motorbike, check you are covered (you will need an international license to be covered).

Check you are covered for pre-existing conditions, so, if you have a bad cold, which turns worst here, and you need hospitaliastion, that are you covered.


In today's age, these are becoming a "choice".

We can advise that the following major nasty’s you can catch here are:

Hep A
Hep B
Malaria, although not many cases recently in Bali, there have been many cases in Lombok (not part of Bali for insurance purposes)

We have had a lot of Measles cases recently.



If you are just coming for a holiday for 30 days or less, it's very easy as you will receive a free visa at the airport.

This Visa is strictly 30 days, it is for a tourist only, you cannot do any work on this visa.

Make sure you check the dates if you are wanting to stay a full 30 days, as they do count the date you arrive. Even if you arrive at say just past midnight, you will find the stamp is not rolled over to the next day so you lose a day there already.

If you overstay the visa you pay a fine of 300,000IDR per day, from 1 April 2018 this is 1 million per day, paid at the airport.

If you wish to stay longer than 30 days, you have 2 choices:

Organise a 60 day tourist visa at an Indonesian Embassy before you come


Pay for the Tourist Visa at the airport, US$35, this can be extended in Bali once for another 30 days for another $35. It will take a bit of time out of your holiday as you must visit an Immigration office on Day 20 and again to collect the extension. (Make sure you are visiting another Island at this time).


Once you get to Bali

Here are some tips for once you arrive

Getting Around


Getting to your hotel from the airport can be problematic and expensive.  Normal taxis cannot pick up from the airport, nor can Uber etc

If you wish to have a nice relaxing first arrival to Bali, book a driver through your hotel it will be pricey but will save the hassle.

Airport taxis are available but after dark they charge double.


Most people prefer to use taxis for short trips, they are much cheaper in Bali, however you need to find the right taxi and they all look the same.

Bluebird Taxis will put the meter on and will know where they are going.

Look on the windscreen for BLUE BIRD GROUP and on the back the phone number 70 11 11.

Other taxis are also blue but they have been known to say the meter is broken and charge exorbitant prices.

Uber – they are on the Island, but note that many areas do not allow Uber in, there have been many problems on the Island, where Uber drivers have actually been harmed by angry taxi drivers.

Gojek – motorcycle taxis, download the App, great if going a short distance and you have pillion passenger insurance




For longer distances (over 30km) it is recommended to hire a licensed private driver,  nowadays all drivers use new AC vehicles.  

Please note: traffic jams are common in tourist areas of Bali expect long delays in the areas of Seminyak and Ubud and Jalan Uluwatu.

Public transport is limited on the Island, but is available for those that have plenty of time on their hands (don’t expect the bus to be on time).

There is NO public transport from the Airport!

Try the following bus services



Okay, the people here won’t actually scam you.  It’s just trickery and if you fall for it then they win!

So, don’t fall for it, it’s plain and simple.

Here’s some tricks they play. 

Jimbaran Seafood

This one has been going on for years and many newcomers get tricked into this one.

Your driver offers to take you for delicious seafood, he has a friend, you will get a cheap price.

Well, actually, he will get a huge commission and you will be left thinking, well it wasn’t that great for such an expensive meal.

You can go in a Bluebird taxi and pay 70% less, your bill wont be topped up to pay the driver

Somewhere to Eat

First Timers to Bali sometimes like to try the local food and ask their driver to take them somewhere he would eat.  Your driver will not do this, they will take you somewhere they get commission and you could end up with serious Bali Belly.


Money Changers
Sleight of hand at the money changer, you won’t even see it happening!

Here’s a tip, if the money changers rate is higher than everyone else and they also sell clothes or do laundry then don’t bother. 

Go to money changers that look like banks and have a security guard.

Scratchy tickets, envelopes with prizes or surveys.
Stay away from them – unless you are interested in buying timeshare

Commission is paid everywhere 
So, if you go with a driver somewhere he gets commission, so keep that in mind when you are shopping with a driver or going to restaurants, or having your driver organise tours for you etc. 

Handicrafts/ Coffee Plantations

If a driver tries hard to get you to go to a stop at a coffee plantation, or Batik, or silver making factory, or woodcarving, he is doing that as he can make a lot of money by bringing your there, 70% of your purchase. 

If he has a “friend” then be firm and say no. You may end up paying ridiculous prices for stuff you can find in the supermarkets here without the 70% mark up.




Try not to drink the tap water, don't worry too much if you get it in your mouth, not even the locals drink it, everyone drinks bottled water

Ice is fine to have in drinks here, so is fresh fruit and salads

Best to use bottled water for brushing your teeth

Hep A is contracted through food and water


Do not drink cheap cocktails or spirit shots in Bali, only ever drink bottled drinks (drink spiking and methanol poisoning is common in Bali and extremely common on the Gilies off Lombok)


Typhoid is in Bali, contracted through food and water

80% of the sex workers have Aids and condoms are no longer available to be purchased on the Island

Dengue Fever is contracted through mosquitoes

Keep it clean

Always wash your hands immediately after touching the money. Here, left hand is for the toilet (without toilet paper), right hand for food

Remember the money is filthy, it's been handled (remember no toilet paper is used) by many people

Carry a hand sanitizer at all times and use frequently




Don’t rent a scooter (they are actually 125cc motorbikes, some 150cc), unless you are an experienced rider, have an International License to drive a motorbike and have checked your insurance policy will cover you for riding (many policies do not)


Do not carry your valuables in a handbag, use zipped pockets, muggings are extremely common in Bali, many woman are injured by being pulled into traffic by their handbags.

Do not get your iphone out while standing on the street, or put on the table at a cafe etc.  I-phone theft is huge in Bali.


Do not buy drugs!!!!! It is the death penalty in Bali

Drugs may be offered to you on the street, just walk away

Be careful when you walk in Bali, there are many potholes and some roads are paved so look like paths but are actually roads, also motorbikes are known to ride on footpaths when traffic jams occur.

Tell your Taxi driver if you are scared, tell him to slow down, do not let him put your life at risk.

ATM Skimming

This is a serious problem in Bali make sure you pull on every part of the machine before use and cover your pin with your hand.

Our Biggest Tip

Do Not Tell Anyone it's your First Time to Bali!

Want to know more?

We have a blog with lots of interesting articles on Bali, below are some links that might interest you
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