Bali Trip Guide From A to Z: What to Know and Do in Bali

Bali Trip Guide From A to Z: What to Know and Do in Bali

Bali, the famous Island of the Gods, with diverse hilly and mountain views, sandy beaches, rice paddies and active volcanic slopes, is a beautiful backdrop of a colorful, highly spiritual and unique culture. 

The fragment of heaven that fell on earth named Bali is also a paradise for world-class surfers as well as diving and snorkeling experiences. A rich and diverse cultural, historical and archeological attraction is one of the most popular island destinations in the world and has consistently won travel awards annually. Bali has something to offer in a vast visitor market ranging from young people to super-rich people.


Bali is very famous and many people already know about this island of gods, but few understand it. To know some facts about Bali you should know, before you actually arrive and being there, let alone this is your first visit to this Bali island. 

Here you can have the best time in your life and many have, (most of you will) or may experience very bad times in your life, and indeed some of the travelers experience it. (some of you will do it). It all depends on how much you know and understand the important facts of this unique island that you will visit. What you expect and want, to be the best traveling experience of your life, there are some basic rules that you must respect, and do.

But many tourists who do not understand it, even experienced tourists and frequent visits to Bali will be very surprised by the new things that exist this island. Bali is one of 17,500 islands in Indonesia, even among its colorful neighbors - and even after decades of tourism development - it stands alone in its unparalleled beauty, and therefore Bali is still subject to all the opportunities and challenges it faces developing countries in this very dynamic period.

Although Bali is quite safe and easy to travel, many things do not work properly. Many people already know about things that should not be done in Bali: excessive drinking, the tourists expose too much meat on the beach and ignorant ignorance of the island's culture.

Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, which has the highest diversity of marine species on earth, making the coral reefs surrounding the island a spectacular sight. Despite the small size of the island, the population holds the majority of Hindu minorities in Indonesia.

Bali is known for its surfing, ancient temples, and palaces, but it also has an active volcano and wilderness, it also has white sandy beaches in the south, and striking black sand in the north and west.

Bali Trip Guide From A to Z: What to Know and Do in Bali Zephyr_p / Shutterstock.com
Bali has become a popular tourist destination for travelers from all over the world, especially Australians and Americans, over the last few decades. And the island is already accustomed to meet the needs of foreign tourists.

There are some tricks to get the best out of your trip to Bali. Trip is Me has collected the top 10 tips to list for your next visit to the Island of the Gods, which will help you make the perfect journey to see the wonders of nature and the magic of Bali.

1. TRAVELING WITH BABIES, TODDLERS & CHILDREN

Bali is a great destination for families with plenty to see and do. The Balinese love children and most accommodation is well suited to families. Some areas are better suited to families due to the beach conditions, traffic, and other factors. Sanur is one great option.

Before Your Trips

Take your time and research your destination. Take out travel insurance. Check the fine print to ensure you have adequate coverage with low excess.

Register your travel plans on your government travel site. Take photocopies of your passports, travel insurance, and travel itinerary in case you lose anything. Take the adequate money, back up credit cards. Ensure your passports have 6 months validity.
Tell your financial institution you are traveling to protect your credit cards.
Visit your doctor in advance and ask about any vaccinations your child may require and discuss any health issues, ask for a letter describing any medical condition/medications your child requires. 

This can come in handy when taking medications into Bali and on the plane and also in case your child needs medical attention in Bali. 

Fill prescriptions, take some infant/child paracetamol or similar and pack a small first aid kit. Sunscreen a hat and insect repellant are essential items to include. Ear plugs are useful when swimming.
ENSURE that ALL prescription medication is clearly labeled and keep ALL medication in the original packaging.
A soft muslin wrap or a sarong or small cot sheet and a couple of clothes pegs are used to provide shade over your pram/stroller. IF your child has any food allergies ensure you have more than one Epi-pen (if they need them) and any other allergy medication. 

Get a couple of copies of a translation which explains your child’s food allergy to show at all restaurants. Ensure this clearly states not only what your child is allergic to but also explains that all utensils and even cooking oil which has traces of the allergens must not be used to prepare your child’s meal.
Take all medication in your hand luggage in case your luggage is lost/misplaced.
Bali has rather bad footpaths and you need to consider carefully about taking a pram/stroller. It is advisable to leave your ‘good’ pram at home. Either purchase a second hand one from a garage sale, op shop etc, these can be purchased very cheaply and can even be left in Bali at the end of your holiday. 

This option is cheaper than hiring in Bali. There are some good ‘new’ prams/strollers available that fold up and will fit in overhead storage on the plane if you are a frequent traveler you may wish to check these, The Quicksmart stroller is popular and folds to the size of a cabin bag.

There are some reliable hire companies in Bali where you can hire car seats, cots, prams and all sorts of baby products. 

Before you do this check with your hotel/villa as to what they provide. Many have cots but you may like to consider taking a mosquito net from home.

Choosing Your Accommodation

Consider where to stay in Bali. The location of your accommodation can make or break your holiday. Being in a very busy area with lots of traffic and loads of tourists and a beach better suited to surfers do not suit all families so IF you want a more peaceful, quieter area then book accordingly. 

Once you are happy with the area(s) you want to stay look at the accommodation reviews on trip advisor and also look at where the accommodation is positioned. ie is it a long way from the beach, shops, and restaurants, do you want a beachfront property ?

If you are booking a villa be aware that not many have pool fencing so IF you require this do your research otherwise you will spend your holiday worrying about your child’s safety. There are places that hire pool fencing so ask the villa owner if they can arrange this for you.

Do you want a resort with a kids club? Most kids clubs have a minimum age requirement...Usually 3 years, younger children must be accompanied by a parent or babysitter.

Kids clubs are usually provided at 4 and 5-star resorts and these kids clubs have been operating for years and are well set up. Some have clubs to suit both younger and older children. Cost can be free or a minimal amount is charged. Kids clubs either charge by the hour, half or full day. Food can be supplied at a charge. Some of the staff also do babysitting after hours or on their days off.

When you have chosen your hotel, you may wish to keep in mind that some hotels don’t have the best railings on balconies, (this is very common in Bali). It is also easy for young children to climb on chairs/tables on balconies and risk a fall. For this reason, you may prefer to book ground floor rooms. Not only are they ‘safer’ many leads directly to a garden so your child can play while you sit and watch them.

For The Plane

A dummy, lollypop or similar are great to help children’s ears during take off and landing. A flip top travel cup or a drink bottle with lid comes in handy so you can transfer airline drinks into to prevent spillage.

Take some wet wipes and hand sanitizer.

A change of clothing and a warm cardigan can also come in handy on the plane. Take a small blanket (or similar), socks, a small cushion, or inflatable pillow, these will help your child have a restful sleep.

Take pencils, crayons, coloring in and sticker books, activity packs, children’s packs of cards, small craft items, plasticine, small travel games, books to read, magazines, favorite soft toy etc.

If your child is old enough to carry their own carry on luggage pack most of their things in there but saves some of the ‘wrapped gifts’ for later in the plane trip. Having their own bag will also keep them occupied at the airport while waiting to depart.

Arriving in Bali

When you arrive in Bali the line up at immigration is usually not bad like it used to be and the VOA is free for most countries now. The longest wait you may have is for your luggage to arrive on the carousel. 

Have some money ready to exchange at the money changers to pay for a taxi and also get you started on your holiday to buy bottled water, pay for your first meal etc. The exchange rate at the airport is slightly lower than you will find in Bali itself but this small amount is insignificant for a small amount. 

Don’t exchange any money before you arrive in Bali, the exchange rate in Bali if better. Please only use properly authorized money changers, stay away from the small operators in the back of local shops and down laneways.

Transfers to Your Hotel

Taxis are available for transfers and are air-conditioned.

Get a quote from your hotel to see how much they charge for transfers, some are free others will either be cheaper, the same price or higher than the taxis at the airport so sort this before you arrive. 

Be aware that you will be offered assistance to carry your luggage and these ‘porters’ will ask for well over the recommended price. IF you don’t want help say ‘no thank you’. There are trolleys at the luggage carousel free of charge.

Important Things to Remember

Do not drink tap water, try to prevent your child swallowing bath/shower water. Keep your child hydrated, it gets very hot and humid in Bali. Ice is safe for drinks but the ice in cooler boxes/eskies is NOT.

Bali has medical clinics/hospitals IF you need medical assistance ask to go somewhere like the BIMC (Bali international medical clinic). Hotels also have doctors on call and there are numerous ‘Apotiks’ - chemists that sell a lot of over the counter requirements.

Babysitters

Babysitters are offered by most hotels/villas, and there are also agencies in Bali. Be aware that many Balinese cannot swim or are not strong swimmers so IF you want someone to take your children swimming book someone who is competent in the water.

Allow time to spend with the babysitter BEFORE leaving her alone with your child(ren), so they get to know her and ensure you and your child feels comfortable before leaving them with any babysitter. IF in any doubt you can always ask the babysitter to accompany you and help with the children in that way. 

Many people hire a babysitter to help on outings but do not leave their children. Do what suits you. Often the babysitters offered at larger hotels/resorts are off duty staff from the kid's clubs and this can be an advantage if your child has already spent time in the kids club.
Buckets, spades and beach toys are cheap in Bali.

2. SOLO TRIP VS INTREPID GROUP TOUR, BALI

Getting around Bali is not hard. You would be better to hire a driver as then you can go where you want when you want. 

A good driver will tailor the trip to your interests and be able to explain the culture to you. At around $60 Aus for the driver, car, and fuel for the day it is bound to be cheaper than Intrepid.

It is not difficult to get around Bali with the help of many local drivers and available. Exceptions will be climbing volcanoes that require special guides.

3. BALI WEATHER & WHEN TO GO

Bali is located only 8º (890 km) south of the equator. Thus, Balinese weather is tropical, to say the least - reliably hot and sunny. Days are almost always 12 hours long. Around sunrise, 6:20 a.m, locals can be seen on the beach blessing the new day, playing with their families in the surf or harnessing their nets for a day of fishing. 

The sun then sets around 6:30 p.m when families generally retreat inside. The daytime temperature averages between 80º F (27ºC) to 90º F (32ºC) in the southern lowlands. 

In Bali however, it is quite humid at about 75% so often times it feels much hotter. The mountains tend to be significantly cooler at around 70º F (21ºC) to 80º F (27ºC). At night the mountains can get pretty chilly. 

Bali’s tropical monsoon climate has two distinct seasons: dry (between May to September) and wet (between October to April). Monsoon refers to the wind, not the rain. However even in the wet monsoon, in this tropical paradise, it is still likely it will be sunny for a good part of the day.

May, June, and July are generally considered to be the best time to travel to Bali in terms of the weather. However, depending on whether the traveler is a surfer or explorer, preferences may change. During the dry season, May to October, the western side of the peninsula creates some of the world's best waves. The best advice is to check the estimated weather during a time of travel and pack accordingly. 

Up to the minute weather is reported from Ngurah Tai International Airport in Denpasar here

4. INDONESIAN TRAFFIC LAW RULES

There is a comprehensive national highway code in Indonesia with compliance and enforcement provisions for all aspects of road use.

Anyone who uses the roads is subject to them, regardless of their nation of normal residency, or any variation with road laws in their own country.

Local road users frequently get penalized for riding without a helmet, not having a license, and for having no annual tax payment certificate STNK.

If anything they probably should be paying some more attention to apprehending visitors who are flaunting road regulations and riding motorbikes illegally, recklessly and with insufficient skill. A good number of visitors act like idiots when driving cars as well.

Absolute astounding stupidity on the roads including disregard of both common-sense and the nations road rules is certainly not the sole domain of Indonesian drivers alone.

Plenty of travel websites advise of the helmet wearing requirement, many foreign government travel advisories also provide this information for their citizens.

There are also often signs placed on the roadsides providing an indication this requirement, and also that to use the motorcycles headlamp is required at all times.

Common sense, not just the road laws dictate that motorcycle users wear a helmet.

Travel insurance policies are likely to be made a void in regard to a claim if one is not worn and a person becomes injured.

Policies generally have provisions to exclude claims payment if the driver/rider was not complying with regulations such as licensing and helmet use.

Most renters will provide a helmet, and compliant helmets are available for sale all over the place at quite reasonable prices.

Perhaps in the future, the police will just impound the motorcycle and promptly bring the law-breaking motorists and bike riders before the courts where a full penalty appropriate to the offenses can be applied.

If people wish to ride around without a helmet then they should expect to be stopped.

If after being stopped and either cautioned, or penalized, and they then continue to ride without a helmet they can expect to be stopped again and to be penalized again.

The clear solution to that problem is to get a helmet and wear it.

A little like the problems with drunken teenagers who get into trouble it should be noted that if they were not flagrantly breaking the law (the minimum drinking age is 21 yo in Indonesia) then they would not be in the compromised position in the first place.

It is fictitious to suggest the miscreant visitor is a victim, they are an offender, frequently multiple offenders, and they flagrantly do things in Indonesia that many would not dare to do at home.

Many would not think to ride around on the roads at home without a helmet or a suitable drivers license (or any at all), yet whilst in Indonesia, many seem aghast they may not do this or just do it without even flinching, then complain when they are fined by the police (POLANTAS).

The Law of the Republic of Indonesia, number 22 of 2009, Road Traffic and Transport can be found here: www.dephub.go.id and it states:

✭ Drivers licence (SIM) and Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan (STNK):
Article 77 (1) Any person driving a motor vehicle on the road must have a driver's license in accordance the type of motor vehicle being driven.

Penalty* Section 281 Any person driving a motor vehicle on the road that does not possess a drivers license per Article 77 paragraph (1) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 4 (four) months or fined Rp1,000,000 (one million Rupiah). **(replaces previous penalty of Rp2,000,000 or imprisonment of 2 (two) months Article 59 - (1) of 1969)

Article 106 (5) At the time of any inspection of motor vehicles and drivers upon the road the road user must present: a. Motor Vehicle Certificate Number or Vehicle permit; b. Driver's license; c. evidence tested periodically, and/or d. other valid evidence.

Penalty* Article 288 (1) Any person driving a Motor Vehicle upon the road without the STNK certificate (or a provisional certificate) as defined in Article 106 paragraph (5) letter a shall be punished with imprisonment of 2 (two) months or a fine of Rp500,000 (five hundred thousand dollars).

Penalty* Article 288 (2) Any person driving a motor vehicle upon the road that can not produce a valid driving license as defined in Article 106 paragraph (5) b. shall be punished with imprisonment of 1 (one) month and/or a fine of Rp250,000, 00 (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah).
✭ Seat-belts and Helmets:
Penalty* Section 291 (1) Any person who is not wearing a Motorcycle Helmet suitable to the Indonesia National Standards as referred to in Article 106 paragraph (8), shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month, or a fine of Rp250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah).

Penalty* Section 291 (2) Any person driving Motorcycle who carries a passenger who is not wearing a helmet as referred to in Article 106 paragraph (8) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month or a fine not exceeding Rp250,000, (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah).

Penalty* Section 289 (6) Any person driving a motor vehicle with four or more wheels upon the road and all passengers must comply with seatbelt usage.,shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month or a fine not exceeding Rp250,000, (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah). (Elsewhere in the Act it is mandated that persons in a 4 wheel vehicle that lacks a roof must also wear helmets)
✭ Riding with no lights on:
Article 107 (1) The driver of motor vehicles shall turn headlights of motor vehicles used in Streets at night and on certain conditions.

Article 107 (2) Motorcycle driver must turn on headlights during the day.

Penalty* Section 293 (1) Any person driving a motor vehicle on the road without headlights at night per Article 107, or in certain conditions as referred to in paragraph (1) shall be punished with imprisonment 1 (one) month or a fine of Rp250,000, (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah).

Penalty* Section 293 (2) Any person riding a Motorcycle on the road without turning on the main lights during the day, as referred to in Article 107 paragraph (2) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 15 (fifteen) days or pay a fine of Rp100,000, (one hundred thousand Rupiah)
✭ Minimum age:
Minimum age is 17yo, a car or motorcycle may NOT legally be used by someone under that age, even if they have a license.

Article 82 (2) Terms of age as described in paragraph (1) the minimum specified to hold a driver's license is as follows: a. age of 17 (seventeen) years for Driving Permit A, C
✭ Maximum passengers:
Penalty* Article 292 Any person driving a Motorcycle without a sidecar is prohibited from carrying more than 1 (one) persons referred to in Article 106 paragraph (9) and this shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month or a maximum fine of Rp250,000, (two hundred five hundred thousand Rupiah).
✭ Seizure:
There are provisions for seizure of the vehicle when the driver cannot show a driver's license or STNK. The motorbike or car may be impounded.
✭ Due Care:
There are provisions in the Indonesian road regulation to prosecute people who text and talk on telephones and do other really stupid things.

Article 106 (1) Any person driving a motor vehicle upon the road shall drive a vehicle with reasonable and full concentration.

Article 106 (2) Any person driving a motor vehicle in shall give priority to the road safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Penalty* Article 283 Any person driving motor vehicles upon the road in an unreasonable manner or who is engaging in activities or influenced by circumstances that resulted in distraction whilst driving upon road as referred to in Article 106 paragraph (1) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 3 (three) months or fined up to Rp750,000, (seven hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah).
✭ Other offences:
Executing turns without signalling and exercising due care, hogging the right lane, inappropriate overtaking and passing, stopping inappropriately, not signalling turns or change in direction, disobeying signals and stop lines, failing to indicate a hazard; all have provisions for penalty, normally in the range of 1-2 months imprisonment or Rp250,000-500,000.

Penalty* Article 284 Any person driving a motor vehicle yielding to the safety of Pedestrians or cyclists as referred to in Article 106 paragraph (2) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 2 (two) months or a maximum fine of Rp500,000 (five hundred thousand Rupiah).

Penalty* Article 285 covers matters of roadworthiness like a horn, turning signals, exhaust, provision of rearview mirrors and road worthy tires. Penalties for breaching these requirements are imprisonment of 1 (one month or a fine of Rp250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiah).

Negligent driving causing damage, loss, injury or death is covered in Article 309. Penalties start at 6 months imprisonment or Rp1,000,000 for causing damage to another vehicle, and range up to 5 years and/or Rp10,000,000 for serious injury and 6 years imprisonment and/or Rp12,000,000 for causing a death.

There is also a potential fine for not carrying a Passport or appropriate identity document (for a tourist only the Passport is sufficient).

Perhaps this information will assist some people to understand some of the prevailing penalties for breaching the Indonesian road regulations. It is not a free for all, there are regulations and when the Police suggest going before the courts they are suggesting the enforcement of those regulations, they are not just making it up, the regulations are quite real, as are the potential penalties.

5. NYEPI DAY AND OTHER EVENTS AND CEREMONIES

Religion and spirituality are extremely important in the everyday lives of the Balinese. While most ceremonies and festivals are Balinese Hindu in origin, there are a few, every year, that is based on the Muslim faith. Both the Hindu and Muslim population of Bali, are very supportive of each other’s faith and important traditions of both religions are observed by both.

Probably the biggest day of the Hindu Calender is Nyepi Day (the day of silence). This is the Hindu New Year and like the Christian Easter, the date changes every year. This day usually falls during March/April. The essence of Nyepi is to rid the Island of all evil spirits and renew both the environment and your own personal thinking.

The lead up to Nyepi day starts 3 days prior and is called Melasti or Mekiyis or Melis. On this day all effigies of God are carried to the river in long and colorful parades, the effigies are washed in the water (and cleansed by the God Baruna) and then returned to their place in the village or home.
Tawur Kesanga (the day before Nyepi)
One day before Nyepi, all villages hold an exorcism ceremony at the main village crossroad, (the meeting place of demons). They make Ogoh-ogoh (monsters or evil spirits made of bamboo) for the parade. The Ogoh-ogoh monsters represent evil spirits in the environment which have to be gotten rid of from our lives. The parades themselves are held all over Bali following sunset. 
 
Gamelan music accompanies the procession. All the Ogoh-Ogoh have fangs, bulging eyes, and scary hair and are illuminated by torches. In the evening, Hindus start making noises and light burning torches and set fire to the Ogoh-ogoh in order to get the evil spirits, out of our lives.
If you are interested in seeing the Ogoh-ogoh parade closest to where you are staying, ask the staff at your hotel/villa where is the best place to catch the action from.
Nyepi
On Nyepi day itself, every street is quiet. There is usually Pecalangs (traditional Balinese security man) who are in charge of street security. Pecalang wears a black uniform and a Udeng or Destar (a Balinese traditional "hat" that is usually used in ceremony). 
 
The Pecalangs main task is not only security but also to stop any activities that disturb Nyepi. No traffic is allowed at all. Light is kept to a minimum or not at all, the radio or TV is turned down and, of course, no one works. Even lovemaking is not supposed to take place, nor even attempted. 
 
The whole day is a simple long quiet day in the calendar of this otherwise hectic island. On Nyepi, the world is cleaned and everything starts anew. The tradition says that the Day of Silence is to fool the gods into thinking that the island is deserted and that no evil spirits exist there anymore.

From the tourist’s point of view, you will be confined to your resort grounds and asked to be as quiet as possible for the day. Hotel staff will actually sleep at the resort the night before as no one is allowed to travel during the 24 hrs of Nyepi (6am Nyepi Day until 6am the next day). 
 
Each resort will handle Nyepi differently so it advised that you check what the situation will be at yours, prior to the day. Access to the beach will be denied but most hotels will allow quiet access to the pool. Hotel restaurants will cater to the guests. 
 
After dark, light must be kept to a bare minimum. Restaurants and shops will close around lunchtime the day before Nyepi Day and they won’t open again until at least lunchtime on the day after Nyepi Day. Some may not re-open until the 2nd day after Nyepi day.

Some good suggestions for how to spend Nyepi Day are:
 
Have a good book; games for children; if your hotel has a spa, book a treatment in advance; DVD’s to watch; bring in snacks and drinks for the day; after dark do some star gazing (as the whole island is dark, it’s great).

One problem that can arise on Nyepi Day is that the airport is closed for that 24 hour period. As the date of Nyepi changes every year and isn’t set until later in the year before, flights will be booked by airlines for this day. When the date is set, and as it gets closer, the airlines will alter their bookings accordingly. This may mean that you have to alter your accommodation bookings if your flight has been brought forward or back to cater for Nyepi day.

Galungan.
Occurs every 210 days and is the most important recurring festival that all Hindus celebrate at the same time. Galungan is the time that deified ancestors of the family descend to their former homes. They must be suitably entertained and welcomed, and prayers and offerings must be made for them. Families who have ancestors that have not yet been cremated, but are still buried in the village cemetery, will make offerings at their graves.

Most Balinese will try to return to their own ancestral home at some stage during the day, even if they work in another part of the island.

This is a very special day for families, offerings are made to God and to the family ancestors who have come back to rest in their family temple. As well as the family temple, visits are made to the village temple with offerings as well, and to the homes of other families who may have helped the family in some way over the past six months.

The day after Galungan is a holiday for visiting friends. Everyone is still seen to be in their best attire as they take to the streets to enjoy the festive spirit that Galungan brings to Bali. The entire Galungan period is also a celebration of the victory of good over evil.
Kuningan
This day marks the end of the 10 day Galungan period and is spent in family groups, in prayer and offering as the ancestors return to heaven. Kuningan is usually spent in the privacy of the family home and temple.

The day after Kuningan is again a holiday spent with friends and having fun.
Other important ceremonies and festivals include:
  • Saraswati-to pay homage to the Godess of Wisdom, Art and Literature.
  • Banyu Pinaruh - day after Saraswati when Balinese go down to beaches/rivers etc to purify themselves & to pray for wisdom
  • Tumpek Landep - to bless all metal implements including tools, kitchen utensils & cars, scooters
  • Tumpek Uduh - devoted to the God of all food, plants & vegetation
  • Tumpek Kadang/Uye - day to worship the God of cattle & livestock
  • Tumpek Krulut - celebrates the arts
  • Tumpek Wayang - ceremony for leather puppets
  • Siwaratri - a time for comtemplation & purification, the Balinese do not sleep for 1 night
Of course, the above festivals do not include the ceremonies that occur at special times from the birth of a baby, into childhood, adulthood, marriage and finally at the death and cremation of that person. It also doesn’t include the ceremonies for full and new moons or Temple anniversary celebrations. They are just a short summary of some of the most important festival and ceremonies that the Hindu Balinese celebrate.

The most important annual event for the Muslim population of Bali, is Ramadan. Ramadan is the Islamic religious observance which takes place in the 9th month of the Islamic Calender. 
 
This event occurs once in 11 months and as such happens earlier each year if you gauge it by the western Calender. In 2009, Ramadan began in early August and finished in early September. During the month, faithful are expected to fast from sunup to sunset. 
 
Nothing may pass their lips (food, drink, smoke) during daylight hours unless they are considered exempt. The importance of Ramadan is celebrated by prayers, fasting, charity and self-accountability.

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and is celebrated by prayers, donations of food to the poor, and feasting.

As a tourist is Bali you will not generally notice any changes during Ramadan but your consideration is appreciated by those observing the fasting rites. Bali is traditionally very busy with Indonesian tourists for a 2 week period after Ramadan. 
 
If you happen to be traveling to Bali at this time, you will notice very high occupancy rates at most hotels and a significant increase in road traffic, especially in the built-up areas. Muslim run business may be closed for some or all of this 2 week period.

Please use this link to check what will be happening in Bali, when you are there or planning to go.
Simple Etiquette When Attending a Temple Ceremony
  1. Always wear a sarong or sash
  2. Do not walk in front of people when they are praying
  3. Do not use flash or point your camera at the priest’s face
  4. Never sit higher than the priest or offerings
  5. During cremation ceremonies, do not get in the way of attendees, however, perfect the photo opportunity may be
  6. Women are not allowed to enter temples during their menstruation.
  7.  

6. CURRENCY & MONEY CHANGERS

Indonesian currency, the rupiah (IDR), can be very confusing until you get used to it. Notes come in denominations of 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; 50 000 and 100 000 rupiah. 
 
Coins are also available, although not common, they can come in 25, 50,100, 200, 500 and 1,000 rupiah denominations. Yes, all those zeros can be very confusing. Please note that the 10,000 and the 100,000 rupiah notes can look very similar, so be careful which note you hand over when purchasing items.

This is a link to a very good currency conversion site which also includes a printable cheat sheet. It can be very helpful to have one of these cheat sheets in your pocket/wallet until you become more confident.

As a result of the low value of the currency and the lack of very small denominations, you may experience a uniquely Indonesian custom in some shops in Bali. 
 
If you are owed change on purchases and the amount of that change requires small denominations, you may be given it as closely as possible in notes and coins and in lieu of the balance, you will be given candy or peanuts. 
 
This is a simple and friendly practice, please accept it in the manner in which it is intended, and enjoy your candy.
What Currency to Take
You will get a much better exchange rate in Bali rather than in your home country. We usually recommend waiting until you arrive in Bali to get your rupiah.

Money changers in Bali can and will exchange all major currencies. In most cases, there is no need to bring any other currency other than your own. 
 
Larger denomination notes will get you a higher exchange rate than smaller notes, as well clean, undamaged notes. For those bringing US currency, please ensure that your notes are recently printed, older notes will not be accepted due to counterfeiting problems in the past.

Traveller’s Cheques can be exchanged at most money changers but the rate of exchange will be slightly lower. Note that you will require your passport to exchange Traveller’s Cheques.

Credit cards are usually accepted for larger purchases, accommodation (apart from smaller establishments), department stores and larger restaurants. Always check though, as they are not accepted as widely as in Western Countries.

The money changers at the airport (just as you leave the baggage claim area) will have a lower exchange rate than those outside the airport in Kuta, Legian, Sanur etc. We recommend that you only change a little money here to get you through the first 12-24 hours until you can get to a changer with a better rate.
ATM’s
ATMs are plentiful in the southern areas and in and around Ubud. Please note that areas such as Amed in the north, east, and other more remote areas do not at present, have ATMs. These machines dispense either 50,000 or 100,000 rupiah notes. 
 
Machines that dispense 100,000 IDR notes can dispense larger amounts per transaction than the other machines (3 million rupiahs per transaction), there will be a sign stating that this is the case (Permata Bank ATM in Sanur and Ubud, and City Bank ATM at the airport are some that have the higher limit). Other machines dispense a maximum of 1,500,000.

The usual precautions when using an ATM apply and please cover the keypad when entering your pin number. One word of warning, many ATMs will not prompt you to take your card back, and your money will be dispensed before the card is released, so always remember to check that you have your card before you leave the cubicle.
Money Changers - How Not To Get Ripped Off
As in most countries, there are dishonest people in Bali too. Money changers have a notorious reputation for sleight of hand, rigged calculators and other scams. Unfortunately, we frequently hear from people who have been ripped off by one of these dishonest money changers. 
 
A little research before going to Bali will prevent anyone putting themselves in a position to be cheated. If you follow the rules set out below, you should not have a problem locating and using an honest money changer.
  • DO NOT use a money changer that is located down a laneway or alley.
  • DO NOT use a money changer with a desk at the back of another business.
  • DO NOT use a money changer if the sign does not say “authorized” ( and even if the sign does say authorized, do not let your guard down and do follow all the same rules)
  • DO NOT use a money changer with an advertised rate which is better than any other in that area. (If the rate is too high, the changer is not making any money on the exchange and will have to cheat you to make money)
  • DO NOT hand over your money until you are satisfied that the exchange is honest and you have the rupiah in your other hand.
  • DO NOT allow anyone else present to distract you during the transaction.
  • DO NOT accept any smaller denominations than 50,000 and 100,000 notes (a sure sign that you are going to be cheated is if they say they have run out of large notes and try to give you small notes instead).
  • DO NOT allow anyone to touch the rupiah once you have counted it and are sure it is correct.
  • DO only change your money at dedicated money changer (or the business listed further in this list)
  • DO check their calculations, on your own calculator, if necessary.
  • DO count the rupiah, twice, in full, before handing over your money.
  • DO keep the rupiah in your hand, do not put it back down on the counter.
  • DO, if you feel at all uncomfortable or suspicious, walk out.
  • DO, if you find you have been cheated, go back to that money changer and ask for the rest of your rupiah (most keep a ledger of the amounts they have skimmed, so will know exactly how much you have been shorted).
  • DO try to keep using the same money changer, once you have found an honest and reliable one.
In our experience the businesses listed below are honest, but having said this, always check and never take their honesty for granted:
  • Kodak Shops
  • Fuji Shops
  • Airport Money Changers
  • PT Bali Maspintjinra, Kuta Jl Sriwinjays No 16A
  • BMC Seminyak PT Bali Maspintjinra(opposite Bintang Supermarket, next to Sip restaurant on the Kuta side.)
  • PT Bali Maspintjinra, Head office Jl Raya Seminyak No 16A
  • PT Bali Maspintjinra, Sanur, Jl Danau Tamblingan No 18
  • PT Bali Maspintjinra also has offices in Makassar and Lombok
Some hotels will offer a decent exchange rate if you feel that the money changer process is not for you, and want an easier, hassle-free option.

7. THE DIFFERENT AREAS OF BALI

Intro Areas of Bali

For you intending to travel to Bali often ask what are the differences between areas as they are sometimes confused about where to stay.

This list has been compiled by TA Bali Forum members with a good personal knowledge of the areas and written without bias. It is meant to give a little insight as to what each place offers in terms of accommodations, eateries, and landscape.It focuses on places mostly intended for tourists, but also includes some of the less known and populated areas.

We have not included names of business such as restaurants, hotels or tours as this is intended to be a description of the areas only and we don't want to promote one over another.
AMED
If you want to experience a quieter and less developed area of Bali, then Amed on the east coast is well worth a visit. Explore the culture of the local villages and watch the residents carrying out their daily routines, they are very friendly and enjoy chatting with visitors.

Amed is comprised of a series of bays/beaches and stretches for approximately 12 km along the east coast. Some are black volcanic sand, some pebbly and others are more sandy towards Lipah and Lean. 
 
As you approach Amed along the inland road from Culik you will first come to Amed village, then Jemuluk, Bunutan, Lipah, Lean, Selang, Banyuning and lastly Aas. Amed village, Jemuluk, and Bunutan have black volcanic sand which becomes very hot in the heat of the day so reef shoes may be advisable. Lipah, Lean and Selang are a white sand with flecks of volcanic sand. Banyuning and Aas have pebbly beaches.

The main local industries in Amed are traditional fishing, salt making, farming and more recently tourism.

You can go out on a traditional fishing boat, a Jukung to watch the sunrise, it’s quite amazing as the plankton glows in the water, tiny pinpricks of light in the dark. Local people will also take you out fishing in a Jukung.

There are several trekking trails going inland from the coast up to the slopes of Gunung Seraya to and walking tours from the area. Climbing mount Agung to watch the sunrise. Walking from Bebendem ricefields to Tenganan. Climbing to Lempuyang temple. Amed mountain short walk. Amed waterfall.
Several companies offer a fast boat service to the Gili Islands: Pacha Express, Kuda Hitam, Free Bird and Amed Sea Express.

Several places you can visit nearby but will need transport. The water gardens, Tirtagangga are well worth a visit. There are 2 spring-fed swimming pools, the water's cold but great fun. The locals often swim here. 
 
Also the Bali Aga village at Tenganan where the villagers practice unusual rites & customs.You could take a guided walk through the rice terraces from Bebandem village near Tirtagangga to Tenganan. Budakeling village is nearby where there are gold & silversmiths. The temple complex at Lempuyang is situated in the mountains above/behind Amed, it is very special but quite a climb to the top temple, however, the views from here are spectacular.
BEDUGUL and MUNDUK
Bedugul is a popular mountain lake area in the north of Bali on the main route between the airport and Singaraja/Lovina and is a comfortable 2 – 2½ hour drive from Kuta/Legian area.

It is famous for its cool climate and tourists and locals alike flock here to see Pura Ulun Danau Bratan (temple in the lake).

Watersports are available on the lake and there is the Handara Golf & Country Club for the golf enthusiasts. The Eka Karya Botanical Garden is a drawcard not only for the beautiful flora and numerous birds but for the Treetop Adventure Park as well.

Nearby Candi Kuning tradition market selling fruit and flowers as well as spices is a must see. This is a great place to pick up vanilla pods and cloves. Strawberries are grown in this area and you will find “pick your own” strawberry farms as well as the roadside warungs selling them.

There are many eateries to choose from in the Bedugul area from cheap to relatively expensive. With a small Sasak community established it is a good opportunity to try some of the Lombok specialties. If it views you are after then head up to Pacung area and you will find restaurants with magnificent rice paddy views.

There are plenty of choices for budget and mid-range accommodation available but less for the higher end. It can get quite cold at night so make sure you find accommodation with blankets or some sort of heating.

Around 15 minutes from Bedugul on the road between Pancasarei and Seririt, located high up on a ridge is Munduk. This cool area situated 800 meters above sea level is known for its stunning views, magnificent scenery and waterfalls.

Mountain biking, trekking, and hiking are all the go here. There is no public transport to speak of with the exception of a bemo running to Seririt infrequently.

The twin lakes Tamblingan and Buyan are nearby and worth a visit.

The accommodations are surrounded by cloves, flowers, rice and coffee fields. You can find cottages, home stays, guest houses, retreats as well as old Dutch Colonial homes to choose from.

Most eateries are attached to accommodations and there is no nightlife here. Munduk is very popular with nature lovers.

If you want to stay overnight or for a few days in Munduk it is best to have a private car & driver drop you off and pick you up.
BUKIT PENINSULAR
The Bukit (literally “the hill” in Indonesian) is the southernmost part of Bali. Its appearance differs markedly from much of Bali, with its rugged and dry climate it more resembles Lombok than the classic rice field views of postcard Bali, Ubud and the mountains. The Uluwatu Temple sits atop the soaring cliffs and the vast Bali Sea.

The Bukit was first opened up to visitors by mostly Australian surfers in the very early 1970's and wide-eyed surfers continue to arrive to this day seeking out their perfect wave and test themselves. There are several world class surf breaks along the western side of the Bukit, all of which break over the shallow coral reefs and include Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Impossibles, Bingin, and Balangan. Uluwatu and Padang Padang have been rated in the top 25 waves of the world.

There are any number of accommodation options, from beachfront traditional losmen to high end architecturally designed 6-star hotels all vying for the ultimate ocean and sunset views.

There are number of good white sand beaches in the area and some of which are considered the best in Bali:
  • Balangan is the northernmost beach, nearest to the airport. Balangan still maintains its 70's roots with small warungs and losmen lining the beach.
  • Dreamland is still a very beautiful beach, however, there's now a very large development directly above which has sadly turned it into "Nightmare-land".
  • Bingin is next to the north however the beach here is not easy to access as the cliffs are quite high and you have to negotiate about 200 plus stairs up and down! The reward is perfect ocean views which make the effort worthwhile.
  • From Bingin you can see waves stretch along the reef to Padang-Padang Beach which is accessed via a very narrow stone staircase cut right through the cliff and leads down to a small but beautiful white sand beach.
  • Uluwatu is famed for is waves and you can watch the surfers from any number of cafes which line the cliff. There's a beach at low tide which is accessed via the famous 'cave' that surfers use for access.
CANDIDASA
A scenic drive of less than two hours from the airport, brings you to the coastal village of Candidasa, which despite its small size, offers a wide range of accommodation choices, from homestays to resorts and villas.

With a good number of restaurants, cafes, and warungs, you are never without choice and the recent addition of a new bakery and a wine bar due to open soon, means there’s plenty of dining styles available. Many will be within easy walking distance of your accommodation, or you can take advantage of a free taxi service offered by a number of Candidasa's restaurants.

Candidasa is a great spot to snorkel on low tide, hire a Jukung and go sailing or fishing, or take a trip to the famous white sandy beach, to spend a few hours swimming and lunching at one of the little beachside warungs.

It’s a good base to visit many of the attractions of Bali, or take a trek locally through the countryside and for those with adventurous thoughts, Mount Agung is around a 90-minute drive away.

Candidasa definitely offers a laid back holiday, where watching the boats cross the strait to Lombok and Gili islands, can see many an hour while away. A walk along the main street will give opportunities to sit and chat with a local, or take a stroll a street away from the main road and enjoy seeing the rice fields and vegetable gardens. Candidasa has lots to offer and many of us return as often as we can, to take in its beauty and rekindle old friendships.

CANGGU
Canggu is located on the west coast of Bali and is one of the largest areas in Bali, sprawling from Seminyak in the south to Pererenan in the north and consists of numerous beaches along almost 8 kilometers of coastline. The most southern part is approximately 30 minutes from the airport and in good traffic, it is another 30 minutes to Pererenan.

The beaches are not suitable for swimming, often having rough surf and strong currents. Until recently Canggu used to be frequented mostly by surfers as it is a surfer's paradise. It is still popular with the surfing community and retains that extremely laid back feel and slower pace of life. It is also home to many fishermen and fresh fish can still be bought at Nelyan Beach early in the morning when the boats return to land.

Nowadays it is one of the fastest growing areas in Bali in terms of villas, hotels, shops, and restaurants. There is a large expatriate community in Canggu due mainly to the existence of an International school and the Australian school in the area. The Canggu Club with its adjoining water park, ten pin bowling alley, spa, tennis courts, bar etc also attracts both visitors and expatriates alike.

There are many groovy cafes in Canggu and also numerous great restaurants offering a range of cuisines and prices. Whilst Canggu is growing in terms of restaurants, it is still only about 15 minutes drive from Seminyak and all its famous restaurants and fabulous shopping.

Canggu is also well located for sightseeing as it is very close to Tanah Lot with its famous temple and also an easy 45 minutes to Ubud and surrounding areas.
NUSA LEMBONGAN
Nusa Lembongan is a small and rugged island located about 12 kilometers across the Bandung Strait to the southeast of Bali and it is one of three small islands which make up the Nusa Penida district. Access to the Nusa Lembongan is by boat from Sanur or Padang Bai on Bali. 
 
The fast boats take about 30 minutes to make the crossing before you and your luggage will be deposited directly onto the sand! usually at Jungut Batu or Mushroom Bay and be prepared to get wet when getting on and off your boat.

The water between Bali and Nusa Lembongan is very deep, prone to vast tidal movements and can be subject to large ocean swells and strong winds. Depending on the conditions your trip across to Lembongan will vary from dead calm near glassy blue smooth waters to a very bumpy and frightening ride, if the weather is bad with large waves when you're standing at Sanur, it will almost certainly be doubly so in the open waters of the Bandung Strait.

Nusa Lembongan is roughly 8 square kilometers in size and surrounded by beautiful fringing coral reefs, white sand beaches, and low limestone cliffs. 
 
The nearby island of Nusa Cenigan is separated from Lembongan by a very narrow water channel with a suspension bridge for motorbikes and pedestrians connecting the two islands. 
 
There are two main tourist areas, Jungut Batu and Mushroom Bay and the mostly locals village of Lembongan Village. The climate of Lembongan and Cenigan is similar to the south coast of Bali. It is dry with sparse vegetation and there is no rice grown on Lembongan. 
 
The economy is based on tourism, fishing and seaweed farming. To get around there are plenty of motor scooters and bicycles for hire, though there are almost no cars on Lembongan so small open trucks are used to move tourists, luggage and goods around though many hotel staff will simply carry your bags up from the beach.

Lembongan has a lot of accommodation options from basic backpackers to high villas. The island is relatively flat so lends itself to walking early or late in the day before it gets too hot. Lembongan is a very popular day trip from Bali however to see the best of Lembongan it’s best to stay at least one night to experience the wonderful sunset views from Lembongan looking across the strait towards Mount Agung on Bali.

The water around Lembongan is alive with fish, hard and soft corals and all manner of marine life including manta rays. There are a number of good surf breaks which mostly require a boat to access and are surfable on mid to high tides. There is excellent snorkeling and diving around Lembongan at places such as The Mangroves and on Nusa Cenigan at The Wall and Crystal Bay.

PADANGBAI
Padangbai is a small fishing village situated on a bay 90 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from Candidasa. It is the jump-off point for the ferry and the fast boats to Lombok and the Gili Islands.

The beach area along the main drag is full of fishing boats and litter so not really suitable for swimming. There are a couple of very nice places suitable for swimming and snorkeling off the beach at Blue Lagoon and Bias Tugal Beach (White Sand Beach).

Diving Centres are in abundance all along the main road.

Accommodation is mostly budget and aimed at the backpacker market. Mid-range accommodation can be found but there is very little in the way of luxury.

The public ferry to Lombok leaves every hour 24 hours a day and also arrives every hour 24 hours a day. It does toot the horn every time it leaves and arrives so your sleep can be interrupted.

The restaurants mainly serve typical Western and Indonesian food and are cheap to moderate in price. Seafood is plentiful and quite good. There are a couple of upper-class restaurants attached to accommodations.

There are numerous bars which are lively but don’t expect much after midnight.

It is easy to walk everywhere around the town and for a little further out a motorbike is better than a car.

You can get to Padangbai by private car, Perama Shuttle Bus or bemo.

PEMUTERAN
Pemuteran is a sleepy little village situated on the North West Coast of Bali, approx 3½ hr drive from the Airport, 45 mins from Lovina and 20 mins from Bali Barat National Park.

This 3km stretch on the main road to Gilimanuk offers the best of both worlds with the sea one side and the mountains the other. It is the ideal place to simply relax and unwind, dive, snorkel, swim or explore the north part of Bali. There is no town center as such but the 3km is littered with resorts, homestays, warungs, dive shops and tour operators.

There is no shopping to speak of and it is rare to find a hawker on the beach. No nightlife like clubs, discos or big bars like in the South. The resorts have bars as well as a few upper-class restaurants. Most small warungs serve beer only in the alcohol department.

Pemuteran is also the site of the largest artificial bio rock reef project in the world. The reef area around Pemuteran is protected and is a no-fishing zone. In front of Taman Sari, you can dive or snorkel over the 60 submerged steel structures with a low electricity charge to enhance the growth of the coral. They range in size from small to very large with some very unusual forms.

There are many places of interest to the visitor close to Pemuteran … Manjangan Island, Bali Barat National Park, Turtle breeding & release project, Gilimanuk Harbour, Atlas Pearl Farm, Horse Treks, Pura Pulaki (Temple on the cliff with monkeys).

Accommodation ranges from budget to expensive. The resorts on the beachfront being the most popular. If you want to venture away from your resort area you will need transport which is not as abundant as down south.

8. NORTH BALI - LIST OF PLACES TO SEE

  • Git Git Waterfall
  • Sekumpul waterfalls
  • Pura Maduwa garang temple
  • Air Panas Banjar hot springs
  • Singaraja Royal Palace
  • Gedong Kirya library in front of the palace
  • Museum Buleleng
  • Mayong trekking and fabulous lunch
  • Ponjok Batu Temple
  • Dolphin tours
  • Pura Dalem, Dencarik
  • Air terjun Sambangan Waterfall
  • Chinese ( Ling Gwang Kiong) temple Singaraja
  • Brahmavihara – Arama Buddhist Monastery
  • Gran Surya Waterpark Lovina
  • Krisna Water Sports
  • Bio rock reef restoration – Pemuteran
  • Reef Seen Turtle conservation, with underwater temple garden, pony rides, turtle release when available

9. BALI: BEST BEACHES

Bali has many great beaches - good for swimming, surfing, or just lounging on the sand. Some hotels and villages provide daily clean up and grooming of beaches. Also, the quality of a beach can change drastically between seasons, depending on the location of the beach and the direction it faces. 

Bali's beaches are best during the dry season, from about April to October. During this period at beaches on the western coastal areas, such as Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, Cangu and Jimbaran, erosion is minimal and the lack of wind or offshore winds keep the beaches clean and relatively calm. 
 
During the wet season, onshore winds deposit flotsam and garbage on the west facing beaches and constant clean up is needed. In addition, heavy rains can deposit runoff around the beaches, particularly around run-off streams that flow into the ocean.

Nusa Dua and Sanur beaches are less affected by seasonality, although the beach strip from the Melia Hotel to Nusa Dus Beach Hotel experiences seasonal erosion in the winter, resulting in a very narrow strip of sand. The sand returns for the summer months. 

The west-facing beach from Cangu to Kuta can have rough surf and is known to have many rip currents and strong undertow. Safe swim areas are marked by flags and lifeguards are posted in some places. 

Both Mengiat at Nusa Dua and Sanur areas are nice because there is an offshore reef that keeps heavy surf away from the beach. Occasional rough surf is the downside of the Kuta/Legian/Seminyak beach.

Here is a subjective Bali Best Beach list:

  • Nusa Dua from Hyatt to St Regis/Geger Temple. Known as Mengiat Beach and Geger Beach.
The most beautiful blue water, pristine white sand, minimal vendors. You can use this beach anytime (without staying at one of the hotels) at the Yasa Segara village or Geger village beach cafes, which are open to the public. The cafes rent beach chairs for about 20k rupiah per day and food/beverage is available from the cafe. There is also a parking lot. Geger is one of the few beaches at which topless sunbathing is allowed.

Another beach to visit is Nusa Dua Beach between Grand Hyatt and Melia Hotel. This quiet beach, hidden in Nusa dua area, really a paradise at Bali. White sand. Less crowded. The sea didn't have the big wave, just small ripples. But much much better and less dirty compare with Kuta. On the beach side, you can find one restaurants complex that called The Bay Bali. It presenting the specialties from the local traditional Balinese food to international culinary such as Bebek Bengil, Thai food, Chinese food, etc.
  • Jimbaran. Waves and white sand.
Beach is accessible from the Jimbaran barbecue restaurants but is really best when staying at a beachfront resort. Most of the beach is not really suitable for use unless staying in one of the local hotels. At the south end of the beach is the Four Seasons, with a private beach club and restaurant (PJ's - recommended). The beach directly in front of the Four Seasons is rocky and rough, not really suitable for swimming. The beach is more inviting 50 meters away towards the beach cafes. 

The barbecue restaurants are great at night for fresh fish, Indonesian style, with toes in the sand. During the day the cafes serve drinks and simple Indonesian meals. 

The Intercontinental Hotel grooms its beach with a tractor daily and puts out a few beach chairs out for hotel guests. The beach is spotlessly clean and free of any flotsam and garbage. 

The beach in front of the Puri Bali and Keraton hotels is similarly groomed and cleaned daily. The beach in front of the Puri Bali is a particularly fine beach, with the hotel providing comfortable chairs and a simple beach cafe. 

The beach from the Keraton Hotel north to the airport boundary is known as Kedonganan beach is the territory of a fishing village, a few fresh fish restaurants, and the local wholesale fish market. Kedonganan beach is wide and sandy, but as a working beach is not suitable for relaxation. It provides a fascinating site in the morning when the fisherman land their catch and the market is at its busiest. 

North of Kedonganan is Kelan Beach. Just walk on the beach till you have passed the fish market, now you are in Kelan. Also, Kelan Beach got a few restaurants that serve drinks and meals while you have your toes in the sand. The beach is wide and sandy and is cleaned daily. Kelan Beach is overlooking whole Jimbaran Bay and got the colorful fishing boats in front.
  • Sanur area. Favorite of many visitors for its old time flavor and local feeling.
There is a 7km paved walkway along the beachfront which is great for early morning walks. Excellent spot to take sunrise photos. Numerous breakwaters with shelters have been placed along the beach to protect the beach from erosion. The area around the Bali Hyatt seems to be the nicest white sand beach. This was the first developed resort area on Bali and is very popular.
  • Kuta/Legian/Seminyak/Kerobokan/Batu Belig. Nightlife, sunset and beach.
Beach is not as clean as Nusa Dua and most areas of Jimbaran and the water is rougher. Lately, clean up crews have been noticed in the morning. Close to great restaurants and nightlife. Nightly sunset is a plus and many beachfront resorts and restaurants have beachside lounges to enjoy this scenery.
  • North Nusa Dua area, from Melia Hotel to Novohotel Tanjung Benoa.
  • "Echo Beach" Cangu
Increased in popularity recently due to the vibe from the restaurants built on a cement seawall facing the ocean. Echo beach really isn't suitable for a swimming or relaxation beach but has a solid reputation as a surf beach. The beach is a bit rocky and the sand is blackish and the seawall on which the restaurants are built is not attractive. The surfing attracts a crowd of surfers and watchers, and it is enjoyable to watch the action from the seawall while enjoying the cuisine from The Beach House or other warungs. The road to Echo beach has become very pitted and is in need of improvement. 

10. SNORKELLING & DIVING IN BALI

Okay, you want to snorkel in Bali?
What do you need?
  • Goggles/mask
  • Snorkel
  • Fins
Nice to have
  • Weight belt and weights ( a plastic bag with sand or rocks tied to your belt does the trick)
  • Sunscreen
  • Rash shirt
  • Underwater camera
  • Anti fogging spray
  • For a perfect fit and health reasons, bring your own gear
  • Take only photographs
  • Do not step on coral getting in and out of the water
Tips:
  • Fresh water rinse helps for marine biters eg lice
  • Fresh water rinse your gear (lasts longer)
  • Ask locals/tourists before you enter the water – get info on currents, best time, any stingers?
  • Get into trouble raise your hand (you might be lucky that someone can help)
  • Know how to swim and know the limits of your swimming (currents can get very strong with a tide/wind/swell change or just by going beyond the shelter of a bay)
Taking kids out:
Tips:
  • Stay close
  • Younger kids prefer goggles to mask and snorkel
  • Take a body board – floatation and helps if a problem eg kids get tired, warns boats
Areas good for snorkelling are:
  • Bukit
  • Sanur area
  • Padangbai area
  • Candidasa area
  • Nusa lembongan
  • Nusa penida
  • Amed
  • North bali – lovina, pemuteran, menjangan
The west coast is too murky
* Snorkelling in candidasa and pandangbai
This info will go into the right pane under 'I want to snorkel in Bali?' feel free to add info on Padangbai and candidasa

Candidasa
Close to Candidasa there are two larger islands, Tepekong and Biaha, and an area with small rocks called Mimpang or Batu Tiga.

Mimpang - It is also called Batu Tiga (three rocks) This is a slope and a wall with hard and soft corals This is apparently the best place around Padangbai to see sharks but also a good place for Mola Mola. Currents here can be strong

Gili Tepekong is only about 50m long and not very wide with deep waters on all sides. Off the southwestern tip of Tepekong is the Canyon. Tepekong Canyon is lined with some large black boulders of basalt nicely covered with soft and hard corals. Usually, the water is cold and there are strong currents.

Gili Biaha - There is a blowhole which spouts jets of water, so Biaha looks like a large whale! This site can have unpredictable water movements! On the east side of Biaha is a cave large but the surge is very strong and dangerous.

On one dive conditions changed in the middle of it and we were hit by a very strong surge from above just at the entrance to the cave.

The coastline of Candidasa has easy snorkeling at high tide inside the breakwalls. The outside walls are also fun!

Padangbai
White Beach (Bias Tugal) lies south of Padangbai. This is a steep slope nicely covered with corals and sponges. Access from the beach.

Padangbai Channel This site lies about 100m from the shore in the area where the ferries leave for Lombok when they cross overhead during a dive, it can be very noisy. The shallow area has dark sand and coral boulders.

Padangbai Jetty. The best time is when there is as little swell as possible.

Blue Lagoon (Tanjung Sari) is a small beach northeast of Padangbai. Start from a boat or beach access in the far left (keyhole over sand).

Feeling Brave...Do a night snorkel!

* Snorkeling and diving in Pemuteran and Menjangan area
As snorkeling and diving become more popular in Bali, here are some things to consider to help preserve the environment while you are enjoying the beautiful underwater experience in the area around the West Bali National Park.

Pemuteran is the small area where most boats leave to get to Menjangan Island for excellent snorkeling or diving. Menjangan Island is part of the West Bali National Park and is a protected but fragile environment.

* Snorkelling in Tulamben and Amed area
Here are a few locations to snorkel/dive:

Tulamben
Tulamben is known for the US Liberty wreck that lies close to the shore. The US Liberty is a cargo ship that was torpedoed in the Lombok Strait on the 11th January 1942 (during the second world war) by the Japanese. She was towed by two destroyers towards the port of Singaraja but she was taking on too much water, so she was beached at Tulamben. Her cargo was salvaged by the local people. During the disastrous eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, she was pushed off the beach, broke in half and was left in her present position close to the shore of Tulamben. The stern is somewhat intact, the mid-ship section is all broken and the bow is again in pretty good shape.

There are other dive sites in Tulamben that are also very nice and well worth a visit.

The beach of Tulamben is covered with large black pebbles that make it very difficult to walk with heavy gear without turning an ankle.

The US Liberty wreck: entering the water from the black pebble beach can be quite difficult, but after about 30 meters you reach the black volcanic sand. The wreck lies on a sandy slope parallel to the shore, roughly southeast (stern) to the northwest (bow). Part of the superstructure is close to the surface (about 5m) and can also be reached by snorkelers. The wreck is about 120m long, the deepest point is around 30m and it is nicely covered with corals and sponges.

Paradise Reef (or patch reef) and the River: the River is a great place to do muck diving and find rare animals such as the Harlequin and the robust ghost pipefish, several species of eels and even the mimic octopus, boxer crabs or the harlequin shrimp!

Tulamben Drop Off: about 500 m to the east of the wreck and close to the temple, the underwater wall drops to a depth of 60m (the top is around 3 to 5 m).

Batu Klebit: this dive site southeast of Tulamben beach. There are some rocks close to the shore, around which you can dive, and some large reefs a bit offshore. You dive on a slope with nice hard and soft corals and sandy areas in between.

Around Tulamben (Amed, Lipah, Kubu, Seraya)
Kubu is a small fishing village in the north of Tulamben and can be reached by car in about 10 min. There are two dive sites, one in the north (or left) and the other in the south (or right).

Seraya House Reef: lies a short distance south of Tulamben. You dive just on the beach in front of the scuba Seraya resort. Getting in and out can be a bit difficult because of the waves but it is well worth the effort.

Noisy Reef: Noisy Reef is situated just in front of the parking area for Seraya (west of the resort). This dive site is similar to the Seraya House Reef, but at the top, the rocks are all covered with small hard corals and sponges.

Amed: The town lies on the shore of Jemeluk bay (Teluk Cemeluk), only a few kilometer south of Tulamben. You dive along several walls nicely covered with corals, sponges, and sea fans. We finished the dive on a slope with a nice coral block covered with black corals. You can also dive just in front of the harbor of Amed on a sandy area which has several artificial reefs.

Lipah Bay: lies approx. 3 km southeast of Jemeluk. There is a small wreck of a Japanese steel freighter at 6 -12 meters encrusted with gorgonians, sponges, and black corals. Nice hard coral cover.
Thank you and we hope this assists. Happy Traveling!
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