The first thing which you should consider as a first-timer to Bali when getting organised, is to buy yourself a copy of Bali Secrets Unlocked, so that you can educate yourself in everything associated with ensuring yourself of a safe and stress free Bali experience, well before you set foot on the island.

At a cost of only A$17 invested in your own education, it will be the best money you spend on your first Bali holiday.

Why?  Simply, because your first Bali holiday experience will be in direct proportion to your Bali knowledge.    

I suggest for your first holiday to Bali, to book your flight and accommodation with the travel agent of your choice, rather than doing it yourself on the internet or listening to someone elses holiday. You will also find a lot of confusing comments on the same subjects from a number of forums.

I doubt very much that you would get it right the first time, so to my mind it would be smart to work with them for the sake of a small amount of commission to get it right without all the stress. My reasoning for this comment, is because after your first Bali experience to somewhere in my suggested locations, you will find everything in your future planning, will mean a whole lot more to you.

Why? you might well ask? Well, when you think about it, you will have a clear geographic picture of the island in your mind,plus importantly, you will have your own first time Bali experience to draw on.

Important: you may also like to give consideration to have someone meet you at the airport, and deliver you to your accommodation if you have not organised other transport arrangements. Call my friend Charlie or e-mail his daughter, Vicky. When you are in Bali, ring the following number Mob: 08155792272 or from Australia (send a sms) or ring +62 8155792272 or Email: vicky_yudiari@yahoo.com

Experienced travel agents know the island much better than most and they will endeavour to book you in at a location based on the most suitable for your age group, your available spending money and your general interests. You will benefit from their knowledge and you will also have peace of mind to enjoy your first Bali holiday.

IMPORTANT: it is very important to speak to an expert Bali travel agent only. You will find under the appropiate headings, I have listed a number of accommodation ideas and also restaurants etc including websites for you to discuss with your agent.

The next time you travel to Bali and I have no doubt you will return, you will be in a much better position to act with confidence when organising your own itinerary, regarding exactly where you want to sleep and anything else important to you.

Information like location, accommodation costs and anything you want to know about villas, apartments, hotels and airline bookings, will not only confuse you, it will also keep you very busy on the internet for hours and even days or weeks.

So why not avoid the hassles and leave it to the experts to put a package together for you on your first Bali visit, which in my opinion, will benefit you greatly.

Getting Organised For Your First Bali Holiday:

Before you venture off on your first Bali holiday, you need to be aware of all of the following:

Passport

Although you can apply online for an Australian passport at www.passports.gov.au/, I have found the easiest and best way to apply is at your nearest Post Office. The reason for this recommendation is that there are so many questions to answer on the application forms requiring the correct information, which you may find a daunting and stressful task. There are forms available for new or renewal passports and also different forms for seniors, adults and children. The Post Office will also take your passport photos, which are then forwarded with your applications to the department of immigration. The time to process your application is approximately 10 working days providing all of the information you have provided is correct. My advice is to take care of this issue well in advance of your planned trip.

Another method, which you may prefer, is to contact the Australian Passport Information Service for the cost of a local call on 131232 from 8 am/ 8 pm weekdays or 8.30 am/ 5 pm weekends.The cost of passports can vary according to age as follows. The last time I checked, the following prices applied and should only be taken as a guide: Child $113, Adults $226, Seniors aged 75 years and over $113 valid for 5 years.

 

NEWS FLASH dated 06/11/2014: As of January 2015, the current Visa fee on arrival in Bali will be scrapped for all Australians. Please read my BLOG page for more information.

 

VOA or Visa on arrival at Denpasar airport: US$35 per person including children for one month on the island.

There are three options of how you can pay your visa fee which are as follows: Aussie dollars (about $38), Credit card or US dollars. However, the easiest and quickest way to advance through the long queue’s is to pay in USD$. To do this, order your $USD at least two weeks in advance of your departure at your post office. The minimum amount you can order is US$200.  To exchange your currency, you will require a document for proof of identity i.e drivers license or passport. You will also be required to take in the original receipt at time of pick up. If you choose to pay in Australian currency with say a $50 note, your change will be in Indonesian Rupiah.

In the event you do use Australian currency and the change is in Rupiah, this could then come in handy for a taxi fare from the airport if required.

Vaccinations

Are vaccinations necessary for travel to Bali? The best advice I can give you is to contact your doctor for his advice on any vaccinations because there are a number of issues which need addressing, such as whatever your personal requirements may be. I think it is a good idea to consider discussing a influenza injection with your doctor because of the environment you will find yourself in during your holiday like in and out of air conditioned areas, tropical weather, airplane travel and densely populated areas with people from all over the world.

For more information on vaccinations, visit www.vaccinationsfortravel.com

Vaccinations For Travel was established by Dr. Andrew Riatt, one of Australias most experienced and most trusted travel health specialists. Dr Riatt’s office can be contacted on 02198914850 should you require further information such as Rabies, Malaria and Dengue Fever for example.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is a must have. If you cannot afford travel insurance, you should not consider travel until you can afford it.

Your travel agent will help you in this regard and will make sure you are well covered for whatever may happen but be honest with exactly the activities you intend being involved in. Believe me, the hospitals in Bali are kept busy every day of the year with an unending stream of tourists from around the world who have been involved in motrbike accidents in the main and also vehicles, water sports and surfing accidents to name just a few.

WARNING: please do not take on risky activities without travel insurance or you could be left with a hefty bill to deal with, which could mean involving your family and friends to pay for your mistake. Some people have experienced accounts totaling $30,000 and more. No doubt they are still dealing with these needless accounts. In adddition to accidents, you will also be well covered for whatever illness may decide to visit you.

The insurance company my family and I use is One Cover with whom we have had one experience in claiming a large amount of expenses on behalf of one family member. I am very happy to report that we enjoyed the best experience anyone could hope for in dealing with the situation we found ourselves in at that time. In the event you need to make a claim, you will need to have all of your documentation in order. To make life easy for yourself, please keep an excellent account of all your paper work. Recommended.

Pre-Flight Checklist Tips

One or two days before you are due to fly out, you should do a check before heading for the airport where it will be too late to do anything about it if you have forgotten any of the following items.

  • Lets start with your airline tickets.
  • Passport with more than 6 months before expiry.
  • US$35 per person (VOA) visa on arrival.
  • Fill out your green outgoing passenger card.
  • Your accommodation vouchers.
  • Does your passport have more than six months left before its due to expire? If not, you wont be going anywhere overseas.
  • Do you have travel insurance (a must have)?
  • How are you taking your money? Cash, cash card and ATM? For the best exchange rate, take a reasonable amount of good quality bank notes. Notes will not be accepted if they are torn or well worn. Only use a genuine authorised money changer as described under the heading Money Matters. Make sure your accommodation choice provides an in room safe or deposit box for your cash and documents.
  • Take a credit card or cash card but only one with a low limit incase of loss. It is good advice to ring your credit provider to advise them of  the dates you intend being in Bali.
  • Have you got house and car keys with you for your return?
  • Have you included the following numbers in your phone contacts? Your credit card providers phone number and also your travel insurance number. A must do.
  • Is your camera insured and also any other valuables you intend taking with you? (ipad,ipod, iphone etc)
  • Take a note book and pen with you to complete forms on the plane and also for taking notes about your own personal experiences during your first Bali trip.
  • Have you filled out your outgoing passenger form?

For extra security you should photo copy your passport, airline tickets, credit card, insurance cover, and accommodation documents. You should leave copies at home with a relative or close friend and you will also require copies for your own records, which should be placed within your check-in luggage preferably or hand luggage and closely guarded. Why have so many copies? The answer is because we are human and at times we become careless and loose things, which could cause you a lot of unnecessary stress if you don’t have a copy somewhere to refer to.

Another piece of advise, which you should be aware of is the number of opportunist lurking nearby who would dearly love to relieve you of your wallet if you are careless enough during transit and in particular within any built up and busy areas in Bali. Believe me they are out there so be vigilant at all times.

Now what have you packed in that case of yours? From my experience you do not need as much as you may be thinking so I will give you an idea or two to help you on your way.

Tips On What To Pack

Packing is an important part of getting organised.

Remember you are going to the tropics where it is warm and humid most of the time be it day or night. With that in mind it suggests light clothing is the order of the day. The first things to pack are your bathers, swimmers, trunks or whatever you call them but don’t worry about pool or beach towels because they are mostly supplied wherever you go.

Essential Items

There is no need to pack too much in the way of toiletries because you can buy as much as you like in Bali from Pharmacies, Supermarkets or Circle K essential shops. Most of these items are well priced when compared to Australian prices.

Ideas for ladies

Ladies will find themselves mainly wearing shorts, shirts, T/shirts, light tops, or a dress/sarong over bathers. The complete outfit includes sunnies, cap/hat, thongs, joggers or comfortable flat light weight shoes.

Evening wear for the ladies can vary greatly depending on the occasion and where you intend going. Most venues outside of the everyday café style of eatery are just perfect enough to entice you to look your best, especially if you are fine dining at Metis’ for example or enjoying sundowners on the deck followed by dinner at Ku De Ta.

Pack only a couple of your favourite evening dresses and shoes because once you arrive and check out the wonderful bargains and also the number of trendy boutique stores on offer, new clothes could be a consideration for the fashion conscious ladies intending to treat themselves to fine dining and also attending the many entertainment bars and lounges in Bali.

Ideas for gents

Gents will find themselves mainly dressed in singlets, T/shirts, shirts, shorts, boardies, thongs or joggers. If you intend selecting one of my top end fine dining restaurant suggestions during your stay or hope to impress some of the worlds best looking single women on holiday in Bali, smart casual is the way to go.

Shoes

Shoes of all shapes and sizes for both sexes are plentiful in Bali so you don’t need to overpack in this regard because the temptation to buy shoes at crazy prices, will be too great. However, having said that the ladies could consider including thongs, joggers, sandals and a pair of dress shoes.  Gents mainly require thongs, joggers and one pair of smart casual shoes.

Luggage

It is a good idea to know the weight of your luggage before you arrive at the airport. Your bathroom scales should suffice. Luggage allowance for economy passengers on the local scene from Australia can vary from 15kg/20kg(optional) with Air Asia, 20kg with Garuda, Virgin, 20kg Jet Star. No doubt all other airlines travelling to Bali via Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore will have similar allowances. Airlines are strict on this issue and will charge you accordingly for excess weight.

Remember, the benefit of travelling light to Bali if you can discipline yourself to this, is obviously more room for all of your shopping on your return home. Bye the way, carry on luggage is also watched carefully so be aware.

How to be a Smart Traveller:

I advise you to consider the following for your own safety, as well as consideration for your family.  Register your intended trip with smartraveller.gov.au.

The benefit of becoming a free member of Smartraveller is your registered known whereabouts in Bali should the government be alerted to something untoward is likely to occur i.e tsunami, earthquake or terrorism. In this event, smartraveller will have your Bali address and phone details to give you advance warning and help get you out of the area as soon as possible if something was about to happen. In addition to this, you will also receive emails in the future warning you of whether it is safe or not for travel to Bali/Indonesia.

Your family will also be advised of your status in the event you are involved in any disastrous situations. Look it up on the net and form your own opinion.

Departure Tips

Now lets head for the airport. Check in time for international flights is between two and half hours at the latest and three hours before take off.

After seat allocation and luggage weigh-in, say goodbye to your luggage for a few hours. From there, you are now proceeding towards the customs officers who will take your outgoing passenger card and check your passport as you pass through to the security area. As a matter of convenience, it is a good idea to fill out the outgoing card (green) before you arrive at the airport. Your travel agent should be able to oglige in this regard.

If you have read the instructions carefully about your hand luggage before you arrive at this destination, you should not have a problem.You can put the following items in your checked in luggage ie scissors, sharp objects, shaving gear, aerosols, hair spray to name a few. However, carry on items such as liquids, aerosols, toothpaste, gels and creams etc, must not be larger than 100ml each. These smaller items, must be stored in sealed clear plastic bags 20cm x 20cm. If you are not sure about any of this, you should go to this website. www.dotars.gov.au or ask your travel agent.

It is also worth noting, if you need to place your prescription medicine in your hand luggage, it is good advice to have a letter from your doctor stating the prescribed medicine is for your use only. The letter should remain sealed. This point is important if you are ever questioned about drugs.

All hand held luggage is required to pass through an x-ray machine. At this point in all countries, you will also be asked to pass through a metal detector but before you do, you are usually required to remove your shoes, belt, jewellery, coins and your watch to avoid setting the alarm off. These items should be placed in a tray and passed through the x-ray machine with your hand luggage.

Now that you have been cleared in all of these areas, you can relax, because you are now in amongst all the treasures of the duty free section.

Incoming passengers to Bali, are allowed one litre per person of their favourite duty free alcohol.

Nyepi Day _ Balinese New Year

Annually at the beginning of the Balinese tenth month or at the end of the ninth month or in March, Nyepi day is celebrated throughout Bali for three days. In 2012 celebrations will begin on 23rd March.

NYEPI DAY 2014: March 31st. 2015: March 21st.

On the second day very early in the morning before sunrise, Balinese people start taking a bath, which is then followed by a small breakfast. After sunrise they commence fasting ceremonies and stay indoors. They are not allowed to steam rice or light fires. In the evening they must not use lamps. Everyone including young and old carryout fasting and must not eat anything for twenty four hours. Traffic is completely stopped except for ambulances and police who are on duty. The Airport is closed to all traffic with the exception of an emergency flight.

Warning: Now that you have been alerted to this very important Balinese event, you should remember the months of March and April and that Nyepi day dates change annually. WHY? because all shops are closed for one day and some shops are closed for up to three days. and guests are reminded that they should remain quiet and not leave their accommodation area. To check these dates, Google “when is nyepi day”.

Now your holiday begins so sit back buckle up and leave all your worries behind for a few days.

 

Handy Tips: 

 

  • The best months to visit Bali are May, June, July, August and September
  • The average temperature for these five months is from 23min to 31max.
  • For your first trip at least, use a travel agent.
  • Book early if you want to travel in the months above.
  • You will have to pay USD$35 per person on arrival or equivilent.
  • Remember to photo copy all of your travel documents and leave copies with a relative or friend.
  • You should also have a copy in your keeping in the event you loose your passport or insurance details.
  • Be aware of what you can and cannot carry in your hand luggage.
  • Register your intended trip with smartraveller.gov.au
  • Register your intended Bali trip with your credit card provider.
  • Obtain a letter from your doctor regarding any medication you require. The letter should remain sealed.
  • Do not leave home without travel insurance.
  • Your passport must have more than six months to go before it is due to expire.
  • Packing light is best.

IMPORTANT: If you are into illegal drugs of any description, my advice to you is do not under any circumstances consider traveling to Bali. The death penalty and or very long gaol sentences apply for people who are caught using, selling or importing illegal drugs.