Everything you need to know for your first Bali holiday!
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GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.
You may not agree with this idea but I would like you to give serious consideration to selecting a reputable travel agent other than yourself, to at least take care of your airline and accommodation bookings. In my opinion, this service is well worth every cent on your First Adventure to a foreign country like Bali. Yes, agents will charge you a small fee but importantly, they are also able to offer you deals with excellent benefits and savings for you on airline tickets and accommodation.
Having said that, it is very important for you to speak only to an expert Bali travel agent. The reason for this recommendation is simply because if you don’t get it right the first time and it seems most don’t and rarely admit to it, you will at least have someone else to blame should things go pear shaped, which could cost you a lot in more ways than one.
As a matter of convenience to yourself, you may like to give consideration to the following:Economy A320 seating preferences i.e if you are a tall person, you may prefer the middle section over the wings, which has more leg room or you may prefer the front or rear section or perhaps a window or isle seat but maybe not too close to the toilets.
You will find under the appropiate headings where I have listed a number of accommodation ideas for you to discuss with your travel agent regarding best locations to suit people in your age group, your interests and non interests plus the depth of your pockets; tours; money issues; recommended restaurants; relevant websites on accommodation choices for you to check out plus anything else important to you for discussion with your agent, such as Travel Insurance for example.
Information like the ideal location for your age group, whether you prefer surf beaches on the West coast or the calmer waters on the East side of the island; accommodation costs and anything you want to know about villas; apartments; hotels and airline bookings will not only confuse you at this stage, it will also keep you very busy on the internet for hours and even days, weeks or months. And you still have an excellent chance of getting it wrong!
So why not avoid all of the hassles, pack your bags, grease your wallet, relax and let the experts put a complete and fantastic stress free package together, which no doubt you truly deserve 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: as at 01/01/2017
IMPORTANT: If you already have a passport, please note that it must have more than 6 months to run before the expiry date is due. If not, you will be turned away at the airport and informed that you are unable to travel anywhere overseas until you have renewed your 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 and applies from 01/01/2017. Child 16 and under $139 (5yrs), Adults 16 and over $277 (10yrs), People aged 75 years and over $139 (valid for 5 years) (Optional)
(VOA) VISA ON ARRIVAL UPDATE:
Impotant message posted 22/03/2016: It’s official, Australians will no longer be asked to pay US$35 per person (VOA) visa on arrival.
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: “This is most important so please don’t go without it!”
For your best insurance cover, I recommend you purchase your travel insurance policy on the same day as you buy your airline ticket. Why? I hear you ask. The answer is because if you do, it could cover you for unforeseen reasons as to why you are unable to travel on your planned date. Please discuss this point with your travel insurance agent.
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 many motrbike accidents occurring daily in the main and also vehicles to a lesser degree, swimming pools, 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 should also be well covered for whatever illness may decide to visit you in a foreign country.
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 easier for yourself, please keep an excellent account of all your paper work. “Highly 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.
- IMPORTANT: During check in, you will be given a boarding pass. This very important piece Must be handed to Immigration with your passport on arrival in Bali. (Don’t loose it)
- Passport with more than 6 months before expiry.
- Message posted 22/03/2016. It’s official, Australians will no longer be asked to pay 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 ($50 & $100). 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 scan and save all of the following: your passport, airline tickets, credit card, insurance cover, and accommodation documents. You should send copies to a relative or close friend at home. Why have 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.
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 but not all personal items are well priced when compared to Australian prices.
IDEAS FOR LADIES
Ladies will find themselves mainly wearing shorts, shirts, sun dress, T/shirts, light tops, or a sarong over bathers. The complete outfit includes sunnies, cap/hat, thongs, casuals 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, casuals, thongs or joggers. If you intend selecting one of my recommended 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 if you want to compete with well dressed gents from Europe for example.
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 casuals, thongs, joggers, sandals and a pair of dress shoes. Gents mainly require casuals, thongs, joggers and one pair of smart casual shoes.
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 and 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 do this, is obviously more room for all of your shopping on your return home. By 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.
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, which is the main reason for being early. 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 oblige 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.
Outgoing 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.
NYEPI DAY 2014: March 31st. 2015: March 21st. 2016:March 9th 2017: March 28th 2018: March 17th.
Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar (in 2016, it falls on March 9). It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New Year’s Day.
Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes.
Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from the restrictions. Although they are free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles responding to life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.
On the day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another.
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.
- 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.
- Message posted 22/03/2016.It’s official, Australians will no longer be asked to pay US$35 per person (VOA) visa on arrival.
- Remember to scan and retain copies of all your travel documents and leave copies with a relative or friend.
- You should also have a scanned copy to access 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.