Settle all prices beforehand, otherwise you must pay the price demanded. When shopping, don’t ask the price or make an ofter unless you intend to buy
Dress up rather than down. You are afforded special guest status as a foreigner, so don’t abuse it. Old faded or torn clothes, bared thighs and excessively “native” dress are considered bad from.
Keep all valuables out of sight and preferably locked up. The Balinese have a strong sense of pride and consider temptation an affront, suspicion an insult.
Wear a temple sash whenever entering a temple, and expect to pay a token entrance fee to the custodian. Behave with reverence and deference.
Air: Bali’s Ngurah Rai International airport, which stradedles the narrow Tuban Isthmus in the south of the island, is served by many daily flights from Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and various other cities in Indonesia.
Several weekly international flights arrive directly from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin in Australia (Qantas and Garuda). Only Garuda flies here from Europe and Singapore, with a stopover first in Jakarta. Other international airlines fly only as far as Jakarta and you must then transfer to Garuda to reach Bali. Flights to Bali from Jakarta’s Cengkareng International Airport are frequent throughout the day, and you can easily catch a connection if you arrive before 6 p.m.
Train: From Jakarta, Bandung or Yogyakarta travel first to Surabaya (see Java: “Trains” above) and change over here to the Mutiara Timur, a non air conditioned train bound for Banyuwangi, at Java’s eastern tip. Choose from two daily departures from Surabaya’s Gubeng Station, at 11 a.m. and 9.30 p.m. Fare is US$3.50 second class, US$2.50 third class as far as Banyuwangi (an 8 hour journey). From here a bus takes you across the straits on the ferry and over to Denpasar for US$1, and an extra 4 hours.
Bus: With improved roads, the bus is now faster than the train. Air conditioned buses from Surabaya (a 10 to 12 hour trip) to Denpasar cost about US$8, non air conditioned buses are US$5. From Yogya (15 – 16 hours) the fare is US$9 to US$12.
Balinese roads are a parade ground, used for escorting village deities to the sea, for funeral cremation processions, for performences of a trans island barong dance. They are also now increasingly crowded. The volume of traffic has increased dramatically over the past two decades. In the end, the best way to see Bali is on foot. Away from the busy main roads, the siland takes on an entirely different complexion.
Taxi: There is a taxi service from the airport, with fares ranging from US$3 (to nearby Kuta Beach) on up to US$10 (to Ubud). To Sanur, Denpasar and Nusa Dua costs between US$5 and US$7.
Taxis and mini buses are for hire at every hotel (and in front of the Hyatt), just with a driver, or with an English speaking driver?guide. Rates are US$2 to US$4 per hour (a hour minimum) and US$30 to US$40 per day, more for air conditioning, newer cars and long journeys. Often there is little different (other than the price) between renting a car and going on a professionally guided tour, as many drivers speak good english. Below is a sample of rates for simple one way drop (you will have to negotiate a bit more for round trip excursions with stops):
- Sanur – Denpasar US$3
- Sanur – Besakih US$20
- Sanur – Kintamani US$18
- Sanur – Ubud US$5
- Sanur – Kuta US$5
- Sanur – Uluwatu US$12
The most commonly rented vehicles are old beat up VW Safari convertibles (US$30 per day/US$40). You buy the gas. Buy the extra insurance too. Book a car through your hotel or directly from any of the companies listed below. Test drive the car before paying.
- Bali Wisata, Jl. Imam Bonjol, Kuta, Tel: 24479.
- Bali Car Rental, Jl. By-pass Ngurah Rai, Sanur, Tel: 8550, 8359.
- Utama Motors, Jl. Imam Bonjol, Kuta, Tel: 22073.
Motorcyles: Motorcycles are convenient and inexpensive. But the roads are crowled and traffic is dangerous – your chanes of an accident are uncomfortably high. Each year several tourists are killed in motorbike accidents, and many mpre are injured. If you do rent a bike, ride slowly and defensively.
The cost of hiring a motorbike is usually a matter of bargaining, and varies greatly. The usual price of a 100cc or 125cc machine is US$3 to US$6 per day, or US$20 to US$30 per week (paid in advance). You provide the gas. Any hotel can arrange a rental for you, and it is a good idea to buy insurance also, so that you are not responsible for damages to the bike in case of an accident. Be sure to test drive it.
You must posses an International Driving Permit valid for morotcycles, or else spend a morning at the Denpasar Police (see map) to get a Temporary Permit (valid for one month only on Bali). This entails passing a driving test and paying an administrative fee of US$4. Bring along your passport and three photos, plus your own auto driving license from your home century (or a doctor’s certificate indicating that you are fir to drive a vehicle). Normally the person who rents you the bike will accompany you to the police station. Get there early and practise driving slowly in small circles beforehand.
Public Mini Buses / Buses: The local system of pick up and mini buses (collectively known as bemos) and intra island buses is efficient and inexpensive. You can get from one end of the island to the other for less than US$2. In addition, almost every bemo on the road in Bali may be hired by the trip or by the day, you just trll the dirve where you want to go and then agree on a price. Most drivers are willing to go anywhere on the island for US$25 to US$30 a day (which is what they normally make hauling passengers).
These are four bus/bemo terminals in denpasar serving points to the south, west, north and east of the city. Rather than taking a taxi from the airport, you can just walk out to the road and catch a local bemo to Kuta (Rp 25000) or denpasar (Rp 50000).
All Inter City Buses leave from Suci terminal on Jl. Hasannudin, and the bus companies have their offices here.
Tour / Travel Agents
Daily bus tours, with informed multilingual guides are run by many travel agencies. Prices range from US$6 to US7 for a half day jaunt to Ubud or Sangeh / Mengwi, and up to US$15 to US$20 for a full days cross island trip up to Kintamani or Besakih, including a barong dance in Batubulan, lunch and several stops at shops and temples.
You can also plan your own guided tour, in an air conditioned car with a chauffeur / guide, which allows you to decide the itinerary and the amount of time spent at each stop (US$30 to US$60). The most experienced agents for the demanding traveller are BIL and Pacto. Perema’s and other in Kuta provide budget group tours in mini buses.
- Bali Holiday, Tanjung Bungkak, Denpasar, Tel; 24000.
- Bali Indonesia Ltd, Hotel Tanjung, Denpasar, Tel; 22634.
- Ida’s Tour, Ida Beach Inn, Kuta, Tel; 8781 ext 44.
- Natrabu, Jl. Kecubung 78, Denpasar, Tel; 25448.
- Nitour, Jl. Veteran 5, Denpasar, Tel;22849, 22593.
- Pacto, Jl. Tanjung Sari, Sanur, Tel; 8247.
- Udaya Tour, Jl. Raya Sanur, Denpasar, Tel; 8564.
- Universal Travel Service, Jl. Diponegoro 32. Denpasar, Tel; 24305, 22110.
Public performances are also given at various central locations all over the island. These are mainly for the tourists only. Some of the best dancers and musicinas in Bali participate in tourist performances, and for them it’s good source of income.
- Kecak Dance
- Ayoda Pura, Tanjung Bungkak
- Banjar Taman, Sanur
- Banjar Legian, Kelod
- Banjar Buni
- Bona, Gianyar
- Abian Kapas Art Centre
- Ramayana Ballet
- Ayoda Pura, Tanjung Bungkak
- Pemecutan Palace Hotel
- Banjar Pengaretan, Kuta
- Indra Prasta, Kuta
- Barong Dance
- Banjar Seminyak, Legian
- Saha Dewa, Batubulan
- Legon Dance
- Puri Agung, Peliatan
- Ayoda Pura, Tanjung Bungkak
- Pemecutan Palace Hotel, Denpasar
- Indra Prasta, Kuta
Trance dance / Fire Walking
The following hotels also have regular evening:
dinner shows with dances:
- Bali Hyatt Hotel, Sanur
- Hotel Bali Beach, Sanur
- Bali Seaside Cottage, Sanur
- Nusa Dua Hotel, Nusa Dua
- Sanur Beach Hotel, Sanur
Bali is a great place to shop. Hundreds of boutiques and roadside stall have set up all over the island, and thousands of artisans, craftsmen, seamstresses, painters are busy supplying the tourist demand.
Woodcarvings: You are sure to find good woodcarvings in the shops along the main roads in Mas (Ida Bagus Tilem’s Gallery and Museum is well known). Also try the villages of Pujung (past Tegalalang north of Ubud), Batuan and Jati. All types of indigenous wood, ranging from the butter coloured jackwood to inexpensive bespeckled coconut, are sculpted here in bold designs which set the standards for carvers elsewhere on the island. Wood imported from other island – buff hibiscus, rich brown javanese teak and black Sulawesian ebony are also hewn into delicate forms by Balinese craftsmen. Hunt for antique woodcarving that once adorned gilded temple pavilions or royal palaces, in shops in Kuta, Sanur and on the main street of Klungkung.
Painting: The artist’s centre is Ubud, including the surrounding villages of Pengosekan, Penestanan, Sanggingan, Peliatan, Mas and Batuan. The famous Neka Gallery and Museum and the Puri Lukisan Museum, both in Ubud, will give you an idea of the range of styles and the artistry achieved by the best painters. Then visit some of the other galleries in the area: Gallery Munut, Gallery Agung and the gallery of the Pengosekan Community of Artists. Examples from every school of painting active in Bali are found here as well as canvasses of young artists portraying festivals and dancers.
For quality works of art, seek out the gallery homes of well known artist in Ubud such as Antonio Blanco, Hans Snel, Wayan Rendi, Arie Smit and the late, great I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. In other villages, seek out Mokoh and I Made Budi (Batuan).
For traditional astrological calendars and iderider strips of cotton, a foot wide and 15 feet long which are suspended from the eaves of shrines during temple ceremonies – paintings in the so called wayang style, visit Kamasan, just south of Klungkung. This style has been around for many centuries and some of the paintings are antique. Examples are found in Klungkun and in many antique shops.
Stone Carving: For traditional sand stone carvings, stop at the workshops in Batubulan. And Wayang Cemul, an Ubud stone carver with an international following, has a house full of his own creations.
Textile: For batik clothing, try the many boutiques in Kuta Beach. Brocades that gleam like gold lame, and also the simpler, handloomed sarung cloths, are sold in every village. Gianyar is the home of the handloom industry, but the villages of Blayu, Sideman, Mengwi, Batuan, Gelgel, Tenganan and Ubud all produce their own style of wearings.
Gold and Silver: The centres for metal working are Celuk and Kamasan, where all such ornaments are on sale at reasonable prices. Kuta is another centre for export gold and silver wares. For traditional balinese jewellery, visit the shop on Jl. Sulawesi and Jl. Kartini in Denpasar.
Handicrafts: Bamboo implements, wayang kulit figures and ornaments made of coconut shell and teakwood are sold at most souvenir shops. Bone carving can be had for good prices at Tampaksiring, while plaited hats and baskets are the specialty of the women of Bedulu and Bona. Sukawati market and the row of stands opposite Goa Gajah are the best places to buy baskets. Klungkung market also has some finely worked traditional wares.
The Handicrafts Centre (Sanggraha Karya Hasta) in Tohpati, Denpasar, has a collection of handicrafts from Bali and the other island of Indonesia, such as baskets and weavings. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closed on Monday. The morning market at Pasar Badung in Denpasar is also an eye opener. Coral Lined alleys lead to a ceremonial knick knacks section selling baskets of every shape and size.
Antiques: Try the shopping arcades of major hotels for truly outstanding pieces (at outstanding prices). In Kuta, Anang’s and the East West Artshop have the best collection of antiques and primitive artifacts.
In Denpasar, there are several antique shops along Jl. Gajah Mada up near the town squere end. Also on Jl. Arjuna, Jl. Dresna, Jl. Veteran and Jl. Gianyar. In Sanur, the shops are along Jl. Sanur.
The many antique shops adjacent to the Kreta Gosa in Klungkung house collections of rare Chinese porcelains, old Kamasan wayang style paintings, antique jewellry and Balinese weavings. Prices are reasonable. Singaraja has some of the best antique shops in Bali, too. They are all on the main roads of this northern city.
Pottery: Some unusual pottery is manufactured at the village of Pejaten in the district of Tabanan abput 20 km (12 miles) west of Denpasar. Here, the villagers create striking figurines with twisted limbs and grotesque, bodies out of terracotta, as they have done for many generations. Beautiful glazed ceremics are also being produced now in Batu Jimbar, Sanur.
Nightlife on the Sanur side is relatively tame. There are cocktail lounges with live music at some of the larger hotels. The Hotel Bali Beach, whose Bali Hai supper club offers razzmatazz international entertainers straight out of Las vegas. The Bali Hyatt has a plush disco, the Matahari with deejays and music provided by Juliana’s of London.
Also in Sanur, the Karya Restaurant, the Purnama Terrace (in the Bali Hyatt) and the Kul Kul Restaurant (book for the Frog Dance night), are the island’s best veneus for dinner and a show under, the stars. The Nusa Dua Hotel at night is a spectacle in its own right – go there for its Ramayana Night and dine in opera box – like seats seurrounding an open – air stage.
For hot, pulsating nightlife with loud, gyrating crowds and ear – shattering music, make your way on over to the Kuta Beach side. This formerly somnambulant beach village is now on the go day and night. A number of watering holes along Jl. Legian and Jl. Bumi sari stay open as long as there are people, Casablanca and The Pub, to mention just two, serve chilled Bintang beer in chilled mugs – a beer drinker’s paradise.
Some of the Kuta disco keep going till dawn, after which you can go down to the beach to watch the spectacular sunrise – quite a common pastime in Kuta. The Sand Bar on Jl. Legian is a popular hangout with an even mix of leaping locals and Autralians. If you’re in Legian, then head for the Rum Jungle – an open air dance floor adorned with vines and creepers and packed with gyrating bodies. Farther down, in Seminyak, the happening place on Saturday nights is Chez Gado – Gado by the beach.
Golf: There are two golf courses on the island. The Hotel Bali Beach in Sanur has a small nine hole course that can be used for a fee. But the serious golfer will want to visit the Bali Handara Country Club at Bedugal. This 18 hole championship course was designed by Peter Thompson and is perhaps the only course in the world set inside a volcano. Green fees are US$45 per day on the weekends, US$30 during the week.
The swimming pools at most of the larger hotels may be used by non guests for a fee ranging from US$1.50 to US$5 per day.
Aquatic Sports: Surfing, Diving, Spearfishing, Wind-surfing and Deep Sea Fishing have all become very popular in Bali. Nusa Lembongan, the small island directly opposite Sanur has developed into a haven for surfers and divers alike. Group charters and safari tours are available, together with equipment and instruction if needed. A complete scuba outfit and a ride out to the reef at Sanur can be had for as little as US$20 a person for a group of five or more (US$40 for just one). Contact Nyoman at Bali Aquatic Spirts in Kuta (in the La Barong Bar). Also in Kuta, try Gloria Maris (Jl. Airport) and Nusa Lembongan Tpurs (at the Happy Restaurant).
For the best surfing, go down to Ulu Watu on the eastern side of the southern Bukit Peninsula.
Emergency: In the event of emergency, you can call an Ambulance by dailing 118. Every village in Bali now has a small government clinic called Puskesmas, but for major problems visit one of the hotel clinics or one of the public hospitals in Denpasar.
Pharmacies (Apotik): Most pharmacies are open daily 8.a.m. to 6 p.m. Pharmacies also stay open late at night, on Sundays and Holidays on a rotation system in Denpasar. Check the Bali Post or ask your hotel to call.
- Kimia Farma, Jl. Diponegoro 43, Denpasar, Tel: 22376, 22640.
- Kosala Farma, Jl. Kartini 106, Denpasar, Tel: 22301.
- Ria Farma, Jl. Veteran 43, Denpasar, Tel: 22635, 24154.
- Bali Farma, Jl. Melati 9, Denpasar, Tel: 22878, 22918.
- Durga Yusa, Jl. Surapati 23, Denpasar, Tel: 22267.
- Sadha Karya, Jl. Gajah Mada 85, Denpasar, Tel: 24009.
- In Kuta, there is an apotik on the main road to the airport. In Sanur, try Farmasari, Jl. Banjar Taman.
- Bouraq, Jl. Kamboja 45, Denpasar, Tel: 22252.
- Cathay Pacific, Hotel Bali Beach, Sanur, Tel: 8576.
- Garuda, Jl. Melati 61, Denpasar, Tel: 22028.
- Merpati, Jl. Melati 57, Denpasar, Tel: 22864.
- Qantas, Hotel Bali Beach, Sanur, Tel: 8511.
- Simpati, Hotel Bali Beach, Sanur, Tel: 8511.
- Thai International, Hotel Bali Beach, Sanur, Tel: 8511.