GENERAL INFO
BALI : INDONESIA
Capital: Denpasar

Min. Travel Cost/day: $10-$15, $=Rp9,000-10,000 Aug Sep, 2001

 

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! ATTENTION since our last research trip to Indonesia severe devaluation of the Rupiah means that the prices quoted in this guide are likely to be widely inaccurate. We were planning a research trip in March but have decided to postpone it until the situation stabilizes.
Bali, a small Indonesian island off the W coast of Java, attracts over 1 million tourists every year. Famed for its great natural beauty,a spectacular landscape of volcanoes, rice terraces, rain-forest and beaches. Visitors are also fascinated by Bali's unique culture & traditions, strongly influenced by Hindu, the island's main religion.

Bali, a small Indonesian island off the W coast of Java, attracts over 1 million tourists every year. Famed for its great natural beauty,a spectacular landscape of volcanoes, rice terraces, rain-forest and beaches. Visitors are also fascinated by Bali's unique culture & traditions, strongly influenced by Hindu, the island's main religion.

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LANGUAGE
Official language: Bahasa Indonesian. There is also a local Balinese language based on the Hindu cast system. Basic English is widely understood in tourist areas.

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TIME

 Current time:

Bali, Flores, South and East Kalimantan, Lombok, Sulawesi, Sumba, Sumbawa and Timor: GMT + 8
Java island: GMT +7
Aru, Irian Jaya, Kai, Moluccas and Tanimbar: GMT + 9.

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CLIMATE
Tropical monsoon climate, Hot & humid.
Average temperature 25-30C, 5 degrees lower in high areas.
Wet season: Oct - Apr. Dry Season: May - Sep
High Season Lebaran - end of Ramadan, Independent Holidays(Aug 17) During Indonesian holidays, it is almost impossible to take reserved seat for trains and buses.
Jul-Aug - European holidays, Christmas, New Year- Australian holidays. Prices are more expensive. Bargaining possible outside of high season.


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BASIC TRAVELING COSTS(Rp)
Room Single - Rp20,000
Rest. Indonesian: 4,000+ Western: 9,000+
Mineral water 1.5lt - market Rp2,000, rest. Rp3,000
others:
Coffee (instant) Rp1500 (local) Rp1000
(espresso) Rp4,000-10,000
Big Mac set Rp24,000 Shake Rp2,000
Coke Rp2,000 Beer small Rp6,000+
Breakfast (local.) Rp4,000+ Breakfast (Am.) Rp9,000+
Toilet paper Rp1500? Tooth paste (local) Rp?
Tampons x8 Rp7,500?
(bring with you).
Fuji film (36x100) Rp20,000


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OPENING HOURS
Government Offices - M-Th8:00-15:00, F8:00-12:00,
Sa 8:00-14:00. Shops - 8:00-20:00
Banks - M-F 8:00-15:00, Sat 8:00-12:00

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BANKS/EXCHANGE
Current Rate $1=Rp9,000-10,000Rp (Aug, 2001)
EXCHANGE No commission charged.
Moneychangers rate often higher - Moneychangers in Kuta offer the best rates in Indonesia but Cheating by moneychangers is common in Kuta. Know how much you should get and count your money very carefully.
Cheating techniques: 'fixed' calculators that have been pre-programmed, missing off zeros, rounding numbers down, etc.
Better rates often given for higher denominations. The best rates is cash rate at money changers.
Rate at Airport: About 5% lower than ones in town.
Traveling Money: Generally a mix of options is best - T/C's, some cash in foreign currency (US$ is most popular) and/or a credit/cash card. If you are planning to stay in rural areas you may not be able to change T/C's or find an ATM facility.
T/C US$ is the standard, but checks in all major currencies can be changed. American Express & Visa are the most common. Generally no com. charged. Bank rates are higher for T/c's than cash, moneychangers generally give higher rates for cash. Rates are higher in Kuta.
Cash US$ is most widely accepted. Cash is useful when leaving/entering a country or when banks & moneychangers are closed.
Moneychangers rates are higher for cash than T/c's, they're also give better rates for larger notes - 100's & 50's.
Credit/Cash Cards ATM's can be found in all big cities and many tourist areas. (Listed in local info)
Cash advances against a card can be made in many banks, usually there is a service charge of around Rp5,000 or 5%. Credit cards can be used in some hotels, shops, restaurants & travel agents, sometimes charge - up to 3%.
With ATM machine, usually no charge.
! Warning Credit card fraud occurs, particularly in tourist areas.
! Warning Visa - Delta system in operation at some ATM'S.


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IMMIGRATION/VISA
Passport: must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entry.
Visa: At most entry points, 1 month visa is issuced. $25. (Should have an onward ticket but this rule is not strictly enforced.?)
Visa Extension: (Officially not possible. However there are a few report that it is possible to extend at the Immigration in Denpasar though ITIS has not confirmed it yet.)?
! Warning Bribing is common practice in Indonesia.
If you arrive at immigration without an onward ticket you may be asked for money, particularly late night and early morning when there are few people around.
One woman arrived in Bali without an onward ticket.
She was interviewed, alone in a room with a (male) immigration officer. He asked her for US$50, she gave him A$40, then he tried to kiss her and arrange a date!



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BORDER CROSSING
AIR/airport Denpasar/Ngurah Rai International Airport, 3km S from Kuta.
Departure tax International Rp75,000, Domestic Rp11,000.
Facilities:
Moneychangers, Tourist Info Counter, International telephone/HCD, Left luggage Rp4,000/p/day, over-priced restaurant, over-priced Dunkin Donuts, overpriced souvenir shops.
Flight Prices: see Kuta info
Indonesia has an extensive domestic flight service Garuda Merpati, Sempati, Bouraq & Mandala airlines are the main carriers. Prices are standard, reductions are rare. A 10% tax is usually included in prices listed at Travel Agencies. Student reduction of 25%.
Air pass: One coupon is usually about $100. You have to take Garuda to fly into Indonesia and apply within a certain period. However because of the currency problem, it is much cheaper to buy domestic air tickets with Rupiah.
International tickets: You buy with US$(cash or T/C)
Domestic Tickets: pay with rupiah.

SEA/Seaports
Ferry service every 1-2hrs 24hrs
Gilimanuk - W coast. Main port for ferries to/from Java (Ketapang). Ferry service takes 2 hrs.
Padangbai - E coast. Main port for ferries to/from Lombok(Lembar port) takes 4 hrs.
Boats:
Bounty Cruise:
Benoa to Gili Meno
Barito: Benoa to Surabaya Java, Bima Sumbawa, Maumere Flores, Kupang W Timor.



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NATIONAL TRANSPORT
Transport from Java
Can take bus from most cities on Java through to Denpasar, Lovina and Padangbai, via the ferry between Ketapang (Java) and Gilimanuk (Bali).
There is a bus terminal at Ketapang (Java) 2km? from the port(bemo 1000Rp) and a train station 5 min. walk away with services to/from the main cities in Java.
See Bali Transport Sheet for more details.
Transport around Bali:
Denpasar is the bus(Medium size) and bemo transport center for Bali. Bemos cost 50% more than buses. Over charge is very common for both of them. Major bus station, Ubung in Denpasar and Singaraja bus terminals post the fare list on the window of the office. For some route, it is almost impossible to take a bemo/bus with local price.
Taxi: Metered taxis in Kuta, Sanur, Denpasar.
Ojeks: Motorbike taxis. Bargain before getting on.
Bemo: Mini-vans run on set routes in towns & inter city.
Price varies according to distance, bargain hard.
!Warning: Bemo drivers usually overcharge tourists. Getting local price is almost impossible. There are 2 payment methods: 1) Do like the locals, don't bargain, pay when you get off, - check Bali transport list for prices or ask locals.
2) Negotiate a price before getting on. Either way it will probably be a hassle. You will be asked to pay more if you have a backpack.
Shuttle Bus:
Regular services between main tourist centers on Bali and Lombok. 3 times as expensive as public bemos but very popular - convenient and hassle free. It's possible to stopover at certain towns on a through ticket - eg Padangbai to Kuta, can stop-over in Ubud on route. Must check with office. 2 main shuttle bus operators - Perama & Nomad. Can book at travel agencies and hotels. Pickup at hotels.
Keep the ticket with you. They allow 5-10% discount for your next trip.
Car/bike rental:
Self drive is a great way to get around and explore the island. But driving in Bali is stressful and accidents are common.
Motorbike rental from Rp30-50,000/day. Prices are negotiable, especially for extra days. Check if insurance is included. Wear a helmet & protective clothing..
Bicycles Rp10-20,000/day

Indonesia is a country of islands. If you want to explore real Indonesia, you have to travel cross a sea. Pelni ships connect between remote islands. Traveling with these scheduled boats may be interesting. However it is hard to take them because they don't run frequently, delaying is usual, and it is very uncomfortable because of the low quality.
Traveling with "Adventure Cruise" , traditional sailing boats, may be a good option and gives you a great experience to know the real Indonesia. You also can have opportunities of diving in many spots where independent divers normally cannot reach and trekking/hiking on islands such as Komodo island which costs lots if you take normal tours. Some of this cruise tours are one way so you can come back overland avoiding taking a back track.

There are many boat owners/agents are operating in Indonesia.
The agent below is one of the largest one.
SongLine Cruises of Indonesia: Jalan Kebon Sirih Barat I #43, Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia, T 021-315-8720
USA HP 813-625-5392
info@songlinecruises.com
, http://www.songlinecruises.com/
Their budget boat starts from $40/day including 3 meal and some activities. The office is in the middle of Jl. Jaksa area




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MAIL/TELEPHONES (The price is Old info)
Post offices: M-Sa 08:00-20:00 in large town. M-F only in small towns.
Mail
Postage prices for postcards vary. Size was one reason given for the difference.

Price in Rupiah

Japan UK USA Aust.
Post Card (small) 600 6-900 6-900 600
Letter (10gr) 1,000 1,400 1,500 1,000
Airmail parcel 0.5kg 30,000 40,000 33,700 33,200
1kg 39,000 49,000 46,500 38,600
2kg 52,500 76,000 83,200 55,600
Sea mail parcel 1kg 36,000 33,700 19,800 27,400
3kg 42,400 44,100 36,300 33,200
5kg 49,800 55,200 53,000 40,100
Small package to anywhere: 1kg = 15,000,2kg = 25,000

Telephone
Services are improving. Wartels (Telecommunication Offices) public & private, are everywhere, many are open 24hr. Check local city info.
Payphones: Local calls cost Rp100 (1min.). Domestic and HCD calls only. Very hard to find ones working. Also they accept only old coins. Not practical to use them.
Cardphones: Usually have IDD facility. Common in tourist areas, airports. Phone cards from 75 units - Rp30,000?+, available from Wartels, some kiosks, restaurants & shops with the sign 'Sedia kartu telepon'.
IDD International Direct Dialing: Access Code 001 or 008 + country code + area code + no.
Operator 101, Int Enq 102
IDD facilities are available at Wartels (Telecommunication Offices), many hotels and from most card-phones. There are a few different "grade" of Wartel store. Official Wartels offer HCD/collect call/discount rate. But private ones offer one rate(highest) to each country.
3 different rate. standard, premier, discount.
Charge(3 min.) to Japan Rp15,000, UK/Canada Rp17,000, Rest of Europe Rp20,390, USA Rp15,000;
Australia Rp15,000.
Charge(Fax 1 page) to Japan Rp8,500, UK/Canada Rp9,500, Rest of Europe Rp11,000, USA Rp8,500,
Australia Rp8,500.
! Warning The price varies between companies. Check around
HCD Home Country Direct:
Dial 001 + 801 and the following number.
Australia: 61(Telstra) or 0611(Optus), Canada 16,France 331, Germany 49, Japan 81(KDD) or 0812(IDC), Korea 82(KT) or 0822, Netherlands 31, New Zealand 64, UK 44(BT) or 0441(Mercury), USA 10(AT&T) 11(MCI) or 15(Sprit)


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ACCOMODATION
Cheap hotels are called "losmen". They have usually double rooms only and include free breakfast & tea/coffee. The costs start from 6,000Rp. The more travelers the town has, the cheaper the rooms are. The cheap rooms start from sb d15,000Rp. The acceptable level starts from ab d25,000Rp, often with free bf/tea/coffee.
Indonesian Holidays: X-mas - new year holiday & the end of Ramadan. Independent day holiday. The price may become more than triples Avoid rooms near the mosques. At the time of prey, you will suffer from the incredible large sound from their speakers.


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FOOD
Rice (Nasi) is the basis of most Indonesian meals.
Noodle (Mie) is common in Chinese dishes.
There are many regional specialties.
More expensive international dishes are widely available in the tourist areas.
Street hawkers and Warungs offer the cheapest local food. Check the level of hygiene first
Balinese Specialties
Lawar - Chopped and shredded Papaya, Jackfruit, green beans, coconut and leaves, served with other dishes;
Babi Guling - Roasted pork, stuffed with herbs & rice;
Betubu bebek - Smoked duck; Bubuh Injin - Rice pudding with coconut & fruit
Indonesian Specialities
Sate- charcoal-grilled chicken or mutton pieces usually served with peanut sauce
Nasi goreng- fried rice
Nasi campur- cold rice served with meat, vegetables, tofu and fermented beans
Gado gado-salad with peanut sauce and prawn crackers
Cap cai - fried vegetables
Ayam goreng - fried chicken
Mie Bakso- noodle soup
Rijsttafel - rice with as many as 15 different side dishes.
Deserts
Pisang goreng - banana fritters
Bubur - sweet black rice with coconut milk
Es buhah & es campur - crushed ice with fruits and condensed milk.
Drinks
Kopi - Coffee, local coffee is excellent and cheap, from Rp200. More expensive nescafe and expresso is also available
Fruit juices/shakes are available in every travelers-style restaurant.
Bottled beer, & soft drinks are available everywhere.
Fruits
Rambutan: similar to a lychee, has hairy, red skin.
Durian: huge, smelly, spiky fruit
Nanka (Jack-fruit) similar to Durian, used a lot in cooking.
Manggis (Mangosteen) round, purple fruits with soft white clusters inside - delicious.
Belimbing - star fruit.
Tap Water
Not drinkable. Buy mineral water or purify/boil.
Ice
Ice is generally safe because it is government regulated, but the handling of ice may not be hygienic


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CUSTOMS
Visitors everywhere should try to observe local customs in order not to cause offense.
Listed below are some basic Indonesian customs.
See South East Asia customs page for more details.
Toilet: Squat toilets are normal. Toilet paper is not common - Locals wash with their left hand.
Left hand Considered dirty for reason above.
Always use your right hand to give/receive anything from anyone.
Tipping: Not usual except for porters and at high class hotels & restaurants.
Service tax is often added to bill.
Dress: Modest clothing is appropriate particularly when visiting temples.
Cigarette etiquette: When passing lighted cigarette to someone,Hold the lit end in your palm. It is offensive to point the lit end at other people.
At Temple: Everyone should wear a sash when entering a temple. A sarong is also necessary if legs are not covered. Sash/sarong rental is common at temples but you might as well buy a set.
Women who are menstruating & people with open wounds shouldn't enter temples.
During ceremonies: visitors should show respect, be discreet with cameras & videos.
Getting angry: You should avoid anytime because it means insulting. Getting angry or razing voice does not solve any thing.


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SHOPPING
Department stores and markets have fixed prices but bargaining is usual in markets, stalls and tourist shops.
! Warning Hassle from hawkers is very aggressive in places like Kuta & Kintamani.
Souvenirs
Batik, Ikat, ethnic-style clothing and sarongs, puppets, masks, jewelry, woodcarving, basket ware, paintings and ceramics. Ubud & Kuta are the main shopping centers.
Voltage/Plug type 220 volts, rounded 2 pronged.



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CULTURAL PERFORMANCES
The highlight for many visitors are the superb, highly professional gamelan music & dance performances, based on the ancient Hindu Ramayana & Mahabarata myths.
Though local performances often last many hours, there are many shorter versions performed in the main tourist areas.
Ubud has the largest program. A calendar of performances, explanation & price list, are available from tourist offices & travel agencies.
Music:
The Gamelan orchestra plays at many temple ceremonies, dance and wayang puppet performances.
Gamelan is made up of mainly percussion based traditional instruments.
Dances:
Kecak Also known as 'monkey dance', is a very exciting, male dance.
Though it was first performed in the 30's, it has much earlier origins in Sanghyang trance chanting.
The music accompaniment is not the usual gamelan but a male choir, chanting the distinctive Ke chak-ke-chak sound that gives it its name.
Based on a Ramayana story of King Rama's attempts, with the aide of a monkey army, to rescue his wife Sita, held captive by King Rawana.
Legong An elegant, classical dance accompanied by gamelan, in which the principle dancers are girls or very young women.
Legong tells the story of the plight of Princess Rangkesari, held prisoner by King Lakesmi and Prince Daha's attempt to rescue her.
Barong & Rangda A trance dance that tells the story about the fight between good and evil, good in the form of Barong, a humorous character played by 2 men in a lion-like costume (like a pantomime horse).
Evil in the form of his opponent the Witch Rangda.

Marine Activities

DIVING
Indonesia has many excellent spots through out archipelago because most of them are far from the main tourist area.
Bali: Most common and popular islands. Try east part of the island. Many agents are in Kuta. They take you to various spots around Bali. Padanbai, Candidasa, Amed and Tulamben in E of Bali has many agents.
Lombok: Gili islands are very famous. But recently these 3 islands became too popular.
Flores: Best island which tourists can reach relatively easily but most of the travelers will not come to this island yet. Most of the spots are almost untouched. Agents are at Laban Bajo, west end of the island.
The rest of the Indonesia islands have excellent spots. We do not have any information at this moment.
Adventure Cruise: You may take a boat trip from islands to islands. On the way you can dive at many untouched spots. See Adventure Cruise in National Transport section above.

SURFING
Kuta Beach in Bali is very popular. Many surfer's shops. Easy to rent a board. But for surfers looking for big waves may go to Kuta Lombok on the next island from Bali. Spot X is west from Kuta.




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FESTIVALS
The temple is the center of Balinese festivals and ceremonies.
Most festivals in Bali follow either the Hindu-Javanese, Waku Calendar - 210 day year divided into weeks of 10 days or the Hindu Saka Calendar of 356 days.
Many festivals are held around the full moon period in April and at end of September.
Waku-Calendar Festivals
Odalan festival Held by every temple on its anniversary, every 210th day, lasts 3 days.
With over 20,000 temples on Bali, there are many opportunities to see this festival.
1st day - Procession of the village women to the temple. The women wear traditional clothes, and carry offerings of fruits and rice cakes arranged in a pyramid, on their heads. The food is left at the temple for 3 days then eaten. Gamelan, dance and wayang puppet performances are held in the evenings. Cockfighting also takes place.
Galungan (Balinese New Year) 10 day festival. In honor of the creation of the world.
1st Day - Food offerings are taken to temples. Barong dancing takes place in the evening..
Kuninggan Last day of New Year holiday, ancestors are honored. Temples are decorated with flowers and offerings are made.
Pengerupuk Last day of Balinese Year, according to the Saka calendar. Purification and sacrificial ceremonies at temples are carried out.Priests chant to get rid of demons. In the evening torchlit parades take place featuring monsters and demons. Best in Denpasar.

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FESTIVALS/PUBLIC HOLIDAYS ph = public holiday
Jan 1 ph New Year's Day: On New Year's Eve street festivals and carnivals are held. Paper trumpets are sold and can be heard blown everywhere.
? Imlec Chinese New Year.
Apr 13 ph Wafat Isa Al Masih: Good Friday.(Christian)
Mar 25 ph Nyepi: Balinese Saka New Year & day of silence. torch parade night before.You should stay in your hotel.
Mar 26 ph Muharram: Moslem New Year.
Mar 5 ph Idul Adha: Moslem Day of Sacrifice.
Apr 21? Kartini Day: Women wear national dress to commemorate birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini, founder of womens' rights movement
May 7 ph Hari Raya Waisak Day: Buddha's birth/death, Procession from Candi Mendut to Borobodor held.
May 24 Kenaikan Isa Al Masih: (Christian)
Jul 4 ph Maulud Nabi Muhammad: Birth of Mohammad. Festivities start one week before.
Aug 17 ph Independence Day: Events held throughout the country.
Oct 15 ph Isra Mi'raj Nabi: Prophet Mohammad's Ascension Day.
Nov 15 Ramadan: starts
Dec 15? ph Ramadan: ends
Dec 25 ph Hari Raya Natal: Christmas Day.


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TOURIST CENTERS
Ubud: Bali's cultural center and its most attractive town, is an excellent base for exploring Bali, has some of the best value food and accommodation options in Indonesia.
The beaches
South Bali: Kuta, popular beach resort near the airport, overdeveloped, noisy, hassly, has excellent facilities; Sanur, an up-market resort, with limited interest to the backpacker;
East Bali: Candidasa quieter & less developed than Kuta but without much beach, backpackers are increasingly staying at the nearby small coastal towns of Padangbai & Ahmed, which are not as developed, have beautiful white sand beaches and great snorkeling.
North Bali: Lovina, a black sand beach, popular with backpackers. The place to see dolphins.

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INTERNET
Many in major tourist destination. Kuta, Ubud, Lovina, Padangbai, Candidasa, etc. Prices 100-300Rp/min. The speed is usually slow.

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