Before I start, let me be very clear that these are based on my personal experience as an Indian going to Bali. One may find few stuff not at par with their own experience. This blog is to provide information to 1st time travelers.
Bali is around 8,519 KM from Delhi (Air Distance) and you may find some very cheap travel options from various travel sites. The best way is to call them and negotiate on the price. You may get the same airline on both sides or a mix and match depending on the availability and budget. We got Air Asia while going and Air Malindo on our return. The most pocket friendly flight is Delhi-KL-Bali and Bali-KL-Delhi. Best time to visit May- September. You need at-least 10-12 days in Bali. Plan your trip is advance and check for google map for distance from your hotel. it is advisable to stay is two places so you don't have to cover very long distance. The place is the full of Australian tourist throughout the year.
If you are travelling from Delhi NCR and the fight timings falls in between 10 am- 10pm, leave from home at least 4 hours prior the scheduled checkin. It’s always better to wait inside the airport rather than to miss the flight because of traffic. If you are hungry, do carry some food because food court in International terminal is quite expensive. Even a burger from McDonalds will cost you 30% more than any outlet outside.
Cabin Baggage- The bag or any other luggage you wish to carry with you inside the cabin where you will sit. The capacity should not be more than 7kg. Well normally they don’t weight this baggage, but it is advisable to keep it under the prescribed limitations. LCC’s are getting strict on the weight of cabin baggage so DON’T take any chance.
Check-in-Baggage- The big suitcase that will go in the cargo section of the aircraft at the time you will get boarding pass. The prescribed weight is 20kg in most LCC’s.
The best way to avoid any last-minute surprises is to read the baggage warnings from their website. Rules can change in 24 hrs without notice, so do check it once again before you step out from your house, especially about the warnings on the kind of battery and power banks allowed in baggage.
I suggest taking Air Malendo for both sides or any other airline which includes food and drinks in the ticket price.
Currency and Exchange- Bali is very cheap INR 500is their IDR 100000 but hold on don’t be fooled by the conversion rate. Things are not that cheap and I felt that we paid at par what we pay in India. For example, the scooter costed us IDR 50000/ day which is Rs.250. You will never get the exact exchange shown in Google and they will keep some as an exchange fee. IDR (Indonesia Rupiah).
The best way is to buy dollars and exchange the same in Bali for a good return value. Do carry small denominations for example if you are going with USD 500 so carry two 100’s, four 50’s and rest all 10's. Exchange centers will exchange the full amount. For example, you have USD 100 but the requirement is to exchange USD 50, they will not return the other half. You must go for the whole USD 100.
DO not use debit card or credit card from cash from ATM as the chances of failed transactions are pretty high. The exchange price in Denpasar Airport is not good. Hence it ay be wise to exchange only a small amount at airport to pay your taxi fare. ALWAYS exchange money from a recognized money exchange center like “Central Kuta Money Exchange”. There might be small shacks, offering much better rates but they might fool you very easily. There are certified money exchange centers in every corner.
UBER- If you don’t have Uber App in your phone, I suggest download one and use it. From Airport to Kuta, taxi operators would act like mafia and will charge anything between IDR 3,00,000 to IDR 4,00,000 which is around Rs.1500 to Rs.2000 for 4-5 km of distance. The actual fare in Uber is not more than IDR 23,000-IDR 50,000 depending on the traffic. Before you book UBER please check where is the pickup point. I suggest only go for USD 15 (depending on the distance you are travelling) which is around IDR 2,00,000 in exchange you will get IDR 1,80,000 (Approx)
Driver License- Please carry an international driver's license. If you already have one, recheck if it is valid for Bali or not. Indian local license is NOT valid in Bali, so I suggest you get an International license from RTO office which costed me Rs.1200 and 1 hour. The validity of the license is 1 year. The cops in Bali can be nice and sometimes corrupt as well. If you are caught, the 1st thing they will ask for is your International License. Do not try to fool them or argue with them, they are much smarter than you and remember you are in in THEIR country, not the other way around. Always wear you helmets, do not jump traffic lights, and watch for road signs. They will fine you if you even step an inch ahead the marked line. Travelers are like jackpot for them and you may end up paying a staggering amount. Normally they will not stop you without any reason but avoid breaking any law.
Note- There will be travelers who will say “Kuch nahi hota yaar” but please remember a tweet to Sushma Swaraj will not help either.
Roads- The conditions of road in Bali is too good, we did not spot a single pothole in our 6-day trip. Apart from Kuta and the connecting 4 km bridge to Nusa Dua most of the roads are very narrow and traffic jams are very common. But still cars and big vehicle never overtake and keep the two-wheeler way free. However that does not mean that two-wheeler ride is worry free. While returning from Tanah Lot, we also got stuck is traffic for 45 minutes. Imagine the condition of people travelling is tourist bus and cars.
Scooter- You can rent a scooter for full day starting IDR 60,000 to IDR 100,000 depending on the condition of the bike. Always check the vehicle papers like registration, insurance and make it a point to save the number and address of the owner. Dial the number once and check if it is working.
Before taking the scooter take a small trail and check for brakes, headlight, fuel meter, speedometer and indicators. Check the tyre condition do not accept very old scooter. Petrol is very cheap, and you will get a liter in IDR 7000 which is around Rs.30 in Indian Currency. Fill your tank before starting any trip and you can get petrol from fueling stations or from small road side shops (Identification will be glass bottles on display).
International Calling Card- Buy it from India, you will easily get it in between Rs.1200-Rs.1500. The service provider you will get is “Three”. Do not buy it from Bali airport as it will be thrice the price. International calling cards from India is pre-loaded with data and talk time. Make sure you have at least 5 GB of data because you would depend on Google Maps for navigation.
Food- Bali is 98% non-vegetarian so vegan and vegetarians may have a tough time. Handful of so called Indian restaurants exist which are little overpriced. The best option is to carry precooked meal packets. You can also request restaurants to cook noodles for you without egg or meat.
Conclusion- Bali is a very beautiful island and people are very nice and humble. They really respect all tourists. The best part- They treat cleanness a way of worship and you will be surprised to see how clean the roads and tourist places. Few tips
1. Always keep a good power bank.
2. No VISA or migrations process requirement for Indians travelling to Bali for 30 days.
3. Keep the number of your hotel, scooter shop and Indian Embassy located in Jakarta.
4. Respect the traffic rules.
5. Bali is a very safe place but still avoid driving late night and walking in dark lanes.
6. Do not argue with shop keepers.
7. Keep some medicines and a first aid kit.
8. Always keep a copy of your passport and driving license in your hotel
room. While enjoying on the beach keep an eye on your belongings and use a waterproof bag.
9. Keep some USD in your hotel, do not carry all the cash with you.
10. Always carry a torch, some food and water in your backpack.
10. Always carry a torch, some food and water in your backpack.
NOTE- Please make sure not to carry any packet or merchandise without checking the content while leaving from the island. Drugs is a huge problem and the only punishment is DEATH. The Indonesian Govt is very strict towards the death punishment. in 2015 two Australians were executed by firing squad even after repeated appeal from the Australian govt.