Om Swastiastu is a common greeting of the Balinese people. It means: I hope that all good comes to you from all directions! What a wonderful place. The smell of incense is in the air everyday. The people smile. The food is fresh, the air is clean…so long as you are not on a scooter in traffic! We spent a month in Bali and fell in love with the place and are already looking for reasons to go back. Our trip was split in time between two areas: Canggu and Ubud. Both had similarities and also their respective differences making our trip to Bali enjoyable and diverse.
The intention of this page is to provide links to the various places we went and recommend as well as provide resources that we found useful along the way. We understand that we don’t have ALL the information, but what we do have will be helpful to those travelling to Bali!
The money in Bali is the RUPIAH or IDR and at the time of our travel converted as $1 CAD = 10,000 IDR (an easy way to keep this figured out while there is to remove all the zero’s, so 10,000 rupiahs is approximately 1 dollar.)
It’s always best to check the official exchange rate at www.xe.com. Then you’ll have an idea of what a realistic rate should be. If the rate on offer is higher than XE.COM then it is most likely a scam.
Be aware that if you are changing USD bank notes, banks and money changers are VERY PARTICULAR about the quality of the bills. $100 bills will get you the best rate (usually posted), and smaller bills will trade at a discount (not posted). Bills must be in PERFECT condition, with no rips, tears, marks or creases, and must be printed no earlier than 2007.
- ATMs dispense Rupiah only, and it comes in either Rp 50,000 and 100,000 notes: it will say on the outside of the machine. For Rp 100,000 machines, the maximum amount per transaction is usually 2 (or rarely, 3) million — it’s limited by how many bills can physically be pushed through the dispenser.
- Take Your Money & Your Card – Please be aware that the money typically comes out BEFORE the card. Many an unwary traveller has left their card behind. The next person then walks up – the machine asks “do you want another transaction?” and they press “yes” thereby make a dent in your account.
Indonesia does a Visa on Arrival for most countries. Make sure you have $25/USD cash for your visa on arrival per person when you enter the country, and 200,000/RP ($20) per person for your exit when you are leaving the country.
The water in Bali is not safe to drink. It is suggested to drink only bottled or purified water. Also, there is a large wild dog population which are generally timid however do pose risk of carrying communicable diseases.
Scooter: We found the best way to be by scooter and we found that the most to pay per day was 50,000RP ($5) but we bargained for 40,000RP. They are usually available from whichever place you are staying and if not can be found on almost any street. Be sure to wear a helmet which will come with you scooter rental, and try not to have anything hanging off of you (i.e. purse) while riding around as this can be a target for a quick grab which can be extremely dangerous if you are moving. We easily rode on one scooter together. Gas is extremely cheap ($2 tank) which should last anywhere from 2-4 days depending on how far you go and can be purchased either at a petrol station (they fill for you) or on the street for 7,000RP per litre.
It is also advisable to have an International Driver’s License if you plan on renting a scooter as it will be asked for when you get asked to pull over from a police officer. Not having one will (not could) cost you money and the amount will be at the discretion of the officer asking for payment on the spot.
Driver: Another method is to hire a driver. We used drivers to get us to and from the airport and in between locations where we were staying (i.e. Canggu-Ubud). These were arranged by the people who were hosting our stay at every place and you can bet that pretty much anyone with a car and some spare time will be your driver for the right amount of money! We never paid more than 250,000RP for a driver one way and our longest destination was half an hour away and make sure to agree on price prior to departure.
Taxi: The taxis are not marked typically like we are used to with distinguishing colours and signs on top. It is usually a guy at the side of the road with a sign that reads “TAXI” and asking if you need a ride. You say “no”. He says, “How about tomorrow?” It’s best as with any place to decide on the price prior to departure.
AirBnB: As mentioned in “what do we like”, this website is a great resource to find accommodation if you are heading to the island for the first time. There are so many places to stay and choose from at a great price and most people are very responsive even the locals who are hosting. Be clear on what it is you are looking for as well as your expectations for amenities etc. If you don’t get a clear response, choose another place that will give you one, there are many options!
Home Stay: Another great way to travel is by home stay. This is where a local family has a room or multiple rooms and are willing to rent them out to travellers like yourself! The local people although difficult to communicate with sometimes are very accommodating, courteous, respectful and pleasant to say the least to be around. You will most likely find this to be the least expensive option when travelling to Bali. The easiest way to find a home stay is to find one by driving through the areas which you would like to stay in or around. Perhaps booking a night or two at a hotel while looking for a home stay would be advisable, however if you’re feeling adventurous just show up and start looking! You won’t be disappointed.
We were fortunate to meet through a friend a wonderful woman who runs tours all over Bali and has been in the industry for 20+ years! She is knowledgable about the culture and traditions (being a Balinese woman herself), and can take you to Mt. Batur if you want to watch the sunrise, or to Tampak Siring if you want to participate in a traditional temple water purification. Click HERE for a top ten attraction list in Bali. She will arrange everything from food to transport and fulfill any and all of your requests and needs. She even has an amazing silver jewellery store where you can purchase rare gemstones found on the mountain of the volcano! You can send her a personal message on Facebook and she will get back to you very shortly.
You can drop off your laundry to be cleaned in a bag at any local laundromat. You will see them when driving around and offer great service. For both of our laundry to be separated, washed, dried, pressed and folded was at most 25,000RP ($2.50).
BALIANS (Traditional Balinese Healers):
There are many healers in Bali. It seems to be a part of their culture. Some may be real, some may not. You can tell which ones are legitimate by the number of locals which go to visit them, or the expats and visitors from abroad which have experienced remarkable results not achieved through Western medicine. Healers in Bali do not ask for money. They give their gifts as gifts however accept donations.
Canggu: 27 Jalan Pantai Berawa, healer who has lineups every day out the door. Go early. By donation 100,000RP recommended.
Ubud: No. 21 Jalan Sugriwa, ‘Papa’ is a master of reflexology. Most painful experience with amazing results, must see. By donation as well 150-200,000RP recommended.
Gianyar: High Priestess Ida Resi Alit for water purification/soul cleansing. She is the only female High Priestess in Bali and the experience of purification is unlike anything we have experienced before. Mystical doesn’t even come close to explaining it. You can find her webpage HERE for more info.
PLACES WE VISITED AND ATTRACTIONS FROM EACH:
Canggu: Mostly known for its laid back feeling and surfing beaches, Canggu is a great place to stay outside of the busy downtown area of Kuta or Denpassar. We booked a room on AirBnB for our first few nights to get situated and then moved on to a nicer villa for the remaining 10 days or so. We did a couple of tours from this area and found some great restaurants to eat at as well as yoga. Note the link to accommodation will take you to our hosts page who has many great options to suit any of your needs! Don’t forget to grab a young coconut from a stand, it shouldn’t cost more than 10,000RP! Our recommendations are as follows:
MORGAN AIRBNB (AIRBNB HOST)
THE BETELNUT CAFE (FOOD)
MONSIEUR SPOON (BAKERY)
BALI BUDA (FOOD)
GREEN GINGER (FOOD)
VILLA SERENITY YOGA (Micky – Teacher) (YOGA/WELLNESS)
Ubud: We rented a villa for 2 fantastic heart opening weeks in Ubud. This place exudes health, peace and well being. There are so many great places to eat. The people seem to be all like minded. There is literally something different about this town. Definitely take a tour through the Monkey Forest, just make sure you aren’t hiding any food! Grab a scooter and journey around town, don’t be afraid to get lost…you never know what you might find.
SANDAT BALI (excellent home stay & home of ‘Papa’)
BALI BUDA (FOOD)
SEEDS OF LIFE (FOOD)
CLEAR CAFE (FOOD)
SENIMAN CAFE (CAFE)
TACO CASA (FOOD)
YOGA BARN (YOGA/WELLNESS)
MONKEY FOREST (ATTRACTION)