Download the Grab and Gojek apps and sign up to both before leaving (I did and there was no problem, my boyfriend didn’t sign up before he left and he couldn’t use them) - they’re like Uber and Deliveroo and very useful. Only use taxis via these apps - do not use local taxi companies as they’ll rip you off and can be dodgy!
Note: These apps do not work in the Gili or Nusa Islands.
Don’t buy a physical SIM card in Bali, download the Airalo app and get an Indonesian eSIM. It is easy to install and means you can use the internet for maps, Whatsapp, taxis etc. You cannot use the Grab and Gojek apps without an Indonesian sim so it's important to get one, even if only there for a short stay.
visa on arrival
Make sure to have cash with you when you land for VOA. It costs 500,000 IDR per person. I checked before with a travel advisory and was told card was accepted but it wasn't, and the queue for the ATM in arrivals is very long. The cash doesn’t have to be IDR, they accept some foreign currency such as €, $ and £.
Note: You can do something called airport assistance to speed the process along. We didn't but it might be a good way to beat the queues.
Don’t bother changing money before you arrive - use the ATMs in Bali instead. I read lots of articles before travelling that said you can only find ATMs in the big areas but we never had any problem finding one, wherever we were.
We didn’t have any problems with ATMs but we talked to people who’s cards got eaten by the machine so try to take more than one card with you if possible. Be careful and use common sense - if the machine looks off, don't use it.
Note: The cards can take a while to come out of the machine so make sure not to leave without your card. There are withdrawal limits but you can use the same card multiple times so this shouldn’t be an issue. Few restaurants, hotels etc. take card and if they do it is not contactless. There is also an added charge for using card so it’s better to pay with cash. I used my Revolut card the entire time with no issues.
Luckily my boyfriend and I didn’t get Bali belly but we were careful - we steered clear of street food, we didn't use water when brushing teeth, drank bottled water only (this is pretty standard in all restaurants and hotels/AirBnBs) and if we thought the place looked a little off, we would ask for no ice in our drinks. I was really really worried about getting sick but neither of us did so if you follow these tips, you should be good too! I didn’t eat meat while we were there (I’m pretty much pescatarian anyway - I did eat a lot of fish) but my boyfriend did and he was all good!
Note: I was taking a probiotic for at least a month before going to Bali (unrelated to the trip) and I’ve since heard that taking probiotics for a few weeks before a trip, and during, can help keep Bali belly away so I’d recommend this. You can buy tablets in pharmacies and corner shops called ‘Norit’ which are meant to be very helpful if you’re sick.
Stay away from the stray dogs as they can be aggressive. You'll see them everywhere but do not approach them. We saw a woman being bitten because she was trying to pet one. If you ignore them there won’t be any issues.
Renting a scooter is definitely one of the best ways of getting around Bali. Expect to pay around 50-80k a day in rent. Be careful as the roads are busy and always wear a helmet. I recommend renting a scooter in a quieter area first, such as Nusa Lembongan, to get comfortable with riding before tackling the busier areas.
Note: I’d be wary of using a scooter in Canggu, as the amount of drivers and the traffic is bonkers! It’s easy to get everywhere by foot in Canggu so it’s not really necessary.
Hiring a driver for airport transfers and transfers between towns is a great idea and ensures travel can be as seamless as possible! Yogi is the driver we used and he and his team are great. You can contact him via Whatsapp with all the details of your trip and he’ll sort you out! Check out his Instagram @yogibalidriver
A Bali institution! Most beach and pool clubs have a minimum spend for beds - make sure to check it out before you go, as some are very expensive (although you’d be surprised how quickly you rack up the spend if you’re drinking!!)
Tip where you can. Given that food and travel is so so cheap, tips can make a real difference in Bali. It goes a lot further than it does at home and is so appreciated.