Survival Tips for Bali

23 Survival tips for Bali:

Having promised the kids an overseas holiday, Bali was the ideal choice. The most expensive part is the flights and accommodation – although there are plenty of bargains to be had. Day to day living expenses are cheap. Whilst there, I wrote some “notes to self’ to share with our readers.

  1. Bring your own tea bags and coffee (if you are committed to having good tea or coffee in your room each morning).
  2. Don’t bother packing snacks for kids to take along; there are plenty of little shops. The brand name is Circle K. They offer snack items similar to what you would find at a 7eleven. Vegemite is readily available.


  3. We were advised by our connection at Bali that the safest ATM’s were BCA and Commonwealth Bank – since returning we have not had problems with any balances.
  4. Exchange some money before arriving in Bali for the taxes that you have to pay at the airport in Bali, otherwise the exchange rate was better in Bali. Arrival tax is around $35 USD.
  5. Expect to take 2-3 hours to get processed through the various lines in peak hour arrival.
  6. We noticed when we arrived at the airport that there was limited signage and no seating as it was a new airport, however this may have changed since.
  7. Departure is completely different- lots of shops and places to eat.
  8. Don’t forget to pack a pen with your passport; you will need it for filling out forms with arrival and departure.
  9. You need to carry cash to the markets so make sure you have plenty on hand.
  10. Bushman’s was the best repellent for my family and I. You can hop in and out of the pool and know you are covered. In the case of my son, he came home with no less than 20 mosquito bites because he would go off with his father and not think to put repellent on. Also make sure you have some sort of repellent packed with each person in case you do split and go your own way. Biggest concern is Dengue. There were a lot of mosquitoes around December.
  11. Rainy season is December to March; it is hot and humid and rains every day. Not good for snorkelling as the rain washes the rubbish from inland into the seaways.
  12. The law in Bali bans smoking in restaurants, but it is not policed. Don’t be too surprised to have smokers sitting on the next table.
  13. Use of seatbelts are also not policed, the tour operators will tell you that it is “for decoration”. Wear them anyway, ( if they are in working order). Balinese people have a fascinating way of making a 2 lane road into 4 lanes. With driving, the attitude is “give a little and take a little”. Using the horn is commonplace to advise drivers around you that your car is near or wanting to share the lane.


  14. There are lots of stray dogs and cats in the streets- make sure you have your rabies shots.
  15. Money is printed on paper – make sure you don’t leave any in your pocket when you go swimming!! Coins are made of aluminium.
  16. Bluebird cabs are metered so if you don’t want to have to bargain for a fare, that is your best option.
  17. Research your accommodation- there are a lot of choices- lots of them are old and ‘tired’ but there are plenty of new ones as well. Better to stay close to the places you plan to visit- otherwise there is additional travel time.
  18. Bali has plenty of Zoos and animal parks- if you love wild life this is the place to be- we experienced close encounters with all sorts of animals!


  19. Pack your gastro kit in with your back pack. Gastro can started while travelling.  My daughter started vomiting when we were in transit at Singapore Airport (yes – not the direct flight to Bali).  Luckily I had my gastro kit in my bag and a spare change of clothes for me!
  20. Balinese people love New Years Day- roads are closed – so don’t bother going anywhere on the day- we sat waiting for our guide for an hour, we started to feel a bit impatient, called our guide- he had spent 3 hours trying to get to us on time, eventually we aborted our day trip that we planned.
  21. Balinese people are extremely polite.
  22. The easiest way to calculate exchange rates for Balinese money is add or subtract 000, for example roughly $30 Australian Dollars is $30 000 Balinese Rupiah – handy to know when you are bargaining and need to convert quickly what you are paying.
  23. We definitely would go back in a flash, we had a fabulous time.


Mirja Vantanen
Health HQ
Registered Nurse
International Certificate in Travel Medicine

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