A few things to know before you go.
Don’t book all your accommodations for your stay at once.
There are plenty, and I mean PLENTY of options on places to stay. I would suggest pick the first couple nights at a place that sounds good to you, and at that point also ask if they can arrange a taxi pick up for you at the airport as well.
2. Getting a 30+ day visa extension
If you plan on staying over 30 days in Bali (or Indonesia in general) don’t forget to stop off at the visa counter BEFORE you head past the immigration line. It’s a smaller desk in the middle of the concourse area, closer to the left side of the room. If you want to extend your stay over 30 days you will absolutely need to get this (for a fee of $35 USD). If you deiced later on that you love Bali and wanted to stay longer, it is not possible. You will have to leave the country and come back again. Although it is not hard to do a quick visa run to Singapore, it can be a pain in the ass and a bit more of a cost to do so. If you do end up getting the 30 day visa card, you can then extend it at an immigration office up to another 30 days. Remember to bring cash because that is all they accept, plus if you do that you will get change back id rupiah which might help you not needing to stop off at the first atm at the airport.
Here is a great video that will help you navigate you out of the airport!
3. Taxi Drivers - Airport
I know it can be scary getting into a new country, but don’t panic once leaving the airport. There are a hundred or more taxi drivers waiving signs in the air and asking if you need a taxi. Most of them are already looking for a specific person or they are assigned to look for someone specific that they are picking up. I would highly suggest walking out of the airport, wait until at least 5 people ask you if you need a taxi as that should give you enough time and space to get you away from all the commotion :P Best bet is to arrange a driver before hand with the place you are staying, but if that isn’t the case just walk a bit further outside of the airport to find a cheaper taxi rather then just take the first person who asks you.
4. Extending your visa past 30 days
There are many travel agents who can help you get through the process and it will get you in and out of the office quicker for another fee. I paid my travel agent a total of 450,000 ($30 USD). Paying a travel agent gets you the perks. Usually you would have to wait at the immigration for hours, depending on how many times the system crashes (not if, but how many times), and you have to go two times. My travel agent set up everything for me. I didn’t have to wait in a line at all and they pretty much escort you right into the office and you get your fingerprints scanned and photo taken, which took a total of 4 minutes, in and our of the office. But beware, before any of this happens you do have to give your physical passport to your agent. It sounds sketchy, but this is how it is done around here and I haven’t heard of any horror stories of someone missing their passport. It is just the way it goes. I found a my travel agent from a trusted new friend who has been living in Bali for a while, so he had a connection for me and everything went well. Even when I arrived at the wrong immigration office in Denpasar, but had to actually be at the one in Nusa Dua, I lost my spot in line they were holding for me, but with an extra 50,000 their way I was at the front of the line. Even when I found myself stuck on the Gili Islands and needing my passport in 48 hours before my flight, my travel agent was able to give my passport to one of my friends to hold onto for me over in Bali.
When you get your money out of that atm, you might feel like a millionaire. Actually, you might quite be. Right now 1,000,000 IDR is equal to $70 USD. You will quickly realize that there are a lot of 0’s added to the mix and its very easy at first to make the mistake of handing out the wrong bill. Make sure you don’t mix up 10,000 with 100,000. The biggest bill you can have in cash is 100,000 ($7 USD) (The red one at the top) and the smallest at the bottom is 2,000 ($0.14) (Dark green/greyish)
Keep in mind that as a westerner, you are treated as royalty because you are considered rich compared to most in the country. Don’t be rude when you are hassled to buy stuff, just say no thank you.
From the porches, temples, on the top of motorbikes, to even on the streets. Anywhere that an offering can go, it will be placed. Be careful to watch where you are walking because stepping on them can be disrespectful. Each ingredient is symbolic, and colors carry different meanings. Accompanied by a prayer, a stick of burning incense and delicately sprinkled with holy water, the offerings act as gifts of gratitude to the gods and appeasement to negative spirits
7. Bali dogs and motorbikes
keep an eye out for both. Honestly the bikes are more of what you have to look out for because there no real rules and laws while riding them, mostly just going by instinct. Even though some Bali dogs may bark, most of them are not going to bite. I know people may have concern with rabid dogs, but its very uncommon to see one.
Now off to explore!
Next stop - a trendy little town called Canggu (pronounced like Chang-gu), is located about an hour north of the airport in Denpasar and this place reminds me of a a smaller and not as crowded California town. With beaches, bars, cute restaurants, including a lot of vegan and vegetarian options.
A big part of this town is all about the food, the restaurants and the beach bars. If you want to experience a beach bar, I highly suggest La Brisa. You can get a day bed here for 1,000,000 rupiah ($65), which feels like a luxury if you compare it to Miami or Vegas where you can easily spend hundred of dollars. The best part of this is all of that money can go towards anything on the menu, and there is no time limit. I was able to run into 2 of my lady friends who were staying at my hostel and the three of us split the bill and we all got so much food it really was the perfect amount.
Hostels and Homestays
If you are on a tight budget I would suggest finding a hostel or a homestay that includes breakfast (or Brekkie as they call it). Not all places offer, so just make sure you see that it is included in your stay.
Nightly Night Life
There are bars each night of the week that has something going on. For instance there is Taco and Tattoo Tuesday at Deus Café and championship beer pong at Old Mans and sit next to a skate bowl and throw back a Bintang while watching the skate show at Pretty Poison.
Batu Bolong Beach + Echo Beach
Both beaches are near one another. Great for sunsets and surfers. Beware - during the rainy season there is a ton of trash on these beaches and it made it really hard for most people to want to go swimming. Sadly it included a lot of plastic.
An open space concept of a bouldering climbing gym, equipped with exercise equipment and a good workout. The price is $150,000 for all day access and any of the equipment. Each week they change the course so you will always be learning a new route and building up stamina.
A coworking space that has many rooms to work in. From enjoying the weather on the outside, to sitting inside with aircon. This space has a lot to offer. Including a pool to cool off in, or sit next to, a restaurant, classes, dinners, outings, and more. There is a big network of other digital nomads here that you can easily connect with.
Hostels and Homestays
It is easy to stay in once place in Canggu if you love it enough, but it is also nice to have options and bounce around to different locations with different vibes (at least in the rainy season it was). A relatively cheap place to stay, especially if you are traveling with another person. I never spent more than $30 USD a night, and even when it was that high I still got a villa that had a shared pool.
My average cost at hostels was about 130,000 ($10 USD) a night. That was with a shared room, with 8 beds. My average cost of an airbnb or homestay was around 400,000 ($30 USD) a night. There are plenty of price points in between as well, and even some private villas for not that much more. If you can get a group of people to go in with you on a private 2 - 3 bedroom villa (with a pool!) that would be the best option for the price and privacy. Plus feeling like a superstar and not hurting the bank is an extra ego boost waiting to happen.
Below are homestays I stayed at in Ubud and Uluwatu. Where in both regions that I stayed they had the same price points as above.