How do I exchange money?
Probably best to wait until you get to the airport in Denpasar. There are bureaus where you can exchange cash or travelers checks, and ATMs are everywhere that take Cirrus and Plus. Please tell your bank and credit card companies the dates that you will be in Bali or elsewhere, as they might cut off your funds for fraud protection if they don’t know it is you. Asia loves Visa or Master Card. Few restaurants and shops take American Express. It’s helpful when you change if you can ask for some additional “small money”, bills in denominations of 1,000 / 5,000 / 10,000 rupiah. The exchange rate is approximately Rp. 9,100 = USD 1.00. Basically, things cost a lot less in Bali.
Is Bali safe?
Bali is the only Hindu island in Indonesia, and was devastated by the ’02 & ’05 bombings in Kuta. Since the bombings, the Indonesian government has taken the threat of terrorism seriously by increasing security and arresting many. Although the US State Department has placed a travel warning on Indonesia, tourism to Bali is once again being touted by many international travel magazines. The Balinese people are among the most friendly in the world. As for safety in the streets, there is little violent crime, especially in Ubud. In beach areas one has to take precautions against pickpockets, just as most beach tourist spots in the world. That said, if you’re reading this site then chances are you won’t be staying at an international hotel or partying all night at a discothèque down in Kuta. More likely you’re staying at a quaint bungalow, home stay or small hotel in the middle of a rice paddy, going to bed early to the chirp of crickets and frogs, and waking up early to go practice yoga.
Are there any health concerns I need to be aware of?
It is recommended that you visit your GP, personal physician, or a travel health clinic 4 to 8 weeks before your departure to Indonesia. Recommended vaccinations often include hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus, and polio. Bali is not a ￼high-risk area for malaria and the tablets can be considered controversial, we recommend that you do some research and make your own decision on this. Dengue fever is another mosquito borne illness to be made aware of. You might want to bring a prescription of Keflex, or another type of oral antibiotic that can help with stomach ailments. Even though you will be eating in good restaurants, there is always a chance that you can get Bali Belly – a mild dysentery that passes in a few days.
What if I need to see a doctor?
There are plenty of international medical clinics in Bali – especially in Ubud and Kuta. Since the Bali Bombing, the Indonesian government spent $$ on improving the local hospitals and many more private ones have opened since. If you have a minor illness or ailment, you will be just fine. These clinics usually do not accept health insurance, but they do not cost much. Should you need specialized care in a dire emergency, you would need to be evacuated to Singapore. It is always wise to purchase travelers' health insurance with evacuation coverage. Check out SOS International medical clinic.
What about sanitation?
Any hotel or home stay will have bottled or filtered water available, and 99% of restaurants on the island use bottled water for all cooking purposes. Nevertheless, it is advisable to drink and brush teeth with bottled water. Food carts and local markets carry a greater degree of risk.
What is the weather like?
You can expect pleasant day temperatures between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius or 68 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. From December to March, the West monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but usually days are sunny and the rains start during the night and pass quickly. From June to September the humidity is low, and it can be quite cool in the evenings. During this time of the year, you’ll have hardly any rain in the coastal areas. That said, Ubud is in the mountains and has a unique microclimate where you can expect cloudy skies and showers throughout the year. Sometimes you’ll even need a sweater or light jacket after the sunsets!
What kind of clothes will I need?
If you visit between November and April a rain poncho or umbrella will come in ￼handy, and both can be purchased inexpensively here. As this time is Bali’s summer, the rains tend to be warm and humid, but a light jacket can be useful for evenings. May through October is typically dry season and winter. Comfortable sandals are a must, and should be easy to take off as most Balinese do not wear shoes indoors. Same day laundry service is inexpensive and plentiful, so you’re better off to pack light. Don’t forget your bathing trunks! Although the Balinese are used to western tourists, they are still a modest culture, so walking down city streets with no shirt on will likely get you a sideways glance or two. Anytime you go into a temple for a ceremony or tourist attraction you MUST wear a long sleeve shirt, pants or preferably sarong that cover your knees. Women and men have separate requirements, and the Balinese are only to happy to explain the rules and outfit you accordingly if you’re minus an appropriate item or two.
How do I get around?
If you’re here for a short time, and only staying in Ubud, you can easily get along by walking everywhere … this is one of the charms of Ubud. (Just watch out for uncovered sections of sidewalks, and please do your best to avoid stepping on the offerings the Balinese leave at the entrances to their family compounds and businesses!) If you’re here for longer and wish to do some independent island exploration, both bicycles and motorbikes are available for rent. A motorbike should run you 20,000 to 30,000 rupiah per day…everything is negotiable. Make sure you get a good helmet…roads are narrow, often full of pot holes, dogs are everywhere, and the Balinese like to drive like stock car racers! While driving, repeat this mantra: “Slow and Go, Slow and Go…Om.” If motorbikes aren’t your thing, there are plenty of drivers ready and willing to take you anywhere. We know a number of great ones…honest, friendly and English speaking. Feel free to ask.
Should I rent a car?
It is not necessary, nor advisable, to rent a car in Bali. A car and driver can be had for $30-$40 per day. Inexpensive transportation is readily available.
Do I need to bring a yoga mat?
It is always nice to have your own mat, however we do have loan mats available to borrow or new mats available for purchase through The Yoga Shop.
Can you recommend any good books about Bali before my trip?
Unless you’ve been buried under a rock for the last couple of years, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love is a must. If looking for something more scholarly try Colin McPhee’s A House in Bali or Michel Picard’s Bali: Cultural Tourism and Touristic Culture.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I can’t wait to share this experience with you!
What is your cancellation policy?
A deposit of $500 is due upon registration. The remaining balance is due 90 days prior to our travel date. If for any reason you need to cancel my trip, you will receive any payments made minus the $500 deposit and fees taken from retreat center. No refunds will be given after March 31, 2017.