Bali : All you need to know before booking!

Lush green landscape, pristine beaches, heritage ancient temples, vibrant nightlife, fluvial rivers, gorgeous paddy fields and oceans to sit and lost in breeze while watching fiery sunset is what defines Bali.

I used to dream about the divine place. Bali has certain charm which attracts you towards it. Had done virtual tour through Youtube, articles, images ad was really fascinated about the versatility of the place. One day, I had that urge to go as soon as possible. Started planning itineraries, places to stay, what to eat, where to shop and all. When we start planning a trip for the first time to an unknown country, every-time we are clueless as in where to start from. My homework starts with penning down bullet points in my diary (yes, I am old school! I love writing on paper). Here are the points I consider before going on a trip...
  • Best time to visit
  • Flight Tickets and Visa, if required
  • Currency Exchange
  • Accommodation
  • Things to pack
  • Places to Visit
  • Local Transportation
  • Places to Eat and Shop
Best time to visit Bali:

Usually, May to October is the dry season and is considered to be the best in terms of weather as the peninsula creates some of the best waves. However, July and August are the peak and overly-crowded because of the holidays, this time the Bali is the busiest. January-March the weather was also good with partial rains.
Flights Tickets and Visa:
When I was looking for flights in January 2018, there were no direct flights and since it was the last minute, the flights were expensive too.
Tip: Please book atleast 6 months ahead of the trip and you can save loads.

After looking at so many portals, settled with the one website offering good rates but the flights were booked in 3 slots with different PNRs. That means every time we have to check-in and check-out our baggage but we compromised that on the cost of travel. Now, it is quite easy as there are direct flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai to Bali (Denpasar Airport) which takes around 8-9 hours travel time. If you have time crunch, my suggestion would be to select flight which reaches in the morning so that the day is not wasted and you can indulge in the activities the same day.

Bali does not require Visa on Indian Passports until 30 days and if you wish to extend your stay the cost of the visa is US $35. However, there is visa on arrivals for Indians which is more like entry or exit permit which is stamped on your passport once you reach there. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least another 6 months and should have enough space for the visa sticker. Penalty for over staying is IDR 300.000 per day. Also remember, day of arrival counts as day one and the day of departure as full day.

Currency Exchange:
Money exchange in Bali is done with major currencies like USD and the centres for it can easily be found on Airport or nearby resort areas. I would recommend to carry Travel Card or USD if possible and if not get a small amount of your currency exchanged to pay the taxi bill from airport. You may find better rates outside the airport.

There are self authorised exchange centres too but PT. Dirgahayu Valuta Prima (Green board) are good. All such places might need valid passport or ID. We carried Travel Forex Card and withdrew from BCA ATMs. Please check with your bank over the withdrawal charges. Travellers cheque are accepted too but the rates will be slightly lower. Do check on your mobile the current exchange rate before taking any decision.

Accommodation:
There are so many luxurious and prime properties in Bali along with the good and economic AirBnB, homestays or hostels, villas which are home away from home. Let me make it easy for you to choose from a wide variety of hotels and resorts ranging from $15 to $70. One can opt as per their budget. Each area has different sets of facilities and services as per your taste. For eg., if you are looking for sun, sand and surfing choose your hotels in Kuta, Seminayak, Nusa Dua or Sanur. They have so many luxurious hotels at really good rates offering spa, sight-seeing, dinner at beach. 
If greenery, rice fields, culture is your type, go for stay in some balinese style home with beautiful architecture and modern amenities stay in Ubud. You can get some of the fab properties at AirBnB.
Let's limit this post for the first four important points....More tips, suggestions on your way in the next post. Stay tuned...:)

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