Travel Tips

We at Baliwaves have compiled a list of ways in which you can save money/time and stress. I’m going to try and put it in some sort of order or sections, and we with your help as well, will be adding to the page as we find more ways to save you hassles and to help make your next trip to Bali/Indo a bit easier. I’ll start the ball rolling with buying the ticket. Don’t forget to send any tips you may have into us by clicking on the contact us link.

Ticket Hunting:
1. It’s all about the internet these days, check out one of the many comparison sites out there and then go to your local travel agent and haggle a deal.  Or just book online!
2. Try hunting for cheap tickets on the internet
3. Don’t forget about your frequent flyer points, they are well worth your while.
4. Did i mention the internet?

Bali Travel Insurance
1. This is a must for people travelling to Bali, one good provider is World Nomads as they cover travellers from over 150 countries around the world and they have good prices.  Click here to check out World Nomads for a Quote.

What to bring with you to Bali:
1. Really you should try and pack as light as possible especially for coming to Bali. The weather until you get accustomed to it will be very hot, so light clothes are the go. If you run out of clothes to wear it’s cheap enough to go and buy some new ones, and everyone buy’s new t-shirts and boardies over here.
2. It’s cheaper to buy all your sunscreen needs at home than here.
3. Don’t forget to pack your favourite hat, but don’t worry as there are more hats for sale here in Bali than anywhere.
4. If your flying in from a winter climate try to have some light clothes in your hand luggage to change into before landing in Bali. Same goes for returning back to a cold climate.
5. If you are a surfer all you need is you boards/sunnies/hat/boardies/t-shirt/wax/wallet and thongs.
6. Bring a first aid kit!  You don’t want to be cutting your holiday short due to those injuries.

Pre Flight Check in:
1. They say you should check in at least 2 hours early for your flight, I like to get there earlier. It makes sure you get to score a window or isle seat, plus you also get to have a good look around the airport hmmmm.

1. On the flight over you will be given a small white card from the nice people at immigration to fill out. You will be given back half of this card once you have been granted entry into Indonesia, make sure you don’t lose the other half, put it with your passport and ticket. As you will need it to help speed up your departure (when the time comes)

Boarding the plane:
1. If you wait until just about everyone else has boarded the plane, it allow’s you a choice of all the remaining seats, and first in first served. As soon as you see a couple of empty seats act on it!!
2. Don’t forget to ask if there are any upgrades available, you never know.

Denpasar International:
Warning: Denpasar airport is pretty easy going but like all international airports the customs staff are always looking for illegal material.
1. Don’t take your time getting to the Immigration checkpoint, the more people that get there before you, means the longer you have to stand in the very humid air.
2. Unless you want a luggage porter to help you carry your bags (and are prepared to work out a price for his assistance) politely say no thanks when offered or if your bags are just suddenly picked up for you.
3. When you exit the arrival terminal, you will be surrounded by locals holding up name/hotel signs. There are phone booths close and handy also, or plenty of taxis available for a set price depending on where you want to go.

The Bali 500:
If you plan to be independent while your in Bali you will need some type of wheels so…
1. Make sure you head into your local roads authority and pick up an international driving licence before you leave home.
2. If you don’t have a motor cycle licence at home your international licence won’t cover you for one here in Bali either, and also indicates that you should stay right away from riding motor bikes.
3. When renting a car you should give the chosen mobile a good inspection for dings, damage and make sure everything that is supposed to work does. Don’t just pay the money, sign the form and drive away!!
4. If you are the owner of an international drivers licence and the car/bike your using has the required registration papers you are street legal and unless you break one of the few road rules there are here you don’t have to pay the police anything if your stopped for a licence check.
5. Traffic lights, now these little buggers can get confusing.At some locations you are permitted to go through red lights if not turning right. At others you can make left turns on the red, so you really have to look for signs/lights and watch and see what the other drivers are doing. If your unsure just stop at all red lights, someone will let you know quick enough if your blocking the flow. Make sure you don’t cross over the faintly painted white line at all traffic lights if stopping.
6. Please note: Traffic conditions here in Indonesia are very different from what your probably used to at home in your country. It is like imagining your worst ever traffic jam or driving scenereo and then taking away any rules that may have been in place.
7.From one of our readers (Levi Snowy) – “G’day Slim , not sure if your aware, and no – one tells you in OZ , but international drivers licences need to be endorsed by the local police in Indo to be legal. Almost all street cops are unaware of this, but its actually not legal without it (the Indonesian Police endorsement stamp), and it may implicate someone legally
incase of an accident or medivac insurance claim ( in a bad way ) if the endorsement wasn’t done. All thats required is the licence is to be presented to any police station, where a RP15,000 admin fee is paid and they will put the endorsement stamp on the front of the international licence for you. Better to be safe than sorry if shit was to happen.”

NB: Surfers traveling on the roads around the Bukit (Uluwatu area) be extra cautious as this area is becoming a ‘black spot’ very quickly.

1. When you’re out and about shopping…do not tell them where you are staying (its hard to bargain when they know you are staying at a 5 star hotel!) we just mentioned that we were staying at some little inn down some lane up near Tuban.
2. always say that you are staying longer than what you really are, as you will be hassled beyond belief if they know you are heading out that day and you haven’t bought anything from them!!
3. Leave your gold jewellery at home or in the hotel safe….again, its hard to bargain when you are dripping with the gold stuff
4. Happy shopping and don’t forget….Saya hunya lihat lihat!!!

Sun Stroke:
This is a fairly common occurance over here in the tropics and is also often mistaken for “Bali belly” amongst other things. Lets get this clear though, I’m not a doctor I’m just talking (typing) from personal experience. I’ve been hit by too much sun twice in just over 6 years of living here in Indo, and I can tell you it’s a disabling sickness. Some of the symptoms are deceiving and make you think it’s not from too much sun. The main symptoms are a series of hot and cold sweats, nausea and the need to remain close to a toilet. You don’t want to eat and just about all you are good for is lying on your bed and moaning, not a good holiday look. Symptoms can stay with you for up to a week, depending on whether or not you go to a doctor and get some medical assistance. What you really have to remember to avoid this sickness is not to take the tropical sun for granted. Try and find some shade if your planning on hanging out at the beach, thats what the warungs are for. Actually I’ve seen sun baking girls go to stand up after baking in the sun for an hour or two and fall straight back down on their faces, another bad holiday look. Wear a hat, and if you are after a tan try to get your doses of ultra violet bit by bit and keep the water levels up internally.

Reef Cuts / skin abrasions:
These are another thing all together, and not always obtained from surfing. The main thing to remember here is that if you are only in Indo for a short holiday eg: 2-4 weeks don’t let a “cut” worry you too much if it’s not turning green. Try and keep it clean and just go surfing, you can heal up better and quicker when you get back home. But if you are here for an extended 4-8 weeks plus type holiday you had better take good care of every single little scratch you get or else you will be spending the last half of your holiday on the beach and not in the water. A tropical infection can start from the smallest of scratches and believe me a small nick anywhere on your legs especially the feet area can get nasty. So my belief is that it’s best to heal up any thing larger than a half centimetre wound. Which might mean staying out of the water for a couple of days. But by giving up two days surf is better than eventually having to stay out for a few weeks. Treating reef cuts is something you get used to after a while, but let me tell ya. If you hit the bottom at say Uluwatu, at 3-5 foot it’s not the little bit of blood and the reef claw marks you will wear as a remembrance tattoo that’s going to hurt !! It’s the impact of hitting an stationary solid object at speed that bloody hurts. Everytime I’ve hit it normally ends up in a couple of days of hobbling around with a bad back, shoulders, hip, head etc. Much more suffering than reef cuts. But for the reef cuts you have to make sure you get all foreign material out of the wound for it to start to heal, this can mean using a soft headed toothbrush dipped in Peroxide for the job (One of our readers, Tony a US navy medical guy based in Okinawa Japan recommends using lemon juice then soap and water with a scrubbing brush) . There are so many different types of cremes and antiseptic ointments/liquids to choose from it’s not funny these days, so what ever works for you at home will work for you here. I simply use Betadine and it works fine (another comment from Tony – if using betadine, you must make sure that all coral is out of the skin as betadine is made from shellfish and that actually feeds the coral, making the situation worse). If you require a stitch or two on larger cuts don’t be afraid to go to a Doctor here in Bali. I mean we are in the 21st century here as well you know and by stitching the wound back together it will heal heaps faster than just leaving it open and oozing. Normally a visit to the quack for stitches costs around Rp200,000 for tourists (US$20.00).

A tip from sumatra on urchin spines- throw a lime into the hot coals of a fire and when the skin is slightly charcoaled pull it out of the fire,cut it in half and vigorously rub the cut lime into the area where the spines are.They disappear in minutes. (Bruce from Sumatra)

Ulu’s Transport:
Ian Shadbolt has the follow helpful tip regarding getting to and from Ulu’s: We were told by our hotel staff & then the taxi driver that you had to get the taxi to wait for us at ulu’s as you wont get a taxi back. After several trips we discovered that if you simply get dropped of at Tides restaurant and then come back to there after your surf you can get (Gilligan) the guy behind the bar to ring a cab no problems. Have a beer or three with what you save in cab fares, problem solved. Cabs are not expensive but you can leave when you want and not feel like you have time restraints, hell have a second surf, you are back in phillip island 12c water all to quickly.

ATM’s in Indonesia, Travel tip, when you use an ATM here in Bali make sure there are no suspect characters hanging around, if there is ask them to move away. Also in Indonesia when you make a withdrawal from an ATM your cash comes out before your card, so remember to wait for your card before going to spend that money, it’s easy to forget especially when your used to your card coming out before the cash. It always pays to have a back up credit card linked to your savings account and or some cash dollars.

Other handy tips:
1. Try to learn a few words
2. bring plenty of bluetack and cable ties – bluetack for earplugs, putting pics up on losmen walls and stashing stuff – cable ties for anything from fixing your muffler to holding your suitcase together.
3. Don’t veg out during flat spells, get out and look around.
4. Drink plenty of beer – hmmmm beer. (make sure you buy SLIM a beer when you’re in Bali)
5. Be FRIENDLY in and out of the water.
6. Beware the Bali belly, eat and drink sensibly
7. Watch out for scammers trying to pinch your wallet or scamming you in currency exchange deals
8. Pack a small calculator to check dodgy currency exchanges
9. You are only legally allowed to bring 3 surfboards per person with you into Bali or you will find your hand having to go into the back pocket for a substantial fee.
10. If you bring U.S. currency make sure the notes are not circa ’96 or have any pen or ink discolourations what so ever or you won’t get em cashed. You need notes in almost mint condition !
11. Visa Travel cheque are also not accepted at some money changers etc.
12. Taxi drivers are suppose to use their fare maters, make sure they turn it on or get back out.

Ok crew, this is just a few to start with and don’t hesitate to send us in any of your own! and I think I read in a surfing magazine a long time ago “that your not an experienced traveler unless you can say sorry I don’t have enough money for my departure tax in 7 different languages!”



  1. michael says

    i’ve taken note of some of the boards people are surfing in the pictures, they generally all seem to be rather longer. i surf a 6’0″ am i going to be disadvantaged surfing a smaller board?


  2. sean says

    whats the deal with taking more than 3 boards in. Im taking four and the extra is for a mate hes giving me 70 nz bucks. Is that worth it

  3. davo says


    If you are licenced to ride a motorcycle back in your home country …, and have that motorcycle licence officially stamped on your international licence before comming to indonesia , you can claim on your travel insurance in the event of having a motorcycle accident , as long as you are not affected by alcohol or drugs …..
    *** If this is NOT the case , you will NOT BE COVERED on your travel insurance !!!!
    Not being covered can be the difference between life and death .
    *** Fact – Many People DIE in Bali , whilst relatives back home try to organise the USD$40,000 approx fee , for the air ambulance / medivac plane or helicopter … The plane/helicopter medivac DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU , untill the cheque has cleared !!!
    Its not like back home where they provide the service and bill you later , so dont be fooled .
    Think about this very very seriously , as you dont want to be busted up , or spattered on the road without insurance . You will not be covered for any illegal activity , and unlicenced motorcycle riding on the streets of Bali is illegal , so therefore you are covered .
    Also , a good tip if you are insured and legal , is to make sure you have your insurance details with you and accessible ,just incase you are busted up and knocked out from an accident . A good place is plastic laminated and inside your helmet . If you splattered , and they take off your helmet – WahLah ,theres your emergency details , also one of those plastic name tag /key rings is good – have your detail written in that , and attach your rental motorbike keys to it .

    Always be super super super alert on your bike ,always check up the road , and behind you in your mirrors , keep those eyes moving , always scan scan scan …, as it seems most locals DO NOT pay attention to whats going on around them , and you are EXPECTED to give way to anything which pulls out in front of you . You will notice most locals foolishly dont even bother to look when they pull out of a side road for trafic because of this rule ( most locals seem to think they must be protected by an invisible force field , maybe its because they have visited the temple/mosque that week ??? , and that no harm can possibly come to them , but in reality , go to any hospital and you will find this is horrifically false ).
    Always expect a dog ,chicken , car ,truck , person to suddenly jump out in front of you without warning , because it will , and expect a truck to come around the bend on the wrong side of the road … they will be expecting YOU to get out of the way .
    Try not to get boxed in to tightly .You choices may it be dodge a pothole or swerve away from an eratic driver or even to avoid sucking in thick black smoke from a truck , is all compromissed when you are “boxed in” , but sometimes being boxed in this is unavoidable , just be aware of it , and all the obvious and not so obvious dangers around you … You can still have a fatal motorcycle accident even going slow .
    If you dont have a motorcycle licence back home , Its BEST Get one through a government approved and accredited motorcycle training course ( eg, QRide , Ridesafe etc), it is worth every cent & will help you survive the mad crazy jungle ( ie; roads of Bali )and help prepare you for emergency evasive action ( this is where 90% of new riders will fail . BIKES IN BALI KILL !!!
    HATI-HATI ( be carefull )

  4. DEREK WEITH says

    All your info is really good and will stay locked in my memory banks until next I travel there.
    One thing however, you’ve not mentioned arrival visa / departure tax info and costs. Can you please explain them to us, for I know they exist and not sure what currency to use to purchase them.
    is it still $US 25.00 entry visa @ person and is it still Rp150,000 dep tax @ person. Confirmation of this would be nice or any changes that we are not familiar with.

  5. says

    Thanks Derek and nice point !

    Ok here’s what I know, but for more accurate information please contact your local Indonesian Embassy before traveling.

    V.O.A or Visa On Arrival;
    Most visitors entering Bali are entitled to a 30 day visa that will cost you US$25.00 This can be paid in any currency (does not have to be in US dollars). I’m also pretty sure that this Visa can be extended at the Immigration office near the airport. Visitors can also apply for a 60 day visa (social / cultural visa) at any Indonesian Embassy outside of Indonesia before they arrive in Bali. This 60 day Visa can be extended for up to 6 months here in Bali. This does involve some paper work and having an Indonesian sponsor.
    NB: For an Indonesian to enter Australia (for example) they have to apply for a visa here at the Australian Embassy before leaving. This costs an Indonesian over 100.00 Australian dollars, if granted.

    Departure Tax;
    Every visitor is required to pay an Airport Departure Tax on leaving Bali. This costs (paid in local currency) Rp150,000. which currently converts to around AU$16.00 Apparently airports are in business too.
    NB: Airport departure tax in Australia is added on to your ticket price, and I think it’s somewhere around AU$200.00 ? Most travelers are not even aware that they have payed a airport departure tax.
    NB: Departure Tax here in Bali for an Indonesian or ex-pat working in Indonesia is Rp2,500,000 + Rp150,000. The Rp2,500,000. is paid if the person does not hold a NPWP card (income tax number in Indonesia.)


  6. perm says

    slim, staying at sanur in feb with family, looking to tear up keramas. if to hit the waves on daylight how long would it take to get to the break from sanur?approx. also what wave heights on the forecasts will mean tandjung r and l will work? hoping sanur reef get some type of swell while we there. get loose

  7. Julie Sylvester says

    Hi there, hubby wants to come over around April, may 2012. Can you recommend a place for us to go. The boys have heard you can hire a small boat by the locals for $30 to take you to a nice uncrowded surf break and we girls want to do the usual, shopping, massage girly stuff.We are not millionaires but want decent accomodation/ food. The boys are decent surfers and dont want crowds. What can you recommend thats cheapish? Julie

  8. says

    Hello Julie, you should hit the “contact” link if you need specific information sorry, I only reply to emails normally 🙂

  9. Clint Guest says

    I am travelling to Bali in late October early November, Aware this isnt peak season for sure, what are the chances of me scoring good waves? how has the surf been lately?

  10. says

    The easiest way for you too get a feel of what to expect Clint is to back track through our archived surf reports for the same period over the last few years.

  11. Shaun Sylvester says

    The best Travel Tips I came across are in Peter Neely’s latest 20th Anniversary edition of Indo Surf & Lingo it is fantastic. The book is expensive though ($70.00)and for the price of the book you can live in Bali for an extra two days. So in trying to save money I checked my local library and YES they had heaps of copies to borrow for free. So I borrowed it, read it heaps, took it to Bali and returned to my library for FREE!!! This saved me a packet so I could spend more time in Bali!! It is a great book and if you are like me doing Bali on a budget get to your local council library and get it for the right price FREE. Here is the link to the Gold Coast Council Library:
    Ask your local library to get from the Gold Coast Library if they don’t have a copy. It is a must read.
    Cheers Shaun

  12. Jezza says

    The best travel advice I can give is to book time to stay with Slim. Then you will have all your bases covered, get the best waves, and have a relaxing break away from the tourist hordes. He might even catch you some dinner if youare lucky. 🙂 You can also avoid the VOA queue by flying with Garuda and getting it all done on the plane. Can’t wait to come back. 🙂

  13. Ryan S says

    I am traveling to Bali in mid November before the US Thanksgiving. Any recommendations on where to stay. I plan on surfing a bit but also taking in the sights. I am a goofy-footer.


  14. gabe says

    Hey im going to bali now on 17 april without surfboard cause im not leaving from home.. anyways, can someone give me advices!!???!! In bali, around seminyak area, where there’s a nice surfshops,,, and also, i like Fan or oldschool surfboars,, is it nice to get a board like that for bali waves or should i get regular shape??? thanks browsss =D

  15. Pete says

    Hi I’m going to Bali in September my friend suggest me to go to Balian beach on the west side how is it for the family as I’m travelling with my wife and my three year old son hows the surf that time of the year

  16. Tom says

    Definitely one thing that needs to be emphasized regarding airline tickets – CHECK THE AIRLINES SURFBOARD POLICY. Probably you’re sick of hearing this, I certainly was up until I was bamboolzed by Korean Air after years of being accustomed to their surfboard friendly policies. Unbeknownst to me, they’d undergone a recent change sometime this year and I was hosed. The worst part? I’d already paid with a different airline whom I’d been expecting a fee from, but hadn’t counted on the change with KAL or being hit up at all as I thought it counted as a ‘connection.’
    And for once, deploying that legendary Canucky Kindness wasn’t worth a tinker’s damn either.
    With anything that seems like a deal, check the Airline’s policy via google – Surfline and other sites havesome fairly up to date lists. Worse case: contact the airline itself. The addition of a fee or just generally shifty and/or ambiguous policies certainly negate any seemingly cheap ticket advantage. Likewise regarding connections: ask the airline, get a receipt, and hold them to it.
    Keep up the great work Slim, this is an amazing site.

  17. says

    I have seen people bring through plenty of meat and cheese into Bali (bring me some) but it does say on everyone’s Customs declarations on entering Indonesia, “are you bringing any food products into Indonesia” I don’t think it is something the Indonesian’s are searching for.

  18. Davo says

    I know why you want some Slim .., it’s my top request from visiting friends too haha . I always bring back gourmet cheese and bacon from Oz to Bali .., The cheese is 3/4 less the price than it is here, and the taste of the Oz Bacon (compared to the thin tasteless bacon here) is heavenly .. The only reason Indo customs might ever attempt to take it is if a sly officer is thinking “mmmm I bet that tastes nice, and wants to take it home for myself”. That only happened once about 10 years ago, but has never happened since as they have been cool with it every other time, and their general behaviour is on the improve these days compared to years gone by. BTW I declare it also.

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