18 Items to Bring to Bali 2013.10.25

If it's your first time visiting Bali, you may be wondering what to pack. It's tempting to try and squeeze as much as you can into your suitcase, but the truth is you can actually buy a lot of the basics once in Bali, often at a much cheaper price, leaving you extra space in your luggage for the fantastic shopping to be had on the island.

Our Editorial Team have put together the following checklist to ensure you have a safe and comfortable trip.

Basics

1. Passport

Passport Passport by wiborg86, on Flickr

It may go without saying, but you can't enter another country without a passport. For travel to Indonesia, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry and you should have sufficient blank pages for the visa.

Travel agents usually check the expiry date of passports when booking a ticket, however you should always double check yourself to avoid being turned away at immigration in Bali.

2. Visa On Arrival (USD $25)

Visitors to Bali have to buy a Visa On Arrival (VOA) upon arrival at the airport. This tourist visa is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival and costs USD $25. Payment can be made in local IDR or in USD. For visitors from countries that do not qualify for a VOA, a visa needs to be applied for before entering Indonesia.

3. Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, JCB)

Credit Cards Credit Cards by 401(K) 2013, on Flickr

Credit cards are widely accepted in most tourist resort areas in Bali, particularly at hotels, restaurants and many shops. Visa and MasterCard are most commonly used, while American Express is only accepted at some places. JCB credit card holders may also receive discounts of between 10% and 20% at certain restaurants.

Remember to notify your bank before you leave to let them know that you will be using your credit card abroad. Your card might be blocked for security reasons other wise and you won't be able to access your money.

4. Sun Block

sunblock and legs sunblock and legs by pilgrimsproverb, on Flickr

Effective sunscreen is a must-have in Bali. With so many activities taking place under the hot sun, it's essential to slap on some sun block before heading out for the day. A good waterproof sun screen should be used if you're going surfing or water rafting, and you should also pack in a sun hat and sun glasses.

Most quality sun screens available in Bali are imported from places like Australia and Hawaii, meaning they can be a little on the expensive side. Our favorite though is a local brand called Surf Yogis - a waterproof zinc made from natural products that stays on for ages. Surf Yogis is available from selected surf shops and some vegetarian restaurants/health shops in Seminyak, Uluwatu and Ubud.

Fashion Items

5. Shoulder Bag

Bali Bali by clsung, on Flickr

A shoulder bag is recommended to carry important personal belongings like passports, credit cards and money. An across the body bag is not only more safe, it also leaves your hands free for taking photos and carrying shopping.

When going out at night to a bar or club, a smaller shoulder bag that you can keep on you is recommended as pickpockets can easily target backpacks and bags left unattended on tables.

6. Lightweight Cardigan

A cardigan may seem like a crazy thing to bring to a tropical place like Bali, but you'd be surprised how cold the air-conditioning can sometimes be, especially in department stores and in tour buses or cars. A lightweight cardigan can also be useful to protect from the midday sun and is ideal when you need to cover up when visiting temples.

In addition, places higher up like Bedugul and Kintamini can get chilly so it's good to have something to wrap up in. If you're planning on doing a volcano trek to see the sunrise, you'll need something a lot warmer like a hooded sweater or fleece.

7. Walking Sandals

sandals 2013 01 sandals 2013 01 by florida sandalman, on Flickr

A pair of comfortable walking sandals is essential. Most local people wear flip flops day in and day out, even to important ceremonies at the temple, so you won't be left feeling under-dressed in a pair of simple flat shoes.

Bali's uneven sidewalks make wearing high heels somewhat of a challenge, although you could pack in a pair for a night out or dinner at an upmarket restaurant.

8. Two Swimsuits (or more)

1-(70) With so many of Bali's activities based around the beach, there's plenty of opportunities to wear a swimsuit. To avoid having to wear a damp bikini or board shorts, it's recommended to pack in an extra pair that you can wear while the other is drying.

Bali has a strong surf culture, with dozens of surf shops and factory outlets to choose from. There's a great variety of swimwear available, although prices of original brands don't come cheap.

9. Shampoo & Conditioner

Bali's water can wreck havoc on your hair. Add this to the damage caused by harsh sun and salt water and you'll be in need of a good hair treatment pronto.

Drug store brands like Pantene and L'Oreal are available from most supermarkets at affordable prices but if you have a specific salon brand that you use, it's best to bring your own shampoo and conditioner. Travel size bottles are ideal and won't add extra weight to your luggage.

10. Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitoes are part of tropical island life and there's not much you can do to avoid them, particularly during the wet season. You can however do your best to deter them by investing in a decent insect repellent. Sprays containing DEET are the most effective or if you prefer a more natural alternative, try citronella oil.

Open-air and beachfront restaurants have a lovely atmosphere but they can also be bad for mozzies, so best to apply some insect repellent before you head out (or carry a small tube in your bag). A good anti-itch cream is also advised to relieve the annoying itch of mosquito bites.

11. Anti-nausea and diarrhea medication

Having a case of "Bali belly" puts a damper on any visitor's trip and wastes valuable holiday beach time. Cases of amoebic dysentery and typhoid fever are still reported in Bali, so as a precaution carry anti-nausea and medication for an upset stomach on you at all times. Don't drink the local tap water and if you're not used to spicy food, try and avoid it.

Digital Items

12. Camera (with charger)

Probably one of the most important items to remember is your camera - and the battery charger! Also make sure you have a back up memory card in case one gets filled up taking happy snaps of your Bali trip.

If you're thinking of buying a camera once in Bali, there are a couple of good camera stores in the south (Seminyak and Kuta), as well as in Denpasar. You should also be able to buy a new battery charger at one of these stores if you accidentally leave yours at home.

13. Tablet or Smartphone (with charger)

Free WiFi is available at most resort areas in Bali, especially at hotels and restaurants. Having a Smartphone means you can check your location using Google Maps, keep in touch via Facebook and email, upload pics of your trip, and check the latest surf report.

14. International adapter plug

For the charging of electronic devices such as cameras, cell phones and laptops, make sure you have an international adapter that will work in Bali.

The voltage in Indonesia is 120V and the type of plugs used is the two-pin. Travel adapters for most countries (excluding South Africa) are available in tourist areas at many supermarkets and from local vendors on the street at affordable prices.

Staying safe

15. Overseas travel insurance

Hospital Regional de Juazeiro vai beneficiar 2 milhões de pessoas We can't stress this one enough. It's absolutely vital to take out decent travel insurance for the duration of your trip.

Motor bike accidents happen all the time in Bali and many a foreigner have been left with huge hospital bills as a result of not being insured. A trip to the hospital may also be necessary if you come down with food poisoning or some mosquito-borne disease, so travel insurance is a very valid requirement.

There are a number of local hospitals in Bali, however most tourists and expats use the growing number of international hospitals available such as BIMC, which is Australian-owned.

It's a good idea to make sure that the travel insurance you take out will cover any activities you plan on doing, as often times there is a list of excluded activities that are not covered. If you intend on hiring and driving a motor bike in Bali, check that your insurance policy covers this and make sure that you have a valid drivers license - this is often a requirement from insurance companies.

If you forget to take out travel insurance or if your policy expires while you are still abroad, we recommend getting in touch with World Nomads. They are one of the few insurance companies who will provide cover even after you have left your home country and you can easily extend or top-up your policy online, making it perfect for travelers on the go.

16. Birth control

For women traveling to Bali, don't forget to pack in sufficient birth control pills for the duration of your trip. Contraceptive pills are available in Bali, however options are limited and you may not be able to find the brand you usually use.

Editor's Pick to Bring to Bali

17. Editor ・Phrase Book/Dictionary

If you want to have a go at communicating with the locals in their own language,  a pocket dictionary or phrase book can be extremely useful.

Although the local language in Bali is Balinese, it's Bahasa Indonesia that most visitors learn. This is the common language of Indonesia that is spoken throughout the archipelago and is easier to learn than the Balinese dialect.

Phrase books in Bahasa Indonesia are available from most good book stores or online.

18. Chief Editor ・Whiskey

Jack Daniels Jack Daniels by Jur 1989, on Flickr

In Bali, taxes of up to 300% are applied to imported goods, including spirits like Jack Daniels, international wines and sake. If you enjoy good quality alcohol, it's not a bad idea to bring a bottle of your favorite spirit along with you as it will be considerably more expensive to purchase in Bali.

From Baliko

Direct flights from Japan to Bali take seven and a half hours; for flights with a stopover it can take up to 10 hours. This is why making sure you're comfortable when you travel is so important.

I like to wear thick socks on the plane or at the airport lounge. It's also essential to have a warm sweater or jumper as many airports love to turn up the air-conditioning. Finally, I download e-books onto my tablet before I fly - it's a great way to kill time while waiting for your connecting flight.

From Kerry

Flying to Bali from Europe or Africa takes considerably longer, almost always with stopovers in places like Doha, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Make sure you have access to money at the airport ATMs or carry some cash on you for a cup of coffee or meal while waiting for your flight to board.

Most modern airports offer free WiFi or you can check in with friends and family at the airports' visitor computer terminals for a limited set of time. Remember to pack in your remote device's charger, as well as an international adapter for use in overseas countries.

What to Buy in Bali

Beach Sandals

Don't worry if you forgot to pack in a pair of beach sandals or flip flops - they're sold at most supermarkets and convenience stores for around $2 - $3. Havaianas are also sold at many surf shops and there's even a factory outlet on the Sunset Bypass.

Sarong

If you plan on visiting some temples while in Bali, it's good to have a sarong or two to use to cover up (rather than having to hire one every time). Sarongs are also great for on the beach and can double up as a towel to dry off with or a sheet to sleep under on hot nights.

The variety of sarongs on sale in Bali is mind-boggling, and you'll be hard-pressed to walk away with just one. Women walk up and down the beaches selling sarongs and most local vendors will also have a small stock for sale. Alternatively, head to the sarong stores on Jl. Double Six in Legian, where sarongs in every color of the rainbow are piled high just about to the ceiling.

Mobile Phone (SMS)

With hundreds of mobile phone stalls and shops, it's easy to buy a new phone in Bali. Supermarkets like Hypermart and Carrefour also sell mobile phones at an affordable price, usually starting at around R300,000 for the most basic model.

You'll also have to buy a local SIM card which is usually available for sale at the same place and should cost no more than Rp10,000 (although in tourist areas it's not unheard of paying Rp50,000 for the very same SIM).

Most tourists buy credit on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, whereby you top-up your balance if and when you need to. The local word for credit is "pulsa". Pulsa is available in units of Rp10,000/Rp20,000/Rp50,000/Rp100,000 and is available from convenience stores, mobile phone stalls and supermarkets.



Kura-Kura Bus Bali

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