Bali 101: Practical Matters

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Travel Basics

Don’t take more than 1 litre of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 100 grams of tobacco.

On my first solo trip to Bali, I took 2 bottles of wine. I was hit up for a bribe by the customs agent. He wanted US$10. Considering the high price of wine in Indonesia, it was probably not such a bad deal. Unfortunately I didn’t have any US currency.

Other forbidden items: firearms, narcotics drugs, pornography, Chinese printed mattr, Chinese medicine, transceivers, and cordless telephones. 

What to Declare

Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipments should be declared at Customs and will be admitted as long as you take them with you when you leave the country.


Electric power supply is 220 volts in all regions. So be careful with your 110-volt electronic equipment. The sockets will only fit with two pins rounded-tip plugs (technically known as Type C, E, and F) or use adaptors. Most hotels and many restaurants in large cities provide internet connections or free WiFi.


The Indonesia Rupiah is also called IDR. Information of daily exchange rate can be found in newspapers or from the net. Some Indonesia banks provide this on their websites. IDR and US$ are the most acceptable currencies. Most resort hotels can change money for you.

When you are traveling to remote areas it is advisable to exchange your money and clear your check.

Credit cards are accepted only at major hotels, restaurants, shops, and travel agencies. It is also advisable to keep a good supply of small bills as many taxi drivers and small shopkeepers might not be able to make change.

Time Zones

Indonesia has three time zones, and Bali is located in the one in the middle,which is GMT +8. It is in the same time zone as China, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, and Western Australia. It is one hour ahead of Jakarta and one hour behind Korea and Japan.

Office Hours

Office hours start from 8 am to 4 pm  or 9 am to 5 pm. Lunch break occurs between 12 noon and 1 pm. Offices, including government offices, are usually closed on Saturdays. Government office hours are from 8 am to 4 pm.

Banking Hours

Standard banking hours are from 8 am to 3 Ppm from Monday to Friday. Several banks have branches in hotels and some shopping malls with longer hours. A few are open on Saturdays so you might want to check first. 


Most hotels add a 10% service charge to the bill on top of the 10% tax. In restaurants that don’t add service charges a tip of 5 to 10% would be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment.

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