Communication services improved significantly on Bali over the last few years and staying online is not a challenge anymore. You can find 3G in most places, but you should lower your expectations in remote areas on the island.
Another good news is that SIM cards are very affordable there and you can use them as long as your phone is unlocked. You can purchase them in stores near the airport. For the best prices, you should make a little effort and wander around less busy streets, which are not flooded with tourists.
Taking into account that services which rely on mobile data are the most wanted lately, it makes sense to purchase SIM cards intended for at least a month of usage in order to have enough GB of mobile data during your holiday. You can choose from many providers of communication services and two are especially popular: Telkomsel which offers the fastest Internet, thus the most expensive, and XL Axiata.
Majority of cafés in urban areas offer Wi-Fi, but you should not expect too much from it. You will recognize them by the bunch of other tourists who sit there and don't keep an eye off the phone. Alternative solution is to rent pocket Wi-Fi device which you can use to connect multiple devices.
It is very important to have cash during shopping because credit cards are not so widely accepted. Those who are not morning types will especially appreciate the fact that most of the shops open late and they also work late at night.
Your shopping options are countless: from designer clothes to handicrafts, jewelry, wood and stone cravings, masks, antique furniture and other, which you can bring home as souvenirs. Good bargaining skills will ensure the best prices for those who know how to do it well and who are willing to try.
Shopping malls can be found in the major resort areas: Kuta, Nusa Dua, Tuban and Denpasar. There is an obvious lack of urban vibe and one of the ways it is reflected is in the absence of large and shiny shopping malls, typical for big urban centers.
Adult literacy rate is slightly above 95%, while youth literacy rate is 99,67%.
Although it may come as a surprise, Indonesia has 4th largest education system in the world, which constantly grows. It even has three ministries concerned with education: Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Research and Technology.
Lack of Support for Tertiary Education
Education is always one of the top priorities to the government and on annual basis 20% of national budget is invested in primary education. Schools in remote areas especially benefit from these investments, as well as underprivileged students. However, secondary and tertiary education do not have government support to such extent.
Measures of Precaution for Tourists
Smaller injuries can be treated, although one should be very cautious, because larger injuries require treatment outside of the island. Therefore, think twice before indulging into any extreme sport or other dangerous activities. Also, you should beware of mosquito bites and tropical sun.
If you use medications, they need to be stored in their original packages and in case you must carry some medical equipment with you, it is the best to bring doctor’s letter which explains why you need it.
Those with heart conditions should make electrocardiogram prior to travel and bring a copy with them. Many medications can be bought in Bali, however contraceptive pills, blood-pressure and antidepressant medications can be tricky to find. Yellow fever vaccination is required, and proof will be requested if you visited places marked as the yellow fever zone 6 days before your trip to Bali.
Healthcare in Bali does have certain quality, although that quality is not up to standards of some other countries. Main hospitals are located in Denpasar and one of them is Sanglah Public Hospital. There are also small clinics which are specialized and larger hospitals which offer numerous services, and which also have emergency rooms.
For those who would feel more comfortable being treated in more familiar setting, that is, international setting, there is International SOS Clinic and the BIMC Hospital, which are in the southern part of the island in Kuta. Off course, they are more expensive in comparison to other hospitals, but they employ doctors from English speaking countries, which lowers concerns of tourists who are in need of medical attention.
Shops in Bali tend to open quite late. They usually open around 10:00 and they close around 22:00. Street markets are open from 19:00 to midnight.
The capital of the country Indonesia where the island Bali is located is Jakarta. For a long time already, the government considers other options for capital city due to numerous reasons. Their main goal is to set the capital in the central part of the country to reduce logistical problems and many other issues.
Bali itself is a province/island within Indonesia and Bali’s capital is the city Denpasar.
Bali’s economy relies heavily on tourism, agriculture and trade revenues. People in Bali are very talented artists and their arts are sold worldwide.
Bali is abundant with natural resources, which also include beautiful and fertile land and seas abundant with fish, shrimp and tuna. Main exports include coffee, tuna, seaweed, vanilla and fish. Balinese people use sophisticated irrigation mechanisms which give them two full crops of rice annually.
Due to religious beliefs that sea is the home of evil spirits, Balinese are not so willing to explore it.
Beware if You Were Never Good in Math
Indonesia rupiah (IDR) is the legal tender in Bali. Their denominations are very high, so it is necessary to study the currency in advance to make sure you’re not given incorrect amount of change or currency when changing your money. One USD revolves around IDR 13.700. Rupiah are issued in following denominations: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000. Coin denominations include 25, 50, 100, 500.
New & Old Coins
There are new gold and silver IDR 1,000 coins. Newly issued coin designs are in circulation for IDR 500, 100 and 50 coins and at the same time the old ones are still in use.
Beware of Counterfeiting
Counterfeiting is a burning issue in Bali and IDR 20.000 and IDR 50.000 are the most counterfeited denominations. In case banknotes you receive from exchange seem damaged, or in any way suspicious, the best option is to request new ones immediately from the person who gave them to you.
The Land of Gods and Temples
Bali is known and the "Land of Gods" and also as the "Land of Temples". There are approximately 5.000 stunning temples in Bali. The most popular one is Tanah Lot, due to its special position and formation. It is settled at the edge of the sea. Tours begin in the morning. In spite that, tourists prefer to visit temples during magical sunsets to take astonishing photos which in the matter of second end up on social media.
Bali is also known for traditional vivid dances which combine elements of art and religion. Seeing one in person will take you to a brand new dimension. They are very colorful and offer a unique experience to tourists.
Public Displays of Affection
If observing carefully, you will probably notice that there is a minimum physical contact between men and women in public and it also applies to married couples.
Being in control is one of the most respected virtues in Indonesia. Showing anger should be avoided and any misunderstandings should be approached calmly and respectfully. Otherwise, you are asking for trouble.
Bahasa Bali is the local language which dominates in Bali, while Bahasa Indonesia is most typically used language in major touristic destinations.
Receptionists are the Best English Speakers
It is important to remember that Balinese are not so proficient in English and it is important to use very simple words and avoid complex sentence structures when asking questions.
Balinese are prone to responding with "yes" even if they did not understand you, because they consider saying "no" losing their face. Receptionists at hotels are usually the best speakers of English and it is advised to consult with them in case you need help or information.
It is important to note that Chinese is also spoken is some urban areas.
Life in Indonesia revolves around religion, which can be observed in plentiful temples and frequent ceremonies. Bali is multi-religious region where Hinduism dominates. It a special form of the religion which is referred to as Ahama Hindu Dharma and it represents the mixture of Shivaism and Buddhism.
Indigenous beliefs revolve around the power of nature and its elements, with each being guided by its spirits. In addition to animism, ancestors are also worshiped and treated with tremendous respect.
Bali’s history was influenced by the migrations of different peoples and cultures from Asia. Earliest documents related to Bali origin from 8th century and they testify about the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism. Majapahit Kindgom also left its mark on Bali’s history and it introduced caste system.
Western influences began in 16th century and Dutch made Bali its colony for its trade potentials. Despite all that, Bali managed to fight for independence and to preserve its traditions even until today.
Bali’s vicinity to equator results in tropical climate, where warmth and humidity dominate. There are two seasons during the year: rainy season from October to March and dry season from April to September. The best period to visit Bali is from April to June and in September. Be ready for the challenges posed by the tropical climate and don't forget your sunblock!
Temperatures are high and uniform regardless of the time of the year and they range from 23 to 31 °C. Rainy seasons are characterized by brief thunderstorms and showers and it your holiday may not be so enjoyable in that period.
Bali is a home to over 4 million people and it experiences fast population growth. About 95% are Balinese, while the remaining 5% are minorities, predominantly Chinese and Muslim.
More than 83% of Balinese consider themselves Hinduists.
Bali is an exotic, diamond-shaped island in Southeast Asia, located between islands Java and Lombok. Bali is one of the thousand islands which form the unique country called Indonesia. Its surface covers 5,580 km2 .
Southern and eastern part of the island are the most inhabited area, due to active volcanos and forests in the remaining parts. Coastal areas are the embodiment of beach paradise. They are surrounded by coconut palms; banana trees and bamboo and waters are crystal clear. Glass bottomed tours around the cost are especially exciting. Western part of the island is covered with dense forests and it used to be home to tigers and other jungle creatures.
Bali also encompasses several smaller islands: Pulau Nusa Penia, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan and others.