Looking for paradise? Cheap Bali travel insurance.
There's no denying that Bali is, and can be, a tropical paradise, if you know where to look. While it has long been a popular choice for holidaymakers from all over the world it is still possible to find pockets of unspoiled paradise. Mind you, even the resorts, like Jimbaran or Sanur, will still wow you with gorgeous sands, great views and beautifully clear water, even though they are very popular.
There's more to Bali than just the beach. It also has mountains, religious sites, temples and a fascinating culture. You could easily spend a couple of weeks exploring hot springs, volcanoes and temples. But of course, many people come here just for the winter sun. There is a lot of it! While the winter months are technically the wet season in Bali, it's still sunny and warm most days, with temperatures up in the late twenties. The sea, perhaps unsurprisingly, stays at a near constant 28 degrees centigrade.
Travelling in Bali can be done at either end of the scale. You can choose ultra luxury retreats with spa, pools and impeccable service or rent a room in a guest house or 'losmen' for an awful lot less! Either way it's a beautiful country with wonderfully warm people, fabulous beaches and delicious food.
Where would you rather be in January?
Just don't forget about us when you book your winter sun holiday to Bali. We offer a choice of great value policies that will give you all the benefits and cover you'll need. And we promise it'll be at a price that's fair, even if one or more of your party has a medical condition or is over 60. Our Superior policy will give you up to £10 million emergency medical expenses and gadget cover – as well as cancellation, loss of baggage, documents and money - while our Economy policy still offers all the basics but will save you a pretty penny. Either way, all our policies will give you access to essential 24/7 emergency assistance wherever you end up in Bali.
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Your quick guide to travelling in Bali
Fire Department: 113
Weather; hot hot hot!
During the dry season, which is between the months of April and September, Bali is at its busiest. Temperatures are usually a little hotter than the rest of the year at around 28 – 29 degrees centigrade. The air is usually drier, with winds predominantly from the north east, but there can still be rain. The rainy season lasts typically from October to March. It is generally quieter, more humid (but not unpleasant) but still hot, at around 27 degrees centigrade on average. In the central mountains the temperatures can fall to as low as 15 degrees at night during the rainy season. The driest place on the island is usually the Bukit Peninsula, which is in the far south.
Visas: get it on arrival
Visitors from the United Kingdom can get Visas on Arrival (VOA) through Ngurah Rai International Airport or the seaports of Padangbai and Benoa. The charge is US$35 for a 30 day stay. If you intend to stay for longer you will need to arrange a tourist visa before you leave home.
Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival and it must have at least 2 blank pages.
Entry: Don't overstay your welcome
Overstaying in Bali is a serious offence and can lead to imprisonment for up to 5 years if more than 60 days. For overstays up to 60 days you may be charged US$20 per day on departure from Bali.
Entry: Register by law
If you stay in accommodation in Bali that is not a hotel then you must register your presence with the local police. Failure to do so may result in a fine of Rp.5 million. Hotels will register you automatically.
Natural disasters: the Ring of Fire
Bali sits on the seismic strip that's known as the 'Ring of Fire'. The volcanoes of Indonesia (which includes Bali) are some of the most volatile on the 'Ring of Fire' and eruptions and earthquakes do occur regularly. Tsunamis are also possible.
Bali's most active volcano is mount Batur. It sits in a huge crater (caldera) that is 13 x10 km across and includes the cone of the volcano and lake Batur. It is a beautiful place to visit and is one of Bali's most popular attractions. It is possible to climb the volcano and look into its sulphurous heart – but don't stand still for too long. You can boil an egg by burying it in the soil at the top. A popular trip is to set out before dawn to see the sun rise over the crater.
Natural disasters: flooding
During the rainy season (usually around October to April) you may bear witness to regular flooding in the streets of Kuta or elsewhere. If you are caught out by a heavy rain storm avoid walking (or driving) in flood waters as they can carry waterborne diseases and uncovered culverts and drainage ditches can be dangerous.
Currency: how to be a millionaire!
Bali's currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. It is normally shown as Rp. followed by the value. Denominations of Rp.100 and 100 are in the form of coins, 500 and 1,000 are in either coins or bills, and Rp.5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 are only available in bills.
The exchange range can fluctuate but at the time of writing we could expect to get around Rp.19,600 per £1. That means you could be a Rp. millionaire with just £51!
Electricity and internet
Bali's electric is 220 volts at 50 hertz. However the sockets are rounded two-pin type so you will need to bring adaptors if you need to charge phones or electrical equipment, which means you'll be able to use your UK devices without a voltage adaptor.
Most hotels and guesthouses will have free Wi-fi, with lots of shops and restaurants offering the same, although some places may charge. You can also buy a SIM card for your mobile with a data package so you can roam, rather than use your own 3G roaming provider. It can work out a lot cheaper. Phone shops at the airport and in tourist areas sell these.
In Bali, timetables can be flexible, and very often are. This is due to the concept of 'rubber time' (known locally as jam karet) which is practiced widely. What this means is that taxis will arrive in the nick of time (or very late), buses will only leave when they are full and anything can happen at any time. There's no use fighting it, and the only way to deal with it is to deal with it. You are on holiday!
There is little public transport in Bali. You may see the occasional 'Bemo' or minibus but these are usually very crowded and only used by locals. Most tourists prefer to travel by taxi or rent a vehicle. The official tourism agency Perama offer buses to major sites but the scope is limited if you want to explore. These can be booked from any travel agent in any resort.
Taxis are easy to find in tourist areas and can be flagged down on the street. Should there be no meter or if the meter is 'broken' then negotiate before you set off or get in. That way you'll get a better rate!
Rent a car
Hiring a vehicle is easy but make sure you have an international driving licence, which you will need to get before you leave home. Also, be aware that driving in Bali isn't like driving in Europe. Roads can be congested and other road users can be erratic and, frankly, dangerous.
Check the vehicle is in good working order before you sign for it and check for any existing damage. This is important!!! If you don't point out damage to the owner before you leave they may try to charge you for it when you return. Check for spare wheel and jack.
A lot of tourists get around by motorbike in Bali as it can cut down on journey times and can be a lot of fun. They can be rented just about anywhere in tourist areas. HOWEVER, please remember that you are required by law to wear a crash helmet and will be fined if you don't wear one. You will also need your international driving licence to be endorsed for a motorcycle.
BEWARE: Your World First travel insurance will be invalid if you ride a motorcycle without a crash helmet (whether legal or not) and if you do not hold a FULL licence for that type of motorbike back in the UK.
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Local customs: dress the part
As with any country you should respect local laws, customs and traditions while travelling. It's no different in Bali. Westerners may have been visiting Bali for a long time but it is still easy to offend or cause upset – even if it is unintentional.
Unless you are at the beach or in a tourist area, you should dress modestly at all times. That means covering up arms, shoulders and legs and avoiding needlessly short skirts, shorts or vests. Also, on beaches, nudity and topless bathing are not acceptable.
When visiting a temple men and women are expected to wear a sarong and a temple sash. These can be rented but you may choose to buy your own. Sarongs are useful for all kinds of occasions and are cool to wear.
Women should not enter Hindu temples when menstruating or if bleeding. It might be hard for us to understand this, but it is part of Balinese life. Also, you should never walk in front of praying Balinese and do not use flash photography inside a temple. Religious ceremonies take precedence over everything in Bali so if you get held up by a procession or event, stay cool. There is nothing you can do to stop or interrupt it.
Head and hands code
The left hand is considered unclean by the Balinese. This is because they use their left for toilet, and their right for eating. So, if you are invited to shake anyone's hand, do it with the right hand. Same with eating and touching. The head is also considered to be important and sacred so it is impolite to touch it, even on children.
It is also considered impolite to cross your legs in front of someone.
Healthcare: get good travel insurance
In Bali the standard of local medical care may be poor, or simply unavailable, if you are ill or have an accident, especially in remote areas. Good medical care may be very expensive and only available in Denpassar, the country's capital.
If you are very ill or seriously injured you may need to be airlifted out of Bali, which is extremely expensive. So it's vital to have good medical cover before you go, with all medical conditions declared. If you take medication, take enough for your trip and carry a copy of your prescription in case you are questioned. Being caught with illegal drugs is a serious offence.
Rabies still exists in domestic and wild animals in Bali so you should avoid all contact with dogs, cats and monkeys. There are plenty of street dogs in Bali so, if you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance.
Healthcare: jabs and precautions
There's a heightened risk of dengue fever in Bali during the rainy season, so you should do all you can to avoid bites from mosquitoes. This means sleeping under a mozzie net, wearing long sleeved tops and long trousers at night and using mozzie spray.
You should also make sure all your travel vaccinations are up to date. For more information see the NHS Choices website.
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Food and drink
It is possible to eat and drink very cheaply in Bali. While many would never dream of eating from a street cart in Asia, it is a great way to get a cheap meal of nasi goreng or nasi champur (mixed rice or mixed noodles). However, you don't have to do this if you don't want to. There are restaurants almost everywhere serving everything from pizza to more traditional Indonesian food. Just ask!
As with a lot of places it is wise to drink only bottled water in Bali. Just make sure that the seal is intact when you buy it.
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Bali: Know Before You Go
For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.
See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.
Follow the FCO on twitter HERE.
Of course, if you have any questions about our Bali travel insurance, please call us using the number at the top of this page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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