Bali’s “Tourist Seasons”
Following are simple descriptions of the five key ‘tourist seasons’ known in Bali. The best one that suits you depends on variables such as time, money, weather conditions, and accessibility.
- Pre-prime season ( April – May). Rooms in Bali are readily available and rates, the crowds and the weather are moderate.
- Prime season (May – September). A sunny and dry period; during this season, international as well as domestic tourists flock the island, following the school holidays that occur in Indonesia. The month of August is usually full of offers for tourists on promotional hotel rates, tour packages and special restaurant menus with interesting pricings in conjunction with the Indonesian celebration of Independence Day. Foreign visitors can join in on the various Independence folk celebrations held in Bali. Best book your hotel room at least a month prior.
- Post-prime season (September – mid December). Hotel rooms in Bali are readily available again as schools in Indonesia begin their curriculums, thus not many domestic tourists are seen during this season.
- Holiday season (mid-December to early-January). Holiday-makers flock the island for Christmas and the New Year. Just like the prime season, many promotions and attractive prices are on offer. However, it is when the dry season subsides into the wet season.
- Wet season (January – April). Just like the rain, everything else seems to come down: prices, crowds, as well as room bookings. It is a refreshing period after the dry season, and many sightseeing and adventure features on the island are best enjoyed during this season, such as the agrarian life and majestic temples and royal water palaces and gardens in the central regions. However, the tropical rainy season will always leave plenty of sun for the coastal lovers.
Location & Duration of Your Stay
Don’t take in too lightly the number of days for your stay. Many travelers to Bali admitted that they wished they had more days on their Bali trip. Here are some clues on the considerable location and length of your stay:
- It would be better if you stay in Bali for at least 10-14 days because many hotels and travel agencies in Bali provide special benefits for guests who stay for a considerable length of time in Bali. A month would be even better because Bali has so many highlights to experience.
- In the major tourist areas of southern Bali; if you prefer quiet atmospheres for your holiday, it would be better if you stay in the Nusa Dua or Ubud area, but if you prefer the livelier mood you can stay in the Kuta or Sanur area.
- Staying in a hotel room over a longer duration (at least a month) will help you save more than staying in a villa.
Exchange & Currency
Here are some options that can help you save during your holiday in Bali.
- Credit Cards – Use a major credit card: American Express, MasterCard or Visa, whenever possible. The rate of exchange applied by the cards is likely to help you save more than exchanging cash or traveler’s checks into the Indonesian Rupiah.
- Cash vs. Traveler Checks – Better exchange rates apply for major foreign currencies than for traveler checks. Moreover, extra fees often apply for cashing travelers checks – added to the fee you originally paid to purchase. Besides, cash eases your shopping in traditional markets in Bali.
- Which currency? – More buying power is gained if you exchange hard-currency cash – such as the Japanese Yen and Australian Dollar. But for the highest relative rate, bring US Dollars or Euros.
- Dollar denominations – The dollar denomination affects the exchange rate. Prime reason: The larger the denomination, the less likely the bill will be a counterfeit. That’s why US$100 bills get appreciably better rates than $50 bills, which get appreciably better rates than $20 bills. Only some money exchangers bother with $10 bills — and if you have $5 and $1 bills, forget it. Whatever the denomination, bring the latest design style of US currency. And, be sure notes are crisp, unmarred and unwrinkled.
- Money exchangers – Professional money exchange establishments (particularly those in Kuta’s main shopping areas) normally give you significantly better exchange rates than banks, which in turn give you appreciably better rates than you get at hotels and the airport. Note: Although nearly all Balinese money exchangers are honest, there are a few who “accidentally” miscount, use sleight of hand deception, use rigged calculators or tag on unexpected commissions. For getting best a reliable local source to point you to one of the many reliable money exchangers.
Several tips to keep in respect for Balinese customs, rituals and sensibilities:
- Don’t take a picture of anyone or something without first obtaining permission.
- Don’t enter a temple unless you’re completely covered knees to shoulders; you can buy a traditional sarong or sash around the temple or get one free to use, provided at some temples in Bali.
- Don’t enter a temple or other holy places during menstruation, rather ask the local people about those places without necessarily entering the grounds.
- Don’t touch anyone’s head or point at someone.
- Don’t give or receive an object with your left hand.
Health & Animal Quarantine
When planning to bring your pets along with you, prepare an official letter from your veterinarian stating that your pet is healthy and free or borne diseases. However this is also not a guarantee that your pet will not be quarantined. Consult your nearest Indonesian consulate or embassy for details or you can visit the quarantine office (Balai Karantina Hewan Kelas 1 Ngurah Rai) which is located in the Benoa area.
Keeping your health in Bali is not difficult because as one of the favorite international destinations Bali has been supported by international hospitals and other health facilities. We have some simple tips to keep your health in Bali:
- If you are from a different climate, please bring your sun cream wherever you go and do not forget to bring a bottle of water as there are no drinkable water taps around. 24-hour shops are only found in major destinations, such as Denpasar, Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Sanur.
- Balinese traditional foods are mostly spicy, so be careful if you have never tried spicy foods before.
- If you try adventure holiday packages, prepare mosquito lotion.
- Make sure your health insurance is in effect in Bali.
Traveling in Bali
Bali has many interesting highlights to be enjoyed. Beautiful beaches and hills, unique temples, people, lifestyle, up to modern night clubs are available. Walking or renting vehicles is an easy way to enjoy Bali. Here are some tips about traveling here:
- If it is your first time in Bali, tour agencies handling your tour or a friend in Bali will be helpful; you can rent a car or motorbike and ask your friend to be your guide as narrow streets may cause confusion.
- Make sure you have an international driver’s license to avoid problems. In Bali, you can obtain an international driver’s license at the Polisi Kota Besar (POLTABES) office in Denpasar.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Ensure you have enough fuel for your trip because petrol may be scarce in some places.
- Bringing cash will be helpful if you get into problems along the way or when you need to purchase supplies. Traditional markets in Bali have high quality products at reasonable prices. Remember to bargain.
- In Bali you will encounter some ritual ceremonies held near or on the road, so wait for the procession to subside or politely ask permission before you pass.
Business Hours & Holidays
- Government office hours usually start at 8am-3pm, except Fridays when office hours are shorter; 8am-1pm.
- Government offices are on holiday twice a week on Saturday and Sunday, and some national holidays are labeled red on the Indonesian calendar.
- Most schools in Bali start their activities at 7am-1pm and go on holiday on Sunday.