Arriving & Getting Around Bali
Arriving & Airport Taxi's
So now you're on the plane, sit back and enjoy the 3.5 hour flight (From Perth), what to expect when you land? Hot! so be prepared, follow others and all will be simple, you will get locals that will want to carry your luggage, they do this for a small tip, politely say no thank you if you don't wish to use them (We don't use them as we generally have minimal luggage and they keep putting their hand out and can be annoying). As you are walking through the airport you will see a sign (before you get luggage) to Get A Visa, make sure you do this or you will need to go back later, this will cost $US35 each so have it ready, from here again follow everyone else or if you have a porter follow him, have your passport ready all the time, once you get through you will be at the pick up or taxi point, if you were lucky enough to get hotel transfers with your package look for a driver holding a sign with your name on it, if you don't have transfers, as you walk out the main door turn to right and about 20 metres along you will see a place to book and pay for a taxi, get a ticket and a driver will come to you, expect to pay
Kuta 100,000 ($AU10)
Prices available for other area's, this is fixed price so don't try and haggle, just pay, they work for airport and don't rip you off. If you choose to find your own driver be mindful of the prices above, drivers will try and charge more if you don't have a ticket, agree a price before you get in.
We don't tip fixed price taxi's but we do others, if we go on a longish trip and fee is 35,000 we give 40-50,000, same if it's 10,000 or less we give another 5,000 - 10,000, remember 10,000 is only $AU1 which is nothing to us and plenty to the locals.
You should now be at your hotel, take time to get relaxed, need to brush your teeth? under no circumstances drink the local tap water, all hotels give a couple of free bottles of water a day and you can buy it in stores extremely cheap, 3,000 (30c) a 1lt bottle, if you drink the water you will have a upset stomach for sure.
Taxi's & Transport
Where ever you go in Bali there will be people offering Transport and the operators based at hotels are better for newbies but have a look at pricing below in Tours & Attractions section and this is generally what you can expect to pay.
Once you get an idea of what it costs in a taxi to get around you can ask the taxi drivers for a no meter fee, some will try as high as possible so if you don't like the price just say no thanks turn on the meter, they will drop the price generally, I have found the most trusted taxi's are Bluebird Group, these taxis have www.bluebirdgroup.com on the windscreen and rear fenders and are sky blue in colour (Pic Below), these guys are generally meter only and if new to Bali I would suggest to use only Bluebird with Meter On, as mentioned once you have an idea on trip prices you can haggle no meter with other operators and you will find with no meter they will find a shorter way :-), I have had two bad experiences with Wahana Taxi which are Dark Blue so avoid.
Example of Bluebird Taxi
Shopping & Bartering in Bali
Shopping and Bartering
If it's your first time to Bali your first venture outside can be daunting if you're not prepared, street vendors can be overwhelming to newbies but it gets easier each day, never lose your cool, if your not buying simply say "No Thank you" and keep walking, if not buying also try and avoid eye contact without being obvious or rude, if you stop then they will try and get you to buy, as you will see there are many vendors selling the same stuff so they never let a chance go by.
Tip, never fill in a survey, as soon as you write your name and hotel on a form you will be bombarded with tour company's calling your hotel, most asking you to fill in survey's will say they work for the Government Tourism Board and have ID but they generally work for a company, second you will be offered scratch cards with a chance to win accommodation etc, never accept them just say no thanks and keep walking, they always say "I'm not selling anything" they will be a little pushy and rude sometimes, most stand on corners and some pull up on bikes, basically they are selling time share and if not careful you will get burnt so best avoid, you will get this more in Legian and Seminyak.
We like to have a look around Centro Shopping Centre on our first day, it gives you an idea of prices so you know the maximum to pay on the street, generally you will do much better by haggling on the street, example would be a Sarong 79,000 at Centro, on the Street 40,000 or less, pay what you think it's worth, you can screw them down heaps but they need to make a living as well.
I paid 280,000 for 10 Bintang singlets so $AU28, you would pay $10 - $20 for one in Australia, I could have done better but again the locals need to make a living and a couple of dollars is nothing to us and a lot to them, sure you want a bargain but $2.80 for a singlet is a bargain to me, they will always start at a price 4 or 5 times more than they know they will get.
This is to test your knowledge, if they ask how many times you have been to Bali never say "first time", always say 2 or more times, they can pick a newbie though.
An example of haggling say for a Singlet, they say 150,000 just smile shake your head and say 10,000, they will laugh loudly and say 80,000 so you say 15,000, they will laugh less now as they know you will be a little tough so they will try 40,000, eventually you will be at 20-25,000, if you can't get to what you want to pay then smile and say thank you and walk off, 9/10 they will accept your last offer and call you back and if they don't call you back you know you were too low so go a little higher next time.
A rough guide to what to pay be (Prices in July 2014):
Bintang, Everlast etc Singlets maximum 25,000 but can get for 20,000 (Max $2.50)
AFL, NRL type Singlets are better quality so 45,000 - 60,000
Board Shorts; look at the quality but anywhere from 25,000 - 40,000
AFL, NRL Shirts I got a guy to 130,000rp ($13) and he was sad and I think this may be the limit but good quality West Coast Eagles Shirt that would be $50 in Oz so next time I will settle at 150,000, again I don't like ripping them as they have to live, I bought this guy 2 cans of Coke after the sale which made him much happier
AFL, NRL Shorts, Best I have done is 75,000rp ($7.50)
Ladies long cotton pants; 40,000 (remember 10,000 = $1)
Straw style hats; 30,000 - 60,000 depends on quality
Peak Caps; 25,000 - 40,000
Sunglasses; 25,000 - 50,000
Watches; 30,000 - 300,000 ($3 - $30 as a lot of varying quality)
Six Pack Stubby Holders; 25,000 - 35,000
Hair Cut Men: 30-40,000rp ($3 - $4) Ladies: Varies but my wife gets a cut and style for 45,000rp ($4-50. I kid you not and these are qualified hairdressers) and you get coloring for around $5 and extensions etc for similar, ridiculous pricing as a standard haircut in WA for my wife is around $70 and I think the Bali cut is better, we always use the hairdresser across from the Bagus Pub on Poppies 2 next to the CD Shop.... Tell them Paul & Teresa sent you and no haggling at hairdressers generally but hey they are cheap enough already so why bother.
Remember that my pricing is at 10,000rp to $1 or 100,000 to $10 and also be aware you may get them down lower than the prices above but with the knowledge that the locals have made a little money from me makes me feel a lot better.
CD and DVD shops can be found all over the place and a couple of the better ones can be found in Centro Mall or our favorite is across from Bagus Bar on Poppies Lane 2
CD's and DVD's are 10,000 ($1) each and you get extra the more you buy, buy 10 and get 5 more free for example, PC software is a little more, WII and Playstation etc requires your device to have a Bali Chip, remember all of this stuff is copies so buy and import at your own risk, don't buy a suitcase full or you could be suspected of attempting to resell pirated material.
This should get you started, if you are buying one item be prepared to pay closer to higher price, locals tend to work on what they make per sale rather than per item but they still like to make money.
Eating And Drinking In Bali
Wine and Spirits are not that cheap, Spirits much the same as in Australia and Wine can be double Australian Prices, most of the Local wine is worse than Aussie Cask Quality.
Cool Drink varies in price from 15,000 - 30,000 this is for a smaller can or small glass coke bottle.
Bintang and Bali Hai are the local brews, Bintang bar far the most popular and very drinkable, Bali Hai is generally slightly cheaper.
Bintang varies in price, a 24 can or stubby carton is around 330,000 ($33) and they are 355ml.
In Bars prices vary a lot, you can pay 18,000 during happy hours and I have paid as much as 47,000 at Gracie Kelly's, 25,000 per stubby is normal.
Kuta, Legian and Seminyak have bars on the beach that have Fridges and Esky's and very cold drinks, they all charge 20,000 a stubby and most sell spirits, pre-mixed vodka an cool drinks/water.
Our favourite beach bar can be found on Kuta Beach near the Conservation Turtle, Jimmy's Bar! Either walk through Centro to the beach board walk and head up towards Kuta Beach until you come to a Huge Turtle on your right, directly in front you will see a Jimmy's Bar sticker on his Esky, tell him Paul Nock sent you, you can also taxi to Kuta Beach Gates and follow path to the Turtle, this is the best spot to sit and watch a sunset and Jimmy has plenty of chairs, if you just want to drink at bars you will soon find the best priced ones but you will find most people at beach bars from 4 - 7pm and Jimmy's is the most Popular.
Food is everywhere, most places are very reasonable with prices, some places include tax in prices and some not, if you see ++ on a menu or sign then this means + 10% Service and + 11% Government Tax, this applies to drinks as well but this should only add a couple of dollars to your bill. Some places will take US & AU dollars but with a poor exchange rate so pay in IDR
It really depends on where you go and what you eat, we have never got Bali Belly from the food, stick to the hotel restaurants and shopping centre cafes and restaurants, you don't have to stay at hotel to use their bar or eat their food, all Hotels, Restaurants and Café's have a menu out front on the footpath so check out the prices before you go in. An idea of pricing for a good size meal, (My wife has trouble eating all);
Local Dishes; 50 - 100,000
Burgers/Sandwiches and Chips; 40,000 - 80,000
Steak and Vegies/Chips; 100,000 - 150,000 (You can see steak as low as 70,000 but lower the price the lower the quality, a $15 steak meal in Bali would cost me around $38 at my local in Oz to give you an idea)
Surf & Turf; 120,000 - 160,000
Pasta/RiceDishes; 30,000 - 80,000
Chicken meals are slightly cheaper than Steak, Lamb is rare and generally more than Steak, Prawn Dishes are cheaper than Australia by a long way and around 150,0000 and even crayfish is a good price, Lobster Thermidor I have seen for around 250,000, Nusa Dua & Jimbaran Bay is higher priced and expect to pay Aussie Prices here, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Sanur are all around the same, maybe slightly cheaper in Legian, you have McDonald's, Burger King, Star Bucks, Dome, Pizza Hut etc and all are much cheaper than the Aussie equivalent
Most places do vegetarian or salads, a Caesar Salad is around 45,000, I haven't seen anywhere advertise Vegan but I'm sure they could accommodate.