Arriving Bali

Soft landing package

We’re happy to help you and your family relocate to Bali short- or long-term! We’ll pick you up at the airport; provide you with a local SIM card with data; help you find accommodation that suits your needs; we’ll have a rental vehicle of your choice parked and waiting for you when you arrive. We can assist in finding equipment you might need if you’re travelling with kids, and we’re happy to be your discussion partner when considering different schooling options, etc. Shoot us an email (indonesia@igdore.org) and let us know what you need and we’ll try our best to assist you! Meanwhile, check out the information below to get you started.

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Bali

Bali is a small island in Indonesia; east of Java island, where Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is located. Indonesia is the world’s largest island country with its over 13’000 islands. The population exceeds 260 million, and the country has more than 700 active languages.

Although Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, the island of Bali is Hindu. Balinese Hinduism is a mix of animism and traditional Hinduism and thus differs in many ways from the Hinduism practiced in other countries.

The conference venue is located in a small town close to the middle of the island: Ubud. Ubud has a long history as the cultural center of Bali. Today, the town is also considered an international hub for yoga practitioners, vegans, entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Many families throughout the years have also relocated to Ubud, from all over the world, to enroll their children to the famous Green School (learn more about international schools, babysitting, and other things that might be relevant for families.) The town was also featured in the renowned book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

To learn more about Ubud, we recommend starting out with WikiTravel.

Do you need a visa?

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Map from Wikipedia

Indonesia has a very generous visa policy. Most people are allowed to enter and stay in the country for 30 days without any visa at all (please note that the arrival and departure dates are counted as 2 days).

A Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) is available to those who want to stay more than 30 days, but no more than 60 days. No preparations are needed to apply for VoA; the application is made on the Denpasar airport at arrival (just follow the signs; you can’t miss it). A VoA costs 35 USD, and is paid in cash. Most major currencies are allowed, such as EUR and USD, as well as IDR (the local currency). With a VoA, you will need to visit the immigration office in Denpasar some time during your first 20 days. IGDORE’s staff is available to guide you further on this (indonesia@igdore.org).

Finally, Indonesia also offers a long-term stay visa, often called social or cultural visa. This type of visa allows you to stay up to 6 months (however, you cannot re-enter Indonesia on the same visa; a new visa must then be applied for before re-entry). The easiest way to apply for a social or cultural visa is to hire a visa agent. You can search for one yourself or ask IGDORE’s staff for recommendations (indonesia@igdore.org).

Vaccinations

Different clinics and different countries have somewhat different views on which vaccines you need when traveling to Bali. Make sure to look into this in good time. Short-term visitors are typically not recommended to take vaccine against rabies. Malaria does not exist on Bali, but you might need malaria protection if you’re planning on travelling to islands east of Bali.

How to get there

The closest airport is Ngurah Rai International Airport, in Denpasar, Bali. Ubud is about 50 minutes drive from the airport. There will be many private taxi drivers waiting in the arrival hall. It is safe to travel with them. Please note that the price is negotiated BEFORE going to the car. The current prices at the airport are typically above 450.000 IDR (30 USD). You pay with cash (Indonesian rupiah; IDR) directly to the driver when he lets you off at your destination.

Uber, GRAB, GoJek and meter taxis are typically not allowed to pick up passengers by the arrival hall. To book a private driver to wait for you when you arrive (price: 350.000 IDR), please contact IGDORE’s staff on Bali: indonesia@igdore.org.

Tipping

Indonesia has no tipping culture. You pay the agreed price; as simple as that! However, you might want to give 10.000-20.000 IDR (about 1 USD) for extra services offered to you, for example if maintenance staff offers to take care of your laundry or if someone is driving you somewhere for free.

Bargaining

This is a fact you can’t get away from: prices are almost always negotiated on Bali. Taxi, accommodation, shopping, services. Unless there is an explicit price tag on the product you want to buy, or someone explicitly says that the price is “fixed”, then you should expect to negotiate. Depending on what product or service it is, you can often get at least half the price off. Shy to negotiate? Just ask yourself what amount you are actually willing to pay, and pay it with a smile, resting assured that you have played your part in helping a developing country grow. (And do avoid asking your friend what she paid for the same product…)

Cash is king

Always expect to pay in cash, using Indonesian rupiah (IDR). And please note that it is illegal to pay in any other currency than IDR within Indonesia. You can pay with Mastercard and VISA at many restaurants and hotels, but not all. Card skimming at ATMs is a common issue on Bali, and can sometimes occur even at guarded ATMs inside banks. Despite this, ATMs are frequently used, also by long-term visitors and immigrants/expats. Many choose to protect themselves by not having large sums on the transaction account. Learn more about how to protect yourself from skimming.

bali-237205_1920How to get around

It is unlikely that you will be walking a lot in Ubud, or anywhere else on Bali. There are rarely any sidewalks, which means that you are sharing the (small and rather chaotic) roads with motorbikes and cars. Thus, you should expect to go with taxis: cars or motorbikes. There are LOTS of them everywhere, so they will not be difficult to find.

You can also rent a car (about 3.000.000 IDR / month) or your own motorbike (about 650.000 IDR / month). Expect higher rates for short-term rentals. Please note that you will need an international driving license in both cases. The traffic on Bali may seem chaotic to foreigners at first. Make sure to learn the formal and informal rules about how to drive before you start, and you’ll be good.

Climate

Located in the tropics, Bali has a very humid climate with fairly the same temperature all year round: a day temperature of about 30 degrees (Celsius). Ubud is located in the mountains and is therefore slightly cooler than the coast areas.

The tropics have two seasons: wet season and dry season. The wet season on Bali is usually lasting from October to April. During the wet season, there is typically rainfall for a few hours every day, often during the afternoons. Thus, expect many hours of sun on a daily basis also during the wet season.

During the wet season you should make sure not going anywhere without your raincoat, as the rain can be sudden and exhaustive (and quite a fabulous experience!).

Families

Many foreign families choose to stay long-term in Ubud and on Bali. The days offer much variation and things to explore, and the babysitting options are plenty, extremely flexible and very affordable. For these reasons it is also common for single parents to stay long-term while working remotely: from home; cafes; or perhaps most commonly, from coworking spaces. Whether or not you’re interested in staying long-term, here’s some information you might find useful if you’re bringing children.

Drop-in programs & international schools

Pelangi School offers a drop-in program for children staying in Ubud for 20 school days. Pelangi is a private, not-for-profit school located a bit south of Ubud, about 5-10 minutes ride from central Ubud.

Green School is a bit further away, about 25 min ride from Ubud. Green School has had famous visitors such as Ban Ki-moon, Jane Goodall, and Philip Zimbardo. See the TED talk about Green School, by the founder, John Hardy.

Spring School is available for children between 3 and 5 years old, who will stay in Ubud for a minimum of 3 months. The school is located in central Ubud.

Wood School is available for children from 3 to 14 years old. The school is located about 5-10 min ride from central Ubud.

Activities

Located next to Pelangi School, the newly opened Titi Batu offers plenty of fun for families: family pool, lap pool, skate park (skateboard and safety equipment can be rented on site), multi sports court, playground, indoor playroom for the smallest, squash court, ping-pong, spa (with sauna), and lots of drop-in classes for adults and kids (yoga, dance, pilates, meditation, capoiera, swimming lessons, karate…). They also have a big and cosy restaurant, making it easy for you to enjoy a full day at Titi Batu. They are open daily from 07:00 until 22:00.

Cinema Paradiso, in central Ubud, frequently hosts drop-in activities for children and their parents, such as dancing and movie screenings. The cinema has comfy couches with tables, and the adjacent restaurant, Down to Earth, with table service in the cinema is open for orders during the whole screening. Down to Earth also offers a small play corner inside the restaurant.

Meet monkeys in an ethical way in a sanctuary called Monkey Forest, located in central Ubud.

Ubud Yoga Center offers very popular yoga classes for kids. They also have Ubud’s best playroom, allowing kids an awesome supervised time while the parent is taking a yoga class or enjoying a fresh young coconut in the cafe.

Longing for cool air condition while the kids take care of themselves? Peek A Boo is your savior. Located about 40 min drive south of Ubud.

Want more? Check out Bali Kids Guide! You might also want to join the Facebook group for families staying short- or long-term in Ubud.

Babysitting

There are plenty of different types of babysitting services in and around Ubud. Below are a few examples where you can start your search.

Bali kids guide
Karsini
Bali childcare

How to get around

It is unlikely that you will be walking a lot in Ubud, or anywhere else on Bali. There are rarely any sidewalks, which means that you are sharing the (small and rather chaotic) roads with motorbikes and cars. You will therefore have very limited use for a stroller on Bali. Baby carriers such as a Manduca would likely be to prefer.

You should also expect to go with taxis: cars or motorbikes. There are LOTS of them everywhere, so they will not be difficult to find. There are no laws requiring boosters or other types of car seats for children. You should expect to either bring these yourself or rent them on site.

Some families choose to hire a private driver who is available for them on a daily basis. This way, you can always leave what you want in the car, and your personal driver will never be further away than a phone call. The typical salary for a personal driver is a bit over 3.000.000 IDR / month (200 USD) + covering the driver’s expenses for gas, road tolls, lunch, and accommodation should there be overnight stays. Expect higher rates for short-term hires.

You can also rent a car (about 3.000.000 IDR / month) or your own motorbike (about 650.000 IDR / month). Please note that you will need an international driving license in both cases. The traffic on Bali may seem chaotic to foreigners at first. Make sure to learn the formal and informal rules about how to drive before you start, and you’ll be good.


Any questions? Let us know and we will do our best to help you! You reach us easily by email: indonesia@igdore.org