The island of Bali is an ideal place not only for spending a warm and pleasant winter but also for living. Many expatriates come to this paradise and choose to stay here. It is no wonder because Bali offers a wonderful climate, beautiful nature, relatively affordable living costs, and a fairly developed infrastructure.
If you are also planning to arrive in Bali and spend your winter here or are considering the island as a potential home, read our recommendations to help you prepare for your trip and save both your money and nerves.
What should you take care of in advance if you are flying to Indonesia for a long time?
1. Entry requirements for Indonesia
To enter the country, you will need:
- A valid passport with a remaining validity of at least 6 months.
- A visa, which you can obtain upon arrival at the airport or seek assistance from us to obtain.
- Medical insurance is not mandatory but strongly recommended, as healthcare on the island can be expensive.
- Vaccination certificates are no longer required, as they were abolished on June 9, 2023.
- A return ticket, which may be requested before boarding your flight or upon arrival. If you do not have a return ticket, you may be denied boarding or entry into the country. The return date should not exceed the expiration date of your visa, before an extension. For instance, if your visa is valid for 60 days, your return ticket should be dated no later than 59 days. If you plan to extend your visa and stay in Indonesia for an extended period, you can purchase a cost-effective round-trip ticket to a third country, such as Malaysia. We do not recommend using fake tickets, as they are now closely scrutinized.
2. How to get to Bali: buying plane tickets
Bali has one international airport, located in the city of Denpasar, the island’s administrative capital, and it’s identified by the code DPS on airline websites and ticket aggregators. Various airlines operate flights to Bali, including:
- Turkish Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- China Eastern Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- American Airlines
- KLM and others.
You can also find reasonably priced routes to Bali through Asian countries like Thailand, India, Vietnam, and others, although you might need to make multiple layovers. Low-cost carriers also offer flights from Asian countries to Indonesia.
3. How to choose the right visa without overpaying
Indonesia offers a variety of visas with different terms and conditions. The most affordable option is the Visa on Arrival, which costs only $35. You can purchase it at the airport or apply for it online in advance through an agency or the immigration office’s website. However, the immigration website and system can be somewhat unreliable, potentially causing complications. Keep in mind that this visa is suitable for short trips. Travelers planning to stay in Bali for an extended period may face significant expenses for visas, extensions, and planned trips out of the country and back to reset the visa (visa run).
To avoid overpaying, we recommend planning your trip in advance. Consider how many days you intend to spend in Indonesia, whether you will be traveling to other countries, or prefer to stay in one place. This article can help you learn about the visa conditions in Indonesia and choose the one that suits your plans.
Some travelers, especially those planning a longer stay or a relocation to Bali, may intend to work there. It’s important to note that earning income in Indonesia is only allowed with a specific work permit (KITAS). Without it, you risk deportation from the country.
If you plan to engage in commercial activities in Bali, you can establish a company with foreign investments and obtain an investor KITAS.
Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll provide guidance on how to do this.
4. Ensure a smooth entry
After the coronavirus pandemic, Bali has experienced an unprecedented surge in tourism. The Denpasar airport is sometimes struggling to handle the influx of new arrivals. Passport control lines can be quite long, and it’s not uncommon to wait for over an hour in a stuffy environment.
We can assist you in swiftly navigating all procedures by utilizing the Fast Track service. An airport representative will meet you, escort you through the Priority Lane at passport control, assist with customs declarations, provide internet access, and even help you obtain a visa on arrival if needed. They can also assist with retrieving your luggage and delivering it to your transfer or meet-and-greet point. This service is particularly convenient if you are traveling with a substantial amount of luggage, with children, or elderly individuals.
5. Getting from the airport to your hotel or villa
Bali lacks a public transportation system, so the best options for getting to your accommodation are to either book a taxi or arrange a transfer. We don’t recommend using airport taxi services, as their prices are often inflated.
You can call for a local taxi through apps like Grab or GoJek, but this typically requires a local SIM card.
A more convenient and reliable option is to pre-book a transfer with a trusted company. They offer clean vehicles with air conditioning, punctual professional drivers who will ensure your safe and comfortable journey to your hotel or villa. You can check out their rates and make a reservation here.
6. What сurrency to bring
If you’re traveling to Bali with cash, you’ll need to exchange it for the local currency, the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
It’s best to bring US Dollars, Euros or Australian Dollars with you and exchange them at authorized local exchange offices or banks.
If you’re planning a long-term stay in Indonesia, you can easily set a local card up here. Unlike many other countries where a residence permit is required to open an account, tourists in Bali can do so with a tourist visa at one of the four Indonesian banks. The bonus is that these cards work seamlessly in other countries as well.
7. Do you need insurance?
Medical insurance is not a mandatory requirement for entry into Indonesia, but we strongly recommend obtaining it for your safety and peace of mind. Medical care in Bali can be quite expensive.
8. How to find accommodation in Bali
Bali offers accommodation to suit every taste and budget. The best apps for finding and booking accommodation are still Booking.com and Airbnb.
If you want to save money, it’s a good idea not to rush into booking long-term accommodation unless you are 100% sure about it. It’s best to rent a hotel or villa for one to two weeks initially and then search for your ideal home once you’re on the island. Make sure to have a written contract, especially if you are paying for your accommodation remotely.
If you encounter any payment issues, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist you.
9. Getting around in Bali
Bali doesn’t have an extensive public transportation system, so most tourists opt to rent scooters or cars. You will need an international driver’s license (Category A for scooters and Category B for cars), so it is a good idea to obtain one in your home country before traveling.
If that’s not possible, we can guide you on how to get a local driver’s license, which is valid for five years across Southeast Asia.
Make sure to purchase a local SIM card and download ride-hailing apps like Grab and GoJek, as they offer competitive rates.
For a comfortable introduction to Indonesia, we recommend taking tours with the tourist company MyBaliTrips. On their website, you’ll find over a hundred tours across Bali and neighboring islands.
We hope your stay in Bali will be as comfortable and exciting as possible.
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Feel free to contact us if you need assistance with obtaining a visa for Indonesia, registering a business in the country, opening a local bank account, arranging airport assistance, or obtaining a driver’s license. We stay connected with our clients and are always responsive to your inquiries, helping you navigate any issues effectively.