WHEN TO GO
Please be aware that Indonesia, unlike most of Southeast Asia, is in the southern hemisphere, not in the northern. This means that although the climate remains the same, rainy and dry seasons are opposite: the best time to go to most of Indonesia is just the worst to go to Thailand, Laos or Vietnam.
Bali is one of the southern islands in Indonesia, so how opposite the seasons are is even more obvious:
- Low season is the rainy season; the worst months are December, January and February. Rain is usually not continuous but daily, normally torrential downpours that last from minutes to hours.
- High season is the dry season, from June to September. Rains are present several days per month, but are rare. Prices are much higher since it coincides with the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere.
- Middle season: from mid-March to May and October to November.
Regardless of the rain, temperatures are similar every day of the year, hovering around 32° C maximum and 24º C minimum.
Everyone who comes is a millionaire here, as € 100 are over one million Indonesian Rupiah.
- The official exchange houses are the most recommended; they offer the best rates, are generally reliable and give receipts. In an unofficial one, the possibilities you pay more than agreed, or that one of your bank notes disappears are higher.
- If still you don’t feel confortable, banks are a safer option, although the rates are usually worse.
- If you are going to get money from the ATM, it is recommended you always do it inside the bank during opening hours, as the scam where the card get stuck in the slot of the ATM is widespread, especially in the Mandiri Bank.
HOW TO CHOOSE A BASE CITY
Although there are accommodations throughout the island, the vast majority of visitors stay in southern Bali, the most developed part of the island by far, because the best beaches are here. The farther you go from the south, the more real Indonesia you’ll find, but on the other hand, those who want to explore the real Indonesia, may better go to another island. Even being extremely touristy, you can find good quality accommodation for the same price as in many other places in Southeast Asia.
- Denpasar. It is the administrative center of the island, but there’s nothing for tourists.
- Kuta and Seminyak. This area is ideal for those who want to be in the middle of the action. They are the equivalent to Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand or Torremolinos and Benidorm in Spain. There are all types and prices of restaurants, bars and hotels. These are the areas with more services and therefore greater agglomeration. The beach is excellent but charmless being full of kiosks and hammocks. Is often packed with backpackers looking to party and organized groups on lower budgets.
- Sanur and Jimbaran. These two villages have all kinds of hotels and restaurants, but the atmosphere is much quieter. Ideal for families or couples who do not want to be in the center of the party. Both beaches are ordinary, but with fewer umbrellas and sunbeds. Jimbaran is famous for its (not cheap) fish restaurants, and from the beach because you can see the sunset.
- Nusa Dua. In this area there are all-inclusive 4 and 5 star resorts. The beach is one of the best in Bali.
- Ubud. No beach, but no one should miss staying in Ubud at least for a few days. It also has all kinds of hotels and culinary offer is very wide. It is also probably the best place to visit central and northern Bali: