Just 8° south of the equator, the island of Bali
has a tropical climate - the average tempera-
ture hovers around 30°C (86°F) all year round.
Direct sun feels incredibly hot, especially in
the middle of the day. In the wet season, from
October to March, the humidity can be very
high and quite oppressive. The almost daily
tropical downpours come as a relief, but
passes quickly, leaving flooded streets and
renewed humidity. The dry season (April to
September) is generally sunnier, less humid
and, from a weather point of view, the best
time to visit, though downpours can occur
at any time.
There are marked variations across the
island. The coast is hotter, but sea breezes
can temper the heat. As you move inland
you also move up, so the altitude works to
keep things cool - at times it can get chilly
up in the highlands, and a warm sweater or
light jacket can be a good idea in mountain
villages such as Kintamani and Candikuning.
The northern slopes of Gunung Batur always
seem to be wet and misty, while a few kilo-
metres away, the east coast is nearly always
dry and sunny.
See p85 for information on learning how to
exploit the fresh flavours of Balinese food for
Government departments charged with foreign affairs maintain websites with travel information
and warnings for specific countries and regions. It's a good idea for travellers to check the follow-
ing websites before a trip in order to confirm local conditions. But note that the advisories often
are general to the point of meaninglessness and are guaranteed to allow for bureaucratic cover
should trouble occur. Once in Bali, travellers may be able to get updated information through
the local consulate (p335) or from embassies in Jakarta (p335).
Denpasar (p170) and Ubud (p186) have
schools for learning Bahasa Indonesia.
Australia Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (www.dfat.gov.au)
Meditation & Spiritual Interests
For the Balinese, everything on the island
is imbued with spiritual significance, and
this ambience is an attraction for travellers
looking for an alternative holiday experience.
Ubud (p186) is a good place to go for spiritual
Canada Foreign Affairs (www.voyage.gc.ca)
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (www.mfat.govt.nz/travel)
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (www.fco.gov.uk)
US Department of State (www.travel.state.gov)
Music & Dance
Denpasar (p165), Sanur (see p139) and Ubud
(p174) have schools where you can explore the
rich traditions of Balinese music and dance.
as well as conformity to customs laws, please
don't buy turtle shell products. There may also
be some ivory artefacts for sale in Bali, and the
import and export of these is also banned in
DANGERS & ANNOYANCES
It's important to note that compared with
many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe.
There are some hassles from the avaricious,
but most visitors face many more dangers
at home. Petty theft occurs but it is not
Security concerns have increased since the
2002 and 2005 bombings but these tend to
fade after a while. The odds you will be caught
up in such a tragedy are low. Note that large
luxury hotels which are part of international
chains tend to have the best security.
As for all destinations, you might want to
check your government's travel advisories be-
fore you depart, and listen to local advice when
you arrive. For more, see above.
In addition to the warnings following, see
p94 for warnings specific to the Kuta region.
Outside the Mataram/Senggigi area on
Lombok, emergency services may be nonex-
istent, or a long time coming. Don't expect an
ambulance to collect injured surfers from the
southwest coast. The Gili Islands don't have a
formal police force.
For information on Bali's notorious dogs,
see p68. See p364 for details on international
clinics and medical care in Bali.
woman with one or more young child. Pause
and they might literally latch on.
Numerous high-profile drug cases in Bali
and on Lombok should be enough to dis-
suade anyone from having anything to do
with illicit drugs. As little as two ecstasy tabs
or a bit of pot has resulted in huge fines and
multiyear jail sentences in Bali's notorious
jail in Kerobokan. Try dealing and you may
pay with your life.
You can expect to be offered pot, ecstasy,
crystal meth (yabba), magic mushrooms and
other drugs in nightclubs, beaches and while
walking along tourist-area streets. Assume
that such offers come from people who may
be in cahoots with the police. That some for-
eigners have been able to buy their way out
of jail by paying enormous fines (US$50,000
and up) should indicate that nabbing tourists
for drugs is a cottage industry.
It's also worth noting that clubbers have
been hit with random urine tests.
Sur fing & Diving
See the Bali & Lombok Outdoors chapter
for more information on surf (p78) and dive
schools ( p75 ).
Indonesia has the usual list of prohibited im-
ports, including drugs, weapons, fresh fruit
and anything remotely pornographic.
Each adult can bring in 200 cigarettes (or
50 cigars or 100g of tobacco), a 'reasonable
amount' of perfume and 1L of alcohol.
Officially, cameras, laptops and tape record-
ers must be declared to customs on entry, and
you must take them with you when you leave.
In practice, customs officials rarely worry about
the usual gear tourists bring into Bali. Surfers
with more than two or three boards may be
charged a 'fee', and this could apply to other
items if the officials suspect that you aim to sell
them in Indonesia. If you have nothing to de-
clare, customs clearance is quick and painless.
There is no restriction on foreign currency,
but the import or export of rupiah is limited
to five million rupiah. Amounts greater than
that must be declared.
Indonesia is a signatory to the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES), and as such bans the import and
More and more people are finding it reward-
ing to take one of the many courses available
in Bali. The rich local culture and activities
make for plenty of opportunities to learn
something new. Whether it's exploring a food
market, learning basic language skills, delv-
ing into the profusion of arts or honing your
aquatic skills, you'll find plenty of options to
expand your horizons.
Hawkers, Pedlars & Touts
Many visitors regard the persistent attentions of
people trying to sell as the number one annoy-
ance in Bali (and in tourist areas of Lombok).
These activities are officially restricted in many
areas but hawkers will still work just outside
the fence. Elsewhere, especially around many
tourist attractions, visitors are frequently, and
often constantly, hassled to buy things.
Arts & Crafts