Bali's capital city, Denpasar, is home to Balinese temples, official government buildings, huge shopping complexes and excellent modern cuisineii. While you're there, make sure you check out the Museum Negeri Propinsi, which was established in 1910 to preserve Balinese cultural artefactsiii. Discover more about Bali's unique cultural heritage at this museum by viewing traditional Balinese architecture, costumes and dance masks, and ceremonial objectsiii.
Many Australians holiday further south in the areas of Kuta and Legian, which are famous for stunning beaches and a lively atmosphere, and are filled with the sounds of motorbikes, street vendors and taxi horns all clamouring for attentioniv. Legian has plenty of family-friendly resorts and restaurants along the beach, whereas Kuta has a buzzing nightlife sceneiv. Travellers visiting Kuta and Legian should be wary of scams and opportunistic criminals, and should not partake in street-side card gamesviii. There have also been reports of Australians being mugged or having their bag stolen from them by thieves on motorbikes in Baliviii; it's a good idea to keep cash and valuables close to your person rather than in large handbags. Comprehensive travel insurance can help minimise your losses if you are affected by fraud or theft while overseas by providing compensation for stolen items once you have reported the crime to the police.
Further north along the coast are the idyllic areas of Seminyak and Kerobokan, which have similarly spectacular beaches but are a little less crowded than Kutav. Whether you want to chill on the beach, learn to surf or browse the boutiques and up-market restaurants, there's plenty to do in Seminyakv. A popular way of travelling around Seminyak and other areas of Bali is by motorcyclevi - which you should only consider riding if you have an Australian motorcycle licence. However, it's important to note that this mode of transport has been the cause of a number of Australians suffering serious injuries and even death in motorcycle accidents in Bali.
The hillside town of Ubud is a verdant and tranquil change from the beach areas of the south, with cooler temperatures, lush rice fields, serene temples and decadent spasvii. Learn to recreate the delicious Balinese meals you've been sampling by taking a half-day cooking course. In the evening you can head out to see a captivating Balinese dance performancevii. It's easy to unwind simply by strolling through the rice terraces or visiting a local temple.
Ubud's Sacred Monkey Forest is famous for its boisterous inhabitants, but no matter how cute the macaques are, it's advised to refrain from feeding or playing with them. It's important to be aware of the risks of contracting rabies from animals in Indonesia; in fact, reports show that approximately 47 per cent of all cases where Australians were potentially exposed to rabies abroad in the period 2010-13 occurred through monkey bites or scratches in Baliviii. If you are infected with rabies, or other diseases present in Bali like mosquito-borne malaria or dengue fever, you will need to seek urgent medical treatment and may need to return to Australiaviii. Medical evacuations from Bali have cost over $60,000x. If you need to be evacuated for medical reasons, Allianz Travel Insurance can help cover the expense.
Travel smart by preparing for your trip to Bali by following this checklist:
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of return to Australiaviii.
- Organise your travel documents including passport, visa, photo ID and plane tickets. Make several copies of these documents and your itinerary; keep one in your luggage and one at home with a trusted family member or friend. If you are staying for less than 30 days in Indonesia, you can apply for a short visit visa on arrival in the airportviii. This can then be extended for a further 30 days at a local immigration centreviii.
- Go to the doctor's for a routine check-up 6-8 weeks before departure to ensure you are in good health and have all the necessary vaccinations for Indonesiaix .
- Register your trip details with the Australian Government at the Smartraveller website.
- Take out a travel insurance policy that suits your needs so you are protected financially from unexpected events like theft or medical emergencies on your trip to Balii. The Australian Government recommends that all Australian travellers purchase comprehensive travel insurancex. The best time to organise insurance is straight after you've booked your flights.
- For more information on travel insurance cover for visiting Bali, see our page on Travel insurance for Bali.
i Australian Bureau of Statistics 3401.0 - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Jun 2015, viewed 22 March 2016, http://www.thejakartapost.com/bali-daily/2013-11-12/australian-tourists-still-dominate-arrivals-bali.html
ii Lonely Planet 2013, Denpasar, viewed 20 December 2013, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali/denpasar
iii Lonely Planet 2013, Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali, viewed 20 December 2013, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali/denpasar/sights/museums-galleries/museum-negeri-propinsi-bali
iv Lonely Planet 2013, Kuta & Legian, viewed 20 December 2013, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/kuta-legian
v Lonely Planet 2013, Seminyak, viewed 20 December 2013, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/seminyak
vi Lonely Planet 2013, Getting around, viewed 20 December 2013, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali/transport/getting-around
vii Ford C 2011, 'Four days in Ubud: beyond Eat, Pray, Love', Lonely Planet, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali/ubud/travel-tips-and-articles/76932
viii Smartraveller 2016, Indonesia, Australian Government,viewed 22 March 2016, http://smartraveller.gov.au/countries/indonesia
ix Smartraveller 2016, Indonesia, Australian Government,viewed 22 March 2016, http://smartraveller.gov.au/countries/indonesia
x Smartraveller 2016, Travel Insurance, Australian Government, viewed 22 March 2016 , http://smartraveller.gov.au/guide/all-travellers/insurance/#basics