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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Bali, Gili Islands and Lombok: how to plan your trip to Indonesia on your own

If you are dreaming of a trip to Bali, the famous Island of the Gods, and you are undecided whether to contact a travel agency or plan everything by yourself, I am here to let you know that Bali is a destination that lends itself perfectly to a do-it-yourself trip.

If you follow a few steps you will be able to visit Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok in complete autonomy and freedom, fully enjoying every place and moment.

I know that the perspective of planning a trip to Indonesia on your own can be frightening and cause some anxiety (I have to admit that I was a little agitated, too) but I assure you that it will be the best decision you can make. By following a few simple instructions, a do-it-yourself trip to Bali is within everyone's reach and will allow you to pay much less than they will offer you with organized trips or tourist agencies. I do not deny that organizing this trip was sometimes challenging and took a long time, but mainly due to the COVID situation we were at the time and because it needed much research.

With this guide of mine, I summarized all the information you need to plan your trip to Bali so that it can be easier and faster for you. In the end, I have admit that it was fun and also exciting: the expectations that I had created during my research were very high and, as you know, when you start with high expectations it's easy for them to be disappointed, but Bali has exceeded them in everything. So, do not be scared, trust and get involved: I guarantee you that it will be worth it and you will not regret i.

Ulun Danu Temple, Bali, Indonesia
Ulun Danu Temple - Bali

Now let's see step by step everything you need to know and plan for your do-it-yourself trip to Bali.


Budget for a 2-weeks trip to Bali, Gili Islands and Lombok

Bali, as well as the Gili and Lombok islands, is a low-budget destination: life costs very little, despite the fact that prices have almost doubled after these two years of pandemic, but I guarantee you that you are stilll going to pay very little for everything.

If you want to get an idea of ​​how much a trip of this type can cost, consider that for 2 weeks between Bali, the Gili and Lombok, we spent € 2100 per person in total..for real! In this budget it's included all flights, accommodations, health insurance, all meals, all visits to temples and activities, scooter and private driver rentals, taxis, the trips by boat, the phone sim and all the shopping (which I assure you was quite a lot).

Just consider that when planning this trip, I had taken a look at some travel agencies or organized travel quotes: for shorter itineraries they asked for at least double, without considering shopping and meals. Furthermore planning everything by yourself, as well as saving a lot of money, gives you the chance to really enjoy this trip in complete freedom.

To discover our complete 2-week itinerary and an alternative 3-week itinerary, click here.

Another thing you have to consider is that we live in a historical period in which travel prices have increased dramatically: today flights cost double what they could have cost a few months ago. Let me tell you that the flight alone cost us € 1300 each (this means for everything else we only spent € 800, nonsense) because we waited until May 2022 to book, two months from departure, while in February it cost only € 700 each, exactly half of it! However, being Bali an inexpensive destination to live, we paid off a lot once there.

Anyway, these are two very important tips to save money in Bali:

  • NEGOTIATE! - whether you need to rent a scooter, take a taxi or go shopping in the beautiful markets, always negotiate! The price they offer you first will always be inflated, we always managed to get at least half of what they offered us!

  • ALWAYS PREFER THE AUTHENTIC BALI! - avoid tourist and western places and restaurants, experience the real Island of the Gods. Choose to eat in a Warung (typical restaurants), buy souvenirs in artisan markets and forget about the shops of famous brands: you will pay much less and live fully the Balinese culture.


Currency

Rupie Indonesiane

The currency in use in Bali and throughout Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR): at the current exchange rate (July 2022) 1 € is worth about 15,500 IDR. To change money you can use Euros safely. Exchange is without commissions anywhere: use only the authorized exchange offices that you will find in every corner of Bali without problems.

Useful tips:

  • Do not exchange money at the airport: the change is unfavorable compared to what you will find in the villages. Once at the airport I recommend that you change what is strictly necessary to pay the driver to reach your destination and something for the expenses of the first moment, for the rest do everything once around, trust me (€ 60 per couple is more than enough) .

  • If you need to change money, do it in the south of Bali or in Ubud: once in the north or in eastern Bali, exchange offices are very rare and not at all convenient. The same goes for the Gili and Lombok islands.

  • Bring your credit card in case you need to withdraw: you will find automatic teller machines (ATMs) everywhere and they accept the main circuits (Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, etc) but remember to activate the "WORLD" option on the card before leaving home, in order to withdraw cash abroad. This operation can now be done comfortably from Home Banking, but if you have problems check directly with your bank before leaving.

  • Don't rely too much on credit card payments: always have cash at hand. You can pay by card in almost all hotels (not in guest houses) and in the most touristy restaurants, but in markets, local shops and restaurants, temples and to pay drivers, taxi and scooter rental they accept only cash!

If you are wondering how much cash to bring with you, € 500 each was enough for us. Remember you can safely withdraw (:

Bali Visa

To enter Bali you must apply for and pay a visa lasting 30 days and renewable only at the place of entry for no more than a further 30 days.

You can apply for a visa once you have landed at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport: here you will have to make a series of queues, the first to check the health records, the second to submit a self-declaration of the reasons for the trip and what you are carrying in your suitcase, a third to pay for the visa, and the last to passport control and the remaining documentation. Bali Visa has a cost of IDR 500,000 (about € 30) and you can easily pay in € or with your credit card.

Currently Bali Visa will be granted as long as you meet the following conditions:

  • Possess a passport valid for at least six months;

  • Show a return flight ticket or a one-way ticket in the presence of an additional ticket for the continuation of the journey outside Indonesia - if you planned your trip on your own, do not worry, just show your booking (the ticket it is usually issued 24 hours before the flight so the return one cannot be obtained on the outward journey);

  • Download the "SATUSEHAT" app (which from 1 March 2023, replaces the "PeduliLindungi" app) and fill in the self-report form, integrated in the app - we did it but the app never loaded any validated the documents, but don't worry because they never check this point;

  • Show a certificate (paper or digital) in English certifying the completion of the second COVID-19 vaccination course at least 14 days before departure;

  • Undergo body temperature checks and any symptoms attributable to COVID: in the presence of symptoms and / or body temperature above 37.5 ° you will undergo a PCR test on arrival at your expense and in case of positivity, the isolation at their own expense in dedicated facilities identified by the Indonesian government or in a hospital in case of severe symptoms.

If you are not very familiar with all this documentation, which I also gave me in a bit of anxiety until the final approval of the visa, a nice option is to rely on an agency that deals with all this paperwork for you and also saves you time once you land.

iVisa.com provides online travel documents such as visas for entry to countries around the world, including Bali (but also health declaration forms, embassy documents, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards and other travel documents ). The site is safe and secure, the service is fast and efficient, and the team is experienced and available 24 hours a day for any need. To rely on iVisa.com will allow you to fully concentrate on your journey without wasting time and struggling with bureaucracy, as well as allowing you to leave without anxiety because there will be no hitches once you reach your destination. Click here to access directly to the page to apply for visas and travel documents.


Health Insurance

When we planned this trip, one of the access requirements for obtaining a visa was to show a health insurance that covered any medical expenses in case of COVID. Eventually this requirement was eliminated but we did the insurance anyway.

I strongly advise you to take out a valid one before departure which includes, in addition to the medical expenses resulting from a COVID infection, certainly medical expenses and repatriation in case you have any unexpected travel events. We made a medical health plan that included expenses for COVID and any medical needs in general, including repatriation, extension of stay and even travel for a relative if necessary. I also added a refund in case of flight cancellation and luggage loss or theft! Fortunately, we never needed it, but traveling so far from home and outside Europe I highly recommend that you have everything settled, just in case, especially if you intend to move around Bali on a scooter: falling is not such a remote possibility!

If you have problems of any kind, the reference for anything in Indonesia is your embassy.


Flights

Volare a Bali

To get to Bali you will find many airlines that serve this route, with more or less stopovers: it's just a matter of finding the most comfortable and economical one for you. I have made several attempts with various airlines and various departure cities: in this case the site is very useful Skyscanner.

I leave you a couple of tips to make the most of this search engine for flights:

  • do not trust the price that appears on the site but go on with the search on the official website and compare the real price, which is often less convenient;

  • try to book on the official websites of the airlines and not through intermediary websites: in case of delays and flight cancellations it will be easier to manage refunds and alternative solutions.

We chose Turkish Airlines and honestly we had a great time! New, comfortable aircraft with excellent service both on board and at the airport, plus the Istanbul airport s huge and beautiful: great for spending hours between flights. Here is our flight itinerary:

  • Saturday 25.06 19:00 Bologna - 22:35 Istanbul (+1h)

  • Sunday 26.06 2:10 Istanbul - 19:30 Bali (+6h)

RETURN

  • Saturday 09.07 14:50 Lombok - 15:50 Jakarta (-1h)

  • Saturday 09.07 21:05 Jakarta - 5:05 Istanbul (-5h) Sunday 10.07

  • Sunday 10.07 8:40 Istanbul - 10:15 Bologna (-1h)

Turkish Airlines per Bali

As already mentioned in the Budget section, the flight cost us € 1300 each: a lot, especially compared to the prices of a few months before pre-inflation caused by the recent political vicissitudes.

At each flight, at least one meal was served (we also ate quite well) and the tickets included 30kg of baggage allowance per person. We had a great time and we had no problem: I recommend, once booked, to download Turkish Airlines app for your phone that will allow you to quickly check-in, get boarding passes and monitor flights' status, as well as the departure gate of the various flights in advance.

During check-in it's possible that for some routes they do not issue boarding passes: you have to collect them at the hold baggage, don't worry!


Where to sleep in Bali and Lombok

For the accommodations, as always, I relied on Booking.com: it's one of the of the few offering the free cancellation. We had already planned this trip to Bali at the beginning of 2021 for summer 2021 but in the end we had to cancel due to COVID, so I rebooked the same facilities in January 2022 hoping to leave this time. The free cancellation was therefore an essential requirement of my choices.

If you are planning a trip to Bali, you can also think about looking for a place once you get there the spot, but if you travel in high season I recommend that you book in advance.

In general, staying in Bali is very cheap: this is why we indluged on beautiful accomodations still with a total budget of €200 each person for the entire two weeks. If you want you find places for less, but for such prices we chose to treat ourselves well! Below, the entire list of places we stayed - there are many, because we chose to move often in order to always be close to the areas of interest and to move comfortably by scooter every day. Many prefer instead to base themselves in the more touristic areas such as Canggu or Seminyak or Ubud and tour it from there: it is a valid option, but as scooter journeys are often long, busy and on bumpy roads, we prefered this way. We were very happy with our choice and honestly if we were to go back we would do the same thing.

For the first part of our trip to Bali we chose to stay in Seminyak, a city near the Denpasar airport, very convenient to reach upon our arrival. It's in the most touristic area of ​​Bali. The place is splendid, the rooms are beautiful and very luxurious, with a bathtub in the room, excellent wifi connection, very kind and super helpful staff, we loved it! The location is also excellent, just outside the confusion of the center of Seminyak, which can still be reached in 5 minutes walking; you will also find scooter rentals a few steps from the villa. To find out what to do in this area click here - Canggu and Seminyak: the most touristic area of Bali

  • Sanur - Linda Villa 2 ☆☆☆ 57€ total - 2 people, 2 nights

For the second part we chose to stop in Sanur, in this splendid villa just behind the main road. Here too you will have a scooter rental a 3-minute walk from the hotel, which I highly recommend as it's very cheap.

Linda Villa is very beautiful, even if smaller than the first one we stayed. Excellent wifi connection, super helpful staff, clean and well-stocked rooms and a big pool just outside the room.

To find out what to do in this area click here - Sanur, Uluwatu and Nusa Penida

This is the accommodation that cost us the most but it was beautiful: immersed in the green jungle of Ubud, with its swimming pool overlooking the rice fields. It's a small resort 5 minutes by scooter from Ubud (scooters can be rented directly from Blue Karma for 70,000 IDR - €4.5 per day) which offers private wooden bungalows with a splendid outdoor bathroom. Services not impeccable, but the beauty of the place makes up for it.

To find out what to do in this area click here - Ubud and nearby

  • Sidemen - Sawah Indah Villa ☆☆☆ 42€ total - 2 people, 1 night, breakfast included

Fourth stop in the heart of Bali, we stayed in Sidemen for one night on our North and East island tour. This resort nestled in the rice fields was a real gem: excellent value for money, a splendid swimming pool and a room overlooking the rice fields, we had a wonderful terrace and a bathroom with an outdoor bathtub. The breakfast was excellent, with a choice between a western or a typical Balinese menu, served in the resort's restaurant (Warung D'Padi, also super recommended for dinner), again with a breathtaking view.

To find out what to do in this area click here - Northern Bali, Sidemen and surroundings

  • Padangbai - Bamboo Paradise 21€ total - 2 people, 1 night, breakfast included

For our fifth and last stop in Bali we stayed in Padangbai, a small village on the east coast of Bali, from where boats leave for the Gili Islands. It was our base for visiting the east area of ​​Bali and then moving to Gili. We stayed only one night in this delightful Guest House run by a Swiss girl and her partner: they were very nice and helped us booking the ferry to the Gili Islands and they rented us the scooter for 60,000 IDR - 4€) and gave us very useful advice for our daily tour. The Guest House offers nice common areas, and simple and basic but clean rooms. Super recommended for a low-cost trip or for quick stays.

To find out what to do in this area click here - Eastern Bali and Padangbai

For our stay in Gili Trawangan, the largest of the Gili Islands, we chose the Coconut Garden Resort, an accomodation located inside the island, far from the confusion of the nerve center of the island. To get there we walked about 15 minutes (the alternative is to be taken by horse-drawn carriage but I strongly advise against it in order not to encourage this type of activity, the animals are treated brutally). Once you arrive at the resort you can directly rent some delightful bicycles with which you can move comfortably around the whole island, which is very small (2 bicycles for 3 days 80,000 IDR approximately € 5.50). The resort is splendid, surrounded by greenery, with a beautiful central swimming pool and the bungalows placed around it. The room was spacious, in wood, with a nice external bathroom. Breakfast is also excellent! Super recommended also for the services: in addition to the bicycles, they will help you organize various activities, including snorkelling.

To find out what to do in this area click here - Gili Islands: Gili Trawangan

For the last part of the trip we stayed in Kuta, in the south of Lombok. Lombok is much less touristy than Bali, so there is less choice in terms of accommodation: we chose the Village Vibes without too many pretensions and that's what we found. Nice place, with a central swimming pool and wooden bungalows arranged around it: the rooms are very basic, quite clean and large enough. But good value for money. The place is a 5 minute scooter ride from Kuta but they rent scooters on site so it wasn't a problem (IDR 70,000 per day - €4.50 per day).

To find out what to do in this area click here - Lombok


To know better how we planned our 2-weeks itinerary, every moves and all the accomodations..


Moving around Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok

If you are planning your own trip to this amazing part of the world, let me tell you that it's very simple to move around the islands and exploring them by your self. There are many options, it depends on what you intend to do and what kind of trip you have in mind.

Renting a motorbike

Bali in Scooter

Given the intense road traffic especially in the southern (Bukit peninsula) and central (Kuta - Ubud) tourist area, the best way to move around the island of Bali is undoubtedly on a motorbike, avoiding hours stuck in the traffic as well as being the cheapest solution. Renting a motorbike is very simple: don't worry about renting one online before departure.. rentals are literally everywhere, and all of them will offer you very convenient prices. Also in Nusa Penida and Lombok you can rent a scooter and move around in absolute freedom.

Fare benzina a Bali

Especially in the southern area they will offer you many large-engined scooters: make sure you check on your driving license and choose only what you are allowed to drive! Ask them, they have loads of Honda Scoopy's (125cc) on the island. The cost for the rental goesbetween 100,000 and 60,000 IDR negotiable per day (6.5 - 4€) per day based on the area, helmet included, to be paid in cash. Usually no document or security deposit is required: no one has ever asked us for a driving license and the vehicles are not insured, so I recommend a good personal insurance, both medical and civil.

Fare benzina a Bali

Refueling in Bali is a show as well and also very simple: everywhere along the road you will find small glass bottle dealers containing a green liquid that can be easily changed for water and mint. Each bottle is 0.75l. In Bali you drive like in England, i.e. on the left with the passing lane on the right: don't be scared, it's not as difficult as it seems. Enrico was quite worried and not at all convinced of our choice, but I swear that not even half an hour in the saddle he was already riding like a Balinese, he had so much fun.

Guidare uno scooter a Bali

Just take your time to get into the perspective of driving on the left and give yourself a few days to get used to it, then you won't even notice it anymore! Anyway, the Balinese drive like crazy, seriously! We saw motorbikes with 4 people on them, dogs and cats, but also chickens.. people overtaking from the left, driving on the sidewalk.. Driving a scooter in Bali is a unique and unmissable experience, which allows you to really enter the Balinese culture and fully enjoy it: you can stop wherever you want and explore it thoroughly. However, it's good to keep in mind that accidents are very frequent, so you always have to be careful! There are lots of stray dogs that live on the street and sleep peacefully there, they cross it and don't move a millimeter when cars or scooters arrive, even if you honk the horn. The road conditions are quite good in Bali, honestly I thought they were worse: they are bad instead in Nusa Penida or in less touristy places.

INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE

To drive a scooter or car in Indonesia you need an international driving licence. Honestly, no one has ever asked us and no one has ever stopped us to check.. but it can happen. Sometimes the local police stop tourists on scooters to check their international driving license and if you don't have one they can ask for a kind of bribe to avoid fines. If you decide not to get an international driving license, I advise you to always turn around with cash in case this eventuality arises. If, like us, you decide to get an international driving license (which is valid for 3 years anyway), ask for it on time and don't rush for it last minute like we did! In Italy you can go either to the motorization of your city, and in this case it will take between 30-40 days with a cost more or less €35, or to the ACI, which will speed up the procedures a lot and in about 2 weeks with €80 you will have license in hand. To apply for an international driving licence, simply bring your driving license and two passport photos validated with the stamp of your municipality of residence.

Grab Superapp

For travel to and from the airport but also between the various cities, we always relied on taxis and drivers found on the app Grab. It's a kind of Asian Uber that deals with delivery but also with transport both by scooter and by car. Here we always set the place of departure and destination, and in a few minutes they came to pick us up and take us to their disposal: the drivers are all very serious and reliable, so don't worry. The prices are definitely much cheaper than the taxis that you will find around the island or those that will offer you in the hotels. We used Grab all over Bali and also in Lombok. A 40-minute ride will cost you on average 150,000 IDR, about €10. We always had a great time, it allowed us to move from one city to another with our luggage for very little money!

Private Drivers

Those who don't trust driving a scooter in Bali usually choose to rely on private drivers to visit and move around the island. Undoubtedly it's a more expensive choice and I must say also a lot slower: the risk of being stuck in traffic and having to go slowly due to bad roads is very high. Everywhere they will offer you this type of service: both in hotels and in the many tourist agencies in every corner of Bali. We used this solution only once, for the northern part of Bali: we left from Ubud and went north to the Sekumpull Waterfalls and then spent the night in Sidemen to keep on the next day towards Padangbai. There were many kilometers to cover, and to optimize the times and be able to move directly without going back to Ubud, we hired a driver for the day, so that we could move directly with our suitcases. Instead of booking the driver in a tourist agency, we used the app Grab: the private driver for the whole day (10h) cost us 730,000 IDR (47€) in all. A driver for the whole day that takes you around the whole island has this price, if instead you select the option that is limited to the south of the island you will pay about half.

Ferries and boats

If you are planning to go to Nusa Penida, or Gili Islands and Lombok, you will also need to travel by boat. Here too everything is very simple and quite cheap and it's not necessary to book tickets before leaving from home. We always purchased them on the spot directly from the offices of the various ports.

Reaching Nusa Penida

The ferry to Nusa Penida, a beautiful island on the east coast of Bali, leaves from the port of Sanur and arrives in Toya Pakeh, the main village of Nusa Penida. We got the ticket directly from an office at the port relying on the Billabong Fast Cruise company and we paid IDR 150,000 each return ticket. The ride is approximately 40 minutes and the first boat leaves at 8:00am, then approximately every half hour, while the last ride back to Sanur from Nusa Penida is at 4:30pm. I warn you that to get on the boat you will have to enter the water and you will get wet up to at least your knees, so I do not recommend moving with a trolley or bulky luggage. It's all very good but safe, don't worry! To know what to do and see in Nusa Penida click here: Southern Bali and the Islands: Sanur, Uluwatu and Nusa Penida

Reaching Gili Islands from Bali

Bali Eka Jaya per le Gili

To get to the Gili Islands from Bali you can either leave from the port of Sanur (the journey is much longer and more expensive) or from Padangbai, which I recommend. Many ferries depart from here, more or less reliable. Being a longer journey and in the open sea, unlike the one for Nusa Penida, we relied on the advice of our Guest House and through them we chose one of the best companies: Eka Jaya. The guys picked us up directly from the Guest House, gave us tickets and then drove us to the port. The boat was larger and safer than the one to Nusa Penida, with ample room for luggage. The journey takes about 90 minutes and the cost is around 350,000 IDR per person for one way (22€). Depending on your destination you can get off at Gili Trawangan or continue to Gili Meno or Gili Air. To find out what to do in this area click here - Gili Islands: Gili Trawangan


Reaching Lombok from the Gili Islands

Traghetto per Lombok dalle Gili

To get to Lombok from Gili Trawangan we relied on a local tourist agency in front of the port: there are many to choose from but all are the same. We chose Cemos and Coral which, for 250.00 IDR each (16€) booked us a boat trip to Bangsal, Lombok and then with a private driver took us to the south of Lombok, to Kuta. We were a bit hesitant, it seemed like a scam: they offered us to leave at the time we wanted, and the price was really convenient, maybe too much. In the end, however, we did very well! Trust the people of Bali, they are always smiling, sincere and honest. The boat is one used by the locals, very basic, but the ride is short (about 25 minutes) and in calm waters so we had no problems and saved a lot on transport to Kuta. To find out what to do in Lombok click here - Lombok


Climate - when it's best to go to Bali

The climate is tropical: Bali is located just 8 degrees south of the equator so on the island there are hot and constant temperatures all year round, with a rainy season (from November to March) which alternates with the dry one (from April to October). The average temperature is 26°-27° while that of the sea is 27°-29°. Bali is very humid, be prepared: the average humidity is around 85%, with much lower values ​​from April to October and peaks during the rainy season. The tourist season, in addition to the weather, is one of the factors that should not be underestimated in organizing your trip and deciding when to go to Bali:

  • HIGH SEASON: July, August, Christmas, New Year, Easter.

  • LOW SEASON: from the second week of January to the end of June, and from September to mid-December.

May, June and September are therefore by far the best months to go to Bali: it doesn't rain, the humidity is decidedly low, and the prices are quite low. We went at the end of June - beginning of July and the weather was heavenly: it rained only two mornings but by the time we got to our first destination of the day it had already stopped, so nothing disturbing. Anyway, in this part of the world the rains are always frequent, but generally it's a fast downpour which will then give way to a splendid sun, so don't be frightened and don't change the day's plan.


Packing for a trip to Bali and Lombok

As for the luggage, I strongly recommend a backpack over a trolley suitcase, especially if you travel often and if you also include Gili, Lombok or the Nusa islands. By boat with a backpack, the embarkation and disembarkation of luggage will be easier, as will their transport, especially on the Gili Islands where there are no motor vehicles.

Duffel Base Camp North Face

➤ For this trip we bought some very comfortable North Face bags/backpacks: the Duffel Base Camp Large 91 liters. The options for this type of bag are varied, you will also find the 71 liters M version or even some more spacious ones. It was a perfect choice: we had a great time, the bag was very spacious, even though we brought a lot of stuff and bought just as much, ideal for frequent trips since it also has shoulder straps to carry it as a backpack. It is also waterproof so even on the boat we were super chill. I highly recommend it, for this trip but in general for all long-term trips where you travel often.


➤ Another thing I strongly suggest you buy, always speaking of luggages, is one of my latest discovery: Apple AirTag.

It's a device the size of a coin to be inserted inside the suitcase and to be connected with the Find My iPhone app on the iPhone, which allows you to track your suitcase in real time, anywhere. Actually, it can also be used for keys, a wallet or a bag in everyday life. Since the recent problems at the airport with suitcases and the numerous stopovers we had to make, I decided to try it in order to be more relaxed. The price of an AirTag is €35 and you can easily insert it into a keychain by hooking it inside the bag.

➤ In addition to the Duffel we had two backpacks that we also used during the day there: Enri brought his North Face Borealis which was also an excellent choice for trekking thanks to its comfortable shoulder straps .. while I had the Fjällräven Kanken, a little less bulky but more uncomfortable for long walks!


But now let's see what to pack for your trip to Bali, Gili and Lombok

The temperatures in Bali are constant all year round, on average around 25 degrees everywhere except in the innermost and mountainous areas where it's slightly cooler, but nothing that a light cotton sweater or sweatshirt cannot cope with. So, take on light and fresh things, we never even used a sweatshirt, it was always very hot even in the evening! Lombok is a bit cooler than Bali, so maybe a light jacket will be more useful here. In general, avoid synthetic materials and thick fabrics that are hard to dry: humidity and a musty smell can stick to clothes more easily.

Keep in mind that Bali is full of laundries with very cheap prices IDR 5,000 - 20,000 per kilo of laundry: from 30 cents to less than €1.50 per kilo. You will find them everywhere, often even in hotels and generally the service is express, with delivery within 24 hours, sometimes even at home. In short, if you want to travel light you won't have any problems.

Just in case, always keep a k-way ready, perhaps one that can be worn with the backpack on the shoulders. We forgot it and we grabbed two on the road one of the two mornings when it rained, spending a few cents.

If you intend to climb Rinanji in Lombok or Mount Batur in Bali, bring a pair of hiking shoes, which you can also use to reach the various waterfalls on the islands, otherwise a good pair of sneakers is sufficient (not too new because you will dirty them a lot with mud). I use Salomon's X Ultra model in Goretex, probably my best purchase ever!

For the rest, I recommend open shoes, such as Birkenstocks Arizona: they will allow you to stay cool and not sweat.. in Bali I don't think I have seen anyone with closed shoes! For the waterfalls and some beaches on the Gili it would have been perfect if we had brought rock shoes: if you have them, bring them so you don't slip into the rivers of the waterfalls and don't injure yourself with the corals on the Gili!

Other things not to be forgotten: sunglasses, a hat and sunscreens (in Bali they are not often found and are quite expensive) with a fairly high protection. Don't forget to apply it also during the day on your motorbike because without realizing it you will burn yourself in an instant and with the marks of your backpack and clothes! Before buying sunscreens, always check that they do not contain oxybenzone, responsible for coral bleaching and damage to coral reefs and that they are therefore REEF FRIENDLY certified. I use the Hawaiian Tropic Aloha Care line in the body and face version, both with SPF30. Plug adapters are not needed as they all have “German” sockets.

Don't forget the waterproof case for your iPhone or smartphone to take pictures in and under water.

One last recommendation: limit the use of plastic bottles and bring a steel bottle or bottle with you. We use the Sparrow 1l thermal steel model: both Enrico and I have one and of all the various brands and types we tried, this is the best for sure. You can fill them at the facilities where you will stay which always provide free bottles of purified and safe water. In this way you will actively help the island in the management of waste related to tourism and the great problem of plastic that afflicts this area.


Medications

A good suitcase for Indonesia can only include a good supply of first need medications: personally, after so many trips of this type and some unpleasant experiences, I have my own list of essentials.

  • Paracetamol 1000mg

  • Aspirin

  • Antihistaminic

  • Cortisone

  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics - usually Amoxicillin

  • Intestinal specific antibiotics

  • Antidiarrheal and antinausea

  • Antacid

  • Supplements of mineral salts - es: Polase

  • Plasters and disinfectant spray

10 days before. depart and for the entire duration of the trip we took a beta-carotene supplement to prepare the skin for the sun, making it less susceptible to sunburn and prolonging the tan.

An excellent mosquito repellent is also essential (make sure it contains at least 50% DEET insect repellent), to be used at all hours of the day to protect yourself as much as possible from dengue fever, endemic throughout Indonesia. I usually use the Jungle Formula Molto Forte Spray, recommended in areas with a high risk of malaria and other insect borne diseases such as Dengue. Furthermore, for this type of trip, I advise you to take a prophylaxis with lactic ferments before leaving and for the entire duration of the stay in order to strengthen the intestine and prevent intestinal disorders - lately I always use Enterogermina Viaggi.


Vaccinations required for a trip to Indonesia

To visit Bali (if you come from Italy) no mandatory vaccine is required. It is mandatory to be vaccinated against yellow fever only if you arrive from countries where this disease is endemic and you have stayed or transited there for more than 12 hours. Vaccinations against malaria, typhoid and hepatitis A and B are completely personal discretion, being common throughout Asia. I already had vaccinations for HAV, HBV and typhoid and I had Enrico do them too to be sure. Before leaving, I recommend a visit to the international vaccination clinic at your local AUSL to evaluate together with the competent doctors which vaccines to get or not. The appointment is free and you will only pay for the vaccines you get (which are still low cost).


Telephony, data traffic and wifi

The wifi network in Bali is well supported, there are a lot of expats and digital nomads working on the island. However, if you want to have internet connection on your mobile phone, I recommend buying a local prepaid sim card: it is essential if you intend to get around Bali by scooter, so you can use Google Maps and not get lost in the narrow streets of the island. You can buy one at the airport or in major towns; there are many proposals, it depends on how many Gb of traffic you will need. The main operators are: TELKOMSEL, INDOSAT, XL and AXIX. We did it immediately as soon as we arrived at the 8Gb airport and we spent 300,000 IDR (19€) and we didn't even run out of Gb. Don't worry because the guys from the shops that provide these services will take care of everything: they will install the new plan and insert the new sim and return it to you after a few minutes ready for use. Once you get home you just have to remove the Indonesian SIM and reinsert yours. The signal varies from area to area, but the coverage is excellent practically everywhere: we used XL and it also worked very well on Gili and Lombok.


Travel Guide for Bali and Lombok

I always rely on Lonely Planet for travel guides and this time too I was not disappointed. I highly recommend it especially for the maps, areas of interest and ideas for your itinerary, but the most beautiful and interesting part is the one reserved for the history and culture of Bali. The new version is very recent, buy it and you won't regret it - Lonely Planet Bali, Lombok and Nusa Tenggara! If, on the other hand, you are looking for something more practical and light, there is the Pocket version which however focuses only on the island of Bali - Lonely Planet Pocket Bali (2022 edition)



I think I told you everything you need to know to organize your trip to this beautiful part of the world. As always, if you need more information, please contact me! Below all the insights on Bali:

To find out what and where to eat along the various places.. READ ALSO:


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