Bali Traveler Information

Bali Traveler Information

If you have booked or are considering The Bali Meetup Tour, this is where you will find the practical information you need from travel insurance and safety protocols to how to pack for a tropical climate in a destination that’s also sometimes conservative.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Bali’s climate is consistently warm and humid, and exceedingly so during the rainiest months of (November through March), but it can also be sweater weather come sunset on the beach when cool breezes and sometimes stronger winds pick up. 
  • Between our daylong island adventures and walks through the rice fields, you can expect to be exposed to the elements at length, so be prepared with a hat, sunscreen, lip balm, and plenty of water. Comfortable shoes are also a must.
  • We may visit several sites and communities that live and dress more conservatively than in the tourist areas of Bali. For this reason, it’s important that you pack at least one or two outfits that cover your shoulders and knees.
  • Though the risk of infection is low, Indonesia is home to several mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis. You can protect yourself by using insect repellant and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Also, speak to your doctor about anti-malarial medications and vaccinations before you travel.

Arrival

For more than 160 countries, a visa is not required to enter Bali for trips under 30 days. At immigration, you will need to show your passport (valid for at least the next six months and with at least two blank pages left) and your onward or return flight ticket. 

If you are from a country that requires a visa to enter Bali, please contact your local Indonesian Embassy or consulate for more information on the visa application process or go to Bali’s official immigration website: http://www.imigrasi.go.id/

As rules and restrictions are constantly changing, please check your government’s foreign travel advisory and visit the following website: https://www.imigrasi.go.id/en/covid19-8/ 

There is no requirement for testing to enter Indonesia, but you must download the PeduliLindungi app on your phone and follow the prompts before departing. 

There is no longer any requirements to test to return to the USA. If your home country requires it, please let your leader know and she will help you book one in Bali. 

Upon arrival we have an escort meeting you at the airport, just look for the sign with the SoFe logo! The driver will take you directly to the hotel where they will meet our leader. The ride to the airport largely depends on traffic and can take anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour and a half. 

An airport transfer is included on day 1 of the tour. If you arrive earlier or later, email us at meetuptours@sofetravel.com if you would like us to arrange a transfer at an extra cost. 

You need a valid passport to travel internationally. Most countries require that your passport does not expire for at least 6 months after the date you enter. We require your passport details 45 days before departure. When booking your Meetup Tour, please enter your name as it appears on your passport and contact us immediately if there are any errors.

While on your Meetup Tour, local Bali law requires that you always carry identification. We recommend taking a clear photocopy of your passport photo page and photo of your visa (after arriving) to carry with you instead of toting your actual passport around with you.

Health

We do not recommend drinking the tap water in Bali, even in the hotels. All accommodation will have drinkable water, sometimes for purchase and sometimes provided with your room.
Your tour leader will do their best to accommodate any dietary restrictions, but sometimes gluten-free and vegan can be a little trickier. Indonesian cuisine also includes a lot of chicken, eggs, and a fermented shrimp paste called terasi, so be aware and ask before ordering to ensure your meal suits your dietary needs. We suggest bringing supplemental snacks like protein powders and bars just in case. It is ultimately your responsibility not to consume anything to which you are allergic. You may wish to speak to your tour leader at the beginning of the tour to make your requirements clear and to ask for your options throughout the tour.

As of April 1, 2021, we have updated our policies to require all travelers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

If you feel sick during the tour, please put your mask on and alert your leader as soon as you feel symptoms. She will help you organize a Covid test at your own expense and any medical attention you may need. 

Please keep you mask on if you experience any symptoms, even if your test results are negative.

It is recommended that you are up-to-date on the following vaccinations before entering Indonesia: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus Diphteria, Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), and Rabies. Anti-malarial prophylactics are also strongly recommended and should be taken two weeks prior to your arrival.
Bali has some foodie options that many travelers choose to try. Dishes like lawar merah (a traditional salad of raw pork and pig’s blood), urutan (pig intestine sausages), and freshwater eel, as examples, are common among locals and available in some restaurants. Please be careful when consuming this food, as some travelers have gotten sick in the past. We do not include these dishes on our tour, and our tour leader can direct you to the most reputable restaurants locally, but we do not take responsibility for any illnesses caused by food.

Accommodation

10 nights in hotels, including 5 nights at a villa in Ubud, 3 nights at a hotel in Gili Trawangan, and 2 nights at a resort in Canggu

Rooms are twin share with an ensuite unless you upgrade to a private room, based on availability.

The accommodation indicated on the webpage is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to lack of availability. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

In the base cost of the tour, a shared room is included. You may choose to upgrade to a private room for an extra charge as long as there is availability. 

Upgrading to a private room once in Bali is more difficult and may result in a higher cost than advertised on the webpage.

Our Bali tour is considered premium accommodation including some villa and resort stays. When we stay in 5 star hotels, the standard may be less than what you are used to in terms of design, facilities, and inclusions. If there is a problem with your accommodation, always alert your tour leader so it can be remedied if possible. 

Sometimes it is not possible to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels, especially if you arrive before check in time. We can store your luggage and you can explore the surrounding area.  Standard check in time is 6:00pm.

In most cases, there will be a welcome meeting with the guide and your group at 6pm on day 1. This time may chance or the meeting may be pushed to the following morning if many group members have not yet arrived. You will be able to connect with your fellow travelers via your private space in The Network to connect before the welcome meeting.

Check out is at 11:00am on the last day. 

If you are arriving early or staying late, ask us about extra nights accommodation, based one availability. You may have to switch rooms at the beginning or end of the tour and extra nights are always single rooms unless you are traveling with a friend or family member. 

All of our accommodations have air conditioning. Should it not work, we will attempt to replace your room or the unit, dependent upon availability. Some evenings can be slightly chilly in Bali, and most accommodations in Bali do not have heating, nor is it necessary. Bedding is always provided, however if you are extra sensitive to the cold, please be prepared with extra layers.

Transportation

Private air-conditioned vehicle and a speedboat.

Money and finances

Spending money is a personal choice, and everyone will have different spending habits and needs. It is best to budget a reasonable amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping, and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Please have a thorough look at the itinerary and at what is included so you will be prepared for what isn’t included. Our Meetup Tour is very inclusive, however some meals, tips, and extras are not included. This guide should make budgeting a little clearer.

Many meals are included in this tour, but some are purposefully left out so you can experience different restaurants and dishes to your liking.

Lunch at a local restaurant could cost between $2USD to $15USD. Dinner can cost up to $30 at a fine dining restaurant. However, local street food is relatively safe and fresh to eat and is normally much cheaper. Your guide will help you find options that match your palette and budget.

Food prices in Bali range widely from cheap street food to fine dining. If you have a strict budget, be mindful of your choices and let your tour leader know the type of food you are looking for, so she can direct you to the best places.

ATMs are widely available at the airport and in major cities and towns. We recommend always having a small amount of cash with you for small purchases at places that do not accept credit cards. Credit cards are not as widely accepted as you may be used to, though the more touristic areas may accept card with a 3-5% surcharge tacked on. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards in Bali. Some hotels and restaurants may accept American Express or Diners Club. Remember to alert your bank that you will be traveling before departure to avoid being locked out of your account while abroad, as they may suspect fraud.
If you want to bring cash from your home country and exchange it, the best place to do this is at the airport. Please note that USD notes older than 2000, as well as foreign currency notes that are old, torn, worn or damaged cannot be changed in Indonesia. We can not guarantee that there will be time to visit a money exchange place on the tour. The best way to get local currency is by using an ATM with a debit card.

Tipping can be an appropriate way to recognise great service when travelling. While it may not be customary in your home country, it is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations and is greatly appreciated by the people who take care of you during your travels. It is always best to avoid tipping with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes, as this can be regarded as an insult rather than the goodwill gesture it is intended to be.

While tipping is encouraged, the amounts are small. Please budget about $3USD per day on average for small tips. If you are worried you may not have small change or feel uncomfortable tipping yourself, your leader might suggest the idea of a group tipping kitty, where everyone contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all money spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your local guide, but tips for your driver and porters at hotels are included in your tour price.

To help you understand tipping culture, we have provided some ideas for amounts. These are suggestions, as tipping is always a personal choice and at your discretion. You may even find yourself at establishments that have a sign that says “no tipping.” Any service charge you see included in your bill typically goes to the government or the establishment, not the staff. When in doubt, round your bill up to the nearest 10,000 IDR and leave it as a tip for the staff.

Restaurants: 5-20% of the total bill amount is appropriate if tipping is welcome at the establishment.

Boat trips: $3USD per person, per day for the boat staff.

Drivers: $3 per day.

Your Tour Guide:  You may also consider tipping your tour guide for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is completely at your discretion, however as a guideline $6USD per person, per day is standard practice. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The currency in Bali is the rupiah (IDR). Denominations come in notes of Rp. 1,000, Rp. 2,000, Rp. 5,000, Rp. 10,000, Rp. 20,000, Rp. 50,000, and Rp. 100,000 and coins of Rp. 50, Rp. 100, Rp. 200, Rp. 500 and Rp. 1,000.

We recommend always having small denominations for tipping and small purchases.

Packing

Our tours are comfortable and very inclusive with premium accommodation. This means you can pack a little lighter. In fact, you will be carrying your own bags to the lobby or at the airport, and you will need to be able to manage. Please note that dress standards are conservative throughout Indonesia, especially beyond the major cities. When visiting some religious sites, you may need to wear a long skirt or clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, so be sure to pack at least one more conservatie outfit.

What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIALS
– Day pack: for carrying essentials when exploring destinations.
– Lightweight clothing: A mixture of covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers (depending on the season) are recommended. It is best to check the weather and seasonal information before travelling.
For visits to religious sites you will also need to wear clothing that covers shoulders and pants/skirts that go past the knee. Perhaps carry a scarf or sarong for these visits. Modest and covering clothing is also preferable when visiting areas outside major cities that are more conservative.
– Walking shoes or hiking boots.
– Sandals/flip flops
– Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm
– Insect repellent
– Waterproof jacket (particularly if travelling from October until March)
– Warm layers in case of chilly nights.
– Swimming suits

RECOMMENDED
– Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as, mild pain killers, adhesive bandages and electrolytes.
– Camera with spare batteries/charger/power bank: You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items most days, however these are a good backup.
– Electrical adapter plug
– Hand sanitizer
– Water bottle – some hotels may have filtered drinking water to refill your bottle.
– Money belt or pouch
– Waterproof bag cover or plastic bags

OPTIONAL
– A good book, a journal and music player
– Playing cards
– Bio-degradable washing detergent

Bali is generally warm and humid with a tropical climate year round. There are two distinct seasons: the dry season, from April to October, and the rainy season, from November to March. Even during the dry season, you can expect some rain. Temperatures are relatively steady throughout the year as well, typically hovering in the upper 70’s or low 80’s during the day. During the rainy season, it’s generally hotter with strong coastal winds and heavy rainstorms that usually pass in a couple of hours or happen mostly at night. 
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. We recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

In Bali, there are two associated plug types: C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. You may also find Plug type G which is the plug with three rectangular pins, but it is much less common. Bali operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. We always suggest bringing a universal adaptor.

Phone and internet access

There is wifi available in most of our accommodations, but it is not always the most reliable, especially in the more rural areas. We suggest purchasing a prepaid sim card at the Bali airport. This option only works on unlocked phones. Just after exiting the airport, you will find the booths of three mobile phone providers: Telkomsel (simPATI), XL, and Indosat/ IM3 Ooredoo.

Plans and prices can change but expect to pay between $7 to $8USD for a plan that will provide you 4GB of data. You will require your passport to purchase and register your new sim.

Alternatively, ask your home service provider for international plans.

Group leader and guide

All tours with The Solo Female Traveler Network are accompanied by a guide who is with the group for the whole trip. The guide’s role is to be the local expert of the destination and coordinate a lot of the on the ground logistics. They are not always a native of the country, but they are always experienced expert guides. 

Most of our tours also include a leader, whose role is to enrich the experience socially. She will help bridge any cultural differences, manage group expectations, and capture the tour in photos and videos for marketing purposes. Some tours will not include a Tour Leader, and in this case, our local guide will act as both guide and leader.

Traveling as a woman

We believe that every woman should dress as she chooses and should feel free to experience the world without extra worry for her safety. Unfortunately, the rest of the word does not practice gender equality as we wish. It’s important to adapt to local customs to be safer and to respect not only the locals, but also your fellow travelers. The likelihood of anything happening on your trip is quite low, but we recommend being aware of the following safety tips:

Street harassment such as cat calls, stares, invitations to get in a car/bar/restaurant/home are common in more touristy areas, but will not be a constant part of your trip. These are our tips for responding to this unwanted attention:

  • Ignore. Don’t even bother smiling. Just keep about your business.
  • Wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact.
  • Ignore. We mean it, so we said it twice! Ignore them but also ignore your internal commentary on it all. Let it roll off your back and walk on focusing on all the amazing things around you.
  • Dress respectfully and you will find both men and women will respond to you in a more respectful manner.
  • While it very unlikely to happen, do feel free to stand up for yourself if you feel threatened. Men you do not know should not be touching you at all and if you’re in public, people will come to your aid if you make a fuss.
For both modesty and to better manage the heat, we suggest loose fitting clothing that protects your skin from the sun. Long flowing skirts are comfortable and respectful to the culture. At religious sites, we will be required to cover our knees and shoulders. Feel free to dress however you like the rest of the time. Short skirts, plunging necklines, and tight clothing should be avoided.

When not with your guide, we recommend the following:

  • Do not walk in isolated areas or at night by yourself
  • If hotel staff need to enter your room, arrange to be either on tour or in the lobby, so you are not alone.
  • Respect the local customs, which may mean dressing more conservatively than you do at home.
  • Do not hire a driver or guide for tours from the street. Always go with a reputable company or ask us to help you arrange any pre or post experiences. 
  • Do not accept any invitations for anything from random people on the street.
  • Always carry your tour guide’s contact information and hotel address with you during solo time.
  • Alert your guide of any inappropriate behavior or perceived risk to your safety.

Safety

We recommend that you stay up to date on travel safety updates on your home country government website. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, but they are not required to accompany you on solo time, where you can relax, choose an optional activity, or explore on your own. During solo time, we do not vouch for the safety of the experiences you choose, even if our guide or leader recommends them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Our team on the ground is always monitoring the safety situation and reserves the authority to cancel or change experiences at their discretion if deemed unsafe.

Seat belts are always provided and must be worn in accordance with local law. 

Cars may drive on the opposite side of the road than you are used to. Practice extreme caution when crossing the street. Also note that traffic may be much heavier and road rules may be very different from what you are used to. Be careful and aware that pedestrians do not have the right of way.

While most of the tour, especially in major cities, will be with your guide and the group, petty theft is common in any tourist area. Do not walk around alone at night if it can be avoided and hold your belongings close on public transportation. Your local guide will give you some safety tips throughout your tour, and we suggest heeding this advice.

Please do not enter the water without a life vest and a buddy if you are not an experienced swimmer. Alert the leader and guide to your ability level before participating in water activities. Lifeguards are not on duty and our staff are not trained in water rescue. 

We suggest checking your government’s advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory on all our Meetup Tours. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

Group rules

With almost all of our travelers coming on the Meetup Tour solo, we have women from different countries, backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions. This is part of what makes our tours so special and what often leaves our travelers with couches to crash on around the world and even long time friendships. Like any group, especially one consisting of people of different ages coming from all corners of the world, this can also cause clashes in culture and disagreements. We promote an environment of kindness, empowerment, and communication, so certain behaviors will not be tolerated for the benefit of everyone’s experience. 

A great group dynamic takes effort, patience, and compassion from every member. Bullying, threatening, and violence of staff, locals, and fellow participants will not be tolerated on our trips.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while traveling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The group guide and leader have final say on all matters that affect the safety or well-being of any traveler or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund.