Commonly asked questions about one of Australia’s favourite island holiday destinations.
Bali, the “island of the gods”, is a popular escape for Aussies seeking perfectly combed beaches, crystal clear waters and adventure.
Each year, millions of our nation’s holidaymakers flock to its shores, and with budget airlines like Jetstar and AirAsia taking us there for a steal, it’s easy to see why.
If you’re considering hopping on a flight to this beautiful island paradise but have a few queries before committing, we’re here to answer all your burning questions.
What to know before you go
Is Bali a country?
No. Bali is an island as well as a province of Indonesia. It’s located between Java and Lombok and is the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands.
The province of Bali consists of numerous islands including the main Bali island and the neighbouring islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
Which Bali airport should I fly into?
Denpasar International Airport is the only international airport on the island. It is also known as Ngurah Rai International Airport and is located on the southern part of the island.
All flights departing Australia for Bali fly into Denpasar International Airport. This includes Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and AirAsia flights. When on sale, you can typically find flights to Bali from Australia from $99 each way.
Does Bali need a visa?
Those flying on an Australian passport are eligible for free, short-term entry into Indonesia, including Bali, and do not need to apply for a visa to enter the country. Upon arrival, Australians will receive a free entry stamp in their passports. This allows them to stay for up to 30 days, which includes the day of arrival.
No extension is permitted on this visa and it is valid for tourism purposes only.
Is Bali cheap?
In comparison to Australian prices, Bali is viewed as a cheap destination.
Basic hotel dorm rooms start at AUD$11 per night and you can secure 5-star villa rooms from AUD$47 per night. A three-course meal in a sit-down restaurant for two averages Rp$280,000 (AUD$26) and a local beer starts from Rp15,000(AUD$1.50).
Hiring a driver for a day typically costs Rp500,000, or AUD$47.
Does Bali have Uber?
Uber is available in numerous locations throughout Indonesia, including Bali. Your Uber transport options include UberMotor (motorcycle), UberX (low-cost car) and UberTrip (for hires of 5+ hours).
For an example of fare costs, a ride from Denpasar Airport to Seminyak Beach is approximately Rp64,000-83,000 or around $6-8.
Does Bali have elephants?
While elephants aren’t native to Bali, the island province features numerous elephant parks and safari options for you to get up-close-and-personal with these majestic creatives.
This includes Elephant Safari Park Lodge (pictured) in Ubud. This park is committed to conservation and is renowned for housing the largest herd of rescued Sumatran elephants in the world.
When choosing your elephant experience always do your research before committing. While some safaris and centres are dedicated to conservation and animal welfare, poor treatment of elephants for tourism is still common throughout the country.
Questions about safety and health
Is Bali safe?
Since the 2002 bombings, terrorism has been a great safety concern for travellers headed to Indonesia. While security has increased and the threat remains low, the Australian government via its Smartraveller site still recommends travellers exercise a high degree of caution. Travel warnings are updated on the site as circumstances change, so check in with the website frequently if you have any concerns.
Other safety concerns you may have include the quality of the water, which has lead many travellers to experience “Bali belly”. You can decrease your chances of contracting this by only drinking bottled water.
Driving in Bali is also viewed as unsafe for foreigners who are unfamiliar with the roads and road rules. This is not helped by the country’s chaotic traffic. It’s recommended you hire a driver for private commutes if necessary.
On top of these safety procedures, you might also consider taking out travel insurance for your trip.
Is Bali safe for babies?
When travelling to Bali with a baby or infant, it’s important to exercise a high degree of caution around food and water as these can be contaminated by poor handling. While you can purchase formula and baby food in supermarkets, you may prefer to bring food from home to last the length of your journey.
Before travelling to Bali with your baby, consult your local GP for any vaccinations that may be required.
Does Bali have malaria?
Malaria is common in rural areas of Indonesia, but is quite uncommon in urban areas such as Jakarta and Bali. Due to this low risk, it’s generally not recommended that you take preventative medication unless you plan to visit rural areas. If you have any concerns, consult your doctor.
Does Bali have Zika virus?
Since June 2016, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised travellers bound for Indonesia to exercise a high degree of caution as the country is experiencing “sporadic transmission” of Zika virus.
The statement recommends travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites, as this is how the virus is transmitted.
Due to the nature of the virus, which can cause birth defects, pregnant women are advised to consult their GP before heading to Bali.
Does Bali have earthquakes?
The last sizeable earthquake in Bali was in March 2017 when a magnitude 6.4 shook the island. No casualties or follow-up tsunami alert were reported.Back to top
Culture, customs and lifestyle
Is Bali Muslim?
The country of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, with over over 85% of the nation identifying as Islamic.
The province of Bali however has an ancient history of Hinduism which dates back to the 1st century AD. According to the 2010 census, 83.5% of Bali’s population is Balinese Hindu, making it the home of the Balinese Hindu minority.
Islam is the second most common religion in Bali, accounting for around 13% of the population.
Do Balinese celebrate Christmas?
Despite Christianity being a minority religion in Indonesia, as Bali is so heavily dependent on tourism hotels and hotspots tend to get heavily into the Christmas spirit.
Common Christmas activities throughout the island include Christmas dinners at restaurants, Christmas carollers and festive decorations.
Does Bali have a casino?
No. Gambling is illegal in Indonesia and so there are no casinos in Bali or anywhere else in the country.
Are Bali weddings legal in Australia?
According to the Australian Consulate-General Bali, marriages can be recognised as legal in Australia, so long as they adhere to certain requirements. These include:
- That the marriage must be recognised as as valid in the country it was entered into
- That neither party was already married to someone else
- That both parties were of marriageable age under Australian law
- That parties aren’t too closely related under Australian law
- That the marriage was entered into with complete consent, without fraud, mistake or lack of mental capacity
- Provide all mandatory paperwork and fees to the Australian Consulate in Bali. This includes your passports, copy of Decree Absolute if divorced, copy of Death Certificate of former spouse if applicable, copy of documentary evidence of any name change, birth certificates and your marriage fee.
For further information or advice, contact the Australian Consulate-General Bali.
Our destination wedding guide can also help with any other considerations and necessities for your big day.