Good to know when preparing your Bali trip
Bali travel tips! Through our years in Indonesia we have learned a few handy things that will make a surf trip here so much smoother. These are our Bali, and IN Surf Camp travel-tips:
Before buying your plane tickets, decide if you will be bringing a surfboard, and if you are, check the airline policies for surfboards. A quick google search for “airline surfboard baggage fee” will give you a list of airlines and policies, but double check with your airline as well before booking to make sure the information is up to date. This can save you a lot of money and in some cases even prevent you from having to leave your board at the airport.
To enter Indonesia you must have a valid return ticket or ticket out of Indonesia within the expiration time of your visa. If you didn’t book a return ticket and don’t want to do it yet, find a cheap ticket to Singapore or Malaysia that you can show at the check in desk and in Immigration. Some airlines will not even let you check in if you don’t have a return ticket.
Check your passport right now, when does it expire? It needs to be valid for at least six months from the date of your entry to Indonesia.
The Visa requirements change quite frequently in Indonesia so the best tip is to double check with the Indonesian embassy in your country minimum two months prior to your trip. At the time of writing this, most western countries can enter Indonesia without a visa and stay for 30 days. If you would like to stay longer than 30 days, you have to pay for a “visa on arrival” in the airport where you enter Indonesia. This will also only allow you to stay 30 days, but it is possible to extend for another 30 days when you are already in the country. Some nationalities have the option of applying for a 60 day extendable visa in their country of residence prior to arrival, this will allow you to stay for 60 days and can be extended every month up to 6 months in total.
The currency in Bali is Indonesian Rupiah. We recommend that you bring two credit cards that can be used to withdraw money abroad. When traveling you should always have a backup card in case something happens to your first one.
Make sure you have valid travel insurance that will cover you for the length of your stay and that covers action sports. Go fund me campaigns for people who have accidents abroad without insurance are becoming increasingly common and less supported!
At least a month before departure, check in with your GP or a travel vaccination clinic to inquire about vaccines necessary for Indonesia. This is constantly changing so always get updated information.
If you are in Indonesia for a while, getting a local SIM card for your phone can be a good idea. The main reason is the very cheap Internet packages you can buy which gives you decent Internet almost anywhere. We recommend the provider “Telkomsel, Simpati”.
Indonesia uses the two pin plugs common in many European countries. Remember to bring an adapter if your charging cables have different plugs!
If you are planning on driving a scooter by yourself, you should have an international driving license. If you get stopped by the police without one, you will have to pay a small fine. Also make sure you get a good helmet when you rent your scooter, failing to wear one is illegal in Indonesia – not to mention it will protect your head in an accident (many people seem to have missed aspect of the helmet).
Sun block and Zink:
Can be a good idea to bring. It is possible to buy in Bali as well, but good quality can be hard to find and very expensive. Buy it in the tax-free shop in the airport before you board the plane. We recommend minimum SPF 50, very water resistant. The ones for kids are usually a good choice.
Bali is warm day and night so light clothing will almost always be sufficient. It’s good to have a pair of long, thin pants/long skirt/dress/ sarong and a long sleeved shirt to protect from sun if you get burnt, from mosquitoes or on the occasional chilly night. The climate is humid so cotton is more comfortable than synthetic materials. For footwear, flip-flops or bare feet is our uniform – you probably won’t get much use for those socks, apart from on the plane.
A thin raincoat or rain poncho is always good for the random downpours that can occur just as you are about to go somewhere.
You will find laundry services everywhere, but we don’t recommend washing items you really care about, as the washing machines here are less effective and less gentle than what your clothing is probably used to. Especially white items are often not quite as white when they return and stains sometimes seem to be solidified rather than gone. We have a laundry service at out IN Surf Camp Medewi location.
If you travel outside of the tourist hubs, be mindful of what you wear. Though usually no one will tell you off for walking around in a bikini, it is respectful to at least have shorts that cover your bum and shirts that are more fabric than holes. You will probably feel more comfortable in the local community if your clothing is respectful. Normal shorts and sleeveless shirts are fine, unless you are going properly off the beaten track where you should cover your shoulders and thighs.
Clothing for surf:
The sun in Bali is strong and if your skin is not used to strong sun, a long sleeved rash vest will be your best friend. A rash vest will also make sure you get attention for your surfing, your smile and friendly manner in the water, rather than from the dislocation of your bikini top. Not to mention that you can focus on getting back on your board after a wipe out instead of adjusting your top.
Another garment that is increasingly popular is surf leggings (or just yoga pants you are not too concerned with). When you surf you spend a lot of time paddling with the back of your legs exposed to the strong sun and if you have fair, sensitive skin, they most likely will burn on your first days no matter how much sunblock you apply. Unless you have leggings! They come in funky colors or plain and will prevent you from having to pass on a day of surf because of sunburn. And they will also protect you from knee rash.
Again if you surf in a remote place, out of respect for the local community, a pair of board shorts (it’s fine with the short, girl’s version) is perfect. Remember you are a visitor in someone else’s culture, and being respectful will have you welcomed by the locals in a very different way. At our Medewi camps, board shorts are a nice gesture.
Reef boots! If you have them, bring them. Some places have sea urchins, and sharp reef – especially at entry and exit points will be easier to conquer with booties. Lots of people don’t use them so it is fine if you can’t bear the thought of having rubber between your feet and the board, but it will probably save you from having to clean cuts and scrapes on your feet after every surf. At our IN Surf Camp in Medewi, many of the girls choose to wear reef boots.
In your First Aid Kit:
We have first aid supplies in the camp, but as it is hard to come by and expensive in our area we recommend everyone to bring a first aid kid for personal use as well. It will also be good to have if you are planning to do some traveling on your own before or after the camp. It is so easy to get cuts, especially on your feet when you spend most of your time without shoes. – And in this humid climate, and going in the ocean repeatedly, you will need to clean and cover even tiny cuts regularly. Make sure this is among your first aid supplies:
- Antiseptic liquid and cream to clean cuts
- Various sized band aids
- Sterile compresses and tape for covering cuts and scrapes
- Pills to stabilize an upset stomach like Imodium or charcoal tablets
- Re hydration tablets or sachets – dehydration happens easily when you are surfing in the sun all day and if you get sick you will love yourself for bringing them
- Regular pain killers – especially if you are allergic to some or for other reasons need a particular kind
- Any personal medication you may need during your trip
For our workshops you will want to have your own notebook to take notes and for some of the exercises we’ll be doing.
For your surf shots. You can buy one at the camp as well if you don’t have your own. Make sure it has at least 8 GB of space on it.
We have a refill station for you to refill your bottle for free in stead of buying disposable plastic bottles.