Max and Suzanne's useful Bali information



Our accommodation website


Our Manager - Suandi

For enquiries or help in Bali call our friend and manager, Suandi  (mobile) 0812-3641150

The prices shown here are accurate at the time of writing but with inflation running at a brisk rate price rises are inevitable. The subsidies on petrol have now been largely removed so transport costs have also increased. Most goods and services are much cheaper here than in our home countries, and our dollars go a long way in Bali.

Bali Travel Forum

A source of great information is the Bali travel forum. If you want to find something Ė search this site or ask a question. Many people who have spent time in Bali are willing to share their knowledge here.



(Honest) 2 Bob Watch, who is now a friend of ours,has a wide variety of watches at bargain prices!

He is out the front entrance of Jayakarta near the beach! His watches range from around Rp 65,000 up. Tell Bob we sent you!

Also look for Michael (glasses) and Harry (hats). The best massage girl is number 10 (Nyoman) who has been on the same part of the beach for 30 years! The girls next to Bob do good manicures.

Nyoman (LHS) and Frank (RHS) operate beach bars out front of Jayakarta Hotel on the sand.

Timeshare salesmen

You will inevitably be stopped and asked to fill in a questionnaire or given some type of free voucher, that shows you have won a prize. Be warned these are ploys to get you to go to an intensive timeshare selling meeting. We have been there done that and really it is a day wasted. Politely but firmly say no thanks and move on, unless, of course, you really DO want to buy a timeshare. If you do want to look at real estate do a search on the web and look at the local Bali Advertiser property adds. You must be very careful and take advice! Many property sellers are like many moneychangers - not to be trusted!


Driver (Wayan 0812 366 6847)

We use Wayan, who is the brother of our Manager, Suandi. He is a good careful driver, speaks good English and has a Toyota Kijang van in good condition. There are many other good drivers around hotels and tourist areas but be prepared to negotiate with your driver before you set off and check their van is in good working order and has (working) air conditioning. It helps if they speak reasonable English. As at September 2000 a full day for van and driver is between Rp350,000 and Rp 450,000. Many of our guests have used Wayan and recommend him. When you call him, let him know Max and Suzanne recommended him.

Fixed price shops

The art of bargaining is not easy for some of us and if you are in that camp fixed price shops may be the way to go. See the link below for a list of fixed price shops and their locations. The interesting comparison they carried out suggested that there was little difference between fixed price shops and heavily negotiated bargaining.



The large French department store chain is in Sunset Road. Itís a 15 minute taxi ride from Jayakarta. Itís probably the biggest single store in Bali and sells everything from clothing, electrical goods, food and groceries etc. The baker is a French chap so the bread is good. Their website can be found here you didnít know that Carrefour is the second largest retailer in the world after Walmart!There are some good food shops in this complex. We tried the Teppanyaki  (chicken teppanyaki) at the end of the 3rd floor and it was great value. (Rp 30,000) Suzanne always has the Sop Buntut (Oxtail soup) (Rp30,000) at Singgha Kudai 2 shops from Teppanyaki counter. The first 2 floors contain a variety of other shops that are worth looking at. The Bata shoe shop (2nd floor) often has good footwear specials.

There are now 2 Carrefour stores in Bali - the old Alfa Supermarket (Jl Imambonjol) is now a Carrefour store albeit not as large as the other store.



One of the better places to buy handicrafts, ornaments and  wooden carved items is Geneva Handicraft located at Jl Raya Kerobokan number 100 -  Its about a 10 minute taxi from our Jayakarta Hotel Apartments. Some of our more interesting purchases there included a large carved crocodile for Rp 150,000 and a didgeridoo for Rp 70,000 and a teak dining table for Rp 1,200,000. There are 3 levels, so look in all of them. Also not far from here are a couple of good art shops we have bought art for the apartments. One is opposite Geneva and the other art shop about 300 metres back towards Legian on the same side of the road (Satu Hatu -art shop). We pay around Rp 300,000 each for large works.

SITA Fashion JL 373 Legian (50m North of Melasti intersection)

This fixed price shop specializes in pottery, iron handicrafts and bags. The selection and prices are very good. We bought fish wall hangings (tin) and various pots and ornaments. Much of their stuff was better than you get at Geneva. Note that it closes on Sundays.

Ketut's fixed price shop

If you want T shirts, watches, bags, shirts, dresses, hats or any of the myriad of other things you see for sale in the local stalls then you must visit Ketutís fixed price shop which is situated on Garlic lane(JL Sahadewa) 30 metres†† before the JL Melasti intersection on the LHS up a 20m path. She also has real Billabong clothing in a separate section but you must ask to see this. All her goods are fixed price and she has large sizings as well. She even gives out free water to customers!

We wish we could have found her shop 5 years ago. For many on the Bali Travel forum itís the only shop they use.


If you like a large wholesale outlet selling goods ranging from groceries, beer by the crate, hardware, clothing, electrical goods, and much more - go to Makro at Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai number 222X. Itís about 20 minutes by taxi from Kuta. Note that daily membership costs about Rp 10,000. Last trip we bought a DVD player (Rp 230,000) and a fridge (Rp 1,000,000) for bargain prices here. Beer, fruit juice and water can be purchased by the crate. Note they do take some credit cards at Makro (including Diners Club).  Thereís a small surcharge if you use a card, but there is an ATM handy if you want to get cash. Note that the Makro website has details of their specials. A taxi from Jayakarta Hotel to Makro is about Rp 40,000.

If you want to do a bit of shopping we always look at the department stores at Denpasar. Take a 20 minute taxi ride to Ramayana Department Store (Jl Diponegoro) -DVDs, PS2 and Xbox games are at the Sakurashop on the top floor, clothing and shoes on floors 1 and 2.  The supermarket ison the 3rd floor and the small foodhall next to it has (amongst other things) great Sop Buntut  (Oxtail soup) and icecreams.

Matahari and Robinsons stores are a 10 minute walk from Ramayana. 

More good shops are at the Bali Mal Galeria at Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai. (Next to the big statue/water fountain.) There is a large supermarket ( called Hypermart) newly opened which has a large range of groceries, electrical goods, hardware etc. Itís a bit like Carrefour. Matahari Department store is also there; the Vinotti furniture and ornament shop situated on the ground floor often has very good specials. We have purchased fake flowers here on several occasions. There is a clothing shop selling US brand menís and ladies fashion on the 2nd floor just up the stairs from the entrance. They often have good discounts and the clothes appear originals! Both Suzanne and I bought stuff here. (Sep 09)


There is a good surf outlet shop selling Billabong, Rip Curl, Quicksilver, Volcom etc at Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai about 1 km from the big statue/fountain heading South. If you rummage through the bargain and seconds racks you can find a bargain. I got some genuine cool Mossimo dark glasses for Rp 85,000.

The Discovery Shopping Mall is situated next to the Kartika Hotel on Kartika Plaza which is a 10 minute walk from Kuta Square. They have a good department store - Centro, which more like a NZ or Australian department store than Matahari. The menswear and footwear is good and the discounts are often up to 70%. There is also an electronics store, a hardware store, sports store and on the top floor, many food outlets, donít forget KFC on the ouside of the main entrance.Inside the main entrance of Centro is a great bakery called ďBreadtalk.Ē There is a good DVD shop on the ground floor and the quality of the copies and the variety is very good.

A good hardware store is Ace Hardware, situated at Istana Kuta Galleria, has most hardware and electrical stuff you will need including a range of better quality items that don't fall apart on you or blow up if inserted into a wall socket! Ace is like a Bunnings store. Much of their stuff is imported. Last time we visited they had a range of furniture including leather lounge suits on sale.

DVD's - we have found  over 90% of the DVD's work well although some of the newer titles are made by people in the audience using handicam's - its a bit of a laugh when the person in front coughs or stands up - or the battery dies halfway though. We get many of our DVDs at Discovery - Centro (see above) However the DVD shops near the Jayakarta Hotel in Legian are also good - just remember the more you buy the cheaper they get. Eg buy 10 and get 3 free!

Despite your best intentions you will buy more later in the trip! Sakura is also the best place for playstation 2 or Xbox games. Remember your playstation  or Xbox needs to be mod chipped to be able to play these games. In NZ a playstation modchip is about Aud$50 and an Xbox chip around $60 not sure about Oz. As at Sep 2009 we paid Rp10,000 for DVDs and audio CDs and Rp15,000 for PS2 games. If you get 10 DVDs you get a further 3 free or if you get 100 DVDs (God help you with your luggage!) you get another 50 for free at some outlets. Cheap!!!!  A good idea is to leave the DVD cases behind and buy a zip up holder. These cost about Rp 50,000 and can contain up to 75 DVDs. The shop assistants will help you to do this. Computer based Windows software is also cheap in Bali. Software titles like Windows XP cost about Rp 20.000  for the CD version or Rp 50,000 if on DVD. Famous graphics utilities like Adobe Photoshop or Autocad and Microsoft Officecost thousands back home but are only Rp 20,000 in Bali - just don't expect any warranties or support from their help desk! There is a good selection of softwareDVDs outside Matahari in Kuta Square.



Carrefour (see above)

We like the Bintang Supermarket at Jl Seminyak  - about 15 minutes walk or 5 minutes taxi from our Jayakarta apartment at Legian - a good place to get your groceries plus a good selection of local and imported wines, beers and spirits at reasonable prices. Pick up the latest copy of the free Bali Advertiser newspaper from here - it contains useful information. It also stocks vegemite, a good range of cheeses and other essentials! Take home some of the Balinese Arabica coffee beans. We find Bintang is cheaper and has more variety than the Matahari Supermarket at Kuta Square. If you are going to the Bintang Supermarket at Seminyak try the little coffee shop and deli beside it Ė Cafť Seminyak. It makes wonderful espresso, pastries and croissants. We really recommend the French Farmer breakfast with homemade sour dough bread. One more thing, if you do go to Bintang check upstairs as there is another department up there! Right beside Bintang is a liquor store that sells wine and sprits. It normally has a good selection available and the prices seem to be reasonable by Bali standards.

Another supermarket Ė Giant, is situated at Istana Kuta Galleria near Ace Hardware. (7 minute taxi ride) and is fairly cheap.

Hypermart is another large one stop supermarket much like Carrefour and is at Mal Bali Galleria. They sell all sorts of goods including food, clothing and hardware.

As mentioned above the Carrefour Department store has a huge range of goods, including clothing and food!.


Beach massages are cool. You may need to shoo away the carved wooden bow and arrow salesmen to get some peace :-) Bargaining is expected - I normally pay around Rp25,000 for 30 minutes of massage - if a manicure is desired as well - an extra Rp 10,000 is needed. If you find a good one, stick with them and you don't need to go through the bargaining process again next day! I like Nyoman (with 10 on her hat) outside Jayakarta Hotel beach entrance. There are other good massage places around Kuta and Legian Ė prices are about Rp 60,000 per hour.

There is a good but inexpensive spa/massage 500m along the road from Jayakarta Hotel called Luna Spa. We havenít been there yet but reports from our guests give good reviews. They do the usual body scrub and reflexology stuff. The green door massage shop (Briella) about 50 metres to the left outside Jayakarta main gates is another favourite massage place with our guests. An hour massage (Sep 2009) was Rp65,000.

A typical beach massage with associated backup personnel! 


Remember that people in Bali expect you to bargain. If unsure ask someone who has bought a similar item you want, how much they paid. It gives you some idea of where to start. I usually don't buy anything on the first day so I get and idea what the going rate is as the trip unfolds. A starting bid of 25% of the asking rate is a normal start point in negotiations. Be prepared to walk away if you aren't happy with the asking price as you will often get called back!! Ok Ok Ok they will call! Balinese love bargaining, so try to do it with a smile and after a while you will actually enjoy the experience.

If you don't get recalled it means that they aren't making any profit on the transaction. In many cases you will find the same product you purchased cheaper somewhere else. Donít be too disappointed as this happens to the best of us shoppers!



Eating & Liquor

Gong Corner and Bamboo Corner restaurants - vegetable soup Rp 10,000


There is a useful guide to Bali restaurants

Takeaways and food deliveries

If you wish to dine in you can order takeaways from Hallo Bali by phone or over the internet

They deliver from a wide variety of restaurants which you can see available restaurants in their free menu booklet available from Bintang Supermarket and other outlets, or online.

Their phone numbers are 0361 735100 or 735200 or 735 300. We have used the Halo Bali delivery service to good effect.

You can also order direct from McDonalds - phone 14045 for placing orders. Likewise KFC do deliveries Ė ph 0361 757 161

Sometimes the McD or KFC deliveries canít get past hotel security gates unless you personally go there to authorize it or meet the delivery person at the security gates out front- so check first.


Our current favourite restaurants are:

Ultimo - Italian restaurant  - JL Laksamana (near Mykonos)

This top class Italian restaurant is inexpensive and has a huge menu. The bill for 2 of us including beer was Rp 250,000 (AUD $30 Sep 2009). Many expats eat here Ė which is a good sign that the restaurant is up to standard. The dťcor is great with an outside garden eating area as well as inside seating. Remember to ask for a torch to see the menu clearly if eating outside in the garden area as the tables are candle lit. There is live entertainment in the garden area 5 nights per week.

Entrees range from about 20,000 and mains from Rp35,000. The pizzas are good too. Donít forget the desert section. Large Bintang beer is reasonable (RP26,000 Ė Sep 09) The restaurant is about 10 minutes (20,000 cab ride) from Jayakarta Hotel and well worth the trip. Itís our current favorite.

Feyloon Chinese Restauant JL Raya Kuta (Opposite Galeal Supermarket)

Great and inexpensive Chinese food. Their yum char lunches are delicious. Roast duck is one of their specialties and at Rp99,000 (Sep 2009) per half duck is good value. If you like Chinese this is a must try. Note they do takeaways also.

Gong Corner

This is a sister restaurant of well known Bamboo corner and is situated on the lane between Poppies 1 and 2 in KUta. Gong has the same menu but is not so crowded! We recommend this place.

The food here is very inexpensive about 50% of what you pay in Legian. This place is a favourite of budget travelers and backpackers looking for good food at a great price!


Rumors JL Laksamana

This restaurant is next to Ultimo (see above) and is owned by the same person who is a meat importer Ė hence the good prices! Rumours is great for steaks and their pizzas are good too. Its very reasonable and we recommend it. Cost for 2 (Aug 2008) was about Rp 130,000.

Take - Japanese restaurant  Beside Bali Cyber Cafe - 600 metres before Jl Legian - on the sharp corner on the way to Ace Hardware.

Don't confuse with their sister restaurant, Take 2, which is on Jl Padma and not quite as good. Try their soft shell crab, salmon/ bluefin sashimi, dumplings, teriyaki chicken, roast potato (Rp 9000) to name a few of our favorites. The price for 2 people including a bintang was AUD$35 and excellent value. Say hello to the owner (the old Japanese guy with 1 tooth) who is always there to keep an eye on things.

Enhay between Poppies 2 and JL Benesari. Very cheap but delicious. Total bill for 2 including beers (2) is about Rp 80,000.

Brasil Bali Jl Benasari

A good warung not far from Enhay. Itís a great cheap place that has been operating for years. Avocado prawns (April 09 Rp 12,000) and their mixed juice Rp 9,000 are my favourites.

Warung Totemo JL Benesari

Just 20 metres down from Brasil Bali (see above) Very cheap and good food.

Warung Sulewasi (Jl Pettinget) Good for lunch

Traditional warung where you buy food from the counter.We loved their corn fritters (Rp1000 ea, beef rendung curry (rp 6000) and their fruit juices (Rp 5000)(try the lemon juice). Food here is cheap but good.

Sips Ė Jl Raya Seminyak (opposite Bintang Supermarket)

This is a moderately priced and intimate small French restaurant which is run by an acclaimed (Michelin Star) French Chef. We loved the pate entrťe and there is a wide selection of traditional French mains you wonít find elsewhere. Well worth a visit.

Ryoshi Japanese Jl Raya Seninyak -

Good value Japanese food and great live entertainment upstairs on Mondays (Jazz) and Wednesdays (Blues) You may need to book on those nights to secure a table!

Situated next door to Bintang Supermarket this is a real treat. Many locals and expats eat here.

Queens Tandoor JL Raya Seminyak no 73 about Rp 15,000 taxi from Jayakarta .Web

You can also get their food delivered direct to your door via their takeaway service. Ph 0361 732770.

This is top class Indian food thatís a little expensive by Bali standards but still less than half what we pay back home.

We paid Rp 200,000 for 2 people including beers. (August 2008)

You must try the Dosa Ė a southern Indian treat.

Warung 96 - off Poppies 2 in KUta. Wood fired pizzas and Pasta are specialties here. A pizza is around Rp 40,000. Chilli Con Carne is my favourite.

Bamboo Corner on Poppies 1 is great value and has good juices and consistently good food at ridiculously cheap prices. Lunch for 2 people is about Rp40,000.

In April 2009 I had a few banana milkshakes at Rp5000 each. The Indonesian breakie is Rp12,000. Another favourite here is the lemon pancakes for Rp6000. Prices here are about 50% of what you pay at Legian. Itís a 30 minute walk down the beach from Jayakarta. Note that they have another Bamboo Corner restaurant called TJís Mexican Ė Poppies 1

Breakfast here is good Ė we had the Mexican version which was a welcome change Ė traditional breakies also available.. We havenít had dinner here recently but by all accounts itís good and recommended.

 Rainbow Cafe on Poppies 2 opposite Bounty Hotel is also a good value place to eat.

Halfway down Poppies 1 is Nusa Indah which is good for a few bintangs and has cheap and very good food. The staff are always friendly. A three course meal and 3 bintangs cost less than Rp 100,000 for both of us.

Mammaís Bar in JL Legian offers good value food and drinks and is always busy. We havenít eaten there but have heard good reports.

Eating places near Jayakarta:

We think the breakfasts at the Jayakarta are good but expensive. We prefer a 3 or 4 minute walk to Tommies, Zanzibar, or Lanai or one of the places nearby to have breakfast. It shouldnít cost more than Rp 40,000 for a full American breakfast with all the trimmings!

Tommies Cafť (Good for breakfast)

This cafť is on Rum Jungle Rd (opposite Yutís about 30 metres further up the road) - around 200 metres up the street from the Jayakarta gates. This cafť is owned by a New Zealander (Desma) and her Balinese business partner (Tommy Ė who also own the leather shop Ė opposite Posers Pub). Itís open for breakfasts and snacks until about 4pm. They have very good freshly made muffins (Sep 2009 Rp10,000) toasted sandwiches(Rp 17,000) iced coffees and smoothies (Rp11,000). Suzanne loved the toasted avocado, bacon and tomato sandwich. Desma even has marmite or vegemite if you need that with your toast. When you see Desma say hi to her from Max and Suzanne from NZ!


Go out to the beachfront from the Jayakarta Hotel and turn right and you will find Zanzibar about 200 metres along the road. (Jl Double 6 -Great location and good food.) We often have the American Breakfast (big) at Zanzibar, cost in Aug 2008 Rp 35, 000. Note that Zanzibar has free wireless internet access so take your laptop. Lanai is next door and is equally OK.

If you fancy a  45 minute walk along the beach (past the bungy tower) Warung Pantai at Batu Belig is a nice little restaurant right on the beach. Its a quiet spot with a great outlook and cheap food. We had a good breakfast there and with free exercise thrown in.

Marzano JL Double Six

This Italian restaurant is on the corner of Double Six near Warung Asia. It opened in early 2009 and has built up a good reputation for good value Italian food. Pizzaís and pastaís are the specialties. Meal for 2 including 2 beers was Rp150,000 Sep 2009. It is usually very busy which is a sign they are doing it right!

Seaside Restaurant

This is next door to Jayakarta and has the tree growing through the roof. Its a good place for a beer and the upstairs roof area often has a DJ playing music. We thought the food average to OK.

Outrigger O~CE~N

This hotel, next to Zanzibar and close to Double Six corner, opened to the public -  Spring 2008. O~CE~N hosts a top seafood, tappas bar, and teppanyaki restaurant, featuring a stunning dťcor. Suzanne and I are friends of the developers of this resort. If you want to have a look around go to reception and ask for Mark (sales manager) he will arrange to show you around the complex as they have apartments for sale there. Tell him I sent you!


Next door to Zanzibar and about 200m along from Jayakarta. We have had many breakfasts there. The full breakfast isRp 40,000. Their dinners are equally well made and good value. (Big burger and fries Rp 46,000, Caesar salad 35,000,largepizza 40,000. They also have free wireless internet. If you sit upstairs you get a great sea view as well for free!!


Next door to Lanai on the beachfront, this popular restaurant is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pricing is reasonable and similar to Lanai. We have had many meals here. (Large American brekkie Rp40,000)

Tekor Bali

Tekor is 50m past Zanzibar on the beachfront and is excellent for all meals. Their breakfasts at about Rp 38,000 are good.We have had American breakfast there a number of times. They now have free wireless internet. They specialize in more traditional type dishes than Zanzibar and Lanai.

Blue Ocean

Next door to Lanai - has good food at reasonable prices. Try their daily special. I like their pizza. They have a band on Fridays which is good entertainment - especially the Salsa dancers!

 Yut's Place which has good steaks from around Rp 49,000 as well as Indonesian foods and salads. I liked their Caesar salad and veal Cordon Blue (Gordon Blue Ė as many Balinese call it). If you tire of Indonesian food they will fit the bill with a good range of mainly Swiss and Western style food. Itís a 5 minute walk from the Jayakarta Hotel outside the mail gate.

Left out of Jayakarta Hotel and when you get to JL Doublesix  go 30 metres to the left and across the road is Warung Murah. It serves great local food and juices at cheap prices. I always have the mixed juice (Rp7000).

Also left outside the Jayakarta security gate and about 500m walk is Warung Asia which specializes in Thai food. This is left outside Jayakarta main entrance gate and about 50 metres before Double Six intersection. Excellent Thai cuisine. This place is popular with locals and expats and we recommend it. It was busy each time we ate there so that it a good sign for a restaurant. We recommended it to guests when in Bali (April 08) and they found it great.

Remember that many restaurants sell large beer at happy hour prices for a few hours in early evening to attract customers. Prices like Rp16,000  - Rp24,000 for a large Bintang or Bali Hai beer are common and often work out cheaper than what you can get in the supermarket! Cocktails with the local 'Arak' spirit are cheap but keep a few panadol handy for next morning.

 On the subject of alcohol we found the Hatten's Rose wine made in Bali, good to drink. Especially if chilled well. At last visit (Aug 2009) it was Rp90,000 a bottle or Rp170,000 per cask from the supermarket. It makes you laugh when you read the label though, it says "to be drunk now, DO NOT CELLAR"  There is local copy spirits available called Robinsons which tastes like Bacardi etc. When used to make banana daiquiris and the like you wouldn't know the difference.

Half way down Poppies Lane 1 next door to the Secret Garden Bar & Restaurant there is a little outdoor cocktail bar that sells jugs of cocktails for Rp45,000, large Bintangs Rp19,000 and soft drinks Rp3,500 at happy hour (6 to 9 pm). They make a special one called "fall over juice" and it does seem to work quite well after number 3. Their pina colada and frozen margarita is also worth a shot. They also have small Guinness beer for Rp15,000 each. A Scottish lady (Heather) owns the place and is very knowledgeable about soccer. The old Scottish guy near the end of the bar is Jimmy, I think he is welded onto the bar!

If you are going past a KFC and want a cheap snack we often order KFC soup - its yummy and costs about Rp 5500. McDonalds sell snow freeze type ice creams dipped in hot chocolate. At Rp4000 they are good on a hot day.

One of the best places, to buy fresh bread and cakes is the Bali Bakery (Corner Jl Imam Bongol & Jl Patih Jelantik) They have good meals there too. Try the soup of the day! We often take a fresh baguettehome to eat. If you eat in try their soup of the day Rp35,000.

The Bali Deli - you can get your order delivered to you if you want a snack or browse their wonderful selection of breads, meats and cheeses. Many imported items at reasonable prices.

Beach bars

Directly outside the Jayakarta beach entrance, on the sand is a couple of good beach bars Ė Nyomanís (left hand side) and Franks Bar (RHS) these guys sell cold beer and drinks, play the drums and keep you entertained. Itís a good way to wind down at the end of the day and maybe meet a few different people and watch the sunset.


Posers Pub

Well patronised and with very good food. On the corner of Padma and Padma Utara.

Captain Cook Pub

Opposite Yuts Restaurant. Jl Werkudara on right hand side. They show live sports here such as AFL, NRL and Union.

Don't forget to check the Beatmag to find the location of the popular restaurants.


We have found it better to take our local banknotes (NZ) for conversion into Rupiahs.Australian notes are fine but take $50 and $100 notes and you sometimes get a slightly better rate. Damaged notes will be rejected, so check there are no tears. ATMs work ok - I think most banks charge about $5 per transaction for ATM use - so you may as well get a decent amount of cash out in one transaction. I canít see the point of changing NZ or OZ dollars at home into US dollars, then changing them to Rupiahs in Bali as the only thing you are doing is giving the local Bank another whack of commission. The only US dollars you need is the US$25 Visa on arrival money. (As mentioned below.)

If you want to send money to Bali from Oz or NZ we have used OZ Forex which has rates better than most banks. See here

To get an idea what approximate rate you should be getting check which is a good universal currency converter.

Keep valuables in the safe deposit box at Hotel reception.

Use of credit cards is fine in major department stores but many smaller retailers will add a surcharge. We have found Visa and MasterCard to be the most popular cards. Make sure you have a PIN number for your card which enables it to work in ATMs. There are heaps of ATMs around Bali. If you have an ANZ card, take it with you. Many eating establishments, including the Bali Bakery offer a 10% discount if you use it. We try to minimize our use of credit cards as there have been reports of unscrupulous vendors recording your cards numbers and then using your card for unauthorized transactions. We prefer to take cash rather than use credit cards.

Tipping - usually we don't but for good service at restaurants we add an extra thousand Rupiahs or two. Remember just how little this is to us but what a difference it is to them. The average wage is less than AUD $100 per month in Bali.

Money changers ĖIMPORTANT!!!!!!

Bring your local currency with you as money changers and banks are plentiful.

For larger currency transactions (say over AUD$1k) its best to go to the bank as they have the best rates and are 100% honest (so far). But for normal currency changing when not near our BCA bank we use any of the PT Kuta Central Agency - Money Changers their main office is 500m around Bemo Corner past the Kuta BCA Bank.

When at the Jayakarta we mainly use the Kodak store near Posers Pub.The money changer there is a PT Kuta Central Agent and is situated in the Kodak shop, next to Posers Pub, which is about 10 minutes walk, to the right outside from the Jayakarta Ė opposite the BCA ATM machine.We have NEVER had a problem here.

The money changer beside Matahari in Kuta square is also good - PT Kuta Central is the biggest and best changer, have many outlets and is where many of the other money changers change their currencies!  

Remember NOT ALL MONEY CHANGERS ARE HONEST and Count your money before you leave their premises. Remember if you see a rate that seems too good to be true - it probably is.

Itís a good idea to change even amounts (say AUD$100) as its easier for you to calculate what you should be getting. That way itís harder for any rogue money changer to defraud you.

Be careful not to confuse 10,000 notes with 100,000 notes - its a bit confusing with all those noughts. One of our friends writes up a credit card size ready reckoner showing the conversion rate for Rupiahs to our currency for 100,000 up to 1,000,000 in 100,000 steps. He keeps this handy when shopping - a small calculator is also handy if you have one.

If you need a Bank we use the BCA in Kuta, 200 metres around Bemo Corner on the road to Denpasar. If you are a regular traveler to Bali it may be useful to open a Bali Bank account and get an ATM/Debit card. Some banks require you have residency (KITAS)in Bali but many donít Ė so shop around. If you have an Indonesian Bank account you can remit funds directly from your home country in one go.



Taxis are cheap in Bali. If you have the choice always get a light blue, Bluebird  TAXI. Note that they have a Bluebird logo on their roof.

There are many of them. Just hail them from the side of the road. Their phone number is (0362) 70 11 11 if you want to book one. They wont try to rip you off like some (read MOST) of the other taxi firms will. As a matter of interest we always take a light blue Taxi to Denpasar from Kuta and its typically around Rp 60,000 each way. I always round the fare up to the nearest thousand.  On the way back it may be difficult to get a blue cab so negotiate a fixed rate with another taxi. Usually 70,000 is OK from Denpasar to Kuta/Legian area. If using another taxi firm, insist they use a meter or at least agree a price first.

Remember that all taxis have a meter, even the non-Blue Bali Taxi's. During 2005, and now in 2009, the Indonesian Government removed most of the subsidies on fuel with the result petrol prices more than quadrupled. This is the reason taxi fares are somewhat higher than they were. In Sep 2009 a litre of petrol cost Rp5000.

Airport taxis

When arriving in Bali go to the right outside the airport and get a voucher for a taxi. The set cost for the taxi is around Rp 50,000 to Legian and Kuta.

If you are brave, or have the time you can go out into the car park and negotiate with a van driver, often better for a large group or if you have many bags. The price from airport to Kuta/Legian is around Rp 50,000 to Rp 55,000 for a van. From the hotels at Legian to the airport the light blue taxi should cost around Rp 50,000. When bringing a surfboard be aware the airport taxis charge a Rp50,000 surcharge!

When using the taxi to get from Legian to restaurants and bars in Poppies Lane we often get out on Jl Legian opposite Poppies 2  and walk - quicker than taking the taxi all the way around. Fare approx Rp 20,000.

Going from Kuta back to Jayakarta we usually go to the beach end of Poppies 1 and get a taxi to the sharp 90 degree corner where Jl Melasti starts then take the 10 minute walk back along the cobbled walkway to the Jayakarta Apartment at Legian. Its a pleasant walk and good shortcut if you want to walk all the way from Legian to Kuta and it takes about 25 minutes. At night you can see the bright lights of hundreds of fishing boats in a line, 20km or more out from the beach. I think they catch squid and tuna.

Places you should go

For day trips we like the Bali bird park.  There is a reptile park next door if you are up to it. Itís an hourís drive north of Legian

There is a 2 ha safari park which we liked,  situated at Gianyar, a centre of art and culture in Bali, just 30 kms from Ngurah Rai Airport or Kuta Beach. They have a large restaurant, plenty of animals including a rare white tiger, snakes, elephants, birds that do tricks and heaps of other interesting wildlife.  We were pleased we went.

Ubud is an interesting place where many artists hang out. It has a more relaxed feel than Kuta and has good markets - art, carving and sculpting etc. There is plenty to see on the way.

Nusa Lembongan is an island off the east coast of Bali that has good snorkeling and surfing. Accommodation is cheap and itís a good way to break your trip.

Lombok. 40km across the sea from Bali, is an Island a little smaller than Bali and home to about 2 million people. Its a 90% Muslim country compared to Bali, which is 90% Hindu. The scenery on Lombok is stunning. Prices are cheaper and its much quieter than Bali. The Gili Islands, renowned for diving and partying, are a short distance from Lombok and worth a visit. The Lombok surf is amongst the worlds best. A recent surf magazine rated a surf break near Kuta beach (Lombok) the best left hand break in the world! You can go by air (Rp 600,000 return) or sea  (Rp 60,000 return) from Bali.

In August 2008 we spent a couple of nights at Amed which is on the opposite coast to Kuta. This is a quiet fishing village noted for its snorkeling and diving. Amed is a bit drier and hotter than Legian and the pace of life is slower. Its 2.5 hours drive from Kuta and we think itís a good place to visit for a night or two. If you hire a motorbike there go for a short ride along the coast you will see some stunning scenery. Our driver (Wayan) took us there.

Golf is expensive in Bali. Green fees can be upwards of US$100 and with caddy fees an extra Rp100,000 the cost can add up. However - there are some beautiful courses to play on. I would rank them in order of scenery and layout: Pecatu (near Dreamland Beach), Tanah Lot (North of Canggu), Bedugal (near Lake Brattan)Sanur Ė nice little 9 hole course where you can use a trundler.

Bedugal markets and Lake Brattan is a good day trip with plenty to look at on the way there. The markets offer a good selection of veges and fruit. We love the fresh strawberries and the cashew nuts. 10 minutes further on is Lake Brattan and the lovely grounds and temple you can wander about. This is a good day trip if combined with a couple of hours shopping in Denpassar on the way home!

Waterbom Park is a must for kids and has various swim slides and water based attractions. Its opposite Discovery shopping mall.



There are many places to go late at night that are close to the Jayakarta. There are nightclubs, Dťjŗ vu (next to Zanzibar) Double Six, (next to Bungy tower) and many more nightclubs at JL Dhyana Pura. Many of these places donít crank up until after midnight but operate until daylight. There are other bars and restaurants that have live music including Billys Bar, Hard Rock Cafť and Ryoshi (Monday and Wednesdays) Mades Warung (Saturday).


 Other tips

Don't drink the tap water. We have found it good value to buy large 3 gallon water at the Supermarket and take it to the apartment in the taxi - you need to purchase the bottle first. There is a shop outside the Jayakarta Hotel that will swap empties over and carry them up to the apartment for you. We paid Rp 11,000 for the refill including freight! If you are out and about its a good idea to take a small bottle of water with you. Dehydration is easy if you don't drink water often. Fruit juices cost very little and taste delicious.

Electrical Appliances Itís rare to find a light bulb over 25 watts Ė perhaps thatís a reason many of the rooms are dark! Toasters that never toast and jugs that never boil are common because their wattage (or power) is about 33% of what we use back home. We have our own jugs in all our apartments after guests complained about the 45 minute time to boil a Bali kettle. Bali customs often ask why our suitcases are filled up with various electrical appliances from home.

Air Travel

 Be aware that excess baggage fees are often charged when you take home more than 20KG per person of checked on luggage (note 15 kg limit for Air Asia). Excess baggage fees can be expensive. Ways around this are: Take as much carry on stuff as you can, although there is an 7kg limit for carry on nowadays as well as size restriction (sometimes they don't check carry on). Carry on bags that are expandable and have wheels and extendable handle to pull them with are a good investment and it means you wont break your arms lugging them about the airport. If really stuck you can wear as much clothing and coats as possible and stuff the pockets with stuff. You can check baggage weights by standing on scales with, then without, your bags then subtract the difference. If flying Jetstar they can be strict on baggage, also take a warm jacket on the flight with you as they charge for blankets and take delight at keeping the plane COLD. We also take along some snacks like nuts and biscuits as you pay for meals and drinks. Many airlines now enable you to prepay excess luggage online at reduced prices. Check their websites.

Many airlines such as Air Asia now allow you to pay online for excess luggage in advance. This works out much cheaper than if you paid at the airport. You can also choose your own seat before you fly and even order your meals before you travel!. Checkout the airlines website.

It pays to check the airline websites frequently to keep an eye for special airfares. You may like to sign up for their regular newsletters which often give you advance notice of impending deals. Lately Air Asia, Jetsar, and Pacific Blue have had some excellent deals from OZ to Bali.


Always keep it in a safe place. Its an idea to get at least 1 photocopy of your passport, before you travel, to keep on you in Bali for ID purposes. Its better to lose the copy! Remember that when travelling your passport must not expire within 6 months after you leave Bali. Government Agencies can take forever to re-issue passports or make amendments so allow plenty of time.

Carry on luggage - liquids

Lately (Feb 2008) most airports wonít let you take bottles containing more than 100ml with you onto the plane. Its OK to pack these items in your checked luggage, but otherwise be prepared to lose your expensive cosmetics etc. if they are in containers of more than 100ml. We learnt the hard way and had $80 of duty free booze confiscated!

Visa on arrival:

When you get off the plane get a Visa on Arrival (VOA) before proceeding to the customs queue. Pay with undamaged US currency $25 if you can. Have the exact amount. Itís quicker and you get a better rate doing it this way. You can pay in most currencies but they give you a lousy rate and it takes a bit longer. If you travel regularly on business there is a fairly new travel card issued through APEC which you may qualify for. Checkout Note that this card also gives express customs clearance, free customs entry to APEC countries.

Some of our guests have used VIP visa on arrival in order to avoid the lengthy queues at customs (2 hours plus sometimes!) This costs around AUD$25 each. Do a search of for VIP visa on arrival.

If you travel heaps and stay a while and are 55 years + you may qualify for a retirement visa. See here

You can bring wine and spirits into Bali but the quantity is restricted - think its limited to 1 litre per person. If they find more they fine you or confiscate it - be careful. We know some people who fill their water drink bottles with wine to get over the limit, which seems to work ok. Be careful about the 100ml liquid carry on rule mentioned above.

Toilets in Bali are getting better but some donít provide toilet paper. I always have some in my back pocket for emergency use! The major department stores all provide public toilets of decent quality as do most restaurants.

Departure Tax is now Rp 150,000 per passenger so remember to have this available when you get to the airport. If you need a snack before you leave the McDonalds outside the airport is much cheaper than any of the food inside.


Hiring a motorcycle can be a fun way to get about. Remember you need an International drivers licence! I didn't bother and got fined Rp 200,000!!  (The bike rental is  Rp 40,000 per day in April 2009 and includes the helmet but not petrol.) Car hire, if you're brave is around Rp 400,000 for 3 days hire.  I tried to get a temporary licence while in Bali, but the procedure was stressful and a miserable failure! My friend who lives in Bali says he can get a 3 month licence in Bali for Rp 200,000 and it doesnít involve any driving tests, but you have to go in the back door of the police department! Ė I havenít tried that yet but watch this space.. Remember to get an International drivers licence in your own Country before you leave (including the motorbike stamp). You also need to have your overseas licence with you as well as the International one. Many police are waiting to pick on and fine unlicensed foreigners. We have heard many stories about foreigners being fined for various reasons including - not tooting your horn enough! not wearing a seatbelt, stopping on the road before doing a turn, driving in the centre of the road. A friend of ours got fined Rp 50,000 for not wearing a shirt when riding a motorbike!! The fines range from Rp 50,000 to 200,000. You seem to be able to negotiate the fine and my last fine was Rp 50,000 which was half of what he asked, (April 08) for going the wrong way down a street.Itís a good idea to carry 2 wallets and have one with Rp 50,000 in to use for fines. You show the policeman the wallet with the Rp50k and you should get off with that. If you bargain you should get away with the 50,000 fine as thatís the standard that expats here expect to pay. BTW donít expect a receipt for the fine.

I have tried to study the road rules but there are none that I can find. The only rules seem to be: Small gives way to big and if you have an accident its your fault because as a tourist if you hadn't been there, then there wouldn't have been an accident.


We have our own bikes (Peddling bikes) in Bali and its a neat way to get around. It often much quicker than the taxi as you can go backwards down the one way streets - if you are careful! We ride our bikes  to Kuta, from Legian and also to Seminyak and it takes no time at all. Our bikes often beat the taxi into town. You can hire a peddling bike near the entrance of the Jayakarta Hotel - Legian. Prices are around Rp10,000 per day. Remember to wear a helmet for your safety.

If travelling around Bali get a driver and an air-conditioned van to take you. Negotiate the cost before you go and make sure their van or car is in good condition and has working AC. The cost for the day including driver will be in the vicinity of Rp 450,000 and a half day about Rp 250,000.We use. Wayan. It is customary to buy the driver lunch and a drink. Be aware they often get commission from their mates if you buy something en route!  Expect to bargain with the driver prior to settling the fee for the day. The drivers outside the gate of the Jayakarta seem more willing to bargain than the drivers inside the gate Ė it often depends how busy they are. We have encountered a wide variety of drivers including some who seem to have a death wish. I tell some of them to slow down a bit. One way to engage them in conversation, even if they know virtually no English, is to ask them their opinion on the best motorbike. They all seem to know the list prices of every conceivable motorbike ever sold in Bali, including the second hand market. As at Sep 2009 a brand new 125 cc Honda Supra was just over 15 million Rupiahs.

When swimming, always swim in a patrolled area. The surf is fun but can be dangerous at times so if you are not experienced be careful. For a good day trip go to Dreamland beach (20km from Legian) - the beach is wonderful. The swimming opposite the Jayakarta, at Legian is excellent and 4 minutes walk from our apartment. Remember to swim between the flags.



Mobile phone calls are cheap in Bali, so take your cell phone. You will need an unlocked mobile phone and a Bali simcard. If you go to the stalls outside Matahari in Kuta Square one of the sales girls will insert it. Some (even cheap) new phones come with a prepaid card included. We paid Rp 55,000 for a Rp 50,000 new prepay sim card from the shop 200m from Jayakarta.  We keep our card in Bali and a friend tops them up at 10,000 per month so we can keep the same number. If you top up with Rp 100,000 you get to keep the number for up to 4 months before the number is lost. If you are staying at the Jayakarta get a Pro XL card as their coverage is strongest. The shop outside Jayakarta entrance, 50 metres walk past the Kodak shop near BIMC medical centre sells top up cards and can arrange a new sim card for you.

Local calls cost about Rp 1,500 per minute and texts  (SMS) were about Rp 500  each to NZ/Oz or Rp 350 to another Bali phone. International calls to Australia are about Rp 5,000/minute - but check first. If calling overseas on Pro XL you need to dial the prefix 01000 then the number. Eg 01000613xxxxxxxxx as this gives you the cheaper rate. I think the other carriers have similar deals.

Bali uses 240 volt power so Australian/NZ devices work in both places - just remember to buy an adapter to enable the appliance to be plugged in. Supermarkets sell power adapters cheaply. Some of the wiring is suspect in Bali. Suzanne has been known to wear rubber jandals (thongs) when turning on some hotel electrical switches!

There are many internet cafes and a growing number of wireless hot spots in Bali, find one you like but remember some are faster and cheaper than others. We now have internet available in all our apartments but you can also use the little internet shop, left outside the Jayakarta gate, about 100 metres down the road and is Rp 250 per minute. You get free small water and a plate of peanuts thrown in. They also do laundry, and their neighbour next door is a restaurant so its a kind of one stop shop. Note that more restaurants are providing free wireless internet access (albeit slooowly). Zanzibar, Lanai and Tekkor BaliRestaurants which are on the beachfront, a short walk from the Jayakartahave free wireless. Why not enjoy a juice (or bintang) while you surf the net for free!


Before you travel to Bali, or anywhere, for that matter, - make sure you have insurance including medical cover just to be sure. I am unsure if it works in other countries but here in NZ if you pay for your air travel with a gold or Platinum MasterCard/visa then your insurance cover is free. Contact your card issuer to check. Most insurer's have comprehensive travel policies, so get a quote.

Medical costs can be expensive in Bali and if you needed to be medi-vaced home its $$$$$.


A good laundry and the one we currently use is Mila Laundry situated 300m from Jayakarta gates on Rum Jungle Rd on the bend and near Yuts Restaurant.A typical weeks laundry for 2 of us costs Rp 50,000. Our cleaner (Ketut) can arrange laundry services and will arrange pickup and delivery.


We get our business cards printed at Bali Graphic Design at Jl Raya Legian no 472. Cost per 100 business cards is Rp 25,000  (Dec 2006) including the setup and design cost! They also do posters and other printing.

Bali Dentist (Retno W Agung) Ė phone 0361 288501

As luck would have it, I stumbled on to a great dentist in Bali. Dr Retno Agung has a dental practice opposite the big McDonalds sign at Sanur. (Jln Bypass Ngurah Rai No 4A Br Tamansari Sanur) After an initial consultation it was decided I needed major work including 4 crowns, various fillings plus other sundry stuff. Served me right for not going to the dentist back home for 11 years! After 8 visits to the dentist the end result was brilliant. Total cost Aud$1400 which is way less than back home. If you see Dr Retno, tell her Max from NZ says hi.  See pic Dr Retno, her staff and me!  Note that Dr Retno has a Dentistry degree from a US University and can speak 4 languages!

Update May 2009!Dr Retno fixed my badly broken tooth which required root canal surgery plus did another major filling and a clean. All up this needed 4 visits and the work was of a high standard Ė total cost under Rp2 million. Iím sure the saving from what I would have paid at home paid for my airfare!

Dr Retno says she is happy to see new clients.Best to phone or email her for an appointment. Donít forget to mention Max and Suzanne recommended her.

Doctors JL Laksamana Ė next to Ultimo

Our guests have used the Bali Clinic to treat their 2yo and were most impressed. I think the cost was about AUD$65 and included the medicines needed. Another guest has used the doctor who is on call through the Jayakarta Hotel and has been happy with his services. See reception for contact details. There is also a doctor directly opposite the Jayakarta (Padma Clinic), but I haven't had feedback on it.

Baby sitting

Our manager Suandi can arrange a baby sitter for you. Ph 0812 364 1150



 Good Links

A bit about us

Pics of our apartments.

Bali Travel

Bali Advertiser

Zuji a good place to find cheap fares.

Hallo Restaurants Ė Places to eat and they will arrange delivery to your hotel. Pick up a booklet at the Bintang Supermarket.

Currency converter.

Our friends Ray and Helga operate Bali dream tours. Check out their website

Bali Bliss.

Indonesia Post Newspaper nzNZ travel agent


Carrefour Department Store

Bali guide

Airlines flying to Bali from OZ:


E&OE !!!!!!!!!!

We welcome your suggestions and comments, please email us: