Author Topic: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia  (Read 3927 times)

gbbi_977

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How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« on: September 12, 2015, 02:51:02 PM »
Hi Mustachians,

My husband and I are heading to Bali for a 10 day vacation. Accommodation has already been paid for, and we're planning to try to be relatively frugal in terms of food etc. while there - we're staying at a villa with a kitchen, so will probably get fruit/cereal for our breakfasts and make sandwiches for lunch, and sample local cuisine for dinner.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the best way to get local currency is - use our US debit cards at an ATM? Or bring USD to change to Rupiah at a money changer once there? Or a third option I haven't thought of?

(We have a credit card with no overseas transaction fees - Discover - BUT I'm assuming that as we won't be frequenting upmarket restaurants/spas etc, we'll mostly need cash for night markets, buses etc. But those of you who've traveled in Bali - please correct me if I'm wrong).

Thanks in advance.

wordnerd

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2015, 04:32:26 PM »
I haven't been to Bali, but generally I find it most convenient to use my debit card to withdraw local currency at an ATM, and the exchange rate is usually pretty good. If you take cash to exchange, be mindful of the rates. You can also pre-order currency from a bank before you leave, but I've never found that necessary.

Anatidae V

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2015, 04:57:19 PM »
I have not been myself and I can't comment on the money, but make sure you drink bottled/boiled water. Lots of people get belly aches etc when the go there for a holiday :)

Blany

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2015, 05:07:34 PM »
I was in Bali in February or March that just passed.  Itís a beautiful place and can be done for cheap.

On the main beach ( all the way up and down it) you will see women selling hot soups that can be had for like .50 cents Ė a buck that comes with meet or eggs.  They walk around with pots and boxes and it is what the local guys are eating.  Its hot spicy soup but for what ever reason works in the heat.  They are mostly selling under the shade and mostly selling to the locals who are renting tourists beach lounge chairs, umbrellas, teaching people how to surf or selling cold but skunked Bali beer. I ate the soup daily for a late breakfast.

I should say that we partied pretty hard in Bali so breakfast was really late.

Spend the rest of the day on the beach and head to a place called Sky Garden at 5pm!

http://skygardenbali.com/

the run down on this place;

5pm they have a $6 usd buffet.  Buffet goes from 5-9 and is set in a bar pub area that has lots of natural light, you can watch the sun set and get a good crowd.  Tuesday was tacos and they were unreal.  They switch the menu daily and we spent like 5 days in Bali and the food was always good.
The kicker- from 5-6 free draught beer.  Thatís legit. They just come around pouring from pitchers.  We sat at the tap and the beer is cold and legit it doesnít look like they water it down.  So we would drink from 5-6 then have dinner from 6- whenever.

Walk back to your hostel (or whatever type place youíre staying) nap and shower because from 9-11 there is free drinks for I think another 6 bucks.  These were also legit as we definitely got our dancing legs under us from these.

Drinks get expensive after that but we usually had a table and would stock up a couple of extras and try not to buy expensive drinks after 11.  Some nights were more successful than others.

Itís a big tourist scene lots of back packers and other types there. Even many locals.

Wash and repeat the next day.  I was with some American dudes from New Jersey whose only meals were the buffet at 5 pm. I canít do that though. 

Iíd recommend bringing rupiah with you but many places accept USD. ATMS are common but I was paying I think $5 to take out cash(debt), exchange rates were fair though.

Hope that helps and it wasnít too much of me just reminiscing about the trip.

Blany

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2015, 05:10:18 PM »
Ya drink the bottled water, there is also local food markets we ate at and the food is awesome.  Ask your hotel.  I can't tell you the names of the places its just slummy looking place with good food.  Eat it all! Take dukoral before you go for travellers diarrhea.

clifp

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2015, 05:17:02 PM »
Bali is lovely was there about 8 or 9 years ago for a week with some friends.  Most of us were from Hawaii so we didn't spend a lot of time at the beach (yes spoiled).  However the temple and monkey's were really cool.  Food was good. I'd check to see what the foreign transaction fees are but in general you'll do better withdrawing money from ATM than any other option.

Schwab bank rebates ATM fees and has no foreign transaction fees, and I made a point of looking a the exchange rate it was exactly what was reported in the WSJ.

MaggieDrsg

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2015, 07:19:02 PM »
Do you know what kind of fees your bank will charge for your ATM usage abroad?  I actually switched checking account types at my bank before my last overseas trip to get ATM fee reimbursement as well as no extra foreign exchange fees.

gbbi_977

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2015, 11:40:02 AM »
Thanks for the tips, everyone! You've made me extra excited for this trip.

I went to the bank today (Chase) and they said they charge 3% for withdrawals from ATMS, but that Indonesia is a high-risk location so it's possible withdrawals won't work there. I'm bringing along $100 in cash if I need to change money on the ground, two different credit cards with no overseas transaction fees (Citi and Discover) and I'm meeting up with family there so if my debit card doesn't work, I'll be able to borrow Rupiah until I get it straightened out.

If anyone has any other Bali travel tips, I'd love to hear them! I've heard everything is really cheap vis. USD so I think the one thing I need to watch out for is overspending accidentally through lots of small purchases/treats/massages.

yuka

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2015, 12:37:48 PM »
I've never been to Indonesia in particular, but I'll give some general thoughts:

When you're using a debit card or credit card and there's a currency change involved, the change can be done on either end: the store/ATM can run their exchange rate and charge you in USD, or they can charge you in [foreign currency] and your card issuer will sort it out. Visa, and I'm sure all the others, are the same as the exchange rate you google, out to several decimal points, so you should always have your card charged in the local currency. When I was in China my friends were changing several hundred dollars at once at the bank. I went to the ATM outside, and came out ahead even after paying ATM fees (though my bank refunds them) while being able to change much less.

Call your bank/card issuer ahead of time. Tell them that you'll be traveling (where and when) and ask that they put some sort of note on your account so it hopefully doesn't get locked out. I would also carry some USD because you never know if they'll follow that request.

As everyone else said, drinking normal tap water is a bad plan in that part of the country. Having said that, I've done water tests in Southern China only to find more bacteria in my bottled water than in tap water. Nonetheless, boiled or bottled is the only way you drink your water. And don't forget about how they wash food (especially PRODUCE); I know a lot of people who are good about their drinking water, only to get sick because their vegetables were washed with bad water.

Have fun!

forummm

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2015, 05:06:48 PM »
Generally, don't eat anything that wasn't cooked (like vegetables), or that you peeled yourself. Don't drink anything that has water in it unless it was bottled water. And get your travel vaccines.

In some developing countries they don't have a lot of money to make change, so try to have small bills.

vagon

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2015, 05:32:11 PM »
Careful with the ice too, people forget that ice in your drinks is often tap water in the dodgier restaurants. Stick with beer as a general rule.
If you like wine, bring it in to the country, its way too expensive otherwise.

Most of Bali is touristy, but I would stick away from Kuta unless you like your your stereotypical backpacker party scene.

Now I'm gonna go out on a non-mustachian limb here and recommend Ku De Ta in Seminyak. Its expensive (especially drinks), but the quality relative to the price point is amazing.

FIRE Artist

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2015, 06:28:47 PM »
I lived in Indonesia for 2.5 years, and never had problems with getting money out of the atm. 

Unless in a fancy pants tourist resort, fancy "expensive" restaurants are still cheap, so don't be afraid to splurge on some nice meals out.  Be sure to check out Ubud, it is inland, and temperatures are cooler, that is where I always stayed.  The downhill guided bike rides are a great way to spend a day too.  I also really liked doing a shopping/cooking class day. 

Now I am super jealous. I want a Bali vacation!

DollarBill

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2015, 11:29:51 PM »
I flew into Denpasar and spent most of my time in Kuta. I can't really remember everything I did but went on a few cool hikes to some falls, the monkey forest, some temples (one on the beach) saw a few bali dance shows. Then took a cheap boat ride to Nusa Lembogan for a drift dive and stayed there for a couple of nights...very nice!

okonumiyaki

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2015, 12:55:11 AM »
Due to Bank Of Indonesia policy, US dollars in Indonesia have different exchange rates depending on:

Cleanliness of note
Size of note (small bills have worse exchange rate than large bills)
Some bills just not accepted (pre 2006 "Big Head" bills)
So, unless you go to a bank and get freshly issued, crisp, 100 dollar bills, ATM is probably less hassle

I like the seafood beach BBQ's at Jimbaran Bay.

Drink bottled water, hot tea and kelapa muda (young coconuts).  Local fruit is great, as long as you peel/ wash it.  Try "Salak" (snake fruit), "manggis" (mangosteen) and "sirsak" (custard apple)  Sirsak also makes good juice. 

Hygiene standards are actually pretty good, and there are no innoculatons you need - I've had no problems eating local salads (gado gado etc) or freshly squeezed fruit juices.  But i would always ask for juice without sugar or ice, because local taste buds are sweet, and no ice = more juice...

"tampa gula" - without sugar
"tampa es" - without ice

Sandwiches for lunch.  Hmm.  Local bread just isn't that nice.  Probably as cheap to go and have nasi goreng (fried rice) at any local joint


Distshore

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2015, 08:12:39 AM »
Perhaps your hotel puts on breakfast - most do, even the cheap places.  Frankly, Bali is really cheap and you will almost certainly be able to eat out with local food (stay away from the "fancy" places, usually the food is worse there as well as more expensive, as it's aimed at tourist's palates - pizza anyone?) cheaper and tastier than you'd be able to make sandwiches.  And the sandwiches will be gross, because bread and jam is not really part of the local diet.

I haven't been for a few years now but in the past, that was my experience. 

Buy local fruit at the market for cheap, yummy snacks - sugar bananas and mangosteen are my personal favourites.  I go nuts for those when I'm in SE Asia.

Cindy

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Re: How to spend money in Bali, Indonesia
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2015, 01:03:57 PM »
Due to Bank Of Indonesia policy, US dollars in Indonesia have different exchange rates depending on:

Cleanliness of note
Size of note (small bills have worse exchange rate than large bills)
Some bills just not accepted (pre 2006 "Big Head" bills)
So, unless you go to a bank and get freshly issued, crisp, 100 dollar bills, ATM is probably less hassle


I was going to post this also and want to reiterate it. I was there in 2011 for a wedding and we were told to bring crisp $100 bills to get exchanged. Also, if you have your money changed at a small place, be sure to count it before you leave (even though they count it for you, count it yourself). Also, don't pay full price for anything you buy at the markets, bargaining is a must!
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 01:06:22 PM by Cindy »