Indonesia & Bali

The Republic of Indonesia is a Southeast Asian country on the equator. With around 17,500 islands it is the biggest archipelago in the world. Indonesia has around 238 million inhabitants and the world's largest population of Muslims. The nation's capital city is Jakarta on the island of Java. The country is bordered by the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, several regional seas, and the countries of Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and the Indian territory of the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands.

Short facts:                 

Capital Jakarta
Language Indonesian (official)
Religion Muslims
Area 1,919,440 km2 (735,355 sq mi)
Population ~ 238 million
Density 123.76 km2 (323.05 sq mi)
Currency Rupiah (IDR)
Calling code +62
Time zone various (UTC+7 to +9)



Bali is an Indonesian island and one of Indonesia's 33 provinces. It comprises more than 5,600 km2 and is the most Western part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Its neighboring islands are Java to the west and Lombok to the east. The capital of Bali is Denpasar located in the South. Bali has more than 3,5 million inhabitants (in 2009). In contrast to other parts of Indonesia, most of the Balinese population adheres to Balinese Hinduism. Bali is also the largest tourist destination in the country and attracts many visitors with quality arts like wood sculpture, painting, leather and metal works, dance and music.

Short facts:

Capital Denpasar
Language Indonesian (official), Balinese
Religion Hindu (93,19 %), Muslim (4,79 %), Christian (1,38 %), Buddhist (0,64 %)
Area           5,632.86 km2 (2,174.9 sq mi)
Population ~ 3,5 million (in 2009)
Density 690.8 km2 (1,789.3 sq mi)
Currency Rupiah (IDR)
Calling code +62
Time zone CIT (UTC+08)

Entry / Exit regulations for Indonesia
Visitors must be in possession of an original passport which is valid for more than 8 months from the date of arrival in Indonesia. Please also make sure that the passport has sufficient blank pages for the visa, arrival and departure stamps (at least 2 pages).

You will need to complete an entry form which is handed out in the aircraft.

Most nationalities (including German, Austrian, Swiss, French, British – if you have any doubt please ask the Indonesian Embassy in your country) will obtain a visa on arrival at the airport. The visa fee is 25,- USD for a stay of up to 30 days. The visa on arrival can be extended once for 30 days. If you want to stay longer, you need to apply for a visa in your country of origin.

Every flight guest leaving the country has to pay an airport tax of 150.000,- Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). If you stay longer than you are allowed by your visa, you will have to pay an overstay fee (should be avoided!).

Currency / ATM / credit cards
The Indonesian currency is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The current exchange rate can be checked online or at our reception desk. In Bali, you can easily change Euro, USD and other currencies. If you do not want to bring cash, you can also withdraw money from an ATM using your cash card (the daily limit is 10 Million IDR – approx. 800 Euro). You might need to make several withdrawal transactions (3 in most cases) to get the full amount. Common credit cards are widely accepted in Bali’s tourist areas. The Balicamp only accepts cash payments in IDR or Euro.

The official language in Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia, but many islands have their own language – in Bali, this is Balinese. No worries, most of the inhabitants speak English and are very helpful.

Climate, temperatures and time zone
Lying along the equator, Indonesia has a tropical climate with two seasons, the rainy season from November to March and the dry season from April to October. The tropical Balinese climate is warm. Humidity is always high, averaging at 80%. Especially in January, strong winds from Australia cause heavy rainfall. In August, dry winds blow from the East, and rainfall is rare.

Temperatures are on average 26 to 32 °C and vary little throughout the year. At night or in the early morning, they may drop a little, so a light sweater might come in handy. Temperatures can be slightly cooler in regions with higher altitude, like Ubud. The water temperatures vary from 22 (dry season) to 30 °C (rainy season). For the dry season, we recommend wearing a rash shirt or a thin neo. The UV radiation in Bali is very strong, even on cloudy days. Please use sun screen with high sun protection factor and a sun blocker with zinc oxide for the face. Quality products in Bali are available.

Bali is located in central Indonesia, which means, the time is GMT plus 7 hours. Indonesia is divided into three different time zones. The sun rises around 6.00 am and sets around 7.30 pm.


Indonesia and especially Bali is known as one of the best surf destinations in the world. Groundswells, coming far from the southern ocean, ensure consistent conditions the whole year round. 17.500 islands, hundred miles of coastline, uncountable surf spots from beach break, point break or reef break to secret spot, slow and long, short and fast, hollow and powerful, left and right waves – welcome to Surfer’s paradise. Blessed with two coastlines, Bali offers perfect conditions for all surf levels.

Average swell size (wave height) in feet throughout the year.

  January February March April May June July August September October November December
8 +                        
6 - 7 ft                        
5 - 6 ft                        
4 - 5 ft                        

The months from October to May are characterized by smaller swells, offering perfect conditions for surf beginners. From May to October the bigger, more powerful swells are best suited for advanced Surfers. Please note that the crowd factor can be high during that period.

We recommend:
•  General recommendations for SAMA SAMA Guided Surf Boat Trips
•  December to March: Best time for trips to the Pacific Ocean (Northern Maluku)
•  February to May and October to November: Best time for trips to the East and West of Bali
   (less people, friendly medium-sized waves for all surf levels, especially beginners)
•  June to September: Best time for advanced Surfers (consistently powerful waves)

Bali is also Surfers' shopping paradise. Explore the countless surf shops which offer surf boards, board shorts, rash shirts, booties, wax or leashes of any brand for an affordable price.

Culture and More

Balinese people are friendly and hospitable. They are very attached to their religion, art and social life, and love to share their culture and ceremonies with anyone who shows interest. It’s easy to feel the heartbeat of Balinese life. Just follow three rules: Smile, and you will get a smile back. Learn two or three basic words of Indonesian, and many doors will open for you. And finally, give yourself some time to get to know the people, understand the different pace of life, and look behind the scenes.

Balinese cooking is spicy and flavorful. Typical Balinese meals involve fish, meat, noodles, vegetables, fruits, and, of course, rice. However, food hygiene is not always regarded as a priority, which can cause stomach problems. Pay attention to the condition of the food and do not drink water from the tap.

The price for an average meal varies between EUR 2,- (Indonesian dish) and 15,- + (Western dish).

Bali has more to offer than just perfect waves. Its countryside and landscape are unique and well worth exploring. With our partner Balila (, we give you an exclusive insight into Balinese life, nature and culture, away from the main tourism area. Come and discover local markets, temples and lakes or join exciting outdoor activities like snorkeling, horse riding and river rafting. Or participate in our Weekly Halfday Trips to nearer destinations like Tanah Lot with its famous temple, Uluwatu or Balangan beach.

Yes. Bali is known as a shopping-paradise.

There are many markets all over the island, where you can find everything from clothes, wooden sculptures, silver, furniture, sandals, linen, spices … at a very low price. Bargaining is part of the game. The official stores, boutiques and surf shops offer a huge variety of brands. They are cheaper than in Europe, however, bargaining is not possible there.

We recommend to keep some space when you pack your bags for Bali.

Enjoy a sundowner in one of the classy bars or a fresh juice at a Warung on the beach near the Balicamp. Every Friday night the legendary Balicamp Cocktail Night is on and for late night entertainment, head to Kuta, where countless clubs invite you to dance until the morning light.

A Bali holiday without massage is not complete. You do not need to go far for a professional treatment. Our very own Ugis is the man with the magic hands, and he is at the camp once a week, but beware: once treated by his hands you might get addicted! Outside the Balicamp, the island awaits you with countless quality spas offering a wide variety of traditional and aromatherapy massages, hot stone treatments, body scrubs, facials, reflexology and much more at relatively cheap price. Don’t miss it!

Safety & Health

The crime rate in Bali is relatively low compared to other tourist areas around the world. Nevertheless, you should always pay attention and take care of your personal belongings. Keep your bags and valuables in a secure pocket and do not leave them unattended in your room.

Please note: Recently, there have been some incidents where thieves on motorbikes snatched bags from pedestrians or other bike riders. It is best advised to store your bags inside your motorbike. If you walk, hold your belongings close to your body. For further and official up to date information on safety or travel warnings, please consult your consulate!

Bali has an international hospital providing good standards of medical care. In urban areas, there are also 24 hour-clinics which offer first aid service. If you suffer from severe illness, you have the opportunity to go to Singapore within 3 hours. Singapore is known to provide the best health care facilities worldwide. Please make sure you have an appropriate insurance.

Local pharmacies provide a big range of known remedies, often cheaper than in Western countries. To find the correct equivalent, it is sufficient to name the remedy and its substance.

For vaccinations (e.g. Typhus, Tetanus, Hepatitis A (and B), Polio, Diphtheria) and prophylaxis treatments, we recommend consulting your general practitioner or a tropical institute.

Embassies in Indonesia

German embassy:   Jl. M.H. Thamrin 1, Jakarta 10310 / Java. Phone: 3901750
Swiss embassy:  Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said Bl X/3/2, Jakarta 10310 / Java, Phone: 5256061
Swiss consulate:
Kuta Central Park, Blok Valet 2 Nr. 12, Jl. Patih Jelantik 80361, Phone: 0361751735


Flights and Travel Insurance

Flights and travel insurances are available with our partners sky-Reisen and Sudden Rush.
For a worry free holiday, we highly recommend to get a travel insurance. 

Media Suggestion

Stormrider Indo Guide, English, EAN/UPC: 9009044126418, ASIN: B004OY28J4

Indonesia (Lonely Planet Indonesia Travel Survival Kit): Travel guide, English, Lonely Planet Publications, ISBN-10: 1741048303
Bali & Lombok: Travel guide, English, Lonely Planet Publications, ISBN-10: 9781741797046
Indonesisch Wort für Wort – Kauderwelsch Band 1, German, Reise Know-How Verlag, ISBN 978-3-89416-528-4 
Fragrant Rice: Janet De Neefe, Periplus Classics – Memoir, Balinese cooking, English, Tuttle Pub, ISBN-10: 0794650287
Island of Demons: Nigel Barley, Historical novel, English, Monsoon Books Pte. Ltd, ISBN-10: 9810823819
Reise nach Bali, Kulturkompass fürs Handgepäck, Einführung in Balis Geheimnisse, German, Unionsverlag, 
ISBN-10: 9783293204010
Bali, Leben in zwei Welten – ein kritisches Selbstportät, Urs Ramseyer u. I Gusti Raka Panji Tisna, German, Schwabe & Co. AG, 
ISBN-10: 3796518729
Ring of Fire: Lawrence Blair, DVD collection

For additional information, see our FAQ and info sheets.

We take no warranty for the accuracy and completeness of this information and any possible damage resulting therefrom. We recommend all travelers to inform themselves in detail about the travel destination before departure.

 FAQ PDF (Frequently Asked Questions)