WEATHER & CLIMATE
Climate in Bali is tropical with a rather high level of humidity. Despite the rainy season from November to March, the weather on the island is reliably hot and sunny throughout the year. Daily highs average around 30 degrees, other than in the central mountain area, where temperatures are cooler.
The local currency in Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), or Rp. Although many businesses list their prices in Euros or US Dollars, they are not allowed to cash in these currencies, thus you should always pay in the local currency. All major foreign currencies can be easily exchanged in banks or money changers. Make sure to use the services of authorized money changers and always count the amount of Rupiah given to you before you leave the window and always ask for an official receipt. In most of the places, you can also pay with Visa or Mastercard bank cards.
LANGUAGE & ORIENTATION
The official language in Bali is Indonesian but local people also speak their own language – Balinese. Many of them speak English too, particularly around tourist destinations and orientation signs are written in the Latin alphabet. However keep in mind only the main roads are indicated so unless you have a GPS navigation, you might have to ask for directions a lot.
There are many taxis and private transport companies operating in Bali. If you prefer travelling in comfort with a reliable company, do not hesitate to use the transport services of OK Divers Resort & Spa. Adventurous travelers can take advantage of renting a scooter which costs roughly around 50 000 Rp a day. However we advise you to be cautious as the Bali traffic can be rather heavy and chaotic. Bear in mind that you have to drive on the left side of the road.
Except for the hotel chains, brand or larger stores, bargaining price is vital part of Balinese culture. If you want to bargain like a pro and have intention to buy something, don’t be shy to start with an offering price. Keep your smile but be polite to the seller too.
TIPPING IN BALI
If you go to a hotel or restaurant in Bali, you might find that in addition to the government tax, there will be the service charge added to the final bill. Hence you don’t have to tip the staff. There is no custom of tipping here, but if you do want to tip the waiting staff, porters or housekeepers, 10 000 IDR (20 000 IDR maximum) will make them more than happy. In many businesses, the tip money is usually shared.
In Bali, you can expect the sockets and plugs with 2 round pins, commonly used in most of Europe. If you are traveling from countries with different types of sockets, we can lend you adapter at our reception in OK Divers.
VOLCANOES AND EARTHQUAKES
Since Bali is located in the Pacific ring of fire, it is not uncommon to feel a very mild earthquake now and then. There is nothing to worry about as this is a normal occurrence and hotels and buildings are nowadays built to sustain it without any problems. Another relatively common phenomenon in Bali is an active volcano, spitting ash from time to time. Our resort is located in Padangbai in a very safe distance of 30 kilometers from Mt. Agung, so you do not have to be concerned about your safety.
Being aware of the local customs is always useful when travelling abroad. It might save you the embarrassment and also trouble. Here is some general information, quick tips and helpful advice about what to do and how, while on holidays in Bali.
ENTERING A TEMPLE
DO wear a sarong & clothes with sleeves when entering a temple. The Balinese are very serious about their spirituality, so please be respectful.
DON’T enter a temple while menstruating or if you have an open wound.
DO bargain in the markets and street shops. Humor and a smile can get you a long way in bargaining with locals. If your bargaining isn’t going the way you wish, don’t be afraid to walk away. We guarantee you will get the merchant’s attention. Balinese believe the first sale of the day is lucky, but once you get your bargaining routine, you can get a good deal in Bali at any time
DON'T bargain too hard. Remember 5000 Rp is likely a lot more to them than it is to you.
MIND THE HEAD
DON'T touch persons’ heads. That goes for kids too, even if they are really cute. The head is considered the most sacred part of the human body.
DO drink lots of bottled water. Bali is hot all year round and you don’t want to dehydrate.
DON'T drink tap water. It does not taste good and will almost certainly give you stomach problems.
GIVING & RECEIVING
DO use both hands when giving or receiving - It is a compliment to use both hands when you give or receive things like money or a business card.
DON'T hand over something with your left hand only – It is considered impolite.
DON'T point with your index finger or feet - Using your index finger or pointing with your feet is considered very offensive.
DO use the entire hand if you want to point out something.
GETTING INVITED INTO A BALINESE HOUSE
DO take off your shoes when entering a Balinese’s house. Balinese often sit on the floor and it is not polite to walk around with your shoes on.
DON’T reject a second serving of a meal, it is considered impolite
DO leave a little bit of food on your plate when you are finished – as an offering to the gods as well as to let the host know you have had enough to eat.
RIDING A SCOOTER
DO drive carefully and cautiously, Balinese traffic can be frantic
DO wear a helmet, long pants, long sleeves, and proper shoes
DON’T hold the horn for long, it is considered aggressive which will be frowned upon
DO honk the horn briefly to let the others know you are passing
DON’T forget to wear sunscreen
DO try the delicious local cuisine, however, be aware of the famous “Bali Belly” stomach problems that tourists often face here. We recommend you rather choosing from reliable restaurants such as The Colonial
DON’T swim in red-flag zones since some beaches from Kuta to Canggu have strong undercurrents and rip tides.
DON’T come too close to monkeys, especially in major touristic places such as Ubud and Uluwatu. Monkeys here are used to seeing tourists and will not hesitate to jump on you or even steal your belongings if you do not keep your distance
DO try traditional Balinese massage, especially in our Green Spa
DO check out the amazing diving & snorkeling activities and PADI courses we offer at OK Divers. Padangbai and Bali, in general, offer numerous beautiful dive locations with colorful corals and plenty of reef fish including the gracious Manta Rays and very rare Mola Molas
Padangbai is a small harbor village on the Central East coast of Bali. Mostly known to young tourists for being the port for Gilli Island’s fast boats. Pandangbai can be a real jewel for those who stop long enough to realize the small village’s hidden charm. It is easily reached in just over an hour from the Bali airport with our private hotel airport pickup or many local taxi services.
With a range of accommodation varying from luxurious villas looking over the ocean, to a simple bed in a hostel-style room, Padangbai has something to offer to everyone during their Bali holiday. The village itself has three primary industries so to speak. It is a ferry and fast boat port, has a small fishing fleet and of course, there is the amazing diving in Padangbai. One of Bali’s biggest temples is also to be found here and is often the home to large national ceremonies, bringing pilgrims and visitors from all around Bali.
You will also find in Padangbai what the locals call Bias Tugal or for the travelers, White Sand beach which is one of the nicest beaches around. Here you can spend your vacation on Bali relaxing on the white sand with a nice cold beverage from one of the small ‘warungs' and watch the world go by. It is also an amazing snorkeling and scuba diving spot and it is not uncommon here to spot a turtle or few while floating over a beautiful underwater garden. You should not omit the Blue Lagoon, although it does not have the white sandy beach, the snorkeling and diving here is second to none when it comes to the underwater world around Bali.
If you’re already a certified scuba diver, then the diving in Padangbai will truly surprise you. For a port village, the reefs in the area are all in very good shape. The scuba diving here is rather diverse and you can choose between spending your time underwater cruising over the reef with tropical reef fishes, maybe a shark or two and some turtles, to searching out those elusive creatures our ocean has to offer with a dive trying to tick some things off your muck diving list.
Even if you’re not certified, the joy of the Padangbai’s diving diversity is that there are sites to suit you and introduce you to an unforgettable experience under the sea. Padangbai is a hidden gem for those that have been lucky enough to discover it. It may not have the nightclubs and shopping scene of the south or the numbers of young backpackers looking for beach parties, on the other hand, that probably is what makes it so special. This unique little village has it all for all of those looking for something different. Give it some time in your holiday schedule and it may just surprise you too.
Padangbai may not have all the conveniences of the south but you can still get all of the basic things you need here. The village has approximately 5 ATM’s and they accept most forms of common cards, dispensing amounts up to 3 million IDR on one go. There are a few money exchangers and although there is no great competition here, the rates are reasonable and they can usually sort out most major foreign currencies.
There are a few small convenience stores, stocking all your daily needs and a few basic medications and unless it is something special someone in the village will usually have what you are looking for. The village of Candidasa is only twenty minutes to the north and you can find a small pharmacy which has most things required to cure common ailments.
The day Bali goes quiet
Nyepi marks the start of the New Year and the arrival of spring. The Balinese Hindus do not celebrate the coming of the new year of the Saka calendar with lavish party. They celebrate it with meditation instead.
Nyepi is a day intended for self-reflection and any activities that might disturb this are not allowed. These mandatory religious prohibitions include no pleasure (amati lelangon), no traffic (amati lelungan), no fire (amati geni) and no work (amati karya).
Nyepi Day has been a national holiday in Indonesia since 1983. Hotel guests and travelers in Bali need to take into consideration that on Nyepi Day, hotels won’t be able to accept any check-in nor check-out throughout the day.
If you are staying with us in OK Divers Resort & Spa in Padangbai or anywhere else in Bali during the Nyepi Day, kindly be informed of the below instructions:
Our Resort in Padangbai will operate in a limited manner to respect and honor this important festive day. However, one day before Nyepi, merry celebrations happen in most places around the island. On this Pengerupukan Day, there will be a traditional Ogoh-Ogoh parade performed by Padangbai villagers in the evening. Ogoh-Ogoh is the manifestation of a person, an object or anything that disturbs human lives. After the parade the Ogoh-Ogoh are ceremoniously burned, and a rather loud and cheerful party follows. You are more than welcome to witness this ritual parade and the very special atmosphere of the Nyepi day. Experience the quiet and peaceful silence of Bali at OK Divers Resort & Spa in Padangbai.
Pecalang (Bali’s traditional community security guards) patrol the island’s ghost-town streets in their distinctive black-and-white-checked sarongs. If they find anyone breaking the rules and the curfew, they’ll escort them back to the Banjar (the village council-the community extension of the house and family), where they will have to pay a fine. OK Divers Resort & Spa will not pay any fine arisen by our guests not respecting the rules we have stated in our hotel during the Nyepi Day. We kindly invite you to respect this sacred day and observe these restrictions.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us in case you have any questions or concerns about the Nyepi day.