Climate and weather 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.
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. ( Bali Map )
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 60 000 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.
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.
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.
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 vacation. 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 macro 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 in Bali 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.
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.
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.