Bali is a small island in Indonesia; east of Java island, where Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is located. Indonesia is the world’s largest island country with its over 13’000 islands. The population exceeds 260 million, and the country has more than 700 active languages.
Although Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, the island of Bali is Hindu. Balinese Hinduism is a mix of animism and traditional Hinduism and thus differs in many ways from the Hinduism practiced in other countries.
The conference venue is located in a small town close to the middle of the island: Ubud. Ubud has a long history as the cultural center of Bali. Today, the town is also considered an international hub for yoga practitioners, vegans, entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Many families throughout the years have also relocated to Ubud, from all over the world, to enroll their children to the famous Green School (learn more about international schools, babysitting, and other things that might be relevant for families.) The town was also featured in the renowned book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
To learn more about Ubud, we recommend starting out with WikiTravel.
Do you need a visa?
Indonesia has a very generous visa policy. Most people are allowed to enter and stay in the country for 30 days without any visa at all (please note that the arrival and departure dates are counted as 2 days).
A Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) is available to those who want to stay more than 30 days, but no more than 60 days. No preparations are needed to apply for VoA; the application is made on the Denpasar airport at arrival (just follow the signs; you can’t miss it). A VoA costs 35 USD, and is paid in cash. Most major currencies are allowed, such as EUR and USD, as well as IDR (the local currency). With a VoA, you will need to visit the immigration office in Denpasar some time during your first 20 days. IGDORE’s staff is available to guide you further on this (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Finally, Indonesia also offers a long-term stay visa, often called social or cultural visa. This type of visa allows you to stay up to 6 months (however, you cannot re-enter Indonesia on the same visa; a new visa must then be applied for before re-entry). The easiest way to apply for a social or cultural visa is to hire a visa agent. You can search for one yourself or ask IGDORE’s staff for recommendations (email@example.com).
Different clinics and different countries have somewhat different views on which vaccines you need when traveling to Bali. Make sure to look into this in good time. Short-term visitors are typically not recommended to take vaccine against rabies. Malaria does not exist on Bali, but you might need malaria protection if you’re planning on travelling to islands east of Bali.
How to get there
The closest airport is Ngurah Rai International Airport, in Denpasar, Bali. Ubud is about 50 minutes drive from the airport. There will be many private taxi drivers waiting in the arrival hall. It is safe to travel with them. Please note that the price is negotiated BEFORE going to the car. The current prices at the airport are typically above 450.000 IDR (30 USD). You pay with cash (Indonesian rupiah; IDR) directly to the driver when he lets you off at your destination.
Uber, GRAB, GoJek and meter taxis are typically not allowed to pick up passengers by the arrival hall. To book a private driver to wait for you when you arrive (price: 350.000 IDR), please contact IGDORE’s staff on Bali: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indonesia has no tipping culture. You pay the agreed price; as simple as that! However, you might want to give 10.000-20.000 IDR (about 1 USD) for extra services offered to you, for example if maintenance staff offers to take care of your laundry or if someone is driving you somewhere for free.
This is a fact you can’t get away from: prices are almost always negotiated on Bali. Taxi, accommodation, shopping, services. Unless there is an explicit price tag on the product you want to buy, or someone explicitly says that the price is “fixed”, then you should expect to negotiate. Depending on what product or service it is, you can often get at least half the price off. Shy to negotiate? Just ask yourself what amount you are actually willing to pay, and pay it with a smile, resting assured that you have played your part in helping a developing country grow. (And do avoid asking your friend what she paid for the same product…)
Cash is king
Always expect to pay in cash, using Indonesian rupiah (IDR). And please note that it is illegal to pay in any other currency than IDR within Indonesia. You can pay with Mastercard and VISA at many restaurants and hotels, but not all. Card skimming at ATMs is a common issue on Bali, and can sometimes occur even at guarded ATMs inside banks. Despite this, ATMs are frequently used, also by long-term visitors and immigrants/expats. Many choose to protect themselves by not having large sums on the transaction account. Learn more about how to protect yourself from skimming.
How to get around
It is unlikely that you will be walking a lot in Ubud, or anywhere else on Bali. There are rarely any sidewalks, which means that you are sharing the (small and rather chaotic) roads with motorbikes and cars. Thus, you should expect to go with taxis: cars or motorbikes. There are LOTS of them everywhere, so they will not be difficult to find.
You can also rent a car (about 3.000.000 IDR / month) or your own motorbike (about 650.000 IDR / month). Expect higher rates for short-term rentals. Please note that you will need an international driving license in both cases. The traffic on Bali may seem chaotic to foreigners at first. Make sure to learn the formal and informal rules about how to drive before you start, and you’ll be good.
Located in the tropics, Bali has a very humid climate with fairly the same temperature all year round: a day temperature of about 30 degrees (Celsius). Ubud is located in the mountains and is therefore slightly cooler than the coast areas.
The tropics have two seasons: wet season and dry season. The wet season on Bali is usually lasting from October to April. During the wet season, there is typically rainfall for a few hours every day, often during the afternoons. Thus, expect many hours of sun on a daily basis also during the wet season.
During the wet season you should make sure not going anywhere without your raincoat, as the rain can be sudden and exhaustive (and quite a fabulous experience!).