Located 8° south of the equator, Bali enjoys a warm, tropical climate year-round. The weather is particularly pleasant from June until September, when the trade winds blow. It can get quite cool in Bali’s extensive mountain regions. Humidity is highest during the November to March rainy season. Even during the heaviest rains, however, the sun is rarely out of sight for long. The mean temperature is a pleasant 27°C (81°F).
Balinese is a complex language with several levels rooted in social class or caste distinctions. Bahasa Indonesia is also spoken by all Balinese. Derived from old Malay, it has become the Indonesian archipelago’s unifying national language. English is increasingly spoken in the main tourist centres. Dutch is still understood by the older generation, while French, German and Japanese are increasingly spoken in the tourist trade.
The national currency is the rupiah. Bills are issued between 1,000 and 100,000 rupiah, while coins run from 100 to 1,000. US dollars are accepted in the larger tourist centres. Money changers, located throughout major tourist areas, readily change most currencies but not always traveller’s cheques. US dollar bills dating from 1996 or before will not be accepted by most money changers and hotels. Credit cards are accepted by hotels and establishments in urban areas such as Kuta, Sanur, Ubud, Nusa Dua and Denpasar.
Visitors from certain countries require a tourist visa in advance for entry into Indonesia. Others may obtain a visa on arrival at international airports, while some visitors do not require a visa at all. Prices also vary. Visas are valid for up to 30 days and are non-extendable. One-week visas are also available. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the arrival date and should have at least four completely blank pages. Guests are advised to check with their nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate prior to travel, or to contact Amanresorts’ reservations department for more information.
At each of the Amans in Indonesia, a nurse is on call 24 hours a day. In certain areas of Southeast Asia, there is a chance of contracting mosquito-borne diseases. In Indonesia, the main resort areas of Java and Bali are safe. There is, however, a risk in some rural areas. Reasonable precautions, including the use of mosquito repellent early in the morning and late in the day, will minimise the risk. You may also want to consult your doctor.
Electricity is 220 volts/50 cycles. Bali’s time zone is plus eight hours GMT. Loose and casual clothing is advisable. In the dry season, April to November, you may need a light sweater in the evenings, especially in the hill country.