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First time in Bali

3 posts
First time in Bali

Hello Eveeryone,

My husband and I will be traveling from London to Bali for the first time for our honeymoon. We'll be staying in Ubud for 5 night, Gili Meno for 5 nights and ending our trip in Nusa dua for the last 5 nights. We have a few questions we are hoping you guys could help with:

- What is the best way to transfer our cash from Sterling to IDR (here in England or Bali)?

- What is the fastest way to get to gili meno from Ubud and then back to Nusa Dua? Should we arrange it from here or when in Bali?

- How much approximately should this cost?

All the help and answers you can provide will be much appreciated!


6 replies to this topic
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
764 posts
75 reviews
1. Re: First time in Bali

Don’t change your money in the UK wait till you get to Bali.

You can change a small amount say 50 pounds when you are exiting the airport in Bali.

This will give you enough to get you through till you get to an authorised money changer in Ubud.

You can get a Fast Boat from Padangbai, this will include a free transfer from Ubud.

You can book this from a tour booth in Ubud. There are a few boat companies to choose from.

Do not book anything till you arrive in Bali. It will be a lot cheaper.

The option is to fly to Lombok and get taxi to the ferry terminal, and gat a boat to the Gilis

This will take a lot longer.

I am in Nusa Lembongan at the moment and internet is a bit slow so info is a bit basic .


3 posts
2. Re: First time in Bali

Thanks so much for your answer!

Would it be better to have USD or Sterling for exchanging in Ubud?

Is there a direct boat to Gili Meno or will we have to get off at Gili Air and take another boat? (I've read this somewhere and found it a bit of a drag.)

Also, do you have any idea if I would require a visit visa? (I'm American)


Level Contributor
1,590 posts
39 reviews
3. Re: First time in Bali

Sterling is easily exchanged.

A 30 day visa on arrival is instantly issued free.

Edited: 05 August 2018, 15:36
Munich, Germany
Destination Expert
for Bali
Level Contributor
15,295 posts
95 reviews
4. Re: First time in Bali

Hi Eden,

firstly where exactly are you staying in Ubud and Nusa Dua. This is important as some places calling thmselves Ubud take the pi$$ when they are over 12miles fom Ubud town.

Also when exactly are you travelling. This affects fastboat schedules.


www.balibestrate.com have a branch on Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Raya Ubud not far from Ubud Palace.

Your exact location is important. Many properties outside of town have shuttle services but these wometimes stop around 5pm. There are no taxis in Ubud.

You should also be aware that traffic around Ubud can be soow going and that 5miles outside town "ricefield view" can take 30mins drive.


All fastboat companies will include some sort of free pickup from Ubud and free dropoff at "southern resorts" on return. Your exact Ubud hotel is important as if too far from town free pickup won't be included and some boats only do a central point pickup at Coco Supermarket.

www.baliekajaya.com often touted at the tourist booths. They have all their services out of Padangbai and will include free pickup from Ubud. Can haggle a return down to IDR600k. However recent problems with poor seastate, where all fastboat Services( that's all companies) were cancelled, their customer service was crapp. Their drivers can sometimes be unreliable.

www.patagonia-xpress.com are a newish kid on the block and have new boats. They have however only central point pickups and dropoffs. Againhighly important your exact accommodation in Ubud/Nusa Dua.

www.bluewater-express.com often acknowledged as best service overall have services out of Padangbai and some direct services from Gili T back to Serangan in the south.

They are however very very expensive.

However as you have noticed Meno is not well serviced by fastboat companies. It isn't even serviced at all by the local Lombok/Bangsal service that goes around the islands all day.

Understand that ALL Bali-Gili fastboat services are turnaround services i.e they do dropoffs at Gili T, Air (sometimes Meno) a compulsory stop on Lombok before returning to Bali. It does mean with some services you can be longer on the boat on the way bay.

Bluewater Express puts the compulsory stop on the middle before going back to Gili T before heading straight to Bali.

You should also be aware that some of Bluewaters Gili T to Serangan services are direct but others go via Lembongan or Padangbai so check carefully.


Nusa Dua is full of 5* AI style hotels, often gated, often with little to nothing outside except a service road and another hotel.

Above important especially for anything nearby including money changers or ven if you want ot go out for a drink/meal or even go to a minimart to get some water or anything.


People use private drivers for tours. Costs IDR600k ~ £33 for the whole van privately to yourself NOT per person. 9am to 6/7pm ish. Set your own itinerary if you wish. See/do what you want, stop for however long or short you want, eat when and where you want. The driver will just wait for you at each sight.

Can also hire drivers for shorter times. Expect to pay IDR400k for an afternoon 12-6pm.

Avoid like the plague anybody offering tours with gimmicks like "entrance fees/lunch included" - tourist scam - seen these advertised at $49 per person!!!

Avoid anybody with "minimum 2 Pax" - tourist scam.

Can easily find drivers on the street in Ubud. No hard sell. Can chat, see their van then just agree a tour.

As an idea www.ubudtaxi.com and www.ubudareatours.com

PLEASE Note that traffic around Bali is slow going. You won't average much more than 20mph even on longer distances. Traffic around Ubud and DPS/"southern resort" is often horrendous.

e.g. DPS to Ubud is 25miles and takes 1h30


Lots of activities around Ubud. Like fastboat tickets book at tourist booths for best prices.

e.g. White water rafting takes place on the Ayung and Telaga Waja rivers. Ayung recommended for familiies. Telaga Waja whiter and longer. Both often advertised on line for $55-60 but booked locally people have got them for IDR300k ~ $23 ~ £16

Put into perspective my daughters friend (from Nottingham) has just done a Bali tour booked through a UK tour agency and they wanted $80 !!! for WWR

Bandung, Indonesia
Destination Expert
for Bandung
Level Contributor
5,502 posts
870 reviews
5. Re: First time in Bali

You should bring your Pounds Sterling to Bali and exchange a very little at the airport to get you around until you can go to one of the better more reputable money changers. Sterling has good exchange rates, so unless you have US Dollars in hand, then don't exchange your Pounds to Dollars before coming otherwise you will lose out by making two exchanges.

Also, bring good quality clean and unmarked or torn notes and no Scottish currency.

Edited: 05 August 2018, 18:33
3 posts
6. Re: First time in Bali


Thank you very much for all that information!

How can we go about getting a private driver? Are they advertised in Bali or would it be a case of asking our hotel?

In Nusa Dua we are staying at the Laguna Hotel and in Ubud we are staying in the Mule Sayana Villas.

Which boat service do you recommend is best to use (for reliability wise)?

I saw you mention in Ubud there are no taxis, so do you literally mean there is no taxis at all to take you around from place to place?

Thank you for any information you can give, it is extremely appreciated!

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