Why go to Bali?
Offers unassuming temples, romantic rice paddies and beautiful stretches of bustling beaches
The popular tourist areas of Bali are 30 minutes by taxi from the Benoa port
Passengers can fall in love with the warm and welcoming Balinese culture
Bali Cruise Port Facilities?
The small cruise terminal is in a two-storey Balinese-style pavilion. Passengers are greeted with a cultural dance, while stalls are set up to showcase artisans and their wares, which may include batik painters, wood carvers and puppeteers. There are sometimes exotic fruits to taste, and there's also a cafe and bar in the terminal building. A tourist information centre dispenses maps and offers a place to book tours, along with money changers and free Wi-Fi. It's a five-minute walk to the nearest ATM, so if you don't have any cash, ask your taxi driver, or hire car driver to take you to the ATM. Outside the terminal, there are plenty of taxis, bemos (open-air mini-buses) and drivers touting for your business. Blue Bird taxis are said to be the most reliable and are metered if you just wish to go from A to B. If you're after a daytrip and you know where you want to go, it's best to negotiate with a driver for a half-day or full-day tour. Expect to pay around A$50 for his services for the day (and add a tip). As there's nothing to do at the port itself, it's best to get on your tour or in your taxi once you're stocked up with cash and maps.
Good to Know?
It seems like almost the entire 4 million population of Bali has a motorbike, so expect them to be everywhere. Traffic jams are notorious around the southern area of Bali -- from the airport to Kuta, around Kuta, Legian and Seminyak and en route to the main temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. Always allow extra time for your trip.
On Foot: As there's nothing at the port or in the nearby area, you must take a taxi or hire car to get to the main attractions.
By Taxi: Taxis are everywhere, but those in the know recommend the Blue Bird variety. These are metered, and fares are relatively cheap. It should cost about A$10 or thereabouts to get into Kuta or Nusa Dua, as these resort areas are only about 10 kilometres and 5 kilometres away, respectively. For those flying out that day, the airport is also about 10 kilometres away (to the west of the port), and the taxi fare is also cheap.
By Rental Car: It's possible to negotiate with a driver for your own personalised shore excursion; just know where you want to go, and be open to a bit of flexibility. One of the nearest attractions is the wonderful Uluwatu Temple, built into the cliff at the very southwest point of the island. A visit to Uluwatu and some time in Kuta, Legian or Seminyak, along with lunch, make for a good day-tour.
Bemos: These mini-buses are popular with the locals and tourists with an independent streak and sense of adventure. Remember to know where you want to get off, and expect to pay a higher price than the locals do.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Prices will be quoted in the thousands and will often have a K after them. For example, something that costs 65,000 will be written either as 65 or 65K, so be alert. ATMs are everywhere, and money-changers are at the airport and the port. Credit cards are taken at hotels and good restaurants, although local drivers, taxi drivers, small restaurants and shopkeepers, and traders want local currency. As wages are low, it's good to tip the equivalent of a few dollars or perhaps A$10 to your driver for the day.
English is widely spoken in the major tourist areas although it is mainly of the basic variety. Drivers will know how to get you around and understand typical requests, but conversations at any deeper level should not be expected. English is likely to be of a higher standard in the more upmarket resorts and hotels.
One interesting facet of the Balinese language is the way children are named. Only four names (and a few nicknames) are used for the first four males. If there is a fifth child, he takes the first name but with the added word balik which means 'again'. The names from first to fourth are Wayan (or nicknames Gede and Putu), Made (or Kadek), Nyoman (or Koman) and Ketut (or Tut). You'll meet a lot of Mades and Putus in your travels.
Where You're Docked?
Ships dock at the Port of Benoa, which is located on the tiny little blob of land at the south of Bali, which is connected to the rest of the island by a narrow isthmus. From here, it's only a short drive to the airport just to the west (on the other side of the isthmus) and a little further north to the beach resorts of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. The upmarket tourist enclave of Nusa Dua (with a dozen or so five-star hotels) is just a 10-minute drive away to the south. Big ships anchor in Benoa Harbour and passengers are tendered into shore to a small Balinese-style pavilion terminal building.