Banks -- Major currencies can be exchanged at most banks, money changers, and hotels. There is often a different rate for any notes smaller than US$100 and this applies to most currencies. Banking hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm. Banks in hotels usually stay open longer while money changers are generally open until early evening.
Business Hours -- Most places keep daily "daylight hours," which on the equator pretty much means 6am to 6pm (or a little later).
Drug Laws -- Though you might be offered marijuana at every turn, Indonesia officially takes drug offenses very seriously. American and Australian forces have teamed up with Indonesian police to fight drugs, along with terrorism, and penalties for mere possession include long jail sentences and large fines.
Electricity -- Currents can be either 110 volts (50 AC) or 220 to 240 volts (50 AC).
Embassies & Consulates -- Australia: Jl. Tantular 32, Renon, Denpasar (tel. 0361/241118; Mon-Fri 8am-noon and 12:30-4pm). The Australian consulate also assists nationals of Canada and New Zealand. United Kingdom: Tirtra Nadi 20, Sanur (tel. 0361/270601; Mon-Thurs 8:30am-12:30pm, Fri 11:30am-6:30pm). United States: Jl. Hayam Wuruk 310, Denpasar (tel. 0361/233605; Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm).
Emergencies -- Bali has a new emergency response center that coordinates all governmental bureaus and services: dial tel. 112. Otherwise, you can call the national numbers: tel. 110 for the police, tel. 118 for an ambulance, tel. 113 in case of fire, and tel. 111/115-151 for search and rescue. The Red Cross can be reached at tel. 26465. (You must dial the local area code if you are using a mobile phone.) The Indonesian Red Cross is at Jalan Imam Bonjol, Km 3, Denpasar (tel. 0361/480282), on Bali, and Jalan Bung Karno 29, Mataram (tel. 0370/623885), on Lombok.
Hospitals -- If you need a doctor or dentist, ask your hotel for a referral -- many have one on call.
Liquor Laws -- You won't find liquor in halal restaurants catering to Muslims, but there are no restrictions elsewhere. The legal drinking age is 17, but the police rarely enforce this law.
Mail -- Your hotel can send mail for you, or you can go to the post office in Denpasar, at Jalan Raya Puputan Renon (tel. 0361/223566). Other branches are in Kuta, Jalan Raya Kuta (tel. 0361/754012), Ubud, and Sanur. For big items, packing and shipping services are in all major tourist areas, but the cost can be exorbitant. The Lombok main post office is at Jalan Sriwijaya, Mataram (tel. 0370/632645).
Police -- Dial tel. 110 for the police.
Ramadan During Ramadan you can still get food throughout the day on Lombok and the Gili Islands and most businesses run as usual but service is slower than normal as there is less staff. After Ramadan, the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr (a Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan) begins with a 3-day celebration. Ramadan: August 11 to September 10, 2010; August 1 to August 30, 2011. Bali sees little change during Ramadan.
Taxes -- Some hotels and restaurants factor government taxes (10% tax and 11% service) into their quoted prices, but most of them will put it as an additional charge.
Telephones -- The international country code for Indonesia is 62. Because many hotels charge a great deal even for using your calling card, you're better off using the wartel network of privately owned pay phones. There's one in every tourist center, though some work better than others. Some also have Internet access.
Time Zone -- Bali and Lombok are 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, except during daylight saving time, which it does not observe. That's 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.
Tipping -- Tips are always welcome but not expected. Generally larger more upmarket restaurants and hotels will add between 15% and 21% to the bill to cover 10% government tax and allow something for service. As most waiters, masseurs, guides, or taxi drivers earn under Rp100,000 a day and work long hours, an appreciative tip for their hard work is always a nice thing to do. When staying at a villa, if no service has been added, allow between 5% and 10% of the total bill to be split between the staff. Make sure they are all aware, even the gardeners, as some villa managers will pocket the full amount themselves. For longer stays, a discretionary amount is acceptable. Round up taxi bills to the nearest thousand.
Toilets -- Western-style toilets with seats are becoming more common than the Asian squat variety, though cheap losmen (homestays) and some less touristy public places still have the latter. Always carry toilet paper with you, or you might have to use your hand (the left one only, please) and the dip bucket.
Visitor Information -- Before you go, browse the Bali Tourism Board website at www.balitourismboard.org.
The Indonesian Embassy in the in Australia is at 8 Darwin Ave., Yarralumla, ACT 2600 (tel. 612/62508600; www.kbri-canberra.org.au); in New Zealand at 70 Glen Rd., Kelburn, Wellington, New Zealand (tel. 475/8697-9899; www.indonesianembassy.org.nz); in the U.K. at 38 Grosvenor Sq., London W1K 2HW (tel. 020/7499-7661; www.indonesianembassy.org.uk); in the U.S. at 2020 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington D.C. 20036 (tel. 202/775-5200; www.embassyofindonesia.org).
You can get other Bali travel information at the Bali Government Tourism Office, Jl. S. Parman, Renon (tel. 0361/222387; Mon-Thurs 7am-2pm, Fri 7 -- 11am, Sat 7am-12:30pm), and at the Department of Tourism, Post, and Telecommunications, Jl. Raya Puputan, Niti Mandala (tel. 0361/225649; Mon-Thurs 7am-3pm, Fri till noon).
Tourist offices on Lombok can be found at: In Mataram at Jl. Suprato 20 (tel. 0370/621658; Mon-Thurs 7:30am-2pm, Fri till 11am, Sat 8am-1pm); and Jl. Singosari 2 (tel. 0370/634800; Mon-Thurs 8am-2pm, Fri till 11am, Sat till 12:30pm); and in Senggigi (tel. 0370/632733).
Water -- Avoid tap water in Bali and Lombok unless properly boiled. Bottled water is available everywhere, and restaurants in tourist areas seem to use it as a matter of course, but you should always ask to be sure.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.