Some business trips are banal, repetitive exercises full of the usual airport delays, security lines, dull conferences and the like. Then there are the exceptions to the rule, when, for instance, the destination is so out-of-this-world that the inevitable tumult and hassles that come with transoceanic travel fade away.
Bali is one of those destinations. Island paradise and holiday jewel, the smallest province of Indonesia welcomes some three million people per annum. The tourism industry hinges primarily on the dynamic south – if you are trying to find resorts in bali you will notice they dot the likes of Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua.
The capital of Bali, Denpasar, is home to close to two million people in a metropolitan area that is roughly equivalent to San Francisco. Tourists give the city a pass, for the most part, but for business travelers the provincial capital is a vital hub.
No matter where you plan to stay in Bali on business – or pleasure for that matter, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
Safe to say that whenever you travel close to the equator, you may want to keep your eye on that weather app on your smartphone. Or, better yet, plan your trip well in advance. The skinny on Bali’s climate is that, in general, the rainy season runs from October to April. Rainy is not always bad, however, as the island’s precipitation tends to be rather constant and predictable throughout the six to seven month stretch. Heavy showers usually fall very early or very late. Locals plan accordingly. Bottom line: off-peak Bali forays can yield tremendous rewards for business travelers.
Peak travel season in Bali is generally May, June and July, simply because the weather is most amenable for mainstream travelers. But it all depends on your purpose, however. Surfers may prefer a different month, with less people, for one, and more impressive swells, for two. And although days consistently have 12 hours of sun and average temperatures in the 27ºC to 32ºC range, the island is not one homogeneous landscape. Conditions can vary wildly in the lush hills of Ubud and the northern coasts.
It is humid, of course. More often than not in the vicinity of 75%. This is the unavoidable reality of equatorial climes. One way to get around it is to secure accommodation with A/C and, indeed, pack a tropical-friendly wardrobe. Two words: breatheable fabrics.
And go casual (no socks, please). Even if on business, the sting of the sun and weight of Bali’s humidity negates most inclinations towards formal-wear. This includes posh resort restaurants too, by the way.
Public transport is pretty much a non-factor in Bali. Mercifully, cabs are not too cost-prohibitive. If you have a decent expense account at your disposal, all the better. Moreover, many resorts come with standard shuttle services.
The best bet, however, and this is especially true for business travelers, is to hire a driver by the day. This can be done easily online or via a reliable hotel concierge. Just be sure to thoroughly audit any referrals as best you can.