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Swell Bali Questions

If you have a question about staying with us at Swell, or about the area we are located or anything else, before you contact us, do please take time to read through all the questions below.

These FAQ’s have been compiled with ten years experience of looking after guests; we are confident the answer you are looking for will be here.   

Have we really missed something?  If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, then please do get in touch.

General questions about our rooms and service:

Yes, breakfast is included in the nightly rate and is served between 7am and 10.30am.

No.  Swell is not for you if you are into self-catering.  We are surrounded by great places to eat to suit all budgets.  Neither will we store anything in our fridge for you, save for medication.

Lunch can be purchased at Swell or at any one of the restaurants a short walk from us.  Dinner at Swell is served on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  We deliberately don’t do dinner on a daily basis because we want to encourage our guests to visit local places to eat.

Vegetarian and Vegan diets are easy for us to cater for; if you have any other dietary restrictions, send us a message.

Yes, Swell has a bar to be able to purchase beers, wine and sodas.

Our minimum stay is 3 nights.  

Stay as long as you want 🙂  We try to give long-stay discounts whenever possible; long stay is 14 nights +

Our online booking system is currently disabled, so to find out our availability please send Clare a message and she will get back to you quickly with price and availability.  We don’t discount stays, so take a look at our pricing page before contacting us, because that will be the minimum charge you will face.  

Before booking, read our terms and conditions: Briefly, you must rely on your own travel insurance to cover you for any refund in the event that you can’t make it to Swell.  We will have reserved a room exclusively for you and we will not refund your stay, regardless of your reasons for not coming.  If you are in any doubt, or don’t wish to insure your trip, don’t book in advance; wait until the last moment to see if we can fit you in.

We don’t have a telephone number for reservations as experience has shown us it’s better to deal with queries in writing by email.  We’ve made our online booking process simple and very clear but if you have any issues in using it, you can contact us (on the navigation at the top of the page; More Information/Contact Us).

Swell is not a suitable place to stay for young children, the minimum age is 13

There are single occupancy and double occupancy rates on our pricing page.  

Yes, all our rooms are identical and all but two have pool views.  Each room has a king-sized bed as standard, but the natural latex mattresses can be separated in 3 of our rooms to make two single beds.  Let Clare know if you want one of the twin bed rooms.

Yes, we provide you with safe drinking water in your room and in the communal area.

Yes, wifi is provided free of charge in the communal area.  We have deliberately kept it out of the rooms to encourage our guests to engage in the communal area.  If you want to stay in your room and watch movies/Youtube, Swell is not right for you.

Yes, we have room towels and pool towels for guest’s use; these are strictly for use on the premises, so bring your own beach towel.

No, there is no fridge in the room.

No they don’t.  Please bring your own.

We have body wash and soap dispensers.  Please bring your own shampoo, conditioner, etc.  We ask our guests to take all plastic bottles back to their home country when leaving because of Bali’s limited recycling facilities.

Plus sockets here are European-style.  You will need an adaptor if you are coming from the USA, the UK or Canada and certain parts of Asia.

In our sister-hotel in the Caribbean, we have an excellent reputation of providing a quality service in everything we do: Quality costs money.  Our surf instruction and analysis is 2nd to none.  We understand though that not everyone can afford to stay with us, so the good news is there are many cheap/cheaper places where you can stay and still have a great time in Bali.  

No, we don’t offer discounts on the advertised rates if you are staying for a week, unless you are already a surfer, surfing independently without a guide and your own surfboard (contact Clare).

For guests staying with us 14 nights or longer, we can offer discounted rates for your 2nd and subsequent weeks.  It will never be cheap to stay with Swell long term though. 

 Note: If you call yourself an ‘influencer;’ you will pay double.

Surf-related questions

Usually no, but certain surf spots might require surf booties on a lower tide if you are already an independent surfer and not in lessons.  Surf shops around Swell sell good quality reeg booties.

We are confident that you will find a good wave for you on the Bukit Penisula, regardless of your surfing ability; there really are waves to suit every level.

Yes we work with the most respected surf school here in Bali that give surf lessons for Swell clients

Noone can give a cast-iron guarantee anywhere in the world, at any time, that you will get the perfect swell at the time of your vist, but here on the Bukit Penisula, it is very rarely flat.  The biggest waves are to be found in May to October, but don’t rule out the shoulder months.  Even December, January and February have great waves on the east side as the wind shifts off shore there.

Travel to / taking care in Bali

As Bali reopens, there is currently a requirement for a $50 USD visa.  At the time of writing (Feb 2022) we expect the free tourist visa on arrival (VOA) to be reinstated soon.   When the VOA is back, there are 160 countries that do not require a visa to enter Bali/Indonesia.  You can check if the passport you are traveling on requires a visa using this link: Indonesian Embassy

It is now a requirement of entry to Indonesia to have a valid travel insurance to enter.

No, but your mum might be able to.  DPS (Denpasar/Ngurah Rai airport) is the airport to fly into.  We are between 35 and 60 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic.

Scooter rental is the most popular way to get around if you want to leave the Bingin area.  Rentals cost around $8 USD per day.  

It is easy and cheap to use an airport taxi to get to Swell.  We don’t organise transfers because of frequent delays to arrivals.  A taxi transfer from DPS to Swell should cost you in the region of 400.000 rupiah (that is approximately £22 GBP, $30 USD or €26 euros).  There are hundreds of taxis available at the airport at any time.

There are several hospitals and all are paid-for services for non-Indonesians; that’s why you must get yourself a travel insurance policy, to cover you in the event that you need treatment.

You need to be vaccinated against covid19 to enter Indonesia and we do not see that changing any time soon.  We do not social distance, wear masks or take any other precautions against covid19.  Do not stay with us if you are worried about covid; it’s not the right place for you if you are.  Our staff do not wear masks and we do not want guests wearing masks in the hotel.  If that doesn’t suit you, that’s fine, enjoy your stay elsewhere in Bali.

You need to be vaccinated against covid19 to enter Indonesia and we do not see that changing any time soon.  There is no Malaria on the island of Bali, but Dengue is present.  Protecting yourself against mosquito bites is the most effective way to stay healthy.  Bring a repellent containing Deet (like Off Deep Woods). 

Weather/season questions

‘High season’ is April to December with Christmas and New Year included.  It’s generally drier and fresher from April to September.  Low-season is January through February/early March as it rains more and is hotter.  There is always surf throughout the year.

If you are an advanced or expert surfer, you already know that Bali’s biggest waves and off-shore winds are from April to October as a rule.  For intermediate surfers, novice surfers or beginner surfers, you can pick any time of year as there will be an opportunity to surf at several different breaks year-round.   Bali has become increasingly popular during ‘wet’ season months (December-thru-February) for people to escape Winter weather as it’s summer here then.

The water is pretty warm year-round.  From April to August, it’s cooler than the rest of the year, but you still won’t need a wet-suit.  In the cooler months, we tend to wear a thermal lycra in the water, just to prevent the off-shore winds from making us feel cold whilst surfing.

If you are coming during April through September, you might want to have a hoodie for evenings on the scooter as the air temps can be around 21 degrees.  In ‘wet’ season, it’s much warmer, but a light foldaway rain jacket is advised.

For us, Nyepi is one of the most, if not the most magical day to be in Bali. It is the start of the Balinese/Hindu New Year (Isakawarsa) and 24 hours of complete (yes, complete) silence.  If you decide to stay over Nyepi, there are extremely strict rules to follow, with good reason in Hindu custom.  The night before Nyepi is the Ogoh Ogoh ceremony is held (Google it).  The Ogoh Ogoh’s are worked on by the villages for a year (they start the next one almost immediately after the previous year’s model has been burned).  They are a source of immense pride for the Balinese and each represents an ‘evil’ spirit the particular village wishes to portray:  Many are made with a classic Balinese sense of humor.  The Ogoh Ogoh’s are then paraded through the streets the evening before Nyepi begins and end up in a showground in each region’s ‘capital’ (for us, it’s Pecatu).  The villagers will have been rehearsing their dances for months and each tells the story of their particular evil spirit before judges then decide the winner.  When it’s over, it’s customary to burn the effigies and that is where the day of silence comes in: Who wants an evil spirit to be able to find their island once their ashes are burned and drifted skywards? Certainly not the Balinese, so they turn all the lights off and don’t make a sound for 24 hours from 6 am the next morning.  The airport closes and no one (no, noone) is allowed on the streets during this time.  If it’s a cloudless night, we guarantee you will never have seen the night sky with so many stars; the universe is opened before you.  If you stay at Swell during Nyepi (in 2022 this is March 3rd and in 2023, it is March 22nd) you will have to abide by these strict rules.  If you do not abide by the silence rules, you will be arrested by authorities in Bali; that’s how seriously Nyepi is takien.   Sometimes, the power is turned off and often, the internet is off too.  We at Swell will be turning all lights off for 24 hours during the Nyepi period. 

Questions about money

The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).  Brush up on your maths as the exchange rates are eye-watering; for example, $1 USD will buy you approximately 14,150 IDR.  £1 will buy you 18,000 IDR (rates can change obviously).  Work out a simple way to do an approximate calculation, for example, dividing by 10 or 20 to give yourself an rough idea of the value in your own currency.  If you can’t manage that, break out the phone calculator.

Bali has very cheap places to eat (street food or local Warungs) where you can get a great nasi goreng or chicken satay for a dollar or two.  It’s also got some very good and more expensive places to eat, but generally, even in the trendier places, you will only pay $6 to $9 USD / €5 to €8 Euros / £5 to £8 British pounds for a main course.  Alcohol is expensive as it is heavily taxed; expect to pay 25,000RP for a regular bottle of beer and a bottle of wine is at least 175,000RP.

We recommend that you only change money in a proper bank, or use an ATM.  Airport exchanges give bad rates and street changers are notoriously unscrupulous.

Many businesses do not process credit cards and those who do will often pass on the credit card fees (usually 3%).  Cash is king.  We also charge 3% for all credit card payments made at Swell.  In making your initial booking with a 70% deposit, there are no credit card fees applied. 

Currently, there is no ATM machine in the village.  Whilst this is likely to change soon, it is best for now to get some cash out at the airport or on the way to Swell.

Questions about other activities

You can go snorkeling on Bingin beach; there are plenty of small fish to see and if you are lucky, you may run into a harmless Dugong (sea cow) which are seen on most high tides in the bay.

Yes, just a couple of hundred meters from Swell you will find a delightful daily morning Yoga class practising either Hatha or Vinyasa Flow Yoga.  Classes cost 150,000RP per class and are held from 8am to 9.30am.

Bali Training Centre is only 200m from us, located at the Cashew Tree Collective.  BTC offers a variety of classes from general fitness to Muay Thai and kick-boxing classes.   This gym is extremely popular and well-attended so booking in advance is a good idea.  

Bali is an island jam-packed full of things to do, both cultural and adventurous.  Visit waterfalls, the water-palaces of regional Kings, go snorkelling on wrecks, visit rice fields and sacred temples, go shopping in Seminyak, visit Ubud and the monkey forrest for the day; the list is endless.  You could base yourself at Swell and still do some of these things as day trips out, or you can tack them onto the beginning, middle or end of your stay with us.  We are happy to give advice to our guests and help arrange transportation to see many of these wonderful things and places.  Uluwatu temple and the spectacular sunset Firedance is only 15 minutes from us. 

We are in the process of organising an in-house masseuse.  An hour-long Balinese or deep tissue massage will cost 500.000 RP (approximately $35 USD). 

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