You finally booked that flight to Bali but you are wondering how will you communicate once you are there. Well, your girl has got you covered! In this blog post, I will show you a practical step-by-step guide on how to get a SIM card and data in Bali.
Why do you need a SIM card in Bali?
Not only to use Google Maps or usual communication. You also need to call Gojek or Grab to move around (a local taxi which could be a car or scooter).
That being said, I will show you two different ways to get your SIM card + data, so make sure you have a quick read before heading to Bali.
One is the traditional and popular way and the other one is getting an e-SIM card which is a digital SIM card.
Option 1: the physical SIM card
Where can I get it from?
It’s very likely the taxi driver will ask you if you need a SIM card as soon as you get out of the airport. You can say yes as long as it’s not more expensive than IDR 100k (£5).
You can also buy it anywhere on the road, there are many stands or small shops as long as the price is the one I mentioned above or less.
I also want to mention something that might happen to you, I hope you are seated right now!
You might get the same number as somebody else! Yes, I know right? Now take a deep breath and keep reading. This is really common (I wish I had known this before because I literally freaked out). The only problem you might have is that someone else might already have an account on Gojek or Grab with your same number. If that’s the case, try to use the app the other person is not using (so try Grab if they already have one on Gojek) or speak to customer service to explain the situation. I wouldn’t buy a different SIM card because it might happen again!
How can I get data and top it up?
Step 1: When you purchase your sim card, it normally comes with a data bundle already. I got one from Telkomsel so I will give you some advice based on my experience with this provider which worked really well for me.
Step 2: Download the app Telkomsel. You will notice the data packages are really cheap. So look at the cheapest offering more data. Do nothing and read the next step (please don’t laugh)
Step 3: Head to the supermarket. I know it’s weird but that’s how it is! Go to Indomarket which is a local supermarket dotted around the island. Go to the till and ask to add some credits to your app. Show the Telkomsel app open and your number (which they will need to allocate the credit). So ask to upload the amount required for the bundle and pay in cash (no cards allowed in this case). They might also charge a tiny fee for this process so make sure to have more cash with you.
Step 4: Leave the supermarket. You will see the amount immediately on the app. Choose the data package and pay with the credit just uploaded at the supermarket.
Extra tip: If you know anyone who has a bank account in Indonesia, you can ask that person to top up your account for you and pay that person in cash. Why? Because the only way to top up directly on the app is via debit cards, but Indonesian only!
What happens when I go for a visa run?
Go back on the Telkomsel app. Take a look at the data packages again, there is a section that covers different countries. You can get data even for 1 week in different countries and the prices are very reasonable. This is how I got data for Vietnam and Malaysia!
Option 2: The eSim Card
If you still haven’t recovered from the paragraph involving you going to the supermarket, I have an alternative for you. The digital SIM card!
Head to Airalo which is a digital sim card provider and select Indonesia. You will be able to get an eSIM that will be activated the minute you land in Bali. This means you don’t have to go crazy buying a physical SIM card and top-up at the supermarket every time. However, the prices are slightly more expensive. If you look at the data, you would get more data for less with a physical SIM card compared to the eSim. Also just to let you know, a digital eSIM is specifically made for data usage and doesn’t support voice calls.
What would you pick between the two? It really depends on how long time are you planning to spend in Bali. If it’s a brief visit I would go for the eSim card. This will save you time and effort. If your trip to Bali will be longer than a month, I would suggest getting a physical sim card. In the long run, this is a cheaper option and will also cover your visa run for an affordable price.
I wish I had known these things before going to Bali. The information about SIM cards is tricky to get, but now you’re good to go!
If you are getting ready for your trip make sure you also read 13 things you should know before going to Bali so you can avoid some of the most common mistakes for first-timers!
Ciao for now,