Travelling to the Island of the Gods? Bali is a popular tourist destination and buying a SIM Card in Bali is cheap and easy. Indonesia has several mobile providers, but these three networks have 90% of the market share.
- Telkomsel (Simpati),
Where to Buy?
It is not advisable to buy SIMs at the airport as prices can be much higher there, costing up to 350,000 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) which is around ~26USD rather than the 150,000 IDR (~11USD) you might pay elsewhere. Generally speaking, tourists are likely to pay higher prices for SIMs than locals, but this is exacerbated at airport vendors.
SIM cards on their own are likely to cost around 5,000 IDR (Around USD 0.40), which you can then load with an amount of credit – meaning the whole package is likely to cost between 10,000 and 150,000 IDR depending on the amount of included data/credit.
You can buy a SIM card from phone shops in malls and city centres, or from one of the many convenience stores around Bali, including Circle K, Alfamart and Indomart. If you can’t find one, look for the word ‘pulsa’ on shop signs, which means credit.
Make sure that shopkeepers are not overpricing the SIMs. Each vendor decides their own price for the SIM, regardless of the price, which may get covered by a sticker. If a shopkeeper is asking too much then head elsewhere.
Setting up the SIM is straightforward but will require your passport as registration is needed. You should let whoever sells the SIM do this for you, unless you can speak Bahasa Indonesia!
Once you have purchased the SIM, they should give you a receipt with codes for dialling to recharge your balance and other network services.
If you are concerned this might be difficult, or want to avoid the hassle. Then you can get a SIM delivered before you fly.
Can’t be bothered with buying a local SIM in Bali? Want to buy before you fly?
You can topup your SIM at one of the hundreds of kiosks and vendors. Simply look for a sign that says ‘pulsa’, meaning credit, and give your number to the vendor. There is often a very small surcharge for the service. Be aware that most providers don’t allow you to top up online so you will need to do this during business hours, unless you buy the myXL SIM, which allows you to top up by app.
On the whole, free public Wifi is not widespread in Bali, but many coffee shops etc do provide it. However, this is likely to be slower than you are used to (100-200KB/s) compared to the average US speed of 50MB per second.
So, which is the best SIM card for Bali?
This depends on how you intend to use it, and how seasoned a traveller a you are.
- For most travelers, we would recommend XL Axiata.
- If you want the easiest and most convenient service delivered, use SIMjek.
- For those who might be traveling to more remote areas and would benefit from the greater coverage, use Telkomsel.