Historic Balinese Temples
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.
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.
‘Our top pick for Bali’
XL Axiata is our top pick for its good reputation, customer service focus, and convenient English app.
Speed-wise, XL Axiata promises internet speed up to 100Mbps, which may not seem alot but might be realistic given the infrastructure. Coverage is also very reasonable and will cover main tourist areas.
XL Axiata also have a nice app called myXL that allows you to check your balance, manage data usage , and top up both credit and data with a card. This makes the provider a good choice for those apprehensive about possible language difficulties.
Useful USSD Codes
- Check your remaining balance *123#
Can’t be bothered with buying a local SIM in Italy? Want to buy before you fly?
OneSIM offer an international SIM card that lets you save up to 85% in roaming fees in 200+ countries.
It can be sent out ahead of time so you hit the ground running. Find out more here.
‘Good choice for travellers in Bali and the rest of Indonesia’
Telkomsel is the largest provider and have the most extensive coverage, their ‘SimPATI’ plan is the most popular and well-suited to travelers. It is a good choice if you are travelling to remote villages or islands, but will work equally in tourist destinations like Bali and Yogakarta.
Telkomsel may have slightly higher prices, but this is not so significant as all the networks are relatively cheap. To buy, a SIM equipped with 4G should cost around 100-150k IRD.
Useful USSD Codes
- Check data balance *889#
- Check balance *888#
Indosat Claims to be Indonesia’s fastest 4G network, but this is disputable. However, as connection speeds are generally quite because of undeveloped infrastructure, most mobile connections are likely to be quite slow.
The Indosat freedom max SIM generally has cheaper prices than Telkomsel, and still has good coverage in tourist areas and the main islands of Bali, Kalimatan, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra.
They also allow you to access Facebook without using your data quota, and give a free subscription to iflix: Watch thousands of hours of TV with no subscription fee. (This one might be difficult to take advantage of on such low connection speeds). Find more info in English: https://indosatooredoo.com/en/personal/freedommax.
Useful USSD Codes
- Check balance: *388# / *555#
‘Top for convenience’
An Australian-owned company, SIMjek offer local SIMs and mobile hotspot rentals, they offer a variety of packages, with a maximum usable period of 30 days.
This is a 3G SIM, ready to use, that can be delivered to your hotel, villa or directly to the airport exit gate. You can order from simjek.com A perfect service if you need a SIM card ready to use as soon as you arrive, but is slightly more expensive.
SIMjek supply SIMS running on the Telkomsel network.
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.
Indonesia Phone Numbers
Mobile phone numbers in Indonesia are ten digits long and start with 08. The country code for Indonesia is +62.
To reach your mobile in Indonesia from abroad, callers need to dial 0062 and then your number. 00 is the International Access Code and 62 is the Indonesia country code.
Tourist Police: (Bali) (0361) 754 599 / (0361) 224 111
Ambulance and Rescue: 118
Useful Indonesian Phrases
Greeting: Apa kabar?
Do you speak English? Anda bisa bicara bahasa inggris?
I do not speak Indonesian: Saya tidak berbicara indonesia
I don’t understand: Saya tidak mengerti
Where are the SIM cards: Di mana kartu SIMs?
Thank you: Terima kasih