Whether you’re planning a short vacation to Bali or have decided to pack up and move to paradise, you’ll need a phone to stay connected to family and friends. Sure, you can use your current phone and SIM card, but why pay more for extravagant roaming fees when you don’t have to? Getting a SIM card in Bali is not only easy, but also very cheap.
If your phone is unlocked (meaning you’re not locked into one particular cellular provider), you can easily install an Indonesian SIM card in your phone. Alternatively, you can buy an unlocked new or secondhand phone here, either at a phone shop, an electronics shop or a small roadside stand. You can also buy a SIM card from the same vendor, or from one of the many convenience stores around Bali, including Circle K, Alfamart and Indomart.
Pay As You Go
The most popular cellular providers here are Telkomsel (Simpati), Indosat and XL. The easiest way to get hooked up to the network is to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card. This is a SIM card that comes preloaded with credit (called pulsa here). The SIM card itself usually costs about 5,000 Rp and you can opt to load it with as much pulsa as you like.
Where to Buy Credit
Loading up your SIM is easy, as there are hundreds of kiosks and vendors throughout Bali. Just look for a sign that says ‘pulsa’ or one that has the cellular company’s logo. Then, you simply give your number to the pulsa vendor, and they automatically send the pulsa to your phone. Most people load up their phone with 50,000 – 100,000 Rp, although you can add as little as 10,000 Rp. The vendor will often add a small fee of 1,000 or 2,000 Rp to the cost of the pulsa. This is standard across Bali and Indonesia for that matter. It should be noted that you generally cannot buy pulsa online or over the phone, so try to get your pulsa during the day before all the shops close.
Value for Money
If you only use your phone for texting and local calls, you should be able to make 50,000 Rp last about a week or two. Of course, if you use the Internet on your smartphone or make international calls, your pulsa will deplete quickly. When your pulsa runs out, simply head to any vendor or convenience store with a pulsa sign out front, and you can top up your SIM again.
Long Distance Calls
Long distance calls can be quite pricey from Indonesia. However, most cellular providers have special access codes that you can type in before the phone number to get cheap rates on international calls. In addition, many providers also offer special packages for Internet usage on smartphones. Just ask the vendor when you set up your SIM card, and they can give you the codes and explain how to set up the Internet packages.
The country code in Indonesia is +62 followed by the number. If you are calling a number within Indonesia, you can simply dial the number, which should begin with 0. If someone is calling your Indonesian number from outside the country, they need to add the country code and drop the first 0 in the number.