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Finance and money

Finance and money forum

Do I need US Cash in Bali/Lombok?

Posted by quigly on 7/12/2015 at 23:30

hi all
Heading to Bali & Lombok for 3 weeks with the family and just wondering if anyone had advice on the best way to handle money. We have a VISA card (Citibank Visa Debit $0 international transactions) for ATM withdrawals, but I'm conscious that we have to pay for accommodation and food for four people, and that's a lot of rupiah to carry around . The type of accommodation we are looking at is on the nicer budget end and most say they only accept cash. Daily budget in the realm of $200/day for all four of us not including travel or shopping. Some of the places on our itinerary don't appear to have local ATMs either ? (Gili Air/Pemuteran etc)
I was thinking of taking some US cash but the AU exchange rate is pretty dreadful, and my other half thinks we can manage just with ATMs/Banks and some AUD ?
Would love to hear how others have done it

#1 quigly has been a member since 22/10/2015. Posts: 7

Posted by njmclare on 8/12/2015 at 01:47


All three Gili islands (air, T and Meno) have atms. We were there November 2015.

We were spending less than you, maybe aud$100 per day but managed fine with atm's although be aware that sometimes the machine is limited to withdrawals of 1,000,000 rph but you can use them multiple times which is good if you don't get charged withdrawal fees. Maybe ask at your hotel which atms allow bigger withdrawals in one transaction. And look out for machines which dispense 100,000 notes, will usually have a 50,000 or 100,000 sticker visible on the machine. Three machines next to each other can be different.

Always good to have some emergency dollars, if you are not near an ATM or there is a power cut, which are frequent.

Plan ahead and try and have enough money when not near an ATM, or use your emergency money.

We ran out of money in tetebatu, Lombok but asked if we could go to an ATM during a tour which helped us out.

Enjoy your trip.

#2 njmclare has been a member since 17/3/2013. Posts: 0

Posted by exacto on 8/12/2015 at 09:44

Good advice above.

ATMs are plentiful on Bali and Lombok. You can get cash at the airport and then go from there. It is a smart idea to have cash (USD or AUD) as a back up, but I'd use ATMs as the main source of local currency.

One other hassle about exchanging USD or AUD for local currency is the scam. The vast majority of people I met on Bali and Lombok are solid folks, but the one time someone tried to scam me was while exchanging money. If you are exchanging cash, pick a dedicated exchange booth rather than a desk or counter at the back of some shop and you should be fine.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,816

Posted by quigly on 8/12/2015 at 16:57

Thanks everyone!!, I have done some more google research and yes there are now more ATM's than I realised - obviously I had been reading old posts and travel guides !
Am aware of the money changers scams - we travelled in South America pre-kids and there were heaps of scams then including forged notes.
@njmclare - how many people did your budget of $100 cover and was this accom as well?

#4 quigly has been a member since 22/10/2015. Posts: 7

Posted by mzungu on 26/10/2016 at 12:00

US dollars cash is king in Asia ....

ATM's are more in the touristy resorts in Bali like Ubud, few and far between in the rest of the island.

Cannot remember seeing any on Lombok.

Good luck.

#5 mzungu has been a member since 20/10/2016. Posts: 2

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