The best SIM cards for travelling to Bali

Get connected during your next holiday with the best value SIM cards for use in Bali.

Alex Kidman
Oct 16, 2023
bullet3 min read

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Photograph of surfing in Bali - Best SIM cards for Bali

Roaming in Bali (and not just to the beach or bar)


Australians heading to Bali is almost a cliché by now, but it’s a cliché for a reason; holidaying in Bali is highly affordable, beautiful and the food is fantastic.

What’s less fantastic is arriving, taking a photo of the local views and then realising that you’ve got no way to share it with the jealous folks back home stuck in their humdrum 9-to-5 lives.

This guide will take you through some simple options for travel SIM cards and mobile phone and data access in Bali, so you can make an informed choice that’s best for your needs and budget.

The very first factor to take into consideration is that Bali isn’t a country in its own right. It is part of Indonesia, so when you’re researching, you need to look for plans that include Indonesian coverage if you want phone access while in Bali.

Then it’s a matter of working out whether you want convenience, best budget pricing or to use your existing Australian SIM while you’re lying on a Balinese beach living the good life.

Best Bali Travel SIM

Australia Post International Roaming Plan


Travel SIMs sell themselves on convenience, and not typically value to speak of; you’re paying a premium to have a SIM card shipped to you before you travel – or emailed to you in the case of an eSIM – so that you don’t have to fuss with anything at all when you land.

The issue here is that very few Travel SIMs are all that price competitive, so it’s important to work out just how much that convenience is worth to you, because most of them don’t offer particularly good value for money.

That’s why we favour Australia Post’s very simple International Roaming Plan, which costs just $5 for 30 days of coverage. Not much coverage, it’s true, with 50 minutes of calls, 50 texts and just 50MB of data on tap. But combined with hotel Wi-Fi to meet your data needs, that’s enough to stay in immediate communication with the folks back home without breaking the bank.

Airalo Indonesia


Best eSIM
Indotel Airalo eSIM for Bali
Airalo Indonesia
If you've got an eSIM-compatible phone, simply download the Airalo app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store for Androids and select your destination.
Coverage
Indonesia
Data
1 - 20GB
Expiry
7 - 30 days
Starts at (USD)
$5.50

Airolo only sells eSIMs, so the first step to working out if it’s the right choice for you is to check that your phone has eSIM support.

There’s a good balance in an eSIM between pricing and convenience, because most providers can offer you eSIMs directly over the Internet, either through dedicated apps or sometimes via emailed codes. No waiting for the postman, no fiddling with SIM card trays or easily lost plastic fragments, either.

In Indonesia, Airolo sells a variety of prepaid eSIM packages, ranging from $US5.50 for 1GB of data with a 7 day expiry period up to 20GB over 30 days for $US40. If you’re travelling more widely in South East Asia, Airolo’s Asialink deals may also be worth considering. Airolo uses the Telkomsel network within Bali (and Indonesia more widely) with 4G LTE coverage.

Best Australian Roaming deal for Bali

Vodafone $5 Roaming


Vodafone’s $5 roaming deal certainly ticks the convenience-while-holidaying-in-Bali box rather nicely, given that it takes your existing plan, flies it over the sea to a Balinese beach and leaves it there waiting for you to unlock it for – you guessed it – $5 per day above your existing plan terms.

The one caveat here is that if your plan includes no extra data charges, just a speed drop once your quota is used, that doesn’t carry overseas at all. Instead you’ll pay $5 over the top again for each additional GB of data you need.

Here's a selection of Vodafone plans that support $5/day international roaming

As with competitors Optus and its not-quite-identical $5/day deal or Telstra’s Day Pass solution, the other catch is that a longer stay will lead to those $5 charges adding up. Vodafone doesn’t charge you if you don’t use your phone on a given day, which is nice, but still, a fortnight’s lazing on the beach could add an additional $70 to your mobile bill, and that’s money better spent on experiences and drinks, isn’t it?

Vodafone aren’t your only option for roaming-friendly telcos within Australia, however. Here’s a range of alternative telco options that support roaming in Bali:

Best SIM option within Bali

Telkomsel Tourist Prepaid Card


Look, we’ve all been in that situation where we land somewhere only to realise we’ve forgotten something important, whether it’s a fresh razor, a battery pack or indeed a reliable SIM option for our holidays. If that’s you, then Telkomsel’s Tourist Prepaid Card could be just what you’re looking for.

RP150,000 (roughly $16 AUD) will buy you a 30-day plan with 25 minutes of voice calls and 25GB of data to use on Telkomsel’s 5G network throughout Indonesia – including Bali.

What’s particularly useful here is that the Telkomsel Tourist Prepaid card can be pre-ordered before you leave Australia with a direct pickup location within Bali’s Denpasar Airport.

Can I add a eSIM functionality to my existing phone before heading to Bali?

If your current smartphone doesn’t have eSIM inbuilt, then we’ve got some bad news for you. If it’s not there, then the only way to add it is to buy an entirely new eSIM-capable handset.There’s no simple software fix or bolt-on hardware that can make eSIM a reality before your Bali holiday.

If your phone does support eSIMs, then it’s quite easy to set up your eSIM before you travel. We’ve got a handy guide to setting up eSIMs for Apple iPhone and Android here.

Would Hotel and Public WiFi be enough?

It could be, depending precisely on your needs. Ideally you should be out and about enjoying everything that Bali has to offer, and not online all the time, and with that in mind public WiFi might just be enough to see you through a short holiday.

It would be wise to check that this is a feature your hotel offers, and be ready for it to be a touch unreliable – not so much from an infrastructure point of view, per se, but because any public network accessible to tourists tends to get oversaturated quickly, especially during peak holiday periods.

It would also be very smart to install a VPN before you head to Bali in order to keep your private data private – whether that’s your own bikini beach body shots or if you needed to access secure sites such as online banking apps.

Alex Kidman
Written by
Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is some kind of word-generating AI from the future that somehow worked out how to sneak back in time to 1998 to start its journalism career. Across that time, including editorial stints at ZDNet, CNET, Gizmodo, PC Mag and Finder, as well as contributions to every major tech masthead, nobody has quite managed to figure out this deeply held secret. Let’s keep it between us, OK?

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