Hardware and network connectivity of SIM card

This guide covers SIM Cards for Bali (prepaid, e-sim, roaming), major providers (like Telkomsel and XL) and tips for tourists on how to buy and recharge.

Staying connected with a reliable SIM card is essential for most travellers to Bali, whether to navigate the island, stay in touch with loved ones back home, or work remotely.

There are three main options for using a SIM Card in Bali. These options are Prepaid SIM Cards, e-SIM cards, or Roaming SIM Cards (using your home provider). Each option comes with its own advantages, disadvantages, requirements, data packages and pricing.

When choosing which Bali SIM Card to buy, the most important consideration is whether or not you want to keep your existing phone number. In this guide, we help you to choose the best SIM card for your needs based on an array of factors like network coverage, pricing, convenience and ease-of-use. 

The most popular Bali SIM Card is a prepaid SIM card purchased locally, as this is very affordable and gives you excellent coverage and connectivity whilst travelling. The three main local network providers are Telkomsel, XL Axiata, and Indosat. However, you won't get to keep your existing phone number. Prepaid SIM cards are available for purchase locally in Bali from Denpasar Airport, dedicated phone shops in the main tourist hubs, or from street stalls.

e-SIM cards are an excellent option for travel in Bali, especially if you have other countries in your itinerary.. e-SIM cards are the most flexible option, because they are a digital form of SIM Card that you purchase online from providers like Holafly, WifiMap and Travel SIM. With e-SIM,  it's easy to switch plans as your needs change and you get to choose which local Bali network it connects to, which isn't true of data roaming. 

Using Data Roaming in Bali with your home provider is the most expensive choice when it comes to Bali SIM Cards, but the advantage is that you don’t need to purchase a SIM card or deal with a new phone number. In recent years, using a Data Roaming SIM from home providers like Optus or Telstra has become increasingly viable, costing around $5-10 for a daily allowance of data. 

Our guide below explores all the ins and outs of dealing with your SIM Card needs for Bali: including what type to get, where to buy them, the major SIM providers in Bali, how to recharge and additional tips for tourists to stay connected seamlessly in Bali.

What is a Bali SIM Card?

A Bali SIM card is a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card that is used for mobile communication in Bali, Indonesia. It's essentially a small, removable plastic piece with a circuit-embedded chip that you insert into your mobile phone for use in Bali. Travellers to Bali use SIM cards to connect to a local mobile network and make calls, send texts, and access mobile data services while they are overseas. Bali SIM cards provide travellers with a local phone number and a prepaid mobile plan, allowing them to stay connected during their trip at an affordable price.


What Types of Bali SIM Cards are there?

There are 3 main types of SIM Cards used in Bali, which are Prepaid, e-SIM Cards and Roaming SIM Cards (Using your home provider). Each type of SIM Card has its own advantages and disadvantages, prices and providers. Prepaid is the cheapest and most common type of SIM used by tourists in Bali, but comes with the disadvantage that you have to purchase the SIM locally and receive a new phone number. In recent years, e-SIM cards have become more popular, as these are digital and don’t require a physical card - however they are more expensive. Roaming SIM Cards allow you to use your home provider and phone number, but are generally the most expensive SIM card option. Read more below to decide which Bali SIM Card type suits your needs best. 


  • Prepaid SIM Cards
  • Prepaid is the most popular type of SIM Card to use in Bali. Prepaid SIM cards are useful for travellers because they allow you to use the local networks, which is usually less expensive than using data roaming. Prepaid works by purchasing the SIM card directly in Bali, and paying for a specific amount of credit which is loaded onto their SIM card account.

  • e-SIM Card
  • An e-SIM card, short for embedded SIM card, is a digital alternative to regular SIM cards. e-SIM cards are the most convenient Bali SIM Card Type option because they offer effortless activation, meaning that no physical SIM card is required to use data. However, e-SIM cards are more expensive than prepaid cards.

  • Roaming SIM Card (Using your home provider)
  • Using a Roaming SIM Card in Bali means using data roaming from your home provider whilst travelling in Bali, which is typically the most expensive option. When you enable data roaming on your device and your mobile service provider has international roaming agreements in place, your device automatically connects to a local mobile network in Bali.

    What is the Best SIM Card for Bali Overall?

    Prepaid SIM cards purchased locally are generally the best SIM Card type for travel in Bali, as they are highly affordable, offer excellent coverage and are available to purchase throughout Bali. Two of the best local providers in Bali are XL Axiata and Telkomsel, which offer data packages for tourists. Prepaid SIM Cards connect directly to lthe local network, which makes it easy to browse online, navigate maps or connect back home without interruption. For the most part, you won't need to make phone calls within Bali, as most businesses like restaurants, spas or resorts use Whatsapp to communicate with customers.  

    Below are the three reasons why Prepaid SIM Cards are the best Bali SIM Card type:

    Affordability: Prepaid SIM Cards from local providers in Bali are the cheapest option for staying connected in Bali. Typically, a Bali Prepaid SIM Card costs around 150,000-250,000 IDR (~$15-25 AUD), and provides 18-25GB of data. However, for those that require more data, packages are available at cost tiers all the way up to 1,000,000-1,250,000 IDR ($100-125 AUD) for 200GB of data.

    Coverage: Prepaid SIM Cards allow you to choose the best local netowrk providers, which is not usually the case when you use data roaming. When travelling, it's generally best to use the provider which has the best coverage so that your connectivitiy doesn't drop out when you need it most. In Bali, Telkomsel has the best coverage overall. 

    Availability: Purchasing a prepaid SIM Card locally in Bali is very straightforward, as there are so many shops, dedicated phone stores and even sidestreet stalls which offer SIM cards for purchase from the major providers. It's also easy to purchase a prepaid SIM when you arrive at Denpasar Airport, once you leave baggage collection you will find them on the lefthand side near the Arrivals exit. Just keep in mind that prices are slightly higher than if you wait to get into the city or more central areas. 

    What is the Best Bali SIM Card for Convenience?

    e-SIM cards are the most convenient option for travel in Bali, because you buy them online and it's easy to switch plans if your needs change. E-SIM cards mean that you don't need to purchase a physical SIM at all, making them the best option for convenience. E-SIMs are a digital form of SIM card that you purchase online from websites like Holafly, WifiMap or TravelSim.. The e-SIMS provide you with data, but not phone calls, which would still go through your regular provider (the SIM card in your phone) and incur data roaming charges. However, to avoid this we recommend using internet calling apps like Whatsapp, Skype or Facetime to make calls. 

    What is the Best Bali SIM Card for Ease of Use?

    Using the SIM Card of your home provider (Roaming SIM Card) is the easiest option for making calls or using data in Bali, but the most expensive. Some visitors choose to use data roaming SIM cards (staying with their home provider), which is the most expensive option of the three Bali SIM card types. However, this is still the best option for Bali SIMs in terms of ease of use because data roaming typically activates automatically, and you don't need to purchase anything or change your phone number. Over the last decade, roaming data has become less expensive, making it a more viable option for travel these days. Providers like Optus and Telstra offer data roaming packages for about $5-10 AUD per day. 


    Where to Buy a SIM Card in Bali?

    Signs written in English and Indonesian at Denpasar Airport

    There are four main options for where to buy a SIM Card in Bali: Denpasar Airport, Official Local Providers, Local Phone Stores and Street Vendors

    Below is more detail on the 4 main places to purchase a SIM card locally in Bali: 

    • Denpasar Airport (DPS): One of the most accessible places to buy a prepaid SIM card for Bali is at Ngurah Rai International Airport, commonly called Denpasar Airport. After clearing passport control and walking through duty-free, you'll find several boutiques where SIM cards for Bali are sold, and the pricing options available. While buying a SIM card at the airport is the fastest way to get coverage once you arrive in Bali, it tends to be slightly more expensive than other options.
    • Official Local Providers: Bali has several official local operators, with Telkomsel and XL Axiata being two of the most popular brands that offer SIM cards for travellers. These official providers are the best place for travellers seeking reliability and a variety of package options. All you have to do is visit their stores or authorised agents located throughout Bali and explain what your needs and preferences are.
    • Local Phone Stores: Local phone stores are the best choice for those who value personalised assistance. These stores often have knowledgeable staff who are able to assist you in selecting the right SIM card and package for your requirements. Some of the most reputable local phone stores for purchasing a SIM card for Bali are Sona Cell Bali Data Sim Card or SIM CARD Y&R Cell in Badung Regency.
    • Street Vendors: Street vendors are a good option for budget-conscious travellers looking for a SIM card in Bali. However, it's essential to exercise caution when getting your SIM card from a street vendor. Ensure that the SIM card you buy is from a reputable provider and request assistance with the registration process, which is mandatory for all SIM cards in Indonesia. Failure to register the SIM card within seven days of activation results in automatic disconnection.
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    Which are the Best SIM Card Providers in Bali?

    When deciding which local provider to choose for your Bali SIM card, there are a number of good choices. The four best SIM providers in Bali are Telkomsel, XL Axiata, Indosat Ooredoo and Smartfren. More information on each is below. 

    1. Telkomsel:

    Telkomsel SIM card in packet

    Telkomsel stands out as the best SIM card provider in Bali, offering travellers a top-notch mobile experience. With the most advanced 4G/5G network and generous data plans, Telkomsel ensures that you have plenty of GBs to use without worry during your stay on the island. 

    Another advantage of Telkomsel is that their SIM cards prove particularly valuable in areas further afield of Bali like Nusa Penida and Lembongan, where stable WiFi connections are hard to come by. However, what makes Telkomsel the best SIM card provider in Bali is its comprehensive range of monthly packages from the more modest 18 GB package ($25 AUD) for light users to the generous 200 GB plan ($126 AUD). 

    Additionally, Telkomsel even offers a dedicated SIM card called "Wonderful Indonesia," catering to Bali's visitors. This special SIM card is available at around $11 AUD and it comes with 25 GB data, 25 domestic minutes and 25 international minutes.

    2. XL Axiata:

    Axiata SIM card in packet

    XL Axiata is a strong contender among Bali's SIM card providers, offering travellers an excellent mobile experience. Notably, they are rapidly expanding their 5G network, positioning themselves as a close second to Telkomsel. For those who plan to travel around the Denpasar and Badung areas, XL Axiata proves to be an ideal choice, boasting excellent coverage and impressive speed. However, it's worth noting that XL Axiata's internet coverage in Ubud is somewhat limited.

    Another reason why XL Axiata is one of the best SIM card providers in Bali is that it offers added convenience through its user-friendly app, "myXL," which allows you to easily manage your account. With this app, you can check your balance, monitor data usage, and conveniently top up both credit and data using a card.

    Like Telkomsel, XL Axiata's prepaid SIM card monthly deals for Bali cater to various data usage needs. Their offerings range from the 18 GB data package for 30 days at $25 AUD, to a more extensive 83 GB data plan for 30 days, available at around $66 AUD. Notice, however, that XL’s highest plan is substantially lower than its Telkomsel counterpart.

    3. Indosat Ooredoo:

    Indosat SIM card in packet

    Indosat Ooredoo is a reliable provider for travellers who want to buy a prepaid SIM card in Bali. As of now, 5G coverage remains limited on the island, but all mobile internet operators, including Indosat Ooredoo, ensure comprehensive 4G signal coverage across Bali's tourist attractions and popular destinations.

    One important advantage of Indosat Ooredoo as a SIM card provider for Bali is its affordability. Short-term visitors and tourists, for example, are able to take advantage of the IM3 Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison Travel On Starter Pack, which comes in two variants: a 14-day 5 GB package ($7.50 AUD), and a 30-day 20 GB package ($11 AUD)

    Furthermore, for extended stays or additional data needs, travellers are able to purchase an Extra Booster add-on once starter packs have expired, ensuring continued connectivity during their time in Bali.

    4. Smartfren

    Smartfren SIM card in packet

    Smartfren is one of the best SIM card providers to stay connected in Bali. Smartfren offers a unique and convenient option for travellers through its Tourist Pack and Tourist Pack Unlimited. The Tourist Pack provides a generous 30 GB of data to be consumed within a 14-day period at $10 AUD. Meanwhile, the Tourist Pack Unlimited ($20 AUD) offers unlimited data with a daily limit of 1.5 GB before experiencing a reduction in speed. Both packages come with an added perk of 15 minutes of calls to local numbers, and here's the kicker – when you use WhatsApp, it doesn’t use up your data limit.

    However, what makes Smartfren one of the best SIM card providers in Bali is that they are the sole brand offering e-sim cards for tourists. While other providers offer physical SIM cards, Smartfren's e-sim option adds an extra layer of convenience for travellers who prefer a digital solution during their stay in Bali.

    Should I use Data Roaming instead of a SIM Card in Bali?

    Whether or not data roaming is suitable for your Bali trip depends on your individual needs. Generally, it's more expensive to use data roaming compared to a Prepaid SIM card, but the upside is that you don't have to change phone number. In recent years, data roaming has become less expensive, costing around $2-10 AUD per day on average. 

    The main advantage of using data roaming for travel in Bali is that you don't have to change your phone number. In fact, in most cases you don't need to do anything - data roaming activates automatically. This is very convenient when you are travelling, especially if there are other countries on your itinerary. 

    However, the downside is the overall cost of data roaming. Some mobile providers charge exorbitant international roaming rates, which quickly accumulate and result in high expenses for data usage, calls, and text messages. Additionally, while data roaming provides connectivity, the coverage and quality of service is not always as reliable or robust as using a local SIM card, especially in more remote areas of Bali. Finally, many data roaming plans come with data limits, and exceeding them often leads to even higher charges.

    The choice between Prepaid SIMs and data roaming depends your individual needs. Choose data roaming if convenience is more important than cost. For those who want an affordable option and don't mind using a new phone number in Bali, then Prepaid is the best option. Prepaid SIMs are available at airports and local shops, or otherwise e-SIMs bought online allow you to get data without using a physical SIM at all! 


    How to Recharge SIM Cards in Bali

    There are multiple ways to recharge your SIM card in Bali once your data package has been used or has expired. The easiest way to recharge a SIM for travellers in Bali is to head to the store of an official provider and ask them to recharge your SIM for you. This is because the staff at the actual stores usually speak Indonesian and English and are experienced with helping tourists to recharge. 

    Below are three different methods for recharging a SIM Card in Bali: At the store of an official provider, by telephone or by mobile app.

    At an Official Provider’s Store:

    1. Visit a nearby store or authorised agent of your trusted SIM card provider.
    2. Inform the staff that you wish to recharge your Bali SIM card.
    3. Specify the desired recharge amount, and provide your phone number or SIM card details.
    4. Complete the payment, and you'll receive a confirmation once the recharge is processed.

    By Telephone:

    1. Dial the provider's customer support number, typically indicated in the instructions that came with your SIM card.
    2. Follow the automated prompts to select your recharge amount and payment method.
    3. Enter the necessary details, such as your SIM card number and preferred payment method, and confirm the transaction.

    By Mobile App:

    1. Download the official app of your SIM card provider from the app store on your device.
    2. Open the app and log in with your account details or create a new account if required.
    3. Navigate to the recharge or top-up section within the app.
    4. Select your preferred recharge amount and payment method.
    5. Confirm the transaction and the app will update your balance accordingly.


    Tips for Using SIM Cards in Bali

    When using a SIM card in Bali, the practical tips below will enhance your experience and help you stay connected at all times:

    • Check your phone's compatibility: Before purchasing a SIM card in Bali, make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the local network. This ensures that the SIM card purchased in Bali works seamlessly with your device.
    • Verify coverage: While Bali generally has good network coverage, there are a few remote areas where connectivity is weaker. Before visiting remote areas in Bali, inquire about the coverage of your chosen SIM card provider to avoid connectivity issues.
    • Registration process: Register your Bali SIM card promptly after purchase. Failure to register within a specific time frame can result in disconnection.
    • Data monitoring: Keep an eye on your data usage to avoid unexpected charges while you are in Bali. Most SIM card providers offer ways to check your data balance via SMS or a mobile app.
    • Explore data packages: Check the different data packages offered by your chosen SIM card provider in Bali. Choose the one that best fits your needs best on how long you plan to stay in Bali and how much data you think you need.


    Is the Wifi good in Bali?

    The Wifi in Bali is of mixed quality, with some hotels and restaurants offering better Wifi than others. The availability and quality of Wi-Fi internet in Bali has improved significantly in recent years, especially in popular tourist areas like Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, and Ubud. To access reliable Wi-Fi, we recommend checking ahead at restaurants or your accommodation to ensure they have a good Wi-Fi connection. It's also a good idea to read online reviews from other travellers, as they often include information about the quality of Wi-Fi services in various establishments. Many places that claim to offer Wi-Fi still may have connectivity issues, so it's wise to have a contingency plan if you intend to be online consistently during your Bali visit.

    Additionally, Bali has become a hub for digital nomads, and the need for reliable Wi-Fi is evident in the emergence of excellent co-working spaces like Outpost and Biliq. Co-working spaces are known for providing reliable high-speed Wi-Fi, making them the best place to go to ensure good wifi connectivity in Bali.

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