If you plan to go to Bali and you’ve never been there yet, you may be interested in reading this post. I just wrote some basic tips based on my own experience.
And well, if you are not planning to go to Bali, I would also recommend you to read it. You might change your mind! 😉
No vaccination is needed
For most countries, for no more than 30 days stay, you only need on arrival visa. For which you ‘ll need your passport (valid for at least six months from date of entry) and your flight out of Indonesia.
The truth is that I just arrived with one-way flight and I had no problem. They asked me how many days I was going to stay, I told them a month and they let me pass without paying anything.You only need to pay if you are planning on staying over a month (you can extend your visa one more month).
For business stays, longer periods than 30 days or other special arrangements, visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy in your country.
Indonesia’s official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
Before coming to Bali I had no idea about Bali’s currency.
I arrived without any cash, so I told the driver that if he wanted me to pay him for the trip, he would have to find me an ATM first.
So we stopped, and… I almost had a heart attack when I saw that I took out 2.000.000 IDR! I thought I had emptied my bank account! I didn’t know that 1€ is more or less 14.880 IDR! haha
By the way, I would recommend always carrying cash, since they won’t accept credit card in most places.
Also, be prepared to bargain. I’m so bad with this. It’s not that I can’t bargain, it’s also that when I go to a small family business with kids in there, I just end up giving even more money than what they ask from me. Yes… kids are my weakness. I love them! 😍
From what I’ve been told later, sometimes I’ve paid more than three times what is considered the standard price. 😓
They speak Bahasa, although in the tourist areas almost everybody also speaks English.
In the villages and local shops they barely speak English, but you can get by with gesture and good humor.
Anyway, I like to learn the basic sentences. This way you can get more integrated into the local culture. They’ll appreciate it and they will welcome you with an even wider smile than usual!
Since it’s an island located in the equator, the weather is tropical, with an average temperature of about 30 degrees, which remain more or less the same during the whole year.
Highland areas are much cooler, and generally at night the temperature drops across the island.
It is best to come during the dry season (May to September) not only to avoid the rain, but also humidity and mosquitoes.
However I think Bali is pleasant all year round. I arrived on March 2nd and the weather has been great. I think it has only rained three days since I’m here, and always just for a while.
As for mosquitoes, the truth is that they almost never bite me. I imagine that my blood tastes bad! haha
If you come to Bali, get ready to sweat! During the day it is really hot! And make sure you have air conditioning in the room! It’s really important here if you don’t’ want to get crazy!
As I mentioned before, I haven’t had any problems and I haven’t used any type of repellent, but I have met people who actually have suffered severe consequences of mosquito’s bites (dengue).
My advice, avoid wet and wooded areas during sunset, since this is the moment when these insects appear to attack.
But please, do not miss a sunset at the beach!! It’s such a great experience even if there are mosquitos around!
As you land in Bali you will find millions of taxi drivers offering their services to you. They will try to charge you more than what it’s supposed to cost.
To move around Bali you have several options:
- Renting: the best option is to rent a motorbike, but if you do not have much experience, this is not the best place to learn. Prices generally range around 50k per day. I do not recommend rent a car, because the traffic is horrible.
- Taxi: you will find official metered taxi companies but I think that they are a little bit pricey if we compare it with general life in Bali.
- Private Tours: some hotels include private driver into the price, who will drive you everywhere. If this is not the case and you want to take it easy, this is a very comfortable option, although is not the cheapest one. You can obtain them from a travel agency or from a travel booths around Bali.
- Uber: this app has been running in various parts of Bali since some time ago. I have understood that Uber is a somewhat controversial issue and I think that in some areas, their cars are not allowed (in Ubud I saw several signs banning Uber). I have used Uber in south Bali area several time though. The best thing is that you can know in advance the estimated price of the trip and the type of car that will pick you up (I’ve always had good cars and good drivers) and the cost is way cheaper than a regular taxi. The worst thing is that sometimes there are no cars available, so you have to wait until there is one.
- Gojek: it’s an Indonesian company similar to Uber, but they only offer transportation thorough motorcycle taxis. I have not used it.
- Public transport: in Bali I would not consider it as an option.
Food and drinks
Food in Bali is delicious! There are options for everybody!😋
Some people recommend avoiding eating raw fruits and vegetables but I have eaten them everyday and I have not had any problems. In fact, to deprive yourself of Bali fruits would be a sin. Here you will find variety of succulent fruits.
As for drinks, obviously avoid drinking tap water, but I do use it to brush my teeth.
On the other hand, some people have also recommended me not to drink juices and smoothies with ice in it because most times you don’t know the origin of it but again, I’ve been enjoying juices daily, very fresh and with lots of ice and I’m still alive!
Overall the Internet is pretty bad … you ‘ll find free Wi-Fi in most hotels, cafes and restaurants but usually the service is very slow, even in expensive hotels.
Prepaid service with mobile phone is not too bad. I paid 100k IDR for 4GB using the brand simPATI. The connection is very good and lasted me about 15 days. After this period, I returned to the store and reloaded for another 100K IDR.
I feel 100% safe at all time. So far, I have not had any incident. In some of the restaurants and hotels (usually the the expensive ones) they conducted security check for all guests.
DBut it’s true that people usually say that I live in my dream bubble and sometimes I do not realize the dangers. So I guess it’s a good rule of thumb to always watch your back and be safe…
In my opinion, the only thing that is dangerous is riding bikes. Most people drive as they please, without following traffic rules, so be careful. In addition, although most people do not wear helmet, I would recommend you to wear it for your own safety and also because the police tends to stop tourists to pay a fine.
Culture, religion and traditions
It is important to consider some aspects to avoid offending the locals
If you visit a temple or a religious place, remember to dress appropriately and to take off your shoes before entering. What I do is always have a scarf ready in my backpack, so that way if I’m not dressed properly, I can cover myself with it.
Locals make daily offerings to their gods. You will see that in front of houses, businesses, churches, etc. there are small bamboo baskets with flowers, incense and foods. For them this is a sign of respect to the gods and a way to protect them against evil. As you walk down the street, just watch your steps and avoid stepping on these baskets because you might offend them.
Some gestures to consider:
- Avoid using the left hand to point and to give or receive. This is the hand that is used to go to the bathroom. The locals consider this rude.
- Avoid pointing at someone with your finger.
- Also avoid putting your hands on your waist when you’re talking with someone, since it is regarded as an aggressive attitude.
- While sitting on the floor, cross your legs or at least don’t extend your feet pointing towards another person. It’s considered disrespectful.
- Do not touch the head of others, because it is considered a sacred part. We don’t usually move around touching people’s heads, but just yesterday I did happen to touch a girl’s head when playing with her. It’s ok, and the parents wouldn’t mind, but just in case, try to avoid doing this especially to grown men or women.
Take it easy
On this island everything moves slower. I am very lively and active and sometimes I’m annoyed that I have to wait 15 minutes for something that could be done in 2. Well, I’ve learned to enjoy those moments, taking the opportunity to engage in conversation (most of the times, just attempt to have a conversation) with local people, especially with children.
Also, I don’t recommend you to trust Balinese indications when moving around. They are very friendly and they will try to help you but in most cases they do not have a good perception of time and space. So maybe they will tell you that the temple you’re looking for is just 5 minutes away and in the end it turns out that you’ve been walking for 20 minutes, and vice versa, often they will tell you the place you want to go it’s very far when you’re only 5 minutes walk. I’ve lived both experiences. The second one is more common because they will try to convince you to take taxi.
Be aware of plastic issues
It is obvious that you have to drink bottled water most of the time in Bali, but try to avoid buying plastic bottles. It’s better to fill glass bottles or stainless steel bottles if possible. Also, avoid using plastic bags.
The most important issue is to put away your used plastic water bottles and plastic bags properly. Try to put them in trash can or litter bin after use and not just toss them away at the beach or into the drain. Help keep Bali and the world clean.
Hope this post can help you.
If anybody has any other advices, I would really appreciate if you can share it with everyone and also, if anyone needs more information, do not hesitate to ask me. I will try to help you!
See you around Bali?
Love and gratitude