From how to move around the island to respecting the ocean and the local culture: there are many useful travel tips for visiting Bali, Indonesia. After writing about the things to know before visiting Bali, we want to give you a heads up on 10 things to keep in mind to make the most out of your trip to the Island of Gods.
#1 CHOOSE YOUR BASE CAREFULLY
Put some serious thought into your Bali base. Distances, tiny roads and crazy traffic make very difficult to wander around. A few kilometres of driving will take much longer than expected. Keep it in mind if planning day trips, attempting to make it somewhere for sunset or aiming to catch a flight! When in doubt ask the locals the rough travel time estimate. Secondly, whilst there is no denying that parts of the island – Kuta, Canggu and Seminyak to name a few – are hugely affected by mass tourism, it is possible to still find some hidden beaches! Try to head east to the grey sandy beach of Amed!
#2 CONSIDER DOWNLOADING FEW APPS
The most honest taxis in Bali are the blue taxis known as Blue Bird Taxis; everybody else is hit or miss. Like several places in the world, Bali has Uber here known as GrabCar. It works exactly like Uber with one difference: you can call a car, but also a moto-taxi – very practical and quick if you only need a short ride. Special rules apply to the airport and to some popular areas where there is a taxi monopoly and GrabCars can drop off costumers but they can’t pick them up. Another usefull app is Go-Jek. Through it you can do all sorts of things such as ordering food, shopping, courier services and – of course – a taxi or moto-taxi.
#3 RENTING A SCOOTER
Renting a scooter in Bali for the day or week is very easy. Rental goes from Rp. 30,000 to 50,000 per day. But remember, traffic in Bali is hectic! Always wear a helmet, keep the LEFT side of the road and make sure you have travel insurance – is not always included in the fee. We rely on World Nomads or True Traveller – which is available for European residents only.
#4 RESPECT THE CULTURE
Despite the influx of tourism, Balinese culture is very strong. Remember to wear a sarong when visiting temples and holy sites and put clothes on when leaving the beach. Walking around the streets make sure you don’t step on the canang sari – the colourful daily offerings made by the Balinese Hindus. Don’t get annoyed when a street is blocked off for a ceremony, this is all part of the magic of the island. Plan accordingly if your travel dates fall on Nyepi – New Year’s Eve according to the animistic-Hindu tradition – when everything in Bali (even the airport) shuts down for the day.
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#5 TIPS ARE NOT EXPECTED, BUT…
The Balinese people are poor and yet the courtesy and generosity of everybody here is astounding. Even if money is not on the top of the list of their priorities, tipping is a great way of appreciating their good service. Even with a few cents tip you will be given a huge smile in return. But if it’s not about money then what is it? Once we asked a Balinese friend and his answer really surprised us. Balinese believe that personal development is the best gift you can give other people and from here comes their kindness and positive attitude. Tipping and appreciating their service will let them know that they have accomplished their goal.
#6 LEARN A FEW WORDS
A few basic words of Bahasa Indonesia will take you a long way in Bali. Try with:
Selamat pagi (good morning),
Terima kasih (thank you)
The locals appreciate you learning a few Indonesian words.
For the pros there is the Indonesian phrasebook.
#7 DON’T DRINK TAP WATER
This probably goes without saying, but you can’t drink the tap water in Bali. However consider the environment before purchasing a bottled drink. Three million plastic bottles are discarded in Bali each month! You can help reducing this figure by travelling with a water bottle that has an in-built filter or by carrying a stainless still bottle that you can fill up from free filtered water at your accommodation. Most good cafes and restaurants have a water filter available that you can use for free or for a small fee.
#8 AVOID BUYING PLASTIC
Help to reduce plastic trash in Bali. Avoid plastic bottles, plastic bags and straws. Re-use and recycle as much as you can for example using a canvas bag to carry purchased items.
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#9 RESPECT THE OCEAN
Bali’s waves are powerful, currents are strong and exposed rocks can be treacherous. Don’t swim alone unless you are completely confident in doing so. Show equal respect for the beach by not leaving any garbage behind, including cigarette.
#10 LOW SEASON MEANS RAINY SEASON
Bali’s rainy season goes from January to April and from October to November. Discounts can be great, but it won’t be easy to wander around. Choose June or September instead! You will enjoy perfect weather and less crowded places!