Bali has a way with tourists. It is a backpacker’s paradise and is the most popular destination in Indonesia, equally loved by travelers, honeymooners, digital nomads, and yoga lovers. Not only it offers a peaceful experience, but the island also offers several amazing views and easy on the wallet food scene.
Over the years, Bali has become a cliched destination where people trying to find the “Eat, Pray, Love” experience and relax at expensive yoga retreats. Nevertheless, I still find this island a beautiful, peaceful, and a happening place to live.
I had a chance to travel to Bali this year and would love to go back and explore it on any given day! But my travel experience opened gates to a lot of opportunities and experiences that enabled me to return a changed person.
From being monkey savvy to navigating your way around the crowds – there are a few tricks you need to implement while traveling across Bali. Here are some ways you need to know before going to the Island of Gods.
1. Choose Where You Stay Carefully
While Bali is a fantastic retreat, but it is notorious for its chaotic traffic and hot weather. Therefore, you must put some thought into your Bali base. Trust me; you don’t want to be stuck in a stuffy taxi or wander far on foot from one place to another. For instance, if you are looking for rest, staying in Kuta isn’t a bright idea. Similarly, if you are going there to try the food, living in Nusa Lembongan isn’t going to leave you satisfied.
2. Expect Crowds
Well, we all know that Bali isn’t an untouched paradise anymore. So, when you go there, take crowds into account. Most people get bummed when they head towards a place and find scores of people waiting in line for that perfect picture. While it is tough to beat the crowds in southern Bali and Ubud, peace lovers will still find secluded corners that are beyond the reach of other tourists.
3. No More ‘Bali Belly’
You no longer have to always sit two steps away from the toilet because of Bali Belly. There was a time when cut fruits, ice cubes, meats, and even salads were on the danger list in terms of hygiene standards. But over the years, they’ve improved remarkably, and most restaurants offer a good quality organic product. There are still some places you need to stay away from, but overall, things are good. Always stay hydrated, avoid street food that doesn’t look hygienic, and the Bali Belly will stay at bay.
4. Beware of the Dress Code
Beachwear doesn’t always get you to places in Bali. There are several high-end bars, clubs, and restaurants that have enforced a dress code. To avoid the embarrassment of being turned away, always call ahead and ask. With that said, most cafés in Bali serve you shorts and flip-flops – no questions asked.
5. Learn to Respect their Customs
Bali is a place of customs and religion. So, behave with respect whenever you see a blocked off the street for a ceremony, or your driver makes a quick stop to make a blessing. All these things are a part of this magic island. Another important thing you need to note is not to book your trip during Nyepi when everything in Bali turns off for a day. Similarly, don’t forget to address modesty and conduct yourself well while visiting temples and holy sites.
6. Beware of Wild and Stray Animals
Yes, you are going to encounter them several times during your trip. They look cute and all, but rabies and other diseases are a severe risk in Bali. At the same time, keep an eye out for the pesky monkeys as they are notorious for their thieving ways. Similarly, Bali has a lot of stray dogs, and most of them aren’t in good shape – be careful.
7. Prepare for Different Price Tags
Well, you can visit Bali if you are on a tight budget, but you’ll need to stay in hostels, dine at warungs, and shop from the local markets. But, if you are not careful, you might end up spending your life’s savings as meals, spa treatments, room rates, and drinks can be as high as that in the US, the UK, and Australia. Before finalizing your place, make sure you do your research and stick to a budget.
8. Learn Some of the Local Language
This is a general hack you could implement anywhere you travel. With that said, learning the basic language to where you travel will also take you a long way in Bali. Try tolong (please), Terima Kasih (thank you), and Selamat Pagi (good morning), for starters.
9. Say No to Plastic Water Bottles
If you are traveling to Bali anywhere from the North American region, you’ll probably find it humid and hot. Therefore, it makes sense that traveling across Bali will need constant hydration. Consider the environment before buying a bottled drink. A study shows that three million plastic bottles are discarded in Bali each month. To help reduce this figure, consider investing in a stainless-steel bottle that you can refill. Most restaurants and cafés have water filters available. You can either get the water free or at a small fee.
10. Keep the Seasons in Mind
Bali is a tropical island – which means that it gets a lot of rainfall during the low season. The rainy season lasts from January to April and October to November each year. So, when you plan your trip, make sure to take the seasons into account. You’ll observe that hotels offer huge discounts which can be tempting. But you don’t want to be spending your trip cooped up indoors. On the bright side, you’ll mostly see afternoon downpours in Bali, meaning that you won’t be staying indoors all the time.