28 Aug Planning a Trip to Bali? Here’s 10 Travel Tips to Keep in Mind
It’s happening – you’re heading off to Bali on a dream vacation! You can already picture yourself swanning through rice paddy fields, sipping fruity cocktails by the beach, and immersing yourself in Balinese culture.
However, there are some dos and don’t to visiting the Island of Gods and you’ll want to be aware of them so you can make the most of your dream trip.
If you’re planning a trip to Bali, here are our top ten tips to keep in mind.
1. Choose Your Base Carefully
There are plenty of different spots to stay in Bali, and it pays to put some thought into your Bali base.
You’ll want to choose a part of the island that reflects your holiday tastes. Love partying? Then Kuta or Seminyak are probably your best bets – but expect to pay heftier prices!
Culture vulture? Then you’ll love Ubud where yoga retreats and temples are plentiful.
2. Stay Street Safe
When visiting Bali, you’ll need to be street aware. Due to the mass of tourists visiting the popular Indonesian island at all times of the year, staying safe in Bali isn’t as easy as you’d hope.
Balinese roads are chaotic and busy, and snatch-theft is prevalent. When walking around the streets, hold onto your belongings tightly! It’s very common for drivers on bikes to whizz past to grab handbags and wallets straight from tourists.
Likewise, breaking-and-entering is common too. Always lock up when leaving your hotel or guesthouse, and never leave windows open.
3. Embrace the Etiquette
Bali’s fascinating culture is one of the island’s main attractions. However, many tourists unknowingly offend local Balinese by violating their beliefs without the intention to.
An important Bali travel tip is to always dress modestly before entering a temple. Visitors are expected to wear tee-shirts and tops that cover the shoulders and the upper arms. The waist and legs should also be covered up.
If you’ve forgotten to wear modest clothes and arrive outside a temple, luckily in most spots you can buy or borrow a temple scarf or sarong to wear from a street vendor outside the establishment.
4. Travel Wise
Bali is a relatively large island to travel around, and there are several transportation options for travelers featuring different speed and comfort levels depending on the price you’re willing to pay. These include bicycles, scooters, vans, taxis, and public transportation.
It’s important to be aware that not all transport providers are honest, however, and many will try to rip you off as you’re a tourist.
If you’re traveling by taxi, always pick a ‘Blue Bird’ taxi which is metered.
Even then, many will try to agree on a price before you enter the taxi. Insist for the meter to be put on, and if they refuse, simply choose another taxi. There are plenty of Blue Bird taxis around, so it won’t take long to find a genuine driver.
5. Be Aware of Bali Belly
We’ve all heard the horror stories – tales from friends who’ve visited Bali and caught the dreaded ‘Bali belly’. This is also known as ‘traveler’s diarrhea’ and as you can imagine, it’s not pleasant. And it’s not what you’d like to experience on your holiday of dreams!
While there’s no way to completely avoid Bali’s belly, there are some ways to help prevent it.
Most of the time Bali tap water is to blame for bad cases of Bali’s belly, so always stick to canned drinks or bottled water. Likewise, avoid cheap local liquors, and consume street food with a degree of caution.
Go for the street food stalls that have a queue of locals – that way you know which are the best.
6. Don’t Do Drugs!
Perhaps one of the most important Bali traveling tips is to avoid drugs at all costs when visiting the Island of Gods.
Bali’s drug laws are immensely strict and should not be tested. You can receive life imprisonment or even death if you’ve been convicted of trafficking drugs – even if it’s a small amount. Stay away from all drugs in Bali – it’s simply not worth it.
7. Select your Season
Low season equals rainy season in Bali, so although it may be tempting to book cheaper prices, be mindful of the weather. While discounts are great, if you end up spending your Bali vacation cooped up in the hotel room rather than sunning yourself on the beach, is it worth it?
Luckily, in most cases, rain is often limited to hour-long afternoon downpours, so even if you do decide to travel in the rainy season your holiday isn’t likely to be a total write-off.
Rainy seasons are January to April and October to November.
8. Spot the Stray Animals
While they may look cute, stray animals should be given a wide berth. Rabies and other diseases are prevalent in Bali, and stray animals are often in bad shape.
Likewise, while the wild monkeys are quite the novelty, they’re notorious for their thieving ways.
If you’re keen to make a difference for the stray dogs of Bali, consider making a doggy donation to Bali Dog Refuge which works to rescue and rehabilitate the island’s poor pooches.
9. Respect the Ocean
While surfing in Bali is one of the island’s most popular tourist activities, Bali isn’t always safe for beachgoers.
The powerful waves, strong currents, and exposed rocks can be dangerous for surfers and swimmers, so always be mindful when entering the water. Keep an eye out for red flags, and always respect them if they’ve been raised – they’re up for a reason!
Show equal respect to the ocean by not leaving any trash behind and taking it with you.
10. Bargain Respectfully
Bargaining is part of the Balinese culture when shopping for goods in markets and shops but do so respectfully and with a smile on your face.
Don’t push the price down too far – after all, these locals are trying to make a living. You’ll know when a vendor has reached their limit if you walk away and they don’t come after you with a new price.
Planning a Trip to Bali
After you’ve visited Bali once, don’t be surprised to find yourself planning a trip to Bali again and again. There’s something so magical, beautiful, and exciting about the Island of Gods and we hope our Bali traveling guide has given you inspiration and direction for your upcoming holiday.
For more travel tips to Indonesia, browse the rest of the blog!