Bali is one of the favorite destinations. The motives? Many: it has an incredible and unique culture, with a frankly delicious gastronomy, with temples that will leave you amazed and natural corners that will make you want to marry Mother Nature. Of course, there are some things that we would have loved to know before our first visit, because it is clear that not even the island of the Gods is perfect.
Here we leave you 13 tips to travel to Bali.
The best time to travel to Bali is from early May till late September. Typical of the monsoon season is a good downpour falls for a few hours and then good weather.
2. Escape from Kuta
Kuta may well be the idea of traveling hell: muscular “backpackers” with a bintang in hand, more tattoo shops than temples, the streets full of garbage and plastics, congested traffic and go-getters offering you motorcycles, accommodation, drugs, girls … Although we have to admit sunset from its beach is one of the best you will ever see.
3. Take your time
A 7-day stay is the minimum to discover Bali, although we recommend at least two weeks: the island is larger than it seems and, although in kilometers it does not seem that the distances are long, in reality it takes much longer than expected. If you want to discover part of his soul you need to get off the typical route… And it is that Bali is a box of surprises.
4. Don’t trust public transportation
We always say that in Asia, no matter how ramshackle and rudimentary, public transport is a hoot: wherever you go, you will most likely be able to find a bus that, in no time, will leave for your destination. Well, in Bali it is not like that. We don’t really know why or how, but public transport on the island is practically non-existent, inefficient and expensive. The alternatives are:
- Rent a motorbike – by motorbike you can get to non-touristy places, be 100% free and enjoy Bali to the fullest. The motorcycle rental in Kuta is 40,000 IDR per day, plus 10,000 IDR for insurance. The liter of gasoline costs 4,500 IDR at the gas station and 5,000 IDR in the street bottles
- Hire a taxi: it is the option that is more comfortable but more expensive (calculates about 80,000-100,000 IDR for each hour) or about € 40 for a car with driver for the whole day
- There is a third option that, although it seems to be “illegal” in Bali, everyone uses it: something like Uber. And of course there is also the option of hiring “tours”. The good thing is that you will do the visits accompanied by a guide who knows a lot about the island and it is not very expensive!
Some of the “must see” tours are:
- Lake Bratan, waterfalls and swing
- East Bali and Pura Besakih temple
- South of Bali and Uluwatu
For other ideas, you should check the official tourist website of Indonesia
5. Get your international card
Don’t forget to get your international driving license (with the car B it’s enough to drive 125CC scooters). In Bali the police usually stop tourists, if you do not have an international card you will have to give them a small bribe so that they do not fine you. If this happens, we are going to tell you a little trick to save some money: take two wallets, the one you always use is well protected, and another, a spare, with a few rupees … Why? When the police ask you to pay for not having the card, take out the spare wallet and show the little money you have (€ 5-10), happy trashy backpacker! He’ll probably keep the money and let you go.
6. Bali is not just temples
Don’t limit your visits to spending the day between one temple and another. You will not enjoy the trip. Temples aside, there are many things to visit in Bali: typical villages, food stops on the road, rice fields, lakes, volcanoes … The more heterogeneous the better.
7. And of course Bali is not just beaches
Culture in Bali is what really worth knowing. Neighborhood Gili is with really great beaches. In Bali, the Bukit Peninsula area is, perhaps, one of those with the most beautiful beaches, with fine, clear sand, an interesting environment and a good atmosphere, although the currents are dangerous. Another interesting area is in the busy Sanur and Nusa Dua, or in the less traveled Candidasa. In the north, the Permutaran area is good for snorkeling and diving.
8. What about the budget? How to save?
It is not really cheap in Bali if in a few days you want to visit many places and choose to stay in beautiful hotels and eat in cool restaurants. If you don’t mind settling in local homestays ($ 5-8 per night), eating at warungs ($ 1.5-2 per meal), and sharing transportation with fellow travelers, we’ve got good news: Bali isn’t a destination just for rich men and newly married couples.
9. Always check the bill
When at the end of lunch / dinner they bring you the bill, do not pay without first checking each and every one of the figures: it has happened to us on several occasions that the price of the menu not correspond to that of the bill.
12. Live the non-tourist Bali
Don’t stay in Kuta or Ubud all the time. They are the two most touristy areas of Bali and it will not be so easy for you to experience the most authentic part of the island. If you have the opportunity, stay for a few days in a non-touristy area.
13. Don’t ever take drugs
Indonesian politics are not joking in this matter: taking drugs is punishable by jail (and even the death penalty).
14. A souvenir sarong
To enter the temples of Bali, you must wear a sarong (the typical scarf that is worn around the waist as a skirt for both men and women). It will be better if you buy one idea at the beginning of the trip, they are also very beautiful and will serve as a souvenir for your return home.