Bali is fondly known as another state in Western Australia. It is cheaper and closer for us West Aussies to go to Bali on a holiday then it is to visit the Eastern States. I have lost count the number of times I have been to Bali but it is more than 10 times.
If you have never been to Bali before and planning a trip here are few things that you need to know.
You know you are in Bali as soon as you step off the plane
That is right as soon as you step off the plane you are hit with the smell of Bali. Then the tropical heat and humidity makes you realise that you have entered a foreign land. You will be filled to the brim with excitement and ready to explore the island.
Visa no longer required on arrival
Good news is Aussies no longer need a Visa on arrival and you can stay for up to 30 days for free. There are another 169 countries that don’t need a visa on arrival. Make sure you check before you depart if a visa is required as things may change.
The airport is chaotic
As soon as you arrive at the airport the chaos begins. Porters will try and carry your bags for you and lead you to some form of transport. They can be a little pushy but they are just trying to make a living. This is your first introduction to the Balinese people and you will soon learn that there is always someone nearby trying to sell you something!
I suggest that you organise your arrival and departure transfers prior to leaving home. This way you will know there is someone waiting for you at the airport and they will take you to your hotel. Saves the hassle of bartering as soon as you arrive, give yourself some time to ease into it.
Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore! You have entered into another land and the chances are you will experience culture shock. Things are not like home, the roads are chaotic, there are people constantly trying to sell you things and electrical cables hanging down everywhere! Bali was my first overseas trip ever and I remember thinking I am never leaving the hotel room again! Don’t worry the feeling passes and you soon get into the groove of the island.
There appears to be no roads rule!
It appears that there are no road rules, scooters driving down the street the wrong way or on the footpath. The sound of a horn beeping is never far away! A beep for I am overtaking or beep, I want to get past.
Don’t be surprised if you see a whole family on a scooter or transporting something large like a tree or chickens on the back of a scooter. I don’t know how but the roads just seem to work.
Take care on the footpaths
The footpaths are not in the best condition. Often there are uneven and you may even discover part of the path is missing and there is a large hole waiting for you to fall into! If you are planning on taking a pram for your little one, think again.
Be prepared to Barter
Bartering is a bit like sport, you tend to get a little competitive! So many times I found myself not budging and when you do the conversion I discovered that I was arguing over such a small amount of money.
When you find something you want to buy ask how much it is. Then offer them around 70% less, the shop owner will say no and give you another price. You can work your way up from here until you can come to an agreement. If you don’t want to pay the price they are asking for you can just say that you will leave it and walk away. More often than not they will call you back and come down on the price.
Have fun bartering and please not to be rude while you are trying to cut a deal.
Currency can be a little confusing
Getting used to the currency can take a little time. The exchange rate is always changing but it is usually $1 Australian dollar to 10,000 Indonesian Rupiah. So many times I hear tourists say that they gave someone 100, 000 instead of 10,000 rp and not realised until later on. Take the time to check your notes so that you are handing over the correct amount and don’t be afraid to use a calculator to do a conversion.
Thing don’t tend to run on time in Bali. You might have booked a tour and it is possible that they don’t turn up on time. Expect to do lots of waiting around, the lobby of your hotel will be your friend! It is known as Bali time, don’t sweat it, just go with it.
Nyepi Day and other Religious Festivals
Parts of the island can come to a standstill due to religious festivals. Nyepi Day is a day of silence which is held in March. The whole island stops on this day, you can’t leave the hotel, have the lights on at night and you need to keep noise to a minimum. Even planes can’t fly in and out of the island. I actually enjoyed Nyepi Day as it forced me to relax and do nothing!
Drink Bottled Water
Don’t drink the tap water or you will pay for it!! Always drink bottled water and plenty of it as Bali is hot and humid. There are plenty of mini marts around so you can pick up your supplies. I also suggest brushing your teeth with bottled water.
Red Cordial may help protect you from Bali Belly
Pack some red cordial in your bag and have a glass every day to help prevent Bali belly. According to Doctor Karl any colour cordial will help, so long as it’s synthetic. It is not a sure fire way to stop Bali belly but the times I didn’t drink it I got Bali belly. So I am going with the theory that it works!
You can live like a King or Queen!
Bali is cheap and you can live it up! Eat out every meal, get pampered by having a spa treatment and be chauffeur driven. Make the most of it as once the holiday is over you are soon back to reality.
Beware of scams
There are plenty of scams around in Bali as everyone is trying to make a buck. Don’t get me wrong most of the Balinese are very friendly but you just need to have your wits about you so you don’t get ripped off.
Get out of Kuta and see the real Bali
Kuta is the main tourist area, full of resorts, bars and restaurants. Kuta if a fun place but make sure you see the real Bali! There is so much more to Bali with its temples, forests and rice terraces.
Accommodation options to suit all budgets
There is an abundance of accommodation to choose from to suit your budget.
Kuta is the place to stay if you want to party. Legian is quieter than Kuta but there is still lots of action! Seminyak is a bit more upmarket with nice restaurants and boutique shops and the beach is much quieter. Ubud is a small town in the highlands with lots of culture. Nusa Dua, Sanur and Jimbaran Bay have beachfront resorts and it is much quieter.
The options are endless and you can find a property at Booking.com to suit your needs.
Further reading: The Crazy Tourist’s 55 Best Things to Do in Bali!
** Some of the links in this post are affiliated links. If you click to book the accommodation, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra. **