Ten Tips To Help You Travel In Bali:
1) Hire a driver: This one is a must if you can afford the $50-$60 (or around 600,000 rupiah) per day. You can get one for less, but they may not have seat belts, A/C, join you in the temples or tell you much about the history. Make sure they speak your language or you speak theirs. If you have your heart set on renting a scooter or that’s what is in your budget, wait a day or two so you can get a feel for how traffic works, it’s a bit overwhelming at first. Our two drivers that we had were great, so if you would like their contact information, we would be happy to share it, just shoot us an email.
2) Learn the local lingo: This is a basic travel tip for anywhere. Learn how to say hello, thank you or anything that shows an effort to learn the local language. In Balinese, thank you is “suksma”. Thank you very much is “matur suksma”. This will go a long way and make your time more enjoyable and is a great ice breaker to learn more about the people and their culture.
3) Ignore the hawkers: The people of Bali are poor and tourism is their number one way to make money so there will be many locals trying to sell you goods or wanting you to hire them as drivers but just say no, shake your head, or even ignore them and keep walking. Be aware that if you speak or acknowledge them in any way, they might follow you and keep trying, but go against your judgement to be polite and just ignore them.
4) Visa on arrival and Departure Tax: The price may vary, but we paid $25 usd/person for our visa on arrival. The departure tax for us will be 150,000 rupiah/person (or $12.51 usd/person). This needs to be in Rupiah and it is a good idea to put this aside so when you get to the airport you have the correct money to depart and are not stuck having to get out of line to go change money. A lower departure tax is also charged if you are going on a domestic flight to another island as well.
5) Buy from local artists: You’re going to want some souvenirs, just ask your driver to take you to a village or person’s house that makes what you’re looking for. Different areas are known for certain types of crafts. The quality of these crafts is much better than that of the shops and you get to see how the product is made and meet the person behind the souvenir making the experience that much more special.
6) You don’t need to buy a sarong: As you visit temples, you will be approached by people trying to sell or rent you a sarong. With the exception of two temples, Besakih (The Mother Temple) and Lempuyang (also called Temple of a Thousand Steps), your entry fee will include the use of a sarong. But, if you want one as a souvenir, just refer to tip number five.
7) NO KUTA: Unless you’re in your late teens to early twenties and want to party, be a target for pick pockets or enjoy being hassled by hawkers, stay clear of this very busy tourist trap. We didn’t go there on advice from others, and after talking with our drivers and other locals, it was a good call.
8) Give yourself a day for rest: If you are in Bali to experience all that you can, set one day aside every few days so you can rest. The combination of walking and the humidity will deplete your energy faster than you think.
9) Get out and experience Bali: Do yourself a favor and don’t sit in your hotel pool area all vacation. There is more to the “Land of The Gods” than you can imagine. One of the world’s most culturally enriched places, Bali is full of life and has so much more to offer than cheap food and temples, all you have to do is explore a little.
10) Come To Bali: Don’t listen to other people, make the decision for yourself to come. Travel critics are like movie critics, they’re opinions are not always going to be the same as yours. Follow these tips and our Bali posts and you may just end up loving Bali. Don’t forget to do your research.