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For me and many others, Bali is Heaven on Earth, for some it’s only an exotic destination without white sand beaches and turquoise water.
Whether you will fall in love with this place or not, I have some practical things that will help you in this trip.
1. Traffic !! All main roads are very busy
Before arriving in Bali, I made an itinerary with 2-3 attractions for almost each day, so we could see everything that I thought was worth seeing. We hired a driver for each day prior our arrival, I pinned all the attractions on Google Maps and only after all that I was ready to leave home and feel at ease ( maybe I am a bit of a control freak). After the first 30 minutes in Bali, I realised that all my plans were ruined. Our first road, from the Denpasar Airport, to the villa in Seseh, which is 25 kilometers away, took us two hours. With a local driver. Well, that’s pretty much how traffic goes in Bali, especially in the Central- South area. I had to reorganize everything, because we had no time to get to all the attractions, and no one wanted to spend 3-4 hours in a car, to get to visit a temple for 30 minutes. So then we took the best decision, we cancelled the plans with the driver and we rented scooters.
2. The scooter, your best companion in Bali.
We rented 5 scooters for 10 persons, 5$/day/scooter. Pretty cheap no?:) Luckily, my boyfriend drove one back in Romania, because |I can tell you this, it’s a pretty scary experience to make it through the chaos that is the Bali traffic. But it’s the best way of transportation in that situation. 90% of the roads are with only two lanes, which are obviously blocked by cars, and everywhere between these lanes, near or on the sidewalk, there are scooters that are battling to go through. So it can be a pretty overwhelming. But once you get used to it, it becomes a very nice and authentic experience. You are truly becoming a balinese 🙂 You are feeling all the energies, the smells, people are smiling at you from a meter away. And now some practical advice : on a scooter, you have to be dressed from head to toe, not to get sun burnt and you have to wear a helmet, obviously. It is not legal to drive in Bali as a foreigner, even if you have a international driving licence. But everyone does it. If police is stopping you, and it is a big probability for this to happen, you can pay them a small fee, maybe 10 dollars and they will let you go. You don’t have to pay them a lot, really. They are very used with this. Gas is very cheap and you can find it in gas stations or on the side of the road, in Absolut Vodka bottles:)
3. Money Exchange
It is best to change your money in a BMC Money Changer, PT Bali Money Changer or at the Bank. These are the safest methods. It is well known that the different locations that you find all over the streets of a touristic location, they can trick you. For example when they are counting your money in front of you, they can throw some bills under the counter. And also the exchange rat can differ from one location to another. From my opinion, the safest method is to find a BMC location.
4. You can negotiate almost everything
Except the gas stations, pharmacies and official stores, you can negotiate everything. And because of their beautiful culture, it’s also easy to do so. I have never seen anyone hustlin’ or playing games in this process:) Almost every time I got what I wanted, at the price that I wanted, without too much effort. Everything is cheap and sometimes I felt guilty for buying a piece of art for example, at a very small price, compared to the effort they have put into it. The best place to buy souvenirs is Ubud, but you can find a lot of things, and cheaper in Tanah Lot.
5. Bali Visa
You get the visa at your arrival at the airport, and it will cost you aprox 35 dollars. When you leave, you will have to pay an airport tax that will cost aprox 18 dollars. But remember that they will only accept indonesian rupiah. ( 200 idr).
6. In my opinion, you do not need any vaccine for Bali
On the internet you can find a lot of opinions, regarding this issue. I have been in Asia a couple of times, and Bali is one of the most clean places . Also, it is a very touristic place, I really don’t think that you need to get any vaccine. As long as you avoid drinking unbottled water, you will be ok:)
7. Everything is cheap in Bali, except alcohol 🙂
Really, it is well known that alcohol has a pretty big price compared with everything else. It depend of the prices from you country but I can tell you that a bottle of Jack ( 750 ml) from the supermarket was around 50 $. Beer is a cheaper alternative:P
8. Big Waves!!
In a lot of locations, swimming is prohibited. That’s why it’s called the surfer’s paradise, no? There are really big currents, and this makes it impossible in some places to go for a swim. So you should make sure when you book a hotel if the beach is for surfing or is it safe to swim. For example, in Kuta, you can also swim, if it’s not a day with very big waves.
9. Best period to visit Bali
Opposite to the other exotic locations, best time to visit Bali is from April to late September. If you are going in winter, when the prices are also quite low, you risk to have a really rainy holiday. It is also quite cloudy. But it is not like you can’t enjoy this amazing place. I think it is perfect, because a lot of people want to travel in summer and you can’t really go in Thailand or Maldives because of the season, so your other exotic option can be Bali, the Island of Gods:)
10. In which part of Bali should you stay?
Bali has two main areas of interest, different from each other. One is in the center of the Island, Ubud. Here is the spiritual and artistic center of the island, it’s where all the yoga studios are, the Monkey Forest, Elephant Safari, the most beautiful rice fields, etc. You have a lot of things to do here, except going to the beach. The other popular area for tourists, is Kuta, where all the parties and surfing is taking place. Kuta is very touristic, and less authentic. But if you would like to combine the two of them, I recommend you to choose the S-V coast, between Kuta and Tanah Lot. Seminyak is a very chic location, Canggu area is also touristic but also authentic. I am sure you will feel great whatever you will choose. And also you can visit them all but you have to enjoy especially the place you are staying in.
Enjoy your time in this amazing place and if you have any questions for me please send me an email 🙂 And while you are there, try something new, going on a scooter, taking a yoga class or a surf lesson, it’s the perfect place to treat you soul and your mind with something new.