5 things every traveler should know before traveling to Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia, Travel Tips

5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Bali

So, you’re traveling to Bali, Indonesia?  Here are five things I wish I knew before heading there myself.

  • Bali has a reputation for being a tranquil getaway dotted with luxurious beach bungalows, pristine beaches, and lush rice terraces.  While these things do exist in Bali, there are parts of the island that are extremely built up and hyper touristy.  Most travelers stay in Southern Bali, somewhere near the main beaches in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak.  When I first visited Bali I stayed in Kuta and was taken aback by the sheer number of tourists.  I also hadn’t expected there to be so many glitzy beachfront malls, American fast food restaurants, and aggressive touts.  I personally ended up enjoying my time in Kuta, but I can understand why a lot of travelers are put off by it!
  • Bali might be a relatively small island but it is a multi-faceted place.  For those who like to party hard, then Kuta is definitely for you.  If you’re into yoga, culture or nature then you’re probably going to love Ubud.  If you’re looking to just relax at a nice resort and lounge on the beach for days on end, Nusa Dua is a great option.  My personal favorite destination in Bali is Nusa Penida, a stunning, untouristy island located off the southern coast of the mainland (pictured above).
  • Bali has a reputation for being expensive, but in my experience, Bali can be done on any budget.  Yes, there are luxury resorts that literally cost thousands of dollars a night, but you can also find dorm beds for less than $10.  I personally like to splurge a little in Bali because spending a few extra dollars goes a long way there.  Spending $15 to $40 a night on accommodation can get you a seriously nice hotel, complete with a pool, buffet breakfast, flat screen TV and a king-sized bed.
  • Taxis are cheap in Bali and they are ubiquitous in the main tourist areas.  Definitely insist that your drivers use the meter, otherwise you’re likely going to get overcharged.  If they refuse just get out and flag down another taxi.  In Kuta and Ubud you will be offered “transport” by basically every tout on the street.  If you’re interested in touring the island for a day – for example seeing the rice terraces in Ubud, the beaches of Nusa Dua or one of the island’s active volcanoes, you can rent a car for the day.  I paid $50 for a private car for eight hours.  Because I was traveling with three other people I felt that price was a steal!
  • Bali is an Indonesian island (a lot of people think it’s its own country).  Despite the fact that it’s located in a predominately Muslim country, the majority of Balinese people actually practice a form of Hinduism.  And it is very apparent!  Bali is famous for its many temples and it’s not uncommon to witness ceremonies take place in streetside temples.  You’ll also see little handmade boxes containing flowers, candies, incense and other offerings littering the streets in the early mornings.  Be considerate of local customs and err on the side of conservative in your choice of clothing.

Have you been to Bali?  What tips would you add?5 Things to Know Before Traveling to Bali, Indonesia

Images courtesy of Travel Lush

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  • Reply Ray October 15, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Those are some great tips, especially about considering hiring a taxi for the day to travel around Bali. $50 for an 8 hour trip? That is a steal. As for the northern part of Bali, is there anything there that you would recommend seeing or doing? Most blogs I have been reading lately usually only ever talk about the South or Ubud, so there is very little information on the North from what I have read so far.
    Ray recently posted…Chicago’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions – Kuipers Family FarmMy Profile

    • Reply Justine October 18, 2016 at 5:00 am

      Hi Ray. There is plenty to explore in the north, although I personally haven’t made it up there yet. I’ve been eying Amed, Mount Batur and Lovina as potential places to visit. I believe the beach areas to the north are especially good for diving and snorkeling. I’d give those a google. And yes, hiring a driver is a great way to get around Bali for a day. You might have to haggle but we paid around $60 without haggling. Have fun!

  • Reply stephanie November 8, 2016 at 6:55 am

    I went to Bali this summer and spend most of my time in Legian/Seminyak, Ubud and the Gili’s.
    The taxi idea is a great tip, if i come back to bali, i will hire one to see the north and east!

  • Reply Chris May 11, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    The North of Bali is amazing and is even cheaper rhan the South, less crowded and more traditional. The government has been talking about an airport in the North of Bali for years to help drive tourism up that way and to assist with the over populated South!

    *Safety Tip – do not attempt to drive from the South to the North yourself, use a careful and experienced local guide or driver as the roads are notoriously dangerous. For the faint hearted consider taking the longer route and make a day trip.

    It is possible that they are also planning to build the Northern airport off shore however, there are many environmental impacts needed to be carefully considered.

    I do hope that more tourism goes that way as it is truly an un-spoilt, pristine and deeply cultural part of Bali and the locals are more than welcoming as they are also in the South (without the over pushy touts which can be overwhelming for the novice Bali tourist).

    There is still plenty to do in the North with Accommodation options from budget Hotels to Luxury Villas and Resorts!

    • Reply Leah Davis May 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Thanks for the tips, Chris! Bali is sure an awesome place.

  • Reply Ellen September 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

    How is Bali in december? A lot of rain?

    • Reply Leah Davis September 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Hi Ellen, I’m not sure as I haven’t traveled to Bali in December. A quick Google search ought to give you your answer 🙂

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