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?
Images courtesy of Travel Lush