Bali is as serene, as spiritual and as majestic as you all think it is. The place is known for its amazing beaches, ancient temples, stunning rice fields, luxury hotels and delicious food.
To know a few facts about a place before arriving can really make a difference, particularly if you are coming down for the first time. There are a few things you should know in order to get the most out of your trip.
Some of these things we had no clue about before we got there, some of these we were told prior to our visit and some of these we learned along the way.
So to help you prepare for your first trip to the land of Gods, here are our top tips on the things you absolutely must know before you go.
The moment you come out of the airport, the taxi drivers swarm in. They almost try to flock on to you, trying to ‘help’ you with your luggage, leading you to their taxis and take you to your or their choice of hotels. They pull the straps of your bag, block your path and pour in their best deals. Somewhat like what our taxi drivers do when they see a foreigner coming out of Delhi Airport. You are a foreigner there. Be polite and tell them that you have already arranged your car. If you haven’t, just go to the pre-paid Taxi counter and book your ride.
This is the updated price chart of the Airport’s Official Taxi Counter.
But for this and the rest of the days, I would suggest you to book Blue Bird when in Bali. Blue Bird has kind of earned a reputation in the ‘mostly-corrupt’ taxi industry. The way they work is simple and there are no dirty tricks involved. Download the blue Bird app on your Smartphone and you are ready to go.
There are also Uber and GrabCar services in Bali.
You can also plan your tour with a guide and rent a car. They take around 650000 Indonesian Rupiah which is around 3000 INR per day. You can contact at the given number. He was both our driver and tour guide. A wonderful man. His contact number is +628123941146.
If you don’t want to hire cabs and want to roam around Bali on your own wish and pace, then rent a bike. It’s of course only if you can ride one and have an International driving license. Also, you have to be good with map and should be able to communicate with locals in need. I prefer two-wheelers because of the freedom it offers and with motorbikes it is more flexible to find your ways in traffic jams. Don’t forget helmets.
You might feel like a billionaire in Bali, but don’t let that drive and sway you. Whenever you go for money exchange, stay alert, stay aware. Know the exchange rate and count the money before you leave. Also be aware of the authenticity of the currencies. If possible don’t give the money until you are sure you are given the right amount. Banks and ATMS, though don’t have best exchange rates, are safer.
HOMESTAYS OVER HOTELS:-
If you are traveling on budget, you might want to try homestay. Generally it would be a simple room with an attached bath and other basic facilities. But usually is pretty clean and a lot cheaper than hotels and villas. Better book it online before you come because they tend to get booked pretty fast.
RESPECT RELIGIOUS CUSTOM:-
This shouldn’t be a problem if you are an Indian or from any South-East Asian countries. We know what culture and religious customs mean. They are deeply rooted in us. Like ours, Balinese culture is strong too. You will come across offerings made by the Balinese to God in the temples, shrines and on the streets as well. Be careful, just don’t step on them.
While packing for the trip, toss in a sarong, a stole and a half/full sleeved shrug or shirt. While going out in Bali, keep them in your handbag. Most of the temples won’t allow you if you are not dressed modestly (covering the shoulders, arms and knees). In case you forget, no worries. They are available for free rent outside the temples. Conduct yourself appropriately when visiting temples and holy sites. Even men wear them too.
In a few tourist attractions you will find monkeys all over the place. Keep in mind that there are monkeys who have been trained. Yes, they are trained to snatch your personal belongings and then hand them to their owners. When you will go to the owner to ask for it, they will ask for money. So be careful and keep your valuables safe. Even in India there are tourist places which are swarmed my hundreds and thousands of monkeys, but I have never experienced or heard of similar stories. GOSH!!
You are never going to miss India. Bali is a place of crazy congested roads. Whether you are planning for the day trip or thinking of making it somewhere for the sunset or just heading towards the airport to catch a flight, book your drive well in advance.
You will see massage parlors from all around Bali advertising their amazing deals on every beauty treatment you can imagine. And yes, they are cheap. I got an hour and half of head and body massage for 200000 Indonesian Rupiah, which is just 944 INR. But be really really careful, don’t just go anywhere. Keep your ears, eyes open, be safe.
Say No to DRUGS:-
Drug Laws in Indonesia are super strict. The penalty for carrying drugs is DEATH. Come’on, you don’t want to die on your leisure trip.
Best time to Visit:-
If you have already planned and booked your tickets, then I can’t help you right now; but if you still haven’t then… Avoid the rainy season and as much as possible. Rainy Season in Indonesia is around October to April. Rain in Indonesia is normally heavy and you don’t want to ruin your holiday due to rain, unless you are Pluviophilia like me and can never get bored of or irritated with the continuous downpour. Though the flight tickets and hotel charges are cheapest around this season. If you want a perfect sun-bathing holiday, then May-September is best. Also avoid the time of Eid ul-Fitr or Lebaran. It is crazily crowded in Bali at that time because it is a holiday season and people from all over the country travel, Bali being the most favorite destination for a quick trip. It would be hard to find hotels, flight tickets and even a place on the beach where you can sit alone for a while and enjoy Bali. So check the Indonesian Calendar before planning your trip.