So it’s your first time in Bali. Think you know it all? Besides the usual norm in being among the warm and genuinely friendly Balinese such as right hand only or shielding any exposed body parts below waist, there are several things that we thought you must know. Bali always offers something wonderful, and surprising to its first timers, so don’t say we never warn you!
1. Local radar for first timers
Image Courtesy of Crystal Egan
Don’t be surprised if you are chased down by hordes of eager sellers from different vendors along the beach walkway. Chances are the local are so adept with the varieties of tourists that they will definitely know if it’s your first time there. They might be so bold as to put on their items on you and demand payment, all in a friendly manner of course. Enjoy the attention, just be careful not to ask for pricing if you are not in the mood for buying.
2. The sun can be merciless
Image Courtesy of Wayan Saryada
Tropical island is all fun and game until you continually soak through your tops. So, forget your heavy jeans and jacket because this is no sweater weather. Bali is usually hot all year-round with average temperature of 32 degrees. We recommend light cotton fabric, sandals, and sleeveless tops to beat the heat.
3. Bali’s own signature beaches
Image Courtesy of Nita Strudwick
There is no denying the beauty of Bali’s famous beaches, but you’d be disappointed if you are expecting crystal clear water in every beach you go. Popular beaches such as Kuta are generally packed with tourists and peddlers that the waters tend to be not clear. With the few exceptions of ‘hidden’ coastal area such as Ungasan, you might encounter better water quality here. Be warned though, strong currents and waves might throw you off when you surf. Overall, what Bali lacks in its water will be made up by its hip beachfront clubs and magnificent sunsets.
4. Cultural feast
Image Courtesy of SarahTz
The daily sight of sesajen or offerings are everywhere. Along with rituals, festivals and ancient cultures, you will witness the true Bali which is heavily imbued with religions and temple processions. These rituals and art performances are carried on with pride involving generations in the family, leaving visitors in awe of it all.
5. Get your own sarong.
Image Courtesy of Mike Haller
Now that you expect to visit many of its cultural places such as the temples, you should know that one is required to wear a sash and a sarong. They are widely available in front of temple entrance for rent or sale for a relatively cheap price. Sash is to be worn around the waist while sarong is used to hide exposed body parts below the waist. Get your own sarong if you want to stand out and avoid the hassle of sarong renting.
6. Fantastic drinks and cocktails
Bali is filled with happening and lavish beach clubs and bars. When you head to Seminyak and Legian, the bartenders are more than ready to serve you with their mix of dazzling cocktails and other beverages. Beer is also quite affordable. Even so, be wary of overpriced drinks and other cheap alcohol such as arak.
7. Shopping frenzy meets price haggling
For first timers, you will be spoilt for shopping choices and you are even welcome to put your bargaining skills to the test. However, on a more upscale area such as Seminyak, Legian, Canggu and Ubud, you’d get a taste of a more high-end stores where prices are fixed. With better quality, expect higher price so it’s best to hunt for sales with price markdown.
8. Bali isn’t just Kuta beach.
As one of it’s oldest and most popular spots in whole island, Kuta is loud, crowded, and can be considered as tasteless and seedy as well. True, some of that assumptions might apply but Bali definitely has way more to offer than just Kuta. Get around the island and prove yourself wrong! Hire a professional driver and guide to show you the best side of Bali.
9. Tantalizing coffee
Not just packed with beach clubs, bars and restaurants, Bali is also a lively scene of quaint and charming cafes. Serving coffee with free wi-fi at most cafes, you will be able to relish in a cup of decent to amazing coffee they have to offer.
10. Get your helmet on
Image Courtesy of nakamasa naniwa
One of the best way to explore the island is by motorbikes or bicycles. Both are available for rent with cheap prices. While Bali road is relatively safe, it can be quite intimidating as it gets more and more hectic. That being said, don’t forgo protective gears because fun is second and safety is always first.
11. Travel with cash
Bali provides free visa of 30 days for 45 nationals but if yours aren’t listed, you’ll be expected to pay for visa on arrival. To avoid the hassle of using credit cards, get your cash ready so you can start to enjoy Bali as soon as possible.
12. Everyone has similar names
The name system in Bali can be quite confusing. Males are named by their order of birth : Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut. So don’t be perplexed if the concierge shares the same name as your driver.
13. Smokers are everywhere.
Both locals and tourists smoke, as cigarettes are cheap at Bali. Don’t be offended or surprised if there are puffs or smokes almost everywhere.
14. Favorite dish : Nasi goreng.
Image Courtesy of Alpha
Bali cuisine has a lot of varieties and most are tasty and affordable as well Try the suckling pig and fried rice which are everywhere you go. The nasi goreng is sometimes served with sate, which is grilled chunks of meat on a stick. Many of Bali’s top notch restaurants will offer you world class cuisine with the most incredible food selections.
15. Getting there is easy and inexpensive
With the travel air fare offers and hotel great deals, it’s a no wonder that Bali is always crammed with tourists and visitors.
16. Tap water is not ready for drink.
Remember to only drink from bottled water which are easy to get and cheap. Most hotels and resorts provide complimentary bottled water daily. If you are dining at places other than restaurants, avoid drinking with ice cubes so you’ll be safe from getting some digestion problems during your holiday.
17. Picturesque nature all around.
Image Courtesy of american_rugbier
Once you are done with the main tourist areas, go see Bali’s World Heritage- listed paddy field terraces or be among the local where you can experience the authentic Bali first hand.
18. Make use of the exchange rate
Image Courtesy of anna
Good news to foreigners bringing your currency to Indonesia. With the current exchange rate, your dollar will go a long way making you feel like a millionaire. Money changers are everywhere, as well as ATM machines which accept credit cards. Spend up!
19. Tips are appreciated
There is no specific rules when it comes to tipping, but a little tip goes a long way as a gesture of appreciation. Balinese serves with generosity and hospitality, so when you receive good service, it is a much appreciated way to reciprocate.
20. You’ll return.
It will be hard to get Bali out of your list, even after several visits. There is definitely something magical and beautiful about Bali if you know where to look. So, explore and let’s fall in love with Bali.