Often we feel lost in a foreign land. This guide is the ultimate compilation of all the must-know Bali tips and tricks so you can travel sharp and smart.
Consider this a noble act of Public Service. We've put this list of what to look out for / plan for before heading to Bali and whilst in Bali. A supremely useful list, even for the most seasoned traveller.
1. H20 / H2NO
This probably goes without saying, but please don't drink the tap water in Bali. It can make you sick - and that's the last thing you want on a holiday! Buy bottled water / Drink beer. You know the drill.
2. BALI TRAFFIC
Some of us have missed flights in order to write you this article. #truestory The crazy traffic of Bali is kind of unavoidable, but it’s important to be reminded of it, especially when booking day trips / scheduling a flight! Always budget more time than you need and check in with Mr. Google.
3. DON’T BE RUDE
Balinese folk leave out 'canang sari' – a colourful daily offering made by the Balinese Hindus. Be sure to take more care and avoid stepping on them or causing other damage.
4. DRUGS ARE VERY ILLEGAL
In Indonesia, the highest penalty for smuggling drugs is Capital Punishment. Seriously. Just don't.
5. HAGGLING IS ENCOURAGED
On the streets, the first price you're quoted is rarely the actual price, so haggling is not only permitted, it’s encouraged. But haggle nice. Don’t be rude.
6. LOCAL LINGO
Being able to say 'hello', 'thank you', and 'please' will be really appreciated!
7. BE AWARE OF THE STRAY DOGS
Balinese street dogs may not be particularly aggressive, but that doesn't mean you need to go pet them all! Exercise common sense and if you are unfortunate enough to be bitten (even if it doesn't break the skin), go and see a doctor immediately. Also, we have 3 words, 6 syllables for you: Get travel insurance.
8. TAX MAX
By law, all bars and restaurants charge an additional 21% on their food and drink prices. Whilst some add this in to the menu price, others will include small print stating it will be added to the bill. This is completely legit, so do take note!
Don’t be cheap. Invest in a good repellent. And as dusk approaches, be sure to wear long-sleeved tops and trousers.
10. TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP
Ah, tipping. We don't want to appear rude, but we also don't want to pay extra when it's not necessary. Thankfully, it's completely up to you here. If you were given particularly good service, then a tip won't be refused, but you won't be considered a complete arse if one is not provided.
11. TAKE NOTE OF WARNING FLAGS AT THE BEACH
Even along stretches of coasts that are traditionally safe for swimmers, sea conditions can change suddenly: rip currents appear and the ocean becomes quite dangerous - even in the shallows. Thankfully, along the busier beaches, there is a system of red flags in these areas, so please do take note.
12. DOWNLOAD GO-JEK
Locals use the app 'Go-Jek' for pretty much everything, and it is most often used for calling a taxi or moto-taxi.
13. MONEY MATTERS
ATMs in this island are weird. Not all consistent. But find a reputable stand and you should be okay. Meanwhile, don’t be fooled / lured by attractive exchange rates written on boards on the streets. Some of these are petty swindlers who will slip you 19 pieces of notes instead of the 20 pieces promised.