Bali is a true paradise with an exciting culture, amazing nature, and filled with beautiful attractions. So, if you are traveling to Bali you are in for an incredible adventure. As with any other country, there are some things you should know before traveling to Bali. Below we have gathered 11 things for you to know before your next adventure in Bali.
When traveling to Bali you are required to have a visa. There are 3 types of visas for Bali; social and business visa, free tourist visa, and visa on Arrival. To apply and get approved for a visa to Bali you need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months upon entering the country. As well as a few other things. If you want to know more about the process of applying for a visa to Bali you can find all the information you need in our post right here.
#2 Traffic is chaotic
Bali is home to chaos – especially in the traffic. Even outside the rush hour, you will experience that a short drive can be way longer than expected. And by this, we don’t mean a few minutes late but up to hours if you are unlucky. If our faithful travel buddy Google Maps says a trip will take you about 2 hours you should anticipate it takes more than 4 hours to get to your destination.
A rule of thumb to follow in Bali is to ask at your accommodation how much time you should set aside for transportation. The locals often know best.
Because you can’t travel in Bali without any form of transportation there are some things you should be aware of – whether you are planning a day-trip, transportation from town to town, or even when you are walking across the street. Therefore, we recommend you set aside enough time for all your transportation. It’s also very important that you are careful and alert when crossing a street. Our best tip is to walk calmly over the street – that way the motorbikes and cars will drive around you. So, don’t run across the street – it may end in a visit to the hospital.
#3 Don’t drink water from the tap
Like so many other countries you shouldn’t drink water from the tap in Bali. This is a rule of thumb that we almost always follow when we are traveling – whether we are experiencing the beautiful nature in Sri Lanka, the stunning architecture in Morocco, or being cultural in Vietnam.
There may be some bacterium in the tap water in Bali that you won’t find in the water of your home country. So, to avoid getting sick and missing out on incredible experiences in Bali you just shouldn’t drink the tap water.
#4 Respect the culture
The Balinese culture is very pronounced, and you won’t walk a few steps before encountering temples, Buddhas, and offerings. Especially the daily offerings are something that you should be aware of. The small flower baskets and incense sticks adorn houses and pavements all around the island. Though the population of dogs isn’t considerate of the offerings you should be. By not stepping upon the offerings, you respect the Balinese culture.
Another thing to be aware of is your clothing when visiting sacred places. And holy temples and other attractions are something you can’t avoid experiencing. And it’s definitely a must-do when in Bali. At temples and other sacred places, a sarong is a must. Our best advice is to buy one when you arrive in Bali or rent one at the temples. If you are on an arranged trip your driver will probably have a sarong for you.
#5 Be aware of the flags at the beach
The circumstances for swimming in the ocean can change very fast. The ocean can go from being quiet and peaceful to raging with huge waves and strong current – even when it’s low tide. Luckily, the locals set up flags at the beach when you shouldn’t swim in the ocean. Therefore, you should be aware of the red flags at the beaches of Bali.
#6 Strict rules against drugs
In Bali, they have very strict rules against drug use. That means that if you get arrested with possession you may risk a death sentence. So, stay away from drugs!
#7 Learn to haggle
When shopping in Bali (except fancy shops, restaurants, and supermarkets) the first price you are told is rarely the actual price. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to haggle. The locals are used to it and won’t get offended if you start haggling. So, give it a shot. There is a lot of money to save when haggling is done right.
And on a side note – don’t let it bother you when the locals are “sad” it is often just an act.
#8 Learn a few local words
When we traveled around Bali we didn’t have any trouble communicating with the locals. But knowing some local words is always a good idea. The locals will especially appreciate it.
In Bali, there are 2 languages spoken. Bahasa Indonesia is a universal language used throughout the island and Balinese (or Basa Bali) is often the first language of the locals. Below we have made a table of the most common words to use in Bali.
|Good morning||Selamat Pagi||Rahajeng Semeng|
|Good Afternoon||Selamat Sore||Rahajeng Semeng|
|Good Night||Selamat Malam||Rahajeng Wengi|
|Thank You||Terima Kasih||Suksema|
|You´re welcome||Sama sama||Suksema mewali|
#9 Renting a motorbike
Bali should be experienced on a motorbike. Therefore, we would recommend you rent a motorbike. But there are some things worth knowing about renting a motorbike in Bali.
First and foremost, the Balinese traffic is hectic and you should therefore be sure you feel comfortable enough driving around the Balinese streets. Secondly, you should be aware that according to Indonesian law you must have a valid driver’s license for a motorbike. You should also have an international driver’s license in case you are stopped by the police.
#10 Be aware of extra tax at restaurants
In Bali, the law demands all bars, cafés, and restaurants must charge 21 percent extra on food and beverages. At some places, the extra 21 percent is already part of the price on the menu, while at some other places it’s added to the receipt.
Because of these taxes, you are not required to tip. That means that if you experience good service you can tip, but if you don’t want to you don’t have to.
#11 Stray dogs
Bali is filled with stray dogs. The dogs seem very cute but you should be aware that they aren’t as nice as they look. The dogs can bite or attack if they feel threatened. And that can be quite dangerous – especially if you are bitten by a dog with a disease. Therefore, you shouldn’t get too close or pet any of the stray dogs in Bali.
It’s always to talk to your doctor at home about what to do if it happens. That way you will be prepared.