Bali, Indonesia is an absolutely breathtaking island that will delight all visitors. From its stunning white sand beaches, mesmerizing ancient temples, and colourful sunsets- it’s impossible not to fall in love with this island paradise. Prior to travelling to Bali, there are some things that visitors should take note of. It’s always best to be prepared and informed when visiting a new country.
Here are 9 things you should know about travelling to Bali.
1. Staying Safe
While in Bali, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety. Overall, Bali is very safe, but petty crime is not uncommon so be sure to keep money and valuables out of sight and close to you. It’s advised not to carry a lot of cash on you while out, and to not go out alone at night.
It’s also important to be aware of emergency services in the area in case an urgent situation was to happen. 211 is the main emergency services number in Bali that will send aid. However, depending on the severity of the emergency, it is sometimes recommended to hire a cab to get you to the nearest hospital or medical centre, as it can be faster than waiting for an ambulance.
2. Don’t Drink the Tap Water
To prevent an unfortunate case of “Bali belly” (an upset stomach or traveller’s diarrhea) avoid drinking the tap water at all costs.Due to poor water pipe infrastructure and the intense tropical heat, there are pathogens in Bali’s tap water that cause sickness.Always drink bottled water and be mindful of consuming foodslike fruit or salads that may be rinsed with tap water. It is even recommended to shower with your mouth closed and to use bottled water for brushing your teeth.
3. Be Cautious of Stray Dogs
Don’t be alarmed if you come across many stray dogs while in Bali, as they are quite common. Although there are shelters on the island, unfortunately, there are not enough to keep up with the large population of strays. That being said while most of these dogs are harmless and just looking for scraps of food, always remember that animals are unpredictable and it’s best to exercise caution when around them.
4. Navigating Currency and ATMs
The official currency in Bali is the Indonesian rupiah. It is recommended to convert your cash at the airport upon arrival to Bali as you are likely to get a better exchange rate there than in your home country. While there are ATMs throughout the island for you to access money from, it is not guaranteed that they will all work. Some ATMs may not recognize your card or will only allow you to withdraw a small amount, but don’t panic, this is common, and eventually, you will find one that works.
5. Learn a Few Local Words
There are two languages spoke in Bali, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Bali. Many Balinese who live in touristy areas can also speak English due to tourism requirements. Although you won’t have any problems navigating Bali in English, it is suggested to learn simple phrases like “thank you” or “yes please” in Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Bali.
6. Prevent Mosquito Bites
When in Bali it’s important to be aware of how to prevent mosquito bites. The island is home to two types of mosquitos that carry malaria and dengue fever which can cause severe illness. Mosquitos tend to be more of a problem during the “wet season” (October-April), especially near bodies of water. It’s best to focus on preventing mosquito bites year-round so be sure to pack extra-strength mosquito repellent for your vacation to Bali.
7. Best Modes of Transportation
Traffic can be pretty crazy in Bali making transportation a bit hectic. Luckily, getting around in touristy areas is fairly simple thanks to an abundance of taxis. Although there is the option to rent a scooter/motorbike it isn’t recommended to do this in busy areas. It can be extremely dangerous to attempt to drive in hectic traffic and it is not uncommon for tourists to sustain injuries from trying to navigate a scooter/motorbike. However, if you are visiting areas that don’t have heavy traffic, then renting a scooter/motorbike is a great way to explore more hidden parts of Bali. It is important to note that in Bali, vehicles drive on the left side of the road, similar to the UK driving system.
8. Respect the Culture
Balinese culture is generally laid back and combines Balinese Hindu-Buddhist religion and Balinese customs. It is widely known for its drama, dance, and music that can be experienced throughout the island. One traditional practice in Bali is called ‘canang sari’ and is a daily offering made to a Hindu god. These offerings are usually made in the form of small baskets that can include flowers, money, and cookies- therefore if you come across one please don’t touch it or step on it.
Balinese culture tends to be a bit more conservative than western culture, so keep this in mind when visiting and be respectful. While typical holiday beachwear is acceptable to be worn on the island, you will be required to wear more modest clothing if you visit any of the sacred temples. If you forget to bring a cover-up it’s not a big deal, as the temples provide sarong rentals for a small price.
9. Where to Shop
Bali offers an assortment of shopping options that will intrigue all travellers. Those looking for souvenirs will want to visit one of the many markets that sell quirky local handicrafts, and if you prefer higher-end items, there are boutiques of famous Australian designers that sell gorgeous clothing. Bali is also known for its delicious locally made chocolate, so be sure to pick up a bar (or two) to satisfy your sweet tooth. This chocolate can be found at markets and cafes around the island.