Bali: General Travel Tips
This was my first time in Bali and I really loved my stay there.
But it would have been so much easier if someone would have told me these simple things before going:
1. About the Island
Bali has so many different characters that before going there you have to decide what you want to do.
Here you can find a little overview of the different areas of Bali.
2. How to move on the island
The most of the cabs in Bali are without taximetro. Which means, that you have to negotiate the price up front. Tourists mostly pay much more than the actual price would have been.
This is why we have used Uber. Uber is a ‘private driver app’ that allows you to call a driver from your phone via Internet, similar to a taxi, only that this service is way cheaper and will be booked directly on your credit card. For example a trip from the airport to Ubud normally costs around 350.000 IDR, with Uber we payed 120.000 IDR.
3. Negotiation and prices
Anywhere you go in the United States, the products for sale tend to have fixed prices, and it is common to use a barcode reader to scan the code on the product to bill it. However, in Bali everything is negotiable. This means that whenever there is no barcode, you will have to give your price for it and probably negotiate with the seller in order to get the best deal.
It is important to understand that the prices, especially in markets, start at around 3 or 4 times the price that they would sell for.
Don’t feel bad offering 10K as your first offer, if the starting price is at 70K. You will soon get a feeling about the negotiation.
It is important that you always start under the price you would actually pay for, because as the seller is going down with the price, he expects you to up yours. If you won’t do this, the negotiation will soon find an end without you getting the chance in buying any item you want.
Parreo: 20-30.000 IDR
Boul of Ice Cream: 20-30.000 IDR
Balinese Massage: 150.000 IDR
Cocktail in a Bar: 50 – 90.000 IDR
Cocktail in a Club: 100 – 200.000 IDR
4. Opening Hours
You should have go to a dinner restaurant in 90% of the cases before 10pm.
To night starts late in Bali and if you want to go dancing you should be there at around 1am.
The shop opening hours vary a lot depending on where you are. In Ubud and Seminyak the most shops close at around 9pm, in Kuta at 10pm.
5. ATM’s and money exchange
To withdraw money in Bali is quite simple, everywhere you can find ATMs and money exchanger.
I have experienced, that the ATMs at the airport are not working really well, so better be aware to bring some cash to change, if you should be in a similar situation.
The money exchanging stations vary a lot.
There are places, where they offer you the exact amount of the actual exchange rate and sometimes even more. Be aware, that they are not stupid in doing so, but they will get their money back at some point.
If something is too good to be true it mostly isn’t true.
If you are still sure that you want to take the risk and change your money there, be aware to count the money as many times as possible and to ask for a written paper of the exchange rate and the amount you are changing.
They will likely count in front of you, but you should do this yourself again. And as soon as you are sure to have the exact amount in your hands, be aware to not give it back anymore. This must sound stupid, but these are the tricks they use and many tourists have been screamed in that way.
6. Food and drinks
Drinks are generally very sweet in Bali because of the additional added sugar. If you are not a fan of all over sweet orange juice, let them know while ordering.
And try the watermelon juice, these are so delicious and also very healthy and hydrating.
The food is very delicious in Bali and you will find something for every taste. If you are looking for a restaurant in a touristic area always have a look at 3 different menus. The prices vary a lot. A lunch meal should be around 40-70K varying on the area you are staying at.
7. Driving in Bali
If you have a European driving licence you can ask for an international driving licence, which allows you to drive for up to 2 years all around the world. A license is a must to drive within the country or outside. In case, you don’t have one yet, get it made immediately so that you are eligible to drive in Bali or any country you plan to visit. To get it done quickly, however, you can opt for a driving test cancellation slot (if you are looking for a driving test cancellation slot, there are professionals who can help you with that), but license is a priority.
In Bali cars drive on the left. The streets are very small and there are so many motorbikes, that you need to have 4 eyes open at all time.
If you want to rent a car, make sure to drive it properly and avoid any damaging driving habits that could end up costing you tons when you go to return the car.
I would, however, recommend you take Uber drivers instead. This is much safer because the people are used to the way everyone is driving on the island.
For most of the trips you will do, it will not only be much easier and more comfortable to get a private driver or a Uber, but it will be actually cheaper.
If you are thinking about renting a motorbike, I would recommend you to first have a look at the traffic in Bali and then decide weather or not to rent one. I have heard form a lot of accidents and would prefere to stuck in traffic for a little while than having my holidays destroyed by an accident like this.
Interested in Bali? Here you can find all my posts !