Traveling to a new place, especially an island like Bali in Indonesia, is an amazing experience! Everything is new, exciting and very different. There are different foods, vehicles, cultures, people, roads, houses, clothes etc.
Don’t get us wrong – Bali is paradise. The island is rich in nature, culture, waterfalls, incredible beaches, friendly people and delicious food. It’s uniqueness, sprawling rice paddies and wide beaches make it a total haven for people from around the world. Yogis and surfers alike flock to this island to bliss out, and it’s easy to see why.
Our team has spent the last 5 years circling the globe, in search of the best cities, apartments, workspaces, fitness studios and spots to eat, so we know a thing or two about traveling and dealing with new environments and customs.
That’s why we put together this list of things to know before you go to Bali! We want you to know this in advance to make your experience the best it can be and to better prepare you! Read on for some tidbits and goodies about all you can experience on this beautiful island…
Culture & Traditions
- Bali is not your home country – it is unique and wonderful because it is different
- It’s very important to note that you’re a guest in Indonesia, please respect the local culture and traditions like the below…
- Balinese Hinduism is the main religion on the island of Bali
- You’ll notice the above on streets and sidewalks. Called “canang sari” they are colorful daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus
- Making them, filling them with gifts, and performing this ritual is a process so please be respectful and do not interrupt someone during it or step on the offerings.
- Any time you go to temples or religious buildings cover your shoulders and knees or bring something to cover up.
- Haggling is very common. Often the first price you’re quoted is double the actual price so don’t be afraid to haggle (but be respectful!).
- Tipping is not expected but very appreciated! Many Western places do include a service charge (a tip) though.
Food & Drink
- Definitely do not drink the water (brushing your teeth and showering with it is ok though)
- The food is different (you’re probably super excited about the delicious new food) and there is plenty of international food
- That said, there are some foods that might look, and smell, weird to you – it’s part of the experience (although, you definitely don’t need to try them all).
- Western kitchens are not common in Bali, most people do not cook at home as there are many delicious restaurants to try!
- Food delivery is very cheap – thanks to GoJek (it costs less than $1USD for delivery!).
- Iced coffee’s are a ‘yes’, tap water is a ‘no’ (ice comes from ice companies).
- It’s unlikely that you will encounter this, but if you head to Kuta or ‘backpacker’ areas like Gili T, be aware of super cheap drinks (15k IDR). They will be made with ‘arak’ a local moonshine that contain very dangerous amounts of methanol.
Wildlife & Critters
- You’re living in a tropical island paradise, there’s going to be bugs and some wildlife.
- You’ll likely see lizards slithering around, in and out of restaurants, cafes and your accommodation – they’re harmless and actually killing mosquito’s for you!
- There are rice paddies all around Canggu, so mosquitos and bugs come with the territory.
- If you see monkeys or go to Monkey Forest in Ubud, please do not touch the monkeys — people get bitten by them sometimes and you do NOT want to deal with that.
- There are many stray dogs around Bali, they are mostly friendly, just be mindful of them.
- You can rent a scooter (this is how many locals get around). Keep in mind there can be a lot of traffic and Western driving rules definitely do not apply. Exercise caution while driving and learning the local ways.
- If you’ve never scootered before or are just learning we highly recommend taking a class
- If you’re not scooting – walk, bicycle or catch a ride on the back of a Go-Jek motorbike
- Scooter tip – in recent years there’s been instances of people snatching bags off while you’re scooting by. To be safe please put your purses and backpacks in the storage spot under your seat instead of wearing them.
- It’s a jungle, it will be hot and humid! Don’t forget sunscreen (or bug spray!) and keep hydrated.
- Most importantly… have fun!
- One other thing to note: rainy season is Oct – April, dry is May – September, but all year round is a great time to visit Bali!
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