Whether it’s the first time traveling to Asia or you are a master, there are always points to be careful or helpful things that will make our travel time easier and more relaxed. We traveled to Bali on May 2022 and these are the things from my point of view I believe you should know before stepping foot on this magical place. Nothing to worry, just some tips and tricks 😉
Visa on Arrival in Bali is the key. Now available to 75 countries (all European countries are included) this is the gold standard for entering Bali on vacation. The fee is 500.000 IDR = 32€ paid on the spot by card or cash. If you are eligible for this type of visa, avoid any other visit visa that will cost you an arm and a leg. Tourist offices provide Visit Visa and they take the role of the intercessor and charge you an exorbitant amount for this service.
Renting a car and driving in Bali could be quite exhausting and actually end up ruining your holidays. In Bali, they drive on the left-hand side so first of all, if you don’t come from a country that drives the same manner, don’t try it here for the first time. The traffic can be chaotic and you will notice everyone doing what they want without following any rules. So my advice is to spend a bit more and hire a driver, who could also be your guide, so that you sit back relaxed to enjoy your trip. Check the itinerary here and learn more about where you can go with your driver. https://travelpaedics.com/bali-this-is-how-to-live-your-fairytale/
How idyllic it may seem to have your own luxurious villa with a private swimming pool and an open-roof bathroom. It truly is and also for a fraction of the price of what you would have paid in your country. However, since you will be out in the open you may be prepared to encounter other inhabitants, like lizards, cockroaches, mice and all different kinds of insects. Use your insect repellant, shield your bed with the mosquito net, don’t leave food exposed and minimize the time you leave the door open.
While exploring Bali you will come across many impressive temples and visiting them is a precious experience for your journey. To ensure that you visit respectfully and courteously, you should have a sarong in your bag at all times. Many temples provide one when paying the entrance fee but others don’t. As a sarong could work a beach cover-up, a long skirt or a large scarf, anything essentially that will cover your legs up to the knees. This addresses both women and men. In general, be respectful when entering places of prayer.
Also a special rule applies to women. Women who are menstruating or are more than seven months pregnant or have given birth within six weeks of visiting are not permitted to enter the temple.
Food in Bali is cheap by all accounts. There is one thing you should keep in mind while peering at the menu and debating what to order for your next meal. The small letters on the lower part of the page. Tax and Service charge. This could be from as low as 5% to 25% and it will add up in the end to your bill.
Safety first. When you travel abroad to Asia or Africa or South America, be cautious about potable water. Always buy your bottled water. Even better to be environmentally friendly use a bottle with an installed filter or buy a bigger bottle and refill your smaller reusable bottle that you will carry with you. I ought to say that tap water is not safe outside Europe or in developing countries but even here in Greece, there are major cities in 2022 where the tap water is not safe to drink. Do your Google research before traveling.
Considering food, don’t be afraid. We ate mostly from local restaurants and night markets and didn’t have any problem. Food which is cooked is totally safe but even fresh fruit and salad are well prepped.
Bargaining is an expected process when shopping in Asia. Everyone knows that and that’s why there are no set prices at any souvenir shop or stall. Also the initial price they will propose you will be inflated by about 50-100%.
Always ask the price before you buy something even food.
Know the item’s approximate value and set a price tag as a limit for yourself.
Don’t engage in bargaining if you are not really interested in the item.
Have fun. Smile a lot and don’t be aggressive.
In the end, don’t argue over a few dollars that for them will make a big difference.
GoJek and Grab are the most reliable and popular taxi applications in Bali. Easy to use and with an estimated or standard cost they are tourists’ favorite. If you want to ride a metered cab, then your gold standard should be the legit Blue Bird (check for the original logo on the exterior and interior of the cab). There are many Blue Bird imposters with no meter which will try to rip you off.
In Bali and specifically in Ubud there is the so-called “taxi mafia”. This means that local taxi drivers don’t allow drivers from ride-sharing apps (Grab, GoJek) in their territory. You will spot dozens of taxi drivers scattered on all Ubud’s pavements offering you a ride and actually not a cheap one. We made 5 times the route from our villa in THE SUBURBS OF Ubud to the city center (10 minutes) and used the service arranged from the hotel for 3€/ route. Whereas the taxi drivers in Ubud were offering prices around 5-7 € and with not much room for bargaining either.
The Monkey Forest in Ubud is one of the main attractions and for a good reason mainly. Here more than 700 monkeys live in their own environment, fully accustomed to man’s company. The forest is huge and there are no bounding walls, meaning monkeys are seen all around the surrounding shops and areas.
Yes, there are used to getting fed by people to take good photos but in general, I would say that most monkeys just keep doing their business.
What you should know about monkeys
- Don’t wear sunglasses or hats because they may steal them. Moreover, avoid shiny hanging jewelry.
- Don’t bring food in your bag. They will smell it and try to steal it too. Also they have a crazy fetish for plastic bottles.
- You can watch but you can’t stare. Making long eye contact aggravates them. Also showing teeth is a sign of aggression.
- Mothers are super protective over their little ones.
In general, I would say Monkey Forest in Ubud was a pleasant walk in the forest, coming across several monkeys and temples. Moreover, since it was near closing time, most of them were already fed and ready to take a nap. You should be overly careful of the monkeys at Uluwatu Temple. They are more aggressive and malicious. One even tried to take my flip flops which I was wearing and actually tried to bite me.