With its tropical beaches, magical sunsets, lush jungles, towering waterfalls, and stunning rice terraces, Bali is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Along with its breathtaking scenery, it is rich in culture, and the people are the friendliest you will ever meet!
Bali is a third-world country, so there are some things you should know before going. The below 32 travel tips will help you have a better experience while visiting!
Before travelling to Bali, it is advisable to perform an online check on iVisa to determine the appropriate visa requirements.
For the best deals on flights, check Google Flights, Skyscanner and CheapOAir. The cheapest day to fly out is usually Tuesdays. Open an incognito window on your computer to avoid google remembering your searches.
Unless boiled or filtered, drinking Bali’s tap water will give you “Bali Belly” (Traveler’s Diarrhea). Because of poor water-pipe infrastructure and tropical heat, pathogens such as bacteria live in tap water.
Buy bottled water and use it to brush your teeth. I recommend purchasing Travelan because it lowers the risk of getting Bali Belly. You should also bring some Imodium with you. It will help relieve symptoms if you become ill.
It’s also a good idea to bring some Imodium or Pepto Bismol with you. If you do get Bali Belly it will help relieve the symptoms.
Monkeys in Bali are entertaining but they can be aggressive. Where there are monkeys, don’t have valuables such as a phone out or any loose items hanging off you. Monkeys are thieves.
They also hang around some beaches in South Bali so be cautious when leaving your bag on the beach unattended.
Most places in Bali only take cash except for large businesses such as hotels and well-established restaurants.
Be careful when taking out cash at ATMs. Many cards have been skimmed. Always check to make sure the area you place your card in is firmly fixed and has not been tampered with.
Some tourists have been ripped off when exchanging money. If you do need to go to a money exchanger, make sure to count the money out as it’s given to you. It’s wise to get familiar with the currency and exchange rate.
There have been numerous accounts where foreigners have had their mobile phones stolen right from their hands on the side of the streets or while riding a scooter. Always put your valuables in your scooter seat or out of sight.
Always wear mosquito repellent. Dengue fever is relatively common in Bali, especially in the rainy season.
GoJek and Grab are transportation services like Uber and Lyft. They are less expensive than taxis. Download the app and register with a local phone number. A credit card is not needed as you can use cash as payment.
Anything can be delivered directly to your villa or hotel! Anything goes! You name it: food, alcohol, or medicine! GoJek is a delivery service as well as a transportation service.
The rainy season starts in November and ends in March and the dry season starts in April and ends in October. It doesn’t rain every day all day in the rainy season but it does rain a lot which can make it very difficult for your trip as there aren’t a lot of indoor activities to do. Most of the fun happens outdoors!
The best time to visit is either between April to May or September to November when there are fewer tourists. Peak Season is from May to September.
Hopefully, you won’t need to go to the hospital during your trip but if you do it’s good to know where to go. BIMC Hospitals is Bali’s most well-known hospital for foreigners. There are three BIMC hospitals in Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Ubud, which are popular tourist destinations. English-speaking medical staff and international standards of care are standard at BIMC Hospitals.
You will see fragrant parcels made from palm leaves placed on the streets everywhere. These are gifts designed to appease the spirits. They are usually placed in front of doorways and can also be seen on the pavement.
The locals earn very little (around 130-150 USD per month) so although they don’t expect tips, they are very appreciative when they do receive them. Even something as little as 50 cents which might seem like nothing to us is a lot to them. If you receive excellent service make sure to tip generously!
Temples are considered holy places and physical affection such as kissing is not favoured here.
You can barter with the locals when visiting markets but don’t get too ridiculous. They don’t make much money as it is so try to be reasonable. Prices are usually pretty cheap anyway and sometimes you don’t realize that all you bartering them for is as little as 50 cents.
The staff at the entrance of temples will ask you if they are menstruating because it’s considered unclean to be at the temple during this time.
When visiting temples, both men and women must dress modestly. Wear a sarong or something below the knee and cover your shoulders. Sarongs are usually available for loan when visiting temples.
Many people make the mistake of planning to stay in Ubud for only a couple of days. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore Ubud and even venture out to the North and East of Bali. For 12 must-do activities to include on your itinerary see my blog post: Things to do in Ubud.
If you’re visiting Bali, a trip to the stunning Nusa Islands is an absolute must! Not only are they just a short boat ride away from the mainland, but you can also see all the best sights in just a day for each island. Take a look at my blog post: 3-Day Nusa Penida itinerary to help plan your trip there.
What should only take you 30 minutes can take you an hour or more with traffic. Keep this in mind when planning your trip especially if you are on a strict time schedule.
There are many bugs in Bali and weird ones that you will have never seen before. Ants, beetles, and centipedes just to name a few. Geckos are everywhere in Bali and they make loud dinosaur-sounding noises which can be annoying when you’re trying to sleep!
Rubbish is a big problem in Bali and you will see large amounts of it on the side of the road and on the beaches. Unfortunately, Bali has a poor waste management system. Plastic is also a problem so try to avoid using plastic bottles, straws and bags to help the environment.
There are many stray dogs in Bali and they can carry rabies and other diseases so it’s best to stay away from them.
Buying a SIM Card at the airport will be more expensive than purchasing one at a small street store in Bali. Data plans are super cheap and it’s a good idea to have data when you are out of wifi to use Google Maps, GoJek and to communicate with the locals.
If you are planning on staying for more than three months you must register your phone’s IMEI number either at the airport on arrival or at a local customs office within 90 days of entering Indonesia!
Bali lies within the “Ring of Fire”, making earthquakes a common occurrence. Although most tremors are minor, it’s important to be mindful of this so you’re not taken aback by any unexpected shaking, particularly during the night.
Kuta used to be the tourist hotspot but now Canggu is becoming more popular. Canggu is home to hip restaurants, vegan cafes, beachfront bars, wonderful beaches and boujee boutiques.
Although scooters are the cheapest way to get around it can also be the most dangerous! Countless foreigners have gotten themselves into accidents that have resulted in death or serious injury.
Watching locals drive scooters in Bali looks chaotic but it does appear to have rhythm. They all seem to be in sync with one another. Research the unspoken rules about driving a scooter in Bali or ask a local before you get on one.
Drugs are illegal in Bali and carry very serious consequences. It’s not worth it so don’t do it!
Download WhatsApp if you haven’t got it already. It’s the best way to communicate with your driver, hotel staff etc.
As you probably know Bali is a very hot humid island so to avoid dehydration or heat stroke carry water with you at all times, especially on day trips.
You’re probably not going to get a photo without anyone in it at the peak times of the day so if you want those photos or just some quiet time to enjoy it then wake up early.
Tourist attractions such as waterfalls, rice terraces and beaches will usually incur a small fee to visit. Make sure to carry cash with you and if possible small change.
Some bars and restaurants don’t have the tax included on their menu items so be prepared that an up to 21% tax charge may be added to your final bill.
I hope these tips will help you enjoy your trip to Bali, and that you can take away some new information that will make your trip run smoothly.