Bali, Indonesia- An ultimate travel guide for the first-timer
September 11, 2019
Lately, Bali has become one of the most popular destinations among tourists and attracts a lot of visitors from around the world every year. This magical island is popularly known for its tropical landscape, stunning beaches, the volcanic eruption, scenic rice terrace, gorgeous waterfalls, exotic cuisine, and attractive temples. From it’s nightlife to spiritual connection, peace lover to adventurous lovers, Bali is a place that offers something to everyone.
Recently I have been to Bali for 10 days and I have assembled an informative guide that will help you choose where to stay and eat along with some tourist destinations and activities to do. Therefore, before you pack your bags and head over to this beautiful island, here are a few things you should know before visiting Bali.
Where is Bali?
Bali is located in the Indian Ocean and is a 95-mile wide island. It is a province of Indonesia and unlike the other province, Bali has the largest Hindu population. Smaller neighboring islands such as Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan comes under Bali. This province is a home of over 4 million people. Located in the southern region of the island, Denpasar is the capital city of Bali.
When is the best time to visit Bali?
Bali has warm weather and a tropical climate all year long and follows two primary seasons, dry and wet.
The dry season (May to September)
The wet season (October to April)
We visited Bali during the end of May and beginning of June and the weather was amazing. The peak season where a lot of visitors go is June, July, and August.
Currency in Bali
The currency of Bali is an Indonesian Rupees (IDR). There are a lot of roadside shops in Ubud Market that accepts their currency. Hence, always carry rupiah as these shops do not accept credit cards. Most of the restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets do accept credit card. However, they might charge you 3% fees if you’re paying with your card. Therefore, I highly recommend you to carry some cash with you. You will also find a lot of ATMs on every street and even in supermarkets.
How to avoid money exchange scams in Bali?
Bali is also known for money scams. Therefore, exchange your money only in “authorized” money exchanges where there are cameras installed. There are a lot of unauthorized places that you have to avoid. To avoid these scams, always count your money before leaving the counter.
How expensive is Bali?
In general, Bali is not so expensive. You can rent a bike which is very cheap and is around 30,000-50,000 Rupiah ($2.11-$3.52USD) per day. However, if you rent it for a longer duration, the price will go down more. Food, accommodation, shopping, and activities vary from one place to another and are affordable.
Language in Bali
The primary language spoken in Bali is Indonesian. However, most of the people in Bali do understand and speak basic English. Other than the Indonesian language, people in various regions also speak the Balinese language.
Where to stay in Bali?
There are a lot of options to stay in Bali and based on your preferences you can choose one of them.
For beach lovers- If you are a person who wants to spend your day near a beach, then opt for accommodation in either Kuta, Nusa Dua, Seminyak, or Sanur.
For countryside lovers- On the contrary, if you want to spend your time in the middle of greenery, you can look for accommodation in Ubud which is in central Bali.
For Waterfalls Lovers- If you love watching waterfalls, and enjoy doing water activities, head over to North Bali like Singaraja, Buleleng.
We split up the days and planned our stay in different regions of Bali. We lived in 5 different places which include Ubud, Singaraja in North Bali, Tabanan, Tampaksiring, and Kuta.
Plan and book your flight tickets and hotel for at least 2 months in advance to have a hassle-free trip.
How to reach Bali?
There are a lot of flights regularly entry and leaving from the major international airport to Denpasar Airport. You can hire a taxi to your destination from the airport. However, the hotels you have booked will also provide taxi services. Confirm them before booking.
How to get around Bali?
There are various options available for getting around in Bali and all are affordable. You can either rent a bike or scooter, you can easily hire a taxi for a day trip. If you are not comfortable with driving a car or riding a motorbike, there are various apps such as a Grab and Go Jek which are easy to use and safe. In addition to that, there are many hotels which provide transportation. Always carry your international driver’s license and don’t forget to wear a helmet while driving.
What to expect in Bali?
Around 83.5% of the population in Bali follows Balinese Hinduism. As compared to most of the Muslim-majority places in Indonesia. Other religions in Bali include Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. The Balinese people give a lot of importance to their culture and tradition. They are connected with their beliefs in the gods and goddesses and carry their culture with pride. Wherever you go, you will find temples, ceremonies, ritual and sacred offering.
Canang sari- The offering
Canang sari is offerings made by Balinese people every day. They offer this every morning to thank God. You will find these offerings in front of homes, shops, temples, on the ground or as a part of the large offering.
Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition where Balinese people express their culture with dance and music. These dances are very expressive, vibrant, and dynamic. One of the best places to appreciate Bali’s dance is in Uluwatu Temple Amphitheater Jimbaran which is locally known as Kecak dance. Other theaters where you can experience Balinese dance is Dedan show are Nusa Dua Theater, Bali Agung Show art Bali Theater, ARMA Museum & Resort, Kampoeng Bali at RIMBA Jimbaran, NIght at The Zoo at Bali Zoo, and Cafe Lotus Ubud.
Restaurants and food options available in Bali
There are a variety of restaurants available in Bali with some of them overlooking to beaches, rivers, mountains, and rice fields. They offer a variety of food which includes Indonesian, Indian, Italian, Mexican, etc. Bintang is the famous beer in Bali and is easily available in supermarkets and restaurants.
Where to shop in Bali
For all shopping lovers, Bali is a place which provides everything and is very affordable. You will find beautiful handicrafts items, colorful and vibrant clothes, woodwork for decoration, etc. There are shops where you can buy international and designer brands. Some of the best places to shop in Bali are:
Tegallalang Handicraft center
Sukawati art market
Guwang Art Market
There is no doubt that Bali is also famous for its nightlife and if you’re the party animal, then Kuta, Seminyak, and Legian is a place for you. These places are all about partying and dancing and packed with clubs for all kinds of crowds.
What are the other things to keep in mind when visiting Bali?
When visiting the temple, cover your legs with a sarong. Both men and women need to cover their legs. Either you can carry your own sarong or you will get that outside the temple free of cost.
I did not find Kuta the real Bali. It is full of tourists, crowds, and noise. If you want to experience the real Bali, head over to Ubud or spend your day in villages.
Pack light and comfortable clothes.
Avoid purchasing illegal items such as drugs or stuff made up of shells or corals.
Don’t step up on the offerings. Respect their culture and tradition.
In this post, I put down the basic yet important details when visiting Bali. In my 10 day trip to Bali, I have experienced everything which I’ll be sharing in my next post where I’ll help you in planning your 10 days Travel itinerary so that you can experience the real Bali.