This summer I had the opportunity to combine two trips into one, so after spending 5 amazing days in Thailand, I hopped on a plane to begin my stay in Bali. Bali easily landed on my list of places that I will revisit many times throughout my life, and here are some tips to make your trip just as enjoyable:
1) Make sure to bring some conservative pieces, especially if you will be staying in Ubud.
While daisy dukes and swimsuits were the norm in Kuta, Ubud was much more conservative, and appropriate covering is required to enter most temples and religious buildings. Since the sun can be brutal during the day, err on the side of caution and at least stick a cardigan in your bag just in case the environment is attire restricted.
2) Be careful of the foods you consume.
Bali Belly is very real, and unfortunately, one of my friends fell victim after over-indulging at the 99k ($7 US) buffet. Bali Belly not only ruined the last few days of my friend’s trip, but it also followed him home. And being that he had just come from out the country, he couldn’t be treated at an urgent care clinic and had to choose between toughing it out until he met with his doctor the following weekday or taking a trip to the emergency room. The flight to Bali is long enough without having to deal with additional shit, pun intended. Unless you want to spend your entire trip suffering from tummy troubles that may land you at the pharmacy or clinic, be mindful of the foods you eat and pack some Imodium and probiotics to strengthen your immune system, just in case.
3) Do not drink the water.
Refer to #2.
4) Buy your liquor at a duty free BEFORE you reach Bali.
Liquor is considerably more expensive when you get to Bali, in both stores and restaurants. I kicked myself in the butt for not buying a bottle or 2 in Singapore on my layover when I got to Bali and saw that a bottle of regular Hennessy was $120 US. And let me not even mention that their cheapest bottle of wine was around $40 US, and that was for a brand that was similar to Barefoot, which is $5 a bottle in the US. Your money goes far in Bali on just about everything, with the exception of liquor.
5) Respect the offerings.
One of my favorite things about Bali, especially Ubud, was the smell of incense permeating the air due to the fresh daily offerings in front of almost every home and business. Since the offering are plentiful, be sure to watch your step, so that you don’t inadvertently knock over one or smush it under your shoes.
6) Include these amazing things on your itinerary (click here)
7) Stay in Seminyak versus Kuta.
When I first started mapping out my trip to Bali, I read several blogs and articles about the best places to stay. Almost every blog recommended staying in Seminyak over Kuta, since the 2 are so close in proximity. On arrival, I figured out the rationale fast. Kuta is considerably more sketchy than Seminyak and nowhere near as nice, but don’t worry, you can still reach the same attractions from both.
8) Be extremely careful when taking an Uber. Please.
Even though you can request Uber from various places in Kuta and Seminyak, the service is discouraged and there have been many reports of Uber drivers being attacked during passenger pick-up or drop-off. At many businesses, including popular places like Potato Head and Ku De Ta, Uber pickups are banned and there are several signs discouraging riders from using them versus a taxi. If you decided to call an Uber and your driver requests to pick you up in a different, but close location, it is probably for their safety. Uber is the cheaper route (and has a motorbike driver option), so we did opt to use it, especially since the ride to the airport was $3 US versus $20 US using the hotel shuttle, but just make sure that you use with caution and are open to being flexible with your driver. And if you should opt to use a taxi, use blue taxis only, as they are the only ones regulated by the city.
The price of almost anything that you can get off the street in Bali, including taxis, is negotiable. NEVER go with the first price, and as a rule of thumb, remember that the real price is often 25-50% cheaper than the first asking price.
10) Rent a Scooter (at your own risk)
Ummm, so I would like to think that I am a decent driver, and I’ve rode solo on everything from a ATV to a snow mobile, BUT that did not prepare me for driving my first scooter. Let’s just say after skidding out full speed into traffic and attempting to stop the bike with my water shoes like I was on a 10 speed while steadily hitting the gas, both my travel companions and the owners of the scooter company decided that maybe I would be better off as a passenger. And just to give you a visual, I had my tote bag on my shoulder like I was really about to get on the scooter and do something. Tragic, just tragic. So while scooters are a great way to see the rice fields up close and let the gentle breeze waft through your hair, rent at your own risk.
11) Invest in mosquito spray.
I thought that mosquitos couldn’t get any worse than at my Granny’s house on the east side of Houston, until I went to Bali. Mosquitos were everywhere in the midst of the other exotic bugs, and quite the nuisance, which I can’t understand since there were frogs by the dozen on every corner trying to steal my joy.
12) Make sure you take some days to relax and just enjoy the scenery.