We have travelled to a lot of countries but Bali has to be up there with the very best. The rice terraces, waterfalls and villages are just a handful of things that make up this beautiful place. The one mistake we made before arriving was misjudging exactly how big it is. We would like to give you some tips on how to maximize your time here and truly embrace the tropical wonderland that is Bali. These are our tips on Preparing for Bali.
Review your location carefully
While planning our travels, we used Google Maps & Rome2Rio to judge how far everything is from one another. One thing that these apps don’t consider is the traffic and ceremonies that parade around the streets of Bali. If Google says 30 minutes, double it.
We made the mistake of booking a resort ‘20 minutes ‘outside of Ubud. As lovely as it the place was, it was a nightmare to get to and from the main attractions. This has a domino effect when it came to getting taxis around. We were paying nearly double what we had budgeted for on a daily basis.
Look carefully when booking accommodation. Try and find a place that is right in the heart of where you want to be. Also look carefully at reviews on different platforms. Most people will let it be known when they have to travel further than expected to get from A to B.
Give your budget a little bit of space
Bali is well known for its dramatically low prices. 50c for a Bin tang sounds like a bit of all of us until you get carried away and smash cocktails and double whiskeys for the rest of the night. Local beers are cheap and if you are sensible you can get drunk really cheap but don’t get ahead of yourself, one night in a bar can cost you $10 or it can cost you $100.
The problem a lot of people have when travelling around cheap countries is that it can be very easy to sway away from the budget. Everything is so cheap. As human beings, we somehow find it impossible to walk away from a deal so being dragged into markets can be very dangerous.
In a nutshell, don’t be too tight with your money, it’s better to underspend on a bigger budget than overspend on a smaller budget.
From taxies to sunglasses. There is no such thing as a fixed price in Bali. There is always room for negotiation and the markets and shops expect to be haggled so always start with a ridiculously high price. However be respectful, this is how Balinese people make a living. Haggling should be fun and a way to take a couple of dollars off, don’t take the mickey! Sometimes they can be pushy and seem a little frustrated but they dedicate hours and hours and come home empty-handed some days, just like any market!
This may not seem like a ‘preparing for Bali’ tip, but you need to be ready to put your game face on if you want a good deal.
Prepare your Belly
You may or may not have heard of Bali Belly yet. Unfortunately, the hygiene isn’t quite up to standard yet in Indonesia. This means the likelihood of you getting ill from something you have eaten is pretty high. Get your belly ready with some strong probiotics the week before you travel and during your adventure to prevent unplanned toilet time.
This one is something we feel should be taken seriously while preparing for Bali. We saw so
many travellers forced to take many days off and just lounge by the toilet. Such a waste of a trip when it could be prevented.
Pack the Essentials
We found that sunscreen was overpriced and being fair-skinned it was essential for us. Bring some sunscreen and bug spray from home. We also recommend a little first aid kit with the basics to dress a wound should you go flying off a bike, or sliding down some steep steps. You should bring any medication you would regularly use. Don’t forget some pain killers, motion sick tablets and Imodium just in case too.
Figure out Money
The indonesian Rupiah is the currency used throughout Indonesia. Most places only accept cash, so try to bring some with you to avoid the astronomical fees of exchange places at the airport or on the street. ATMs can be found, but expect to pay a % of the amount you are withdrawing.
When preparing for Bali use a currency conversion app to help you figure out the difference between your local currency and the rupiah. You can also use it on your trip to find out if you are getting a good deal. 80, 000 rupiah is roughly 8 CAD which seemed to be the common price of a cocktail in Ubud. Once you figure out the conversion it’s easier to figure out if you are getting a good deal or not.
We use the XE app for real time currency conversions.
- As always, have a copy of your passport somewhere just in case you lose it.
- Get vaccinated if you need to
- Look into the religious ceremonies going on during the time you will be there, some holidays will shut down the whole island and you will need to stay inside on those days.
- Bring a camera and have so much fun