I recently spent some time in Bali and had a heap of questions about everything to do with visiting Bali, so here’s my base list of what you need to know to get around and have a good time!
I was lucky to stay with friends who now live there who gave me hot tips that many tourists wouldn’t find out too. Ask any questions below or PM me on social.
If you don’t feel like reading everything (I wrote way more than I expected), here’s a quick breakdown for you.
- Transport – get ready to hop on the back of a scooter
- Go Jek – this is life in Bali – you’ll see
- Airport Transfers – how not to pay 5x the actual amount
- Food – delicious but not as cheap as you may expect
- Water – bottled water only, kids
- Alcohol – you’re screwed if you drink wine
- Bali Belly – if you only choose to read one point, make it this one. It’s both funny (embarrassing) and practical
- Safety – trust your gut
- Shopping – buy leather and designer gears. Not cheap
- Accommodation – villas are the way to go
Scooters are it. Unless you feel like staying at your hotel and only eating nearby you’re prob going to need / want to hop on a scooter. The infrastructure just isn’t there for cars and traffic is mental.
Hopping on the back of a scooter is easy and feet safe to me. This is the main mode of transport here and they’ve all grown up riding them. You can get a $30 fine if you get caught riding without a helmet but often isn’t enforced. Most scooter drivers (order from Go Jek) will have a helmet for you to wear on your trip.
Go Jek in Indonesia is life!!! Essentially it works as Uber for scooters and cars. On top of that, you can order in food, massages, wine, send packages – you name it!!
I used Go Jek every day for my scooters. You get assigned a driver (download Whatsapp so you can communicate – they all use it) and just like Uber, you can watch their journey to you and your trip is tracked and an estimate of cost supplied.
I would have a Go Jek masseuse come to the villa and massage me to sleep, the most blissful feeling not having to get up after a massage. They let themselves out and lock the door.
Need food? No problem, Go Jek will deliver.
Need to make a delivery or collect something? … surely you know where I’m headed with this now!
I wish I got a Go Jek car when I first arrived. It can be a little overwhelming and distracting when you come out of the terminal to a million different taco drivers. I paid 400,000 ($40 AUD) for a ‘Taxi’ and it cost me 70,000 ($7) with a Go Jek car to get back.
If you don’t want a Go Jek, try order or request a taxi with a meter
Food in Bali is fantastic. The variety is massive and the prices vary. High end dining is cheaper than it would be in Australia.. but it’s not ‘cheap’. This isn’t Thailand-like prices where you can eat for $3 a plate.
If you want to eat like the locals you’ll be ordering Nasi Goreng for about 70,000 ($7AUD) for breakfast. You can get this at pretty much any restaurant serving breakfast.
There’s healthy and trendy food aplenty. The cafe’s all have incredible fit-outs and look fab. You’re spoilt for choice anywhere around the island you are.
I’ll do another blog on the food and where I suggest to go with a bit more detail.
As with any third world country, do not drink the tap water. This certainly includes brushing your teeth.
Alcohol isn’t cheap unless you feel like just drinking in your hotel room after buying alcohol from a 7/11 type outlet.
If you’re like me, I prefer to have a drink with my meals. A beer at lunch will cost about $7 in a restaurant. A cocktail with dinner approx $15 and if you’re a wine fiend, well you’re in for a very rude shock. Wine in Bali is expensive and it’s hard to find anything decent. Most restaurants will sell the locally bottled wine (Australian grapes but grown and processed in Bali) for about $40-$50 a bottle. This is not the nicest wine. One variety, the sav blanc tasted like a chard (found that one out by accident) but other options are very expensive.
Gahhhhh. The dreaded Bali Belly.
I do not have a lead stomach. Quite the opposite perhaps. However, I didn’t really get ill in Bali.
Okay, well there were three times. It would go like this… I’d be sweating and I’d say to the girls, ‘I’m not sure if I’m just really hot or if I’m sweating more than normal.’ We would all then assess my sweat. About 5 minutes later, sweat would begin literally running and dripping off me. Wet with sweat. At that point, I would know to start keeping an eye out for a bathroom. Approx 5 mins after that, I would get severe stomach pain. Drop you to your knees, deep breathing, clenched fist kind of pain. About 5 mins after that I would all but run to the bathroom and the entire contents of my stomach would go straight through me. Liquid. Gone. And with it, the pain and sweat! I’d then return to my friends and proclaim how much better I felt and how hungry I was.
The good thing was, it’s all over and done in about 20 minutes. I was never bed bound or I’ll continuously.
Always take Imodium with you and Hydralyte just in case. I also took nausea tablets and I have had the full dose of the oral vaccine Dukoral which lines your tummy. When you’ve been ill as often and bad as I have in Asia, you travel prepared.
I felt very safe in Bali. There’s something like 256 religious ceremonies a year and the people are very spiritual. I found them all to be so courteous, they would go right out of their way to help you. They love nothing more than a laugh with you and a smile goes a long way.
As always though, if something doesn’t feel right, get out immediately.
Don’t do stupid tourist-like sh*t and you’re off to a great start!
Shopping was much different to what I expected in Bali. With a large number of high end manufacturing happening here, there’s loads of gorgeous designer wear and boutiques around. My top buys – an Erika Pena (check her out) dress, some custom-made leather sandals and a Badesoot swimsuit. Leather goods and designer wear are on my list here, don’t expect it to be cheap.
Villas are life. Seriously, they are worth every penny. I would never stay in a hotel here again. Lots of space and a private pool is bliss. Your own little sanctuary to get away to. They’re not very expensive and I recommend booking on Air BnB.
Does that cover everything?
I will go into more detail on food and where to adventure to on another post. I did read a hilariously accurate article about the types of Bali traveller there are, check it out HERE. Which are you?!