If you ever decide to visit Bali, I hope these tips will help you explore Bali island. I am sure it is nearly the same as tourist destinations all over the world that you are suggested that you make a reservation at accommodations in advance. If you visit Bali during high season that is between June-August, then you have to be extra careful regarding the hotels you are going to stay in. Many hotels located in busy areas on Bali are usually fully booked no matter what season it is, therefore you have to decide which region you want to stay in. I am not a Balinese myself, yet I wrote this based on my experiences having been to Bali a few times (the last time was with mein BT).
1.If you have a quite limited time (say, less than a week) to explore Bali and it is your first time going to Bali, then I suggest that you stay in one of the regions I will mention below. There are some what I call as “famous regions” which are close one another, the regions are: Kuta-Legian-Seminyak-Jimbaran-Sanur ; these regions are full of hotels of your choice; the budget ones up to the splurge ones.
Question might arise: Why should one stay in one of these regions during their limited time exploring Bali ( the first visit) ?
This is because of the many tourist destinations located in those areas, which are close one another, some are only within a walking distance, so you can save time and budget. Oh, yes, if you love the crowd of people, nightlife, a region that seems to be awake 24 hours , you might have to stay in one of the regions I mentioned above. But if you love peace, nature, tranquility of Bali island, then Ubud ( which is 2 until 2, 5 hours from the famous regions) is one of the best regions to spend your days.
2.If you have more time to visit Bali ( a week or more) then I suggest that you stay in two different hotels. A few days in one of the regions I mentioned above, and the rest of the days in other regions which are far from the regions above. One of the region I took as an example is Ubud. There are quite many places you can see in Ubud, and again some are also within a walking distance from your hotel.
3.Bali, the island of paradise as some people claim, offers you a surge of spirituality. The paradise refers to the spiritual aspect which is still clearly seen here and there on Bali. It is also known as the island of a thousand temple ( most of them are Hindus temples.) therefore, temples have also become tourist destinations. When entering temples / other places considered sacred you are asked to wear a sarong or a sash. Don’t worry! sarong and sash are usually provided in the ticket window, but some of the temples do not really provide these, as a result local people use the opportunity to lend some sashes or sarongs to you. Well, often the prices are quite high. If you do not mind paying, then it’s all up to you, but if you do, bring your own sarong.
4. Should one join a tour or two when visiting Bali?
There are some ways of exploring Bali.
a. If you have an international driving license then you might want to use the facility the island offers you; renting a motorbike or a car, which is cheaper than joining a tour. I am not really well-informed about all of these. And I think the license is applicable only for some countries like ( Germany, the USA, Australia, the Netherlands) but for other countries, please google.
Indonesians drive on the right side of the road, this can be a problem for those who are used to driving on the opposite side. This option is for you who are adventurous and not afraid of being lost.
b. If you refuse to worry so much about being lost just because you can’t read maps, or are not adventurous enough or other factors. In other words ; you want to enjoy Bali “relaxingly” then you should join a tour or two depending on how many days you are on Bali. Some tours are not well organized; they don’t provide a professional tour guide. Of course, people want a tour guide that can tell you some important information you might miss reading or hearing about the places you are visiting. A tour guide that tells you like this
” O.K now we are going to Sanctuary Monkey Forest.” then during the trip he is only quiet, busy talking with the driver instead of talking to us. Then a few minutes later he says ” O. K now we are already in the Sanctuary Monkey Forest, please enjoy your visit.” Of course, we know we have arrived on the place, you don’t have to tell me that-that is not a tour guide. So, the bottom line is try to find out as many information about tour and travel as possible. What you see on the flyers might not be the same as the reality; they might not be-up-to-date anymore, so call and ask as many questions as possible.You are the kings and queens in this case, right? humble ones. Joining tours ( with a professional tour guide) could give you more plus I think.
c. Take a taxi. Well, in principle you can do this, yet I do not recommend this as it will be more expensive especially if the taxis are not metered. Probably, the only metered taxi there is bluebird. If you use the service of non-metered taxis, you have to be good at haggling, which can be quite confusing for foreigners or non-Balinese who are not familiar with the places on Bali, because you can’t estimate the distance of places you are heading to.
5. If you visit tourist destinations, you will most likely be surrounded by sellers who are approaching you, trying to sell their stuff to you. If you really do not want to buy, then be strict to them by saying no, don’t look at their stuff just because you feel reluctant to say no to them, just say ” No, thank you” then go on with your own activity. If you look at their stuff, but you have actually no intention to buy, don’t be surprised if more sellers will come to you trying their luck.
6. Almost all the stuff on Bali are not fixed prices, so if you think you have your skill at bargaining. This is it! this is the time to use it. You can lower down the prices 25% – 45% cheaper (could be lower I think) My bargaining skill is okay, neither really good nor bad, I think. Be considerate in bargaining! a lot of stuff are handmade, and it is not easy to make them. To me, it is not about getting the stuff with lower prices, but also about respecting the art people have shown.
All in all, Bali is full of friendly people. They mostly want to befriend you in the way that some foreigners, especially new comers, got a bit “shocked”, perhaps they are just way too friendly for them. Greeting you “Hello, Mr, Mrs, where are you from?” something like that. But I’d say this kind of attitude is rooted in their lives.
Meanwhile this is it that I can share you. Have a nice vacation on Bali, Indonesia. I do hope whatever the cultural shock you might get on Bali, it is considered as a part of learning something new,and celebrating the life of a citizen of the world.
“Selamat Datang di Pulau Dewata” – “Welcome to the Island of Paradise”