We’ve set up a list that will help other guests visiting Bali have a smooth and stress free holiday. Here’s how we did it!
Before Leaving Your Home Country
Tickets are booked! Yay! Now for some admin before leaving your home country. These are some crucial things to do before packing your bags. (P.S. not sure which area to stay? Read our recommendations).
1) Inform Your Bank
Before leaving your home country, remember to inform your bank (at the back of your credit card is a contact number) about your travels to another country. You might find yourself in a difficult situation with cards not working or being declined.
2) Notify Your Medical Aid
Notify your medical aid about your travel plans to another country. This will ensure that they are aware of your whereabouts if any emergency should arise.
3) Travel insurance
Not a requirement but definitely a life saver in the event of any unforeseen events e.g. lost luggage, missed flights etc. There are quite a lot of affordable options available.
4) International Driving Permit
Get an international driving permit if you are considering to drive around on a scooter. I won’t recommend renting a scooter if you are not an experienced rider. Even though the Balinese are very patient drivers, the traffic and driving style in Bali are quite hectic and something to get used to. The Balinese love to honk, luckily not out of aggression, only to make others aware of their presence. If caught without an international driving permit be assured of a very hefty fine. To avoid the stress, consider taking a taxi. Taxi’s are everywhere. It is also lovely to walk around.
USEFUL APPS TO INSTALL
These are some very helpful apps that we would recommend to install on your smartphone to make traveling a bit smoother.
1) Google maps
A very useful and helpful app to find your way around the island.
Grab is similar to Uber. It’s a very popular ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia. It’s much cheaper to order a car from your phone at a fixed charge. Load your credit card onto the app as a payment option as the drivers conveniently never have change available if paying by cash. Grab is not allowed everywhere. They will also not collect you at places where there are taxi’s available.
We usually search for cheap eats (Restaurants) nearby. It’s also useful if you have dietary requirements e.g. vegan or if you are just in the mood for some plain old pizza.
To have your accommodation booking information on hand.
Similar to Agoda – keep your booking information on hand.
The Balinese can speak good English but sometimes you do get stuck when asking for something specific.
Widely used in Bali – the main app to communicate with drivers, to book tours etc.
Similar to Grab/Uber but it is a scooter service and very cheap. They will transport one person at a time. A helmet is provided.
9) Blue Bird
Order your taxi online at a fixed rate – no negotiations necessary.
ARRIVING AT THE AIRPORT
Okay, so you have landed in paradise!
- If your country of origin falls under the “Visa Exemption Rule” then proceed directly to the immigration officer – do not pass the visa on arrival counter. You will get a 30 day stamp.
- Withdraw cash – withdraw the maximum amount you can. It is cheaper to withdraw cash in town, therefore only one person needs to withdraw cash at the airport to pay for taxi’s, sim cards, etc. The ATM adds commission, therefore it’s “cheaper” to withdraw the maximum amount. This will either be 3 million IDR or 2 million IDR.
- Buy a data sim card at the airport – one sim card is enough as most of the restaurants have WiFi. You will need this sim when you’re next to the road and need to order a Grab/Taxi or if you need Google Maps. You will get a tourist sim. Let the sales person install and set it up for you. It’s easy and safe.
- Do NOT order Grab from the airport – there is a big presence of the Taxi mafia. Hundreds of taxi drivers will pester you at a very expensive rate. It’s best to arrange collection before the time. All hotels will gladly assist with arranging collection from the airport.
ON THE ISLAND
- ATM– withdraw the maximum amount of money from machines displaying 100k signs. Permata Bank allows you to withdraw 3 000 000 IDR at a time. Check machines for skimmers! Feel if the slot is loose before inserting the card. If it is loose, do NOT use it!
- Cash is king. Most restaurants only accept cash. Some restaurants do offer a credit card facility, but an additional fee will be charged.
- Grab – Download the Grab app on your smartphone and link it to your credit card. Grab is not allowed everywhere. They will also not collect you at places where there are taxi’s available.
- Taxi – Taxi’s are everywhere and easy to find. Be sure to negotiate a fixed price before getting into the taxi. You can also download the Bluebird Taxi App on your smartphone to order a taxi online.
- By foot – It is very safe to walk around, take a stroll and explore the beautiful villages of Bali.
- Bali is extremely safe – you can walk around freely. We have never felt threatened or in danger at any given time.
- Do keep your belongings within eyesight and practice common safety measures. Rather pack away that cellphone before going for a swim.
Tours and Activities
- All tours can be booked through the hotel – shop around, don’t just book the first tour. Negotiate prices! Here is some great tour ideas!
TIME FOR LUNCH!
It might be a bit overwhelming when you first see the menu with all the different and very unfamiliar meal options to choose from. What to choose??? Here is some of our recommendations!
- Nasi Goreng – Fried Rice
- Mie Goreng – Fried Noodles
- Soto Ayam – A yellow chicken soup with noodles, very tasty!
- Nasi Campur (pronounced Champoer) – Rice with small portions of a variety of dishes e.g. chicken, veggies, peanuts, egg and crackers – lots of yummy food on one plate, I loved it, my personal favourite!
- Fish – Mahi Mahi fish, Snapper (fish) and Tuna are our favourite choices!
- Rendang – A spicy meat dish, very similar to a stew.
- Chicken Curry – It’s a must! Very tasty!
- Gado-Gado – Slightly boiled vegetables served with a peanut sauce dressing.
- Cap Cay (pronounced Chap Chay ) – A vegetable dish in chicken stock consisting of mainly carrot, cauliflower and cabbage.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu – Chicken wrapped around cheese.
- Spare ribs – Finger licking good!
- Sate – Skewers with a peanut sauce dip.
- Jamu (pronounced Djamoo) – A turmeric health drink that is very good for the liver. It has a very distinctive taste. Also administered as medicine amongst the locals. Very healthy! Give it a try 😉
SOME USEFUL WORDS
Saying some Balinese words, even if you sound silly will earn you so much respect from the local people.
- Terima Kasih (Three Makasie) = Thank you. The Balinese really appreciate a thank you in their own language.
- Tidak = No!! When hawkers approach you, just say, “Tidak Terimah Kasih” – they will see you as an expat and not a tourist and will no longer pester you to buy souvenirs. Remember to always smile and be kind, the Balinese are extremely friendly 🙂
- Ayam = Chicken
- Ikan = Fish
- Babi = Pork
- Pisang = Banana
- Bier = Bintang!
For some inspiration, watch some of our Bali video’s. We had the best time on this beautiful island!
We wish you a smooth and memorable trip on the magical island of Bali!! Hope these tips were helpful 😉
P.S. Let us know which Balinese dish was your most favourite!!
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