“Excuse me, do you know where Uluwatu Made Guesthouse is?” The Balinese Guy from the motor shop answered: “Yes, yes. Here next left and then 1km and then on the right”.
“Oh, wow. Thanks so much…”
We heard that 5 times from 5 different people, every one of them was nice, sure. But it felt like they just want to give an answer even if they don’t know.
So if you’re planning a trip to Bali, have a look at these 20 essential TIPS you absolutely must know before you go!
1) You gonna drive crazy at the airport, believe me: that’s kinda like normal. I suggest going with the friendliest looking cab driver. Uber drivers are not allowed to come to the airport, so it’s not gonna work out as simple as you might think. Maybe you gonna be lucky but there are SOOO many cab drivers asking you to take you to your hostel or guesthouse, the majority is walking behind you just to get you as a paying customer. When you found your “friendly looking cab driver” negotiate the price. Unexperienced travelers say probably often yes straight away to any price they say, so they gonna try to get the most out of you. We paid 10 dollars at midnight to reach our hotel in Denpasar which is an excellent price. Usually, this is a day price 😉
2) Indonesian Rupiah is the currency. 10 000 Indonesian rupiah is approximately 0,93 AUD, 0,60 EUR, 0,73 USD or 0,52 GBP. Be careful with the 10 000 and 100 000 bills, the red color can be confusing.
3) Learn some local words:
Good Morning= Selamat Pagi.
Good Bye= Selamat Tinggal.
Thank you= Terima Kasih
4) Buy a sim card at a local shop, it’s gonna be useful especially to use a GPS. It’s gonna cost you around 2 AUD, easy.
5) If you are lost, avoid asking locals who are sitting around for the direction. Why? Because even if they don’t know the direction, they won’t say “sorry I can’t help you”, they will give you wrong information, just to be nice and help you! Trust me, we got lost few times!! TIP: Download the free app maps.me (awesome GPS) or ask a taxi driver!
6) The South of Bali is the most touristic part of the island.
7) Riding a scooter is the cheapest way to explore the island on your own. The island is made for the scooter, you gonna be scared at the beginning, but the traffic is just like it is. I call it “A controlled chaos”.
8) Drive on the left and don’t hesitate to horn! 🙂
9) Driving will take longer than expected. If google maps or maps.me says 50 km in 1h45, it generally takes about 3hours. There’s always traffic.
10) Do not drink the vodka lemon you gonna find on the side of the roads: this is petrol 😉
11) You need to hide your legs with long pants or a sarong to get into Temples. So basically you can take a towel, a huge scarf or a sarong. You also gonna find sarongs to borrow for your visit some temples (among the most famous ones).
12) Don’t use your left hand for a handshake, it’s considered unclean. Indonesian people even don’t eat – never with their left hand. Why? Apparently, they use it for wiping their asses 😉
14) Don’t drink tap water. It may contain plenty of bacterias. Generally, ice cubes in restaurants are safe.
15) Don’t expect to get a black coffee if you eat in local places. You gonna find it only in hotels and restaurant. The Balinese coffee is really sugary, its kinda like sugar powder. Sorry!
16) Useful common food to know:
Mie Goreng= fried noodles with veggies and chicken (see picture1 below)
Nasi Goreng= fried rice with veggies and chicken
Pepesan ikan= Grilled fish in banana leaves
Nasi Campur= Like a small buffet, base rice and/or noodles with few choices (veggies, fish, chicken, other meat…). (see picture2 below)
Tidak ada telur silahkan = no eggs please (Amandine get’s sick when she eats eggs, so if you have similar problems, there you go)
17) Be aware of added tax in bars and restaurants. Always check if the tax is included or not on the menu (read more about it here). All restaurants have menus in front of the door so you can see what they offer and what they charge. First it looks cheap and it sounds good, but in fact, some of the restaurants charge tax money to get your foot in the door. You know how it is. There is just too much competition.
18) Giving a TIP in a restaurant is not required, often it’s already included in the bill.
19) Be cautious with animals (dogs, cats, monkeys), they might look cute but don’t touch them (too many risks of disease). Trust your feelings, I would say.
20) Give your laundry to a small local shop, it’s gonna be way cheaper than in hotels. And they are sooo nice the people. Almost everyone got their own shop with sweet and drinks, so buy a water and stay hydrated! Support the locals.