Since you can find everything online, travel booklets and destination brochures are long gone. Bali is loved by many travelers and holds a special place in so many hearts. Those traveling to Bali visit the island for many different reasons, and do things very differently to what I will try to recommend in this guide.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s „Eat, Pray, Love“ put Bali on the map as a single girl’s romantic „finding yourself“ destination. So if you are a devoted traveler and looking for a home, you might just consider dropping your bags for next several months. But overall, Bali is so much more. You can dress it up in accommodation or dress it down and still have a great experience, which is one of the main reasons why I love Bali.
The spirit of Bali is steeped in a daily tradition of customary dress, pavilion houses, flower offerings and ornate rituals. From architecture, sculpture designs, craftwork to clothing, the Balinese way of life is one of craftsmanship, deep spirituality and beauty. Before you go to Bali, here are few things you should know:
1. The real authentic souvenirs are most expensive to ship
From wooden furniture to giant stone-carved sculptures, Bali’s best “souvenirs” are its artistry and low cost value from other islands in Indonesia, Bali.
The Balinese are very good when it comes to wood and stone carving, it’ll have you daydreaming about opening an imported furniture shop back home (I really thought of that!). There are so many unique pieces and I wish, I could buy something for my home. So if you are not careful, you’ll easily find yourself calculating shipping costs.
2. Rent a motorbike
The best and most enjoyable way to sightsee Bali is on a motorbike. Motorbike driving is easier and it allows you freedom to get out to the countryside. In Ubud, they can cost around $6-10/day to rent.
3. If not a motorbike, how about a taxi?
Ways to get around in Bali can feel limited, but you have options like motorbike, bemo or taxi. Bemo’s are mini buses, which are cheap but uncomfortable. So I would defiantly not recommend it. Hire a taxi for the day or book a day tour. It’s comfortable, safe and perfect to get around in Bali. Don’t forget to negotiate for a good and reasonable price.
4. Take a breath from the touristic places, instead visit temples, markets and the countryside
Ubud, Kuta, Sanur, Seminyak/Legan are going to be infamous tourist magnets, populated with resorts, yoga studios, international restaurants and designer jewelry and clothing shops. Surely, Balinese folk are employed at these places but this isn’t exactly Bali. To enjoy the real Bali is found through the people, countryside and culture. Get out and explore that. Drop by the markets, the shops away from the tourist mecca, visit temples and watch women at the roadside husking rice.
5. Festivals, rituals and ceremonies
There is almost always some kind of ceremony going on in Bali and you’ll definitely want to see it. From celebrating the birth of a goddess to full moon rituals, village ceremonies and observing the daily practices at temples.
6. Bring your own medication
Most medical items can be purchased in chemists/supermarkets but you may not be able to understand the labels/directions so it’s best to take your own , where possible.
7. Always drink bottled water
You can buy the water at many of the small supermarket shops around the place and it is relatively cheap. Use it for drinking and brushing your teeth and avoid tap water at all costs.Most of the good restaurants use it to prepare food and use ice made with purified water in drinks. As with most trips use good hygiene and common sense and you will be OK. When buying bottled water always check the seal is intact and purchase a recognized brand of water.
8. Bali Belly
Bali Belly is just a quirky name for traveler’s diarrhea and stomach pain suffered by tourists in Bali. If you experience Bali belly go to your nearest pharmacy and ask for Imodium or their recommendation. Some suggestions: drink plenty of water. Easiest and most hydrating option. Stick with safe, clean drinking water. This means from a bottle, most of the time. Supercharge your water by adding salt and lemon or lime juice to boost electrolytes and minerals that you have lost. Coconut water is another great way to stay hydrated. It also has minerals to replace those you have lost. Just make sure it’s from a safe, clean source – packaged or from a fresh coconut. However, if you are careful of what you drink and eat, you’ll be fine.
Mosquitos are also of serious concern just after sunset so be aware and cover up or protect yourself with a good insect repellent like Autan cream or Minyak Sereh (Sitronela), which is readily available along with coils at Bali supermarkets, or you bring your own.
10. Be cautious of wild and stray animals
They may look cute, but rabies and other diseases are serious risks in Bali and monkeys are notorious for their thieving ways. Bali’s stray dogs are numerous, and often in pretty bad shape.
11. Never step on prayer offerings
Watch your step! You’re sure to find prayer offerings on the ground every morning. Some are woven baskets flowers, while others, hold tiny parsons of rise on a banana leaf. They’re spiritual offerings that is very integral to Balinese life, culture and religion.
12. Animism: Good and bad spirits live together
Balinese religion combines elements of Buddhism and Hinduism and interweaves it with animistic practices. You’ll wonder why there are so many unpleasant looking gargoyles with grimacing or demonic faces. These are Drua beneda gargoyles. The present both, good and bad spirits and they co-exist by side. Balinese pray to both, so that they will be protected both and not be cursed by either.
13. Remember that low season often means rainy season
Be mindful of Bali’s rainy season (January to April and October to November) when planning your trip. Discounts can be great, but if you end up spending your holiday cooped up indoors, you may be left wondering if making the trip was worth it. Fortunately, the rains are often limited to brief afternoon downpours, so your holiday isn’t likely to be a total write-off.
14. Don’t stress!
Bali is generally safer than the headlines suggest, but with close to four million tourists hitting its shores every year, it’s statistically natural that some travelers may have problems. Party safe, always wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter, be respectful, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your home country, and you’re on track for the holiday of a lifetime.
I miss the frangipani trees and their increadible smell.
Orchids – The Queen of flowers.
Typical Balinese house.
Breathtaking ocean views from the Uluwatu cliffs.
This road reminded me one of the „Eat, Pray, Love“ movie scenes.
Prayers at Pura Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring – Gianyar Bali
Lotus flower – in Buddhist symbolism, the lotus is symbolic of purity of the body, speech, and mind as while rooted in the mud, its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. It is also symbolic of detachment as drops of water easily slide off its petals.
Ganesha statue, is one of the best-known and most worshiped deities in the Hindu pantheon. He is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honored at the start of rites and ceremonies. Ganesha is also invoked as patron of letters and learning during writing sessions.
The Ubud Monkey Forest in Ubud.
Beautiful wild forest of Ubud.
The Ubud Monkey Forest , in the village of Padangtegal, Ubud.
W Hotel Seminyak
Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak
The Mulia Hotel, Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua Beach
Interior Shop in Seminyak
Thomas Beach, Bali
All photos taken by ©DisiCouture