Bali is an incredibly welcoming, beautiful place, and as with any destination it helps to understand some of the local ways, culture and tips for enjoying your trip to the fullest.
Here’s some tips and info to help you
The Balinese Way of Life & Bali Tips….
Visas? What’s the deal? Do I need one?
For a 30 day max stay, the tourist visa is free, just grab your bags, head through immigration, collect your visa stamp and you are set. You must leave within 30 days and extensions are not permitted. There’s no advance prep needed, unless you’re planning on staying longer than 30 days. Most people who plan to stay for longer simply book a ‘visa-run’ flight, a cheap day trip back and forth to Singapore will do the trick and there is currently no limit on how many 30 day tourist visas you can get in one year. Sweet.
So many questions?!
You might find as you meet the locals, they ask you the same questions ‘Where you from? Where you stay? Where you going?’ At first you think it’s nosy and strange, but it seems to be the Balinese way, if you’re walking, you must be going somewhere, almost past, present and future. Don’t be surprised if they stop you on the beach when you’re taking pictures, like this really lovely guy did…
What’s a Homestay? Is it someone’s house?
Not at all. Balinese families live in ‘compounds‘, a series of bungalows and often they build more and turn them into hotels or homestays, with the family living within the land/ compound and running the accomodation from nearby. Some of these homestays are stunning (see my other Bali posts for proof) and immaculately kept, cheaper than hotels and gives you the local experience, worth a stay.
Etiquette & Kindness
The Balinese people are intrinsically kind, there’s nothing that is ever too much trouble, be as kind to them as they are to you. They are deeply spiritual, believe in karma and value family and community. You’ll spot pretty little offerings of flowers and incense on doorsteps every where, it is a daily nature-based worship of Balinese Hinduism.
This heat? Does it ever stop?!
Bali’s year round humidity can mean a few sleepless nights, so you will want a pool, nope…you’ll need one wherever you stay. The humidity will get ya, and my friends struggled without one. Make sure you have rooms with air con – not just a twirling ceiling fan, but actual air con. Makes for a good night’s sleep, or cool respite. I looked like Tina Turner would if she stuck her pinky in a plug socket. Mega big hair. Girls, learn to plait, it will serve you well in Bali.
Oh look at the pretty bungalow with the thatched roof!
Bungalows that look like they have wicker roofs are so pretty, but you’re a little more open to mosquitos and bugs. Best to make sure you’ve got four walls that meet the ceiling and they’re not made of wood! If you get mossies in the your room, ask reception for a mosquito plug to deter them.
That restaurant looks like a shed, is the food any good?
Yes!! Try the Indonesian food, go to what looks like a hole in the wall with a tin roof. If the locals go, go there. You’ll eat a divine Nasi Goreng for £1.50. You’ll share 5 dishes with your friends and a beer and have change from £3.
Scooters: They’re cheap, for a few quid a day you can rent one and zoom about. Always wear a helmet, the police will pull you over and fine you otherwise.
Mind the monkeys! They’re everywhere, at temples, up mountains, in Ubud’s Monkey Forest. They look cute but they are wild and if you haven’t had a rabies jab and you get scratched, you’ll be on a flight to Singapore to get treatment. It’s the nearest and only place able to treat you. Plus if you go into monkey forest in Ubud they will pull your hair, steal your sandals, run off with your phones. Keep everything zipped away or you’ll get monkey-mugged.
You put the lime in the coconut…..
Feed your soul, drink the fresh coconut water from real coconuts, try Kombucha, smoothie bowls, satay to knock your socks off and the raw food cafes. If you’ve got room get the coconut ice cream. Eat the grilled corn on the cob from the man on the beach.
Most of all delve in, waterfalls, surf, yoga, hike, or sit, sun and seek out all the beer you can handle. It’s by far one of the most wonderful places I’ve been. Happy travels!