Updated: Aug 6, 2019
The people are super friendly! The Balinese people were super friendly and it really shines out when you meet them. We were immediately put us at ease and made to feel welcome when we arrived and throughout our stay. Most people spoke English to some degree and were happy to strike up conversation. There was an inherent smiling friendly nature to the island and it was easy to strike up friendships.
The food is amazeballs!
Balinese cuisine is very diverse and wide ranging with an assortment of hundreds of foods to choose from. There is influence from both Asia and Western countries meaning that we were able to sample foods from all over the world, Balinese, Chinese, Japanese, American, Italian, you name it! We had some of our best and tastiest meals in Bali.
It’s easy peasey to get around
Transport in Bali was extremely easy. Most hotels have organised transport with private cars/minibuses and along all the main roads there were a large number of Bluebird Taxis. You are almost certainly likely to be approached a few times in the street or coming out of a restaurant or hotel and asked if you need transport. If you are getting a taxi, make sure to ask for a metered one, if not arrange a price first before getting in the taxi. P.s. Uber and grab cars are banned in most areas, but I heard that the banning is not legal binding. We've not used uber and grab whilst were there as we had a private transport, but a friend used Uber there and she didnt had any problems.
You might make friends with your driver
We arranged for a hotel transport from the airport and made friends with Kiko our driver on the way. He gave us his number and card and we were able to message him on whatsapp for travel to trips and destinations. He was also able to help us negotiate good deals on tours and helped us plan ahead. Kiko was one of the friendliest, kind and most helpful drivers that we have met and I would recommend using him if you are in Bali!
Where to stay?
Bali has a few regions, but we were torn between Kuta (the tourist centre) and Ubud (the cultural centre). After a few deliberations, we've stayed in Kuta as we wanted to stay in the city afterall. My friend Koko stayed in Ubud and she had a lovely villa there too. P.s. Kuta is quite crowded hence it is a tourist centre.
The exchange rate is good and it’s really easy to change money
It is very easy to exchange money in Bali and you should have no problem finding money exchange centres. They are located on almost every street throughout the towns and cities and also at the airport. It is significantly better value for money if you exchange money once you arrive in the country rather than exchanging outside the country and taking the money with you. I wouldn’t exchange money in the airport as you can expect to get far less for your money than if you exchange it outside and you can get good value on the exchange.
At the time we were there, the exchange rate was £1 to 18,000 IDR.
Sightseeing is awesome!
Bali is the place to go if you want to see some of the most impressive buildings, temples, and landscape sites in the world. Many of the buildings and hotels are cleverly built into the surrounding nature creating a “waterfall forest feel” to the place.
Bali is also very spiritual place and this is captured in the amazing visual architecture, Hindu sculptures, and religious offerings scattered around. Some of the temples you can see (examples here) are absolutely stunning. Check out my other blog post about places to visit.
What to avoid
As long as you are sensible and respectful, you are not likely to encounter any difficulties. The water is unsafe to drink and you should take special care and use bottled water. Most of the hotels will provide you with 2 or more bottles of free water in your hotel room each day. Purchasing bottled water is also extremely cheap and easy to find. There are plenty of excellent places to eat out and generally the higher quality the food outlet or restaurant the safer the food is. There is some danger of getting “Bali Belly” from contaminated meat/water that is served and so choosing where you are going to eat is wise. Bali Belly is something you definitely want to avoid and is common for many travellers to the area. No matter the circumstances don’t be tempted to drink non bottled water.
Me and Adam are not very big drinkers of alcohol but for those of you who are – you do need to be aware of some of the dangers. An unfortunate development in Indonesia has been the practice of mixing methanol with alcohol as a cheap way to make drinks stronger. This is an extremely dangerous and serious practice which has led to a number of tourists going blind. Again, you are likely to be safe in the “higher quality” bars and restaurants where there is less chance of this happening. I drank Bitang beer when I was out there which is very tasty and comes in a labelled bottle. We also had some drinks in some of the cocktail bars and hotels.
We went last January so it wasn't very hot, instead it was warm and very cloudy because of the monsoon season. So if you don't want to suffer from a heat stroke go sometime this time. If you are a fan of warm weather, then go before or after the monsoon season. For instagram purposes? Avoid monsoon season lol Temperatures were comfortably warm (generally above 26 C) and we wore shorts and a short sleeved T Shirt for the whole time we were there. Although mosquitoes are a risk in Bali, we didn’t get bitten by any (we wore mosquito spray) and I didn’t see any at all in Kuta. We were both able to get quite a nice tan from the sunshine although I had to be particularly careful of the sun.
Thats it for now. Let me know if you have any comments or questions :0