Take it from your fellow Indonesian classmate here at LMU, Bali seems to be everyone’s new favorite travel destination and it’s easy to see why! From its endless list of idyllic beaches, picturesque sunsets, and magnificent terraced rice fields, this heaven-like island provides visitors with a never-ending adventure.
Perhaps it might be a tad difficult for you to understand what I’m saying, and while I can’t give you an expert local guide to Bali, I can definitely give you a first-timer’s guide just like I would to a friend! Below is all you need to know about Bali to help ensure your trip goes smoothly!
When is the best time to visit Bali?
The best time to visit would be during the island’s dry season. This ranges from May to October. You don’t have to worry about a single thing when it comes to rain ruining any of your outdoor activities. Just go soak up the sun, get your tan on, and relax!
The only downside is that this is the most popular time of year to go. Flights are more expensive, so you will need to book your flights and first choice hotel way in advance. Other than that, Bali should ALWAYS be your next stop.
What to Expect
Language: The main languages spoken in Bali are Bahasa Indonesia, Balinese, and English. However, a lot of the locals are experts in other foreign languages as well! They expect many tourists from all around the world, so they’ve been educated in various languages for years! French, Mandarin, Japanese, you name it, you got it!
Currency: The currency in Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah. $1 is equivalent to about Rp. 14,162. So imagine having a couple of beers while watching the sunset at Kuta Beach. It would only cost between $1 (Rp.14, 162) to $9 (Rp.127, 458).
Credit Cards and ATMs: There are plenty of ATMs in Bali’s main cities, such as Ubud and Kuta. As long as you’re not eating at small, local restaurants, you are going to be perfectly fine. This brings up my next point!
You need to be ready with cash in hand.
Cash is KING in Bali. Always carry a handful of Rp.10, 000 to Rp.100, 000 notes for daily expenses and haggling (especially if you are going to spend a day at any of the adorable art markets)
Safety: I can assure you that Bali is one of the safest travel destinations in Indonesia, especially for us female travelers! The biggest concern is probably road safety. Motorcycles in Bali are like hundreds and thousands of ants roaming up, down, and around the city. Balinese people will be the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and they will without a doubt watch out for you as if you’re a part of their own family.
What to do when you are on a budget
Bali is a super budget-friendly tourist destination, so it’s pretty easy to enjoy a getaway without the worry of breaking the bank! Although often crowded with tourists, Bali remains surprisingly affordable. Of course, you should still be slick with your spending if you’re trying to save money. Here are my tips for traveling to Bali on a budget!
Transportation: Taxis are the most expensive form of transportation in Bali. The best way to explore the island is for you to rent a scooter or motorbike. Trust me, it’s very cheap; you can rent one for Rp.30, 000 to Rp.50, 000 a day! How amazing is that? However, if you don’t feel comfortable driving yourself, you can use the GO-JEK app, which is an Uber-like service.
Meals: Even if the hotels end up being expensive, the cuisine alone would make your trip to Bali so worth it! Mouthwatering dishes like Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng, satays and Martabak are all wonderful on the island! An added bonus, food found at warungs (local, small restaurants) will always be the cheapest. Generally, it’s really fresh and delicious too! Still worried you’ll wreck your diet on vacation? Several restaurants are owned by westerners there, and can be quite inexpensive – look for brunch cafes and vegan delis all over the island! You can definitely budget between Rp.200, 000 to Rp.250, 000 a day on food, drinks, and still have your tummy happy and satisfied!
Shopping: It’s always shop-o-clock in Bali. It’s an amazing place to buy from local artisans. They design and produce just as beautiful pieces and collections as the ones you would see in a shop. Plus, everything is handmade! The Ubud Art Market is my personal favorite, and possibly will be one of the best locations for your Bali shopping experience. You’ll find that you can haggle and bargain with vendors to get things for less than HALF the initial price.
Spa Services: Bali is very well known for all of its affordable spa services. Massage houses can be found on nearly every corner, offering one-hour massages for around Rp.80, 000. P.S, if you ever feel like splurging on yourself, try a spa at one of the many luxury hotels in the area…there’s never any harm in that!
Activities: There’s SO much to do and see in Bali. For tours of and around the island, you can hire a local driver (and can split the cost if you are traveling with a group to save money). You can hire a driver for less than Rp.30, 000 for the day and visit endless sites!
I have been to Bali countless times ever since I was a little girl. I’ve made many beautiful memories with family and friends there that will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope you can travel to Bali one day soon, so you can make those life-long memories, too.