Bali is one of the most perfect places to travel with cheap living, friendly locals, world-class dining and picture-perfect views.
As fairly seasoned Bali travellers, we would love to share 8 helpful tips and tricks with you to help you with your trip to Bali:
Number 1: Get the correct visa
If you are staying in Bali for LESS than 30 days there is no need to buy a visa. In recent years Bali has issued a FREE 30-day policy. Please note that this only applies to people entering from certain countries… check before you fly!
You CANNOT extend a FREE 30-day visa, if you enter Bali on a free 30-day visa you MUST leave before 30 days.
If you are planning on staying in Bali for OVER 30 days you must purchase a VOA at Bali airport when you arrive from the VOA counter just before the immigration line. Explain to the officers at the counter that you are going to be staying for over 30 days, they will understand your intentions & ensure you obtain the correct visa.
Number 2: Unlock your phone & get a SIM card
Like all international countries using your mobile SIM from home is expensive or sometimes doesn’t work at all! One of my biggest and most important tips is to unlock your phone before setting off to Bali.
If your phone is locked (to example EE) the Balinese SIM will not work and you are left to unlock your phone in Bali. Once you know your phone is unlocked, grab yourself a Balinese SIM from one of the millions of warungs for an excellent price. Telkomsel is a very popular provider and in our experience very good coverage. All the SIMs are pay as you go and can be topped up at any warung, you do not have to go back to the same one.
Once you have purchased your SIM card you will need to register it by going to the providers local store (If you have chosen Telkomsel you will need to go to a Telkomsel store). To register you will need your passport and address. Depending on the store you visit the waiting times can be long as they are always busy with hundreds of people registering however once you are called up to the desk the process is quick and easy.
You will find that the warungs selling SIM cards and top ups offer a fixed price, no bartering permitted.
Note: you will now have a new mobile number however if you primarily use Whatsapp, you can keep your original number linked to the app so you are not having to notify everyone.
Number 3: Be careful of Bali belly
Bali belly, Delhi belly… it has many names under the sun and it effects millions of us. Bali belly is caused by consuming contaminated food or water. There are a few precautions you can take to reduce the chances of suffering from the draining illness:
- Only drink bottled or boiled water
- Order drinks without ice
- Brush your teeth with bottled water
If you are unlucky enough to get Bali belly activated charcoal water is great as it stops toxins from being absorbed in the stomach by binding to them. The body is unable to absorb charcoal, and so the toxins that bind to the charcoal leave the body.
Number 4: Embrace the traffic
The traffic in Bali can be crazy. In the touristy areas you will find cars lined up in bumper to bumper traffic and scooters zig- zagging. Embrace it, it’s part of Bali and its culture! In fact it is interesting to watch at times. The most important thing is to stick to the left, take it slow, don’t rush and remember its every man for himself.
Number 5: Barter sensibly
Local markets are bursting with people bartering for goods, it is what you should do… however make sure you do your research and follow some basic rules.
- Know your price before you start conversation.
- Always be kind. Haggling for £1 or a $1 will not impact your bottom line however keep in mind that this could be a meal for them.
- Be respectful – There is a fine line between negotiating and being rude. It is always important to only pay what you feel the item is worth however if you are not getting any movement from the seller, move on calmly as there is a strong chance you will find the same item in another market!
- Learn a little Bahasa Indonesian and use it while bartering – this is often a ‘relationship builder’.
- The first price that the shop keeper offers will be double the price you should pay – they know this and expect you to barter.
- Play it cool – don’t show them that you REALLY want the item…even though you do! If you can’t agree on a price walk away…sometimes they will call you back.
Number 6: Get a international driving license
If you are planning on hiring a car or scooter whilst in Bali you MUST have an international driving licence. You must carry the international licence and your home country driving licence with you at all times when driving.
We would advise you purchase an international driving license BEFORE you arrive in Bali, this way you will know the licence is legitimate. Getting an international driving license from the UK is a cheap & very quick.
We did not do our research on this and we were fined by the Balinese police! Believe us, it’s a scary experience…
When hiring vehicles in Bali they do not make it clear to you that you must have an international licence, they will rent you the vehicle with or without so do not relay on them.
Number 7: Visit a spa
Just when you think Bali could not get any more blissful…
Take your pick from traditional Balinese massages to trendy eye-lash extensions! The prices are unbelievably cheap and the service is 5*.
We had nothing but AMAZING experiences from every spa we visited, we did get our favourites over time… Treat yourself!
Number 8: Be observant and stay safe
Like all foreign countries we visit we are unfamiliar with the surroundings which makes us a little more vulnerable. For us as English (and for hundreds of others) there was also a language barrier we had to be aware of. Notice people around you, watch their actions (as you can not always understand their language) and trust your instincts.
The Balinese police are corrupt and they have control over you whilst on their island, be smart if/ when you deal with them.