Get holiday-ready with these essential Bali travel hacks & tips before you jet off.
As fellow Perth residents, we can safely say we’re pretty knowledgable when it comes to our favourite holiday destination – Bali baby!
After a halt to travel over the last two years, you might be feeling a little rusty when it comes to the ins and outs of the iconic tropical island, so we’re lending a hand with our go-to hacks and tips for the perfect vacay.
Get a local sim
Unless you’re planning on moving, getting your hands on a cheap prepaid local SIM card might be your best option to stay connected. You can usually find them at the airport or in local street vendors.
If you’re happy to take a tech break and just need the bare necessities, save yourself roaming fees by popping your phone on flight mode and using wifi for essential apps like Gojek or WhatsApp (we’ll get into that).
If you’re thinking nup to either option, at least make sure you know all about your international roaming – no one wants that surprise phone bill the next month.
Hire a personal driver
There’s so much to see and do from waterfalls to wildlife to adrenaline-filled adventures to beach clubs and everything in between- that’s a lot of driving!
If you’re not keen on getting taxis or hopping on a motorbike, a personal driver is essential. You can get one for a day trip for around just 600,000 Indonesian Rupiah ($60) a day. Ask at your hotel to have one arranged, or do your own research (The Bali Bible can usually recommend some reliable drivers).
Check out GoJek
GoJek is Indonesia’s version of Uber.
You can order a motorbike (or car, if motorbikes aren’t your thing) from just about anywhere- there are heaps of them around. It’s super cheap, super fast and one of the best ways to get around like a true local. All you’ll have to do is add a bank account to the app, put in your destination, and jump on the back once your driver arrives- simples!
They also do food delivery if you’re planning a night in at the hotel, and it’s cheap as chips.
Get on WhatsApp
If you’ve had any form of Bali travel in the past you’re probably aware that WhatsApp is the absolute pinnacle of communication here, so if you don’t have it- well, you’ll be getting nowhere.
You can use it to find out pricing and opening times for most businesses or to enquire about making a booking, and you can also use it to book your hotel stay. It’s also common to communicate to reception and room service via WhatsApp after checking in.
Only jump in a Blue Bird Taxi
You’ve heard this one before, but it’s an important one if you want to save time and money.
When getting around, only jump in the light blue taxis with a Blue Bird logo. Seems simple enough, but stay alert because a lot of other taxi companies are also blue. Blue Bird taxis are the most reputable in the business because they offer a metered fare, unlike other companies that negotiate the fare.
Always carry cash
We’re very used to the old tap and go here, but it’s definitely a good idea to carry some cash around in Bali.
A lot of restaurants, markets, stalls, etc will be cash only, and you won’t find ATMs on every corner like you do other places- especially if you’re off the beaten track. There’s no need to keep heaps on you, but you should always have some handy.
Hold the ice
Number one rule of Bali: do NOT drink the tap water.
This goes for the ice as well. Yes, standards have improved over the last few years and a lot of places now get drinking ice delivered- but if you’re unsure, it’s better to be safe than sorry and hold the ice in that cocktail.
It goes without saying, drink bottled water at all times. If you want to be a little more environmentally mindful, check out the RefillMyBottle map online to be directed to places that will refill your reusable bottle with safe drinking water.
Be wary of cheap drinks
Speaking of drinks, here’s a motto for you: if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Many cheaper bars use local spirits, and we’ve all heard those horror stories- alcohol poisoning, horrid hangovers, and extreme illness. Though less common now, it’s important to be wary when seeing a cheap drink bucket on the menu.
Don’t be afraid to barter
We may not be used to it in our everyday lives, but negotiating (aka bartering) is expected in Bali.
You can often work your way to anywhere between 50-60% off the original price of something in little stalls and markets with a bit of persistence and skill. It may be a pain sometimes, but have fun with it!
Have an emergency Bali Belly plan
Our stomachs aren’t as accustomed as the locals, so eating and drinking the same as them can be a one-way ticket to the toilet.
If you don’t want to spend half your trip lying in bed clutching at a bucket, you’ll need to have a plan to tackle the likely chance of Bali belly.
The best remedy for Bali belly is charcoal pills, which can be found in chemists around town. You’ll also need to stay hydrated- Pocari Sweat is a good option, or take some Hydralyte with you. Try and avoid it altogether by using hand sanitiser, never using tap water to brush your teeth, and watching what you eat when it comes to local foods.
Know where to go for medical care
Speaking of sickness, it’s always a good idea to know where you can find urgent and professional medical care wherever you travel.
Siloam Hospitals and BIMC hospitals are your best bet when you have a medical emergency or need to see a doctor, and usually getting in a taxi and asking to be dropped to the nearest one is fastest. Bali does have emergency numbers (112 and 118) but you might have more luck calling the hospital directly.
Respect the locals and religion
As always, respect the locals and customs of the place you are visiting.
Bali is full of spectacular, colourful culture with regular ceremonies and a big focus on religion. For the most part, they follow the Hindu religion, but when travelling in areas with high Islamic populations it’s best for women to dress modestly. These would include Gilis, Lombok, Java, Medewi. If you’re entering temples on your visit be sure to cover your knees with a long skirt and cover up the shoulders too.
Balinese people are some of the warmest and smiliest in the world, so always smile back, be mindful of their culture and learn some local lingo! ‘Terima Kasih’ (thank you) goes a long way.
Feature Image: Patal Kikian Villas | @ms.coco.nut
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