What I Wish I Knew Before Going to Bali, Indonesia

If there’s one thing I’ve learned religiously reading travel blogs and becoming a travel blogger is that people LOVE love love love Bali, Indonesia. And for good reason. Bali is the perfect mix of culture and laid back beach life. I was fortunate enough to go to Bali for one week during a Thailand-Indonesia trip back in February 2017. My only regret was not spending more time there. Before I had gone, not many people I knew went to this island. So, like many others, I relied on travel blogs to come up with recommendations, tips and reviews. However, I still came across some surprises while there. Here’s my list of what I wish I knew before going to Bali.

Nomz

We spent the first 3 weeks of our 4 week Southeast Asia trip in Thailand then hopped on a plane over to Bali, Indonesia. This piece of info may be dependant on how your trip to Bali goes. For us, after spending 3 weeks in the land of flavour and drool worthy food, many Balinese dishes were extremely underwhelming. I mean yah, we did have Instagram worthy acai bowls and authentic perkedel (fried potato patties) but I’d say at least 50-60% of our meals were nothing to rave about. Especially in Uluwatu. Although it should be noted – both my sister and I are vegetarians so that really limited our options (in said Uluwatu).

Will Bali Break the Bank?

Heck no. After finding out that I’ve been to Bali, many people ask me if it’s expensive as they’ve heard it is. Honestly, as a Canadian, it’s not. The food and accommodations were very comparable to Thailand (which no seems to ‘hear’ is expensive). Our accommodations were 25$/night for 2 people in Ubud and 40$/night for 2 people in Uluwatu. And the hotel we stayed at in Uluwatu was beautiful! Probably the nicest non-resort hotel I’ve ever been to. The only thing that was pricy in comparison to everything else was the cost of taxis. Transportation from Denpasar to Ubud was 45$ CND and Ubud to Uluwatu was 85$ CND. For those wondering why we didn’t rent scooters, it’s because a local told us not to if we had never ridden one before. She also said that police looove ticketing foreigners. Also, because of the ‘road rules’ which I talk about further down.

Traffic – or Lack of

Speaking of transportation, one thing I did hear about Bali was that traffic was terrible. Which we didn’t experience at all. Sure it could have been the time of year we were there (late February) but never were we stuck in traffic. Honestly, we got to our destination before the suggested time, every time. And by a lot. When we were going from Uluwatu to the airport in Denpasar, we were told it would take 2 hours. It took 45 minutes. Of course it’s better to be safe than sorry but when every car trip took less time than expected, I think it’s okay to push the limits a little.

Bali Road Rules – or Lack of

This tid bit of info is useful for everyone intending to rent a scooter. There are no road rules. God, me and my love of rules loves Canada. One of our drivers told us there were no road rules but that everyone “respects each other”. Just know that I sure saw a lot of disrespect on those roads.

Names

A lot of people have the same 4 names. Which at first you think is a funny coincidence but after you meet 3 Wayans in one afternoon, it was time to do some research. The reason why is because it’s custom in Balinese culture to name your child based on their order of birth:

First born – Wayan
Second born – Made
Third born – Nyoman
Fourth born – Ketut

And if you have more than 4 kids, you start from number one again for names.

However, many people go by their middle name or adopt a nick name – otherwise, could you imagine if you were calling after a Wayan and 20 people turned around? It’d be cray.

Bali Belly

I’m sure most people are aware about the warnings of drinking water in Southeast Asia. Well in Bali, there’s an actual term for what happens when you get sick from drinking the water – Bali Belly. I had never heard of Bali Belly before going to Southeast Asia but thankfully two English girls warned me about it while in Thailand. One of them had gotten Bali Belly. I guess waterborne illnesses are more common over there. In Thailand we were sort of careful. We bought bottled water and never swallowed any water when brushing our teeth. But more than once we forgot to ask for no ice in our drink and definitely ate fruit washed in water. In Bali, we made sure to be extra cautious. We didn’t eat any salads, brushed our teeth with bottled water and never ordered any drink except hot coffee while eating out.

If you liked this post check out my Photos of Bali to Ignite Your Wanderlust post! Also, if you’re heading to Thailand check out my What I Wish I Knew Before Going to Thailand post. Some of the information there is also applicable in Bali!

I hope this post helps you feel a little more prepared going to Bali, Indonesia!

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4 Comments

  1. These points are all really good! I didn’t think that Bali was as inexpensive as that, that’s just a tiny percentage of what you’d pay for a hotel over in the UK. Also, I hadn’t heard of Bali Belly but I make it a thing to try to limit the tap water I expose myself in countries that I am unfamiliar with, or introduce the water slowly to build up a better tolerance. I also have Crohn’s, which makes it extra important to avoid tap water!

    Have a great week!
    Amy; Wandering Everywhere

    1. Oh wow! I definitely saw some hotels that were hundreds of dollars (and absolutely beautiful!) but we didn’t book those. We saw quite a few really nice ones varying between 40-60$CDN a night.

      Safe travels! 🙂

  2. This advice is all really helpful. I have heard that Bali is expensive from some and not from others!! Why is that a thing? I guess there must just be a really wide range which is great really because then anyone can go. If you were to go back to Bali which part would you revisit? x

    Jenny; Local Leo