10 Must-Know Tips for Your First Bali Adventure

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3 min read
by Marlin
March 3, 2023

I've seen too many tourists have their Bali vacation ruined by a simple mistake they didn't expect.

Exploring a new place with a different culture can be daunting, especially without proper guidance. Bali, in particular, can feel like a whole new world to first-time visitors.

But don't worry, I've got your back. This article is packed with essential tips written by a local to help you make the most of your Bali adventure!

Let’s jump right into it!

Know when to visit

First and foremost, the most important thing to know when you’re planning your Bali vacation is to know when to visit.

When you're planning your Bali trip, timing is everything. If you visit during the rainy season, you might end up stuck in your hotel while looking at the rain through the window.

sunny day in bali
Sunny day in Bali

To avoid this, plan your trip during the dry season between May and September. But keep in mind that Bali can get pretty crowded during the summer holidays.

The first quarter of the year is when Bali sees the most rain with February being the worst month to visit. It’s cloudy all day for almost everyday.

If you've already made plans to visit during the rainy season, it's best to reschedule your trip for the dry season.

Know your destination

Have you seen those amazing pictures of Bali's stunning beaches with the unique landscapes next to them? Or the beautiful rice fields that stretch out for miles?

Do you know where to find them all? 🤔

With so many different destinations in Bali, it can take hours to get from one to the other. Knowing where you want to go ahead of time can literally save a ton of your valuable time.

Destinations in Bali are divided into three major categories which are:

rice fields
Rice fields
broken beach

Destinations with beaches:

  • Kuta

  • Seminyak

  • Canggu

  • Sanur

  • Nusa Dua

  • Uluwatu

  • Nusa Penida

  • Gili islands

Destinations with rice fields:

  • Ubud

  • Canggu

Destinations with landscapes:

  • Nusa Penida

  • Uluwatu

In terms of temples, all destinations have their own stunning temples so you don’t have to worry about not finding one. Except the Gili islands.

Plan your itinerary

Once you've decided on where to go in Bali, it's time to start planning your itinerary. There are tons of amazing places to see in just one area alone, and you don't want to miss out on any of them.

Especially if you have a limited amount of time, it's better to know beforehand which places you want to visit during your 2, 3, or 7-day vacation.

For example:

  • Day 1: Diving, partying and laying on a beach on Gili Trawangan

  • Day 2: Visit Broken beach, Kelingking beach and Diamond beach in Nusa Penida

  • Day 3: Visit the rice terrace, monkey forest and Goa Gajah temple in Ubud

By planning your itinerary you’ll get a much better experience in Bali even with a limited amount of time.

Bring cash

Did you know that most transactions in Bali are done by cash? That's right, over 95% of people in Bali don’t have credit cards, but they use debit cards instead.

So, if you're planning to visit Bali, make sure to bring enough local currency or exchange your money once you're there.

50 thousand rupiah
50 thousand rupiah

While some fancy hotels and restaurants may accept credit cards, you may still encounter issues with some cards not being accepted.

Bali's local currency is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) with Rp being its symbol.

A good amount to bring for a 3-day vacation is US$ 400 or a little over Rp 6,000,000. That’s enough to cover accommodation, transportation, food and experiences.

Get everything ready at the airport

When you're exploring the island, staying connected to the internet is like a must. Getting a SIM card in Bali can be a bit of a challenge, but fortunately, you can get one easily at the airport.

You can also change your money into the local currency or withdraw cash right at the airport.

It's better to do these things at the airport because all the services are authorized, and you'll be less likely to get scammed than if you try to do it elsewhere.

Respect the locals

There are some unwritten rules of etiquette when visiting Bali that it would be great if you could follow. It's nothing official, but as a guest on the island, it's nice to show some respect to the locals.

It all comes down to dressing appropriately and behaving respectfully. This includes covering your thighs, belly, and shoulders as a sign of respect to the locals, and behaving nicely when visiting a temple.

Drive carefully

Like most people, you'll probably want to rent a scooter to get around Bali. But driving here is nothing like driving in your own country - it's more like the wild west!

traffic in bali
Traffic in Bali

Now, don't get me wrong, Balinese people are super friendly, but when it comes to the roads, it's a whole different story. You've got people running red lights, driving the wrong way, and all kinds of crazy stuff.

To avoid any trouble on the road, just take it slow and be patient. And if you see someone breaking the rules, just give them some space and let them do their thing. It's all about being safe you know?

Watch out for possible scams

Scams can happen anywhere in the world, including Bali. While most scams won't break the bank, one scam to watch out for is the bike rental scam.

This can cost you thousands of dollars. Here's how it works: you park your rented bike, and the owner steals it, blaming you for losing it 😱

parked scooters
Parked scooters

This is often done by low-rated bike rentals trying to buy new bikes to make their business grow faster.

So, be careful!

Be savvy

Not just about finding a good bike rental, it's also important to be savvy about everything else too.

It's always a good idea to do some research before taking a taxi, visiting a temple, or booking a tour or experience.

This way, you can avoid any scams or issues that may happen. A little bit of research can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip!

Don’t drink the tap water

Everyone's stomach is different, so while some people may be fine, others may not be able to handle it.

So, when you're in Bali, it's best to avoid drinking tap water, as it can make you sick. Stick to bottled water instead, just to be safe.

No need to worry about the water served in restaurants in Bali, as they usually use branded water or tap water that's been boiled before serving it to you.

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