Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit Bali

If the travel pages of every magazine and the InstaStories of pretty much everyone you know are anything to go by, Bali is the place to be this summer.

Take into account the postcard-esque beaches, instagrammable bars and dirt cheap living costs, it’s easy to see why. Throw in the many “hot deals” and bargain holiday packages launched by the Jakarta Tourism Ministry (launched in a bid to boost the tourism sector) the only question left to ask is, what are you still doing here?

Bali’s narrative is told through two different approaches. On the one hand you’ve got the seriously seductive stretches of white sand, crystal clear waters, peppered with fishing boats, surfers and some of the most luxurious and relaxing beach front hotels in the world.

Whether a surfer or a honeymooner, you’re guaranteed to find your own version of paradise exploring this side of Bali.

The flip side reveals a more in depth look at Bali’s culture through lush Balinese forests, exquisite templed, breath-taking waterfalls and rice terraces stretching out before you like nothing you ever seen before.

The tranquility surrounding the certain parts of Indonesian island is a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle found in central Bali and on almost every Balinese road. The beauty, spiritual elements and deep sense of intrigue surround the culture of the island evokes the kind of escape that seemed only possible in daydreams.

With an ever increasing amount of impressive cafes, A-grade spas and beach resorts, you’ll never want to leave.

Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of your trip:

Top up your vaccinations

Not quite the most glamorous part of holiday prep but an important one nonetheless. Although Bali is considered to be much more developed than most Indonesian regions, you plan to venture for a longer period or into the more remote areas of the island, a careful approach is recommended.

Speak to your doctor, explain your trip and they will advise you of the necessary vaccination and precautions to take during your trip.

Choose your base carefully

Bali’s beaches may sing of serenity but its roads certainly don’t. Chaotic would be an understatement when it comes to the traffic in Bali. Combine this with the high temperatures of Bali’s climate and chances are you won’t want to stray too far from your hotel or guest house.

Kuta’s bustling streets and lively night life may to be your thing if a holiday of R & R is on your agenda. Seminyak boasts the central spot for sophistication while Legian falls somewhere between Kuta and Seminyak. It’s this 12km stretch of land that covers your bases with diverse shipping, world class dining, beach bars, clubs, day spas and of course, the famously authentic warungs (food stalls).

The best beaches lie south of the island in Bukit Peninsula, Nusa Due and Jimbaran Bay. It’s here you’ll find world-famous waves at Uluwatu and insanely clear waters at Dreamland and Padang Padang beaches. Nusa Dua is home to top golf courses, several high tea options and endless five star resorts.

Ubud and Central Bali is where you’ll find some of Bali’s most famous landmarks including the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the rice terraces of Munduk and the holy water bathing site of Tirta Empul Temple to name a few.

Lay by the pool and drink cocktails

No Bali trip would be complete without a trip to Potato Head Beach Club. Taking into consideration they refer to themselves as a ‘destination for good times’, you know you’re in for a treat. Upon entering the club you’re greeted by bars, restaurants, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and seating areas made up of luxurious day beds, hammocks and a grassy area set up with bean bags and rugs.

Enjoy drinks from the pool bar, people watching from your day bed and pinching yourself every five minutes to make sure it’s real.

Clear your whole day for this one. Queues form early and understandably, once guests land themselves a day bed, they aren’t planning on moving anytime soon. The closer to opening you arrive, the better.

Getting around

If renting a motorbike and driving foreign roads isn’t your thing, taxis are available by the boat load. Just like anywhere else, simply hail a taxi from the curb and hop in.

While the majority of taxis are safe in Bali, not all are honest and may try to rip you off if you’re not careful. Keep an eye out for tricks such as claims of a broken meter or signs of taking the long route.

If in doubt, stick with Blue Bird Taxis who are known to be the most honest and reliable, so much so that other taxi drivers try to make trouble for the company,

Blue Bird also has its own app, allowing you to summon a taxi as you please following a brief registration of your name and number.

Make sure your driver has understood your desired destination and preferred route (if you have one).

Places like Uluwatu don’t get a lot of taxi service so if your taxi driver offers to wait, consider it. Check taxi availability at your destination and arrange a pick up with your taxi driver if possible.

Relax

There’s a lot to take in when it comes to a trip to Bali. It’s a lot of travel just to get there, currency can be confusing and chances are, it’s a very different holiday to what you’re used to but that’s exactly why you should just relax and enjoy it.

The activities are endless, the opportunities are endless, the hospitality – you guessed it – endless. So don’t let it overwhelm you. Let the Balinese spirit in, chill out and bask in the every luxury that a trip to Bali brings with it.

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Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a freelance writer covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle articles. Her work has appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman. Niamh is also a blogger at niamhserena.co.uk and podcast host of Werkin’ On It.

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