Bali was an unplanned solo trip, and making plans at the last minute, let alone by myself, is unusual for me. I saw an opportunity and took it. I made a reservation, did some quick research on things to do in Bali before leaving, and was on my way! Although I usually advise spending time planning and researching a trip before going, there's something appealing about showing up and teaching yourself.
Speaking with the locals is something I haven't done enough of on previous trips but have since discovered how rewarding it is. Get over your fears, put a smile on your face, and start talking to the locals, as they can provide you with a wealth of information that you won't find on the internet. However, there are always things you wish you knew before visiting a new place so you could better manage your time and avoid missing out on some incredible opportunities.
Things One Should Know Before Visiting Bali
This article contains ten things I wish I'd known before visiting Bali.
Rent a scooter
Renting a scooter rather than a car is definitely the better option. Because the roads in Bali are so narrow, you're more likely to get stuck in traffic than you would on a scooter, allowing you to cover less ground. If you're not a confident scooter rider, you can rent a scooter taxi for a full day (10 hours) for as little as USD 15 for a customised tour of the island.
Speaking with the locals is something I haven't done enough of on previous trips but have since discovered how rewarding it is. Get over your fears, put a smile on your face, and start talking to the locals, as they can provide you with a wealth of information that you won't find on the internet. However, there are always things you wish you knew before visiting a new place so you could better manage your time and avoid missing out on some incredible opportunities. This article contains ten things I wish I'd known before visiting Bali.
Spend a night in Ubud
While Ubud is accessible in a day from Kuta or Seminyak, it is recommended that you spend at least two nights here. With beautiful temples, parks, rice fields, and other sights to see, the lush green village is a magnificent and tranquil contrast to the mainland. It is the spiritual heart of Bali
Download the app Go-JEK
Bali's version of Uber is Go-JEK. The best app for ordering a car or a scooter taxi is Go-JEK. It's cheap, easy to use, responsive, and trackable, and it'll almost certainly save you money compared to taking a taxi. I paid exactly $1 for a taxi from my Kuta hotel to the airport. The drivers are courteous, follow instructions, and provide a safe environment (scooter drivers also bring along helmets for the passengers and ensure you wear them before they start). This software was downloaded prior to my trip to Bali, and once I arrived, I quickly realised how useful it was.
Distances are longer than they seem
Getting from one location to another takes a long time, despite the fact that the island is small and the distances appear to be short. This is because of the terrain, the narrow roads, and the traffic. Keep a buffer in mind when making daily plans. Bottlenecks in traffic are a common occurrence.
Shell out a few extra bucks for 'Luxury'
Consider upgrading to one of the world's most opulent hotels or resorts, or even a villa with a private pool, Jacuzzi, and massage room. If you're travelling with a group, renting a villa with a private pool is a far better (and less expensive) option than staying in a hotel and won't break the bank.
You can find villas for as little as $150 per night on Booking.com or Airbnb for a 3-bedroom private home with pool, daily cleaning services, and all the amenities you require. Seminyak is my favourite neighbourhood for luxury villas in prime locations. I stayed in a decent hotel because I was travelling alone, but if I had known how affordable some of these villas are before going to Bali, I might have treated myself to a luxurious stay!
The touristy beach clubs are expensive!
Although Bali is relatively inexpensive in general, expect to pay $30+ for a drink and food at one of the popular touristy bars and beach clubs (such as Rock Bar, Potato Head Beach Club, or Ku De Ta).
Visiting the gorgeous Gili Islands can be painful
Although I strongly advise visiting one of the Gili Islands (for more information on how to choose your Gili Island, click here), be prepared for long lines and chaos when boarding the ferry. Although there are a number of companies that provide fast boats, the majority of them are plagued by extreme delays in departures, long wait times, and a lack of communication from the crew. Keep in mind that the journey may take an entire day, so plan accordingly. Before going to Bali, I did some research on the various companies that offer this service; however, the company I chose provided poor service, so please avoid Semaya. By all means, a fast boat!
Do not forget to haggle while shopping
I was enthralled by the vibrant clothing, accessories, and souvenirs on the streets of Seminyak, Kuta, and Ubud Art Market. You'll find a wide range of scented soaps, essential and massage oils, as well as beachwear and decorations, all at reasonable prices. However, keep in mind that you should always haggle. You'll be surprised to learn that they've agreed to a price that's 70% less than their original proposal!
Beach clubs are nice but the street nightlife is even better!
Although many of the beach clubs and bars are fantastic, Kuta and Seminyak Square should not be overlooked. Many of them have live music, late-night happy hours, and a lively atmosphere. I fell in love with La Favella, which is located on Seminyak Square, because of its charming vintage interiors adorned with antiques and art pieces, with a very Rio vibe. When you walk into the restaurant, you'll be transported to a garden, complete with artificial waterfalls, ponds, and trees. What a beautiful scene! Seminyak Square is home to a slew of fantastic bars and restaurants.
Visit the remote & underrated beaches
One of Bali's most underappreciated beaches is Karma Beach. It's in the island's southernmost region and is absolutely stunning! A full-day pass to the Karma Kandara Hotel's facilities (for USD 50) includes dining at their restaurant with amazing views from the cliff's edge, an infinity pool, a lift to the beach (otherwise, you'll have to walk more than 100 steps), and lovely sea-facing spa treatment rooms. The beach is not as crowded as those in Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, or Nusa Dua due to its secluded location.