South East Asia Travel

5 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Bali

Bali has become one of the most popular holiday destination in the past couple of years thanks to Instagram. For those who have not been there, you have probably seen it sprawled all over various social media accounts. It is understandable why, Bali is amazing. However, social media does wonders for it. Yes, you will see all those incredible views but it doesn’t all look like this. I was so excited to be making a stop off at Bali during our travels and I guess it was way to hyped up because it didn’t live up to everything I was expecting. I still loved Bali but I will say it’s not what you would expect, so here are five things you need to know about visiting Bali.

1. The Airport

When you leave the airport be prepared to get harassed by taxi drivers, you honestly can’t think straight with the amount of guys that swarm around you, shouting “taxi, taxi, you need taxi”. Now, they do this in most South East Asian countries but it is on another level in Bali. Getting off the plane I saw that they had Uber which I was delighted with. I swear by Uber, especially when traveling when a lot of the taxi drivers speak little to no English, it is so easy to communicate by just typing the address into an app. I booked my uber before leaving the building but it turns out my uber driver was at departures up a level rather than down in arrivals which I was unaware off due to lack of internet connection. Every taxi driver kept shouting at us saying “yes I am uber”, which honestly confused me so much. Not to mention my uber driver was whatsapping me telling me not to tell anyone that I was getting uber (dodgy). Turns out uber is actually banned in Bali and if you are caught driving for the app you can have your licence and the keys to your car taken off you. Our driver informed us of this while on the way to the hostel in Seminyak. However an Uber only cost me 55,000 rupees compared to the going rate of 150,000 for a taxi and that’s only if you are good at bartering. I heard people got charged up 1 million an extortionate price.

Pro tip if you are coming out to get a taxi, first go up to departures and see if you can grab a blue bird taxi (the only meter taxis) in good traffic it is normally around 100,000. If there isn’t one there go up to the desk before you come out onto the street and get a cab. Barter to get them to at least take you for 150,000, if you are really good you can get them for 100,000.

 

2. Bali is very spread out

No matter where in Bali you go everything is very far apart. Nothing is really ever in walking distance. Which we were unaware of upon arriving. We ended up getting lost so many times from just wandering around. My advice would be to rent a scooter. Honestly, the drivers in Bali don’t seem as crazy as say Thailand or Vietnam (especially Vietnam). If you opt for taking taxis you need to be able to barter and agree on a price before getting in, if at all possible try and get a blue bird metered taxi. However, it is so hard to figure out which ones are blue birds because other taxi companies have coped on that everyone wants a meter taxi so they adopt the same features as the blue bird cab. They all look identical even locals have a hard time differentiating between them. Also if you are visiting different areas of Bali, there is no public transport so you do have to take taxis from say Kuta to Ubud etc. I actually took an uber again from Seminyak to Ubud, I couldn’t be dealing with taxis! Most of them were just out to scam you out of money, and pretty damn rude.

 

3. Money Scams

Honestly, anywhere you go to change your money can be dodgy. We opted not to change our money out in different countries instead  we stuck to taking money out of the ATMs. When we got our uber driver from the airport he told us all about Bali and warned us about changing money telling us that many of these places were set up to scam tourist out of money. We did meet a girl who was almost scammed out of a lot of money. She was changing a few hundred and as he was counting out the money in front of her he was actually able to pull money back sort of like a card trick. Only for she counted it before she left and realised it wasn’t right she would have been conned out of at least hundred euros. He ended up doing it again to her the second time. The girls started to demand the guy give them the correct amount. The guys that owned the store actually handed them back their euros and hunted them out of the store. So be very careful on changing your money, ask the reception where you are staying where the best places are to change money and always count your money before leaving and be aware of the exchange rate.

4. Stay in hotels or Air BnBs

Honestly, we had such bad luck with the places we stayed in Bali. The only place which was semi decent was the place where we stayed in Ubud. Everywhere else was either a barn(where we got bitten alive), had a massive cockroach problem or had some rats.  It definitely stole a bit of the experience of Bali from us and if I was going again I would spend just that little bit extra on nicer accommodation.

5. Travel the Island

Seminyak and Kuta we have all heard off however, there is so much more to Bali than just the most popular destinations. We stayed ages in Ubud which many describe as the heart of Balinese culture. Uluwatu was another place we stayed, which I loved. Highly recommend beach hopping in Uluwatu, there is so many amazing spots. Another place to visit is the Gili Islands  so why not hop on a boat and explore these beautiful Islands? Where the only way to get around is to walk, bike or horse and cart and the beaches are white and the water is turquoise.

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