Bali Travel Guide for First-Timers: 8 Best Tips to Plan Your Trip

Before you jetset yourself to your dream holiday in Bali, take a look at our Bali travel guide for first-timers. To get the most out of your vacation read along, we hope that this will be useful for planning your next trip to the island of the Gods. 

A little bit of early planning can always save you from embarrassment and frustrations when you take your loved ones on vacation. From flight delays to not finding the right accommodation, there are many things that can spoil your trip. So let's get started !

Bali Travel Guide for First-Timers: Things to Consider

Choosing your place to stay

Given the tropical climate of Bali you can expect tourists to visit Bali all year round so it pays to have some planning of where to stay before you arrive in Bali. Expect a lot of crowds especially in the Ubud area which is a slightly more expensive area compared to far secluded areas like Blahbatuh. Kuta is probably the most touristy place in the island, with lots of tourists visiting from all over the globe. Also, Kuta is more modern than Ubud which still has a strong sense of history and tradition. Seminyak is also an area very popular with tourists and its much more relaxing with its trendy coffee places and bars. There are plenty of local boutique shops selling local handicrafts, which is an attractive aspect of that place. Another area is Canggu which is located about 40 minutes from Seminyak. Canggu Beach has been a popular destination for many western tourists.  

As a first-time traveler to Bali, the choice of the place to stay is of utmost importance considering your safety and comfort. So, you need to be careful about picking the right spot to stay.

Visa for travel

Getting a visa for Bali is perhaps one of the most attractive reasons why so many tourists visit the tropical island. Most foreign nationals receive 30 days Visa on Arrival (VOA) which is free of charge at all the major airports and sea port. Then there are some countries whose nationals will require a visa for which they will be charged a visa fee.  The price of a visa is about USD 35 which is payable in cash, alternatively you can pay in the local currency which comes to about Rp 500,000 (Indonesian Rupiah). If you think you need to stay longer than 30 days , then you should apply for a tourist visa prior to your travel at your nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate.  If you receive a 60 day visa in advance, ensure that you ask for the 60 day tourist card from the immigration official.

Get used to bargaining

With so many attractive local shops, you can find yourself just walking straight into them; especially in the touristy places like Ubud, Seminyak or Uluwatu. You will see price tags on Balinese sarongs and shoes , but fret not with their high number mentioned most places you can bargain. A common rule is to divide everything by half. Of course do bargain respectfully and with a smile , in most shops the owners expect you to bargain. When you are having doubts just walk away , most likely the shop keeper will call you back. If they don't then he or she is not willing to drop their price. You know how good it feels to bargain even if you think the price is already fit for the item or acceptable to you, right?

Getting around

Landing in a foreign land can seem a bit overwhelming and daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Download the Go-Jek application in your phone and you are covered. Hop on the back of the motor bike taxi and you are good to go. If you are travelling with family there are plenty of taxi (cars) available at the airport , you can go to the taxi counter directly, you should  avoid being hustled by agents who want to book you for a high price taxi ride. Another option is to go with Blue Bird Taxis , download the application beforehand you will save yourself a lot of time and hassle. Prepaid taxi at the taxi counter starts from IDR 70,000 (USD4.90) to IDR 7,50,000 (USD 52.48) depending on how far you go. (Source: Tripsavy). You can also book taxis for day long trip for nearby attractions with an hourly rate of IDR 50,000 (USD 3.50) and enjoy the comfort of having transport at your disposal.

Carry a flask

We all know Bali can get really hot especially from April to September when it's dry season. Best way to beat the heat is to constantly stay hydrated. Best to carry a metal thermo flask so that you can carry cold water even on the dry heat. Also millions of plastic bottles are thrown in the beaches in Bali, let's show our love to mother nature by refraining from using plastic bottles. 

Respect for culture and customs

Bali is home to many Hindu temples dating back to the 6th century and they can be found all over the popular tourist places. Be mindful when visiting these holy sites as some places require you to cover your body. Also do not play loud music on your phone when visiting these sites, as it may be seen as a sign of disrespect to the deity gods. As a first time visitor,  do not be surprised if streets are blocked off during a religious procession or ceremony, which is quite common on the island. Avoid travelling to Bali during Nyepi almost everything (including the airport) is shut down, it is better to arrive in advance and then to leave after the festival.

Playing by the book

It's always best practice to follow the local rules and procedures. Even with the massive population of tourists visiting every year, please ensure you remain safe. It is better to avoid areas that are very crowded. Most public areas in Bali are now “smoke-free” by law which came into effect in 2011. So be mindful of where you smoke , because the law is not going to turn a blind eye just because you are a foreigner.

Money matters

One thing to keep in mind while travelling to Bali is that there are many dis-honest money changers willing to cut you short while you exchange your US dollars or Euros.  Some of them have the tendency to drop one or two Indonesian Rupiahs in the drawer while you are not looking. It's better to always count your cash by hand. Alternatively you can use ATM but you will be charged a fee for using the ATM. If you do go to a money changer, choose one which has been recognised by the Bank of Indonesia.

Relax and chill

There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to such a spectacular island like Bali. Bali is one of the most favoured and one of the most visited destinations in Asia. As long as you don't break the law and you respect the local culture you will be fine.  People from all corners of the globe travel here, and it's no surprise that this island makes it an incredible getaway for the holiday of your lifetime.