I literally loved Bali so much because we had some pretty amazing days there but this all wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have amazing friends and family who armed us with great tips to make sure our trip went smoothly.
So here are our golden travel tips, passed on to you!
- Bring mosquito repellent!
Like most of South East Asia, Bali has lots of mosquitoes. And if you’re like me and attract hordes of hungry mozzies then be sure to bring repellent and after bite cream! They’re everywhere and the bites are extremely itchy when bitten.
- Be sure to hire a local driver for your entire trip.
Bali as a place is surprisingly hard to navigate; we would have 100% struggled if we didn’t have a personal driver as we kept wanting to visit places that were at least an hours drive away from each other. Our lovely driver Gedde (prounounded G’day like an Aussie) was so so amazing and only cost approx £80 for the whole day, so split between your group makes a pretty sweet deal. We actually felt so bad that we gave him a huge tip and ended up doubling his fee haha! We drove EVERYWHERE.
He was a gem and if you go please please try to book him – we communicated with him via whatsapp and he was amazing. No start time was too early and he was smiling and sweet the whole way through, even when we made him drive miles and miles from place to place.
His number is here – Gede +62 852-3710-9442
- Internet and phone data
Upon arrival, have your driver tell you where you can pick up a prepaid sim. There are stores near the airport and they offer unlimited data for a small price. Approx £10. Be sure to purchase your own as we found out sadly through experience that hot-spotting each other is blocked on these sims and two of us didn’t have data for the whole trip.
- Do some research and plan your itinerary
Travel takes time due to heavy traffic. The traffic is pretty bad (around two hours) from Depensar to Ubud, we stayed in Ubud but lots of the shops and cafés were in Depensar. We also wanted to visit some waterfalls and gates that were at least a two to three hour drive from Ubud (more so from Depensar!!) so be sure to plan your itinerary out with google maps the night before so you know that you’ll be able to see everything you set out to!
- Remember to take time to relax
It is so easy to get caught up in location chasing like we did and stress yourselves out. Remember that this is a holiday and you’re there to relax and enjoy. If you miss out on seeing a thing or two, it is not the end of the world. It just means that you’ll have an excuse to come back to Bali, which is most definitely not a bad thing.
- Put your phone down and just chat (or dance!)
So Bali is hard to navigate (google maps), super photogenic (Instagram) and really exciting to write home about (snapchat and whatsapp). With so many reasons to be on your phone, it is super easy to forget to be present with the people you are travelling with. We are all guilty of this and I always make it a thing to make sure I am here to explore with my friends and not my phone.
- Try local food
Bali has so much to offer food wise! The trendiest cafés at the moment are mainly serving Western, Mexican and plant-based Vegan food. These are the highly hyped instagrammable cafes that are super cute and attract the most visitors. However, Indonesian cuisine is absolutely to die for and though the restaurants might not be as pretty, the food is so worth it. It would be a huge shame to visit Bali and come back without having tried any of the local cusine!! Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Mi goreng (Indonesian fried noodles), and chicken satay skewers are popular dishes that you definitely have to try!
- Drink lots of water
Tropical weather = sweaty humid heat. Be sure to have the hotel you’re staying at provide your room with lots of bottled water. Tap water is not drinkable in Bali so do remember to only drink from bottles. Stay cool and hydrated and healthy!
- Local money
So we were told to convert our cash upon arrival – our driver Gedde knew a few currency exchange shops that charged a really low rate with zero commission. The ones we went to were near Depensar (I remember ours being across a shop that sold amazing dream catchers and coconut bowls which I really regret not buying). So definitely refrain from changing at your own country or the airport for the best rates! Ask your drivers for the best places to exchange, or hire our driver (Gedde +62 852-3710-9442) and ask him haha!
- Don’t check in luggage if you don’t have to
Haha this was hilarious and soul destroying. We had check in luggage as an option so we checked in our bags even though we didn’t have to and ended up waiting an hour and a half for our bags to come, when we could have swept straight out of the hotel and onto exploring. If you are only bringing a small suitcase, skip the hassle and carry it on.
- Dress code?
As a popular tourist destination, Bali is pretty chilled what you are able to wear. Basically, they’ve seen it all. So feel free to wear whatever you want. Girls in particular go super cute with off shoulder tops crochet crop tops and printed sundresses, and men wear relaxed shirts and shorts. Also be sure to leave space in your suitcase to pick up one of their ridiculously cute hand woven circular wicker bags, you wont regret it!