Travelling to Bali? I decided to post this article on the do’s and dont’s in Bali because it would have saved me a lot of money and energy if I knew this before hand. If you’re like me and you need a visa (Kenyan passport) to get into Bali before you hop on a plane, you will need to pay for flights and hotels, submit your itinerary with your visa application 1 month before your travel. I say this because my travel agent was advised that in some occasions where the consulate has decided not to give you a visa, they will normally hang onto your passport and application to the very last-minute then advice you that you cannot travel. However if you apply a month before and the application time is normally 2 weeks (10 business days) there is enough time to get your rejected application redone for approval (personally this hasn’t happened to me but I have heard it does occur one too many times).
Once you arrive in Bali, change $50 at the airport (you will need the Balinese rupiah for the taxi) and you can normally get a better rate in the main areas so $50 is enough to get a taxi and food for an additional day (breakfast,lunch and dinner, depending on how much your planning on eating and drinking when you arrive) until you can get to an official bureau in one of the main areas and change as much as you want.
Remember when you are picking a taxi, always go with Blue Bird! they do not bargain or over charge, each Blue Bird Taxi has a meter and it’s almost half price compared to a car hire driver.
When you decide to pick an area to stay, it pays to do some research before booking due to how diverse each area can be, for instance the main areas are;
- Kuta: Party central! near the beach, very commercial with malls, bars, clubs and restaurants at your doorstep but during the Australian Schoolies season(when they finish year 12) it is simply mad! So if you’re looking for a constant party,Kuta is the place to be.
- Legian: This area is right after Kuta, so there are still a lot of clubs and bars and stores but not as crazy as Kuta so it can be a safer option if you’re looking for a wild/calm area.
- Seminyak: This is known for all the major resorts (I call it the honeymoon spot) it has amazing higher class beach bars and resorts and if you’re in another area you are bound to catch a taxi down to Seminyak to check out Potato head or Rock bar (pretty amazing places! pictures don’t do it justice).
- Ubud: This area is about 2 hours from the airport, it’s up in the jungle mountains so the scenery is spectacular! A lot of cleansing programs, white water rafting courses and the famous monkey forest can be found in Ubud. Waking up to rice fields and jungle is breath-taking and despite where you decide to stay you would have to take a day to hire a car or tour group and check it out.
After you have decided where you will stay, the dont’s are simple! People in Bali are pretty amazing, kind-hearted and very cheeky (you can sit there laughing for ages) so there is nothing to be scared about. However NEVER NEVER change money in a non official exchange bureau. When you walk around you will see sign after sign of appealing rates and it’s normally in a store or down a back street and NOT WORTH IT. I fell for it and till this day I cannot figure out how I let it happen to me! Each time they counted the money and they tend to do it 4 times (you count, then them, then you, then them etc.) so that you are certain its correct and because you get so many 100,000 rupiah at a time, the last time they count they slip it into a box probably $50-$100 worth and because you can’t be bothered counting the fourth time you would place it into your bag trusting that the 3 other times you counted are enough? (not to know that once you get to your hotel you freak out that you’ve been scammed).
When this unfortunately happened to me I simply went to the tourist police and they escorted me back to the guy who handed the money straight away! so keep that in mind.
Drugs is another norm in Bali, each to their own but remember that there are a lot more under cover cops (after the Bali 9 occurrence) and a local man told me that the dealers on the street will sell the product to you then the undercover cop comes in right after and catches you with it. Bali has severe drug law penalties and it’s just not worth it (in my opinion) and no matter what you decide, I would personally put it on my don’t list.
Other than that, I can’t see how you wouldn’t fall in love with Bali, just be careful (normal travel advice) and enjoy the beautiful culture and environment that Bali has to offer.