Set in the heart of Indonesia, the island of Bali has long been a popular destination amongst those seeking a place to escape from the rest of the world.
The white sandy beaches and pristine waters offer a warm invitation to those who simply need to relax while the open waters, hiking trails, and historic attractions intrigue those who want to stay active. Are you ready to embark on a trip to Bali? Here are a few things you should know.
When to Visit Bali
The island of Bali is located just south of the equator so expect a tropical climate throughout the year, with temperatures averaging between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 to 32.2 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. With humidity levels averaging at 75%, however, the temperature is bound to feel much warmer.
The best time to visit Bali is between the months of May and September – especially during May, June, and July – when the climate is at its driest. The months between October and April are considered monsoon season, not as much because of the rain but because the high winds.
Transportation throughout Bali
Traveling on the island of Bali will never cause you a problem. Most people choose to walk when moving about their resorts, while on the beaches, or when in the local villages. If you’d like to travel into the jungle or towards some of the towns a bit further away from the beaches you will need to find another method of transportation.
The most popular include the metered taxi or a chartered vehicle with a hired driver. If you do take a taxi, make sure that the meter is turned on before you embark on your journey to avoid the driver attempting to scam you by charging a high flat rate. If you take a private vehicle, or bemo, you should negotiate the rate with the driver before you head out.
If you’d like to be a bit more eco-friendly you could rent a bicycle at a daily rate. Plan each day in advance, though, and remember that not all of the roads in Bali are bicycle friendly. The roads are step and there is a lot of traffic in some areas.
Health and Safety Considerations for Travel in Bali
As with any trip, you should take standard safety precautions when traveling in any foreign destination. Don’t leave your belongings unattended, avoid flashing wads of cash, and don’t wear or carry jewelry or documents you don’t need.
While they are certainly attractive, it is best to avoid getting a henna tattoo while visiting Bali. Some of the shops that offer to give you henna tattoos are not actually using natural henna at all and tourists have been known to contract skin conditions after having a tattoo applied. Others put additives into the henna to make it darker, causing staining on the skin.
Tipping Etiquette throughout Bali
While on the island of Bali you will find that it is standard practice to leave tips for good services. But you should make sure that you are not being double charged. In restaurants, for example, the standard tip is 5-10% but some will include the charge automatically on your bill. Make sure to read the bill carefully before leaving any money behind.
It is not mandatory to tip car or taxi drivers but it is appreciated. When in a taxi, it is customary to simply round up your bill. If, for example, your tab is Rp16,050 you would round it up to Rp16,100 – or higher if you feel so inclined.
Your hotel will automatically include a 10% service charge in your bill. If you’d like to make sure a specific employee receives a tip from you than 5-10% of your bill is standard.
Common Bahasa Phrases
The language spoken by natives to Bali is called Bahasa Indonesia. While most travelers don’t speak Bahasa fluently, you will find it helpful to know a few phrases that you can use to communicate with the locals. Here are a few to get you started:
- Permisi (per-mi-see) – Excuse Me
- Selamat pago (se-lah-maht par-ghee) – Good morning
- Selamat siang (se-la-maht see-ahng) – Good afternoon
- Selamat sore (se-la-mutt sore-ray) – Good evening
- Tolong (toh-long) – Please
- Terima Kasih (ter-ree0mar car-see) – Thank you
- Kembali (kem-bali) – You’re welcome
These are just a few phrases to get you started. You’ll find that speaking at least a few words of the native language will endear you to the locals and they may be more willing to help you in your travels.
You’ll love the sandy beaches, luxurious Bali hotels, friendly people, and incredible culture. All you need now is a plane ticket and a packed bag. Are you ready to head to Bali?