Bali Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Check out remote neighbors The Gili Islands are about a 90-minute boat ride from Bali's east coast and offer pristine sands and ideal isolation.
- Know culinary favorites In southern Bali, seafood is king. In central Bali, the local specialty is babi guling, which translates to "suckling pig." Be sure to sample both.
- Nyepi is the party of the year Quite literally, Nyepi is the celebration of the Balinese New Year, which falls on the first new moon after mid-March. You'll see exuberant parades and festivities throughout the island in the days leading up to Nyepi.
Shangri-La, Elysium, Arcadia, Utopia, and Bali are all synonymous with "heaven." The only difference between them is that you can actually visit Bali. Most of us have never been to this Indonesian island. Yet, the word "Bali" conjures daydreams of the most fantastical landscape: towering volcanoes wrapped in a deep green canopy, sandy shores that slide into turquoise water, and curving coastlines crowned with staggered pagodas. And believe it or not, Bali rarely disappoints.
You'll be amazed at how many different types of visitors revel in this paradise. The ordinary traveler simply stays at the palatial oceanfront resort and indulges in luxurious spa treatments, decadent cuisine, and lazy sunbathing. But the historian will find his or her delights at the island's many temples while the adventurer will discover new paths up an active volcano in Kintamani. Plus, the town of Kuta boasts more riotous pleasures for those inclined to late nights. Bali is a dream come true, so wake up and book your ticket.
How To Save Money in Bali
- Cruise on by Bali's accommodations can be extraordinarily pricey. Consider taking a cruise through Indonesia which docks at Bali.
- Capitalize on Kuta You'll be able to pick up souvenirs and book spa treatments for less in this town than in other resort villages.
- Count on yourself You'll be bombarded with proposals from eager tour guides at nearly every temple. Politely refuse and do your own self-guided tour.
Bali Culture & Customs
Bali is a part of Indonesia; for this reason, the dominant language is Indonesian. However, you'll still hear Balinese (a Malayo-Polynesian language) being spoken by some locals. Because international tourism plays a key role in Bali's economy, English is widely spoken in larger towns and cities. You shouldn't have a problem getting around, purchasing souvenirs, or ordering food.
The currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). One U.S. dollar (USD) is equivalent to about 9,000 IDR. Be sure to not only make rough conversions with this approximate rate but also learn the local prices. Because the large numerical difference can be confusing for foreigners, locals can ask for unreasonable prices and receive them.
In terms of religion, Bali is unique among the Indonesian islands, which are mostly Islamic. Hinduism is the predominant religion on Bali. Most of the temples found here are sacred Hindu sites, so be respectful of the customs you'll witness, such as praying in pools of water.