Do you want to have one of the best vacations of your life completely hassling free? Then, you should be aware of the must DO’S and DON’TS in Bali before you go.
When you travel to Bali, you are going to realize how nice, tolerant and pleasant the Balinese people are; and it is important to know about their culture to have a better communication and know how to behave in some situations and be aware of certain things.
These do’s and don’ts are not to pull you off from going, however, they are just some tips that will make you ready for your trip to Bali, kind of an eye opener, or a general guide. Sometimes we have to know how to be respectful in other countries, as something completely normal in one country, can be totally rude in another!
Out of respect Do’s and Don’ts
» Drugs are not at all allowed in Bali. Do NOT try to use or take drugs with you. They do execute people (it happened before) and they take this very seriously!
» When we travel we can still talk about religion and politics, but these are always sensitive topics everywhere we go, maybe Balinese people will strike a conversation about your opinion in the global events and that is all right, some people love chatting, but make sure to stay respectful and careful when you discuss such matters, it will be even better to avoid discussing these sensitive topics.
» Do NOT accept drugs. They can be offered sometimes in Bali, but always say politely, “No, Thank you”.
» In Bali; it is said that the soul resides in the person’s head, so don’t touch a person or a child’s head because it is considered sacred.
» In Bali you have to wear a sarong and a sash when entering any Hindu temple, you can get one at the entrance.
» Give a donation to the temple.
» Don’t enter a temple wearing shoes and always cover up your shoulders.
» Don’t take off your t-shirt when walking the streets even if it is too hot. The majority of Bali follows Hindu traditions, so make sure to stay conservative and limit swimsuits to the beach only.
» Avoid pointing with your finger against the Balinese. They take it as a disrespectful manner.
» As a mark of respect; avoid walking on the ceremonial offerings in the street. They are extremely sacred and deserve respect.
» One way to enjoy Bali is to watch the religious ceremonies all around the island.
» Don’t point at or touch someone with your feet, Balinese considers it very offensive.
» Don’t smoke in public areas. It is prohibited in restaurants, hotels, temples and tourist attractions since 2011 when the “smoke-free” by-law went into effect.
Do’s and Don’ts in Bali’s restaurants
» Bali has a plenty of raw fruits, try those tropical juicy fruits and don’t try to ask for your country’s food, if you are in Bali you should taste that variety of fresh Balinese food.
» Be careful about the bottle of water you are drinking from. Don’t hesitate to ask about the quality of the water you are buying. Try to be sure that it has been processed from capping bottle machines.
» Be aware of prices’ scams. When you are buying from beer sellers, hair braiders, nail painters etc… try to negotiate prices as much as you can, as they are always too much higher! Don’t fall for that.
» Do eat at those small families cafes named warungs; there you can find amazingly delicious food at affordable prices.
» Tip. Most of the time being a little generous or make others feel great give us a sensation of happiness, even though most services charges are included in the budget; there is always a chance to be kind and generous.
» Don’t eat it if you can’t wash it, peel it, or cook it. Take more care of your personal hygiene, and if possible try to know the ingredients of a meal before you dig in to make sure there is nothing you can’t have or allergic to.
Going shopping in Bali (Do’s Don’ts)
» You can ask for a bargain, everyone does in Bali, haggling with the owners is a must.
» Don’t wear that Bali’s t-shirt, if you bought one. Maybe you could be identified as a tourist or an Australian third class citizen.
» Be polite and always say, “No, Thank you” to salesmen and sellers who are often trying to sell you something, or provide you with a giveaway claiming you won it or something similar.
» Don’t get angry when you are somewhere and the hawkers bother or irritate you by trying to sell you something. They are just working and making their living.
Taking the public transportation
» Do use public transportation, but make sure to set a specific rate before leaving.
» Do take Local buses. You will be able to see much around the place.
» DON'T hold the horn down – Being aggressive in the traffic is frowned upon everywhere, even more so in Bali.
» It is easy to take a cab/taxi right on the spot. All drivers speak English as they have been trained to interact with tourists.
It is recommended to have a plan before sitting in a taxi, as taxi’s drivers get a good commission from places to bring in tourists and one thing that we have to know is that those places are not as good as we were told. Just be careful!
Renting a motorbike is always a good option
Bali’s traffic is notorious, so if you do not like much traffic, you can avoid the touristic areas and discover the truly spectacular places this island has to offer on a motorbike! There are many motorbikes’ rental shops available in the area.
» DO drink Bintang; the most famous beer in Bali.
» Dance it out until late at night. The clubs and discos are open 24/7 and ready to take all your troubles away. There is no enforced opening and closing times.
» If you are asked for a second serving DO not reject. It will be impolite.
» When you are feeling full; leave some leftovers to let them know you had enough food.
What about security in Bali?
» Always wear a helmet while riding a motorbike, in order not to get booked by the police. You will need an international driving license and a temporary Balinese driving license that you can get from the police station in Denpasar within a day.
» DO NOT tattoo your body with chemical dyes that could possibly damage your skin. Moreover, some of them are not suitable for all skin types.
» Don’t offer the police money to pay off your fine. Be responsible, because this common practice to our way out of problems sometimes works, and other times it doesn’t.
» As a tourist; you will be offered to try different things including Viagra pills. Don’t try any pills unless you make sure what is inside the box or capsule. Be careful with free prescription products.
» If you are going to surf in these beaches with strong waves and unpredictable currents; talk to other surfers before entering the water in order to prevent unfavorable situations.
» Don’t get angry if people are honking at you. There is no road rage in Bali; Honking in Bali is a polite way to let someone know that you are overtaking or going around blind corners and intersections. Everybody uses it and it is a gentle gesture to communicate something.
» Sometimes especially in January and February the beaches in Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak could be filthy from tidal conditions. Be alert before swimming in those places.
» Many accidents can be prevented, but sometimes we cannot avoid them, make sure you have a travel insurance to feel better and more secure abroad.
»Look for the red flags. Do not attempt to swim when authorities raise the red flags on a beach in the section from Kuta to Canggu, where you can find rip tides and undertows. Do not risk swimming there if it is prohibited.
» Avoid drinking tap water (even locals boil it before drinking) to prevent any kind of macrobiotic disease. Just drink from a purified and compressed water bottle or canned drinks.
Change your money safely
There are many establishments where you can change your cash. To make things better you should change your currency at the most reputable bank in Bali to avoid being fleeced by dishonest money changers. In Bali, you can withdraw your money from ATMs directly which is a fast way to securely get money from your credit cards.
And internet! What about it in Bali?
You can always get free WiFi everywhere around the island. The airport has the best reception. But in some inner areas, it can drop out now and again: however, compared to other countries it is much better in Bali.
» You can find lots of dogs in Bali, but organization or programs such as BARC and BAWA are doing a hard work to help animals and improve dogs’ situation vastly.
» There are many campaigns and organizations rising awareness for the urgency of protecting the endangered turtles. So, be respectful of them. There are also places where you can donate or participate in helping to protect the turtles.
» If you are in Ubud or Uluwatu temple or particularly in highly touristic places; be alert to the monkeys, they are kind of cunning thieves and could steal your belongings.
More tips, do’s and don’ts
» If you can afford a bit more extra cash; you should go for the villas when it comes to accommodation. You can get great deals on Villahotels website, where you can book your entire trip in advance. Harper Kuta and Ubud Village Resort and Spa are highly recommended.
» Do attend the festivals. Galungan festival is one of the best traditional celebrations that Bali celebrates across its territories. It is celebrated yearly in every single Bali household adorned with traditional decorations.
» Don’t miss a visit to Kuta, it is the most visited touristic area in Indonesia.
» Many people are making their way to Ubud, well; they should! Although there are many tourists there, it is still fun and exciting with plenty to do and nature is spectacular.
» Get a massage for sure! They are so cheap and amazing. Karsa Spa is one of the best in Bali.
» Do take a cooking class. Cooking classes in Bali are among the most interesting and fun things to do, where you get to learn how to prepare delicious traditional Balinese salads, vegetarian cuisine and more. So, when you return home, you will be able to prepare and enjoy again your delicious dishes.
» Something that many tourists comment on is that even though the sunset is enchanting, magical or epic, you still have to get to the correct place or a beachside position to enjoy the spectacle.
» In Kuta when you feel that the sun is so hot, especially in the middle of the day, you can skip it by going to the movies where gentleman-waiters serve you in your seat.
» When taking photos check out the humidity because the photos could not turn out great.
» Bali is still unique when you get away from all the crowded areas and these do’s and don’ts apply even more away from the touristic places. It is an island worth visiting and the people are the kindest.
» Bali is an amazing place and attractions are being created especially for tourists to enjoy the best of the island.
» Do visit Bali. It is an experience that you should live. Bali is described by many tourists as a magical land and many promises to return to the island, besides everything, it is a cultural palace.
Taking Prescription Medications Do’s and Don’ts
1. Do it correctly. Never forget to take along your prescription medications and over the counter medications ex. painkillers, so you have nothing to worry about.
2. Double check if your medications are legal in Bali before you leave to avoid getting held up, fined or jailed, a medicine that is legal in your country could be prohibited in others.
3. Do talk to a travel medicine specialist doctor to take ample prescription medication overseas, he will recommend the ones that you really need as well as over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
4. Be sure to talk to the Embassy or Consulate of the country you are going to visit in order to know if your medicine is legal there.
5. Do get a prescription notes or an authoritative letter from your doctor with the details about the medicine you are taking; name, how much you are taking, and declare that the medicine is for your personal use. The letter should be signed with a blue pen.
6. Keep all drugs in original packing, displaying all information about dosage, name etc…
7. Buying over the counter medication overseas Take into account that the medication in other countries could really be different from the ones you pick off the shelf. They could have a different name or not look alike. Get all the information about drugs over the counter in your county and the place you are going to visit will be relevant.
It is important to be connected
» Connect with people you’re with on the trip and your family/friends back home and regularly update them with your location, just in case.
» Use Google Maps in order not to get lost.
» Have emergencies contacts on your speed dial.
When giving and receiving
» Use both of your hands when you are giving or receiving money or a business card. Balinese people takes it as a compliment.
» DON'T use your left hand, and always use both hands when handing over something.
Things to carry
» It is very important to carry a beach bag for your trip where you can have the towels, face wash, sunscreen or flip-flops.
» Buy a tourist SIM card at the airport.
Today we want to be communicated to everyone everywhere we are, we want to be online to share our photos, videos, and thoughts, so once we have arrived at the airport it is important to buy a SIM card, they are easy to install in your own phone, or you can buy a second-hand phone from many operators.
Get the best out of your trip to the Land of Gods and hop into all the equally gorgeous neighboring islands.