How to Get Around
The best way to get around is by hiring a private car with driver. They can either provide you with an off the shelf tour or can take you wherever you want to go. This is perfect for long distances and you can hire for a whole or half a day. At TravelQuest we can pre-book all of your tours and guides before you go so you can relax without having to worry about haggling for a good price and seeing all the highlights. We hired a car with driver for a full day and visited the Gateway to Heaven and the water palaces of Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung.
Mopeds are by far the fastest and cheapest way to get around and you can rent bikes easily. Before you rent a scooter though ensure you have the appropriate insurance (check your travel insurance!). In Bali, you are also required to have an International Driving Licence. Driving without one can result in a fine. Apply for your International driving licence here at a cost of £8 for one year. Be aware Bali is probably not the destination for a first-time rider as the roads are busy in the towns.
Taxis can be your biggest cost in Bali unless you choose wisely. Uber is banned in Bali and other similar services are widely frowned upon as they don’t support local drivers. Always try and book your taxis from a local taxi stand where the prices are listed up front. Hailing a blue bird from the roadside taxi in my experience normally results in lengthy haggling and you getting overcharged.
Our personal choice of transportation is walking but take care if you chose to walk as pavements are often absent, cluttered and sloped for scooter parking. Also, watch your step... You will quickly notice the daily offerings as you travel through Bali which are laid out on shrines and pavements of populated areas. These offerings, or Canang Sari, are part of the Balinese Hindu religion and are made, not only to the Gods, but also to appease any demons. They consist of white lime, betelnut and gambier plant which are placed on a tray made from a palm leaf. Flowers, rice, cigarettes, sweets and other offerings are then placed on top. An incense stick is also added and lit, so be extra careful as if you catch one with your foot when walking, you will not only disrespect the offering, you could also burn yourself.
Where to Eat
Warungs offer authentic local cuisine at rock bottom prices, my travel companion and I had a large plate of mixed dishes each and a drink each for the grand total of about £4, not bad for an evening meal! Warungs are often basic and operate using an almost canteen style method of service or you can choose from a menu. The most popular dish is Nasi Goreng, a fried rice dish with vegetables and usually with a fried egg and side of chicken satay.
Westernised restaurants are plentiful and are usually aimed at the high number of Australian visitors. Pizza, pasta and Mexican are readily available along with burgers and other dishes. We even saw a French/Chinese fusion restaurant which there can’t be many of in the world! Most restaurants offer a combination of both local cuisine and western options and service and quality ranges widely.
There is a massive culture for healthy food here with vegetarian and vegan restaurants and menu options in abundance. Dishes are usually presented in beautiful ways, making them perfect for the Instagram generation. Smoothie bowls are a real speciality here, made with fresh fruits and ingredients.
Where to Stay
Before you think about where to stay you need to decide what you are after. If you are looking for a laid-back surfer vibe then Canggu is perfect for you. Ubud has a more hippy style and is great for those looking to practice yoga. Seminyak is more for the party goers and has a bustling nightlife. Or, you can head to one of the many beach resorts such as Sanur in search of a little more peace and tranquillity.
After you decide where to stay you can think about what kind of accommodation you are looking for. Whether you want a 5* luxury honeymoon hotel or a basic apartment, there are plenty of options available. Homestays line the side streets of the main towns and offer a cheap and cheerful option. These are often populated with backpackers as hostel type facilities are very sparse in Bali. Upmarket resorts are available along the beachfront with stunning views and excellent service and TravelQuest can help you chose the one that is right for you.
What to do
Bali is famous for its temples and there is a fascinating array to visit. From the island temple of Tanah Lot on the eastern coast to the Grand Water Palaces, the former residence of the King and his family, there is plenty to choose from. Visiting the famous floating temple of Pura Ulun Danu Beratan or witness the purification bathing rituals at Tirta Empul.
When visiting temples you must wear a sarong even if you are already wearing long trousers. You can rent one of these very cheaply at most of the busiest temple entrances.
Possibly Bali's second most famous feature is its stunning rice paddies which fill the countryside areas. We were able to walk just a mile to see some beautiful rice paddies and enjoy the tranquillity of strolling through them.
Bali has beautiful beaches, whether you are looking for a bustling surfer beach or something a little more secluded there is something to suit you. Take to the waves or relax on the sand, the choice is yours. Surfing is a huge pastime around the beaches of Bali and is particularly popular with Australians. Surfing lessons and courses for all levels are widely available, along with board rentals and most scooter rentals come with the option of hiring a surfboard rack.
I did yoga every morning while staying in Bali and it is a great way to start your day, develop your practice and find a new you. I attended ‘The Practice’ in Canggu which holds several lessons a day at a variety of levels. There are plenty of other options and styles available as well, so look around and find the class which will suit you best.
Bali has plenty of shopping opportunities of both pricier upmarket shops and cheaper markets. Be prepared to haggle at markets, the first price you are quoted is never what you should pay. Decide how much you are prepared to pay first and don’t be afraid to walk away if you are told no… they often change their minds as you turn your back! Supermarkets are readily available and drinks and snacks are generally very cheap.
There is a great deal of stunning street art in Bali, we saw a huge number just near where we were staying in Canggu.
Sockets are 2 pin European sockets.
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
ATMs are plentiful in Bali but sometimes it can take a few attempts to find one that will give you any money! Be aware that unlike UK ATMs, in Bali your money comes out and then your card… don’t walk away without your card! I tried four in a row and it finally worked on the 5th!
The water is not safe to drink, but bottled water is widely available.
Mosquito bites are not only itchy and annoying, but they can also spread dengue fever. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel, use mosquito spray which contains deet, and wear long sleeves/trousers in the evenings.
Sunscreen is a must. It is hot, hot, hot in Bali all year round and it is easy to burn, even through the clouds.
The penalty for drug possession is life imprisonment and there is a death penalty for drug trafficking. Don’t be foolish!
Bali is just one of the beautiful destinations you could visit in South-East Asia. If you would like us to help plan your own trip, call us on 0800 021 3237 or drop by our travel agents in Woodbridge or Ipswich.