Stunning resorts, affordable accommodation, myriad dining options, amazing scenery and a rich local culture make the ‘island of the Gods’ a favourite destination for travellers of all ages, with many visitors returning again and again. However, for first-time visitors to Bali, all that choice can be a bit bewildering. Here are five Bali tips for travellers heading to Bali for the first time, from how to have a stress-free arrival to where to stay and what to do while you are in Bali.
1. Bali arrival tips
On arrival proceed directly to immigration as quickly as you can. Multiple flights from Australia often land at the same time and there can be a long wait. Make sure you have water with you as there is nowhere to buy it and the arrivals area can be hot. I usually get currency from an ATM when I arrive at my destination but not in Bali. ATMs are available at the airport but they often seem to be out of money or out of order. Purchase some Rupiah before you leave home for a hassle free start to your trip.
2. Choose your accommodation wisely
Bali has no shortage of accommodation, from high-end 5 star resorts to budget hotels and hostels by the beach. While it is important to book suitable accommodation, it is perhaps even more important to choose the location that is right for you. For example, Kuta is right in the heart of it all with a reputation for partying while Uluwatu, on the southern tip of the island, is much quieter although travellers who like to hit the town could find it somewhat isolated. Do some research before you book and choose the location first, then pick your hotel.
Bali is warm and humid all year round so drink plenty of water, even if you are just lying by the pool, or you could end up feeling dehydrated and unwell. This is especially important for those travelling with children. Drinking water from the tap is not recommended (make sure you tell the kids) but you can buy water cheaply at convenience stores or some high end hotels provide bottled water for free.
4. Go on a Bali tour
Bali has plenty of attractions and tour options on offer, with a prices and trips to suit every taste and budget. You can do a temple tour, go white water rafting through the jungle near Ubud, learn how to plant rice, see a traditional dance performance, do a cooking class or take a spiritual Kombi tour. If you don’t have a particular tour in mind, it can be cheaper to book your tour at the hotel activities desk or on-line when you arrive as there are often specials or two-for-one offers available.
5. Visit a Bali spa
With an average price of AU$30 for an hour long massage, visiting a spa is an affordable indulgence in Bali compared to Australia. This massage price is for a local spa that is external to a resort. Resorts charge significantly more however the facilities tend to be more upmarket. Most advertised prices don’t include Government taxes and service charges, so add an extra 22% or so to cover this or look for the word ‘nett’ after the price which means these taxes are included in the cost of the spa.
We’ve got plenty of hints and tips for travelling in Bali and also some great hotel and resort suggestions. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we’ve reviewed the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort, Peppers Seminyak Resort, Apurva Kempinski Bali, Bulgari Resort Bali, Aria Villas Ubud, Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, The Mulia Bali, Merusaka Nusa Dua, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, Anantara Seminyak Bali, the InterContinental Bali for couples and those travelling with kids. We’ve compared the Singaraja and Club rooms at the InterContinental Bali and found the best luxury family hotels in Bali and the best honeymoon hotels in Bali.