The Indonesian island of Bali is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations. Home to a selection of luxurious resorts, beachside towns, rainforests, rice paddies, and yoga retreats, there’s something for everyone in Bali.
Most people head over to Bali to relax, but the trip can become quite stressful if you make the same mistakes that rookies tend to always make their first time on the island. For the smoothest vacation possible, it’s best to do your research and know in advance what common blunders to avoid making. Keep reading to find out what classic errors first-timers in Bali make too often!
10 Not Being Careful When It Comes To Food
The food in Bali is absolutely delicious, but as a foreigner, your stomach might not be used to it. It’s not uncommon for Western travelers to catch “Bali belly” from eating the local food and drinking the water. You always have to be careful when it comes to eating and drinking to reduce your chances of getting sick.
This means being wary of street food that has been left out in the sun. Though the water in the hotels and resorts may be fine, it’s advisable to drink only bottled water and even brush your teeth with bottled water.
9 Being Too Scared To Eat Anything
Sometimes, rookies are too scared to eat anything at all in Bali and only eat pre-packaged food that they’ve brought with them. While you should be careful and trust your inner-judgment when it comes to eating in Bali, you don’t want to be so scared of getting sick that you don’t try any local food.
As we said, the food in Bali is tasty and colorful, and the chances are you’ll really find something that you like. It’s about finding that balance between using your common sense and stepping out of your comfort zone.
8 Not Following Local Laws
Though a lot of people think of Bali as a tropical island paradise that exists beyond the reach of reality, it’s actually an Indonesian territory. That means that when you’re on the island, you’re subject to the laws of Indonesia. Being a predominantly Islamic country—where other religions are still practiced freely—the laws tend to be stricter than they are in western countries.
It’s not unheard of for westerners to break the law in Bali and then face tough consequences when they would have received only a warning at home. That’s why it’s always wise to understand and follow the local laws while in Bali.
7 Forgetting All About The Mountains
Most people think of Bali as a coastal destination. Of course, the island is home to gorgeous beaches that will take your breath away. It’s also brimming with elegant resorts where you can lounge by infinity pools all day long. But in between all that time by the water, don’t forget to make a trek to the uplands.
The town of Ubud is located further away from the beach but is surrounded by luscious rainforest and terraced rice paddies. The area offers a completely different experience from beachside areas, but it is definitely worth a visit!
6 Not Preparing For The Humidity
They say it’s the humidity, not the heat, that gets you in the end. Due to its close proximity to the equator, Bali experiences high levels of humidity in the wet season between October and April. Even in the dry season, between May and September, it can still be stickier than what you’re used to.
It’s a good idea to pack lots of clothing that is made from cotton so your skin can breathe in the tropical weather. If you’re expecting the humidity, it is less startling once you step out of Ngurah Rai International Airport and the wet hair hits you in the face.
5 Staying In The Wrong Area For The Type Of Vacation You Want
Though Bali is only a small island, it’s home to various districts and towns. Each of these has its own characteristics that you should take into account when planning your vacation. For example, the seaside location of Seminyak boasts higher-end resorts and restaurants, and may not be the best place to stay if you’re looking for a cheap vacation.
Similarly, Kuta has a reputation for being the party area of Bali where you’ll find lots of tourists, nightclubs, and places to stay and eat that are on the cheaper end of the scale. It’s best to do your research so you know exactly what location suits you the best.
4 Going At The Wrong Time
Staying in the wrong location in Bali can bring down your whole experience, and so can going at the wrong time. For example, those who can’t stand humidity should avoid traveling in the wet season if they can help it. If you want to avoid crowds, it’s not a good idea to travel during peak season, which is July and August.
Between November and December every year, a lot of Australian high-school graduates travel to Bali for their “schoolies” celebrations, which involve hard drinking and partying. If you want to avoid the craziness, it’s best to avoid Bali during this time!
3 Forgetting To Respect The Local Culture
The Balinese people are among the friendliest in the world. Though there are some scammers that are looking for naïve tourists to prey upon, the majority of people are welcoming and genuinely happy to meet you. It’s a mistake not to take the chance to meet some locals and get to know them a little simply because you could be losing the opportunity to make some great new friends!
By chatting to locals, you can make contacts in Bali in case you ever want to visit the island again. You’ll also find out insider tips that most travelers won’t know!
2 Forgetting To Respect The Wildlife
Bali is home to an infinite amount of diverse creatures. Some tourists forget to treat wildlife with respect, which is another mistake. Aside from being the decent thing to do, respecting the wildlife leaves a better impression with the locals.
A lot of tourists like to visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud to get up close and personal with the Balinese long-tailed monkey. This is a great way to spend an afternoon—just remember to always treat the monkeys with respect and not taunt them or steal their food. You’ll pay for it if you don’t!
1 Being Careless With Money
Bali is known for being quite a cheap vacation destination. But the one way that people tend to lose money is by being careless with it and not taking the time to understand the local currency. In Bali, the Indonesian Rupiah is used and this can take a while to get used to!
For example, at the present time, 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah equals about US$7. With such large price tags around the place, it’s easy to get confused and give more than you have to. Taking the time to learn the currency will probably save you a few dollars during your trip.