Bali has been flooded with tourists from all around the world the last couple of years, but that hasn’t stopped the spirituality culture. I recently visited Bali for the first time with the We Are Travel Girls community, and it was the best decision I have made. I picked up some tips for first timers in Bali while visiting this beautiful island for a week.
Let me guess. You have been inspired by the beaches, tropical vibes, infinity pools, rice terraces, and how affordable Bali is? You are looking to visit, but don’t know where you should eat, stay, and play? Keep reading to better prepare for your first trip to Bali!
Here is how you should eat, stay, and play in Bali!
1. Arriving in Bali
You may need a visa to visit Bali, and you will be asked when arriving in Bali how long you will be visiting the Island. I didn’t need one because I was only going to be visiting for 1 week. Usually, if you are planning to stay in Bali longer than 30 days then you will need to get a visa. Click here for more information on visa and immigration
2. Best time to go to Bali
I headed to Bali in October which is their rainy reason, and a less touristy time to go. The week in October that I was in Bali I didn’t see it rain. A few clouds rolled in when going up a mountain in Ubud, but other than that it was sunny and hot the whole week I was there. I think I got really lucky!
April through March is the rainy season, and you can get better flight deals during this season, and also there are fewer crowds. For example, when going to swim in one of Bali’s best waterfalls there was no one around. July and August are their busier months as this falls during their dry season, which is from April to September.
3. Getting around in Bali
I was fortunate enough to have transportation covered during my week stay thanks to the We Are Travel Girls retreat. I did, however, pick up a few tips from locals and from the founders are the We Are Travel Girls community since they live in Bali now.
First thing I want to mention is the traffic in Bali. Upon my arrival, I had no idea how bad the traffic was or how they drove on the streets. The traffic in Bali can be terrible! Everything is one lane, scooters everywhere, and no stop lights. It is kind of like a free-for-all when driving. There will also be random ceremonies going on which completely stops traffic. We were heading to dinner on The Lawn which is typically a 15-minute drive but ended up taking over 2 hours to get there.
You can ask for transportation from where you are staying or get a pre-paid taxi. Asking for transportation through your accommodation seems like a better and less stressful way of organizing your ride from the airport. When exiting the airport, you will get hounded by locals if you want a taxi, and just say no to avoid getting ripped off.
You can also rent a scooter if you’re comfortable riding the crazy driving that takes place. I saw a lot of people doing this, and you can rent a scooter for as low as $6 USD a day. This is better, so you don’t have to rely on someone to take you where you want to go.
I had $100 USD in cash when arriving in Bali, and did the currency exchange at the airport. I learned later that is was way more expensive to do. There are plenty of other places around Bali that exchange for a cheaper rate. Or, take out cash from a local ATM which is what I was told is the easier and cheaper route to take. I came to Bali with $100 USD which is 1,352,060 IDR. This was more than enough during my week stay in Bali, but then again, my accommodation, transportation, and the food was covered for the retreat. It is still very affordable.
5. Don’t drink the water in Bali
Bali Belly is highly referenced while on the island! To avoid getting sick just don’t drink the water. Hotels usually include bottles of water every day, and even already have safe filtered water. You can get Bali belly from the fresh fruits and salads as they may have been washed in local water. I went to my local doctor before heading to Bali, and I was prescribed antibiotics just in case I did get sick, which I did end up getting sick on my last night in Bali. So, please be safe and just get antibiotics because I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have some.
6. Where to stay in Bali
During my Travel Girls retreat, we all stayed at this amazing villa called Villa Malaathinga. The staff was amazing and so were the drivers! When I and a few other girls got sick they were very helpful and made sure we had everything we needed. The villa is also beautiful with a pool, large rooms, gym, yoga room, and 2 bar areas. This is a more luxury form of travel.
Ubud and Canggu are good areas to stay at while in Bali. Canggu is the most popular area to stay at because this where all the digital nomads tend to stay at. The area is right on the beach, trendy restaurants, and awesome co-working spaces which attracts the nomads.
7. Other things to note
If you can, get a SIM card for your phone. Service can be bad in a lot of spots throughout the island, and Wi-Fi is not the strongest. Also, roaming charges are just ridiculous so save some money and get a SIM card when in Bali.
Learn how to negotiate at the local markets throughout Bali. I was not good at this at first and watched a couple of the girls who have more experience barter items at the market. Locals will ask a bunch at first but are more than happy to negotiate with you. I talked down a kid to a couple bucks for some Bali pants. It was a proud solo traveler moment for me!
Don’t forget to have fun, and take in the scenery and breathtaking landscapes. Bali has so much to offer at such an affordable price. Check out awesome activities to do in Bali!