Oh Bali… what a wondrous yet mysterious tourist destination for a lot of people living in North America. I went to Bali just a couple of weeks ago for my friend’s wedding and honestly, when I first heard about this destination wedding location, I was pretty oblivious as to what Bali was all about. And it seemed like that was the case with most people I know as well. When I told my friends and coworkers about my upcoming vacation, most of them didn’t even know exactly where Bali is on the map!
We went without too much preparation and boy, did we learn a lot from this trip. There were some good, some bad, and some downright nasty. So this is a little guide for everyone planning their first trip to Bali, so you can learn from my mistakes and have a better, more relaxing trip in paradise. 🙂
Ditch the Taxi, Hire a Personal Driver
In Bali, you have to get around by car. There is little to no public transportation so unless you want to walk on the sidewalk (wait…that doesn’t exist! Trust me, we walked ON the road and almost died twice), you have to catch a cab or hire a personal driver. Personal drivers are everywhere and are actually very affordable. Our friends and I found Buddy Bali on Trip Advisor and they were fantastic! Our driver’s name was Oman and he was friendly, super considerate, and had a comfortable air conditioned car for long day trips. A one day trip to Ubud (10 hour day with roughly 5 different locations) costed us only 400,000 Indian Rupiah, roughly $40 CAD for a car (which can take up to 5 people). All in all it’s only $10 per person for the whole day!
If you must take a taxi, make sure you only get into Bluebird Taxi’s. They are legitimate and will have a running meter. Other navy to dark blue coloured taxis will try to look like Bluebird but they don’t have a meter and will try to scam you for more once they bring you to the destination. If you get your hotel to call for a Bluebird Taxi, know that they have a minimum charge of 30,000 Indian Rupiah (~$3 CAD) no matter where you go. It doesn’t seem like a lot but you can actually go pretty far for less than $3.
Only Drink Bottled Water (and brush your teeth with it too!)
So, story. Almost every single one of my friends had (TMI but wait for it…) diarrhea when we were in Bali. Call it traveler’s diarrhea or whatever but there is something in Bali that just didn’t sit right in our stomachs. Make sure you only drink bottled water and even use it to brush your teeth. Most Bali resorts will even provide free water in the bathroom so as long as you use that you’ll be fine.
Stay at a Villa (you can thank me later)
If you are planning a trip to Bali, look into villas instead of regular hotel rooms. Villas can accommodate anywhere from 2 – 5 people at some places and will usually come with your own kitchenette, private pool, individual bedrooms with king size beds, Jacuzzi, and patio. It’s almost like a private house and can turn any hangout into a cool pool party.
Meta Knight, myself, and our friend Cupcake stayed at the Abi Bali Resort with two separate rooms in Jimbaran and it was absolutely gorgeous. Oh, and also, don’t forget to get massages while in Bali. They’re roughly $20-30 CAD for an hour so go crazy and get that R&R you so desperately need!
Be a Hipster and Go to Seminyak
Think of Bali like this…Seminyak is like the Yaletown of Bali, where young rich hipsters roam free and retail shops house thousand dollar luggage cases and American brand clothing. Ubud on the other hand is like Kitsilano and is considered the yogi town of Bali. With its tranquil rice paddies, spiritual and organic health restaurants/shops, it’s no wonder why yoga retreats are often held there.
If you are planning to stay at Seminyak, I would highly recommend going to a local beach bar/lounge called Potato Head every day. Legit. Every day. This lounge/bar/restaurant rests right on the beach and is comprised of an infinity pool, large cabanas big enough for 2-4, three restaurants, two bars, and one of the best sunsets in Bali. Unfortunately I was only able to go there once and we left around 4pm (before sunset) so I couldn’t witness the gorgeous blue purple skies that people rave about.
Prevent Bali Belly with Dukoral
So… I would say I have a relatively strong stomach. I was born in Hong Kong, studied in South Korea for a month, I eat street food everywhere I go, and I have never, not once, gotten food poisoning before.When I got to Bali, Meta Knight, myself, Cupcake, and a few of our other friends all got either food poisoning or traveller’s diarrhea. Apparently it’s very common and is a ‘disease’ called Bali Belly. Read up on it here. Even though our ‘Bali Belly’ could have been attributed to anything, I believe it was either the tap water that we accidentally brushed our teeth with (never do that, only brush with bottled water), or the dirty seafood that we ate at one of the restaurants on Jimbaran beach. Either way, it was not pretty… And it kind of ruined the trip for us thereafter because we just couldn’t get back to normal or have an appetite for anything.
So if you are planning to go to Bali and it’s your first time in Indonesia or Southeast Asia, I’d recommend taking Dukoral before the trip. It’s an oral vaccine that you have to take twice (one week apart), two weeks prior to your travel date. You should be able to get it without a prescription and it will minimize your chances of getting e-coli or bali belly. It doesn’t guarantee 100% that you won’t, because I’ve heard many stories of friends who have taken it and still had diarrhea/vomitting but it does give your intestines a little boost of immunity.
That’s it for now! Hope you found these tips helpful! If so, please leave me a comment or happy face, and follow me on instagram for more awesome pics of Bali. 😉