Bali is a popular holiday destination that attracts almost 5 million tourists visiting every year. But before you book that trip, here are five things you should know before visiting this spectacular island in Indonesia.
1. Don’t drive
Getting around the island is part of the adventure. Rented mopeds or scooters are the most popular way to travel around Bali but, you should not do this if you have limited or no experience of riding a motorcycle. So many people get injured especially during peak hours when the traffic can get very crazy. The best way for a tourist to get around Bali is to hire a cab. It is very easy to find a company with English speaking drivers, like Balicab, and you can book for the entire day instead of worrying about meters. Companies like Grab and Jo-Gek (Bali Uber) also offer fantastic service and are great, cheap options for travel.
2. Don’t drink the tap water
Yes, there are many places in the world where you probably should not drink the tap water. And Bali is one of them! The last thing you want is a stomach bug (like Bali Belly!) or some other illness wrecking your trip. You can easily buy safe bottled drinking water from local supermarkets. Here’s an additional tip: carry a reusable water bottle with you. Many restaurants and cafes are happy to fill up your water bottle for free.
3. Don’t forget your shots!
Just like with all foreign travel, you should do a health check before you leave your home. Make sure you are up to date with vaccinations particularly tetanus and hepatitis A and B. The dreaded mosquito can also be problematic with risk of contracting dengue fever, the zika virus or malaria, particularly if you plan to travel to mountainous or rural areas. Bite prevention is the key here so wear a repellent and mosquito-proof your accommodation. If you start to feel unwell, get medical advice as soon as possible.
4. Keep an eye on the dogs & monkeys!
If you are a dog lover, or even just an animal lover, seeing the number of stray dogs on the streets and beaches might be distressing. The authorities are trying to tackle the issue by setting up more shelters and rescue homes around the island. But it is still a big problem. Although the dogs may appear friendly, a lot are stray animals and you should seek out medical advice if bitten.
Monkeys can be found in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud plus many other locations across the island. They are adorable but very cheeky. They have perfected the art of pickpocketing and are particularly drawn towards sunglasses, cameras and jewelry. For these little criminals, anything is fair game; so keep your gear secure around them. Also, keep your distance from monkeys in remote areas. It might seem like a great idea to take a photo of a wild monkey on your shoulder but I advise against it. Monkeys can carry fleas, hepatitis and even rabies. So use your zoom and take photos from a safe distance. Like the dogs, seek medical advice if bitten or scratched.
5. Wear the right clothes
When traveling around the world, it is important to respect both the culture and the customs of the countries you visit and dress appropriately. Bali has strong cultural traditions that you need to be aware of, particularly when visiting their many temples. Female visitors, for example, tend to purchase a sarong and sash prior to visiting. It is respectful to cover your shoulders and knees in religious venues. Don’t worry though. If you forget or can’t buy them, you can always borrow one at the location by making a small offering. Please also remember to remove your shoes if asked to do so.