Bali is filled with so many wonders; from lush waterfalls and detailed hindu temples to vast rice terraces and an abundance of fresh fruit falling off the island. Bali, the “Island of the Gods”, has retained its reputation amongst travelers for being a tropical paradise. Located in the middle of the Indian and Pacific Ocean, it is the main island of a total 17,000. In the past decade or so, tourism has increased immensely but it is thriving in a prodigious culture; that with the help of travelers can remain sacred and prominent on the island.
So what do you need to know about Bali before traveling there? I’ve put together a list of need to knows before traveling to the Island of God’s below:
Currency – Indonesian Rupiah! The current exchange rate is 12,000 rupiah for $1 USD; of course you should always check the current rate as these can change hour after hour or day to day but usually not by much. Be careful where you change your money; make sure it’s always official. You can almost always get a better rate outside of the airport but again be aware of the moneychanger you choose and the exact conversion for your currency so you get the best exchange rate.
Language– Balinese, English, Indonesian; the majority of Bali’s citizens speak Indonesian but there is another native tongue that only the islanders speak which is Balinese. Each of the Indonesian islands have their own language. With the rise in tourism, it is becoming more and more common to find locals speaking English. Many of the hospitality industry members in Bali know English but it is always good to assimilate to the culture and learn a few key words. Here’s some I picked up during our time there:
Hello! – Halo! (that was easy)
Please? – Silahkan (see-la-con)
Thank you- Terima kasih (te-ree-ma-ka-see)
You’re welcome – Sama-sama
How are you? – Apa kabar (apa ca-bar)
Hello- Om Suastiastu (Om-sue-os-tee-as-too)
Thank you- Matar Suksma (ma-tar sook-sma)
You’re welcome- Sama-sama
Putting your hands together in a praying position is a kind gesture used all over Bali, when saying thank you or goodbye. It is never mandatory that travelers learn how to communicate in the native language when in another country but highly respectful to locals as it shows a genuine interest in their culture.
Where to stay– I decided to hotel hop in Bali and ended up planning all my adventures for the day on the opposite side of the island. Lucky for you, it helped me realize the best and worst areas to stay in depending on what you want to do during your stay. The north of Bali is considered more tranquil, less tourists and closer to a lot more of the lush falls and jungles, the remote side of the island.
Ubud can be considered the center of the island roughly; where you will find a lot of the activities you’ll want to do within 30 minutes drive from your hotel. Some of the best hiking, waterfalls and temples are near Ubud, also a little more peaceful, if that is what you seek. The south of Bali is where it gets very busy; there is an abundance of tourists making this more of the party side of the island.
Seminyak is where you can find a plethora of funky beach shops, all types of different restaurant concepts and bars and the best beachside venues. Regardless of which area of the island you stay in, there will be a drive from the one and only airport on the island, Denpasar airport. Seminyak is just 20 minutes away from the airport. Arranging transportation through your hotel is convenient but there are always local taxi options. Always discuss and agree upon the rate BEFORE taking a ride with any private coach or taxi.
Nusa Dua is known for its private beaches and perfect views, this area will make you feel like you’re on a separate island when in reality you’re 20 minutes from the busiest area of Bali. Nusa Dua is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak. This is the best place to stay if you’re in need of the perfect hidden oasis that’s also very tranquil and centrally located.
Uluwatu is located further south from Nusa Dua at the tip of the peninsula and home to some of the island’s most exclusive resorts and hill top villas. This is the ideal area to stay in for honeymooners or those looking for romance not too far from the city.
Jimbaran bay is also south of Seminyak and Nusa Dua is beautiful Jimbaran Bay. Home to some of Bali’s most beautiful resorts and slightly less popular than in its neighboring towns. This was my favorite area of Bali to stay in. It feels like you’re on your own little private piece of the island.
My next post will include a full Bali itinerary: where to eat and what to do on the Island of the Gods, thanks for reading!!