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Bali Travel Tips: 50 Essential Dos & Don’ts for Bali & Indonesia in 2023!

Want To Know The BEST Bali travel Tips For 2023?

Planning a trip to Bali, Indonesia? You’re going to have such a good time! Keep reading for all of the Bali travel tips I’ve learned from my time as an ex-pat and traveler in Indonesia.

Keep reading for 50 dos and don’ts for Bali & Indonesia in 2023! ⤵️

Bali Travel Tips: Health & Safety

I’ve been traveling with my Grayl water purifier for four years

1. Don’t Drink The Tap Water!!!

This is always the first travel tip when visiting Bali, for a good reason! 

You can’t drink the tap water in Bali – it’s not filtered. Sometimes when people drink tap water they get what is affectionately called “Bali Belly”, which is another term for travelers’ diarrhea. 

You can avoid Bali Belly by only drinking bottled water, or if you want to be more environmentally friendly you can invest in a travel water purifier.  

I have been using my GRAYL travel purifier for three years now, and it’s perfect for Bali. 

Travel Water Purifier For Bali

GRAYL Travel Water Purifier

I bought my Grayl travel water purifier for my first trip to Bali in 2019 and I’ve been traveling with it ever since!

La Brisa Beach Club, Canggu
La Brisa Beach Club, Canggu

2. Don’t Forget Your Bug Spray

There are mosquito-borne illnesses in Bali, particularly Dengue Fever makes its way through the tourist population a lot. 

To avoid Dengue, always keep your bug spray on you. 

If you’re near areas of water like rice paddies (which are everywhere in Bali), or out at night the mosquitos are more aggressive. 

I would recommend bringing a high-potency bug spray from home. I use Backwoods, which has DEET and is very strong to fend off the mosquitos. 

👉 I use a very strong bug spray designed for hunting to fend off disease-carrying mosquitos in Bali. You can buy it here.

Wae Rebo Traditional Village In Flores

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 Best Things To Do In Flores Island, Indonesia

3. Do Get Your Travel Vaccines!

Even if you had all your routine vaccines as a child, you’ll likely need additional travel vaccines to go to Bali. 

On my first trip to Indonesia, I received a Typhoid vaccine, a Tdap booster, and a Hepatitis A vaccine.

Recently I was playing with a puppy on the beach in Bali and wound up having to get a rabies vaccine as well!

Check in with the CDC guidelines and at your local travel clinic if you need any additional travel vaccines! 

girl with monkey at monkey forest in Ubud, Bali
He just came over to say hi

RELATED ARTICLE 🐶 My Experience Getting Rabies Treatment In Bali

4. Don’t Approach Stray Animals 

I know, they’re cute! But rabies is a very real problem in Indonesia and a lot of tourists have their trip cut short by being bit by some animal or another. 

I recently had to seek rabies post-exposure treatment after playing with a puppy on a Bali beach, it’s not fun!

Pink Beach, Komodo National Park
Pink Beach, Komodo National Park

5. Don’t Be Afraid Of Dogs Barking 

If you walk anywhere in Bali, especially at night, you’ll probably be charged by a dog (or 10). 

Every house has a dog and they’re just doing their job when they bark at passers-by.

Sometimes these “watchdogs” are cute little Pekingese puppies. So it’s a little hard to take them seriously, but don’t be afraid if you’re chased by barking dogs. 

Once you leave their owner’s territory they’ll leave you alone, so it’s best to just ignore them. 

Monkeys at the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest
Monkeys at the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

RELATED ARTICLE 🙈 About The Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

6. Don’t Mess With The Monkeys 

In Bali, there are these famous open-air animal sanctuaries called “Monkey Forests” where tourists can go and interact with the monkeys in their natural habitat. 

Monkeys have a tendency toward being capricious and aggressive, and there’s a specific way you’re supposed to act around them. 

Sometimes tourists come and they don’t know how to act around a monkey, and they wind up getting bit (which is where your travel insurance will come in handy!).


Safety Wing Travel Insurance

I’ve been using SafetyWing Travel Insurance for over two years now, and it came in handy when I needed rabies treatment in Bali!

Kelor Island Komodo National Park

7. Do Stock Up On Whatever Prescription Medication You Need! 

Did you know it’s actually illegal to mail prescription medication from the United States of America to other countries? It is

When I was in college my dad tried to mail me glasses and even that got confiscated for being a prescription “medical item”. 

Make sure to stock up on all prescription medication you need before you leave your home country. 

If you try to have it mailed to you in Bali it will probably be confiscated by Indonesian Customs. 

scooter taxis are the easiest way to get around Bali if you don’t know how to drive.

RELATED ARTICLE 🚕 Ultimate Transporation Guide To Bali

8. Do Call Scooter Taxis If You’re Not An Expert Rider 

Everyone rides scooters instead of cars in Bali.

It’s not just because scooters are cheaper, scooters are the best way to get around Bali due to the crazy traffic and tiny roads. 

You can get around Bali by car, but it’s usually a lot more difficult. There also isn’t usually a lot of parking access, so it’s just a lot easier to ride a scooter. 

Most tourists come to Bali and think they need to rent a scooter and learn how to drive, but that’s not true! It’s much easier to just call a scooter taxi to get around. 

A scooter taxi is when a guy drives up on a scooter and you just hop on the back! It’s a lot safer than driving yourself because they’re professionals and know how to navigate the crazy Balinese traffic. 

To call a scooter taxi you can use the “GoRide” option on the Gojek app. I use this multiple times a day to get around.

You can call a scooter taxi from any major city in Bali by going to your Gojek app and choosing the “GoRide” option. You can also use the Grab app for this, they’re basically the same app but I find Gojek to be a little more accurate.

Another bonus of taking a scooter taxi is that they’re incredibly cheap. If you only plan on going to one or two places per day, it’s probably more affordable to call a scooter taxi than to rent a scooter and drive yourself. 

👉 Do you feel confident driving your own scooter? 🛵 Click here to book your scooter rental in Bali + free scooter delivery and pickup at your hotel! 👈

If you hail a scooter taxi they’ll have a helmet for you

9. Don’t Forget To Wear Your Helmet, Always, When Riding A Scooter 

I see foreign tourists zipping around Bali on scooters in bikinis with no helmets and barely any clothes, it’s terrifying!!! 

These scooters aren’t toys, and you want to be as safe as possible especially if you’re a novice rider. 

It’s best to always wear a helmet, jacket, long pants, and close-toed shoes on a scooter. I don’t always wear full clothing while on a scooter, but I do always wear a helmet! 

👉 Tip: If you call a scooter taxi from Grab or Gojek they’ll have a spare helmet for passengers, but sometimes you have to ask for it. 

Alas Harum Agrotourism In Ubud

RELATED ARTICLE 🏊‍♀️ Guide To Alas Harum Agroutourism In Ubud

10. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance! 

Even if it’s not required for entry, I would always recommend signing up for travel insurance for a trip to Indonesia. 

So much can go wrong, and it’s important to be covered. 

I’ve been using Safety Wing over the past year because it caters to full-time traveling digital nomads like myself, but you can also use it for vacations and short trips. 

It’s one of the cheapest travel health insurance out there. Safety Wing is completely no-frills and also no confusion. 

You can buy a 1-month package starting at $42 and it covers most countries. 

It’s just good to have peace of mind while traveling without having to think too hard! 


Safety Wing Travel Insurance

I’ve been using SafetyWing Travel Insurance for over two years now, and it came in handy when I needed rabies treatment in Bali!

👉 Tip! Check the gov portal for what the entry requirements for Indonesia are before you plan your trip! The rules change frequently.

nusa penida viewpoint lookout in bali on a sunny day
Nusa Penida

11. DO Invest In A Travel Purifier If You’re In Bali Long Term 

I’ve been using my GRAYL travel water purifier since my first trip to Indonesia in 2019.

It’s held up through three years of use and has a 10-year warranty. 

If you’re going to be in Indonesia for a month or longer, I recommend buying a travel purifier so you can drink the tap water where ever you are. 

👉 I travel with a Grayl water purifier so I can drink the tap water wherever I am, you can buy one on Amazon here. 👈

Another bonus of traveling with your own water purifier is you’ll save TONS of plastic water bottles from landfills. 

Something else I carry with me in Bali is a giant 2 Liter water bottle. That way if I ever go somewhere, like the gym or hotel lobby, where they have free clean drinking water I can fill up my big bottle. 

Bali is HOT. You don’t want to be caught without water throughout the day. 

Travel Water Purifier For Bali

GRAYL Travel Water Purifier

I bought my Grayl travel water purifier for my first trip to Bali in 2019 and I’ve been traveling with it ever since!

12. Don’t Drink Things With Ice If You’re Off-The-Beaten-Track 

The only time I’ve ever gotten sick while traveling was from ice in a drink, and since then I’ve been very cautious. 

Most places know to serve tourists only filtered water, but there’s less vigilant about ice for some reason. 

Most drinks with ice in places catering to foreign tourists will be okay, but if you’re off the beaten track at a local warung it’s best to skip the ice.

Indonesians can handle the water better than foreigners can because they’re used to it. 

Everyone had to evacuate to the street after the earthquake we had last week!

13. Do Be Aware Of Earthquakes! 

I was sitting at a cafe in Ubud while I wrote this post and all of a sudden the ground started shaking. 

Since the cafe shares a building with a yoga studio, at first I thought maybe there was an intense exercise class going on but then everyone started running outside. It was an earthquake! 

It only lasted 15-20 seconds and then everyone went back inside after a few minutes. Later we learned it was a magnitude 5.8 earthquake! 

The earthquake magnitude scale goes out of 10, so it was quite high – but not high enough to cause damage. 

Bali is a high-risk area for earthquakes, so just be aware while you’re visiting. 

Goa Gajah Temple in Ubud
Goa Gajah Temple in Ubud

Bali Travel Tips: Visas

14. Don’t Forget Your Visa

Indonesia USED to allow visa-free entry to Americans, and lots of other nationalities, who want to visit. 

Now, Indonesia only permits visa-free entry to ASEAN countries, all others need to buy. a Visa On Arrival at the airport.

You also have the option to extend your one-month VOA to two months.  

To do this you need to buy a visa on arrival which is only good for one month, and then hire a visa service in Bali to extend that 1-month visa to two months. 

You can buy your one-month Visa On Arrival (VOA) at the airport before customs.

It’s very easy, they don’t ask any questions to get a Visa on Arrival, you just need to pay a fee. 

Currently, the fee for a VOA is 500,000 Indonesian Rupiah (around $30). They accept US dollars, and Indonesian Rupiah, and you can pay by card. 

After you receive your Visa on Arrival, you can contact a visa agency to get it extended. You need to do this while you still have at least 10 days remaining on your 30-day visa, but it’s recommended you start the process the day you arrive in Bali. 

When I extended my VOA to two months it took 20 days and cost around 800,000 Indonesian Rupiah ($55). 

You can find a visa agency through your hotel, hostel, or guest house.


The cool thing is that you don’t actually have to be in one place for all 20 days. The second time I did a VOA extension I gave my passport to the visa company, got my fingerprints stamped at the immigration in Jimbaran on day 4, and then left!

I did a bunch of island hopping from Bali, the Gilis, Lombok, Flores, and the Komodo Islands without my passport – just my NY state ID, because I was traveling within Indonesia.

My hostel back in Canggu, Nyaman Hostel, received my passport with the visa extension stamp and held it for me until I was done with my travels. It was super convenient, and way easier than waiting around in one spot for 20 days like I did for my first visa exemption!

Keep in mind that the Indonesian Visa on Arrival takes up a whole page on your passport! So make sure you have enough free space. 

passport with lots of stamps
(Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash)

15. Don’t Forget To Book Your Onward Ticket 

You’ll probably be asked for your onward ticket, which is your ticket out of Indonesia before you board your inbound plane. 

You need to have an outbound flight already booked, legally, to enter Indonesia. 

Don’t know when you’ll be leaving, or to where? No problem. 

You can use a service like Onward Ticket which books an outbound ticket for you and then cancels it within the next few days. This is completely legal and it’s just to meet entry requirements. 

I’ve used Onward Ticket more times than I can count, as a full-time traveler I’m not always sure where my next location will be! 

👉 Click here to buy a commitment-free Onward Ticket for your next flight!

Bali Travel Tips: Cell phones 

16. Do Link Your Number To Your Whatsapp Account 

Outside of the United States, everyone uses the app WhatsApp for communication. If you’re visiting Bali and don’t have a Whatsapp yet you should definitely download the app and link it to your phone number before getting to Bali. 

If you link your phone number to your WhatsApp, it will work no matter which SIM you have put in! It’s amazing. 

You can use Whatsapp in Bali to organize tours, book hotels, or talk to just about anyone. 

Alas Harum Agrotourism In Ubud

17. Don’t Forget To Register Your Phone At The Airport! (If You Plan On Staying Longer Than 3 Consecutive Months) 

There’s a problem with people illegally importing smartphones to Indonesia.

Because of this, Indonesia requires people to register all cell phones at the airport upon arrival if they’re staying longer than three months.

If you fail to do this, you need to pay a 40% tax on the value of your phone or the government just shut your SIM card slot off after 3 consecutive months in the country. 

The 3 months leeway period is so the government doesn’t accidentally shut down tourists’ cell phones. 

RELATED ARTICLE 📲 How To Use Your Cell Phone Abroad

18. DO Buy A “Tourist Sim Card” When You Arrive In Bali 

You should DEFINITELY buy an Indonesian SIM card when you arrive in Bali. You’ll need a local number for a lot of services, like ride-sharing apps, food delivery, etc. 

Local SIM cards and data plans are easy to get and affordable. You can purchase your SIM through most hotels or go to a “Telkomsel” store. 

Telkomsel is the most popular cell provider in Indonesia.

You can top up your SIM card with more data whenever you need to in person at convenience stores like Indomaret, Circle K, and Alfamart. 

There are two types of SIM cards in Bali, normal SIM and “tourist SIM”. You’re going to want to buy a tourist SIM.

The difference between the two is that a normal SIM card will always work and a tourist SIM only lasts for a few months.

👉 Tip: You need to have an unlocked phone to use a foreign SIM card. 

Goa Gajah Elephant Cave In Ubud

RELATED ARTICLE 🐘 All About Ubud’s Elephant Cave

Bali Travel Tips: Communication

19. Don’t Worry About The Language Barrier 

Almost everywhere you go in Bali you’ll be able to find someone who speaks a little bit of English or a foreigner who speaks a little Indonesian. 

There are so many foreigners in Bali that the language barrier isn’t an impossible divide like it is in some other more remote locations. 

Bahasa Indonesian is also a very easy language for English speakers to pronounce. Everything is written phonetically, and it’s written in the Latin Alphabet, the same as English.

So, if you use Google Translate, it will be very easy for you to read things in Bahasa and be understood if you need assistance.

Pink Island Beach in Komodo National Park

20. Do Download Google Translate Offline 

Bahasa Indonesian is one of the languages available on Google Translate’s app for offline download.

If you get a local SIM card you won’t have to worry about being offline very often, but it’s good to download the language offline just in case you wind up in a poor service area. 

balinese laksa soup

Bali Travel Tips: Food 

21. Don’t Let Fear Of “Bali Belly” Ruin Your Trip 

Bali Belly is the affectionate term foreigners have for travelers’ diarrhea in Indonesia.

Foreign tourists are sometimes so afraid of Bali Belly that it keeps them from enjoying the island to the fullest! 

The local food is one of the best things in Bali! You’ll see local cafes, called “Warungs”, everywhere. 

The most popular local dishes are Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), Nasi Campur (platter of different Balinese foods with rice), and Babi Guling (roasted suckling pig). 

Traditional Indonesian Desserts from a Nightmarket

RELATED ARTICLE 🍖 All About Ubud Nightmarkets

22. Don’t Forget You Can Order Food For Delivery In Bali! 

Did you know you can order food 24 hours a day in most areas of Bali? Your Gojek app has an option called “GoFood” that you can easily use to order food to your door. 

You can also use the Grab app for this! They’re basically the same app, Grab accepts non-Indonesian credit cards and Gojek does not, but I find Gojek’s map to be a lot more accurate.

100,000 Indonesian Rupiah is around $7 (Photo by Muhammad Daudy on Unsplash)

23. Do Know The Correct Price Of Things 

If you know the correct local price for things then you’ll know how much to pay.

Obviously, a coconut off the side of the road will be cheaper than a fresh coconut from a 5-star resort, but it’s a good metric to know how fancy a place is by how far the prices deviate from the norm. 

Knowing the local price particularly comes in handy with taxis. There are a lot of places in Bali where you can’t use Uber or Gojek (Indonesian Uber) due to the Taxi Mafia

In these situations, you’ll have to negotiate a price with a taxi driver off the street. 

You can open your Gojek or Grab app and see what the local price for the ride you’re going to take should be, and use that as a jumping-off point for negotiations. 

👉 Tip: You’re probably never going to get a taxi off the street as cheap as an Grab or Gojek, and there’s no point in stressing yourself out too much over a few dollars! 

Mango sticky rice from Warung Siam in Ubud is amazingggggg!

24. Don’t Fall For Tourist Traps 

This is a hard-to-follow piece of advice because unless you eat at 100% local Indonesian Warungs, you’re gonna fall for some tourist traps! 

Just today I paid 70K IDR (around $5), for a terrible “fresh juice” which was like 90% water. 

Basically, any place in Bali that sells western style food or vegan/healthy food might be a tourist trap, it’s a bit of a coin toss and you just need to try a bunch of different places to find the best food. 

Also, always read the online reviews for cafes to know where to go. 

🇮🇩 Tip! “Warung” is the name of a casual Indonesian eatery – similar to a diner in the USA.

Handmade wooden goods in bali
Handmade wooden goods

RELATED ARTICLE 🎭 All About The Ubud Art Market

Bali Travel Tips: Shopping 

25. Don’t Assume Everything Will Be “Cheap” 

It’s just as easy to spend $100 (1,500,000 Indonesian Rupiah) on something in Bali as it is to spend $10.

This is because things are priced for foreign tourists, who earn in Dollars rather than Rupiah.

Depending on where you buy something you could be paying a wildly different price for the same item! 

a girl working on her laptop at la brisa beach club in canggu, bali
Sunsets in Canggu

Do Order Anything You Need Online 

While there’s no Amazon Prime in Indonesia, ANYTHING you want in Bali can be delivered! 

I take a lot of specific supplements for my health, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were all easily available with express shipping off of Indonesia’s version of Amazon, Tokopedia.  

If you need prescription medicine (see above about how I wrote prescription meds cannot be shipped to Indonesia), you can use Tokopedia to ship a variety of Medications to your hotel.

You will have to supply a doctor’s prescription to order medicine online, and you can get that by visiting a traveler’s clinic.

Do Shop Locally 

It feels so good to shop in Bali because so many of the stores are locally owned and sell genuine handmade goods! 

Bali Travel Tips: Money

26. Do Carry LOTS Of Cash On You 

Indonesia is a cash-first country! Although a lot of restaurants, hotels, etc will accept cards, a lot of them don’t. 

Expect tours, taxis, and meals to be paid for in cash. Sometimes they will accept cards, but when that happens it’s more like a pleasant surprise! 

Bali traditional dances

RELATED ARTICLE 💃 All About Balinese Traditional Dances

27. Don’t Depend On Your Foreign Credit Cards 

While you shouldn’t have a problem at restaurants and hotels paying in person with foreign credit cards, a lot of Indonesian websites only accept Indonesian credit cards. 

This is a recurring problem for foreigners who want to top off their Telkomsel SIM cards with more data because the site only accepts Indonesian credit cards. 

Other Indonesian apps and websites like Gojek have it immediately set to “cash” when you call a ride because the app doesn’t accept non-Indonesian cards. 

Even some brick-and-mortar stores like Indomaret, which is a convenience store chain in Indonesia, don’t accept foreign cards! 

Because Indonesian websites won’t likely take foreign credit and debit cards, it’s best to book anything you want to ahead of time through non-Indonesian websites. 

The sites I use the most for booking things online in Indonesia are Booking.comHostelWorld, and Agoda for housing, and for activities, I use Viator and GetYourGuide.

This kiosk, or “Kios” is what you’ll find in convenience stores that lets you top-up your GoPay, or pay for other things online.

28. Do Learn How To Use GoPay 

As I mentioned in the section above, GoJek, the premier delivery and ride-hailing app in Indonesia doesn’t accept foreign credit and debit cards as a payment method. 

Usually, when you call a Gojek car or scooter you will have the option to just pay cash at the end of your trip. This is the easiest option, but if you don’t want to stress about carrying small bills you can also set up GoPay.

GoPay is a pre-loaded payment service within your Gojek app. You’ll need an Indonesian SIM card and cell phone number to use it. 

You can set up your GoPay by visiting a kiosk in Indomaret, AlfaMark, and Circle K convenience stores. You select “GoPay” as the service you want and put in the phone number you have affiliated with your Gojek app. 

After you pick the amount of Indonesian Rupiah you want pre-loaded onto your GoPay account the kiosk will print a ticket. Then you bring that ticket to the counter and pay your bill. 

It’s a very involved process, but since you can load your GoPay for a month’s worth of rides – it’s worth it! 

👉 Tip: You can also use your GoPay account to pay for things online, like food delivery through the Gojek app, or items off of the “Indonesian Amazon” Tokopedia. 

Edit: I should mention that Grab, which is the other “super app” in Indonesia, does accept non-indonesian credit cards.

I still use Gojek because I find it to be more accurate, and you can use GoPay pre-loaded money to also buy things online on Tokopedia, which Grab doesn’t have an option for.

Padar Viewpoint Komodo National Park

29. Do Hang On To Small Bills 

People really hang on to their small bills in Bali, and it’s hard to get change a lot of the time. 

A few times I’ve been at a restaurant that only accepts cash and they have looked at me like I was crazy for needing cash for a 100K Rupiah bill! ($7)

When you do get small bills, hang onto them for situations where you need change. 

The Rice Joglo Fairytale Hotel in Ubud ➡️ Check It Out Here!

30. Do Know About The Mandatory Service & VAT Charges

In most restaurants that cater to tourists, it will say “all prices subject to mandatory service and tax” at the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about tipping too much in Bali because it’s added for you. 

The tax is 10%, and the service charge is usually 5-10%. 

31. Don’t Be Afraid To Haggle 

Bartering (respectfully) is a part of Balinese culture. If you’re buying a service, whether it’s a taxi ride or a tour, the price is usually up for negotiation. 

I wrote a whole article you can read here on how to haggle in Egypt and it holds up pretty well for Bali as well.

lots of scooters in a parking lot in Ubud in Bali
Everyone uses scooters to get around Bali

Bali Travel Tips: Transportation 

32. Do Download GoJek or Grab

GoJek is the premier ride-hailing app in Bali. It’s the easiest way to get around, and the app also includes other services like GoFood for food delivery or GoPay for payment transfers. 

Grab is essentially the same thing, but I find the map to be a little less accurate. I still use them both.

I use GoJek multiple times a day, I really couldn’t live without it in Bali! 

👉 Tip: Sometimes taxi and scooter rides are very inexpensive on Gojek. Sometimes as low as 10K Indonesian Rupiah (around 50 cents) for a scooter taxi. 

I personally think, as someone who earns in dollars, that they should be getting compensated more for their effort, don’t you? 

If you get a very inexpensive Gojek please consider tipping a good amount, even 50-100%. The drivers will be very grateful!

33. Don’t Rely On Ride-Sharing Apps When Leaving City Centers 

It’s easy to hail a Gojek or Grab from the city center to a tourist destination a half hour away, but it’s not so easy to get one coming back! 

There usually aren’t any cars you can call off an app outside cities. If you want to visit a place more than 20 minutes from the city center of whatever town you’re in I recommend hiring a driver. 

👉 Click here to book a private driver for your day trips! 

34. Don’t Give In To The Bali Taxi Mafia 

The Taxi Mafia in Bali is always a hot topic.

Basically, a taxi mafia is when a bunch of taxi drivers get together, usually in popular tourist locations, and work together to push ride-sharing apps out so they can overcharge tourists. 

This is all fine, except for the fact that the Taxi Mafias usually resort to violence to meet their goals. 

Popular ridesharing apps like Uber actually have pulled out of tourist locations like Tulum and Cancun in Mexico due to the threat of violence against their drivers. 

I’m all for shopping local and supporting local economies but I don’t agree with giving in to taxi mafias. 

In Bali, you’ll see a lot of signs saying Gojek, Grab, and Bluebird, all popular taxi apps, are illegal. This isn’t true. 

Sometimes you’ll have to get picked up on a side street or outside of a tourist location if you’re using a ride-sharing app, otherwise, you risk getting harassed by the Taxi Mafia. 

If you want to avoid the stress of dealing with the Taxi Mafia, consider hiring a private driver for the day or to take a multi-day trip.

It’s usually cheaper to hire a private driver than to hail multiple cabs in a day!

👉 Hire a private driver for the day and avoid dealing with the Taxi Mafia. Click here to book the Bali driver I recommend! 

Ubud Water Palace at sunset in bali
Ubud Water Palace

35. Don’t Get Stressed Out By Street Harassment 

Walking down any street in a town or city in Bali you’ll hear “taxi? taxi? taxi? come into my shop? just looking?” over and over. and over. and over again. 

It’s annoying! And honestly, tourist harassment is part of the reason I always use ride-sharing apps in Bali, because I don’t want to encourage it, but it’s just people trying to make a living. 

They don’t mean any harm and a quick “no thank you” usually does the trick. 

If I’m walking somewhere alone I always put my headphones in and avoid eye contact until I’m out of the town center. 

36. Don’t Worry About The Honks 

Honking a car or scooter horn means something different in Indonesia than it does in America. In New York, honking at someone can be considered a big “F-You!”, but in Bali, it just means ‘hey, watch out – I’m here”. 

A lot of the time drivers honk lightly when turning a corner so if anyone is driving in the opposite direction they will know another car is there. 

This is necessary because the streets are so narrow, so if you’re driving around tight corners remember to honk before turning!

One of the guesthouses I stayed at in Bali

Bali Travel Tips: Housing

37. Do Stay In a Traditional Guest House At Least Once

After staying in a variety of hotels, Airbnbs, and homestays in Bali I was pleasantly surprised that my favorite place to stay in all of Indonesia was the traditional homestays.

Usually family-run, Balinese traditional houses are located in compounds, which are homes to small communities or extended families. 

Crafts done by the family who owns the guesthouse I stayed at in Ubud

A few of the perks I’ve found in staying in a traditional house are: 

💸 They’re cheaper 

🙋 The hosts (In my experience) are more attentive

🍳 Free homemade breakfast

👪 Supporting small businesses directly

🏠 Traditional Balinese architecture is beautiful 

🐱 There are usually a ton of animals around 

For solo female travelers: I felt more safe located in a compound than in a stand-alone villa or apartment complex

Traditional Guest Houses In Bali I Recommend: 

👉 Ubud: I stayed at this guest house in Ubud for a month on my most recent trip. It’s clean, welcoming, family-run, and extremely affordable! Click here to book your stay at Umah Dajane Guest House. 

👉 Canggu: This guest house caters to surfers and budget travelers. It’s another hidden gem and only a 4-minute walk from the beach! Click here to book The Nest Guest House.

Ubud rice terraces

38. Don’t Stay In The Same Place For Your Whole Trip! 

Bali is a pretty tiny Island, you can drive the whole length of it in less than 5 hours, but all the different cities within it have a totally different vibe. 

Canggu has become the digital nomad capital with lots of long-term tourists, Kuta and Seminyak are where people go surfing and partying, and Ubud is the spiritual yoga retreat center on the island. 

Hostels are nice in Bali (Photo by Gita Krishnamurti on Unsplash)

39. Do Stay In Hostels If You’re Solo Traveling

Hostels are the best for making friends while solo traveling! If it’s your first time staying in a hostel, don’t be worried – the ones in Bali are world-class. 

Some hostels in Bali are even as nice (or nicer) than hotels. 

Here are some terrific hostels I recommend in Bali: 

👉 Ubud: Bali’s wellness capital isn’t known for its hostel culture, but if you’re on an extreme budget you can stay at Bali Bamboo Jungle Huts hostel for only $7 per night! Click here to book your stay. 

👉 Kuta: Kuta is THE party spot in Bali, so you’ll have your pick of party backpacker hostels.

I recommend da’HOuSeTEL if you’re on an extreme budget. Dorms start at only $5 per night, and it’s one of the highest-rated hostels in Bali! Click here to book da’HOuSeTEL!! 

👉 Canggu: Canggu is known for being the Digital Nomad hotspot in Bali.

Since it has a lot of long-term travelers, and a young crowd, it’s also a very popular party spot – but a bit more upscale than Kuta.

To fit the vibe I recommend staying at a slightly nicer hostel, The Farm Hostel has amenities that rival hotels, and is known for good vibes only. Click here to book your stay at The Farm! 

Girl with her arms up at the Handara Gate in Bali during sunset
The Handara Gate

40. Go All-Out At A Luxury Hotel (If You Have The Budget For It!) 

Bali has become famous for being a luxury travel destination. You NEED to do at least one luxury experience while you’re on the island!

From flower baths, infinity pools, 5-star dining, and endless Balinese Spas, Bali literally has everything.

There are a ton of luxury hotels operating in Bali. Here are a few I would recommend: 

👉 Amandari, Ubud: This luxury resort in Ubud integrates traditional Balinese architecture and design in every room. The attention to detail is out of this world set in the jungle, the hotel features stunning rice paddy views. Click here to book your stay at Amandari! 

👉 Bvlgari Resort, Uluwatu: Bvlgari is known for its luxury jewelry, but in Bali, they also run 5-star resorts with the same exacting standards as they do their fashion line. Located right on the edge of the Uluwatu cliffswidely considered the most beautiful view in Bali, the Bvlgari resort has everything you could want. Click here to book your stay! 

(Photo by Paula on Unsplash)

41. Do Treat Yourself To A Luxury Experience (At Least Once)

Bali is world-renowned for its spas and luxury services. Even if you’re a budget traveler, having a luxury experience in Bali is something you shouldn’t miss out on! 

There are a lot of people on the street offering massages and spa experiences for $5, but I recommend only booking things online with positive reviews. 

👉 Click here to book a LUXURY 2-hour Balinese spa treatment. 

👉 Looking for something romantic? Click here to book a private boat ride and dinner for two on a barge in Ubud. Or, if boats aren’t your thing – click here to book a private romantic dinner in a tree house. 

Underwater sculpture in the Gili Islands

Bali Travel Tips: Tourism 

42. Don’t Be Worried About “Looking Like A Tourist” 

You’re gonna look like a tourist! It’s fine to be a tourist. I’ve been in Bali for over a year and I still look like a tourist. 

Why is it fine to look like a tourist? Because Bali is amazing and totally deserves its reputation for being one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

girl with sarong in Bali
If your knees are showing you’ll be expected to don a sarong to enter temples.

43. Do Be A Respectful Visitor 

While it’s okay to be a tourist, it’s not okay to disrespect the local culture. 

I was invited to a cremation ceremony recently – these are a big deal in Bali and sacred to their religion. 

The Balinese people welcome foreigners into their temples and ceremonies from the goodness of their hearts, and a lot of tourists were there being loud and obnoxious in the crowd. This isn’t okay! 

Balinese offerings (Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash)

Tips for being respectful in Bali: 

  • Cover up in temples: For men AND women. That’s one thing I love about Balinese culture is that it’s not just the women who are expected to be modest and respectful in houses of worship. You’ll also see men be asked to tie sarongs around their waists if they show up in shorts. 
  • Don’t make fun of the culture: You’d think that goes without saying, but all the time you hear about tourists getting in trouble, and even banned from Indonesia, for mocking Balinese culture. 
  • Don’t step on the offerings: You’ll see these sacred offerings all over, usually on the floor. Just because they’re on the floor doesn’t mean you should step on them! It’s considered to be extremely disrespectful to step on the offerings. 
girl at Tumpak sewu waterfall in Indonesia

44. Do Consider Taking An Organized Tour If You Want To Make The Most Of Your Time 

Only have a week in Bali? If you want to make the most of your vacation, I recommend booking an organized tour to maximize your time. 

Years ago on my first trip to Indonesia, I tried to save money by touring the island on a self-guided tour instead of using a tour company. While it did save money it was so stressful

We wound up stranded in Gilimanuk Ferry Port in the middle of the night because we didn’t know Gojeks couldn’t pick us up there, in addition to other mishaps we could have avoided by using a tour service.

It was fun, but if I could do it again I would take a tour to save on stress. 

If you have the room in your budget and want to make the most out of your time in Bali you should definitely take a guided tour. 

Here are some multi-day organized tours I recommend: 

Only have one week? You can book these two three-day tours, the Best of Bali and the Best of Java to maximize your time in Indonesia.

👉 Click here to book a 3-day Best of Bali all-inclusive tour. 

👉 Click here to book a 3-day Best of Java all-inclusive tour.

Ulun danu floating temple outside of Ubud
I was a bit disappointed by the Ulun Danu temple – the photos online looked amazing but once we were there it was really small!

45. Don’t Get Too Disappointed By “Instagram vs Reality”

A lot of “Influencers” in Bali make their living by selling the dream. 

While Bali is an amazing place, there has been a handful of times where I arrived at a popular location just to be let down! The photos online of a location completely didn’t match the reality. 

While that can be disappointing, don’t let it get you down! For every overhyped spot in Bali, there are three more hidden gems. 

tourists lining up for a photo at a balinese gate
Everyone is online for the same photo!

46. Do Show Up Early & Beat The Crowds 

Planning on going to some amazing place you saw on Instagram? Well, so is everyone else! 

If you want to visit a popular tourist spot in Bali make sure to go first thing in the morning! Otherwise, your time at the attraction might be ruined by crowds. 

👉 Book this sunrise tour at Bali’s Sunrise Gate of Heaven, one of the most popular spots in Bali – Click here to beat the crowds! 

👉 Or, hire a private driver for the day so you can make your own itinerary. Click here to book the Bali driver I recommend! 

girl at the rice terraces in Ubud, bali
Rice terraces in Ubud

47. Do Venture Off The Beaten Track 

For every over-hyped thing in Bali, there are 10 secret gems that you can’t find on Instagram! 

I recommend going to Google Maps to find undiscovered spots. If you just zoom in on different locations you’re guaranteed to find a ton of waterfalls, temples, etc people don’t usually go to. 

👉 Click here to book this “Best Kept Secrets” tour to explore secret spots in Bali that other tourists don’t usually get to see! 

Don’t Go During The Rainy Season! 

Bali doesn’t have Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall as North America does. Bali only has two seasons: the rainy season, and the dry season. 

The rainy season is between November and March, with the best (and dryest) time to visit Bali between May and September. 

48. Do Hire A Private Driver Or Rent Your Own Scooter So You Can Explore Outside Of Tours

Group tours are great for easy budget travel, but if you really want to visit tourist attractions at the best time I recommend either driving yourself or hiring a private driver and making your own itinerary. 

If you make your own day tour itinerary, you can visit the most popular tourist attractions early in the day and beat the crowds. 

👉 Hire a private driver for the day so you can make your own itinerary. Click here to book the Bali driver I recommend! 

Note: for groups of 3 or more it usually is cheaper to hire a car and driver than rent scooters for the day. 

girl in front of ancient temples in Yogyajarta, java
Temples in Java

RELATED ARTICLE 🚢 Komodo Islands Boat Tour From Bali

49. Do Venture Outside Of Bali To Other Indonesian Islands! 

Craving adventure? You can climb an acid volcano and visit giant waterfalls on Bali’s neighboring island of Java. Or, if you’re more into relaxing you can swim on the white sand beaches at the Gili Islands east of Bali. 

There’s so much to do in Indonesia! If you have a week or more I recommend exploring other islands as well as Bali. 

Kalong Island, Komodo National Park (Read my Ultimate Guide To Komodo from Bali!!!)

50. Don’t Forget – It’s Bagus!

Bagus (pronounced bag-goose) means “good” in Indonesian but it’s used in a much wider context – Bagus is cool, Bagus is peace, Bagus is fun.

How’s Bali in 2023? It’s Bagus 🤙.

Leke Leke waterfall

Bali Travel Tips: Conclusion

Well, there you have it – I hope these tips help you have the best trip to Bali possible! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. 

Here’s a short list of all the travel resources you will need!

🚙 Airport Transportation: There are a lot of taxi scammers at Denpasar Airport! You can book transportation from the airport to your hotel here for peace of mind.

🛵 Scooter Rental: Having a scooter or having a driver is a must in Bali! If you’re a confident driver I recommend renting a scooter. I book my scooter rentals here, it’s super cheap and includes hotel drop-off!

🚘 Private Driver: Don’t know how to drive a moto-scooter? No problem! I usually hire a private driver for the day. Bonus, if your group is two or more people it’s actually cheaper to hire a private driver than to rent scooters.

🏥 Travel Insurance: I used travel insurance in Bali when a puppy bit me on the hand and I needed to seek rabies treatment. What could have been a $140 bill cost $0 because I had travel insurance! I use Safety Wing Travel Insurance for all my trips to Bali.

🏩 Hotels: I always book my Bali hotel stays on Booking.com and Agoda to find the best deals!

💧Drinking Water: You can’t drink untreated tap water in Bali! I’ve been traveling with my Grayl travel water purifier for three years and I’ve been using it to drink the tap water everywhere I go.

🦟 Heavy-Duty Bug Spray: I used to recommend bringing bug spray from home because the mosquitos in Bali carry diseases, but now I use the Indonesian brand “Soffell” which you can buy at any convenience store!

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