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Bali - 5 Things To Know Before You Go

Traffic is ridiculous

Bali is known as a uniquely spiritual area of Indonesia. Sure enough, within ten minutes of being driven across the island, many prayers were being said in the back of our vehicle. Traffic in Bali wasn't crazy in that people weren't paying attention. It was crazy in that everyone was paying attention and that seemed to give license to do things that nobody would dare attempt otherwise. It was truly a ballet in which cars, trucks and hundreds of scooters endlessly danced only centimeters away from one another at high speed. And it was terrifying.

Drivers are cheap

The US dollar goes a VERY long way in Bali and since we had great recommendations from friends, we actually had a driver for much of our time there. As you just read, we were so glad that we didn't have to navigate the intense games of chicken on small roads with local drivers. Maintaining one driver for your whole trip also allows you to get to know them and provides the opportunity for them to makes suggestions if you're itinerary is flexible. Many of them do have specific groups or vendors that they may partner with so just be clear in what you are hoping for when asking for their thoughts.

They'll push for your business

If you look like a westerner, there is a good chance that many vendors will push for your business. They know that their products are cheap for you and can be a little overzealous at times - as in grabbing your arm overzealous. Just hold your ground a be polite if you're genuinely not interested. Also keep this in mind when haggling. That extra couple bucks probably means a lot more to them than it does to you.

Just because everyone else does it....

We headed out of Ubud to the popular Mount Batur Volcano hike which was highly recommended from a friend of ours. In order to make it for sunrise, we would need to leave at 2:30am. Our group chose sleep and arrived after daylight. We may have been laughed at (literally) by the huge mass of people heading down the mountain, but there were exactly 4 people up on the rim during our two hours up there. We got amazing pictures with no crowds on a beautiful day and it couldn't have been better. Sometimes it pays to do it your way.

Respect the local religion and spiritual practices

Bali is renowned for the Hindu faith practiced in a mostly Muslim country. There are temples everywhere - and when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Many of them are beautiful and picturesque, but remember that these are places of spiritual worship, not your own little Instagramable paradise. Several of the temples we visited had 'no photo' signs so be ready to take mental snap shots as a respectful visitor.

Bali Indonesia


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