For us, it was the first time in Bali respectively Indonesia. Before we travel, we inform ourselves, about what we want to see and how much time buffer we have for spontaneous stuff.
Yes, this makes it of course less spontaneous. But who cares about spontaneous, when you only have two and half weeks time in place far away from your own. Nobody flies 15 hours (17 including the stopover in Singapore) to see a place like Bali and then doing nothing because of laziness.
All in all, I think we did a good job. Back at home, we only felt jetlagt, but not exhausted.
Preparing with Travel Guides/-Magazines/-Blogs
For forming our touristic expectations, we usually got through the same pattern. I’m not sure, what we would do without the internet. I think, preparations would take double the time and we would definitely travel less. But thank god, things a different nowadays.
Never book trips online
Why not? You have to pay much more, though there are a lot of tour providers and you can book a day before the trip without any problems. Competition is huge, so you can definetly bargain. This brings us to the next point!
This is the word, I would use to describe the circumstances: You book two tickets for the boat trip to Gili Trawangan and your tour provider tells, the return ticket includes the transportation to your next accommodation.
When there, you’re not standing in front of your hotel, but really somewhere. The driver pretends not to know where the hotel is, but fo 50.000 Rupiah he might remember it. You tell him, you were said the ticket already included the drive to the hotel. His English starts getting worse, he smiles and continues bargaining. We bargained the price to the minimum. We only did this, because we knew we would have paid more any other way.
When it comes to tourists, Balinese people understand something else in keeping their word. Welcome to Bali!
‘You ruining me!’ – Bargaining as national sport
If you want to know, what food in Bali actually costs go to one of the big supermarkets. This way you know how much other people try to rip you off. Doesn’t matter if markets or trips-bargain! Usually, they definitely go down half the price. If you stay hard, they sometimes even running after you.
Unfortunately, one cannot say, if the bargained price was good or not. We didn’t want to ruin those people. But you already see while bargaining, if the price was appropriate or not. Finding the middle might be fair to both. The drama every time was very entertaining.
Everyone wants his slice of the cake
In Legian for example they tried to lend us sunbeds for 100.000 Rupiah each. Despite of bargaining, the man said 80.000 is his last offer. If we wanted Italian prices, we could have gone to Italy! We were pretty sure, it’s way more cheaper in Bali. We moved on and soon after, the owner of the beach bar was running towards us. He was making us an offer, which we didn’t want to refuse:’You pay 50.000 Rupiah for both seats and have cold drinks. But tell everyone whos asking, you paid 100.000Rupiah each. You’re ok with that? Welcome to Bali!‘ And this is just one of the many stories in Bali!
People want to make money, that’s why anything suits them. If you don’t watch out, you’ll be easily ripped off. We haven’t experienced something like this before.
Eating at Warungs
Warungs are little restaurants, run by locals. This is the cheapest way to eat in Bali. And in our opinion, it was the most delicious one. We didn’t experience any problems, even when Indonesia doesn’t take it too serious with hygiene.
We can recommend for example the Kampung in Legian. Not far away from our hotel. But on a side road.
In Ubud, we can recommend the D’Gamma. We weren’t the only ones returning over and over again to this small, basic place. This was also next to our homestay. Which we also highly recommend!
They’re looking extremely cute, they are everywhere and sometimes quite annoying: When it comes to the sacrificial offerings, Balinese women become hard working. You’ll find them at the entrances of their shops or homes, in their cars and so on.
You should take care and not step on one of them. No one is mad if it happens, but you should avoid it.
Wine in Bali
Not so many years ago, Balinese wine was unenjoyable. Thanks to the help of some Australians, things changed. For Bali, the wine is a little bit expensive, but you should at least try it.
A flower behind your ear is said to bring good luck. You’ll see them a lot in Bali.
The most expensive coffee in the world. While making a tour, we were lucky to try this very, very expensive coffee. Now we can say: It tastes good.
But we would never spent this much money on coffee. It’s not worth the price.
We know the swastika symbolizes something else in Hindu culture. Due to German history, it was strange for us nevertheless. You could see them on grave stones, decorating doors… Though we knew it, it always came unexpected.
If you’re looking for affordable accommodation in Bali, these are the ones where we stayed and recommend:
Legian – Rosani Hotel: It has a pool, near the beach and the restaurants. It was perfect for our first nights and has regular customers. The employees are very friendly and help you out with any question. Breakfast is good.
Ubud – Angga Homestay: The ‘bungalow’ was actually a temple itself and therefore really beautiful. It is very clean, our host was really friendly and helpful. And they loved animals. They had a lot of animals. The breakfast was delicious and the location perfect for us. We would definitely come back here.
Gili Trawangan – Le Petit Gili: It was clean, the bed huge and in the middle of everything. The guys working there are adorable and bring you’re breakfast to your room. It’s not very cheap, but worth the normal shower.
Jimbaran – Celuk Homestay: Great accomodation. It’s big and clean. There’s always s.o. to ask for help. The way to the beach is not too long actually; but it’s hot in Bali, so it might appear to you like that.