Bali: 5 Life-Saving Tips

While it surely is intriguing to be surprised and discover a country without knowing every single detail in advance, I believe that not everything should be left to chance and getting a few useful information can make your whole travel experience more comfortable and stress-free.

Therefore, I decided to leave you here 5 tips that, from my experience, can definitely save your life (and your wallet!) on your next trip to Bali 😉

Let’s get started!

Tip 1. Bargaining is the way

Sometimes it can be long, for some an initially unpleasant way, but that is the way.

In Bali, bargaining is the salt and pepper of life. For some travelers coming especially from Europe, bargaining can be hard at first as in the last decades we gradually lost the mastery of this art. Still, in most parts of the world, it is totally normal, and in some places (such in Bali) it is straightforward expected

Everything that doesn’t have a price tag on it, is negotiable: goods in the markets, taxi rides, scooter rental, tours, guides, sunbeds, shows entrances, etc. Just avoid negotiating in restaurants (all have a menu), temples’ entrance fees, and national cultural sites (touristic hotspots are well regulated with well-defined prices and it is highly unlikely to get scammed).

How much should you aim to lower prices? Our suggestion is to use your first days to experiment, without buying anything, but just discovering the prices of goods you’re interested in. Especially if you’re looking for souvenirs, be aware that you’ll find that cool Bintang T-shirt or that “hand-made” pursue other 20 times on your journey around the island. Most souvenirs and goods for tourists are mass-produced and more or less can be found in all markets around the island.

As a rule of thumb, aim to reach a price between 20-40% (markets) and 50% (of the rest of services) of the original price they’ll give you at first. Sometimes even less. Ask prices often to get an idea and walk from there. Don’t worry too much about taking your time or being stubborn in your position; in bargaining, everybody plays a role, and not only it is expected, but also valued as a skill.

Just make sure not to become too stingy with the wrong people and always treat everyone with respect: in the end, the 99,9% of people you will be dealing with are honest workers that are trying to make their living.


Tip 2. Download Maps. me offline

I already wrote an article about the 15 Essential Travel Apps for Smart Travelling, but between all of those I believe the most useful in Bali is surely is a map that you can download for free from the App-store or Play-store. The app allows you to pinpoint locations of interest, to save them, and to calculate the best path to reach them (similar to Google Maps).

In addition to that though, it comes with a database of cultural and natural hotspots, restaurants, shops, and short guides about places. We found this app extremely useful because it can be used with GPS (so without an internet connection) and not only helps you to find your way but also helps you to find interesting things ON your way.

We used in Bali and we found the app to be plentiful of information about the island. Last but not least, it made us spot viewpoints and attractions that we would have otherwise missed.


Tip 3. Don’t Overpay for Souvenirs

As said in the first point of this page, with the exclusion of artists/artisans’ boutiques, souvenirs around the island are more or less all the same. So, where can you find the best deals for my bucks?

Our first choice, and the place to go to in our humble opinion, is the shop Krisna Oleh Oleh, on sunset road. This is a huge mall/gift shop on the main Denpasar road, in the Legian area, open every day of the week from 8am to 10pm. Here you can find everything, EVERYTHING!

From bags, towels, magnets, cutlery, statues, clothes, foods, coffee, beauty products, flip flops, and the list goes on. What’s best about this place? Incredibly shamingly cheap rock-bottom prices! We spend good two hours in this place and if you’re willing to look, you’ll surely find what you’re looking for (here everything has a price, so no need to bargain).

If huge malls are not your thing, and you rather bargain your way through, the Art Market of Ubud is also an alternative; it is a massive street market whereby employing your haggling skills you could find precious hidden gems worth way more than what you’re gonna pay for.


Tip 4. Avoid drugs

The Indonesian legislation for drugs is extremely stringent and you don’t want to transform your holiday in paradise into a nightmare because of being caught with drugs. 

Just the possession of a marijuana joint may get you arrested for a minimum time of 1 month and will cost you several thousand euros.

Our best advice if you would ever be proposed drugs on the street (and happens, especially around Kuta/Legian) is to ignore the dealer and move on (some of them are even undercover cops). Bali is an incredible paradise with tons of things to see and do, it is truly not worth risking your time there for the brief bliss of a joint or a pill.


Tip 5. Never forget your suncream & rain poncho

Tropical climate: humidity, scorching heat & sudden downpours.

Bali enjoys hot weather all year round and that’s what makes it a destination suitable for any season.

Be prepared and don’t fool yourself with the “let’s see how it is, and then eventually I’ll buy one suncream” mentality as I did. While spending time outside (driving a scooter, beach, visiting temples, or landscapes) a suncream in Bali is a must. Also during cloudy days where the sun doesn’t seem too hot, without being cautious a sunburn is behind the corner (yeah it’s that hot).

The other side of the coin, especially if you’re planning on driving on a scooter or spending your whole day outside, is how to deal with sudden downpours: rain ponchos! Every local has one and at the first drops of rain on the street, they all stop to wear it, filling the streets with colors before the storm.

We did not think about the rain poncho at first, but we found out its utility the hard way riding our battle-scooter in a biblical torrential rain while trying uselessly to protect the few things in our pockets. So, all in all, a plastic rain poncho is dead cheap (few cents) and we recommend you to have one always with you, it may really save your day.


Did you find the article useful? Do you have any question or is there some information you believe should be in this guide?

Leave a comment below to get in touch! 🙂

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