This blogpost may contain affiliate links that, if you click on and you make a purchase, earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I will only ever recommend or promote products/services I love and feel are valuable to my audience. My opinions are my own and always honest. Read more in my affiliate disclaimer.
I listed 10 things to know before going to Bali to prepare yourself before visiting this island. It is a gorgeous tropical island, a very popular island, but as always – we need some information to fully prepare our trip and make sure our travel itineraries are planned correctly. It’s like a Bali travel guide for first timers!
Bali was my second real trip outside of Europe. I went to Bali in 2018 and went to Singapore for a few days before going to Bali. Another continent, another culture and another way of living. That’s what I love about travelling! There are definitely some things to keep in mind before visiting Bali, like you would have with any other destination.
Bali Travel Guide For First Timers | 10 Things To Know
You need a visa or fill in one upon arrival
Depending on where you travel from, you might need to get a visa before arriving on Bali. When I travelled to Bali in 2018, I just needed to explain when I was leaving the country. Not a real visa at the time, but things can change fast so always check if you need to fill in some forms before arrival or if you actually need to fix a visa!
Lots of pushy taxi drivers
One of the first things to notice are the many taxi drivers on the airport, screaming at you to get into a taxi so they can bring you to your accommodation. I would suggest not taking a taxi right there but a little bit away from the airport and outside of the arrival terminal because those taxis aren’t as expensive. In all of Bali, taxi drivers will scream at you down the road but it is something to just get used to!
Scary money tricks
So read this carefully! Do not go to Bali and change your own currency to the local currency in those currency exchange offices. One thing they do is count the money, let you re-count the money so you know it’s right, but will drop some money when they count it for the third time. So you will end up with less money than you should have gotten. I will suggest changing some money at home, but use your credit card to get money from an ATM. Read my blogpost about travel mistakes to not make to know what to watch out for when using an ATM!
How to avoid thieves
So pickpockets are a thing on Bali, and let’s be honest – everywhere in the world, so we need to be careful and protect our belongings. It’s not just people who walk beside you on the street. Many of my friends have gotten their bag stolen by someone on a scooter. They will drive by once, turn around and drive by once again, grab your bag and pull hard so it breaks and they will have your bag.
I would suggest buying a good secure backpack or one of those bags that you’ll wear in front. No one will be able to steel your bag! This black bag on Amazon is perfect because it fits with every outfit and secures your belongings perfectly. And those bags are very inexpensive which is always nice.
You need to drive long distances
Think ahead of the long distances if you are creating an itinerary. The roads are fine, but they don’t have highways so it takes longer to get from one place to another. Take the time to plan these small road trips though because the scenery is gorgeous! It definitely helps if you’re more on the quiet side of Bali, but that also means the roads aren’t as good as they are in Changgu for example.
The crowds on the west coast
Especially the east coast is very, very busy and you will be stuck in traffic most of the time leaving the airport to anywhere on the island. I used to do a destination research in Kuta for a research project and I literally spent hours in the car because we were stuck on traffic the entire time. Definitely walk as much as you can or, if you’re comfortable, rent a scooter because that will save you a lot of time.
Believe me when I say you will burn on every little spot you missed with sunscreen. The sun is so strong and you need to protect your skin! I did a scooter ride on Nusa Lembongan, wore a t-shirt to not burn on my shoulders and had my hair up in a bun. The small area in my neck, above my t-shirt, got burned so badly and I felt sick the entire night.
The time to the airport
Especially if you are travelling from Changgu or the other side of the island, leave well enough on time for the airport. Like I said, it takes a while to get from one side to the other side of the island, especially in those busy areas! The airport is pretty big so there is enough to do if you are too early! I always love being early on the airport because this girl hates airport and travel stress. I wrote a blogpost for a long lay-over and you can definitely use these if you are early at the airport too.
Where to eat cheap
Choose Warungs with local dishes instead of the western restaurants. The warungs are super inexpensive and it is the best way to try the local food. There are lots of western restaurants to choose from but those are just more expensive. Definitely try the local food if you travel, who knows – you may find your new favorite dish!
It’s a digital nomad paradise
As a current fulltime blogger and entrepreneur, Bali is so attracting to visit right now. Bali is a true digital nomad paradise. It has lots of places to work and make money online. Especially the Ubud area and Changgu are awesome places to be if you are a digital nomad. Meet like minded people, make new friends and chill at one of the beach clubs at the end of the day!
Bali is a special place to visit and it will always be in my heart. It is very popular but Bali has perfect hidden gems to visit if you love the off beaten tracks like I do. I feel like it is an island that fits so many different travellers! I wish I had this Bali travel guide for first timers when I first went to Bali in 2018.
Have you ever been to Bali?