Bali is an island of color, culture, and vibrant adventure. The island’s mix of beach and mountain, lush vegetation and stark volcanic hillsides make it possibly the most famous island getaway in Indonesia. It’s not known as the Island of the Gods for no reason; a trip to Bali can truly be a life-changing experience! Experience the island’s famous surfing swells in South Bali or explore the mountains, temples, and black sand beaches of the rest of the island.
“It’s not known as the Island of the Gods”
The good news is, many of Bali’s hotels will offer pickup and drop-off service to and from Ngurah Rai Airport, either included in your stay or for a discounted fee. The bad news is, Bali’s roads are not the best around, nor are they incredibly friendly to pedestrians. You will be best off arranging for transportation directly with your hotel or your tour guides, if offered. Remember that it never hurts to ask.
Public transportation is cheap and readily available, but will generally stick to pre-planned tourist routes. Both tourist shuttle busses and ferry services offer travel between the cities on the island.
To get off the beaten path, it may be best to rent a car, personal driver or scooter for your trip; if you rent a car or scooter, make sure your International Drivers Permit is up to date. If using a taxi service, make sure that their meter is on before you start, or that you have agreed on a set price before getting in, to avoid arguments.
Bali is one of the most openly spiritual islands in Indonesia and you will see many signs of this on your trip. Many of its inhabitants follow their own unique brand of Balinese Hinduism, incorporating it into their dances, architecture, and numerous leaf-plate offerings. You’re likely to see these offerings everywhere, from your hotel check-in desk to the very street! Catching a ritual dance or shadow-puppet theater performance, which tell specific religious stories, is a high priority for many visitors.
The island is also famous for its warung, or street vendor food. Even on a luxury trip, you should try a cheap meal from a popular local warung! Unlike most of the rest of Indonesia, which is primarily Muslim, many traditional Balinese dishes include pork, as well as steamed or fried rice and noodles, vegetables, and seafood—and they can be very spicy!
Working on a tolerance for spicy food before your trip is definitely advised. There are few true vegetarian options in Balinese cuisine so if you have dietary restrictions, you may want to do a little extra research.