What screams i am a tourist in bali
Bali travel tips and highlights with information about my trip
The best tips and most beautiful places in Bali
Here you can find my Bali travel tips so that you are well prepared for your trip. Bali - once a destination for package travelers and honeymooners - is attracting more and more individual tourists and backpackers. Everyone loves the island of the gods.
Wonderful beaches, a wide range of activities, indescribable nature and diverse culture. Then there are the extremely friendly people who always have a smile on their face and are always ready to help.
What has changed since my first trip to Bali?
After visiting Bali for the first time in 2006, I finally came back 10 years later. Bali is unrecognizable. Above all, Ubud, which once consisted of a “main street” and a few cafes and restaurants, now offers an unbelievable variety of accommodation, restaurants and cafes in all price categories. The range of yoga studios, vegan and vegetarian restaurants has also exploded. On my first trip, I had to count the choices on one hand.
At that time, in the south, Seminyak was the last tourist place heading north. Now Canggu is the hotspot and hipster place for backpackers from all over the world. For me a tad too crowded and hyped. The prices for a taxi have also exploded. In 2006 I was able to take a taxi from Kuta to Seminyak for 20 cents. Today it's at least € 20. Ascending trend.
Nevertheless, Bali has not lost its charm. The people are still incredibly helpful and friendly. As soon as you leave a place you will still find original places and hardly any tourists. So my tip: rent a scooter and just go for a ride!
Everything you need to know about the Bali trip and what Bali has to offer, I have here in mine Travel tips for Bali summarized!
Why go to Bali
Bali is the perfect destination for those new to Southeast Asia. For me too, Bali was my first contact with the Asian continent. Before my trip, I had no idea what to expect. Friends promised me that the people are very friendly and helpful and that getting from A to B is child's play. So I booked and had no expectations.
But everything I expected so far has been exceeded. Balinese are Hindus. Despite tourism, most of them have remained true to themselves and their tradition and religion. In addition, they are extremely helpful and nice without being fake. They always have a smile on their face and find a solution for every problem.
In Bali you can combine all the comforts of the western world with Balinese things. You just don't miss anything here. The fruit and the dishes are delicious, you can easily get from A to B on a scooter. Drivers offer their services at every corner if you don't want to get on two-wheelers in the admittedly chaotic traffic.
If you leave the tourist strongholds, you will originally find places surrounded by rice fields and waterfalls. Small alleys that hardly fit a car and Balinese people who hold ceremonies in temples.
For me, Bali has never been a destination for beautiful beaches. More like a destination for small, beautiful hotels with fantastic pools and rooms. If you want to see beautiful beaches you have to go to the Gili Islands or to Nusa Lembongan drive. In Bali there are corals and especially rubbish lying around on the beach. Unfortunately, this is not a nice sight in many places.
Data and facts about Bali
Bali is part of the island nation of Indonesia and is not a separate country - as many might think. The Island of the Gods is the only non-Muslim island in the country.
More facts about Bali:
- The capital and largest city of Bali is Denpasar with over 600,000 inhabitants.
- Currency in Bali: 14,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is approximately € 1
- Time zone: CIT (Central Indonesia Time), the time difference to Germany is +7 hours in winter and +8 hours in summer
- Holidays: The holidays in Bali are not set like we are. Determining the dates is not that easy, because the rhythm follows the 210-day Balinese Uku, Wuku or Pawukon calendar. Besides, there are not only holidays. These are then large and long-lasting colorful festivals.
Where is Bali located?
Bali is not its own country but is an island that belongs to Indonesia. It is located in the Indian Ocean below the equator. So you have to be careful in Bali, because even a short stay in the sun can get yourself a serious sunburn!
Bali is the westernmost of the "Lesser Sunda Islands" in southern Indonesia. In the west, the island of Java is only 2.5 kilometers away. To the east lies the somewhat smaller island of Lombok and the increasingly popular islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. The famous Gili Islands and the Secret Gilis are also to the east of Lombok.
Do i need a visa for Bali?
As a normal tourist, you can now get a free visa on arrival if you only want to stay in the country for 30 days. If you stay longer like me, it is more complicated.
Vaccinations, first-aid kit and travel insurance
Recommended vaccinations for Bali
If you are traveling from Europe, no vaccinations are required for Indonesia or Bali. For trips to rural areas, the standard vaccinations tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, rabies and typhoid are recommended. Consult your doctor for more information. You should generally check your vaccinations before each trip and refresh them if necessary.
Malaria prophylaxis for Bali?
Again and again I am asked whether I have and take malaria prophylaxis with me for my Bali trips. On my first trip in 2006, my doctor prescribed doxycycline for me. I took this daily for four weeks. Conclusion: I got sick on the Gilis, had ulcerated sinuses and taking the antibiotic made all medication ineffective. I flew home in this condition at the time. I would never do this again.
Now 10 years and many trips to malaria-risk areas, I am a lot more experienced in dealing with it. I have Malarone with me (from my previous trip to Africa) and I'm here during the rainy season. I am not taking malaria prophylaxis. I don't feel the mosquitoes are excessive. I regularly use Anti-Hum or Autan with Deet. Even so, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to take malaria prophylaxis or not. I have to mention that you can get dengue fever too. Friends had already had the unfortunate experience.
In general, I advise you to seek vaccination advice from your doctor if you are unsure.
Check out my first-aid kit
Which travel insurance for Bali?
Many holidaymakers only ask questions about travel insurance shortly before departure. But then it is often too late. If you fall off a ladder shortly before your trip and break a leg, a lot of money may be wasted.
So I wrote downwhich travel insurances (luggage, travel interruption insurance, ...) are useful.
More articles for the Bali trip:
Popular Itineraries for Bali
First trip to Bali in 2006:
Seminyak - Ubud - Gili Air - Sanur
On my first trip to Bali, I was mainly in the hot south of the island. We took a short break on the small island of Gili Air. On the outbound flight we have3 days stopover in Kuala Lumpur and acclimatized us a little.
Bali trip 2016:
Starting point Ubud. I lived here for six weeks. We also spent 2 nights in Uluwatu. We stayed three nights on Nusa Lembongan. I visited the Gilis on five nights (Gili Air, the quietest of the islands). I have numerous for this Excursions around Ubud undertaken.
The best travel guide for Bali with insider tips is the German Bali travel guide "122 Things to do in Bali“By fellow blogger Melissa from the indojunkie blog.
Sightseeing in Bali
There are great things to discover in Bali: temples, volcanoes, beaches and much more. I have collected the most important sights here:
Pura Tanah Lot - the sea temple on the cliff
The Pura Tanah Lot is an absolute highlight. The most visited and probably the most photographed temple in Bali with over 3 million visitors (!!) annually attracts almost all tourists. This sanctuary is particularly crowded at sunset. My Lonely Planet travel guide writes "... the system has the authenticity of a stage backdrop". The original rock has in fact gradually crumbled and a third has been artificially recreated - to protect the temple.
Even if the temple attracts many tourists, it is one of the most important and most revered sea temples on the island. For me, this place is one of the most beautiful that Bali has to offer. I didn't visit the temple at sunset, though. If you go to Tanah Lot during the day it is very hot, but you will not be overrun by the tourist crowds.
The temple itself can only be entered on foot at low tide. But this is only allowed to the locals.
Ubud - artists, galleries and rice fields
Ubud is the island's spiritual center. On my first visit in 2006, it was very quiet and cozy, since the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” it was totally overrun and exploded with tourists. There are still wonderful places to stay. Especially if you live outside the center, you are surrounded by beautiful nature in the middle of rice fields.
You will also find great luxury hotels around Ubud in fantastic locations surrounded by rice fields in the rainforest.
There is one around Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest. Its official name is Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana - nobody can remember it. In addition to the monkeys, as the name suggests, there are three sacred temples here.
Danger: The monkeys are constantly lurking tourists for us are very annoying. Please do not feed the animals. The entrance fee for adults is Rp 30,000.
→ My tips for the best trips around Ubud
Accommodation in Ubud - pure luxury at Alila Ubud
The Alila Ubud is in the middle of the rainforest. Our room had a terrace with a view of the rainforest and an outdoor bathroom and rain shower. The hotel is very expensive but for 2-3 nights it is definitely worth it to treat yourself to something.
It is something very special to live in the rainforest! Who can claim to have stayed in a hotel with the world's best pool?
The Hotel Alila Ubud and the grandiose Infinite Pool with a great view of the rainforest and rice fields:
In the mornings you get the very best breakfast served here. Everything grown by the Alila Hotel itself! Delicious shakes and fresh fruit! Every day could start like this. I wouldn't mind!
View accommodation on booking.com
The sleepy one on my visitUbud is now a real tourist hot spot. Back then there was hardly a restaurant or cafe except the famous one Lotus Cafe and the famous market, where artists sell their craft, you can now find many hipster cafes with vegan food, yoga studios and a huge range.
TheJalan Monkey Forest still exist. But here, too, the travel guide writes more than it is. We are a little disappointed.
Gili Islands - snorkeling and diving paradise
The three islands of the Gilis are tiny tropical islands. White sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut palms - plus donkey carts on sandy slopes. Mopeds are prohibited, as are dogs. A paradisiacal idea - what more could you wish for? Another insider tip about my trip - today the fastest growing place for tourists in Indonesia.
I've been to Gili Air twice - the smallest and most peaceful island in the Gilis. The quickest way to reach it from Lombok, from Bali in 2.5 hours by speedboat.
The liveliest and most touristy of the Gili Islands is Gili Trawangan - also Gili T. Here you can party until morning. You will find hip restaurants and hotels here as numerous as the party people. However, this does not correspond to my idea of travel. Gili T. is too loud and crowded for me.
Most tourists are drawn to Gili Meno for diving. Otherwise, this island is largely quiet, especially during the off-season and rainy season.
On the Gilis you can rent snorkels, diving goggles and fins cheaply. Unfortunately, I didn't have a diving license on this trip. As soon as you are 1-2 m in the water, the bottom drops off steeply. You can even explore the coral reefs with a snorkel. Very awesome and great view.
Frequently a short, heavy monsoon rain sweeps through the streets of the island. These are then totally muddy, even the donkeys have trouble getting ahead. The great thing about Gili Air is: The island is so small that I walked around it after 1.5 hours.
The Gilis are hotter than hot. Unfortunately, our simple accommodation only has a dripping air conditioning system directly above our feet. I don't like air conditioners. But we can't do without it here. It's too warm. The bottom line: I'm sick the next day.
My experience when arriving by plane from Denpasar to Lombok and by speedboat on to Gili Air: Everywhere we look really very unfriendly hostile looking Muslims. Western, female woman, without a headscarf and then a top. That is too much of a good thing for the devout Muslims on Lombok. In addition: uOur driver from the airport to the speedboat forgot about us ... so a taxi to quickly Sengiggifrom where the speedboat leaves for Gili Air. The rapid taxi ride to the western bank of Lombok to the departure point of the speedboat on the Gilis was very adventurous.
The taxi driver accelerates on the not exactly good roads through the hills and is still pouring water. On Gili Air when it arrived it at least stopped raining. The room is very simple and the worst: Only salt water, one bucket of fresh water for showering daily.
→ My detailed tips for the Gili Islands
My tip: You can find real insider tips about the Gili Islands in the Lombok travel guide from Home is where your bag is.
More pictures from Gili Air
Surfing in Bali
Bali is a surfer's paradise. No matter if you are a beginner, advanced or professional. Here you will find a lot of surf spots for the whole year and every season.
You can rent a surfboard for around two hours from 3.50 euros.
My advice: The best surfing tips for Bali with many other insider tips for your vacation can be found in new surf guide for Bali. You can find more tips in the 122 Things to do travel guide (German) from Indojunkie (view and buy here).
Seminyak itself seems far too touristy and luxurious. No wonder that you will find many high-quality hotels here. The beach is world class: very wide, spacious and much less populated than in Kuta. That's just because the beach is accessible by far fewer roads here. More like walking from hotels. That's a good thing.
You can hike on the beach from Seminyak to Legian to Kuta. You can stop for lunch at one of the many hotels.
Seminyak has a lot to offer for party tourists, especially Australians. I don't like the hubbub. Since the streets were swept empty by nightfall due to the bombings two days before, we venture into the center: Jalan Double Six and eat delicious fish in the Blue Ocean. The fish is very fresh and the atmosphere is very cozy. The normally well-filled discos are deserted (due to the attacks).
Beach between Seminiyak and Kuta
Tip for accommodation in Seminyak: Puri Madawi
The Hotel Puri Madawi is suitable for acclimatizing after arriving from Germany.
We live in a two-story hut for 3 nights, which is small and simple but clean and comfortably furnished. The hotel's restaurant serves Balinese cuisine right by the pool, which we enjoy to the full. Fresh fish, lots of rice and everything with coconut or nice and hot with chili.
The atmosphere is very familiar and relaxed. The beach - which is off the beaten track - can be reached on foot. Denpasar International Airport is only a 25-minute drive away.
Kuta - Part and surfing beach
Where tourism once began in Bali is now Mallorca's Ballermann 6 for Australians - Kuta. Many tourists arrive in Denpasar and only come as far as Kuta. No further. The streets are full in the evening and there is a lot of crowd everywhere. If you come to Bali to party, you've come to the right place. Kuta is the "epicenter". Except for my visit. Due to bomb attacks and the recommendation to avoid crowds when it gets dark, there is almost a yawning emptiness. I'm not here to celebrate anyway.
On the surfing beach of Kuta, the Hindus make sacrifices to receive the gods. Watching these rituals is really interesting. Of course there are also many camera teams on site. Unfortunately it is getting dark and after the attacks all people avoid crowds and quickly leave the streets and the beach.
Kuta after the 2005 bombings
In Kuta there is usually a party atmosphere until the early morning and the streets are full of people from all over the world. Unfortunately only a few tourists find their way to the cozy bars and restaurants.
At the memorial of the Paddy's Bar, where the "big" bomb went off in 2002 and over 220 people were killed, you inevitably pass if you stroll through Kuta off the wide beach.
What's creepy: Hang everywhere WANTED posters with the pictures of the heads of the 2 terrorists killed in the attacks in Kuta and Jimbaran two days ago. The Balinese are back to their everyday lives and tell us that they are praying for the assassins so that they can have a better life in their next life. Total positive thinking. That is pure Hinduism and hardly conceivable for us.
In Europe or in the western world there is a different way of thinking. These people here are so positive that everyone here can learn a bit from them.
Semarapura - provincial capital of Klungkung Province
Due to the Taman-Kertha-Gosa, a detour to Semarapura in East Bali should be on your itinerary. Actually, Semarapura, the capital of the province of Klungkung, has been called that since 1992. But most Balinese still call the provincial capital Klungkung. You will also find the name Klungkung on many local maps. The market in Semarapura is one of the best in East Bali. From 6 in the morning until 8 in the evening, you can buy jewelry here many times cheaper than in other places in Bali.
Tenganan - Bali Aga Village
Here you can be loud Bali travel guide take a trip "into the past" and visit a Bali Aga village of the descendants of the Balinese natives. Allegedly, there is no tourist attraction, cars and motorbikes are not allowed in. My impression was different. I was so annoyed to follow our guide. The simple original huts did indeed contain televisions and luxury goods. You are not pressured to sell some of the textiles, but you get disapproving looks if you don't.
If you like traditional gamelan music and dances you can enjoy it here.
We get lunch at Alila Manggis, after which we drive on Tenganan, one Bali-Aga village. Still live here "Native people". Well, you shouldn't believe the travel guide too much here. The whole thing is very touristy and apart from the huts everything is a tourist trap. You should NOT support such things. No more.
In the evening we explore Sanur, but also here: the same thing is sold everywhere (even giraffes that you actually bring from South Africa as souvenirs ...). Sanur is absolutely the most touristic city of our trip and one is constantly approached. It feels like a market in Tunisia ... it's no fun and it's just annoying. Eat in a hotel with live music, then sleep and rest ...
Warning: the sea in Sanur is no fun. At low tide you have to walk hundreds of meters over broken corals to finally get into the shallow water. The sea here is not intended for swimming, which the hotel manager later attests to us.
Mercure in Sanur: Neither bathing on the beach nor in the pool is fun. The pool is definitely 35 ° C, even warmer than the outside temperature and therefore does not offer any cooling!
Recommendation Bali travel guide
Melissa from the Indonesia blog Indojunkie wrote a real insider travel guide (in German). Here you can buy what I think is the best Bali Guide (Click button):
Security in Bali
In the past there were serious bomb attacks in 2002 and 2005. In 2002 in a disco in Kuta, in 2005 - during my visit - in Kuta and on Jimbaran Beach. After that, tourism suffered a lot. Since then everything has been quiet and the number of tourists has skyrocketed in recent years.
My trip to Bali took place at the same time as the last “major” bomb attacks in 2005. Nevertheless, this was no reason to leave earlier. I stayed because I felt safe. On my travels in Asia I have not met a friendlier and more positive-thinking people than the Balinese! I never felt unsafe.
I would recommend anyone traveling to Bali right away!
More articles for the Bali trip:
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