Appropriately named the Island of The Gods, Bali is your quintessential holiday location. The Island of Bali is one of over 17, 000 islands located in the Indonesian Archipelago. Bali is both rich in culture and relaxing beauty.
For many Australians, Bali is their home away from home. It is conveniently located about 3.5 hours (flight) away from my home town of Perth, Western Australia, and roughly 6 hours away from the Eastern states in Australia. While you will find a lot of the tourists are predominantly Aussies, people from countries around the world do flock to Bali for beautiful and cheap holiday and I am about to explain why;
There is something for everyone.
Sometimes this sentence gets used to advertise a specific location, but without any evidence or elaboration to back it up. Bali truly caters to everyone; couples, solo travelers, backpackers, people on a budget, people with no budget, families, wedding parties, sports teams, groups of friends, people wanting to detox, adventure junkies and party animals.
But Kat, what is there to do in Bali?
Where do I start with this question… It all comes down to why you are visiting Bali in the first place, but here are a few ideas;
There are hundreds of spas in Bali where you can get a massage/body scrub/facial/manicure/pedicure/hair cut etc all for a fraction of the price of what you would pay in Australia (think 15 AUD average for a 1 hour massage).
For a good cheap massage in a friendly, clean, and air conditioned spa, try PIPS in Legian. This salon is Australian owned and run and the girls there always have a smile on their face. (1 hour Massages from 8 AUD)
Ambiente Spa, connected to Rama Garden Hotel is a perfect serene little spa right in the middle of Legian- not that you would notice by how quiet and relaxing it is inside. (1 hour Massages from 16 AUD)
Looking at a hens party, weekend away with the girls, or even planning a wedding over here? Check out Australian owned GLO Day Spa located about in Seminyak. (1 hour Massages from 19 AUD)
For your manicure and pedicure needs do not look any further than the ultra chic Think Pink Nails. Nothing is too much for them, and they are so meticulous (yet efficient) with their manicures- you won’t be disappointed. They also have a drinks menu you can order from while getting your hands and feet some TLC. (Signature mani and pedi from 25 AUD using OPI and Butter London nail polish)
Eat and drink yourself silly-
Food and drink is every where in Bali. You can easily get a 3 course meal for under $20 in Bali, and the service is generally top notch. Bali does tend to keep on track with “trends”, with plenty of Starbucks and other coffee places popping up over the last few years, as well as vegan/vegetarian cafes and healthy food options becoming more and more readily available. There also seems to be a huge market for fine dining, and more westernised “beach clubs” at the moment which is great for the inner food critics in us all.
Alcohol is also ridiculously cheap, which is why Bali is infamous for its party scene. With many all day “happy hours”, you will find the cost of cocktails next to nothing (4 AUD for a cocktail and 2 AUD for a beer- I am ok with this). A lot of the clubs will have insane drink specials to seduce you (ie- 4 shots for 5 AUD or buy 1 get 2 free Vodka and Red Bull) which can lead to a very messy night so to speak- but fun nonetheless if you are there to party.
Adventure means different things to different people so it can be hard to narrow it down when I write about it.
For example, for families, theme park lovers, water babies and just anyone looking for a fun day out, head to Waterbom Park. As the name suggests, it is a water park with a huge array of water slides and pools. My favourite is the “lazy river” which is just a beautiful pool that flows slowly through the park- all you need to do is sit back and relax in one of the giant floaty pool rings. There are of course numerous restaurants and bars (some actually in the pool), as well as cabanas for hire and you can even organise a massage at your cabana or at the spa in the park for a small fee.
For those wanting a little more adrenaline pumping through your veins or want to step outside your comfort zone, try White Water rafting, a Volcano trek, elephant safari, explore a temple or even a surf lesson.
Again, in keeping up with the latest trends, Bali has more recently seen an increase of all inclusive retreats. The most common are Yoga, Detox, Relaxation and Surf retreats that generally last around 6-7 days and can be organised hassle free online.
Where to stay-
$- Melasti Beach Hotel, Legian- Great for budget travellers!
$$- Hard Rock Hotel, Kuta- Awesome place for travelling families!
$$$- Pullman Hotel, Legian- Beautiful modern hotel, with a Bali price tag!
$$$$- W Retreat, Seminyak- Exquisite beachfront luxury!
Blue metered taxis are readily available on most streets, and can be called for you by your hotel reception, or arranged at the airport. Don’t be afraid to ask the driver if the meter is turned on if you haven’t pre organised a price with him to ensure you don’t get hustled when you arrive at your destination.
When walking down the street, you will probably have some balinese men yelling out at you saying “Transport?”, essentially asking you if you would like them to drive you either on their scooter or in their car/van. This is quite common, though generally more expensive than the Blue cabs for shorter journeys. Barter your fare before you get going so save any hassles.
You can walk to and from a lot of places, though if you don’t know where you are going or if you don’t like the humidity, this can be a little overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to stop and ask for directions, or if you are really lost just jump in a cab.
Bike and car hire is available and fairly cheap, though I would not recommend either of these unless you are a super confident driver. The roads are crazy in Bali and don’t seem to follow any particular rules, though the locals never seem to crash.
Last but not least-
Always drink bottled water! Although the tap water in your hotel may look clean, Bali is still a 3rd world country and contains bacteria that can give you the dreaded “Bali Belly”. This goes for brushing your teeth too. Bottled water is super cheap and can be bought from any of the hundreds of convenience stores.
Only get your money exchanged at Authorised exchangers. These will generally be at convenience stores, Kodak and Fuji shops or legitimate money exchange shops- do not bother getting your money changed down a dingy alleyway or at the back of someones shop as they will most likely rip you off.
The currency in Bali is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR or RP) and currently 10 000 RP is equal to about 1 AUD, making conversions easy to follow.
English is spoken commonly in Bali, but don’t be surprised if some locals don’t have perfect english- remember, it’s not their first language. Here are some helpful phrases to get you started on the local language Indonesian;
Good morning- Selamat pagi (before 12pm)
Good evening- Selamat siang (after 12pm before 6pm)
Good night- Selamat malam (after 6pm)
Thank you- Terima kasih
No, thank you- Tidak terima kasih
I hope this article helped if you are considering coming to Bali, whether you have never been or are practically an expat here. If you have any questions, queries or qualms, or have some tips or advice of your own- please feel free to comment below and share around. Feedback is always welcome.
-Kat 🙂 xx