Country: Indonesia
Currency: Rupiah (IDR)
Peak Season: July-September, December-January
Shoulder Season: April-May, October
Median Temperature: 28.10 C / 82.58 F
Main Languages: Balinese, Bahasa Indonesia, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bemu, bus, taxi, motorbike, dokar
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $80.00/day
Tourist Passes: n/a
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Bali has its ranks way above nearby Asian travel destinations. Apart from lying on the beach on the southern side and getting the famous Balinese massage, you can also jump right inside the rainforests and visit a few of the island's assortment of Buddhist and Hindu temples. Bali is indiscriminate: families or honeymooners can enjoy the resorts and spas while penny-pinching backpackers would appreciate the low cost opportunities and the lavish spender can play at sprawling golf courses. Water sports, ranging from shallow surfing to deep dives draw many western tourists. Recurring visitors of the island think of a week’s stay as too short, considering how much fun you can have in exploring its luscious territory and exotic wildlife.

Indonesia’s most popular holiday destination is just brimming with Hindu culture and pristine white and black sand beaches. With the rest of Indonesia being predominantly Islam, it may have been the driving force for the Balinese to explore their religion and culture even deeper, letting tourists imbibe in the perfected scrumptiousness of their hot and spicy cuisine, owing a trickle of its taste to the three-century long Dutch influence. Bali’s almost as popular as a beach destination as it is a massage heaven. More of a science than art, the acupressure, reflexology and aromatherapy sessions truly relieves you of earthly stressors thanks to incorporation of. And, visiting during a festival means you’ll get unrestrained access to more things Balinese.

Nature lovers will be surprised to find that the island is home to curious species of exotic birds and mammals native only to Indonesia. Those belonging to the history clique will turn their heads towards the beautiful puras (temples)–all 20,000 of them—built with magnificence and ideal positioning. The wonderful thing about Bali is that it isn’t constrained by Hinduism; instead, Hinduism becomes the gateway to experiencing the best of the island, whether it’s the food, festivals, massages, or megastructures you’re after. With a relatively higher count of annual festivals, there’s always something new for new and returning travelers.With the recent surge of tourism in Southeast Asia, now is the most opportune time to visit the Island of the Gods.

Packing List

  • Converted currency to avoid overcharging—ATM’s are widely honored; a shopping bag or two for purchases is highly advisable as Bali is a shopper’s paradise, but limit your purchases to local handicraft
  • Essential medication (loperamide, mosquito repellents) and toiletries; affordable Balinese accommodations conform to international cleanliness standards, so just allot luggage space for dresses
  • Beachwear, particularly sarongs; if you forgot to bring these sultry garments with you, you can purchase locally-made (and better quality) batik sarongs from street merchants and shops at the beachfronts
  • A decent (SLR) camera, plenty of film and batteries for bikini pictures and nature excursions; you’ll want to bring portable media as well, but don’t bring expensive jewelry since you likely won’t wear it
  • Hiking gear and a GPS device, since it’s a rule of thumb to explore Bali’s rainforest, not just beaches and temples; bring plenty of bottled water if you don’t’ want to jeopardize your health with the tap water

Things to Do

  • Trouncing your feet on Bali’s flagship white sandy beaches, glimmering with turquoise waters and beautiful greenery; the most popular are Kuta, Legian, Samur, Seminyak, Jimbaran, and Lombok
  • Taking snapshots of the beautifully-cultivated rice field terraces north of the city; the rice terraces have served Bali for more than two millennia—the plush harvest is courtesy of abundant irrigation
  • Feasting your senses at Bali’s Hindu temples and edifices, ornately carved to entice you at first glance; top picks include the millennial Besakih Temple, Elephant Cave and the GWK monument
  • Engaging in authentic “safaris” at either Bali Zoo or Bali Safari & Marine Park; the zoos are full of species only found in Asia, including the Sumatran Tiger, and a variety of rare medicinal plants
  • Attending the ten-day Galungan festival and a series of lively/harmonious festivals held in accordance with the Balinese calendar; events are reminiscent of Hindu beliefs and delicacies

DON'T

  • Remember to honor religious ceremonies, particularly those held inside temples; observe pleasantries and decorum inside temples and keep your patience, since processions usually upset traffic
  • Ask for local help unless it’s important or show interest in purchasing—Balinese street vendors are clingy to tourists, so unless you’re going to buy, just glance a for a while and proceed with your business
  • Eat everything your eyes see unless absolutely certain that you’re stomach won’t react adversely; also, consider NOT getting a tattoo (even if it’s passed as henna) — the dye may not be safe for human use
  • Board a taxi unless you’ve bargained with the driver and checked to see if the meter is working; have your currency immediately exchanged at the airport or withdraw from a vestibule in non-crowded areas
  • Leave your belongings out in the open, especially on beaches; secure the hotel room and don’t bring any fancy jewelry with you—accessories are chic and dressing plain will get you better discounts in bazaars