The Ultimate Guide On Travelling Bali For First Time Backpackers

What’s so good about travelling Bali? It is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, with its fine surfing beaches, beautifully preserved historical temples, and wonderful natural landscapes. Indonesia is one of the most recognised countries in terms of being an ex-pat haven, but Bali defines the reason why. It’s a standout with its own collection of heavenly paradise on Earth.

There are two types of tourists who travel to Bali in general: the first one returns, while the other one stays. Most tourists only intend to go hang out by the beach at Kuta but end up staying for more than a month to explore other parts of Bali. If you intend to become the latter type, the backpacker life will be the perfect type of travel for you. You don’t have to worry though, because travelling in Bali even in a longer duration wouldn’t hurt your pocket as Bali or Indonesia in general, is also known as one of the most relatively cheap countries, making it a perfect place for thrifty travellers. 

That’s why our team at Check-In AU has compiled a comprehensive guide for backpackers on the necessary things to do before travelling to Bali, Indonesia. Check out the rest of this blog to find out!

Research, research, research.

It doesn’t hurt to do detailed research about the local culture, rules and regulations, and places you’re going to once you’re in Bali. After all, you’re the one going to visit their country. Therefore, tourists must also learn to adjust to the traditions and laws of a foreign country. It might be one of the countries where it’s quite easy to get into, but there are a lot of things to observe while you’re in Bali.

That’s why we’ve prepared some useful tips about what to expect in Bali! For instance, did you know that: 

  • There are different beaches to explore. After all, Bali isn’t just about the infamous Kuta. 
  • Bali drives on the left side (most countries follow driving on the right side). 
  • Showing too much skin when visiting temples is deemed immodest due to their huge respect towards their religious culture, hence, a sarong is always necessary to bring.
  • There are bigger chances that the locals will know if it’s your first time travelling in Bali, that’s why it’s important to know some basic to conversational Balinese words and phrases. It will save you from a lot of things: primarily, miscommunication and haggling prices with local vendors.
  • You should never, ever drink tap water, it’s dangerous. You can either buy bottled water or bring a refillable bottle instead in order to prevent non-recyclable waste. 
  • In order to get a larger value for your exchanged money, only go to authorised money changers or reputable banks. 
  • When on the streets, be careful of stray and potentially rabid animals like macaques or dogs. 

Prepare everything in advance.

The most crucial step in preparing for your travel in Bali is preparing every necessary things that you need to bring which includes your:

  1. Travel documents and personal credentials
  2. Complete itinerary and budget allotment for every expense
  3. Accommodation

What to include in your travel documents and credentials

  • Passport
  • Airplane Tickets (roundtrip tickets, if necessary)
  • Visa
  • Important IDs 
  • Driver’s License (International Driver’s License if you’re going to drive in a foreign country)
  • Travel Insurance Policy
  • Debit and/or credit cards
  • Extra cash

What to remember when planning your itinerary and budget allotment:

  • Check out unexplored or underrated places in Bali. Usually, places with the least tourists is where you’ll be able to find the most beautiful spots.
  • If you’re planning to visit Bali for a short period of time and you want to visit as many places as you can, make sure to plan everything rigid and thorough. Consider the proximity of the places you’ll visit, the amount of time that you’ll spend at a certain place and the budget per destination. 
  • It is not highly advised to go on very spontaneous trips due to unexpected conditional factors such as weather, plan ahead depending on the season that you’re going to visit Bali. 
  • Almost all places that attract tourists in Bali or Indonesia in general requires a small admission fee. Always make sure to have a spare amount of cash on hand in case of emergencies.

What to consider for your travel accommodation:

  • It is highly recommended to find an accommodation that’s near the proximity of the places you’ll be going to. But if you’ll be tour hopping especially in far distances or remote areas, you can find affordable hostels almost everywhere. Just look for ones that are trustworthy enough.
  • Always be mindful of your belongings when you travel, don’t leave your things everywhere. Theft might not be rampant, but it exists in Indonesia so travellers must take extra precautions.

Pack the necessary essentials only.

There are two types of seasons in Indonesia: dry and monsoon season. Since Indonesia is a tropical country, locals and tourists can enjoy the summer heat for most times of the year, although unexpected rains may usually occur. If you plan to spend most of your time on the road, only pack up on the necessary travel essentials such as: 

  • Sturdy travelling backpack
  • Light, quick-dry clothes (strongly recommended)
  • Flipflops 
  • Sarong (a necessary item to bring)
  • Insect repellent
  • Coral-friendly sunscreen
  • Hygiene kit (tissue, alcohol/hand sanitizer, etc.)
  • First aid kit and medicine
  • Travel documents
  • Sunglasses

Find efficient ways to save if you plan to stay for long. 

Although Indonesia is one of the most relatively cheapest countries in the world to live in, it doesn’t give travellers the reason to not save up extra money if you plan, especially if you plan to stay in Bali for a bit long, where prices are a bit higher than the usual especially along renowned areas and establishments with great tourist traffic. 

Freelance work is one of the most prominent ways to earn extra income even when you’re travelling. Whether it’s doing social media marketing, content creation, teaching online, or becoming a vlogger — these are things that can definitely help you save up before or even while you’re travelling. 

An important reminder: never be one of those “begpackers” in a foreign country. Aside from not gaining a good reputation amongst the locals, it’s nobody’s responsibility to shoulder your travel expenses for you. 

Learn the local language.

Lastly, learning the local language is one of the most practical things you need to do if you plan to stay in Bali. Remember, Bali has its own language (Balinese) apart from Indonesia’s (Bahasa Indonesia). Even if the locals can understand basic English and can carry out simple conversations with foreigners, there’s a different level of advantage if foreigners can speak like the locals. 

There are a lot of perks when you learn Balinese. For instance, you can interact with the locals, bargain with local vendors (on products that can be settled through bargaining), and most of all, the locals will deeply appreciate your efforts for learning their language. 

Gain lessons from the experience of other travellers and locals.

The best advice you’ll ever find will most likely come from those who have had firsthand travelling experience. Make friends with other travellers who have been travelling Bali for a long time, they will provide the best tips on how to make the most out of your travel in a foreign country which they might have probably gotten from the locals they made connections with. 

There are several free and paid options you can explore to learn Balinese and/or Bahasa Indonesian language: studying online, using a language learning mobile app, or becoming friends with a local who can speak both languages well.  

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