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How to Survive Your Bali Holiday for the First Time

Updated on December 22, 2011

Horseriding in Bali

My guide helping us across the stream
My guide helping us across the stream

Bali Holiday - More than booking a hotel

As a popular tourist destination, a Bali holiday offers everyone a piece of fun. The activities that you can indulge in include:

Sports in Bali


Cultural activities in Bali

Temple and village visits

Travel Tips

Watch out for the usual tourist traps and scam jobs. Being a popular travel destination, be prepared for the usual stuff here and there.

1. Local Language. Pick up a few phrases of Bahasa Indonesia before your trip and practise speaking them.
- Where is (the toilet)? - (kamar kecil) di mana?
- When... - Kapan...
- How much? - Berapa?
- Why? - Kenapa?
- So expensive! - Mahal sekali!
- Thank you - Terima kasih
- I don't understand - Tidak faham
- OK - Baik

2. Money Changer. I have seen skillful sleights of hand at work in Kuta a few times. Always count your money on the spot right after being dealt the pile of notes. Don't be shy about not being discreet. Half the time, you'll find one or two notes missing. Yet when the money-changer counted them, every piece would be back in. Despite having him re-deal the notes several times, I'd never been able to spot when the trick was executed.

This usually happens with money changers that put up the No Commission sign. They usually change their story line when you spot this little trick and try to claim commission. If uncomfortable, head to the more credible Kodak money changers.

3. Surfboard Rental. Whatever they say, surf board rental should not cost more than 100,000 Rupiah per hour. If is possible to get one for much less, depending on the rapport you have with the rental guy. A full beginner's course by a professional school will set you back by about 1,200,000 Rupiah.

My advice: Grab a board for the hour and ask a fellow beach bum to guide you with a few tips. Basic surfing is easy to learn.

4. Booking of Leisure Activities. Book a free and easy package and have your pick of activities from the roadside booths. An afternoon of horseriding on black volcanic sand beach, with a lovely sunset, can be bargained to about US46. Don't accept the first price you hear.

5. Watch Out for Balinese Offerings. The people of Bali place offerings in front of their shops for good luck and business. Take care not to accidentally kick any of these. They will be very angry, to say the least.

6. Spa. Bali has a few excellent spa facilities, some of which are in the hotels. Harris Resort has good service at decent prices. Take care not to book a body scrub if you're intending to get sunburnt though!

7. Budget Food. If you're into the international cuisine type, there are many in the Kuta region. For less expensive local fare, you can easily find them a little from the crowded area. The suburbs of Tuban which is about 20 min from Kuta beach, offers sumptuous local nasi goreng/ mee goreng and a bottle of mineral water for less than USD 2.00. The locals here will also be less likely to want to rip your pocket off.

Now with these tips in mind, have a safe holiday in Bali!

Bali Surfing in Kuta

Beginner surfers catching the wave
Beginner surfers catching the wave


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      deedawb 7 years ago

      we had great holidays in Bali and Singapore - they are my favourite holiday places. I changed my money at the airport and in the hotel. You can expect problems wherever you go but we did not have many.


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      hongteo 8 years ago

      Sounds like you had a great time. Good travel tips and introduction about Bali. I'm definitely interested in going now. This sounds like a beautiful place to visit. I now know what to prepare, what to watch out for and what to expect. Great article. Thanks Fiona.