DO’s & DON’T’s
- I recommend exchanging money before you get to Bali since the exchange rates at the airport are laughable and you’re probably going to need cash for your taxi.
- Don’t attempt to call an Uber from the airport, you won’t be very successful. Since Uber is illegal in Bali the Uber drivers aren’t allowed to drive into the arrival zone. So unless you’re willing to walk outside of the airport to meet with your driver, just get a taxi.
- Which brings me to my next point: A good fare for a taxi to Kuta/ Seminyak/ Canggu is between 50k and 135k, but be prepared to be ripped off by the taxi drivers at the airport since they are pretty aggressive and stubborn. Have a look at taxi prices here: https://www.baliairport.com/transportation/
- Since Uber is illegal in Bali, you should make friends with your first Uber or taxi driver and get his contact details so you can message him directly. The advantage of having the same driver for the whole vacation is that you’re probably going to be more comfortable leaving your luggage with him (not your valuables though, you should keep them with you at all times)
- Exchanging money while in Bali can be a pain, so make sure you go to the bigger, more official looking exchange offices. If you’re not sure, ask your driver or somebody on the street. Balinese people are usually happy to help!
- If you’re going to eat tropical fruits, DON’T eat Jackfruit and Snake Fruit together, and not more than two pieces of Snake Fruit at a time (unless you want to have a very upset stomach)
- Don’t eat the side salad. Just don’t. Be prepared to get food poisoning. No matter how careful you are, chances are you’re going to have a stomach ache plus nausea at one point, so bring some medicine with you.
- The tap water in Bali is NOT drinkable, you can’t even brush your teeth with it. Use bought bottled water for EVERYTHING.
- You can’t enter any temples without a sarong, and often you need to cover your shoulders/ chest as well. Sarongs are beautiful and a nice souvenir, buy one at a local market for around 50k to 100k ($5-$10AUS).
Kuta is the party central of Bali, so if hardcore partying is what you’re after, this is the place to go! Although whatever you do, don’t make the common tourist mistake to ONLY spent time in Kuta (at a six bedroom private villa with pool, staff and aircon). That’s not how you’re going to experience the REAL Bali.
Good for touristy, expensive westernised shops and hip vegan/ veggo cafes.
- Lots of vegan/ veggo restaurants and cafes
- Old Man’s Beach for sunset and a cold beer
- Cool but expensive clothing stores
- Visit Tanah Lot Temple
- The Spicy Coconut (amazing pancakes)
- Green Ginger Noodle House (One of my favs in Bali – insanely good food! Definitely order the Pad Thai and the Sang Choy Bow!)
- The Shady Shack (Good coffee & cakes)
- Cafe Organic (Pretty but small smoothie bowls)
- Peloton Supershop (Didn’t get to visit but apparently amazing)
Ubud is probably my favourite place in Bali! With it’s unique, relaxed vibe, an abundance of vegan/ raw/ veggo cafes and restaurants, yoga studios, markets, hip clothing stores and stunning rice terraces, Ubud is sure to enchant you. Even though it is pretty touristy, it doesn’t at all take away from the experience. I definitely recommend staying here for a couple of nights and also to rent a scooter which makes exploring the area so much easier (and more fun!).
- Earth Cafe (super fluffy pancakes with rich sugar cane syrup – YUM)
- Alchemy (raw vegan cuisine, try the Banoffee Pie and the Hawaiian Pizza, avoid salads)
- Five Elements (Fine dining, next level mostly raw vegan food. Try the seven-course degustation menu if you can – it’s to die for)
- Sage (upper-class dining serving amazing Mexican inspired food. Try the Tempeh Buffalo Wings and the Tacos)
- The Elephant (wonderful views at the back of the restaurants, chill atmosphere)
- The Spell Creperie (serves vegan crepes, definitely try the vegan salted caramel sauce. I mean what else could you possibly want in life?)
Come here to experience the REAL Bali. Sideman is not touristy at all and has much to offer with its beautiful landscapes and rice fields. If you’re staying here take part in a scooter tour organised by locals (or your host) to truly experience the area! And since there are a total of zero vegetarian, let alone vegan (and westernised) restaurants in this town, this is where you can also experience the real taste of Bali! Just ask for a veggie curry or stir fry, the locals are usually happy to make some changes!
Padang Bai is what I call the Bali version of Cairns in Australia. It’s not a nice town at all, super touristy and people only come here because they want to get a boat to someplace else. This is where you can get the ferry or a fast boat (I recommend the fast boat) to the Gili Islands and to Lombok. There is a restaurant called Topi Inn at the end of the beach serving vegan and vegetarian options (and cheap cocktails).
Gili Air is what many people call paradise, and while it truly is very beautiful I probably wouldn’t go so far. The beach can be pretty nice but also pretty nasty, depending on where on the island you are. The sunsets are definitely spectacular, even on a cloudy day! You can rent push bikes to explore the area or walk by foot, just whatever you do leave the poor horses alone (who have to stand in the sun for hours and are strapped tight to carriages). Gili Air is also the perfect place to go snorkelling, with its crystal clear water, an abundance of colourful fish and many sea turtles!