The Do's and Don'ts of Holidaying In Bali
- Get a padlock for your luggage and if you're feeling spendy, splash out for the cling wrap mummifying treatment to make sure it can't be tampered with.
- Bring some duty-free booze with you and buy it in your country of origin. You can bring one litre of alcohol per person at the time of writing, but check the law before you depart. Alcohol is one of the few expensive things in Bali (like $40 for a bottle of wine expensive) so stock up on the gin before you leave home.
- Bring insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat. It's hot and tropical and mosquito bites and sunstroke are the worst.
- Book the restaurants before you leave. Bali is a major foodie destination and there are so many incredible places to eat but they book up in advance so organise dinner before you get there. This also means you avoid arguing over where to eat every day, bonus!
- Have lots of massages - they're so cheap! Expect to pay between $8-$40 for a full body, and go for the Balinese style; it incorporates Swedish, shiatsu and a couple of others depending on where you go, resulting in a relaxing yet effective treatment. I had one every single day and it was B.L.I.S.S.
- Wet your hair with fresh water before you get in the pool (if you're a blonde). This will saturate the shaft with nice clean non-chloriney water so you won't end up with neon green hair like me.
- Book a trip to do something other than eating and drinking, whatever takes your fancy. You can do organised bike tours through the paddy fields, visit temples filled with monkeys (not for me thank you very much), or go snorkeling on the coral reefs - I recommend the last one, we saw a swordfish!
- Bring your own tampons - I couldn't find any in the convenience stores over there. Pads yes, tampons no...
- Bring a kindle or some books. Our daily routine went something like this: Get up for late breakfast, go for a massage, back to villa for nap/reading, swim, snacks, G&T's, shower, dinner, drinks, bed - repeat.
- Make jokes with the Indonesian Airport Officials. They do not like to make funny about travel and immigration...
- Try and smuggle drugs!
- Drink the water or the ice unless you're in a reputable bar or restaurant. Don't even use the tap water to brush your teeth! Nothing ruins a holiday quite like Bali belly.
- Drink spirits from dodgy looking bars. It has been known to happen that some bars will put off-label spirits into branded bottles, and some people have gotten really sick and even died. Just keep your wits about you yeah?
- Don't forget to bring some medicine with you. Painkillers, electrolytes (these are essential) and anti-diarrhea tablets are a must
- Don't forget to check your passport before you travel. You need at least 6 months validity left on it to get into Indonesia. Trust me, I learned that hard way last year...
- Don't Hire a scooter unless you are VERY GOOD at driving a scooter. There are no discernable road rules; traffic lights are ignored, lanes are non-existent, in short it's chaos. Every year young tourists are killed in scooter accidents so I beg of you, just pay for a taxi (they're so cheap) and leave the scootering to the locals.
- On that note don't get a taxi unless they use the meter, that's how you they scam tourists into exorbitant fares. Either that or negotiate a set fare you're both happy with before the journey begins. Every second vehicle is a cab and they are clamouring for your business so don't be afraid to negotiate.
- Don't stay too far outside town if you intend on doing lots of shopping and eating and drinking out. Traffic is crazy and the last thing you want to do on holiday is sit in a car for 3 hours a day because your villa is miles away.
- Don't get taken advantage of. When we arrived at the airport and met our driver, some random dude took my bag and started pushing it alongside us. At first I didn't know what was going on, then I realised he was creating a job for himself so I would have to pay him when we got to the car. Needless to say I grabbed the bag back waved him off. I repeat, keep your wits about you!
And finally relax, let go and have an amazing time eating delicious food and lounging by the pool! The people are beautiful, the weather is warm, the culture is just different enough to feel like you're properly on holiday, but not so alien that you don't know what to do with yourself. I had an amazing time in Seminyak and cannot wait for my next trip back!