Bali, Indonesia: a three and a half hour flight from Perth, Western Australia which is cheap as chips, (I paid $86AU the first time I went), to a tropical holiday destination where the food, drinks, shopping, taxis, and hotels are…. cheap as chips! $100 Australian dollars = $1,000,000 Rupiah. Bali is swarming with Australians, especially the people of sunny Perth. Perth, Western Australia is listed as Australia‘s most expensive state to live in. It’s no wonder the people of Perth travel to Bali to shop, stock up on supplies like your favorite snacks and beauty/bath/shower items, and even have dental work done, see optometrists, doctors and have surgery. If you shopped around and got extremely cheap flights (which are easy to find), it would be cheaper to fly to Bali, stock up on all your long-life food items, bath and shower items, beauty items and drinks (non-alcoholic) that will last you forever, (I still have a large stash of toothpaste, face masks, moisturizers, shampoo, conditioner, balms, mineral lipsticks, etc…… trust me, stock up!!), stay in a beautiful hotel with a pool and swim-up bar from anything between $18AUD – $48AUD a night depending on what type of room you want, grab a full body massage on the way back to the airport for about $20AU and you would have spent probably about the same amount for one or two weeks worth of shopping in Woolworths or Coles.
I have flown Jetstar both times I went to Bali and have found very cheap flights. Air Asia is another very popular airline to use and they have very cheap flights to Bali from Perth. Other airlines include QANTAS, Virgin Australia, Malaysian Airlines and Garuda Indonesia. Australian’s get a visa on arrival, make sure you have AUD money, about $60 for two people, notes only, they don’t accept coins. For all other countries, look up clearly what you need to do because once you get there it’s more confusing and hazy than the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland. There are no signs on what to do or where to go and people end up following each other trying to find that one person on the flight that knows what they are doing.
Arriving at Denpasar (DPS), Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali!
Bali isn’t for everyone. People will either hate it, love it or have a strong opinion on it based on what other people have said without even setting foot on the island. My philosophy: Don’t knock it till you try it! I have heard so many things from people who had been and loved it, been and hated it and of course from the news. I have heard horrifying things and great things. When you get off the plane, you will be hit by heat and a smell that will never leave your olfactory sensory neurons. It will be branded in there like a permanent marker. I don’t know how to describe the smell. The first time I went to Bali, I described it as death. The second time I quite liked the smell =D Once inside, find the Visa counter, hand over your passports and pay for your Visa’s. As I said above, they only accept notes, no coins. They will sticky tape a small visa paper in your passport and give you one. DO NOT LOSE THAT SECOND VISA PAPER, YOU WILL NEED IT TO GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY. After that, take your passport, forms you filled in on the plane, the second visa paper and look for people queuing up in front of high brown wooden counters. Have your passport, forms and visa ready. DO NOT USE YOUR CAMERA OR HAVE YOUR CAMERA OUT OR EVEN BE LOOKING AT YOUR CAMERA WHILST IN THE AIRPORT BUILDING. The people at the tall brown counters will stamp your passport and forms and give everything back to you. Now, go look for your luggage and to the left of the carousels is another queue you will need to join. Your luggage will go through an X-ray machine watched by people who will either be asleep, people watching or laughing at something on a smart phone. After that, you’ll see more airport people near the exit and you hand them your last form you have on you. NOT your Visa paper!!!
Now the fun begins……. on the way out, you will walk pass a whole heap of counters calling out to you to change your money with them, or hire a car or book a dive trip. These people will call out to you, wave to you, jester to you, try to hand you papers. THIS is just the beginning….. ( Check out tripadvisor.com.au or grab the app to see the best places to change your money.)
METER! DO YOU HAVE A METER??
When you walk outside from the airport, you will be swarmed by a mass amount of taxi drivers, who have limited English. You need to be strong now and say ‘Meter? Do you have a meter?’ If not, move on. You will find someone who will cave in and say OK to meter. BUT make sure when you get in the car, they turn on the meter. All the taxi drivers will be waiting near the airport doors, but they will be parked a camel march away. Be prepared to walk. These drivers wont be overly happy that you want a meter, but it will be SO much cheaper for you. First time I went to Bali, I was not aware of the whole meter thing and ended up paying like $50AUD. The second time we persisted with the meter thing and paid like $7AUD. Taxi drivers LOVE Australian money because they will go exchange it at a high rate BUT they get really grumpy and moody if you try pay in coins if that is all you have. Now at the airport, to get out of using a meter, the taxi drivers will say its more expensive from the airport, or its very quiet today (that is a very popular one) and they will keeping yelling out 50,000 Rupiah (AUD$50). Stand your ground, hold on to your luggage, your passport, phone, children, everything. They will try and take your stuff to their cab before you even agree on a price. You will have quite a few of them following you around. This can be extremely overwhelming, especially if this is your first time in Bali. It will be hot tropical heat with a bunch of people in your face yelling out prices and trying to grab your luggage off to their cab….. Picture it for a second….. yer!
Now relax, have fun and be open-minded but be smart. In your hotel room will be a safe, every time you leave the room, lock your passport, camera, money and other valuables away. Keep your bag locked or at least zipped and in the closet or somewhere on the side. Notice if you think it has been tampered with and notify the hotel front desk straight away. When in the street, always keep everything close to you and don’t even put anything down or on the counter while you do something else. Don’t put all your money in the same place. Put some in your wallet secure pocket, some in a secure bag zip pocket if you have one. Just spread it out. When shopping, out at restaurants and bars, the mini mart etc, WATCH your money. Make sure you get back correct change and don’t bring out all your money in front of people. Do not use street exchangers.
Another safety warning…… there are no road rules. I repeat….. no road rules. Everything goes and at major intersections the police will be there managing the traffic. People beep instead of indicate and merging is just moving into the middle of traffic for these people. It’s a raging mess but fun! Perth, Western Australia is the third worse city in Australia for road rage. Perth people will attack each other verbally and physically just for merging wrong or accidentally cutting someone off, even if they’re just going slow or doing the speed limit…… yeah…. WACKOS! I’m talking punching each other, damaging the other car, baseball bats, yelling, screaming ….. It’s crazy! So when crossing the road in Bali (and in Perth…. especially in Perth lolz) look every single way four times at least..
The paths and roads aren’t all sealed and there will be uneven pavement, half completed construction, cracked pavement, rubbish and broken concrete around. Some of the paths were fixed the last time I went but I still almost broke my ankle every two seconds.
Random dogs will be running around the streets, they look skinny and sick. No matter how much it breaks your heart, don’t go near them, don’t feed them and don’t touch them. You will also see random cats and kittens roaming around. Again, don’t touch them, go near them, feed them etc. There is a lot of rubbish around too so it’s common to see rats and mice. Horse and carriage rides are available and very popular along Kuta beach. Don’t touch these horses unless you have asked the guys who are with the horses and they are understanding what your asking. I don’t like the state these horses are in. Look on tripadvisor.com.au for comments on animal and wildlife parks before visiting them. There will be people everywhere giving you pamphlets to ride elephants, pat tigers etc. If you look on Trip Adviser, lots of people have commented on certain parks about the treatment and state of the animals etc. A very popular thing for people to do in Bali is to get a photo and hug with this huge tiger. Lots of my friends have done this only to find out that this tiger is heavily sedated everyday so people can get close, pat, hug and get a photo. Friends and workmates have told me that this tiger is dopey and doesn’t move much. I have never gone to see this tiger. Bali is also home of the much beloved MOZZIE! (mosquito), so wear insect spray at night, spray your room and your body and have a cream ready for when, yes when you get bitten.
If you haven’t been in a country that barters, you are in for a shock. Walking around the streets of Bali, especially in the main tourist area of Kuta, its lined with stalls. The locals will stand outside and you will be nagged and pulled into the stalls to buy items. You can buy clothing, shoes, bags, gifts and much more. All beautiful things. But you will have to barter a price. The locals will start high at a price dearer then back home. I have got quite a few things really cheap. $4AUD dresses and $3AUD tees $10AUD skater shoes. They will try get you to pay a lot by saying it’s been very quiet, they have children to feed, a family to support etc. You don’t need to be rude but be firm and nice and friendly. If you don’t want something, be firm and say no. They will nag and pull you and be in your face but just remember this is their life, it’s all they have and this IS what they do for a living. Have fun with them and add humor if they are becoming over-whelming!
Important things to remember!
- Do not lose your visa paper. You will need this to get out of the country.
- You need to pay to get into the country so make sure you have notes on you. Not coins!
- You need to pay to get out of the country. make sure you have this money BEFORE you get to the airport.
- Look into getting a travel credit card. You can take money out at great rates. It makes your trip a lot easier. Look at: www.28degreescard.com.au
- DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! Bottle water for EVERYTHING! (Even for brushing your teeth. I didn’t & had a very sore throat my entire trip)
- When you arrive, go to K-Circle and get bottled water, moisturizer, anti-bacterial shower gel, antiseptic cream (To put on mozzie bites), shampoo and conditioner
- Lock your money and passport in your hotel safe
- There is one big supermarket called Matahari in Kuta Square. Very cheap.
- If your not near a supermarket, look for Circle K to buy items.
- Watch your money
- Watch your drinks at clubs and bars
- DO NOT stop for surveys or timeshare people on the street. It’s a scam!
- Don’t bother wearing make-up, it will melt off your face
- Drink heaps of BOTTLED water
- Here is a link to a list of Consulates in Bali: http://balidiscovery.com/other/consulates_in_bali.asp
- DO NOT tell locals it’s your first time in Bali.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE
- BE SAFE
- HAVE FUN
- Live the experience
- WEAR SUNSCREEN
Random photos of my last two trips!
Have an awesome day xx