Is Bali on your bucket list? Then, you should read it before heading to this so-called paradise. Have you already been to Bali? Then I guess it will remind you of your time there. I spent 12 days wandering across the island and here is the list of things that surprised me.
1. Flip flops
They will be your best friends. People wear them everywhere. At every occasion. Well, in Bali you simply cannot have too many pairs of flip flops. Some people apparently even go hiking volcanos in it. Do you care about your style? You want your shoes to match your outfit? Nothing more simple, get some flip-flops of different styles and colors.
During your holidays in Bali, you will get a chance to witness at least one ceremony. Around 90% of the population in Bali follow Balinese Hinduism. As you will see, the religion play an important role and shapes the everyday lifestyle of the local population. Some would say that there is at least one ceremony going on every day. Either for a birth of a child, a wedding, or a funeral, not to forget temples festivals. Daily offerings, such as the canang sari, are very common in Bali too.
Simply everyone rides a motorbike in Bali, including kids. You ride it, even to the nearest shop.
4. Bunch of stuff on motorbike
It will never stop impressing me what people can transport on a motorbike. A family of four with a baby? No problem! Some furniture? Weekly grocery shopping? Put it on a motorbike and just ride.
5. Pavement? What is that?
There are no pavements, except maybe Ubud where we saw some. Bali is not made for pedestrians. No one ever walks there. Sometimes kids coming from school, but a big part of them just ride a scooter. So you fancy a walk to observe a local culture and way of life? Nope, just grab a motorbike.
6. Taking off shoes
It first starts when you enter someone’s house, then you do it before entering a restaurant, sometimes in temples. At the end, you get so used to it, you remove your shoes before entering a shop. Another reason to wear flip flops.
You need it. If you plan on visiting some temples, this will be essential. Buying one will save you some money since renting, depending on location, can be expensive. Then you can use it in many different ways: as a protection from the sun, a cover when it’s raining. The only limit is your imagination.
Drivers just honk. All the time. With or without reason. Nonstop. They do it in order to warn other drivers, and pedestrians or whenever they see someone they know on a street. This never stops.
After a while, you won’t even notice them anymore cause they are everywhere. Literally everywhere, including your room.
10. Your final offer?
You need to bargain. All the time and everywhere. Especially as a tourist, when the price given to you is at least three times higher than a usual one.
11. Balinese family
A family is an important unit for Balinese people. Very often they stick together, and it is not rare for extended family members to come and visit on a regular basis. In one guesthouse, even after 6 days, we couldn’t figure out who is who. Explanation of our host didn’t help either.
12. You pay, everywhere
Even in the middle of a jungle. There will be a ticket office few meters from a waterfall. It will be followed by some snack shops. So you end up paying even in the middle of nowhere.
13. Kopi Luwak
Yes, Bali is a home for the most expensive (for some the most disgusting) coffee in the world.
14. Black sand
You saw those beautiful pictures on the Internet, and descriptions that Bali is simply a paradise. You take your holidays, plan on spending days on a beach. And when you arrive there, to your huge surprise, you see that the sand is black!
15. Justice system
Seems strict at the beginning, especially when in the airplane one of the first things you hear, is the fact that possession of drugs is illegal and may result in a death penalty. But on the other hand, when it comes to Balinese police, very often what comes to your mind, its corruption. Unfortunately, a bribe isn’t something uncommon.
16. Plastic and trash everywhere
Bali is beautiful, I am sure! There might be tremendous spots, great places to connect with nature. However very often they drown under trash. You want to hike a volcano but too scared to get lost? Just follow plastic trash on the way and you will never get lost. Fancy some sunbathing on the beach? Finding a spot without trash around you becomes a challenge. This is one of my biggest disappointment about Bali. And no one cares.
17. You need a local guide
Do you want to spend some time far from the crowd? Go hike alone and escape the noise? Or like me, you just simply love solo-hiking? Well, the truth is, it is hard to go somewhere in Bali without a local guide. Do you want to walk around Twin Lakes? Cannot go without a guide. Hike one of those volcanos? Oh, you need a guide, Trying to bypass it, very often results in a direct confrontation with “Balinese mafia»!