Getting ready for… BALI
My trip to Bali with a close friend from university was one of the fastest settled journeys I have ever organized. Flights and accommodation are easy (and cheap) to book during rainy season. Only if you want to be on the super safe side –in terms of vaccinations- you should consider some extra preparation time for recurring tropical institute visit’s.
But I’d rather advise you against doing so anyways because the visit at the institute was the only reason getting me into some trouble after all. But this is written on another page. Of course it makes sense to double check the validity of your vaccinations in advance to your Bali trip.
Flights during the rainy season are pretty cheap and also in the case of Bali open-jaw flights turned out to be a clever and cheap option. After checking all kind of different online flight search engines, KLM turned out to have the best offer. Flying from Vienna to Jakarta (on Bali’s neighboring island Java) and back from Kuala Lumpur (where we stayed for one night) cost us 600 EUR, excluding domestic flights, which did not sum up to more than 200 EUR, including flights from and to Singapore for a 4 nights stay.
Currency in Indonesia is Rupiah. The EUR exchange rate is 1:15,000 which makes us European quickly to millionaires. There is no need to change money in advance though as the airport offers cash machines and money change counters.
From the Airport: Easiest way (if you do not have a pick-up service included with your hotel) is to take a cab. But be careful with drivers trying to charge you way more than appropriate. Depending on where you are going – a drive from Denpasar airport to Denpasar, Kuta or Seminjak should not be charged for more than 10 EUR.
Within Bali: Traffic in Bali is just crazy and full with moped drivers. If you are brave enough this is probably the cheapest and easiest way to get around. As my friend and I were not too confident we decided for the “luxury” method and got a personal driver for our day trips. For very far distant drives or renting the driver for the whole day we paid approx. 25 to 30 € per person per day at maximum. An investment that is definitely worth it if you want to be flexible and fast and if you are interested in listening to the driver’s stories, which might include some behind the scenes insights in the daily life of a Balinese local as well as special tourist tips.
I just fell in love with the kindness, attitude and pure friendliness of the Balinese people. 90% of Balinese inhabitants are Hindu and you can feel the greater importance of spirituality and religion in the country – not only because of its beautiful temples.
Very characteristic for Bali are the so called “Canang Sari”, which are sacrifices in the shape of little bowls, which are formed of palm or banana leaves and filled with flowers, oils, salts, rice and even sometimes money. They are meant not only to soothe spirits and gods, but are also beautiful and nice smelling pieces of art. An average family spends at least half of its income on sacrifices. Overall the spiritual flair can be felt all over Bali, especially in the beautiful, endless rice terraces. Even for a non-esoteric person like me an especially calming and inspiring vibe can be inhaled on Bali.
We traveled Bali during rainy season and *surprise, surprise* it was raining a lot 🙂 Still I would not advise anyone against traveling Bali at this time of the year as it is comes with a lot of benefits. Firstly, the landscape is just stunning, the rice terraces and tropical woods are fresh and green and the temples have an even more mystical vibe within all the mist. Secondly, the island is not crowded with tourist and therefore you also get accommodation much cheaper and you can enjoy traveling, sightseeing or relaxing more than in peak season.
Bali is a low-budget friendly destination. You get the most beautiful accomodation from 12 to 25 € / night and person, incl. breakfast. My personal reco for Ubud: Pertiwi Bisma I. Very romantically located in the middle of rice terraces and rain forests.
At least during rainy season I definitely recommend to book hostels on the fly. With www.booking.com we were always lucky to choose from great accommodation offers and mainly made bookings just the day before arrival. This gives you a great feeling of independence and freedom and you can decide spontaneously where you want to spent more time and where you prefer to move on sooner.
Read more about Bali here.