Everyone going to a new place always wants to understand a bit about it before they arrive. This is a great practice to be in because if you understand a place before you arrive you cannot fault it for not being what you expected. While Bali is amazing it is no different and you should understand a bit about it before arrival. Here are a few tips on understanding daily life in Bali and what it is all about :)
Dogs: There are tons of local dogs that roam around. Don’t worry they eat well and I’m convinced don’t want to be domesticated and live with humans in a house. They enjoy roaming and eating the offerings. Also to be noted, while the dogs may look friendly don’t pet them, they are not used to it and will probably bite you, I speak from experience.
Offerings: There are small palm leaf offerings all over the ground so watch your step. The Balinese typically put out 2 offerings one in the morning and one in the afternoon filled with flowers, some sort of food (either a cracker or rice typically) and an incense. You will see them on the ground for the bad spirits and those in the offering tower looking statues and those are for the good gods. You might step on the ones on the ground or run over them with your motorbike. While you should try to avoid them the Balinese are forgiving so don’t let it ruin your day if you step on one. I love this practice of the offerings and think it makes Bali beautiful and always smelling nice.
Ceremonies: The Balinese have ceremonies ALL THE TIME and for EVERYTHING. Someone dies? Ceremony. Someone is born? Ceremony. Baby turns 3 months? Ceremony. New business? Ceremony. Random holiday on the calendar you can’t read? Ceremony. I really love this about the Balinese, I think they have their life priorities and work life balance on point. They are never afraid of a good ceremony and always dress the part. It’s so much fun to see them happening all the time.
Temples: There are temples everywhere in Bali. Each community has a temple and communities here are like small neighborhoods or streets, read: there are tons. Now only the big ones are available for westerners to go into and you will know if its big or not because the big ones have sarongs and sashes for you to borrow as you walk through because you must dress the part. Boys and girls, everyone wears a sarong (read: skirt) and a sash, unless you are in pants then you just wear a sash.
Massage, Taxi? You will get asked this so many times. Get ready. Now I don’t even say anything back, I just keep walking. May sound rude but its exhausting telling 25 people no thank you in 50 ft, just as I’m sure they are tired of asking but they are trying to make a dollar.
Honking: The drivers honk if they are passing you, if they are coming around a corner, to ask if you want a taxi ride, to tell you to move, really it’s used for so many things. Just be ready to hear lots of honking while you are here but don’t be alarmed nobody is mad.
Motorbikes: Main mode of transportation here in Bali. Some of the beaches have some good bluebird taxis roaming around but the majority of vehicles on the road are motorbikes. Also they rule the road and can really do whatever they want, like drive on sidewalks so watch out. Driving one is fun and exhilarating but can be dangerous. You can also get a taxi ride on a motorbike if you are solo and this is a great cheap option to the taxis that sometimes scam you.
Taxis: Bluebird is the best one and be sure to either ask for a meter or to negotiate a price BEFORE you get in the car or start your journey. Once they have taken you a place its hard to tell them you are not going to pay their price.
Ants: Bali has an ant problem and you should get used to the fact that they are everywhere. Ants are the worst but really since most everything is open to the outdoors a lot of the day there are tons of insects and lizards everywhere. Don’t be alarmed its just the way of life here.
Small but big island: You can probably get around the island in 10 hours and take day trips to any part of the island so in this case its small but there are so many things to do and see if can feel like a big island. So many little sectors of the island with different atmospheres make it feel like a big island. Don’t be sad if you can’t see everything in your visit, just plan to come back for the rest I promise you will want to!
I hope you are ready to visit Bali now, just give me a bit of notice and I will meet you there!