Things to know before going to Bali

1. Don’t do drugs

Drugs are illegal in Indonesia. Just don’t do them. The Indonesian authorities take the use of drugs very seriously. If you are caught in Bali in the possession of drugs, then you will face the full force of the law. If you were to be convicted of trafficking drugs, then you could be looking at the death penalty.

2. Drinking water

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You cannot drink water from the tap in Indonesia. When you order water in restaurants it is boiled or purified. Bottled (mineral) water, aqua, is available everywhere and not expensive. Always check that the bottled water you buy on the street has not been opened before. Many hotels offer free bottled water.

Also pay attention when you brush your teeth: do not use the tap water for this either. Let ice cubes / shaved ice drink away from your glass, cause this is almost always frozen tap water.

3. Dressing respectful

Traditional Balinese dress - Diving Indo

Balinese locals are far more conservative than most Westerners, So when in or near Balinese temples or rural settlements, keep the sensitive clothes to a minimum.
When paying a visit to a Balinese temple, both men and woman are expected to wear shirts that cover shoulders and part of the upper arms. Flip-flops are perfectly acceptable.
The following leg coverings are mandatory for men and woman:
– Sarong (around your legs)
– Temple scarf (around your waist) 

4. Stray dogs and cats

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Born into poverty, dog owners often can’t afford sterilization, resulting in the rapidly growing Bali Dog population which means more and more dogs are taking to the streets.

It is difficult to say which dogs do or do not have owners. Dogs are sometimes stolen or put on the street. Often they walk outside their owner’s house and let themselves out. 

In any case, be careful not to hit them on your bike or get chased. And don’t just pet a dog

5. Scooter driving

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Riding a scooter in Bali can be very dangerous. Especially if tourists with little experience rent a bike that is much too big and try to ride it quickly on the narrow roads.

In Bali there are few rules regarding speed and priority and people mainly work with the horn. The roads are also often flooded or broken.

The people who drive around often do not have a driver’s license, are minors or are on a scooter with too many people.

If you rent a scooter, always take pictures of the scooter in advance. Pay close attention while driving and always wear a helmet. Be careful because when an accident occurs, the tourist is often seen as the culprit. 

6. Don’t step on ceremonial offerings


If you go on vacation to Bali, you will definitely see offerings. The most common one is the canang sari (see picture below). Canang sari and other types of offerings are easily found at every intersection, fence, large tree, holy place, even on the road. 

Canang Sari is made for daily offerings, by the Balinese Hindus to thank the god. It is offered every day as a form of thanking for the peace given to the world. 

Be careful and never step on it, kick it or step over the offerings, especially with deliberate intentions. There are stories about people who did this on purpose, and have to go back to Bali to beg the spirits for forgiveness. 

7. Don’t use your lefthand

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Shaking hands, offering a gift, receiving something, pointing to or touching someone in Indonesia? Better not use your left hand. This is because this hand is traditionally used to clean yourself after going to the toilet. 

Mostly the locals forgive the tourist if they do it in the wrong way, but it is more polite to think about it and avoid it. You may ask, what do left-handed Indonesians do? Indonesian children are trained from a very early age to use their “tangan manis” (sweet hand) and are urged to do everything with their right hand.

8. Don’t come for a short amount of time

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To give yourselves enough time to enjoy everything the island has to offer, you should stay 2-3 weeks in Bali. This gives you the freedom to visit several different places together without needing to rush or compromise.

This of course depends on the fact if you are going to drink and party or really want to travel the island and experience the local traditions. Cause if you want to visit the mountains, try surfing, or visit the smaller island, at least two weeks is recommended. 

And watch out, cause the most people who have visited Bali once, want to stay much longer or never leave at all 😉 


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