My Top Bali Travel Tips
Firstly, don't be alarmed by the utter chaos that is Bali traffic. It's the definition of organised chaos. Scooter drivers are expert weavers and dodgers. During this last trip, we rode our bikes along a beach path and then the road in Sanur, and I found the road so much easier as every car and scooter dodged me. It was great.
As you walk down any street in Bali, locals will ask you if you want transport or a taxi. A popular thing to do in Bali is to hire a driver for the day to go to tourist attractions outside of the Kuta/Sanur area. We've done this on every trip and we've seen sights like Uluwatu Temple, Ubud, Tanah Lot, Turtle Island and Bali Zoo. Another option is doing a Viator tour. There are hundreds to choose from and they're pretty reasonably priced too. My recommendations: day trips to Uluwatu (better than Tanah Lot in my opinion), Nusa Penida, Ubud and this general sightseeing option.
The airport has gotten a huge renovation in recent years (I still fondly remember its previous look), but give yourself plenty of time to get through security. My flight left at 1 pm on a weekday and I was standing in the immigration line for nearly 50 minutes. It was not fun.
When you arrive in Bali, you may also have to wait a very long time for your luggage. Last time it was nearly 40 minutes after we landed - and a baggage carousel change later - that I was finally reunited with my suitcase. Now let's talk about airport shuttles in Bali. When you leave the airport, there will be a mass of people holding signs. These are all for visitors who pre-organised their airport transport, which is what I always do for peace of mind.
You can't do a post on Bali travel tips without mention good old Bali belly. I'm (sadly) basically an expert in recovering from Bali belly these days! It's unfortunate, but the most important thing to remember is DON'T DRINK THE WATER. Bottled water is so cheap in Bali, so remember to use it for everything, including brushing your teeth.
I've spent the majority of my time in Bali around Legian. I love heading to Legian beach for sunset, but it can be chaotic. Although we're friends with a few of the beach sellers, people will constantly come up to you and ask if you want a tattoo, jewellery, hats, etc. The best thing to do is say a simple no, thank you (you'll get used to saying it everywhere you go). However, if you show even the slightest interest in what they're selling, they will pounce.
Keep it casual. Although you can get 'dressed up' in Bali, most people wear casual clothes from day to night. So embrace your relaxed side and wear thongs (flip flops) and a sundress to dinner. Only the very expensive and swanky restaurants have dress codes. If you see someone trying to give you a postcard or a brochure, keep walking. They claim to be a part of a timeshare company, but it's a complete rort. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Finally, it's always important to be respectful when visiting foreign countries. Be wary not to step on the offerings, which you will find on footpaths everywhere. Remember that English is a second language here, so don't get frustrated if someone doesn't understand you. When visiting temples, be mindful that some of them do have dress codes as well.