Bali is well-known as one of the best tropical islands around the world; the beauty of its nature and culture has captivated travelers around the world. This popularity has made a lot of information about Bali available over the travel guide books and the internet. However, there are some helpful hints for Bali's first timers that are hardly found in most sources online.
Another name for Bali is the island of thousand temples, literally. The unique stories and architectures beyond these temples are the reasons why hundred thousands tourists visit the temples each year. However, because temples are the holy places for Balinese people, there are some local rules visitors have to follow during their visit.
When visiting Balinese temples, make sure you dress moderately to enter the temples. Shoulders and upper arms, waist, and legs are best covered. If you are wearing short pants, some temples provide sarong to borrow or rent. Secondly, female visitors are restricted from entering the temples during their period, which is an absolute rule you cannot ignore. The last but not the least helpful hints for Bali first-timers to visit temples is that respect the temples as it is supposed to be, including not to climb or step into the holy structures or statues, not to do something unethical although you think it is fine or funny. Violation towards these temple ethics might lead you to serious consequences, in terms of either cultural or legal sanctions – apart from what nationality you have.
Plastic Bag Ban
Since July 2019, Bali has officially banned single-use plastic items to reduce ocean pollution. As the impact on visitors, you can expect to receive no (free) plastic bag when shopping in supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores, shopping centers, even in some traditional markets; instead, you can bring your own bag, or buy the reusable shopping bag when paying at the cashier.
Other helpful hints for Bali first-timers is about transportation. In Bali, public transportation, like a train or a bus, might be limited, but some other options are still widely available. To get to a further area, shuttle buses like Perama or Kura-Kura are available daily, and the tickets can be purchased online or on-site. For more flexible option, you can get into a trusted taxi like Blue Bird, or order some online cab, car, motorbike, or even food through an app for online transportation, like Gojek or Grab. Do note that some touristy areas prohibit the departure using this online transportation, although drop-off is still possible. Finally, the most convenient option is renting your own motorbike or car to get around the island, and it is advised to have an international driving license for this option.
Day of Silence (Nyepi)
During the day of silence, usually happening in March, all public activities in the island are stopped with no activity, no entertainment, no fire, no travel, including airport, stores, schools, offices, etc. Although some hotels let their guests do their activity inside the hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets. Residents and visitors should stay inside, and the lights are off from 6 AM to 6 AM the next day, except for hospital and other emergency public services. Unless you want to experience this unique cultural day and witness the magical thousands of stars on the Bali sky during the night, it is good to know these helpful hints for Bali first-timers, so you can check your time of visit during this time.