6 Don’ts When Visiting Bali 2014.07.06

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Don't drink the tap water

 It's important to stay hydrated in Bali, but don't drink the tap water! Bottled water is inexpensive and easily accessible all over the island, and many local people also drink bottled water themselves (or boiled tap water in the more remote areas).

There are several mineral water brands - the most popular is called "AQUA" and costs around Rp. 3,000 for a 500ml bottle, Rp. 5,000 for the larger 1 liter bottle and around Rp. 12,000 for a gallon bottle.

Don't worry too much about the ice served in drinks at restaurants and bars, as the island’s ice supply is quality-controlled by the local government.

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Don't use money exchangers that charge commission

Many tourists unfortunately have a not-so-good experience when exchanging money in Bali. This could be due to sketchy money dealers short-changing you or the use of"fixed" calculators. Either way, it's an absolute must to double-check your money, even if it was counted right in front of you.

There's also the issue of money changers that charge a commission. These offer a higher rate, but the commission charge is taken off the total amount. Money changers that don't charge a commission offer lower rates however no charges are taken off. 

It's best to use the more popular money changers on the main roads that are brightly lit and have a security guard outside. Money changers down side alleys or at the back of souvenir shops are questionable at the best of times.

For more details about money exchange in Bali:
Bali Currency and Exchange

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Don't get taken for a ride

Taxis are not hard to come by in the popular tourist areas of Bali, however visitors should be aware that not all taxis are the same (even though they may look it). All taxis in Bali are blue in color, making it difficult to tell which are from the more reputable companies.

Many taxi drivers will try and take you to restaurants or souvenir shops where they will get a commission, or profess to not have any change when you try to pay. They may also tell you that their meter is broken and ask for a fixed fare that is usually way more than what the metered fare would be.

We recommend using Blue Bird Taxi, easily identified by the word "Blue Bird Group" displayed across the top of the front window. Blue Bird is an established taxi company that operates in all major cities in Indonesia, with their headquarters in Jakarta.

All Blue Bird Taxis are metered and display the Driver’s Identity on the dashboard. They also have English-speaking Customer Service, should you wish to report or query something. Always try and take note of the taxi number and driver's name in case you leave something behind or need to make a complaint for whatever reason.

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Don't forget to take out adequate insurance

Bali offers some fun outdoor activities, in fact many people come especially to experience the thrill of surfing, white water rafting and more. But it's exactly these type of activities that can get you into serious trouble if you're not adequately covered. Even hiring a scooter to get around can end up in a nightmare situation if your insurance doesn't cover motorbike accidents.

Always go through your insurance policy wording before traveling to find out exactly what and what not you're covered for, as some "high risk" activities are excluded. If you know you will be taking part in activities that could potentially be dangerous, update your policy accordingly.

One of the most important things to check is that you are covered for medical evacuation in the case of emergency. No-one wants their dream holiday to turn into a horrific ordeal, so be responsible and take out enough insurance before you leave.

Annette gets Air

Don't get a dodgy tattoo

In Bali, there's a tattoo shop on just about every street corner. Prices are considerably lower than in Europe or Australia, making the thought of getting a new tattoo very tempting to visitors.

If you're after something permanent, make sure that the tattoo shop meets standard hygienic requirements - ideally they should have a proper autoclave for sterilizing tattoo needles.

Henna tattoos are also a popular choice for holidaymakers, especially children, however some experience allergic reactions to the dye used. This can result in itching, blisters and even permanent scarring. It's always best to do a small skin test first to see if you have any type of reaction before committing to the full thing.

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Don't buy drugs

Bali is, amongst other things, a party island for some. Cheap alcohol and a host of bars and nightclubs make it a good place to let your hair down and have some fun.

In Kuta especially, you can be offered drugs when simply walking down the street, but bear in mind that Indonesia is one of the harshest countries when it comes to drug offenses, even if you're caught with the smallest amount on you.

You also never know if the person you are buying from is in fact an undercover policeman. Best to just steer clear and enjoy Bali for all it's other pleasures, like the sun, sand and surf.

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Kura-Kura Bus Bali

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