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Navigating Bali’s Crowded Streets – Some Advice for Newbies.

Bali is one of the most exciting destinations in the Eastern hemisphere. Here is a tropical island, right in the middle of Indonesia, dedicated to partying and having fun.

However, it’s not without its problems. Back in 2002, the island was targeted by Islamic extremists and since then, it’s been hit several more times by terrorists. If you’re going to make your way to the island, you need to have a savviness about you. Yes, it can be a great place for tourists, but you can get into some trouble if you’re a travel newbie.

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With that in mind, here is some essential advice for those planning on making the trip…

There Will Be Crowds – Lots Of Crowds!

If you’re looking for a peaceful island retreat, Bali might not be the place to go. It’s an incredibly popular tourist region, especially in South Bali and Ubud.

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If you’re the adventurous type, you can find quieter locales on the island. Make sure you check out stops, other than those on the regular tourist itinerary. The best advice is to head north. Bali’s  northern and western coasts are more chilled out. They provide an opportunity for holidaymakers to see another side to the island. Of course, if you do venture in these directions, you’ll be more responsible for you own entertainment. Don’t expect throngs of people heading to clubs or an active nightlife here.

Dress The Bali Way

Indonesia is an Islamic country, so the official advice to travellers is to dress conservatively. It might be hot, but things like bikinis are generally frowned upon. You’ll also quickly find out that many high-end bars and restaurants enforce a strict dress code. Don’t risk being embarrassed and turned away. Be somewhat conservative.

Don’t Risk Tropical Disease

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Bali might be a tourist hotspot, but don’t forget, it’s still a tropical country! With a tropical climate comes a risk of tropical disease. Since tourism came to Bali, the public health of the community has improved significantly, but tourists still risk getting diseases like malaria from roving bands of mosquitos. There is no vaccine right now for malaria so you won’t be able to get a shot from your doctor, but you can prepare yourself well in advance by buying malaria tablets online. These tablets aren’t a failsafe against the disease but they do increase your resistance to it, should you get bitten.

Respect Religious Tradition

The people of Bali are steeped in religious tradition. That means that for the people who live there, life on the island of Bali revolves around ceremonies. Often you’ll find roads have been blocked off or your taxi driver suddenly stops to give a blessing.

The biggest event in Bali’s calendar is Nyepi. On Nyepi, everything in Bali stops, including the airport. The best way to get around this problem is to join in. Find out as much about the local culture as possible and go and visit the temples and holy sites. Remember to cover your shoulders and knees on Nyepi.

Take Care Around The Local Wildlife

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If the biggest thing you’re used to seeing in the wild is squirrels, you’re in for a bit of a shock when you visit Bali. Bali is home to some of the world’s most interesting, and inquisitive species. Bali monkeys are world famous. But they’re also notorious for stealing your stuff. Beware of Bali’s stray dogs – the island is littered with them. They’re often hungry, in bad shape and in a very bad mood. Stay as far away from them as you can. If you want to help them, don’t approach them. Instead, make a donation to the Bali Dog Refuge, a charity that takes in the island’s stray dogs.

Learn A Bit About The Current Visa Situation

If you’re planning to travel to Indonesia, you are now required to purchase a visa on arrival. Back in 2015, the country suddenly changed the rules around visas. It did allow visitors to fill out a tourist visa, but now this system has been scrapped. You’ll only be able to stay in the country for 30 days. Longer than that, and you’ll have to apply for a 60-day visa well before you travel.

Bargain, But Don’t Be Disrespectful

Bargaining in Indonesia is common. Local merchants want to squeeze as much money out of tourists as they possibly can. Savvy tourists hit back and bargain hard themselves. Remember, these people negotiate this way so that they can make a living. Don’t push them too hard. Keep a smile on your face, and if you don’t like the deal, they’re offering, walk away.

Disclaimer: This post is part of a collaborative effort.

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