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Bali is probably the most famous island in Indonesia. This island is best known for the hip and vegan restaurants in the south, the imposing waterfalls in the north, the volcano Agung and the black lava beaches.
For many tourists, Bali is the place to be. The international airport of Bali serves as a hub for getting around the area and the surrounding islands such as the Gilis, Flores, Lombok and many others. The island is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, why earthquakes repeatedly hit Bali. Almost all of Southeast Asia is at risk of this danger and no one is really caring about it.
In our Bali Travel Tips we provide you with general information about getting around Bali, as well as some information which would have been useful before our trip to Bali.
Travel tips from people who have already been there are often worth their weight in gold.
As Bali is an island, you can travel to Bali by plane or by boat.
Bali is accessible by boat from Java. We used the ferry between Bali and Java, which is very nice way to get around in this area. Take the ferry to or from Java and immerse yourself in the life of the locals. The port in Bali is called Gilimanuk; the one on Java Ketapang.
This ferry makes the passage approximately every hour, but actually whenever it is fully loaded. It carries vehicles and people. The distance between the two islands is only a few kilometers, but the journey takes about an hour due to the relatively complicated manoeuvre of docking. The price for this service is ridiculously low for western people. Less than one Euro.
So try these mode of getting around in Bali (and Java). By the way, you should definitely visit Java if you love really cool volcanoes and original Indonesia .
There are still many ports from which speedboat providers approach the various surrounding islands. The most important ports on the east side of Bali are Amed, Padangbai, Sanur Senggigi and Serangan.
We compared and booked our routes online: directferries and baliferry are very helpful. Even if these providers are among the most expensive options, they are known and rated as the safest, most reliable and fastest providers. Our next Bali travel tip is to fall back on these providers because the hotel transfer from / to the port is always included and you therefore no longer have to worry about it. The boats we were on are all very well equipped. Drinks, entertainment through current feature films in English and comfortable seats on the sundeck with great views make these trips really comfortable and entertaining.
There are certainly countless other ways to travel by boat from Bali, but unfortunately we cannot tell you about this.Many backpackers also travel overnight by ferry. But these times are over for us. 😉
Of course you can also fly to Bali. Many national and international airlines fly to the airport in Denpasar. Be sure to secure a window seat if you arrive by plane. The view is just incredibly beautiful. You will see volcanoes and beautiful little islands. Denpasar Airport is the only international airport on the island. If you are unlucky, several large planes land in Bali at the same time and the chaos breaks out. Passport control, baggage claim and customs can take 1-2 hours.
Many people book an airport shuttle at the hotel or elsewhere, but it is best to arrange a meeting point, because there are so many taxi drivers and hotel shuttles waiting that you can easily lose track of them.
If you then left the airport building and found your driver, unfortunately you still haven't made it.
The traffic here is so chaotic that it took us more than an hour by car to get from the parking garage to the public road. Our next Bali travel tips are therefore about the pick-up at the airport. You can either rent a scooter yourself, organize a motorcyclist over the grave to take you to the accommodation or arrange a meeting point with your pre-booked driver outside the airport area and avoid the mandatory traffic jam as much as possible.
The main reason why we haven't embraced Bali is that the island is overcrowded with tourists and that has a serious impact on traffic. In the area around Kuta and Denpasar, a few kilometers can take hours during rush hour. The traffic was really hell during our stay there. If you take an active part in traffic, be careful and always calculate your times with sufficient buffer.
If you don't want to drive yourself, you can of course book transfers anywhere. Most hotels either offer driver services themselves or can help with the organization.
On the main streets you can always find small shops where you can book transport services, but we were not advised to do so, because as a tourist you usually don't make a good deal and many have been left behind when the drivers have received a more lucrative order .
Otherwise there are of course the Bluebird taxis on Bali. In terms of price, however, they are said to be the most expensive variant.
Like almost everywhere in Asia, the "Grab" app is widespread and you can have it taken anywhere by car or motorcycle. In our opinion a very good option.
Ubud is known as the city on the jungle and world famous for its monkey temple. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a small nature park in the middle of the city of Ubud and is home to a wild and sometimes aggressive horde of macaque monkeys. Entry to the Sanctuary costs IDR 50,000 per person. The monkeys are also everywhere in the city.
If you love monkeys, you should visit the park. Locals offer selfies with domesticated monkeys in many places in the park - of course not for nothing and the monkeys are probably not having much fun either. If you are interesting enough, the monkeys in the park also come to you on their own and take a close look at you and your belongings. But be careful, hide everything that sparkles and is not riveted and nail-proof. Once not paying attention and already a little monkey stole my earring. It was only after a lot of persuasion and bribing with sweet potato that we were able to elicit the earring from him again.
In addition to the monkeys, Ubud also has an entertainment street with many small bars, restaurants, cafes and small odds and ends and souvenir shops.
We were only briefly on Bali, but we almost completely crossed the island by car. Our impression was: a lot of garbage, a lot of people, a lot of traffic. If we ever get the opportunity to travel to Bali again, we will give the island a second chance. The rice fields, the waterfalls, the hip food scene in Canggu, and much more, that should all be on the plan, but so far the most important and honest of our Bali travel tips: Indonesia has much nicer corners than the hyped Bali.
Something like that is of course a matter of taste and some people, whose opinion we highly value regarding travel, see it completely differently.
Maybe we were just unlucky.