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6 Things NOT to do in Bali

What not to do in Bali; you have been warned!

Bali might seem like a place where there are no rules & you can go absolutely crazy, those days are long gone.

Bali is a great holiday destination. We love it, but because of the cultural differences between Australia and Bali, we thought we would highlight 6 things you must not do while holidaying in Bali.

All visitors should take note of these if they are going to have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

1) Drug taking in Bali is a huge no-no!!

It is definitely on top of the list of things not to do. Need I say more? Don’t even think about it; let’s just leave it at that. It’s a really serious crime, and if you even remotely think that you can get away with bringing it into the country and using it, don’t. If you are thinking about buying drugs over there to party with, again, do not do it, as the consequences are far too severe. The guys selling you the drugs are often working as police. There is no way of telling. Drug taking in Bali is common, and people do it as they do anywhere in the world, but Bali, like the rest of Indonesia, has the death penalty for drug smuggling and possession, so be warned. If someone offers you drugs anywhere, on the beach, on the street, in a club, bar or in a shop, just walk away. So many Aussies have been caught trying to smuggle drugs in and out of the island as well as possessing them. Even the smallest quantity you may have on you, which you may feel is harmless, can bring about lengthy jail terms. See what the Australian Government Smart Traveller website says about this, and it may change your mind:

2) Taxis without meters

There are thousands of them all over the island, especially in the tourist areas of Seminyak, Petitenget, Oberoi, Kuta and Legian. But make sure that you go in a metered taxi. Why? Some drivers are going to try to charge you off the meter, and you might end up paying double or even triple the price. If they come up to you and offer you a lift and give you a price, this is a good sign that they are out to rip you off. Go to the local Bluebird Taxis and make sure as soon as you get in, they turn on the meter. You might even like to download the new Go Jek App ( Bali’s version of Uber ) and use this as opposed to getting a taxi. Here is the Go Jek App on Apple. Click here.

Blue Bird Taxis Bali

Always use metered Blue Bird taxis in Bali

3) Going nude on the beach

It is not a good idea. Crossing the road for a quick bite to eat in your bikini might be okay in Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne, but in Bali, it’s not allowed. Going topless on a secluded beach is fine, but once you exit the beach, make sure you cover yourself up. Guys can wear speedos or board shorts, but again, once you leave the beach, pop those boardies and bikini tops back on.

4) Ceremonial Hindu offerings are all over Bali.

Three times daily, the Balinese make offerings to their Gods, and these tiny square-shaped offerings are seen everywhere, and I mean everywhere. There is no escaping them, and whatever you do, please avoid treading on them or riding over them with your bike. These are not decorative pieces but are part of their daily religious rituals, so please be mindful of this. You may like to watch them being placed on the ground, steps, doorway entrances, and statues as the ceremony is quite wonderful. Be respectful when watching the locals place these, and keep your distance. It’s fine to take photos if you like.

5) Be respectful of local ceremonies

I know the ceremonies are exciting, vibrant, and interesting to watch, but please do not disrupt any ceremony while it is in progress. You would not like it happening to you, so try to reciprocate. There are ceremonies all the time, and many of these happen in the street or in the local village Banjar which just might be really close to where you are staying or eating. You will hear the Gamelan music and see the colourful dresses all word by the men and women. It’s a real sight and something you have probably never seen before. So it’s fine to watch and take photos, but don’t interrupt them or try to get involved. Also, do not enter the temple area while the ceremony is happening. It’s their ritual, so keep a respectful distance.

6) Don’t get aggressive when bargaining

Balinese love to bargain, but please do not try to push the price down too far. If you do not get the price you wanted, accept it and move on. There is no need to be nasty or angry. It is a bit of a game, so treat it like that. Never abuse or scream at them, especially if it’s an older lady or what the Balinese call Ibu.

Also read Shopping in Seminyak, some great tips

Lastly, and I want to add this as an extra DON’T drive badly if you’re hiring a motorbike in Bali – as you can see, roads and traffic conditions are hazardous, and accidents from tourists who think they are bulletproof happen all the time. Be really careful and never ever speed, especially on main thoroughfares like Sunset Road or, the main roads around Sanur, or the huge ByPass near the airport. These areas are really dangerous!

Have a great time in Bali  –  you are absolutely going to love Bali – but while you are out there mixing it with the locals, please keep these tips in mind and enjoy your holiday.

This blog has been revised as of 28/12/18 – we decided to add 1more: if you ever get pulled over by the police when riding a scooter for whatever reason do not make a scene. The protocol here is today them some money, perhaps Rp 100, 000 and then drive away. This is how it works in Indonesia. Don’t expect to receive a ticket and pay this later. It pays the policeman and moves on quietly and respectfully.

This blog has been revised as of 20/01/20 –be careful with online dating apps in Bali as many of the guys and girls on these apps are not looking for a genuine relationship but are in fact looking for money. These scams are quite common and can end up costing you quite a bit of money.

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About the author

Steven is a die-hard Bali island addict and committed surfie. When he's not writing or taking videos of the latest restaurants or cool places, he's at Echo Beach surfing or riding his scooter around Seminyak, Berawa or Canggu. Steve is part of the Bali Villa Escapes marketing team and has been living in and out of Bali for the last 15 years.