UBUD IS THE REAL BALI
The Bali island is well-known for its variety of cultures and religions and its rich spirituality. Hinduism- Buddhism are mainly affecting to almost every aspect of life in Bali. Art and Culture are all around Bali, especially Ubud. If you want to experience real cultural Bali, Ubud is a must-visit place with a plenty of “holy” temples, annual art festivals and cultural events.
The culture is noticed for its various dances, events, sculptures and plenty of temples. One of the must-see performance in Bali is Kecak dance. The dance will amaze you by its movement and its own unique melody which is made by many dancers shouting out “kecak” chants rhythmically and repetitively. Try to book yourself a traditional dance in Bali to dig deeper their Baliness culture and people.
Foreigners and travelers come, visit and some stay, but Ubud still maintains its original cultures for thousand of years. The culture is every corners of Ubud, from the street, the restaurant, the temple to the hotel, the hotel’s gate, lobbies, the bed, etc. Instead of staying in a luxury hotel, book a guest house or a real traditional hotel which you can really feel the spiritual atmosphere since staying in there.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR TAKING A GRAB RIDE IN BALI
Grab is banned in many areas in Bali for picking up or dropping off. Last year, in 2017, I arrived Bali’s international arrivals airport, I ignored a numerous taxi drivers and tried to book the grab. The driver accepted my booking in a minutes and later on, the app showed that the driver had arrived. But I could not find him around the Arrival hall. I asked the staff’s booth for grab’s pick up point, they just waved me away and said “no grab”. Then, I tried to go up the Departure hall which was upstairs, and yes luckily the driver was there. And as what I know, in the Bali’s airport, the driver can drop off customer at the Departure hall, but grab is not allowed to pick up at the Arrival hall. And below is my highlights for taking a grab ride in Bali, I really hope it is useful for you, as travelers.
- At the airport, you can book the grab, but the driver are not allowed to pick you up at the Arrival hall, so you can texted him to pick you up at the Departure hall. Some drivers might stop in front of the airport that you have to walk there.
- The Grab’s drivers will always deal again with the app’s price. And it is usually a bit higher than the price in the app. And, you always have to bargain hard to get the better price.
- Sometimes, in Bali, the Grab is just an app to connect the the drivers and riders, nothing more than that. If you cannot find a driver around for your day trip, or you haven’t book the driver before your trip. You can use Grab’s app to connect to a driver and deal with him later, the price, your journey, everything.
BALI’S MONKEYS LIKE GLASSES
Bali is the island of temples or I can say it is the monkey island as well. There are a lot of monkeys in these well-known temples in Bali, especially in Uluwatu and the Monkey Forest. And the special thing is that the monkeys there are very aggressive and like to steal people’s spectacles. And it actually happened to me. The monkeys in Uluwatu stole my glasses and really scared me, I didn’t recognized at first that my glasses had stolen because it happened so fast. Luckily, some local men chased after the monkeys, gave them some food and helped me to take back my glasses. So, enjoy your trip to these places but pay attention to your belongings and your spectacles.
ALWAYS BARGAIN HARD
Bali is one of the shopping heaven in Asia and the locals are really aware of it. They really shoot up the price especially in the centers of Ubud and Kuta, and sometimes it’s even double or triple the originally price.
It is a great idea to be friendly with the sellers, the more friendly you are the better price you can deal. Some of my friends had reminded me before my trip to always deal at half price for the first offer at least. It is better to go around to get the feel of the price and finally, try the “walk away” trick to close your deal. And if you are “white”, the price even 3-4 times than the original. Be prepare and get the best price for you.
Poo coffee or Luwak coffee is the coffee that has been digested by the Asian palm Civet. Luwak coffee has different taste from other coffee, and Balinese people try to avoid using sugar or cream for Luwak coffee to keep its unique taste and flavor. However, at every Luwak coffee shops, milk, sugar and cream are always available for those who can’t bear the bitter of the coffee.
Luwak coffee is one of the most expensive coffee in the world because of its uncommon method of producing. The civet will eat the coffee cherries, after around 24 hours being digested in the civet’s intestines, farmers will collect them, wash, dry, sort and roast them to remove the covers and the bad coffee beans.
The best way to try the authentic luwak coffee is to ask a local to lead you to a famous coffee garden where you can experience how the farmers produce coffee.
CRAZY SPEED DRIVER
It seems like there is no speed limit in Bali. If you decide to drive in Bali, your ears and eyes should open widely and be focus. Because every time, there can be a dog is sleeping in the middle of your roads, children are playing around, or a crazy motorbike-er cuts your way. And Bali’s road seems to be very small, some are just 1 line road, every time there are 2 cars in the opposite way, one has to stop and pulls over for the other to pass by.
Driving at night in Bali is much more terrifying. We booked a grab from Bali’s International airport to Ubud at around 4.30am, there is no light on the street, the street is small but the driver’s speed is really fast that actually scared us.
BALI IS A TATTOO ISLAND
It isn’t hard to find a nice tattoo studio in Bali especially in Kuta, you can easily find a good one in the center area. Most Bali’s tattoo studios are owned by the local artists who are skillful and experienced. However, for your safety, you should search for those reputation studios and make sure that they use the clean and new needles and good quality ink. With tattoo, I never recommend the cheap studios but the famous and good ones instead.
You will soon find out that most of local men in Bali got tattoo. It is too common in Bali that nobody’s going to judge your tattoo like in most of other Asian countries. Tattoo becomes a hobby, a trend or more than that, a way of expressing one’s personality and uniqueness.
STRICT DRUG LAWS IN BALI
Bali’s drug laws are very strict. You can get life in prison or the death penalty if you’ve been convicted of trafficking in drugs or marijuana. You can study more about Capital punishment in Indonesia here.
My friend was stopped by the security staff at the airport for about 15 minutes for the inspection. They of course didn’t find anything but a baking soda bag that my friend bought with her. So for your convenience, your time and your safety, do not bring anything that’s like white flour to the airport.
HINDU RELIGION IN BALI
Balinese Hinduism is practiced by the majority of Balinese people. The Balinese Hinduism is mainly closed to the original Indian Hinduism. The designs and the principles of most temples in Bali are as same as Indian’s. You can recognize that Hindu religion has stepped into Balinese’s life through art, tradition, idea, belief, festival, etc. To experience more Bali’s culture, you can try these activities:
- Watch Kecak dance in Uluwatu temple
- Bath in the “holy” temple – Tirta Empul
- Wash your face with “holy” water at Tanah Lot temple
- Stay at a guest house in the middle of Ubud
PEOPLE ARE VERY KIND
The Balinese people are very friendly and hospitality. Most people in Ubud still maintain their local culture and community even when tourism are developing in Ubud.
We arrived at the airport at 4 a.m in the morning and we were intent to stay at the airport. But there are many taxi drivers came and disturbed us. We decided to book a Grab to our guest house in Ubud. When we reached the hostel, it is around 4.30 A.M, the guesthouse were sleeping. Fortunately, they were willing to allow us to stay and happily prepare the room for us. During our 3 days in Ubud, they actually helped us a lot and their breakfasts were great as well.
When travelling to Kuta, a Nyoman brother took us around the well-known places and introduced us a very nice local restaurant. Thank to him we could enjoy the real Balinese food with reasonable price. Besides, we were really impressed with the hospitality of the people in The Luwak coffee. We were welcomed with the friendliness and smiles.
BALI IS ACTIVELY VOLCANIC
There are more than 100 volcanoes in Bali are active, especially Mount Agung, the highest mountain in Bali which is located at the North of Ubud, is an active volcano in Bali. In 2017, before our trip to Bali, the Gunung Agung started an eruption phase. It forced many people to leave their home and many fights for tourists to Bali were cancelled. So before your trip to Bali, carefully check the weather and the news.
However, after the eruption, there are also many trekking tours to the volcanoes in Bali, somehow it attracts a lot of adventurous tourists who are willing to take risk to have an unforgettable and fantastic trip in Bali. You can consider those trekking tours to Batur Mount for sunrise or sunset watching.
THERE ARE ONLY FOUR NAMES IN BALI
As what I have read and what my local Nyoman friend has shared, a Balinese name has 3 parts: a title, a birth order name and a personal name. There are no “family name” in Bali.
1/ The title:
- Girls will get a “Ni” before their name( like Ms.)
- Boys will get an “I” before their name (like Mr.)
2/ The birth order name:
- For the first child: Wayan(means the oldest), Putu, Gede or Ni Luh for girls only. But the most common is Wayan.
- For the second child: Made (means middle), Kadek (means little borther/sister), or Nengah (means middle). The most common is Made.
- For the third child: Nyoman or Komang
- For the fourth child: Ketut
- For the fifth child: Wayan Balik ( Balik means “come back” in Bahasa Indonesia, so wayan balik mean the wayan again/ another wayan)
My friend’s name is I nyoman suwartawan
He is a man (I), He is the third child( nyoman), His name is (suwartawan)
I believe this is a very interesting information for all of you to know more about Bali.
YOU WILL ALWAYS NEED A SARONG
There are an enormous number of temples in Bali, you trip will never complete without visiting one of the beautiful holy temples. The temple’s visitors are required to wear sarong, both men and women and it applies for kids as well. Most of the famous temples in Bali provide a sarong in front of the temple, for some you have to purchase it or rent it with a small fee. So it is the best idea to always bring a sarong with you when travelling in Bali. If you book a tour, they will always offer you a sarong as a part of the trip.
Everyone enters the temples are expected to cover their knees and shoulders. And as the travelers, we should follow the dress code to show our respect to Bali’s culture and religion.
BALI IS THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF MODERN AND TRADITION, MOUNTAINS AND BEACHES
Bali is the perfect combo of mountains and beaches. The varied beaches in Bali can accommodate all of great sport activities from parachuting, scuba diving, snorkeling to surfing, sea walking, etc. Besides, Bali is a great destination for jungle escape, sunrise and sunset watching on the top of the mountains; Bali will never disappoint the adventurers.
Bali is a charm mix between tradition and modern. Whoever you are, a luxury travelers or a backpacker, Bali will surprisingly meet all your travelling plan. There are many blend of the stunning villas with beautiful paddy field or volcano mountain view balance and modern architecture. Art, culture, food style, both modern and tradition, everywhere in Bali, and impossible to miss.
BALI’S BEACHES ARE DIRTY
I love Bali but it is sad that most of Bali’s beaches are full of plastic, containers and rubbish, especially Sanur Beach where there are plenty of water sports activities. We went sea walking, the water was not really pure and there were not many fish around the snorkeling area. Going sea walking, instead of seeing a blue sky from the bottom of the sea, we were covered by a rubbish surface above us.
Bali are warm and welcoming, I love Bali’s culture and people and I would love to go back there but not the beaches. There are maybe many misleading threads on the social media, but I just want to be honest that the Bali’s beaches are really disappointed me.
Hope you find some useful information for your trip!!