Traveling so easy a Gingerbread can do it!
Negotiating is the Balinese way of life.
When shopping at markets start offering 50% of the price and reach a slightly higher compromise with the seller. Many established shops accept Visa, American Express, or Master Card. The markets in Bali resemble an outdoor Pier One. Distressed dressers, massive ornate mirrors, beautiful wooden giraffes, beautifully carved picture frames, and drift wood sculptures are for sale all over the island.
Buddhist offerings are everywhere.
Watch your step. Offerings of rice, flowers, and incense arranged on banana leaves are everywhere; on steps of restaurants, homes, stores, along sidewalks, and on shrines or statues. We even saw on offering on the front step of KFC. The abundance of offerings gives the air a faint smell of incense.
The roads weren’t designed to handle tourism traffic.
We reserved a taxi for 3 hours one morning. It arrived at 8:30am and we informed the driver we would like to visit Tanah Lot Temple, 23 miles away, and then dropped off at Semiyak Beach. He laughed. 90 minutes later, we only covered about 10 miles. We then realized he laughed because it would take much longer than 3 hours, not because we would use only a fraction of our time frame. He recommended we leave much earlier in the future. The single lane, curvy mountain roads of Bali are unable to handle the tourism traffic. Unfortunately, our attempts to leave earlier were unsuccessful. Every morning our prearranged taxis arrived 30-60 minutes late due to traffic.
There are a lot of beach hawkers.
There is a steady stream of beach hawkers selling sarongs, hats, paintings, watches, necklaces, toys, and more. A simple shake of the head or saying no thank you will keep them moving on to the next beach lounger. Also along the beaches are many stands selling cold beer. Most can be purchased for 25,000 Rupiah, only $1.71 USD. Water and fruit juices were also available.
Visiting the Gili Islands requires more than 1 day.
Unfortunately, our plan for a day trip to the Gili Islands was cancelled once we learned more information. Boats leave from Bali for the islands twice a day, 11:00am and 3:00pm, requiring an overnight stay. From Karma Beach it is about a 2 hour taxi ride to the marina followed by a 1-2 hour boat ride to the islands.
Beware of the Macaque monkeys.
The monkeys are known for their mischievous and occasionally aggressive behavior. Our resort advised us to keep our doors locked at all times to ensure the monkeys were unable to enter our villa. In areas the monkeys are common, keep bags securely closed and all shiny accessories are out of sight.
If seems like everyone is named Wayan and Made, it’s because they are.
In Bali, children are named depending on their birth order. The first-born is named Wayan, the second Made, third Nyoman, and the fourth Ketut, regardless of gender.
Both men and women are required to wear a sarong at temples.
Most temples provide sarongs and sashes for visitors at the entrance. Shoulders are not required to be covered. Women are prohibited from entering temples while menstruating.
All our taxi drivers wanted to be our guy. They were eager to give us a business card, arrange trips for the remainder of our stay in Bali, and encouraged us to contact them via WhatsApp. The drivers also communicated when they were running late or any changes in plans through the app.
The taxi drivers are late, but otherwise reliable.
Our resort did not offer currency exchange or an ATM. Our first ride from the resort we informed our taxi driver we had no Rupiah. He had no problem stopping at an ATM on the way to our destination. We also confirmed a return trip later that evening from Uluwatu temple. Our driver recommended we meet at a restaurant near Uluwatu temple. He arrived about 45 minutes early to makes sure we were there and everything was going well.
Take time to admire the sky at night.
Being in the Southern hemisphere the moon is “upside down” and a new selection of constellations were visible. We enjoyed taking time to star gaze on the beach after the sunset.