A month ago I arrived in Bali, yes this island paradise where the sky is so blue and the rice fields so green they always look photoshopped. But let's be serious, I came here to work. I'm a student in a French business school and I took a gap year to do some internships and maybe discover what I want to do with my life… apart from travelling. So I'm doing an internship in a really nice startup called Bedforest which provides all kind of accommodation all over Indonesia and gives back part of its commissions to local NGOs. So that's it for the “why” I'm in Bali.
Luckily for me, my workdays are quite flexible and I still can have long weekends to discover this amazing island.
My First Impression Of Bali
I love it.
Bali is a wonderful place to visit or to live in. I was, and still am, surprised by the kindness of local people. They really live up to their reputation. Many times I found myself lost and people would come to rescue me without even having to call for help. By the way, having a GPS on your phone can REALLY save you a lot of troubles in Bali because most of the places don't have real addresses. Knowing their geolocalisation is the best way not to get lost.
Bali has a lot to offer : beautiful landscapes, nice beaches, good food, great people and hundreds of things to do! If you're homesick you can find almost every food products you want (french food is what I usually miss the most when I travel 😉 ). There's even an Alsatian shop! And you'll meet people from all over Indonesia and the world. Bali is an incredible melting pot.
How To Travel In Bali?
My advice: rent a scooter! Yes it might seem scary at first if you've never drove one before, but I promise it's super easy and you'll be an expert in no time. But please, wear a helmet! Too many tourists and locals skip this basic safety measure, don't imitate them. I agree it's great to feel the wind blowing through your hair but the risk is not worth it.
At first I thought about renting a bicycle… It's more eco-friendly than a scooter and it's a good way to do free exercise. But let's face it, Bali is way too hot for biking. And since there are no bicycle path anywhere, I feel safer on a scooter.
Renting a car isn't a good idea and I would recommend you to avoid it if you can. In fact, I was surprised by Bali's intense traffic. Traffic jams might be the island's only flaw. But at least on a scooter you're not stuck between cars and you can usually get out of minor traffic jams much faster. And if, like me, you don't want to breathe exhaust gases, buy a mask for the rush hour traffic. You can find some in every pharmacies.
I also like travelling with a scooter because it makes me feel more connected to the country. Let me explain myself. In a car, you can't appreciate as much the landscapes as when you're on a scooter. With a scooter you can easily stop everywhere you want to admire the view or take pictures or look at the kites that populate the sky here. And it let you enjoy Bali's sounds and smells! Many times I stopped to listen to gamelan rehearsals. It is the traditional Indonesian ensemble music and it still is an important part in the local culture. And being able to smell the sate (the local skewers) and other dishes that are cooked on the roadsides is part of the Balinese experience.
Where To Stay In Bali?
Actually I realized that distances are quite small in Bali. So whether you choose to stay in Jimbaran (on the Bukit peninsula in the South of Bali), Canggu or Ubud, you'll still be able to go everywhere in Bali in less than a few hours. Personally I live in Kerobokan and really like it. It's less than 15min away
from Canggu (thanks to an amazing shortcut trough the rice fields), Petitenget or Seminyak. It's not too far from Kuta if I want to party there but far enough to avoid most of the tourist crowds. Not that I don't like tourists, I'm often one myself, but too many of them can quickly get on my nerves.
To find an accommodation you can explore the numerous Facebook groups like Canggu Housing and Accommodation group or Bali House for rent. Among all the ads for yearly rental, you can find the best deals in Bali. For short-term vacation rental you can also have a look on Bedforest site, which offers both hotel online booking and peer-to-peer accommodations.
What To Do In Bali?
Well… so many things that it's impossible to detail them here! Scuba diving, hiking, tanning, exploring, snorkeling, relaxing, surfing… The list is too long and there are too many beautiful places. Tanah Lot (go there before 8am!), Uluwatu, Green Bowl Beach, Mount Batur, Pemuteran… But I will give more details about these places in my next articles.
Basic Knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia
Speaking English is of course enough to communicate with most of the people you'll meet in Bali. But knowing a few words in Bahasa Indonesia can really help you improve your relationships with Indonesian people. And help you get out of difficult situations, like being lost… And it can make a huge difference when negotiating prices! And it is really easy so NO EXCUSE!
Survival Kit :
Good morning (before 11am) : Selamat pagi Good day (11am to 3pm) : Selamat siang Good afternoon (3pm to sunset) : Selamat sore Good evening : Selamat malam Good night : Selamat tidur Goodbye : Sampai jumpa See you soon : Sampai jumpa lagi See you tomorrow : Sampai jumpa besok How are you ? : Apa kabar? I'm good/not so good : Baik/Kurang baik My name is … : Nama saya … Excuse me : Permisi Thanks : Terima kasih (Ma kasih) You're welcome : Sama sama Where : Dimana When : Ketika I want to eat : Mau makan (pronounced “maou” makan) Would you like to eat something? : Mau makan? (everything is in the intonation) Enjoy your meal: Selamat makan
1 : satu 2 : dua 3 : tiga 4 : empat 5 : lima 6 : enam 7 : tujuh 8 : delapan 9 : sembilan 10 : sepuluh 11 : sebelas
For the numbers from 11 to 19, use word “belas” behind the single numbers i.e the number 12 is dua belas.
20 : dua puluh (for your information, ”puluh” means tens, like the “ty” in twenty) 30 : tiga puluh 40 : empat puluh) 21 : dua puluh satu (Super easy, just add single numbers behind dua puluh) 22 : dua puluh dua… And so on…
tens : puluh hundreds : ratus thousands : ribu millions : juta
So for example : 1 675 895 is “Satu juta enam ratus tujuh puluh lima ribu delapan ratus sembilan puluh lima”
Thanks for reading and sampai jumpa lagi!