Many people talk about how amazing Bali is and its heaven on earth, but my experience with it compared to other Asian countries was much different. I don’t want to discourage people from visiting because the views are beautiful but Diva Empire Travel wants to bring up a few points what you don’t typical hear about.
1. Overall I encourage people to go with a tour group, unless of course its special occasions like a wedding destination, enjoying traveling alone or looking for your spiritual Zen. A single woman traveling with a group will save you much more headaches and energy.
2. People go there to find enlightenment with inner peace but you are going to a small island with over 4.5 million inhabitants. There is much overcrowding and very difficult to find yourself alone. There is not much silence so do not expect too much of a relaxing trip.
3. Connecting with point 2, there is enormous traffic with millions of scooters passing you from every direction. The traffic is worse than LA and you will have the biggest anxiety trying to avoid hitting someone. People pretty much drive without any traffic laws. If you are not from a similar country Diva Empire Travel advises you to find public transportation. The moment I got my rental car, I had a feeling an accident was inevitable. I was there for 2 weeks and on my last day it happened. The roads are fast and furious, aggressive driving is all that one can do.
4. The Police in Bali also do not play by the rules. While driving I took a wrong turn and was pulled over. The officer after taking my information told me that I had two options. I will take your driving license and go to court or we can agree to something else. He had come up with a fine of $300 to let us go. Of course Diva Empire Travel did negotiate and we dropped the price to $80. They will scam you and try to make money off tourists, so be aware of this behavior.
5. Each currency exchange has various rates; nothing is settled on one price. They prey on tourists so you need watch how they count your money. One trick they like to do is count the money twice, the second time they count they drop the money under the desk. As soon as I called them on this they canceled the transaction and told me to go elsewhere. Another time they had someone there to distract me with idle chat while they were counting the money. Always ask your guide for the most legit place, because you will get scammed almost everywhere.
6. Have cash on you at all times with small bills. You have to pay for bathrooms everywhere you go and credit cards will not work.
7. You will have many people come up to you for donations, even trying to show you proof how many have donated before. It is usually for shrines, but it will get tiring fast.
8. Any Shrine you visit you have to cover your legs or shoulders, but the catch is you have to “donate” to get their scarf to use. You could not even use your own scarf. There’s so many money scams at every turn, it really takes away the serenity of the places.
9. The biggest attraction “Gate of Heaven” be prepared to wait at least 2 hours. You get a number like in a deli and wait in line for a photo. You will have to cover your legs and shoulders and be prepared to pay for “their” scarves. They will even give you attitude if you tie it the wrong way. Women on periods are banned from going in. The reality of this place is much different than the photos. Diva Empire Travel would give this location 3 out of 5 rating.
10. Bali is not a place to go party. Diva Empire Travel does not promote drug usage, but the penalty for any drugs are very high and not worth the consequences in Bali. Drug traffickers can get the death penalty and many who try to sell to tourists are working together with the cops. The system is set up for zero drugs and to make money off anyone who tries.
11. Balance how you eat in Bali. In hotels the portions are very small and expensive. You have better luck eating from street vendors but Diva Empire Travel recommends at least places with Air Conditioning to not have the food spoil. Overall be prepared for paying a lot for food and chances of getting sick so always ask the hotel concierge for local spots.
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