After taking places like Koh Phangan, Vang Vieng and Boracay by storm, you may have figured that you have conquered all of Southeast Asia with all your partypacker friends. Alas, there is one more major hub that you have forgotten about.
Being the only part of this region sitting beneath the equator, Indonesia contains over 17,000 islands just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed to the max. Many are underdeveloped however, lacking services that you may need to feel comfortable during your time here.
Bali, sitting east Java in the centre of the country, is not one of those places. Being well-known to travelers and surfers since the 1970’s, this open-minded island has all the amenities and the attractions you and your compadres need to have the best holiday that you’ll barely remember in Southeast Asia.
In order to make the most of your time there, refer to the helpful tips that we have assembled for you below:
The Clubs Are Safe
Many foreigners have deep-seeded fears concerning terrorism in Bali in the wake of bombing attacks on nightclubs in 2002 and 2005. With almost ten years separating the last incident from the present, awareness, security, and enforcement of new anti-terror initiatives seem to have worked. The day to day situation on the ground is safe, fun-loving and benign.
While the risk of another attack can never be truly ruled out, risks of this occurring to you sit well down the list of hazards to your safety, most of which are self-inflicted (e.g. don’t drink and drive when piloting scooters).
Plenty To Do During The Day
When you aren’t partying like a rockstar on Poppie’s Lane or on Jalan Legian, there is plenty to occupy your crew during the day. The major thing to tackle here is surfing, as the offshore break generates very consistent waves through the year, and when you bail (and that will happen a lot while you learn), the landings are very sift, as the bottom is predominantly sand. Also, there is tonnes of shopping that can be undertaken, from the upscale boutiques of Seminyak, to the trinket stalls that line the laneways near Kuta Beach.
Foods Of All Flavours Are Available
Being an international zone of sorts, Bali has a slate of cuisines that span the global spectrum, from English to Italian and even Mexican (despite being literally on the other side of the world from Bali). This is to say nothing of the native Indonesian fare, which offers the multi-variate flavours of Nasi Campur (rice that is topped with a bewildering array of curries, meats, eggs, and so on) Bakso, a meatball soup, and a Balinese speciality Babi Guling, a suckling pig dish that will have you licking your fingers with delight long after the meal has concluded.
Stay Away From Drugs
While strolling the lanes that sit behind the lengthy Kuta Beach, you will see countless signs advertising Magic Mushrooms, and men whispering surreptitiously in your ear if you want some killer ganja. Despite the overt promotion of these substances, they are fully illegal and carry severe punishments for mere consumption, landing the average convict in jail for 5+ years in an Indonesian prison. Buy in bulk (considered trafficking over a certain amount) and you pay the ultimate price: death.
Counting on bribing your way out of trouble isn’t a guarantee these days, as recent anti-corruption drives have started close the loophole on this classic backpacker solution. Just stay away from anything that isn’t a Bintang, and you’ll be fine!
Respect The Locals
You may have escaped the icy clutches of the polar vortex and you will feel the need to soak up the rays and heat every second that you spend in this island paradise. This is understandable.
However, remember that you are in a country with value much more conservative that your own, and while it is understood that shedding your clothes on the beach is what Westerners do there, going shirtless elsewhere is considered deeply offensive. You may find it physically uncomfortable at times, but being a good house guest in foreign countries is key to being treated well by the locals, now and in the future.