Bali is famous for the beaches, the markets and the people. It’s famous for the luxury hotels, the amazing bars and clubs, and the numerous activities on the island. If you are an Australian and haven’t been to Bali, then you will likely get weird looks. If you are an American and have been to Bali, then your friends will be envious of your travels to what they call an exotic island.
Aside from the beauty, Bali is also famous for the amounts of tourists. Flocking the streets and tourist hot spots, sometimes you wonder if you if you have left western civilisation. Hordes of families, party goers and travellers, there has to be a way to stay away from the flocks of tourists.
Here are our 6 tips to avoid the crowds in Bali.
Fly A Different Route
Flying from Australia to Bali is extremely easy with airlines such as Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar all flying direct. Yes you may get there quickly, however you won’t get the sense that you have left Australia until you have landed as the majority of flyers will be Aussies.
Going via another city is a great way to see two countries on one trip. Singapore Airlines fly daily via Singapore and if you love shopping and food, it’s the perfect place for a few nights. Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur is another great way to get to to Bali and finally Thai Airways via Bangkok.
Do I Need A Driver?
While you are in Bali it’s definitely worthwhile booking* a driver, especially from the airport. Arriving into Denpasar can be a chaotic scene if you haven’t organised any transport options so booking a hotel transfer or a private driver should be on your pre-list of things to do.
On arrival, expect a lot of people trying to get your attention, trying to convince you they are authorised taxi drivers, trying to convince you they have a licence to sell their driving services and trying to convince you they have the best price in town where in reality you will not be able to haggle and also be paying more.
*to book a driver or transfer in advance, contact us here.
I Heard Kuta Was Where You Need To Be
Well you heard wrong, Kuta is definiltely a part of Bali that you shouldn’t stay at. It’s hectic and it’s not the real Bali. If you are after cheap backpacker bars, touristy restaurants where the food isn’t great or that cheap Bintang singlet, then maybe Kuta is for you.
But if you are reading this article, chances are you are like me and want somewhere nice to stay that will give you an authentic luxury experience. Why not stay in Uluwatu where you will find amazing beaches and ultra luxe villas without the crowds of tourists. Or for something uniquely Bali, head up into Ubud and stay in one of the many luxury properties that are just outside of town. If you want somewhere even more secluded and truly Balinese, then check out The Damai which is located on the northern part of the island.
Should I Book A Tour With The Hotel Or With An Online Tour Company?
Now depending on your budget and the type of traveller that you are, you may want to consider a tour while in Bali. Some of our readers prefer using the hotel tours and some prefer hiring a local from an online company. There are pros and cons of both but here are a few tips to avoid the tourist traps.
Heading out on a tour with the hotel will be more expensive than hiring a tour company online, however you are likely to get a more exclusive luxury experience away from the tourist hot spots. The private cars will be of a higher quality, the driver will have had training to deal with the high end luxury client and most importantly the hotel would have done it’s due diligence to make sure that the places you see are authentic, safe and of a standard worth seeing.
If you plan to book a tour with an online tour company, there is nothing wrong with this option and I have done this previously before. Some have been great and some have been not up to standard.
The great thing about booking with a local tour company is that you would generally be supporting a local and their family, putting money back into their hands directly. They will also be able to show you the local side of Bali and spots which they know from first hand experience.
The downside, which is what I have experienced before is that you are also likely to be taken to places right in the heart of where all the tourists go and where the company is on a commission. This may be a market where the driver earns money if you buy items, or a restaurant that may not be of the highest quality which claims to have “local food”.
One tip of advice…do your research!
Everyone Says How Cheap The Massages Are
Bali would have to be one of the cheapest places in the world for massages. On every corner in Kuta and Seminyak there are places to get reflexology or a Balinese massage and when you compare it to prices back home, it’s definitely a bargain.
Even though it’s cheap, it’s unlikely to be a relaxing experience as you are crammed in a room with 10-15 other people and privacy is the last thing you will be getting. Tourists will be talking to each other while you are trying to relax, or even worse, they will be drunk from one of the many bars from the night before and it doesn’t make for a pleasant experience.
My recommendation would be to head to one of the luxury hotel spa’s where the massage therapists are internationally trained and where you leaving feeling an absolute sense of relaxation that you will not get from your $10 massage off the street.
Get Up Early
Some parts of Bali are known for the drunken tourists and unfortunately even though the whole island isn’t like this, it can have this stigma. A great way to avoid the crowds is to get up nice and early to see the sights. While a lot of the tourists are hungover and still recovering from the night before, it’s the best time to get up and watch that sunrise or explore the local markets. It’s also a great way to avoid the traffic as by mid morning you are likely to be stuck in a jam.
To find out more or to plan your next Bali trip