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Bali: Tips, Tricks and Take-Aways

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Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

Want to know why Bali made it on our list?  I saw a friend’s picture on Instagram while she was in Bali, and I’d never seen anything like it.  It was all it took to sell me.  I didn’t even know where Bali was!  We stayed there for six weeks, and here are some of my takeaways:

Family picture in front of a huge Bali waterfall

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1. It’s so affordable. When we started to do our research, we found out how affordable it was supposed to be.  Even then, we had no idea how true that is.  We learned from locals that a good salary there is about $250 USD a month.  Trust me, you can easily find people trying to charge you for goods/food/lodging a regular price in the US.  But you can also find things for pennies on the dollar.  You can stay somewhere quite nice for $30/night.  You can eat for just a few dollars per person.  You can get a taxi driver to be with you all day and be your guide for $20-30/day.

2. Taxi drivers are your new best friend.  This could be a licensed taxi driver or just a guy with a car.  They operate the same.  They can show the island.  You can tell them if you want to best picture, if you want to see monkeys, if you want somewhere secluded, how much time you want to spend, etc.  Use them as your resource.  Yes, they are more than just using the Grab app for a ride (the Asian version of Uber); Grab has its place when you just need to get from A to B.  However, if you want to explore Bali for a day or many days, find a driver you like.  We cycled through a few in our six weeks and really came to love one in particular.  He ended up going home to be with his family in his village, and we had to find new drivers for our last couple of weeks.  However, he felt like part of the family!  Two of our kids threw up in his car; we sometimes spent 8-10 hours with him; he started helping with the kids or holding their hands to cross the street.  It was fun.  He taught us a ton about the local culture and religion.  I think he appreciated our genuine interest as well.

3. There are some creepy crawlies. This is going to sound strange, but you’ll just get used to it.  As you explore Bali, you’ll see how blessed you are to have a solid roof, clean water, trash cans, and a bed.  A few new “friends” around your room or villa just aren’t that big of a deal. We had lots of geckos around our house, especially at night when things got quiet.  In fact, they talk to each other!  We also had a mouse or two, a rat on the porch, some cockroaches, and a centipede or two.  However, as you walk down the street, you can see rats living in many of the temples, so it’s to be expected.  This was my first experience in a third-world country for more than a few days, so I had to adjust a bit.  However, I loved Bali the same way when we left!

The kids exploring the creatures in the grass

4. The natural beauty is incredible.  Part of the reason for this is poverty- development is slow, and people don’t have the resources to modernize it or fish out their oceans.  So take the good with the bad and enjoy!

5. The culture is rich and vibrant, and they like to share.  Embrace it, and they will share more and more as you show your love for it.

Do I think we could live in Bali?  You bet!  We met many families who were having great lives there.  We could build some Air BnBs (with some finagling around some of the laws and regulations) and soak up a great income in a wonderful, affordable place.  We could do some amazing work for good.  

However, I don’t feel like it is our place.   We both like a little more modern and a little bit less natural disaster risk!  The volcanos are active, mudslides are real and earthquakes and tsunamis are no joke.  One local told me the Balinese are incredible resilient and they will overcome whatever comes.  I can see that.  They embrace whatever is given and find their happiness there.  It’s a beautiful way to live.

Catch great fare deals from Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a family-friendly hotel in Bali from Booking.com, Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover more of Bali while having fun through exciting activities from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need to rent a car to navigate the city? Visit Rentalcars.com.

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads.

Want to have a family photo shoot while traveling in Bali? Check out flytographer.

Capture your best travel memories in Bali we do with a GoPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

Check out your travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!

Additional Reading

Best Eats in Bali

5 Reasons You Should Visit Bali with Kids (with Insider Tips!!)

Best Date Nights in Bali


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