Apart from its surf breaks, sands, and trek paths, Bali is actually a great destination for a road trip. This paradise island is small enough for you to explore around by road that it would probably only take you a whole day to circumnavigate its roads. So–because we’re nice–here are some of the tips you should have in mind when planning your road trip around this enchanting island of Gods.
One of the first things that you should consider when planning a road trip in Bali is the weather. Being a tropical island, it has only two seasons–super dry and super wet. During the dry season the temperature can reach above 30 degree Celsius, whilst on the other spectrum during the wet seasons, temperatures can reach as low as 24 degree.
The weather is everything here. It determines the kind of things you can see and/or do as well as a significant factor when deciding how you are going to get there.
Car vs. Motorbikes
Just to tell you the truth, the roads on this island are small, hence modes of transportation that are small in sizes are definitely recommended to traverse the tiny roads of Bali. That being said, the question is now whether you should pick motorbikes or cars. So here are pluses and minuses of each mode of transport:
- Easier to navigate around the island as they are small enough to get into tight spaces, which means you get to explore further
- Economical — the average cost to rent a motorbike (automatic scooters, around 100 cc) is around IDR 50,000 for 24 hours includes two helmets. Fuel price is pretty cheap as well, around IDR 7,500 per litre
- Easy to fix should it breakdown as most locals would go around in scooters or motorbikes, therefore scooter garages and spare parts are pretty much everywhere
- Park everywhere to your heart’s content
- Only fit two people. Well, it’s a scooter, so what do you expect?
- Weather problems. When it rains, you’d get wet, and when it’s hot your skin will get baked
- Safety. Yes you have helmets, but when you get in an accident–God forbid–hopefully you’d only get scratches and bruises.
- Cars have all the space you need to bring everything you want during your road trip
- Cars can be your own accommodation. You wouldn’t need to stay at dingy hostels in the middle of nowhere. You can simply sleep in the comfort of your own car–well more like comfort of your own rented car
- You’ll be dry when it rains, and you’d be comfortably cool when it’s scorching hot outside
- The streets here in Bali are mostly small. Yes, there are small cars, but the thing is even small cars would need to do a three-point turn just to make a u-turn on a double-lane roads. So, go figure
- You’ll definitely face hard times when it comes to finding parking around the island, especially at the popular spots in Bali
- Traffic has been increasing lately here on the island. So, there’s a workout for your time management skills
Knowing the local culture of wherever you are is more than just a courtesy call, it might expand your horizon on your perspective about the world. That being said, make note these points to make sure you wouldn’t take the wrong steps:
- Bali is in Indonesia, so they speak Indonesian and the currency used is Indonesian Rupiah
- The people of Bali–or Balinese–practice Balinese Hinduism, a form of Hinduism ubiquitous to this paradise island.
- The local Balinese people speak both Indonesian and traditional Balinese language
- The traditional culture is strongly bounded together with the religion they practice
- If you walk around the island, you’ll spot small trays of flower petals lying around. Do not step on them. Those trays of flowers are the offerings to the Gods and ancestors who are safeguarding the area.
- Don’t get upset if you find a road block because there a religious ceremony might be taking place, which usually involve a parade of colourful offerings, chants, and gamelan music playing along the way.
- Indonesia in general, and Bali in particular, is still a cash-based society. So, bringing a good amount of cash is paramount to your survival. In terms of credit or debit, it’s better to bring your Visa or Mastercard debit cards with you, as you can withdraw cash along the way.
- As for driving in Bali, you have to be extra vigilant as indicator lights are rarely used here (you’ll know what we mean once you’re on the road)
- When you asked for directions, locals will answer with wind direction. For example “You head north, then turn west until you find a t-junction then turn south”. Do not fret! Here are some hints:
- Local’s version of north is actually the island’s highest peak, Mount Agung, and it is located in the middle part of Bali.
- So, when you’re in the southern part of the island the The north is still the north, west is west, south is south and east is east as shown on a compass.
- It is when you’re in the northern part of Bali is when it gets tricky. Since the local’s version of north is Mount Agung, so when they say ‘north’ it actually means south, and vice versa. However, as for east and west they remain the same as shown on compass. Confused? We were too, until get on the road.
- Bring Balinese sarong at all times. Not for nothing, but just in case you wanted to visit some sacred places along the way, the sarong will definitely come in handy. Also it helps when you wanted to do an impromptu picnic.
There are so many routes to take when you are planning to explore Bali through its roads for you to choose from. However for this one, we divided them into two: Up The Hill–for those who are more into mountainous sights–and By The Coastlines–for the thalassophiles out there.
Up The Hill
This route will take you to see Bali’s lush natural surroundings complete with the waterfalls, lakes and rivers that you are not used to–that’s TLC reference for you *wink*.
By The Coastlines
First off, there won’t be any pop-culture reference here, but this route will take you to see the Bali’s amazing gradient of sands that goes from the milky white of the south coast, to the beige, grey and sparkling black sands of the north. It is a longer route, taking about 12 hours (excluding petrol stops, bathroom breaks, etc), but well worth a try. Bali has all the sand colours there are–except for pink, which is available in the neighbouring island but that is for another story.
Your Island Hub: Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach
Having a hub for your ultimate Bali road trip is a must, and Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach will be the perfect spot for it. Why? Well, you can click here for the 5 reasons why you should choose this new resort. But to expand on more reasons here are the extra two reasons why Hotel Indigo Bali would be the perfect hub for your Bali road adventure:
The Neighbourhood Hosts
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach offers a unique service which comes in a form of Neighbourhood Host. the Neighbourhood Host is a personalised service where you can ask everything you’d like to know about Bali. in fact for a small adventure around Seminyak, they are ready with the perfect itineraries to fit any kind of interests from shopping and food, to culture and fun activities.
Despite being located in heart of Bali’s most lively neighbourhood, Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach uniquely presents a rather quiet and peaceful atmosphere enclave within its grounds. This serene atmosphere will definitely helps you to relieve the stress of being on the road for hours on end.