These days, being a tourist is so passé. However, being a traveller is now all the rage and everyone wants to be one. If you google “Tourist Vs. Traveller”, there are hundreds of articles dedicated to make the distinction even clearer. This time, we are not going to spot the differences, instead here is the list on the things you should do if you want to experience Bali as the locals do.
Motorbike over Cars
Ask a local about the best way to explore the island, the answer would most likely be motorcycle. The best way to discover new places or get the lowdown on a destination here on the island is to rent a motorbike, which will set you back for around IDR 60,000 (USD 5) per day.
Now when it comes to navigating your way around Bali, good internet connection on your smartphone coupled with Google Map app would suffice. However, if you want to be exposed to the island’s insider secrets, you should definitely invite a Bali local or a friend to join the ride.
Warungs over Restaurants
A significant part of being a traveller is to experience local history, traditions and culture. To do so, one can easily experience all of them by the simple act of eating. With that in mind, now you are faced with two questions: what to eat? and where to eat?
Answering the first question, you should definitely have a go on Bali’s local fares. Starts off with the famed local delicacy, Babi Guling–or suckling pig. Now for the second question, to truly live (or eat) like the locals, always opt for food at a warung instead of a restaurant. A warung is a modest small restaurant that would line up on every street, not just in Bali, but all over Indonesia–hence making it an essential part of the local’s daily lives.
Local Coffee over Starbucks
For this one, there is only one question to justify our recommendation to go for a local coffee instead of Starbucks–why would you go to Starbucks when you can find Oprah’s recommended coffee–luwak coffee–at almost every corner in Bali?
We understand that Starbucks is probably the easiest choice when it comes to getting your cup of joe everywhere in the world, and that it might find it hard to find a good local coffee places in the destination you are traveling to. Worry not! When it come to the best places for coffee in Seminyak, you got it covered with our list of Fantastic Coffee Brews and Where to Find Them. Check it out, and you won’t regret it! The list will surely please even the snobbiest of coffee snobs.
Denpasar over Kuta
Kuta is the gateway this magical island for most tourists coming to Bali, hence there is probably more tourists in that small beach side neighbourhood than actual local living and and hanging out there. So to really experience how the local live, head on out to the island’s capital, Denpasar.
The neighbourhood may not be as hype and as glimmering as Kuta or Seminyak on the tourist map, but that doesn’t mean the area is lacking of cool hangouts. In fact, these days, Denpasar is actually an up an coming neighbourhood when it comes to great cafes. One thing to keep in mind though, these spots in Denpasar are pretty well hidden (which actually add to their cool factor) so here are the list of the places you should have a go in the area:
Traditional Markets over Super Markets
When the local lifestyle is what you seek, then there is no better place to find one other than at the traditional markets. Just like many other traditional markets in the world, the real ones are the one that opens very early in the morning (when we say very early in the morning, we mean 3 AM–so…). However Bali still hold plenty of traditional markets that open at a more civilised hours. There are the really famous ones like the Ubud Market–however that one is literally have tourists bursting at its seams.
Since this article is about living like a local, then the one you should go for is Kumbasari Market in the heart of the island’s capital, Denpasar. At Kumbasari Market you’d find all the little trinkets you’d need to bring back home as trinkets or to add to your home decor. The best part is, this market is probably the only one that offers the best price for knick knacks and souvenirs on the island, providing a good haggling skills of course.
Temples over Malls
When you’re in Bali, why would you want to go to a mall instead of actually being cultured whilst at the same time enjoying beautiful view that the temples offer? We do get that this little paradise island’s Sun can be really scorching at times, and all you want to do is just to get into an air-conned space, but an air-con is nothing compared to the cool ocean breeze at the clifftop Uluwatu Temple. At the mall you get to see pretty things, but at the lakeside Ulun Danu Temple at Beratan Lake, you’d get to see a magnificent view of age-old culture juxtaposed against Bali’s natural beauty.