What you will experience during your stay in Bali. 10 little things you will definitely see, feel and start to love. It’s simply Bali style.
1. A smile wherever you go
Balinese people are the most friendly and lovely people. They welcome you with a smile, they talk to you with pride and tell you about their personal accomplishments. You will easily get to know Balinese people as they appear to be open and welcoming to foreigners. Their infectious smile does not fade even if there are misunderstandings or problems. Just keep on smiling and you will immediately become part of this positive environment. Wherever you go …
2. Music is all around you
In Bali, music is everywhere. Sometimes the sound system might not be the best and you hear cracking sounds and noises from loudspeakers. Yet, it doesn’t matter at all! Balinese people love music, no matter whether it is international or local music. They love to sing along. And even if there is no music around them, they just start singing! Many of them know song lyrics by heart and do not hesitate to share this knowledge with their environment. Taksi drivers, guides, shop owners or even surfing instructors in the middle of the waves love to sing and are happy if you join them.
3. Funny souvenirs and what they mean
Sometimes it appears that the souvenirs sold in the little shops along the streets do not have anything to do with Bali. And yes, that’s a fact. You will encounter little guitars with the Beatles’ logo (of course, I would have bought something like that in Liverpool … J), sparkling signs saying “Ibiza” or even wooden penis figures. Phallus symbols that are supposed to bring luck. Little pink penises with flowers on it let me finally ask a Balinese expert what they really mean. It’s all about luck? Not really. It’s just a touristy thing, does not have any meaning at all. You do not have to buy a wooden penis to be lucky 😉
4. Lovely offerings for harmony
Balinese people are very faithful. Hindu temples of all sizes can be found everywhere. The Balinese believe in the co-existence of good and evil. Both sides have their right and are just normal in every person, every thing and every action. This is why they put little offerings to balance the good and the bad in life. These offerings contain flowers, cookies, sometimes even some money or soy sauce. Whatever they have to give. These offerings are put in front of houses, inside of cars or directly to the little temples to satisfy the spirits. They sometimes are just put onto the streets or sidewalks, but don’t worry, it is not a big deal if you step inside an offering. Balinese people say that the spirit has already seen it and has taken whatever it needs.
5. Heavy traffic and motor scooters
One of the first things you will see in Bali is the heavy traffic. As soon as you arrive at the airport, you will witness the congestion on the streets. Of course there are certain areas where traffic is especially heavy. You will also see uncountable motor scooters and manifold ways of driving them. Not everyone is wearing a helmet and you will also see a number of people sitting on the little scooters, also children. Often, the drivers wear helmets and the fellow passengers go without, even children. Sometimes you will see heavy and bulky loads on scooters, and they do not hold a steady course. You may even find scooters on the sidewalks, so please always be alert to possible traffic even when you are walking on designated foot paths.
6. Traffic noise and honking
When talking about traffic, you will also witness the noise factor on the streets. It’s not only the engines and the number of vehicles on the roads, it is also the constant honking. Wherever you go, you will hear honks from cars, trucks, taksis and scooters. They do not only honk to warn of a possible hazard, they also honk in order to draw attention to their presence on the street. They honk just before a curve of the road, they honk when overtaking, they honk to say “hey, it’s my turn, you have to wait”. Taksis also honk to show that they are available. And sometimes people even talk with each other across vehicles.
7. Animal encounters
When you go to Southeast Asia you always have to watch out for animals. Geckos and lizards can be found everywhere you can also find plants, bushes or trees. What you might also know from other Asian countries, is the great amount of stray dogs and cats. Don’t be afraid, they don’t even approach you or beg for food. They are just there. However, if you leave food lying around openly, they will definitely give it a try … even on the top of a volcano! If you are keen on monkeys, you have to visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud, where monkeys are living in their natural environment and have fun pick-pocketing the tourists. If you don’t tease them, they won’t harm you. But they might try to delouse you when they find themselves sitting on your shoulders …
8. Yoga for your physical and mental fitness
If you are interested in Yoga, you will find lots of opportunities in Bali. Ubud is the Yoga centre of Bali and there are numerous Yoga Retreats and classes you can join. However, anywhere on the island you can find Yoga places where you can attend a session spontaneously. We tried the Prana Spa in Seminyak and were welcomed for one and half hours of intense Yoga. Even though the session is for all kinds of Yoga styles and levels, it is very demanding. The good thing about Yoga: You just practice it within your own capabilities and ambitions. Just try it out and be prepared for a really hot Yoga session 😉
9. Spa and beauty
“Massage, manicure, pedicure!” You will hear these words everywhere. There are many spas of various sizes that offer you packages with names like “Yasmine Heaven”. And if you pick the right spot, they really take you to heaven. If you opt for a Balinese massage (you can always choose between medium and strong) be prepared for intense muscle stimulation, it’s not for the light-hearted. Body scrubs get rid of sun damaged skin and a yoghurt polish helps rejuvenating. If you have the option, choose a flower bath, where the water is covered with colourful flowers smelling like heaven. You will also find so called “fish spa” for your feet. Tiny fish “eat” the dead skin from your feet. Followed by a foot scrub and your feet will feel brand new. My personal recommendation: The fish spa and a foot scrub are better done at the end of your stay. The sand and streets are steaming hot in the Bali sun and you need some protection otherwise you will burn your soles. Let the fish eat this protection at the end of your stay and return back home with silky feet!
10. Fabulous food and fruits
Bali’s kitchens are waiting for you with fabulous food and drinks. It already starts with breakfast, when you begin your day with a freshly squeezed fruit juice. Try my favourite – watermelon juice – and also try one of the creative smoothies that are offered at juice bars. Bananarama or vanilla with beans … I could go on like this forever J
Still your hunger with the typical chicken sate with peanut sauce and rice. This bargain can be found in little shops along the streets for about 2 Euros. Another thing that appears in the menus of various Southeast Asian countries is Chicken Cashew … it is the perfect light dish for the hot climate in Bali. And for the sweet teeth among us, there are variations of crepes or fried bananas and jack fruit. Sometimes you can also find special milk-shakes such as the Snickers milk-shake we found in a restaurant in Seminyak. You won’t stay hungry for a long time … it’s just delicious!
And everything is accompanied by the wonderful scent of the frangipani flower … mmmmhhhh! Enjoy Bali style…