In this article, I decided to write about the top 10 mistakes to avoid in Bali, Indonesia. This may help you avoid ruining your vacation because of different reasons, like getting scammed or even health problems. I stayed in Bali for 3 weeks in August 2019 and I want to share with you all the mistakes to avoid in Bali from my experience or from what I’ve read before traveling there.

Bali is paradise on Earth if you know well how to explore it and you avoid the main known mistakes. Indonesia is one of the most beautiful and cheap destinations on the planet! I’ve added it to my list of 10 cheap countries to visit. If you are interested in traveling on a budget, this article with my best 20 tips for traveling cheap my interest you. 🙂

Now, let’s go on with the tips and if you have any other ones, leave them down below in the comments!

1. Having food in your pockets/backpack when visiting the monkeys

Big mistake to avoid in Bali if you don’t want to be attacked by monkeys

Mistakes to avoid in Bali - monkeys
Monkeys - top mistakes to avoid in Bali

If you don’t want to be attacked by monkeys and get your food stolen too, don’t carry any food with you. It’s well known that a must-do in Bali is to visit the Monkey Forest. It was one of the greatest experiences, but it can turn into a very bad one if you’re not careful. It’s also advised not to try to feed the monkeys and not to carry any food.

In the Monkey Forest, they already have plenty of food, so there is no need to feed them. Also, try to watch them from distance and not interact too much. Even if most of the time they are friendly, they can be violent if you get too close or they think you want to steal their food.

2. Visiting main attractions in the middle of the day

One of the main things to avoid in Bali are the crowds

Mistakes to avoid in Bali - monkeys

Crowded trails in the middle of the day

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Empty trail in the morning – Campuhan Ridge Walk

Two things to mention here:

  1. Crowded
  2. Very hot

Especially when visiting waterfalls, they will be absolutely full of people in the middle of the day. If you want to have the entire place for yourself or share it just with a few people, you’ll need to wake up pretty early. There are multiple advantages to it, including better traffic.

In the middle of the day, there are very high chances to be stuck in traffic. We weren’t able to visit many things because of the traffic. But if we visited everything way earlier, let’s say 6 am, we would have had time to visit everything.

3. Riding your motorbike without a helmet

Because safety is a priority, even on vacation

When I visited Bali, traffic was absolutely horrific. We didn’t know how to ride a motorbike then, so we decided not to rent any at all. If you haven’t tried a scooter before, I wouldn’t recommend learning in Bali. It’s very full of bikes and cars and the streets are very narrow.

If you know how to ride a scooter, make sure you wear a helmet. It’s very important because you never know. Even if you’re great at riding and with much experience, there may be others that try it for the first time. 

4. Not using sunscreen

One of the main mistakes to avoid in Bali: making sun your enemy

Whether you believe it or not, one of the most dangerous things in Bali is the sun. Sometimes you have to consider the sun as your enemy, not your friend. To clarify this, I mean that it’s your enemy in the middle of the day, from 11 am to 3 pm. You need to use sunscreen in order to protect yourself from sunburns.

I’m not saying you should not go out at all during those hours. But you need to make sure you apply sunscreen every 2 hours. If your skin is very light-colored, you should apply SPF 50. You can still bronze even with your sunscreen on. Bali is great if you don’t need to worry about its dangers, so make sure to protect yourself. 

5. Not using mosquito repellent

Another one from the mistakes to avoid in Bali: making insects your enemies

As I told above, protecting ourselves should be a top priority. There are some diseases that mosquitoes carry, for example, yellow fever. You can also take a vaccine for it, but if you didn’t, you need to protect yourself and use mosquito repellent. 

There are some very cheap mosquito repellents you can buy from supermarkets. I bought a cream that I used once every 3-4 hours and it worked great for me! I had no mosquito bites, even if they were all around me sometimes. 

6. Not exploring the south

There are so many hidden gems in Bali that you could miss!

The south - mistakes to avoid in Bali
South Bali

I actually did this mistake too. But, fortunately, in the last 2 days in Bali, I thought of exploring the south too. It was just AMAZING! It was not crowded at all, we had some of the best views in Bali too. It was very cheap and we could explore everything by just renting a motorbike or a driver for a day.

Even though 2 days were for sure not enough, I’m happy I got even those! We stayed for 3 weeks in Ubud, because we read on the internet it’s the best place in Bali and it’s enough just to stay there. Big mistake! I would split one month like this:

  • 2 weeks in Ubud
  • one week in Gili Islands & Nusa Penida
  • one week in the south of the island

So some great places to see in the south are:

  1. Nyang Nyang Beach
  2. Uluwatu Temple
  3. Boeing 737-200 PK RII
  4. Green Bowl Beach

7. Drinking Arak

Again, safety first

Lots of people imagine themselves in a pool in Bali with a cocktail in their hand. I was doing that too before reading more of things about Bali. 

Arak is a traditional liquor that can contain up to 50% alcohol. It’s made from rice and coconut palm flowers, so until now, everything seems fine. Still, if it is not brewed correctly, it can contain methanol, making the drink potentially fatal. There have been fatalities or hospitalizations among travelers because of it. Local people may get used to it, so they drink it even in large quantities and don’t get sick. But tourists are not used to it, so it can be fatal to them.

The only 100% safe way to avoid Arak is to drink just beer or wine in terms of alcohol. There are some exceptions, for example when you go to a bar where you see exactly what they’re putting in your drink. If you see the ingredients, it’s totally fine to buy cocktails too. Please be aware that there are even free drinks offered at accommodations or boat tours that may be made with arak. You can just ask if the drink contains alcohol or not.

8. Using a non-secured ATM

One of the biggest scams to avoid in Bali

If you don’t want your card “eaten” by the ATM or your card details stolen, pay attention to this. You need to make sure you use a secured ATM that is also video monitored. It’s recommended that you don’t withdraw money from a supermarket ATM. Also, make sure it’s not in a weird area with no people or lights. It’s best if you could find an ATM right next to the bank.

9. Not paying attention at currency exchanges

Don’t let yourself be tricked that easily

The currency is very different and you may be tricked very easily. Right now, 1 USD = 14,602 Rupiah. Having so many zeros and so many coins/bills, it’s easy to get confused. They may give you for example 14.000 instead of 140.000. If you notice it too late, they may tell you that you want to trick them or that you came back too late and you have no proof. You’ll need to count the money very carefully and check on Google the currency trading. You can also calculate on your phone how much you need to get for the money you’re giving.

10. Taking overpriced taxi rides in Bali

One of the most common scams in Bali

There is so much to know about taxis in Bali. All 3 weeks when we stayed in Ubud, we would hear everywhere “Taxi?”. I think that even local people that are not licensed drivers would ask us “taxi?”. There were many people on scooter asking us even if we were 2 and they didn’t have an extra helmet for at least one of us. It was a weird experience, but make sure you only go inside real taxis.

You’ll need to get the Bluebird Taxis that are pretty good. It’s better to negotiate the price before starting the ride. Also, you can take Grab as much as you can too, for your safety also. In Ubud there were many places where Grab wasn’t legal, so we would walk a lot just to grab one. We didn’t know which taxi to trust because there were too many people asking us for taxi.