The idyllic verdant terraced slopes, the picture perfect temples with the jaw dropping backdrop of a rising sun, the overtly friendly natives and the lip smacking cuisine comprise Bali, the tropical paradise in Indonesia.
Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in south East Asia with an array of splendid beaches, towering mountains, majestic volcanoes, great water sports, intricate woodcarvings and sculptures and paintings that showcase this natural beauty.
Once you have got over the euphoria of the beauty of this tropical paradise, the hard realities of daily life hit you. If you are new to Bali, here are few things that you should know about this tropical island.
You can live in a bungalow or the conventional type of house depending on your budget. Whichever be the case the best way to find an ideal house is through “word of mouth.”
If you are looking at a bungalow then be sure about the neighborhood and the facilities in the house, as many of these houses do not have a fully equipped kitchen.
Foreigners cannot buy property in Bali, you can only rent. Here rentals are paid for the entire year upfront. Once you finalize a deal always ensure that you make the deal official by using a notary.
If you opt for conventional house then there are plenty of them too and they come with a caretaker. But this kind of accommodation is more expensive as they are catered to foreign residents mainly.
Other basic amenities
Though Bali is getting modernized, the internet connection in residential areas is still patchy. There are frequent power outages and mosquito troublesome. Local shopping is cheap and the produce is fresh but if you want international stuff you end up paying hefty price and all of it available in Denpasar.
The roads are bad and the traffic is chaotic to say the least. The locals use two wheelers frequently to travel across the island. There is practically no public transport here and people generally use minivans or Bemo to commute.
Indonesian health care is not up to world class standards but there are several specialized clinics complete with ICUs and emergency rooms. The Sanglah Public Hospital is the biggest and is located in Denpasar. Expats who want English speaking nurses and doctors can go to
International SOS Clinic and the BIMC Hospital located in Kuta.
There are several international schools and preschools of repute that follow the Montessori system and Waldorf teaching methods.
Local Language, climate and religion
Bahasa is the local language of the people. Though most of the Indonesian can speak English and Dutch (Indonesia was a former Dutch Colony). English is used in businesses and multinational companies. The climate is hot and humid all through the year expect in the mountains.
Bali is predominantly Hindu though there is a sizable Muslim population too.
A few things to take heed of about the Indonesian culture
• Respect the elders and the local gods and rituals.
• It is customary to shake hands and to wait for food to be offered before sampling.
• Before sampling food when in someone’s home, wait until it is offered
• The left hand and feet are considered unclean and should not be used to point at anything.
• Chewing gum in public is considered rude.
• It is considered insensitive to eat or drink in front a Muslim who is fasting.
• Women are expected to be modestly dressed and cover their body fully.
You are all set to enjoy the sandy beaches dotted with lush palm trees and the never ending blue sea!