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Short guide to Bali

These pages contain a number of tips for travelers that are going to bring a visit to the Indonesian island of Bali soon. They are simple tips about the daily life on the island and what to expect when visiting the island. Many things will be just slightly different than at home, but it is important to locals that you at least somewhat adhere to their lifestyle.

Tips for first-time travelers to Bali

Even though Bali is one of the world's least policed territories, violent crimes are practically unheard of. Singapore, with about the same population, has five times the crime and five times the police. The secret to the low crime rate is the stabilizing influence of the banjar (village council). When crimes do take place the Balinese almost exclusively blame the Javanese or the Sasaks. As evidence, they point to the fact that after an arrest it turns out the criminals came from either Java or Lombok. Other oft-accused scapegoats are Bali Aga thieves from Kintamani in the mountains of Bali.

Beware of over-friendly strangers speaking slick English peppered with American or Australian slang. They are usually trouble, so don't be deceived by their Western-style dress or manners. Never get pushed into paying for something without bargaining first, and don't make donations without verifying the existence of the object or the authenticity of the cause.

The Balinese sometimes confuse generosity with abundance, taking advantage of your good nature and desire to be friendly. They borrow things - surfboards, sunglasses, cassettes, guitars, books - and "forget to return them" (pinjam lagi, terus hilang). With the disarming smile of a little girl, they are skilled at coaxing you into doing things you don't really want to. If you want someone to leave you alone, just say simply "Bukan adat kami." "It's not our custom."

Last revised on January 30, 2010
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