Traffic- After spending the last few days riding around on a scooter through sunshine and rain, day and night, I have had to learn the rules of the road; or should I say, lack there of to make sure I don't get myself injured. Although there are lanes, markings on the roads, pedestrian crossings and few traffic lights in the busier areas of Bali there are no real set road rules but, there are small things you pick up on to help you get around with ease.
Honking your horn over here isn't seen as aggressive, it's a polite way of letting someone know that you are behind them and may be over taking soon, changing lanes or dodging a road block ahead (a parked car or a stray dog for instance). I've noticed all the locals doing this and it definitely has helped me out when I've been in peak hour traffic on congested streets and don't have time to check my mirrors or turn my head every 2 seconds for the 30 mopeds behind and beside me. Also indicating isn't really a thing. Some do, some don't. So don't always bank on the car/bike ahead to continue on a straight path.
Turning into oncoming traffic sounds quite dangerous in theory but everyone is very aware of their surroundings and will stop for you if you start turning in front of them. Obviously pick and choose your battles. It's good to wait for a lull in the traffic but sometimes there just isn't one and again you have to beep your horn a few times, put your hand out if need be and start turning in slowly. I have had no near misses and everyone gives way and makes room for everyone. It did feel quite chaotic at first but after a few days I feel like an old battler on these Bali streets.
I think the locals tend to give way to foreigners as well if that helps. I also think if there are going to be any accidents on the road it will most likely be drunk tourists or inexperienced riders. Good idea not to drive if you're drunk and always wear a helmet. If you intend on getting a motorcycle over here on your next holiday I would advise driving around the quieter areas and streets first to get your confidence up and then tackle Seminyak/Kuta/Denpasar when you are feeling 100% confident. Also it's good to check over your vehicle before riding. The first scooter I'd hired the speedometer didn't budge from 0 and the left brake didn't work at all.
Stray dogs- They look mostly cute and friendly but I have had a few hairy run in's with 1 in particular that must live/hang around a few doors down from my Villa in Canggu. Every time I drive past it no matter what the speed, it arcs up and starts barking and then tries to bite at my feet. I think they must be hungry, don't get a lot of love and they don't seem to like scooters- who can blame them really. I was so petrified the other night driving back to my Villa late at night that I went and bought some dog food from a local Kwik-E Mart to throw at it but also a kind man offered to drive back with me as back up protection and when we got back to mine, the dog was no where to be seen! How embarrassing!
He told me to never stare the dog/s in the eyes for too long as this is seen as a threat to them and to show confidence around them. I have been doing this the last 2 days and no more run ins so far. Will keep you posted! Also this is just my experiences with stray dogs, I'm sorry if I've shone a bad light on all strays, I'm sure there are some beautiful friendly dogs in Bali I just haven't met yet :) The stray cats are gorgeous though! I have been feeding a family of kittens every day that must live in the storage cupboard of where I'm staying. They are so tiny and malnourished though I wish I could take them home with me. I am cautious of infections and diseases though so I always wash my hands and sanitise after patting any I come in contact with.
Snakes- I've had 2 cross my path in front of me while driving. 1 on a highway back to my Villa late at night- I had to swerve to miss it and the other today on my way in to Seminyak, just casually slipping off into the bushes after crossing a busy street! The 2 I've seen were really big brown snakes, quite dull in colour. After looking up common snakes seen in Bali I think they were both (Naja Sputatrik) Javan spitting Cobra. These guys are apparently really venomous and can spit accurately from 2 metres away so I am feeling really lucky to have dodged a bullet on both accounts. They like to live in old rat holes in the ground and be cautious on the roads when driving at night. They are mostly found at ground level but can climb quite actively in trees when chased.
ATM's- As I mentioned in my previous blog post ATM's are a bit different over here to back home in Australia. Make sure you wait till the very end of the transaction after the money has been dispensed to take your bank card. I stupidly bailed too early and left mine in an ATM after landing. You can get a temporary card sent over but it is a bit of a pain. I was told mine would arrive within 24 hours but am still waiting for it to arrive. Apparently it's scheduled to arrive tomorrow so it's not the end of the world. Learn by my mistakes and don't forget your card, have a back up or just get a travel card! Rookie error on my behalf!
Indonesian Rupiah- I feel like I've got the money down pat now. 1 million IDR sounds like a lot but really it's only $100 AUD. Once you get your head around all the extra zero's it's pretty easy to stay on top of your spendings. The way I work it out is 10,000 IDR = $1 AUD (roughly), 100,000 IDR = $10 AUD and so on. Also the notes are paper... so remember to take them out of your pocket before swimming! Last time I was here I'd gotten out a big wad of cash and jumped in the pool. I then had to lay them out in the sun and make sure they didn't blow away while drying out haha!
Hit my up on DM on Instagram at @daisydoes_ if you have any questions, tips you'd like to know and even suggestions for future blog posts :)
Here's the cute stray cats from my Villa to brighten your day!