Bali is a crazy strange place for first-time arrivals and besides being overwhelming [that includes starting at the airport] it is a full-on experience. For those of us who have years under-our-belts it’s a bit of the ‘ol ho-hum usual. There are several things new travellers to Bali could bring with them that would be helpful during their stay on the island.
Of course good common sense and sometimes logic helps but of course it is a matter of letting-go and stop ‘thinking western’ and expecting everything to be just like home because it just isn’t. If you can let yourself go and immerse yourself into the fascinating culture then an awesome experience awaits you. However, it is the material things that help when you visit Bali (besides money!].
First Aid Kit: Without a doubt the first thing you should throw into your suitcase or backpack, and, make sure it is up-to-date. Suggested medications to include in your first aid kit are analgesics (Tylenol, ASA, codeine), antimalarials (discuss with medical professional), antidiarrheal (Imodium, Pepto-Bismol); antibiotic such as Cipro, Zithromax), rehydration salts (Gastrolyte), antihistamine (Benadryl), sunscreen and the usual prescription and non-prescription medications used regularly. Others to be included in your kit should bandaids, tensor bandage, tweezers, Swiss Army knife, insect repellent. Or, if you don’t want to make up your own then simply buy one from any Red Cross store.
Guidebook and Balinese / Indonesian Phrase Book: There is a literal plethora of these in any bookshop in the city where you live. It’s best to purchase these at home as they can be expensive in Indonesia. Before you leave for Bali, browse through the guidebook and obtain some idea of the paces you want to visit. Learn from the phrasebook even if it’s only the usual greetings etc. A few words of the local lingo will unlock many social encounters.
As far as guidebooks are concerned, I prefer using Rough Guides because they are very nuts & bolts oriented, listing guest houses, places to eat, festivals and good all round information.
International Driving Licence: It is very true that your mode of transportation is one of the main factors that will affect your trip to Bali. So, if you fancy taking on the crazed road skills of the local drivers and the terrain then having an International Driving Licence will allow you to rent cars and motorbikes. Make sure to obtain insurance when you rent the mode of transport you choose.
Laptop or Notebook: I wouldn’t leave home without mine! Besides being handy for detailing the events of the day, they are also a great for downloading all your images from your digital camera. Most internet cafes on the tourist strip accommodate for laptop use. The size is up to you but a 15” like the one I use is excellent. They are also for recording all the special people you meet and names of cool places you encounter.
Ear plugs: These are easily purchased at any chemist or camping store. The reason I have added earplugs to this list is because they are useful if you wind up in a hotel on a busy street. Also, most of the 5 star hotels have ‘theme nights’ and these can be quite rowdy through until the early hours.