5 Things Bali Does Differently Than The USA


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My trip to Bali was super amazing.  It was a place that I’d been yearning to visit for years.  Even after seeing all the Instagram pictures of people visiting Bali and taking the staple photos (you know, the swing with the colorful flowing dresses, and the waterfall cascading pics??) I still wanted to experience it and find my own special take on Bali.

yoga centre ubud
welcome ceremony in yoga centre in ubud

When I travel, I’m always open minded and I always expect things to be done a little differently than I’m accustomed to.  That’s what it feels like out of the comfort zone.  It’s cool to see and know other ways things are done.

In Bali, there were 5 things that I noticed were common practice or very different from what takes place in America.

#1 No plastic straws!  Now I know there are subsets of people and organizations in America that are anti-plastic, but it’s a long way from becoming the universal norm.  But in Bali, it’s the norm!  Your fresh coconut will come with a nice long paper straw or even a bamboo straw. The paper straws I had didn’t last long because they can only tolerate so much liquid over a period of time before becoming soft and unraveling but it was no issue to get another.   Wait staff probably wondered why it was taking so long for me to drink my drink and letting the paper straw die.  The bamboo straws were very cool too.  They came in various lengths and widths.  The wider the straws took some getting used to because they were much wider than a typical straw.  I know one of these days non-plastic straws will become the norm for us in the US.  I decided to do my part.  I purchased a couple of reusable stainless-steel straws from and organic store in Semiyak Bali.  They are very similar to these straws on Amazon.

#2 Are there any allergies?  Ok, now this one really blew me away!!  During my pre trip preparation and research I knew that a lot of Balinese restaurants were considerate of customers’ allergies.  Not a lot of restaurants in the US make it a point to inquire about allergies or food preferences.  Usually it’s the customers’ responsibility to ask or inform the wait staff of our allergies but every single restaurant we ate at in Bali we were asked individually after we place our orders or collectively as the wait staff reread our order back to us.  And if we were ordering from the vegan or vegetarian section the wait staff confirmed if it was our preferred diet.

#3 Have some fruit.  Now I don’t know if I can truly compare this phenomenon to what is done in the US because I’ve not put myself in a situation to experience it.  Our tour guides and drivers brought us fruit of the land.  I can understand having cold water along our tourists’ adventures but we were given a couple bags of mangosteen and rambutan and oranges.  It was a welcome gift I believe.  A way to share their native foods with us Americans. Although the mangosteen is a pretty ugly looking fruit the sweet goodness inside will have you eating a whole bag of them.  Such a sweet delight.  And of course, there’s the healing properties of mangosteen.  The list of benefits is quite long.  And the rambutan as they call it, reminded me of lychee.  They aren’t the same but definitely fruit cousins.  I’m not an orange fan so I didn’t try the Balinese oranges.  The mangosteen was the perfect greeting and welcome to Bali treat.

#4 Stop and smell the incense.  Everyday everywhere you will smell incenses in Bali.  It’s part of their daily offering and a part of ceremonial rituals.  In America incense are commonly just used as air fresheners.  I’m not saying that’s the only use but not many Americas are lighting incense daily to offer up thanks or acknowledgement. We simply like how they smell.  Every door or entrance in Bali had an offering which always, it seemed, to have an incense burning.  The various scents all combined make the whole country just smell calm and relaxed – if there’s a smell for that!  I love incenses  and have burned them for a sense of renewal and cleansing.  I was happy to purchase some while in Bali.  I also have some incenses that don’t even need to be burned to give off their relaxing calm scent.

#5 Do you have Wi-Fi?  Ok, so this one isn’t exclusive to Bali, but it is worth mentioning.  In the USA, have you ever tried to use an establishment’s Wi-Fi? The one requiring a password?  Well in my experience either the person I ask doesn’t know the password or there isn’t Wi-Fi for “the public”.  I’ve noticed in many other countries – definitely Europe but also in Indonesia- Bali specifically- it’s advertised that there’s Wi-Fi available.  To walk into a place and have the password given to you with no hesitation or even have the staff put the code in your phone for you was the ultimate in customer service and convenience.  I know we don’t always need to be connected and we should live in the true moment but what if you want to live in the moment with your IG or FB followers via a live broadcast?  Thanks for the access to the Wi-Fi!

Bali was a breath of fresh air and fresh perspective.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience something new and step outside of my comfort zone.

Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot Bali
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