Want to travel to Bali? It’s a popular destination in Indonesia that especially attracts digital nomads, backpackers, honeymooners, surfers, and yoga lovers.
Bali is a dream destination for many people around the world, and the island is particularly known for its beautiful nature, Hindu temples, friendly locals, and a network of entrepreneurs and yogis.
In this travel guide, I will share everything you need to know before you travel to Bali, from my own experience.
Quick info about Bali
|Population: 4.2 million||Capital: Denpasar|
|Area: 5 780,06 km²||Language: Balinese and Bahasa|
|Country: Indonesia||Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)|
|Tidszon: UTC + 8 hours||Religion: Hinduism|
Canggu and Ubud are perhaps the two most popular destinations in Bali, but many tourists also stay in Kuta, Sanur, and Seminyak. In recent years, areas such as Uluwatu and Munduk have become trendy as well.
- Nusa Dua
- Nusa Penida
- Nusa Lembongan
- Nusa Ceningan
10 x Attractions in Bali
There are many beautiful places to visit in Bali and below are some of the most popular attractions.
|Tanah Lot||Tegallalang rice terrace|
|Ubud Monkey Forest||Goa Gajah|
|Mount Batur||Uluwatu Temple|
|Bali Gate||Pura Ulun Danu Bratan|
|Sekumpul Waterfall||Nusa islands|
5 x Beaches in Bali
The beaches in Bali are another reason why tourists from all over the world come here on vacation or honeymoon.
- Sanur Beach
- Kuta Beach
- Kelingking Beach
- Jimbaran Beach
- Legian Beach
How to travel to Bali
Roundtrip tickets are usually available from €500 to €1000 depending on your origin-destination and time of the year.
From Java in Indonesia, you can go to Bali by ferry from Ketapang to Gilimanuk. However, it’s not something that I recommend unless you’re already visiting the eastern part of Java. Boats are also available from Lombok and the Gili Islands with daily departures.
Best time of the year to visit Bali
Bali’s high-season is split into two periods, once during summer in July and August/September and again from December to January/February. However, Bali is a nice destination to visit year-round and the best time to visit Bali depends on what you want to see and do.
Despite that the rainy season is during winter, many tourists visit during these months to escape the cold in Europe and the US. Even though it rains a lot, it’s oftentimes only for a short while. The temperature is pleasant and the sun is still shining almost every day.
If you want to avoid the high-season and the crowds, I recommend that you travel to Bali during low-season or even better during shoulder season from October to December, or from March to June. The prices will be lower as well and the attractions won’t be as crowded.
The best time of the year to visit Bali for a sunny vacation and swimming would be during July and August.
How to get around Bali
Rent a motorbike
Renting a motorbike is probably the best way of exploring the island on your own. It might take some time to travel further beyond the main tourist spots, but you’ll have the freedom and be able to bypass traffic jams.
An international driving license is required to rent a motorbike. Not all places will check your license, but if you’re stopped by the police, you can get into trouble unless you carry a valid international driving license.
Just remember to be careful while driving because the traffic is bad, and many locals drive like crazy. Always wear a helmet and make sure that you have valid travel insurance.
Hire a local driver
If you’re not comfortable by driving a motorbike in Bali, I recommend that you hire a local driver to take you around. Expect to pay about €40 to €50 for a driver. In addition to having someone who drives you from place to place, most drivers have good local knowledge and know their way around the island.
Taxis in Bali has gained quite an infamous reputation for scamming tourists. There’s a taxi collective in Bali that is almost like a mafia, which almost has a monopoly on the market, which means higher prices.
However, not all taxi drivers in Bali are scammers, and if you do take a taxi, make sure to use the bluebird taxis, which are safe and reliable.
Accommodation and Hotels in Bali
There’s no shortage of hotels in Bali and they range from budget to luxury. Compared to other countries, you can stay at high-end hotels at lower rates in Bali, especially if you travel during low-season.
5-star hotels are available from €100 per night and upwards, and 3-4 star hotels are available from 25-50 Euros per night. There is also the possibility of renting an apartment via Airbnb. Or if you prefer a more local experience, you can stay in a guesthouse or even better make a homestay and stay with a local family.
It’s recommended that you book your accommodation in advance, especially during high season when the best hotels in Bali often get fully booked.
Where to stay in Bali?
Seminyak, Ubud, Canggu, Munduk, and Sanur are my favorite areas in Bali. Uluwatu is quite nice too, although a bit touristy. Where to stay in Bali will depend on your itinerary and what you prefer.
Ubud and Munduk are for example located further away from the airport and most popular tourist towns, but they will also offer a more authentic Bali experience.
Canggu is nice if you want to meet digital nomads, surfers, and yoga lovers. Seminyak has lots of beach clubs and high-end hotels, which can be nice if you’re planning to spend a lot of time on the beach.
Sanur is more relaxed and quiet with a nice beach, and it’s also from here that you can hop on ferries to the Nusa islands and Gili islands.
Price level and suggested budget
Prices in Bali differs a lot between local areas and tourist areas, but even in the touristy parts, the prices will be around 50% of what you pay in your home country. Western restaurants have meals from €7 per person and local restaurants have meals from €1.
Transportation and alcohol are two things that will add up quickly in your budget, and they are somewhat pricey compared to other things in Bali. To save money, it’s recommended to rent a motorbike or hire a local driver.
If you’re traveling as a backpacker or on a budget, you might get away with €40 to €50 per day per person. If you’re staying in a 3-4 star hotel and spend a little more money on activities and food, I suggest a budget of €50 to €100 euro per day per person.
This budget includes accommodation, activities, and dinner. Please note that some activities cost more than others, and some days you might spend less, especially if you rent a scooter and explore on your own.
Currency and credit cards
The currency used in Bali is Indonesian Rupiah and even though many hotels and shops will accept US dollars, the rate given won’t be any good. Payment by card is accepted at high-end hotels and restaurants as well as some exclusive shops.
However, Bali is mostly a cash-based society and you should always carry cash. I recommend that you withdraw cash from a local ATM with a travel card without fees.
Climate and weather
Bali has a tropical climate with humid and warm weather year-round. The average temperature is almost constant at 28-29 degrees celsius year-round during the daytime.
The dry period lasts from May/June to September and the rain period starts in November and ends sometime in March/April.
Average temperature and rainfall
|January, February, March||29°C||721 mm|
|April, May, June||28-29°C||289 mm|
|July, August, September||28°C||102 mm|
|October, November, December||29°C||468 mm|
5 x Practical tips for your trip
- Use a travel card without fees for ATM withdrawals
- Avoid the traffic if possible, Bali is much nicer outside the cities
- Always carry cash when you travel around the island
- Make sure to have a valid travel insurance
- Rent a motorbike or hire a local driver to explore the island
Waterfalls in Bali
The waterfalls in Bali have become famous for their natural beauty and chasing waterfalls is probably one of the most exciting things you can do when visiting Bali. Most of them are located in the northern part of the island and can easily be accessed from Ubud and Munduk.
- Gitgit Waterfall
- Nungnung Waterfall
- Tegenungan Waterfall
- Sekumpul Waterfall
- Banyumala Twin falls
- Kanto Lampo
- Tukad Cepung
- Tibumana waterfall
Frequently asked questions
Can you drink the tap water in Bali?
It’s highly recommended to avoid drinking tap water in Bali and it’s not considered safe to drink. Higher-end hotels often have filtered water in the shower and provide bottled water for brushing your teeth.
Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Bali?
Brushing your teeth with tap water is not recommended in Bali due to bacterias and parasites. It’s safe to shower in tap water but ensure that you don’t swallow any water when showering.
Do you need injections for Bali?
Protection from Hepatitis A and B is recommended for all travelers in addition to childhood vaccines. Additionally, vaccination against Typhoid may also be recommended. If you have any questions, you should reach out to your doctor before your trip.
What power plugs are used in Bali?
The most common power socket in Bali is of type C with two round pins. This is the same that most European countries use. However, travelers from the UK, Australia, and the U.S will need an adapter.
Do you need a visa to go to Bali?
Citizens from more than 160 countries can enjoy 30 Visa-free days when traveling to Bali. This is non-extendable. However, it’s also possible to buy an extendable visa upon arrival that can be extended for 30 more days.
More information about Bali
For many years, Bali has been seen as a dream destination and it has been a popular honeymoon destination for a long time. The island of Bali is not a separate country, despite having a distinct culture and language.
It’s part of Indonesia and is located in the Coral Triangle, which is the most biologically diverse area in the world for marine species. Unlike other parts of Indonesia, the Balinese people are predominantly Hindus and not Muslims.
They have retained their local customs, religion, and language, which makes it a very unique destination to visit. The Balinese culture is definitely interesting and when you travel to Bali, you’ll get a chance to learn more and experience it up close.
Bali has been inhabited for a long period of time, and the oldest findings date back to the Paleolithic era. It wasn’t until the 1500s that Westerners arrived for the first time on the island.
The first Europeans came from Portugal, but it was the Dutch who seized control and created the Dutch East India Company in 1602.
The Dutch and their rule lasted until the 20th century and World War II when the Japanese occupied Bali. In 1946, independence was gained from the Netherlands, and it became one of 13 administrative districts in the State of East Indonesia.
Tourism in Bali
Bali has been a popular destination for many decades now, but in recent years, the increase in international tourists has been massive. The terror attacks that happened in the early 2000s led to a decline in arrivals, and it wasn’t until a couple of years later that the numbers started to increase again.
However, nowadays, tourism makes up a large part of the income for locals, and more than 6 million tourists visit Bali annually. Instagram has had a major impact on tourism in Bali and the island continues to attract visitors who have seen dreamy photos and videos online.
Map of Bali
Most people have heard of Bali, but not everyone knows that it’s an island in Indonesia. If you wonder where Bali is located, check out the map below.
Things to avoid when you travel to Bali
- Don’t swim in a red flag zone. The currents can be deadly.
- Don’t drink the tap water in Bali
- Don’t ride a motorbike without a helmet
- Avoid ATM:s which are not attached to banks
- Street dogs that might carry diseases and parasites
- Avoid all kinds of drugs, it can lead to a lifetime jail or death sentence
- Unmarked taxis
Things I wish I knew before going to Bali
The traffic is terrible
One thing that isn’t mentioned enough is the traffic situation in Bali. It’s outright horrible and it can take anywhere between 1-2 hours to get between cities that aren’t that far from each other. This is because there are too many cars and vehicles.
Furthermore, the traffic is also dangerous due to reckless drivers. If you rent a motorbike, it’s very important to always stay focused on the road and be vigilant of what other drivers might do.
It’s a big island and distances are longer than they seem
When I traveled to Bali for the first time, I thought that most places were quite near, but it’s only the resort towns that are close to each other. If you want to explore the island beyond the main tourist trail, it can take 2-3 hours to get there.
Wi-Fi is quite unreliable
After visiting Bali, I understand why the Wi-Fi is unreliable at times because it’s still quite undeveloped and much of the island is just nature. However, it’s often mentioned as a destination for digital nomads to come and work online, and that baffled me a bit.
Because in order to be a successful digital nomad, you’ll need a speedy and reliable internet connection. Some places are better connected than others in Bali though, but Ubud, for example, had an unstable Wi-Fi connection at several places. Even some “digital nomad cafes in Bali” had quite an unreliable Wi-Fi connection.
The beaches aren’t always as beautiful as the photos show
Don’t get me wrong, there are many beautiful beaches in Bali and several of them are accessible from most tourist towns. However, some beaches are also full of trash, which is quite sad to see, especially since it’s marketed as a dream destination.
Fortunately, the issue of trash on the beaches has been getting more attention and cleanups are now organized more often.
How to cure the Bali Belly
Bali Belly is the infamous nickname for an upset stomach that many travelers will get during their trip unless precautions are taken. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, cramps, and stomach pain.
You can get Bali Belly if you swallow tap water or brush your teeth with unfiltered water. The best remedy to cure it is to drink fresh coconut juice and eat some crackers.
That Uber is a hassle to use and somewhat “illegal”
The taxi collective dislikes Uber a lot, and there have been lots of controversies where regular taxi drivers have attacked Uber drivers in Bali in recent years. Unfortunately, this makes using the app a hassle since you can’t be picked up in areas where the taxi collective handles the business.
Another ride-hail app that works better is the Indonesian Go-Jek, which is also available in Bali. However, just like Uber, Go-Jek is not welcome in areas where the taxi collective rules.
Is it safe to travel to Bali now?
Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have shaken Bali and Lombok recently and led to canceled flights and vacation plans. The natural disasters have even caused concern among tourists, who are now asking if Bali is safe to visit.
If you’re planning a trip to Bali in the near future, make sure to check the latest recommendations from your local state department. Currently, there are no restrictions or recommendations that should be of any concern.
When it comes to safety in Bali, the crime rate is low and the risk of terror attacks is also rated as low. The Balinese people are highly dependable on income from tourist activities, and safety for tourists is high.
Should you travel to Bali?
Bali is a wonderful destination in many ways, and the locals are generally very friendly. The culture is fascinating and if you aim to explore the real Bali, there are still hidden gems to discover.
Additionally, there are many beautiful hotels as well with private villas and pools that are ideal for honeymooners. Floating breakfasts are just as good as you can imagine, and the lush nature in Bali is just as beautiful as the postcards.
Also, if you’re a digital nomad, Instagrammer or just want to meet other travelers, there are few places in the world where you can meet so many like-minded people in the same place.
Overtourism is a problem in some touristy areas, but you can avoid this by exploring beyond the off-the-beaten-path. It’s a very popular destination but it shouldn’t deter you from visiting Bali because it’s truly amazing.
Want more tips before you travel to Bali? Leave a comment below!