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Bali guide

Emerald terraces and powerful waterfalls, iconic beaches and sacred temples.

Everything you need for the body and soul

Places to visit in Bali. Travel tips

Bali holidays 2020 - all you need to know

Bali trip is a dream for many travelers. With its stunning beaches, breathtaking sunsets, inspiring nature, and rich traditions, Bali is one of the best vacation destinations in 2020. Legendary Balinese hospitality will make you feel welcome from the first moment, whether you are a backpacker looking for cheap Bali holidays, a just married couple planning an amazing Bali honeymoon, or a lucky family planning to get one of the travel packages to Bali. Solo female travelers will appreciate the safety on the Bali island day and night, while digital nomads will love budget accommodation in Bali along with good internet and many co-working spaces. 
I was lucky to stay for almost half a year here and happy to share with you some Bali travel tips to make the most of your vacation in this paradise on Earth.

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links which I earn a small commission from at no extra cost to you and help keep this site running.  If you like what you read please follow these links when making a purchase. Let’s keep the project running together!

 

Best time to visit Bali

Being so close to the Equator (only some 500 miles south), Bali has no significant change in temperature  - it is steady all year round, around 30-35 degrees. But there is still a difference between wet and dry seasons. This is important to take into consideration when planning a Bali tour. The wet season is Late December to April - the time when it rains most of the time, so better not book Bali vacation during this period. The dry season is between April and September. This is when Bali has the most visitors. The peak months are July and August. The best months to visit Bali are April, May, June, and September, just before and just after high season. It's still dry, slightly less humid, a lot less crowded and the prices for Bali hotels and Airbnb Bali villas can be 30-50% cheaper than during high season. 

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Hi! My name is Irina. I am a digital nomad and I lived in Bali for more than a year. Here is the most up-to-date info on the best things to do and where to stay in Bali. 

Top 10 things to do in Bali

Here is a list of the most popular Bali tour attractions and fun activities that are totally must do in Bali.

1. Climb a volcano

Maunt Batur is №1 Bali tourist attraction. Climbing the highest  mountain on the island is a challenging task: you need to start off at 3 a.m. and be prepared for about two-hour trekking, but the sunrise view at the top of the world is so rewarding! 

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2. Visit a temple

There are over 20 000 temples in Bali, all amazing in their traditional architecture, creative carvings and impressive sculptures. Of course, visiting all of them would be impossible but in order to get a grasp on local culture it is important to see the most famous ones. Take a temple tour in Bali and admire the beautiful and so instagrammable Tanah lot temple, the oldest in Bali Pura Besakih or wash off your sins and worries in the healing waters of Titra Empul. You can do it on your own or get one of the Bali temple tour packages.

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3. Learn about the local culture

Balinese are very traditional: the religious calendar dictates numerous religious celebrations and everyday rituals, followed by the local community up to this moment. Unlike many South-East Asian islands, which have been widely westernized and turned into a popular beach destination, Balinese temples, dances, and ceremonies will make your trip a unique local experience. 

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4. Enjoy a SPA

After intense hiking and trekking the best way to restore is to get a SPA treatment. Bali massage, unlike Thai massage, for instance, is very mild and relaxing. You can get a one -hour traditional massage from as low as 80k IDR (which is less than 6 euro) at a budget-friendly place. The price will go up 3 times and higher at luxury SPA retreats, for example the famous Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa. Add to his a half-hour foot massage and a flower bath and you will leave feeling completely renewed.

5. Try yoga

Yoga in Bali is just as popular as surfing. All around the island but especially in Ubud you will find plenty of yoga studios that offer single classes, retreats, and teachers’ courses.  Bali yoga retreats with their bamboo interiors, easter scents, and calming view over peaceful rice fields will help you reconnect with yourself and take your practice to a whole new level. Apart from India, where yoga originated, Bali is probably the world’s most central place for the yogi community. Here you will for sure find the best infrastructure, plenty of options and like-minded lovely people. 

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6. Eat vegan

Another must-do in Bali is healing food made of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs. The chefs here are magicians when it comes to vegan and vegetarian meals. Vegan cheesecakes, turmeric lattes, smoothie bowls are absolutely mouthwatering. And when you look at it, served on a crafted plate and decorated with nuts and flowers, every dish is a piece of art!

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7. Watch dolphins

Take a dolphin tour in Lovina to see these incredibly lovely friendly creatures, it is a lot of fun to watch them playing around! You can take a boat for a dolphin trip at sunrise in Lovina for about 100k IDR (less than 10 USD) - it is easy to book at your hotel or directly at the pier. 

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8. Hit the best beaches in Bali

Bali beach holidays are probably the first thing that comes to mind when one decides to travel to Indonesia. No wonder: there are a lot of beautiful beaches on the island. The best beaches in Bali are the White sand beach in Padang Bai for swimming, Kuta beach for surfing, and  Dreamland beach in Uluwatu for both. Take your time enjoying crystal-clear waters and flour-soft sand. Finish the day by enjoying the beach vibes at a sunset bar. 

9. Learn to surf

Among all the Bali activities, surfing is probably the most popular. Join the crowd of happy chilled people with perfect bronze-tanned bodies catching the waves. Even if you are not very fit when you start, after a short while you will be - Bali surf lessons are challenging! 
 

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10. Party till dawn

Bali nightlife is awesome! Go to one of the sunset DJ sessions, relaxed beach bars, or spectacular rooftops to hang out with other Bali travelers from all over the world. The best place to stay in Bali for nightlife is Seminyak for world-class clubs. For laid-back vibes the best party area in Bali is Canggu and for budget travelers, the best place in Bali for nightlife is definitely Kuta.

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Bali: places to visit

Even if you are limited in time, you can still see the best of Bali in a couple of weeks. Here you will find the best areas in Bali.

Ubud

Ubud is the cultural heart of the island, world-famous for its temples, holistic centers, yoga studios, and art-markets. Ubud is located in the heart of the island, away from the beach. It is surrounded by emerald-green rice-terraces and lush tropical forest. It is home to many museums and important temples. Also the legendary Monkey Forest, Ubud is a must-see for every Bali traveler. For the best things to do in Ubud, best restaurants, and Ubud hotels check this guide.

Canggu

Canggu is a tourist hotspot with luxury beach clubs, laid-back bars, and numerous restaurants with different concepts. A perfect place for surfers and everybody looking for beach party vibes. This place is extremely westernized, at any Canggu beach club you can expect good service which is priced accordingly. Canggu Bali hotels and villas are superb: designed and fully serviced 

Uluwatu

Uluwatu area, Bali is a very picturesque place in the south of Bali on the Western cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula. Beaches in Uluwatu are best for surfing, for swimming the waves will be too big. The must-see attraction in Uluwatu is Uluwatu Temple, located on edge of the cliff, and Kecak Fire Dance - don’t miss it if you are there. You can do it by yourself or join an Uluwatu sunset tour. The views here are absolutely stunning! For ideas on what to see in Uluwatu check this guide.

Kuta

One of the most famous beaches in Bali with a nice beachfront promenade and swinging nightlife. Enjoy shopping at the local markets and western malls, try some local food, or pamper yourself at a Balinese spa. Kuta is home to Waterbom, one the biggest water parks in Bali, and have fun exploring the tourist attractions like Dream Museum Zone with huge interactive paintings and Upside Down World Bali to make some fun photos. For party hot spots, Kuta hotels and hostels, and the best things to do in Kuta, Bali check out my guide.

Bali: best places to stay

Now that you have an idea  what is the best area to stay in Bali for you, you can decide on the accommodation for your holiday in Bali. You have a variety of options:

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Bali all inclusive resorts

You only live once, right? While all inclusive resorts in Bali are not very common, there are some top-rated destinations which will happily take care of everything while you are enjoying your vacation. Try Samabe Bali Suites & Villas or Banyan Tree Ungasan with their abundant packages for your Bali all inclusive holidays.

 

Best hotels in Bali

Bali 5 star hotels really offer world-class service, great dining, breathtaking views from an infinity pool and generally exceptional experience. I recommend Kuta beach heritage hotel, Hotel Indigo Seminyak and Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur. These guys know how to make your trip to Bali very special! Bali hotels are generally very nice and decently priced. 
The best beach resorts in Bali are Padma Legian resort, Garden beach resort Bali and Four Seasons Bali. These are tourist top picks, but of course there are plenty of Bali resorts to choose from. Had enough of the beach? Stay at a Bali Viceroy 5 star resort in the lush rainforest and reconnect with nature. Hanging Gardens Bali, a luxury Feng Shui-styled resort set in the lush rainforest and overlooking a beautiful river, is a perfect choice for honeymooners and nature lovers.

Beach villa, Bali

If you like your privacy, renting a villa in Bali is a perfect choice for you.  Bali honeymoon villas are very modern and equipped with everything you may need. In most cases cleaning service is also included. The best and safest way to rent a villa in Bali is Airbnb, the international service connecting the villa owners and the tenants. If you have never used Airbnb before here is your discount for the first booking.
 

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Hotel prices in Bali

 

Bali on a budget

Budget accommodation in Bali, like cheap hostels and homestays,  cost from 60k to 200k IDR per night. A single bed in a hostel starts from 60k to 100k IDR. A double room in a homestay starts from 100k to 200k per night. Naturally, a room with an air conditioner is more expensive than a room with a fan. 
Bali travelers' tip: if you are staying alone in a double room in a homestay with breakfast included, you can usually get double breakfast for yourself, because you are paying for two.


Luxury Bali holidays

While many know Bali as a budget travel destination, this island has plenty of luxury villas and retreats with amazing views, great facilities, and perfect service.  It’s here in Bali where you will find those instagrammable floating breakfasts at a private endless pool, a hammock over the jungle near your bamboo bungalow overlooking the emerald rainforest, and pampering flower bath. A villa with a pool will cost from 2,5 to 4 mln IDR per night. You can find many villas on Airbnb (if you don’t yet have an account, here is your $25 discount) or HotelsCombined - the best search engine for hotels ever. It compares the prices from other agregators you know like Booking, Agoda and others, so you can find the best value! 

 

 

 

Bali food prices

 

Food in Bali is delicious: from flavored local specialties to tastes-like-home western food, and from healthy vegan dishes to meat lovers’ feasts, it is made out of fresh ingredients and served in a nice way. The cost of food in Bali depends on the service level you want. Here are your choices.

Bali street food is extremely cheap. As you walk down the streets you will have no problem finding where to eat in Bali: all around you will see rice with toppings wrapped in a banana leaf, sate (small barbecue on a wooden stick), and other local snacks. They usually cost from 5k to 10k IDR.


For budget-minded travelers, the best places to eat in Bali are local cafes, called warungs. A meal here is 20 to 50 thousand rupiah. These are primarily aimed at locals but as many tourists and expats are their regular customers, the staff speaks English. Some of the Bali budget cafes have a menu, in others food is displayed at the window and you choose what you want. Another option for budget food in Bali is going to a donation cafe. This is a buffet, usually vegetarian, where you get the food you want and then leave some money in a donation box. Some of these places have a suggested price (usually 5-6,000 IDR per spoon), others leave the donation amount up to you to decide.

A meal at a nicer Bali restaurant, catered to western taste, will cost 80k to 150k IDR. This is the so-called tourist price. For this price you can expect a nice interior, beautifully served delicious food and great service. In addition to local cuisine, Bali is famous for its vegetarian and vegan, and raw food. Plenty of restaurants are targeted at yogis and spiritually-minded people coming from all over the world for “healing” food, healthy and delicious. Try vegan cheesecakes, turmeric lattes, and smoothie bowls - not only tasty and healthy but also served as a piece of art. 

At top restaurants in Bali, you can expect to pay from 200k IDR per course. While the price is western the service is also world-class and the food is extraordinary. Try Locavore, Ubud, the winner of Asia’s 50 best restaurants 2017, or spectacular Mejekawi, Seminyak for an amazing fine dining experience. A dinner at an international award-winning restaurant will be a nice highlight of your tour to Bali. 

Cheap hotels in Bali

While Bali is flourishing with all-inclusive resorts and fine dining restaurants, having a cheap Bali holiday is very realistic. The cheapest hotels in Bali are homestays. It is a small compound where the owner rents the rooms out and lives at the same place with his or her family. While it may seem as not much privacy, in fact you may feel more independent compared to a hotel. Every room in a homestay has a separate entrance and a terrace. Most offer free wi-fi and breakfast. The good thing about staying in a homestay is connecting to the local culture - you can socialize with the homestay owner and even get invited to some traditional events. 

Hostels in Bali

For backpackers Bali also has plenty of options. Bali hostels are diverse: from very basic low-cost dormitory rooms to vibrant travel hubs with a pool, a networking area and fun events organized for all guests. This is a great way for solo travelers to meet new people and plan some fun activities together. Check out the Farm hostel, Canggu, M boutique hostel, Seminyak and Puri Garden hostel, Ubud - to my mind, the best hostels in Bali. If spending lazy days at a beach resort is not your idea of a perfect vacation, you want to get outside and visit places in Bali, then hostels are a great place to stay for you! Find a travel buddy, save some cash and start on a new  adventure!

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How expensive is Bali

Is Bali expensive to visit? It depends on what you are looking for. Bali is full of opportunities for visitors with any budget. Here you will find everything: from luxury villas and beach resorts to friendly hostels and homestays. Either way, Bali travel costs are reasonable: it offers great value for money compared to other popular holiday destinations.
The answer to the question “how much money do I need for Bali” also depends on where you go. Bali prices are diverse as it is a large island, the general rule is the further north you go, the cheaper it gets. 

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Get around Bali

Getting around Bali is easy and very affordable. You have many options to choose from.

Public transport in Bali

There are municipal buses in Bali, but they are not very reliable and thus not widely used by tourists.There are also bemos (minivans) that can take up to 12 people in a very small space. This is the cheapest (5k IDR) but the least comfortable means to get around Bali

Tourist shuttle buses

Tourist companies in Bali offer bus services to all major destinations. They usually have air conditioning and sometimes Wi-Fi. If you need to get from one village to another, for example, Kuta to Ubud or Kuta to Seminyak, there is Kura-Kura bus offering rides to all major tourist destinations if you want to book online in advance.. There are also private companies in major tourist spots offering rides between villages.


Taxi in Bali

Bali taxi and motor taxi is easy to find, or rather they find you - everywhere you go. Uber in Bali is not very popular, to get the best deal download GoJek and Grab apps. This is a local version of a famous Uber app, where you can find a driver online. It also allows you to see the price before you order, and this price is generally cheaper than that offered on the street. Note, that in popular touristy areas these drivers are not allowed. 

At the airport taxis are normally overpriced just like elsewhere. Bali Grab has an office just as you exit Denpasar airport (the only airport in Bali) - a good choice to make sure you are not overcharged. However, you may feel tired and lost after a long flight to Bali, so instead of trying to figure your way out on the spot, maybe be better to book Bali airport transfer in advance.
 

Scooter and car rentals

Traveling around Bali on your own scooter or car can be much more convenient. It is a very popular service. You can rent a scooter for about 75k IDR and a car for about 600k IDR per day. Long-term rentals are cheaper

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Traveling around Bali is very safe even for solo female travelers. The Balinese are kind hospitable people always happy to help. Violent crime is almost non-existent, however, be aware that theft is common. Always pay attention to your belongings, especially in the public transit areas. In popular tourist areas there are occasional robberies  - keep your expensive phone and wallet out of reach. Credit card fraud is also quite common, especially in major tourist hubs. Pay in cash where possible and always go to a trusted bank when you need an ATM. Make sure to have an electronic copy of all your documents before you leave home: save them in the cloud or send them to your email so that you can access them anywhere.

Bali safety tips

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links which I earn a small commission from at no extra cost to you and help keep this site running.  If you like what you read please follow these links when making a purchase. Let’s keep the project running together!