Traveling to Bali was the main reason why I visited Asia for the first time. The incredible photos I had seen of their green rice terraces convinced me instantly to take a trip to Bali.
However, since I was traveling so far, I thought it would be a good idea to visit other countries and areas of Indonesia during my trip to Southeast Asia. Finally, as time was limited, I spent 7 days in Bali, following the advice Dan had given me after his vacation in Bali a few months before.
To help you plan a trip to Bali, we have compiled everything you need to know before you go to this magic island of Indonesia.
This is our Ultimate Bali Travel Guide and the first post of Capture the Atlas that you should read if you are going to travel to Bali. From here you will find links to other specific articles about Bali that we have written (you can see the full list at the end) .
In addition, we will share some essential Bali travel tips for first-time visitors. But before you start planning a Bali itinerary, are you sure you want to go there?
Bali Vacation – Why you need to travel to Bali
I can assure you that Bali is still worth visiting even if nowadays it is very touristy. It is a great destination for all kinds of travelers. I went backpacking in Bali, but some friends went to Bali on their Honeymoon, and we all came back delighted.
Without any doubt, the best thing about spending a holiday in Bali is to meet new cultures and Bali is the island of smiles: it is impossible not to fall in love with its people and their way of life.
On the other hand, you should know that the influx of tourists in Bali doesn’t stop growing and thanks to this, the Balinese live much better than in other poorer islands of Indonesia. However, not all are advantages to tourism in Bali. It is important that we, who are lucky enough to travel to the Island of the Gods, practice responsible tourism in Bali so that tomorrow we can all continue enjoying the island.
Traveling to Bali is simply a unique experience, and I hope to help you to make it unforgettable with this Bali trip planner.
How to plan a trip to Bali – The best Bali itinerary
Planning a trip to Bali is not complicated since you can book almost everything online, and there is a lot of information everywhere. In general, to plan a trip to Bali, follow these ten steps:
- Things to do in Bali: Check the best places to visit.
- Best Bali itinerary: Choose the best Bali itinerary according to the days you have.
- Best time to visit Bali: When to go to Bali depending on your interests.
- Cheap flights to Bali: Where to get the best deals.
- Hotels and Villas in Bali: Best areas and accommodations.
- How to get around Bali: Scooter rental in Bali or private driver.
- Best tours in Bali: Tours that will save you time and money.
- How much cost for a vacation to Bali: Currency, prices, and money per day.
- Bali visa information: Check that you have the necessary documentation.
- Safety in Bali: Vaccines, malaria tablets and travel insurance.
In addition, at the end of this article, we will give you other Bali Travel Tips: Internet access, restaurants, driving in Bali, and more.
Bali Travel Guide (Indonesia) – Essential Bali Travel Tips
There are so many places not to miss in the Island of the Gods, that it is difficult to choose. Therefore, we have written a list of 50 things to do in Bali, Indonesia, so you don’t miss a thing.
Summing up, these are the most important attractions to visit during your trip to Bali.
- Besakih Temple: Mother Temple. The biggest temple in Bali.
- Ulun Danu Beratan: The most photographed temple in Bali, on Lake Bratan.
- Pura Luhur Uluwatu: Temple on a cliff. An ideal place to watch the sunset.
- Tanah Lot: Bali’s most tourist temple, only accessible with low tide.
- Lempuyang Temple: Temple of the Gates to Heaven.
There are more than 1000 temples in Bali, so one of the most well-known tips for traveling to Bali is not to get frustrated if you can’t see them all. Even so, I leave you a slightly more extensive list of temples in Bali that I recommend you visit.
Best Rice Terraces in Bali
- Tegalalang: The most popular rice paddies in Bali.
- Jatiluwih: Considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Best Villages in Bali
- Ubud: Bali artistic and cultural center. Check the complete list of things to do in Ubud.
- Penglipuran: Traditional village ideal for learning about the culture of Bali.
- Canggu: Coastal town very popular for its perfect waves for surfing.
Best Beaches in Bali
- Kelingking Beach: You will find some of the best beaches in Bali at the Nusa Islands.
- Balagan Beach: One of the many turquoise beaches in the Uluwatu area.
- Jimbaran Beach: The best beach to eat fresh fish with incredible views.
- Pasut Beach: Black sand beach where you will find a famous crooked palm tree.
- Kuta: Popular surfing beach among Australian tourists. Party destination.
- Seminyak: Very popular at sunset, with beautiful beach clubs.
Best Volcanoes in Bali
- Mt Batur: From the summit, you can see the best sunrise in Bali.
- Agung: Highest volcano in Bali. The last time it erupted was in 2017.
Best Waterfalls in Bali
- Nung Nung: Bali’s most popular waterfall with 230ft.
- Tukad Cepung: This waterfall is hidden in a cave.
- Banyumala: It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali.
- Tegenungan: The best waterfall to take a bath in Bali.
Other things to do in Bali
- Monkey Forest: The best place to have fun watching the monkeys of Bali.
- Wanagiri Hidden Hill: Place full of swings, and straw baskets overlooking the great lakes of Bedugul.
- Karang Boma Cliff: Cliffs located south of Bali from where to watch the sunset.
In addition, I advise you to use this map of Bali to know where the different places we are talking about are. With this, you are ready to plan the best Bali itinerary.
2. Best Bali Itinerary
To plan a trip to Bali, once you know what you want to do and where the different attractions are located, it is time to choose the best Bali itinerary. Since the roads conditions are not as good as Google Maps says, another of the tips for traveling to Bali is to consider plenty of time traveling from one place to another.
How many days do you need to visit Bali?
In my opinion, the minimum number of days to spend in Bali is four days. With this time and good planning, you can see most of the essentials places to visit in Bali. However, unless it is impossible to book more days for Bali, I recommend you spend at least one week in Bali. If you don’t have so much time and still want to visit the landmarks, check out these top-rated tours in Bali.
One-week Bali itinerary idea
This is the best Bali itinerary if you only have 7 days:
- Day 1: Arrive in Ubud. Beginning of your 7-day Bali trip.
- Day 2: Tegalalang rice terraces and Ubud surroundings.
- Day 3: Sunset hike at Mt. Batur. The best of my one-week Bali tour.
- Day 4: Eastern Temples of Bali – Besakih, Lempuyang and Tirta Gangga.
- Day 5: Ulun Danu Beratan. Essential temple to visit in Bali in 7 days.
- Day 6: Taman Ayun Temple, Tanah Lot and Canggu.
- Day 7: Jimbaran and Uluwatu. End of your trip to Bali in a week.
10-day Bali itinerary idea
If you only have 10 days, this it the Bali itinerary I recommend you:
- Day 1: Ubud. Beginning of your trip to Bali in 10 days.
- Day 2: Mt. Batur sunrise tour.
- Day 3: Besakih, Tirta Gangga, Lempuyang and Amed.
- Day 4: Tegalalang and surroundings of Ubud.
- Day 5: Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and Bedugul waterfalls.
- Day 6: Jatiluwih, Pasut beach, Tanah Lot and Seminyak.
- Day 7: Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
- Day 8: Nusa Penida.
- Day 9: Uluwatu.
- Day 10: Jimbaran Bay.
Many people ask us when to visit Bali, and the answer always varies. It is not the same for someone who is very interested in seeing green rice paddies, than for someone whose reason to travel to Bali is to surf, so we tell you in more detail the best time to go to Bali in this article.
It is considered that the best time to visit Bali is from April to November, coinciding with the dry season. The monsoon in Bali is from the end of October until April.
What you should know about the weather in Bali is that, unlike other places in Southeast Asia, the monsoon on this island is quite mild, so you can consider that any time is a good time to visit Bali.
4. Flights to Bali, Indonesia
Once you are sure about the Bali itinerary you want to take, it’s time to book your flights to Bali.
In my case, I usually book flights three months in advance, since it is statistically when they are cheaper.
The Bali airport that all international flights arrive at is the Ngurah Rai International Airport, which is very close to Denpasar, the capital of Bali.
Sometimes, you will find it difficult to get direct flights to Bali. Most of the time, you will need to make a connection at the Shanghai or Dubai airport.
I usually use Skyscanner to find the best combination, since you can activate an alert to be notified if the price of flights to Bali drops. The cheapest airline to travel to Bali is usually China Eastern Airlines, although sometimes cheap flights to Bali are also found with Qatar Airways or Emirates.
In my case, I flew with Qatar but using the following trick to find cheap flights to Bali.
Cheap Flights to Bali
The cheapest flights to Asia from the US arrive at the airports of Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokio, and Kuala Lumpur, so I recommend you take the flight from your home country to one of these airports and from there, take a local flight to Denpasar airport since they are the cheapest connections to Bali.
In addition to getting a cheap flight to Bali, you can visit these cities.
In my case, I flew to Singapore before going to Bali and came back through Kuala Lumpur, and although it was not the cheapest way to get to Bali since I took two one-way flights instead of one roundtrip, it was worth it.
If you already know the exact dates of your trip and your Bali itinerary is ready, it’s time to book your hotels in Bali.
My next Bali travel tip is that you stay in Ubud. Although there are plenty of accommodation options in Bali, Ubud is my favorite area if you plan to take some of the essential tours. For example, to climb Mt. Batur or visit the eastern temples, this area is the best. These are my recommended accommodations in Ubud according to your budget.
Adiwana Monkey Forest is located 1 mile from the Ubud market. This hotel has 21 suites, which mix the charm of the Monkey Forest with the indigenous culture of the area. Wondering where to stay in Bali? If you want greater immersion in Balinese culture, this is one of the best hotels thanks to its healthy and traditional gastronomic offerings.
B Saya Villas is a complex that has simple, traditional-style villas with wooden furniture. Since it’s located among rice fields, you’ll have fantastic sunset views from your terrace. In addition, every morning, they organize yoga sessions. For me, it’s one of the best accommodations in Bali, with prices starting at $40 per night.
In addition, in the surroundings of Ubud, we find some of the best villas in Bali, at a lower price than you could imagine. If you have dreamed of sleeping in the middle of the jungle or enjoying breakfast in your private infinity pool, this is the best place.
Another of the places where I recommend staying for a few days is in the southern area, in Uluwatu, where some of the best hotels in Bali are located. Also, we will have better access to other tourist attractions that we have in this area, for example, to some of the best beaches in Bali. These are our four recommended accommodations in Uluwatu:
Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort is one of the most exclusive accommodations in Bali and is located in a unique enclave near the Pura Uluwatu temple and Nusa Dua beach. The resort offers views of the Indian Ocean from all angles, as well as rooms and villas in a contemporary Balinese style with direct access to an infinity pool and a balcony with jacuzzi.
This modern luxury resort in Bali is surrounded by hills. Both its rooms and the infinity pool have incredible views of the jungle and the ocean. At Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa staff can provide information about the history of the indigenous people in the area, and you can even relax with a spa session.
Ubud and Uluwatu are my two favorites, but there are other areas to stay in Bali that I recommend.
6. How to get around Bali
When planning a trip to Bali, one of the main concerns is usually what is the best way to travel around Bali. Here we bring you four options that will depend a little on your budget and interests.
Transfers in Bali
Hiring transfers in Bali can be a good option to go from Denpasar airport to Ubud and other areas of the island. However, it can be difficult to hire transfers in Bali, among other points of interest. In that case, you will need to rent your own vehicle or directly hire a private driver for all the transfers you have to do during the day, saving some money.
Even if you plan to rent a scooter in Bali, I recommend you don’t do it at Denpasar airport. It is better to hire a transfer from Bali airport to Ubud or to the area where you are going to spend the first day of your trip to Bali and familiarize yourself with traffic before driving.
We hired the first transfer from Denpasar to Ubud here, since the price was the cheapest we found. In addition, we liked our driver so much that we hired him as a private driver for the next days of our trip to Bali.
Scooter rental in Bali
Dan rode a scooter during his trip to Bali and wrote a guide with everything you need to know if you are renting a motorcycle in Bali. Some of the tips for traveling to Bali that he gives at that guide are:
- Learn how to ride a scooter before traveling to Bali
- Drive like a Balinese if you don’t want the police to fine you
- Take your international driving license with you
- Always wear the helmet
- Hire good travel insurance to Bali
Car Rental in Bali
Renting a car in Bali is another option, which neither Dan nor I have tried, so we cannot tell you about our experience. However, in my case, I did look at this alternative when I was planning my trip to Bali, and it seemed quite expensive, so in the end, I ended up discarding it.
Also, you should keep in mind that Bali is made for scooters and traffic jams can sometimes be horrible. If scooters are not your thing, I advise you to hire a private driver in Bali before renting your own car.
Private driver in Bali
It is, undoubtedly, the most comfortable option but also the most expensive. Normally you can hire a private driver in Bali for hours (10 hours) that during that time will take you where you need. We had booked a private driver here, but when we met our driver during the transfer from the airport to Ubud, we liked it so much that we canceled the other reservation.
However, some friends, who went on a honeymoon to Bali a few months after my trip, hired the driver through that platform, and they told me the service was great.
GRAB – Uber in Bali
Before traveling to Bali, Dan had recommended me to download an app similar to Uber or Lift and told me that it worked pretty well in Bali for short journeys.
However, I tried to use it during my trip, and there were almost never any drivers nearby.
I could only use it once in Ubud, and the driver told me that local taxi drivers had declared war on this application since the prices were much lower than those that taxi drivers used to charge tourists. In any case, I encourage you to try it and tell me how it went on the comment section.
Public Transportation in Bali
Although there is public transportation in Bali, it is slow, and there is little information about it online. It is true that it is the best way to travel to Bali on a budget, but I don’t recommend it if you are going to spend little time on the island.
The most common means of transport are the Kura Kura, small green buses, the Bemo, a kind of van and the Trans Sarbagita, conventional blue buses.
My next tip for traveling to Bali, if you don’t want to rent a car or scooter and neither to hire an expensive private driver, is to book some tours; especially to those areas of Bali that are more inaccessible or where going with a local guide is mandatory. You will also need to hire tours or ferries to get to know one of the archipelagos of paradise islands that surround Bali.
In addition, in this article of the best tours in Bali, I recommend 4 excursions with which you can visit the most important places in Bali in only four days. In summary, these are the Bali tours that I recommend:
- Sunrise on the Batur volcano: The best tour I did during my trip.
- Ubud Surroundings: Best tour to visit the rice terraces of Tegalalang and Goa Gajah.
- Pura Ulun Danu Bratan + Jatiluwih + Tanah Lot: The most complete tour in Bali.
- Eastern Temples: The tour not to miss the Pura Besakih and Pura Lempuyang temples.
- Uluwatu and Jimbaran: Tour of southern Bali. Beaches, traditional dance, and seafood.
- Nusa Lembongan: Roundtrip speedboat to Nusa Lembongan with pick up at your hotel in Bali.
- Nusa Penida: Roundtrip speedboat to Nusa Penida with pick up at your hotel in Bali.
- Gili Islands: Roundtrip speedboat to Gili Trawangan or Gili Air with pick up at your Bali hotel.
8. Currency in Bali (Indonesia) – How much does it cost for a vacation to Bali
The currency in Bali (Indonesia) is the Indonesian rupee, and currently, $1 is equivalent to 14,200 IDR. That means you will have to handle much higher figures than you are used to. Even if everything seems expensive, once you make the currency exchange, it may be much less than you had imagined.
A trick that I recommend you do is to take a tab with the most frequent changes noted ($1 -14.2k IDR, $2 -28.3k IDR, $5 -70.8k IDR, $10 -142k IDR, $50 -709k IDR, etc.) In this way, the first days of your trip, you can quickly know how much things cost in Bali.
I assure you that in two or three days you will have gotten used to the Bali currency and you will not need to consult the tab anymore.
In most places, you can pay with debit/credit card in Bali, although be careful because your bank can charge you a commission for the currency exchange.
However, keep in mind that there are small shops they may not accept card payment. Therefore, it is always advisable to carry some cash in Bali.
Currency exchange in Bali
If you plan to change money in Bali, I advise you to check how much the real change is before accepting any offer made to you by any Bali Money Changers.
ATMs in Bali
There are many ATMs in Bali, especially in tourist areas. Even if you travel to more remote places, such as the Gili Islands, you can already find ATMs on each island.
In addition, ATMs in Bali don’t charge a surcharge fee, so if you withdraw from any ATM in Bali, the only fee you need to pay is the one that your bank charges you.
Prices in Bali
Although it is a cheap country, Bali is the most tourist island in Indonesia, so here we can find from hotels for less than $10 to luxury villas for more than $1000 (there are also very cheap villas in Bali). Answering the question of whether Bali is expensive or cheap depends more on who answers it than on the island itself.
If you go backpacking in Bali, you can survive with less than $10 a day. However, if you are planning a honeymoon in Bali, consider at least $200 per person a day.
That’s why Bali is such a popular tourist destination: whatever your budget is, it is a good option.
How much is a Bali Vacation?
This table can give you an approximation of how much cost for a vacation to Bali.
How much is a Bali Vacation?
Others (drinks, shopping, etc.)
Total per day approx.
Consider the backpacking budget for Bali if you are traveling long-term and spending little is essential for you. If you don’t mind staying in less comfortable hotels, you prefer to use local transport and reach the sites on your own without hiring any tour, your vacation to Bali will cost around $30 per day plus flights.
The standard budget is the one for most travelers in Bali. If you are visiting the island for a few days and want to see almost everything in a very short time, you will need to hire some tours. As for accommodation, if you prefer to book amazing hotels for a very low price impossible to find in other parts of the world, consider $135 per day plus flights.
The premium budget is for those who are traveling for a special occasion, honeymoons in Bali, or for all those who can afford it. If you want to experience staying in one of the best villas in Bali, hire private tours in Bali and of course, eat in the best restaurants, consider $270 per day plus flights.
9. Bali Visa Information
If you are from one of these 169 countries and are only spending a holiday in Bali (less than 30 days), you have visa exception. Just check that your passport doesn’t expire in the next six months from entering the country and that you have a couple of blank pages so that they can stamp it and give you the “admission permit.”
In case you want to spend more time, you will need a visa for Bali.
Social Cultural visa for Indonesia
If you plan to stay more than 30 days in Bali, the best option is to process a social cultural visa for Bali at the Indonesian embassy in your home country.
This visa will last 60 days, but you can extend it up to 6 months. The price is $50 plus the renewal fee in case you would like to stay for more than 60 days.
You can find more information regarding how to process your visa here.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
If you think you are staying for less than 30 days in Bali but you are not sure, I recommend you apply for your visa on arrival (VOA) at the arrival airport. This visa only allows you to stay in Bali for 30 days, but, one week before it expires, you can extend it for another 30 days. If you enter Bali without paying the VOA, you will not be able to extend your permit.
The price of the Bali visa on arrival is $35 and you can get it directly at the airport upon arrival. To renew it you will have to go to immigration several times, so some travelers prefer to hire an agency directly to manage it, although it is usually more expensive.
Another option, if you have run out of time for the renewal or did not request your VOA at your arrival to Indonesia, is to leave and re-enter the country (either with the visa exception to Bali or with the VOA). You can do it even on the same day, and you will have another 30 days in Bali, although this is perhaps the most expensive option. In addition, it is very likely that they will ask for your flight out of the country to verify that you don’t intend to stay in Indonesia longer.
10. Is Bali Safe to visit?
Although when talking about security in Bali, you will think about terrorist attacks, earthquakes, and Tsunamis in Bali, the truth is that this is not what you should worry about.
Apart from natural disasters, which can occur virtually anywhere in the world, Bali is one of the safest islands in Indonesia. Even so, you always must take certain precautions.
Both Dan and me have close experiences with accidents in Bali.
During my trip to Bali, a monkey bit me in the Monkey Forest of Ubud (it wasn’t a serious incident, but I got quite scared). There are also many tourists who have been robbed by these monkeys and those of Uluwatu. They have learned to get food by giving back the belongings to the tourists.
On the other hand, a friend of Dan had an accident with a scooter in Bali. But, luckily, he had bought good travel insurance to Indonesia that helped him with everything.
We also have some friends who were robbed of some of the money they had left in the hotel room and others who had their backpack taken while they were eating in a warung (you have to be careful about pickpockets in Bali).
It is also no wonder that you can get sick even if you have been careful to drink bottled water in Bali.
Therefore, Bali is not dangerous, but you must be careful.
Bali Travel Insurance
Although Bali is safe, you can always be exposed to unforeseen events, so if you want the peace of mind, you better buy travel insurance to Bali.
Vaccines in Bali
There are no mandatory vaccines for Bali, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises getting vaccinated for Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhus. In any case, I always advise you to go to your health center so they can give you some recommendations.
Malaria in Bali
Other Bali Travel Tips
Finally, I leave you some other Bali Travel Tips. If you have any other questions, leave it in the comments section so we can add it to this part of the article.
Where to eat in Bali
The best place to eat in Bali is in the Warungs, small family restaurants where you can try the delicious cuisine of Bali.
The most known Balinese recipe is the Nasi Goreng, that is fried rice with eggs and vegetables that can be accompanied by meat or seafood. I loved it!
The best restaurants in Bali that I tried during my trip are located in Ubud.
Best SIM Cards for Bali
It is very easy to get a Wi-Fi connection in Bali. However, if you prefer having mobile data, I recommend you order one of these SIM cards for Bali.
Driving in Bali
Riding a motorcycle is one of the best options to explore Bali. However, I recommend you not to do so without first following our advice to rent a scooter in Bali.
In addition, it is essential that you get an International Drivers License for Bali, since, although you won’t need to show it when renting your scooter, the police can pull you over and fine you.
Supermarkets and shops in Bali
If you are taking a long-term trip to Bali, you may want to cook instead of eating out every day. In this case, I recommend you go to the local markets that open in the morning and usually have fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, etc.
There are also large supermarkets where you can buy absolutely everything: from personal grooming items to drinks and food. The best known are Coco, Bintang, and Pepito.
You can also find small local stores where you can buy a snack or soda — some of these open 24 hours a day.
What is the religion in Bali
Religion in Bali plays a very important role in local Balinese life. Bali is the only island in Indonesia, where Hinduism is the main religion. In most part of Indonesia, most are Muslims. In Bali, however, “Balinese Hinduism” is practiced, where Hindu and animist beliefs are mixed with the worship of Buddhist saints.
They believe in Karma and for something it is called the Island of Smiles, but if you want to know more about the culture of Bali, I recommend this tour.
Please respect the religion of Bali and its customs. You may be surprised at the beginning by the amount of Canang sari, which you will find on the floor, in the temples and even at the counters of the stores and hotel desks.
These offerings are made daily with flower petals, rice, lime leaves, and incense. It is true that they usually attract insects and generate a lot of dirt on the streets of Bali, but they are really important for locals and much less harmful than the plastic waste that others leave.
What clothes to wear in Bali temples
You don’t need to remove your shoes before entering a temple in Bali. However, in some temples, you will be asked to cover your legs with a Sarong, whether you are a man or a woman.
As a curious fact, if you are a woman, in some temples, there are signs that ask you not to enter the temple if you are during your period.
What is the official language of Bali?
The official language of Bali is Indonesian although Balinese is also spoken. A large part of the population also speaks English, especially those whose jobs are related to tourism and hospitality.
Where should I stay in Bali?
Uluwatu is also a good place to sleep in Bali and visit its best beaches, and other option would be Bedugul, to visit the most remote areas of the island.
Responsible tourism in Bali
Finally, I don’t want to end this article on tips for traveling to Bali without asking you to be a responsible traveler.
Please, don’t hire tours in which animals are mistreated. Although there have never been elephants in Bali, it is a shame to see how there are places where they have brought elephants to enclosures that they have called “Sanctuaries” to attract tourists who, thinking that they are doing a good deed, what they are actually doing is promoting a business cruel to animals.
Elephant rides in Bali are not fun. These poor animals have been tortured for years so that tourists pay to get on their backs for a while. Any place where you can interact with wild animals are places in which its nature is not respected. Keep wildlife wild!
Please, there are a million things to do in Bali. You don’t need to add any activity that involves domesticated wild animals to make your trip to Bali a unique experience.
ESSENTIAL MAP FOR YOUR TRIP TO BALI
This is all! Here is a map of Bali that will help you know where the main attractions are.
I hope you find useful this article to plan your trip to Bali, but before you go, I leave you the essentials for your trip to Bali.
ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR TRIP TO BALI
- Get a $25 DISCOUNT on your first Airbnb reservation.
- CHEAP FERRIES from Bali (without hotel pick-up).
- SIM cards for Bali with UNLIMITED DATA.
- Check the best BALI FLIGHT DEALS.