Bali Travel Guide

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Welcome to Bali

Bali - a beautiful island nestled in the heart of Indonesia, and one that has captured the hearts of a staggering amount of tourists around the world! It’s a tropical paradise with countless hidden treasures to explore, such as pristine beaches, impressive waterfalls, a unique culture and plenty of awe-inspiring landscapes and architecture. 

This unique blend of natural beauty and a vibrant cultural community makes Bali a truly special place to visit, which will explain the millions of people who make the journey each year.

Known as ‘The Island of the Gods’, Bali is steeped in cultural significance and tradition, with Hinduism as the prominent religion - there are various temples dotted throughout the province, each telling its own story. As well as that, there are plenty of local villages to visit, the delicious Balinese cuisine to try out and various markets, restaurants, events and much more you can go and experience; there’s no shortage of ways you can get a taste of this incredible island and its traditions. 

If you’re more a traveller looking to get involved in the culture and local quirks and points of interest in an area, then Bali is certainly one of the most exciting and enriching areas you can tour!

With plenty to do, see and get stuck in with, it’s no wonder Bali is such a magnificent place to visit for many different types of travelers. However, it can be overwhelming to know when to go, what to bring, how you’re going to plan your itinerary and so on - which is why our Bali travel guide will help you enjoy your vacation to this idyllic island in the best way possible!

Why Choose Bali? Our Best Picks

Bali is an exciting and diverse area, so we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to get stuck straight into some of the highlights of the area! Here are a few of our favorite Bali attractions that help make Bali one of the most exceptional travel destinations:

Monkey Forest: Located in Ubud, the Monkey Forest sanctuary is home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques. Roaming freely, the monkeys are a magnificent and unique sight as you wander through the tranquil surroundings. Walk through the lush forest and observe these fascinating creatures up close!

Tanah Lot Temple: The iconic Tanah Lot Temple is another must-see destination in Bali. Not only does it appear to float on the sea during high tide, creating a stunning silhouette against the sunset, it’s also a beautiful building rich with Balinese spirituality, culture and history!

Tegenungan Waterfall: A visit to Tegenungan Waterfall is a must for nature lovers. This stunning waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a refreshing break from Bali's tropical heat. You can take a dip in the clear, cool waters or simply enjoy the view from one of the scenic viewpoints.

Ubud Market: At Ubud Market, you can dive into the heart of Balinese culture! This vibrant market is a treasure trove of traditional crafts, clothing, and souvenirs. Bargain with local vendors and take home a piece of Bali's artistry.

Besakih Temple: Known as the "Mother Temple of Bali," Besakih Temple is the largest and holiest temple on the island. Perched on the slopes of Mount Agung, it's an architectural marvel and a place of great spiritual importance. Explore the complex and witness the rituals that take place here.

These points of interest are incredible places to put on your itinerary, but only give you a taste for how wonderfully diverse and intriguing Bali can be. However, on our tours in Bali you can visit these and many more attractions to see all the most incredible and interesting parts of the island!

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Bali Beach Attractions

Planning Your Bali Adventure

When to Visit Bali

When planning your Bali adventure, timing can make a big difference how you’ll experience the island. Bali is a year-round destination, but it's essential to understand the different seasons and what they offer - whilst some periods may be more popular than others for various reasons, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other times are more suited to you. Here’s a few tips on what to expect:

Bali’s Dry Season (June to August): One of the most notable periods to visit Bali is the dry season, which roughly runs from June to August - and is often considered the best time to visit. These months bring sunny skies, minimal rainfall, and lower humidity. The pleasant weather is perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, water sports, and exploring the island's natural beauty. It's also the peak tourist season, so you can also expect more significant crowds!

Bali’s Wet Season (November to March): The wet season in Bali, from November to March, brings higher rainfall and increased humidity. While this season is not as popular with tourists, it shouldn't necessarily deter you from visiting. The rain usually comes in short, heavy bursts and is often in the late afternoon or at night (as well as being warm!), leaving the mornings and early afternoons free for activities. Plus, this time of year offers lush green landscapes and a unique experience with fewer tourists.

Bali’s Shoulder Season (April to May, September to October): The ‘shoulder seasons’ offer a compromise between good weather and fewer crowds. April and May mark the transition from the wet season to the dry season, while September and October see the transition back to the wet season. During these months, you can enjoy relatively sunny days and fewer tourists. It's an excellent time to explore Bali with a more relaxed atmosphere.

You should also make sure you’re aware of some of Bali’s most notable festivals. They are huge, cultural celebrations that offer a magnificent and incredibly unique experience, although they may not be for every traveler. For instance, Nyepi is a day of silence and reflection, where the entire island shuts down, whereas Galungan is a time of feasts and festivities. It’s good to make sure you know when these are so you can plan ahead for your visit!

If you want to take a closer look into the best time to visit Bali, make sure to check out our full guide so you know the best time to partake on your adventure!

Where to go - Bali’s Destinations

When you embark on your travels to Bali, you’ll soon realise the diverse range of destinations and areas that all have so much to offer in the island. Each one has its own character and a certain charm, but it could be quite overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular destinations in Bali:

Ubud: Nestled in the heart of the island, Ubud is Bali's cultural and artistic centre. Surrounded by lush rice terraces and the serene jungle, it's an idyllic area for those seeking an authentic Balinese experience. Explore the vibrant art markets, visit the Monkey Forest Sanctuary, or indulge in yoga and wellness retreats - the choice is yours!

Canggu: Canggu, located along Bali's southwest coast, has gained popularity for its laid-back surf vibes and a burgeoning food scene. It's a favorite among digital nomads and surf enthusiasts. Enjoy the world-class waves, savour fresh cuisine at the trendiest cafes, and soak up the bohemian atmosphere.

Nusa Penida: A short boat ride from Bali's mainland, Nusa Penida is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers. With its rugged cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and stunning viewpoints like Kelingking Beach, it's a photographer's dream! Snorkel with manta rays, trek to natural wonders, and experience the unspoiled beauty of the area.

Nusa Lembongan: Just a stone's throw away from Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan offers a more laid-back and idyllic retreat; you can unwind on pristine beaches, explore underground cave houses, and enjoy water activities like snorkelling and paddle boarding. The island's serene ambiance makes it perfect for a relaxing getaway!

Lovina: Located on the north coast of Bali, Lovina is a peaceful alternative to the bustling southern beaches. It's known for its black sand beaches and the opportunity to go dolphin-watching at sunrise. Lovina provides a tranquil setting for those seeking relaxation and a glimpse of traditional Balinese life.

Each of these destinations offers a distinct experience, and cater to various interests and preferences. Whether you're a culture enthusiast, a water sports lover, a nature explorer, or simply looking to relax, Bali's diverse destinations make sure that there's something for everyone!

Local tour guide
Escape the crowds and head off the beaten path to explore the hidden gem of Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Bali. Be sure to visit early in the morning to witness the breathtaking sunrise and capture stunning photos without the disturbance of other tourists.

Bali Visa and Travel Essentials

As you prepare for your Bali adventure, it's essential to have a good grasp of the visa and travel essentials. Bali welcomes travelers from around the world, but understanding the entry requirements is crucial to ensure a smooth journey. You should also check out our Bali checklist to make sure you’re well prepared ahead of your adventure!

Visa Types:

Before embarking on your travels to the island, you should be aware that you require a visa to enter the country. Bali offers a couple of different visa types, and it’s good to be aware of the options so you are prepared in advance.

Tourist Visa: The tourist visa is a common choice for travelers to Bali, allowing a stay of up to 30 days. It applies to many nationalities, making it a great option for short visits.

Visa-on-Arrival (VoA): The visa-on-arrival (VoA) is another convenient option, granting 30 days of stay, with the possibility of extending for an additional 30 days. This option is available to many nationalities as well. Please check the specific requirements for your nationality on the official Indonesian immigration website.

To understand more about visas before entering Bali, make sure to read our guide on everything you need to know about visas in Bali, or check government websites for up-to-date information.

Vaccinations for Bali:

Your health should be a top priority when traveling to Bali. While there are no mandatory vaccinations, it's highly recommended to ensure you are up to date on routine vaccines, for instance polio, yellow fever and Zika virus as listed by the UK Government website. However, before going you should check up on the latest vaccinations or vaccination certificates at least 8 weeks before your trip, or double check any concerns with your healthcare provider.

Passport Requirements for Bali:

Bali requires all visitors to have a passport with at least six months of validity beyond their intended departure date. Additionally, ensure your passport has several blank pages for entry and exit stamps. This ensures you have no issues when arriving and departing the island.

By staying informed about these essential travel details, you'll be well-equipped to embark on your journey to Bali. There are plenty of other helpful resources you can use to help you on your way, such as our Bali travel insurance guide amongst many others; but how about once you’re there?

Bali Accommodation Options

Bali offers a broad array of accommodation options to cater to all types of travelers, ranging from the budget-conscious to luxury seekers.

Luxury Resorts in Bali: For those craving the pinnacle of indulgence, Bali's luxury resorts await, delivering both an upmarket and comfortable stay as well as a unique experience. They often feature:

Private Villas: Enjoy total privacy with a private villa featuring a personal pool and breathtaking views.

World-Class Spas: Relish rejuvenating spa treatments inspired by Balinese traditions.

Gourmet Dining: Savour international and local cuisine in on-site restaurants.

Beachfront Locations: Many luxury resorts also provide direct access to Bali's pristine beaches.

Luxury resorts can vary in price, with an approximate starting point of $250 per person per night. These sanctuaries are an excellent choice for honeymooners, families and really any traveller seeking ultimate comfort.

Boutique Hotels in Bali:

Bali's boutique hotels offer a distinctive blend of local charm and personalised service. They stand out for:

Unique Ambiance: Each boutique hotel possesses its character and often incorporates Balinese culture.

Attentive Staff: Benefit from staff going the extra mile to ensure a memorable stay.

Cultural Experiences: Some boutique hotels offer cultural activities, such as Balinese cooking classes or traditional dance performances.

Affordability: Boutique hotels offer a more intimate and personalised experience at a starting price of around $80 per person per night. These hotels are ideal for those who appreciate a unique and authentic experience.

Budget-Friendly Hostels in Bali: If you're traveling on a budget, Bali hosts a range of budget-friendly hostels providing comfortable and affordable accommodations. Key features of hostels include:

Dormitory Rooms: Share dormitory-style rooms with fellow travelers, fostering a social atmosphere.

Common Areas: Many hostels have communal spaces for socialising and some have bars and restaurants.

Affordable Prices: Hostels are the most budget-friendly option, with prices starting at approximately $10-15 per person per night.

Solo Travelers: Hostels are an excellent choice for solo travelers looking to meet new people.

Each type of accommodation in Bali has its pros and cons, so you need to take into account your budget, preferences and where exactly you want to stay on the island. Whether you're a luxury traveler, an adventurer, or a backpacker, Bali's huge amount of accommodation options will ensure you'll have an unforgettable stay on this enchanting island!

Flights to Bali

Navigating flights to Bali involves a bit of planning in advance. Here, we’ll unravel some flight details to ensure a smooth journey to the Island of the Gods.

Bali International Airport:

Touching down in Bali usually means landing at Ngurah Rai International Airport, located near the south of the island. This airport deals with many international flights for tourists from all over the world, ensuring a seamless transition to your Balinese adventure.

International Gateways:

The main gateways to Bali often include major international airports like Jakarta and Singapore. These hubs serve as key transit points for travelers heading to Bali. However, it's advisable to check the latest options when planning your journey.

Cost and Flight Times to Bali:

Understanding the financial and timing aspects of your journey is integral to being properly prepared. International flights to Bali can vary massively, depending on where you’re flying from, when you fly and the time of the year. It’s crucial to check well in advance online to see how much the journey may cost you from your country.

As for the flight times, the journey duration can vary significantly based on your departure point. Here’s a few examples from major countries:

Flights to Bali From the USA: Expect a long-haul flight of approximately 20 to 30 hours, depending on your departure city.

Flights to Bali From Australia: The flight from major Australian cities to Bali usually takes around 5 to 7 hours.

Flights to Bali From the UK: Travelers departing from the UK can anticipate a journey lasting roughly 15 to 20 hours, depending on the chosen route.

These are approximate times, so it’s important to check near the time you want to take your flights to see what’s available. You should also make sure to organize transport from the airport to be fully prepared, such as with our Bali Private Airport Pick Up Service.

Embarking on a journey to Bali involves not only reaching the island but also making informed decisions about routes, costs, and durations. Keep these details in mind as you plan your adventure, ensuring a smooth transition from home to the captivating shores of Bali!

Bali's Beaches

How could you go to this wonderful island without exploring Bali's coastal paradise? Travelers from all over the world come here greatly in part to explore the beauty of Bali’s beaches, such as the Kuta, Seminyak, and Uluwatu beaches. Each stretch of sand has its own personality, offering many different experiences for beach enthusiasts.

Kuta Beach: Known for its vibrant energy and lively atmosphere, Kuta Beach is a magnet for surfers and sun-seekers alike. The waves here are perfect for beginners, making it an ideal spot for those looking to catch their first wave. As the sun sets, Kuta transforms into a hub of nightlife, with beachside bars and restaurants coming to life.

Seminyak Beach: Step into the sophisticated charm of Seminyak Beach, where luxury meets the ocean. This upscale destination boasts high-end resorts, trendy beach clubs, and a cosmopolitan vibe. Explore the stylish boutiques along the beach, indulge in world-class dining, and witness breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky in hues of orange and pink.

Uluwatu Beach: For those craving a more serene escape, Uluwatu Beach is a hidden gem nestled beneath towering cliffs. Known for its dramatic landscapes and world-class surf breaks, Uluwatu offers a tranquil retreat. Explore the Uluwatu Temple perched on the cliff's edge, providing panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

Each beach in Bali offers a unique experience, from the bustling energy of Kuta to the allure of Seminyak and the tranquil beauty of Uluwatu.

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Cultural Experiences in Bali

Embark on a cultural adventure as you uncover and explore Bali’s rich history and traditions, involve yourself traditional dances, understand ceremonial rituals, and enjoy the exquisite world of local crafts.

Traditional Dances: Bali's traditional dances are a captivating display, and each tells its own story. From the intricate movements of the Legong dance to the powerful Barong dance depicting the eternal battle between good and evil, each performance is a living testament to the island's vibrant cultural heritage.

Ceremonial Rituals: Bali's spiritual nature comes to life through its ceremonial rituals. Witness sacred processions, intricate offerings, and mesmerising rituals that take place in temples across the island. Dive into the spiritual significance of ceremonies like Galungan and Nyepi, gaining insights into Balinese beliefs that shape everyday life.

Local Crafts: Discover the artistry of Balinese craftsmanship, from intricately carved woodwork to vibrant textiles and handmade jewellery. Explore local markets and artisan villages, where skilled craftsmen and women continue age-old traditions. Each piece tells a story, reflecting the cultural richness and creativity embedded in every Balinese craft.

Of course, one of the best ways to experience as much Balinese culture as possible in the time you stay on the island is to take curated tours. For instance, our tour guides are well-versed in Balinese ways, and on your travels they can impart knowledge that only a local would know so you can really dive into the island in ways you wouldn’t have been able to before!

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As you explore Bali's cultural landscape, let each dance, ceremony, and craft give you an insight into the life of Bali and its history. Embrace the beauty of traditions that have withstood the test of time and discover the profound cultural roots that make Bali a truly extraordinary destination.

Adventure and Nature in Bali

If you’re more an adventure-seeking traveller, Bali has much to offer in this respect too! You can embark on an exhilarating journey through Bali's natural wonders on one of our Bali adventure tours, where there are many once in a lifetime experiences to be had amidst the islands’ incredible landscape.

Hiking Adventures in Bali: Discover Bali's hidden treasures on a hiking escapade, where verdant rice terraces, cascading waterfalls, and ancient temples await. Tackle the Campuhan Ridge Walk for panoramic views or trek to the mystical Sekumpul Waterfall, surrounded by tropical foliage. Bali's diverse scenery and landscape ensures a hiking experience for every adventurer, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts.

Water Sports in Bali: For those seeking aquatic thrills, Bali's waters offer a playground of possibilities. Dive into the vibrant underwater world through snorkelling in Amed or experience the adrenaline rush of surfing in Canggu's renowned waves. Whether it's kayaking through hidden caves or diving into the incredible sea, Bali's water sports scene caters to both novices and adrenaline junkies alike.

Bali’s Lush Landscapes: Uncover the untouched beauty of Bali's landscapes by venturing off the beaten path. Explore the terraced Jatiluwih Rice Terraces or traverse the scenic landscapes of Munduk. Once you take the time to explore it, Bali reveals a world of natural wonders; from tranquil lakes to dense jungles, the island provides a serene escape for nature enthusiasts.

Before going on your vacation to Bali, you should consider in advance what activities will be suitable for you and prepare for them in advance. There are both family friendly adventures and more thrill-seeking activities, so whether you’re a solo adrenaline-junkie traveller or you’re exploring the wonders of the island with the family, there’s something out there for you! We can also take care of all necessities like transport, entrance fees and a guide when you choose to take one of our guided tours.

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Dining and Cuisine in Bali

You may also want to go on a gastronomic journey through Bali's diverse culinary landscape, where each and every dish tells its own story, and gives you a surprising amount of insight into Bali’s culture and heritage. There are definitely a number of things you should try during your stay at the island, and we’d recommend you take in as much cultural cuisine as possible, whether you take a Bali food tour or explore the local delicacies for yourself!

Must-Try Dishes:

Bali's culinary scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, blending local ingredients with rich cultural influences. Indulge in the iconic Nasi Goreng, a fragrant fried rice dish, or savour the succulent flavors of Babi Guling, a spit-roasted pig that's a festival favorite. Don't miss the aromatic Bebek Betutu, slow-cooked duck infused with a medley of spices, offering a taste of Bali's culinary heritage.

Dining Experiences in Bali:

From beachfront seafood feasts in Jimbaran to fine dining in Ubud's lush jungles, Bali offers a diverse range of dining experiences. Explore the bustling street food markets of Denpasar, where local delicacies tempt your taste buds, or indulge in a romantic dinner overlooking the Indian Ocean. Each dining setting in Bali is a unique journey, promising a feast for the senses.

Deeper Understanding of Balinese Cuisine:

There are plenty of ways to experience true, local Balinese cuisine - just by visiting local villages, markets and such culturally rich areas. For instance, Bakas Village is a traditional, local Balinese village where you can take in the architecture, walk along scenic routes and of course, indulge in the amazing cuisine. Similarly, Ubud Market has plenty of cultural offerings that give you a deeper understanding of the island and its heritage, but it’s also where you can sample various types of food.

Whether you’re a traveller who’s dead set on trying as much cuisine as possible, or you’re merely interested to know what sort of food the island offers, there are many great ways to get out there and try something new!

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Nightlife and Entertainment in Bali

As the sun sets on this incredible island, Bali's vibrant spirit comes to life, inviting you to explore the island's electrifying nightlife and other entertainment. From beachfront activities to energetic bars and stirring live music venues, Bali's nights are bound to leave you with some of your favorite memories of the entire vacation!

Bali’s Beach Clubs: Immerse yourself in the glamour of Bali's beach clubs, a truly unique experience where you can enjoy world-class DJs on the beautiful coastal shores. Visit the iconic Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak for its eclectic atmosphere, or dance under the stars at KU DE TA in bustling Legian. Bali's beach clubs are a celebration of style, music, and of course, the breathtaking coastal backdrop.

Atmospheric Bars: Embark on a journey through Bali's diverse bars, from the trendy rooftops of Seminyak to the intimate corners of Ubud. Enjoy magical experiences at Motel Mexicola in Seminyak, or savour the bohemian atmosphere of Naughty Nuri's in Ubud. Each bar is a distinct experience, promising a cocktail of flavors and ambiance.

Delightful Live Music: For music enthusiasts, Bali's live music venues offer a soulful escape. Experience the melodic tunes at Jazz Café in Ubud or rock out at the famous Apache Reggae Bar in Kuta. Whether you crave acoustic melodies or vibrant beats, Bali's live music scene caters to every musical palette.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure on the island by checking out our Bali Nightlife guide, perfect for those seeking the epitome of Bali's nightlife scene. We’d love to help you have the time of your life, soaking in the energy of beach clubs, exploring the diverse bar landscape, and immersing yourself in the truly amazing melodies of live music venues. Whether you're a party enthusiast or a simply want to experience everything the island could throw at you, we promise you’ll have the time of your life with Bali’s nightlife!

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Exploring Bali's Wonders

Undoubtedly, everything we’ve listed as possible activities in Bali as part of our Bali Travel Guide is a bit overwhelming, and you’ll struggle to do it all in one vacation! With a massive range of activities ranging from water activities to nightlife, cultural cuisine adventures to hiking trails, this island has one of the largest offerings out there for tourists.

However, we can help you decide on your itinerary before you embark on your travels with our Bali Trip Itinerary Builder! Use this helpful tool and we’ll build you the perfect variety of activities and tours you should do whilst on the island, taking into account your interests and needs, budget and travel dates. 

With our itinerary builder, we’ll help remove the stress of planning and allow you to focus on looking forward to your vacation - it should be a fun experience after all, not stressful!