Nestled in the heart of Indonesia, Bali is an island that beckons visitors with its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant night life. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a traveller seeking new adventures, this guide is designed to be your passport to a seamless and immersive experience on the island of Gods.

Embark on a virtual tour as we navigate through the intricacies of planning your Bali sojourn. From choosing the perfect time to visit and explore the diverse regions to delving into the cultural etiquettes and uncovering the hidden gems that make Bali truly unique, we’ve curated a wealth of information to ensure your trip is not just a vacation but a transformative journey.

Join us on this exploration of Bali’s breath-taking landscapes, ancient temples, bustling markets, and serene retreats. Whether you are an adventure seeker, cultural enthusiast, or seeking tranquillity Bali has something for everyone. Let this guide be your compass, leading you through the planning process and helping you make the most of your time in this tropical paradise.

How to get to Bali?

There are two main ways to get to Bali – by air and by sea. Since, Bali is an island there are no land ways to get in. Whether you prefer the convenience of flying or the scenic route of sailing, there are plenty of options to choose from to make your journey to Bali a memorable and enjoyable experience. Let’s dive into the details of each method to help you plan the perfect trip to this Indonesian gem.

Getting to Bali by Air

If you are planning to fly directly into Bali, there is one international airport on the island – the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

International Airlines serving the airport include:

The airport is set to receive more flights and airlines starting December 2023.

The flight duration can vary depending on the departure city, with flights from major cities like Sydney and Singapore taking around 5-6 hours, while flights from European cities like London or Amsterdam can take around 15-17 hours with one or more layovers.

With a wide range of airlines, departure cities, and flight durations, travellers heading to Bali have plenty of options to reach their destination efficiently and comfortably.

Getting to Bali by Water

There are several options for travelling to Bali by boat. Ferries operate from nearby Indonesian islands such as Java and Lombok, offering a convenient and affordable way to reach Bali. Many of these ferries depart from various ports on the neighbouring islands and make the journey to Bali’s ports of entry such as Gilimanuk in the west and Padangbai in the east.

For those seeking a more luxurious and leisurely option, there are also cruises to Bali from Australian ports. These cruises typically offer a range of amenities and activities on board, making the journey to Bali a part of the vacation experience.

Alternatively, travellers can also opt for private yacht charters to sail to Bali. This option provides the flexibility and privacy of having a boat to oneself and the ability to customize the itinerary.

Once in Bali, visitors arriving by boat can access different ports of entry such as the aforementioned Gilimanuk, and Padangbai, as well as Benoa in the south, which is the main port for international cruise ships.

Overall, traveling to Bali by boat offers a unique and scenic way to experience the island, providing various options to suit different preferences and budgets.

With a wide range of airlines, departure cities, and flight durations, travellers heading to Bali have plenty of options to reach their destination efficiently and comfortably.

Food in Bali

When visiting Bali, indulging in the local culinary scene is a must. Here are the most popular local Indonesian dishes that you should not miss during your visit:

1. Nasi Goreng – Indonesian fried rice cooked with sweet soy sauce, shallots, garlic, tamarind, and chili, topped with a fried egg. It is a flavourful and comforting dish that is a staple in Indonesian cuisine.

2. Mi Goreng – Fried noodles mixed with a spicy and savoury combination of soy sauce, garlic, shallots, and chilli, often served with vegetables, egg, and your choice of meat or seafood. The dish is bursting with umami flavours and is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

3. Satay – Skewered and grilled meat, usually chicken, beef, or pork, served with a flavourful peanut sauce. The meat is marinated in a blend of spices and then grilled to perfection, resulting in juicy and tender bites.

4. Babi Guling – A Balinese-style roast pork dish, featuring crispy skin and succulent meat seasoned with turmeric, coriander, lemongrass, and lime leaves. It is typically served with rice, lawar, and sambal.

5. Lawar – A traditional Balinese dish made from a mix of finely chopped coconut, vegetables, minced meat, and rich herbs and spices, including turmeric, ginger, kaffir lime, and shrimp paste. The combination of flavors and textures creates a unique and delicious culinary experience.

These dishes are an integral part of the Balinese culinary experience and are widely available in local warungs (eateries) and restaurants throughout the island. Sampling these iconic Indonesian dishes is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the vibrant and diverse flavours of Bali.

Accommodation in Bali

When planning a trip to Bali, there is a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. You can find plenty of luxury options consisting of 5-star hotels with top notch amenities at stunning beachfront locations. For those seeking unique and local experiences, the Airbnb villas in Bali are great. With these villas, Bali travellers can enjoy spacious and private accommodation’s which often come with a pool and personalized services.

For budget-friendly options, there is an abundance of hostels and homestays available. Hostels like Gypsy Moon Bali or M Boutique Hostel provide affordable yet comfortable dormitory-style living with the opportunity to meet fellow travellers. Homestays offer a chance to stay with a local family and immerse oneself in the Balinese culture.

Airbnb villas are known for providing unique experiences and value for money, while hostels  and homestays are affordable options for those looking to save on stay costs.

Currency in Bali

The official currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah(IDR). However, some places in Bali also accept US dollars(USD), especially in tourist areas and for some tourist transactions such as hotel bills or high-end tourist restaurant transactions. Please note that when paying with USD, you may receive your change in Indonesian Rupiah, and the exchange rate may not be as favourable. Some places may charge you a little extra when you pay in another currency other than IDR.

In addition to IDR and USD, although rare, some establishments in Bali may also accept Australian dollars(AUD), Euros(EUR), and other major currencies. However, it is always best to check with the specific businesses or vendors beforehand to see which currencies they accept.

While credit cards are also widely accepted in Bali, it is always a good idea to have some local currency in hand for smaller purchases and street vendors who may not accept cards.

Know more about the Indonesian Rupiah here.

Best Time to Visit Bali

The best time to visit Bali is during the dry season, which lasts from April to October. This is the perfect time for outdoor activities and water sports, especially surfing in Bali, as the waves are at their best during this season. Additionally, Bali hosts a variety of cultural festivals during the dry season, showcasing the island’s unique traditions and vibrant arts scene.

On the other hand, the wet season in Bali lasts from November to March. While the weather can be unpredictable during this time, tourists can take advantage of discounted prices and fewer crowds. This is a great opportunity for budget travellers to experience Bali without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Bali depends on your priorities. If you are looking to partake in outdoor activities and cultural events, the dry season is your best bet. However, if you are more concerned about saving money and avoiding crowds, the off-season may be more appealing to you. Regardless of when you choose to visit, Bali is sure to offer a unique and memorable experience.

Can you surfing in Bali in the rainy season? Click here to find out.

Nightlife in Bali

When it comes to nightlife, Bali has a vibrant and diverse scene that caters to all tastes. In Seminyak, you’ll find beach clubs like Ku De Ta and Potato Head, where you can dance the night away or relax with a cocktail enjoying the view of one of the prettiest sunsets of your life. The area is also home popular bars like La Favela and Motel Mexicola, offering a lively atmosphere and delicious drinks.

In Kuta, the nightlife is equally vibrant, with options ranging from underground clubs to beachfront parties. Sky Garden is a famous nightclub with multiple floors of music and dancing, while Engine Room offers a more intimate and edgier vibe. Both areas boast a variety of options, including live music venues like Old Man’s in Canggu, where you can enjoy great tunes and mingle with locals and travellers alike.

Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing, live music, or just socializing with new friends, Bali’s nightlife has something for everyone. With its plethora of beach clubs, bars, and nightclubs, the island offers a nightlife experience that is hard to beat.

Know more about the nightlife in Bali and all the best spots.

Top 5 Places to Visit in Bali

Bali has a trove of beautiful places to visit which includes stunning beaches to ancient beaches to lush rice terraces. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a history buff or a foodies, you will not be disappointed with the array of choices the island provides. Here are some of the top places to visit in Bali.

1. Mount Batur

Mount Batur in Bali is an active volcano with a height of 1,717 meters. It is situated at the center of two concentric calderas and has become popular for the sunrise views. Trekking in the surrounding areas is a crowd-favourite among the tourists in Bali. Those participating in the trek usually start their routine early in the morning so that they reach on top on time to witness the sunrise.

The volcanic landscape around Mount Batur is uniquely beautiful, with black lava fields and the Lake Batur, a crater lake. A major source of irrigation in the area, fishing in the lake is also possible for those interested.

In addition to the trekking and natural beauty, the area around Mount Batur also has hot springs, temples, and traditional Balinese villages for visitors to explore. Kintamani, a nearby town offers great spots to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the volcano and the lake. Overall, Mount Batur is a significant natural attraction in Bali, offering both adventure and natural beauty to those who visit.

2. Jimbaran Bay

Jimbaran Bay is a beachside paradise that welcomes visitors with spellbounding natural beauty and world renowned seafood restaurants. The bay boasts of pristine white sand beaches that stretch for miles, providing the perfect setting for a relaxing day of sunbathing and swimming. As the sun sets over the horizon, the sky comes alive in a breathtaking display of colors, making Jimbaran Bay popular for its scenic sunsets.

One of the main attractions of Jimbaran Bay is its is its array of seafood restaurants that line the shoreline, offering the freshest catches of the day in a romantic and picturesque setting. Visitors can indulge in a delectable seafood feast while enjoying the gentle ocean breeze and the sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Whether seeking a romantic getaway or a family-friendly beach vacation, Jimbaran Bay promises a delightful and unforgettable experience for all. With its idyllic beaches, world-class dining, and spectacular sunsets, Jimbaran Bay is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Bali.

3. Tanah Lot Temple

The Tanah Lot Temple is an iconic and unique offshore Hindu temple located on he coast of Bali, Indonesia. It is widely recognized for its stunning setting on a rock formation in the ocean, providing visitors with breathtaking views, especially during sunset. According the Balinese mythology, the temple was built by a Hindu priest and is guarded by sea snakes, which are said to protect the structure from evil spirits and intruders.

The name ‘Tanah Lot’ comes from its location and translates to ‘land in the sea’ in Balinese. The temple complex has a long and intricate history, dating back to the 16th century, and it holds great cultural and spiritual importance for the Balinese people.

For those planning a visit, the Tanah Lot temple is open from 6 am to 7 pm daily, and the entrance fee is IDR 60,000 for adults and for children it is IDR 30,000. It is located about 15-20 kms from Denpasar.

4. Green Bowl

Green Bowl Bali is a cliff beach that after a descent of around 330 steps will greet you with the clearest turquoise waters you have seen in a lifetime. The secluded beach and hidden waves are great if you are looking for a place to spend an idyllic day with a bit of adventure.

Exploring the caves is a must-do activity here but the adventurous part is not limited to it. One popular activity during low tide in Green Bowl is snorkeling as the crystal-clear waters are perfect for spotting the vibrant marine life and coral reefs here.

Green Bowl is also a paradise for surfers with some of the best surf camps in Bali offering lessons for all levels of surfers. The best time to visit Green Bowl is during the dry season, from April to October, when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities.

With its beautiful beaches, hidden caves, and exciting activities, a visit to Green Bowl is a must for any Bali traveller.

5. Uluwatu Temple

Perched on the edge of a steep cliff, Uluwatu Temple stands as a symbol of spiritual significance and natural beauty in Bali, Indonesia. The temple’s location offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian ocean, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

The cultural importance of the Uluwatu temple is very high as it’s one of the 6 significant key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars. The surreal landscape surrounding the temple with its rugged cliffs and crashing waves, adds to the sense of wonder and awe for visitors.

The temple overlooks some of the most iconic surf breaks of the island and is close to several surf camps in Bali. This provides ample opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture stunning images of the temple against the backdrop of the ocean and for surfers to catch some of the best waves in the area. Uluwatu Temple not only offers a glimpse into Balinese culture and spirituality but also serves as a gateway to the natural wonders of the surrounding beaches.

Top 5 Things to Do in Bali

Bali is known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant atmosphere. This tropical paradise is full of activities that cater to a wide range of interests, making it an ideal destination for travellers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences.

1. White river rafting in Ayung river

River rafting in the Ayung river offers an exhilarating experience surrounded by the stunning scenery of Bali. The rapids in Ayung river offer a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable even for beginners. The adventure usually lasts for 2-3 hours and covers a 12 km track. Some packages even offer pick up and drop off facilities along with food.

Ayung is a perennial river but the best time to go rafting in it would be in the dry season which falls between April and October. The rains in the wet season can make the conditions unpredictable and may not be suitable for beginners. Make sure that your service provider includes all the necessary safety gear for your adventure which would include a life jacket, helmet, paddle, and a sturdy raft.

White river rafting in Ayung river provides an unforgettable experience for adventure seekers, with the right equipment, safety precautions, and tour options to cater to various preferences and experience levels.

2. Surfing Padang Padang in Bali

Located on the Bukit Peninsula in Bali, Padang Padang is renowned for its world-class surfing conditions. The beach offers consistent, powerful left-hand reef breaks that are ideal for experienced surfers. The waves can reach up to 12 feet, providing an exhilarating challenge for surfers looking for a thrilling ride.

For those looking to surf at Padang Padang, it’s recommended to be aware of the shallow reef and sharp rocks that can pose a danger, especially during low tide. It’s advisable to wait for the higher tide to ensure a safer and more enjoyable surfing experience. Padang Padang lefts may be alluring to expert surfers, beginners don’t have to be disappointed. Beginner surfers can enjoy the sport with softer waves at Padang Padang Left.

Additionally, surfers should be prepared for crowded line-ups, as Padang Padang is a popular destination for surfers around the world and also home to many surf camps in Bali.

In addition to the impressive surfing conditions, Padang Padang is also known for its stunning natural scenery and unique rock formations. The area is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and lush greenery, offering a picturesque treat for the visitors.

For those looking to improve their surfing skills or experience the waves at Padang Padang, there are several surfing camps and schools in Bali where you can get surf lessons to suit your skills and guided surf trips to this renowned beach. Padang Padang is a top destination for surfers seeking thrilling waves and breath-taking natural beauty.

3. Hike to one of Bali’s many waterfalls

Bali is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls of Indonesia and hiking to one of them offers a refreshing and picturesque adventure amidst the lush tropical landscape of the island. The best time to visit it is during the dry season from April to September when the weather is more predictable and the trails are less muddy.

The difficulty levels of the hike vary, with some waterfalls being easily accessible within a short trek while others may call for a more challenging trek through dense forests and uneven terrain. Some waterfalls may require permits or the assistance of a local guide so it is essential to check on these details beforehand.

Some of the must-see waterfalls in Bali include Sekumpul, Tegenungan, Banyumala, and Gitgit among the others. Sekumpul is located in the northern part of Bali and is known for its collection of seven majestic waterfalls, Tegenungan is more accessible from Ubud and has facilities like bathrooms, swimming areas and food stalls nearby. Gitgit, located in the central part of Bali, is a popular spot for hikers and photographers with its iconic twin falls.

Many of the waterfalls in Bali will have parking areas, restrooms, and local vendors selling snacks and drinks. Overall, the experience of hiking to Bali’s waterfalls provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the island while enjoying a rewarding and refreshing  outdoor adventure.

4. Visit Bali’s rice terraces

The rice terraces of Bali are a great way to understand a very important aspect of the rural Balinese economy and cultural landscape. You cannot miss the Tegallalang and the Jatiwih rice terraces.

The best way to visit the Tegallalang rice terraces in Ubud is to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The entrance fee is approximately 15,000 IDR ($1 USD) and the opening hours are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

If you want a better chance to avoid the crowds then consider heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces instead. Although, it is located a bit further from Ubud, the Jatiluwih rice terraces are less crowded and equally (if not more) stunning. The entrance fee for Jatiluwih around 40,000 IDR ($3 USD) and the opening hours are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Both the locations offer breath-taking views of the lush green rice terraces and are great for taking photos, so be sure to bring your camera. No matter which location you choose to visit, both the rice terraces are something you should not miss if you are in Ubud, Bali.

5. Visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, also known as the Ubud Monkey Forest, is a must-visit attraction in Ubud, Bali. This sanctuary is home to over 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys living in their natural habitat within a temple complex.

Visitors can observe these playful monkeys as they swing from tree to tree and interact with each other. The sanctuary is also home to 150 species of trees, adding to the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The entrance fee for adults is around 60,000 to 100,000 IDR, with varying rates for weekdays and weekend for different age groups. The sanctuary is located near the centre of Ubud, making it easily accessible for tourists. It is open daily from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm, allowing ample time for visitors to explore and observe the monkeys in their natural habitat.

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures and experience the vibrant wildlife of Bali. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for an unforgettable experience, a visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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What is the best time to visit Bali?

The dry season from April to October is generally considered the best time to visit Bali, offering pleasant weather and ideal conditions for outdoor activities.

How can I get to Bali?

Bali can be reached by air through Ngurah Rai International Airport, served by international airlines. Alternatively, there are boat options, including ferries from nearby islands or cruises departing from Australian ports.

What is the currency in Bali, and where can I use it?

The official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). While widely accepted, some tourist areas may also accept US dollars (USD). It’s advisable to have local currency for smaller purchases and street vendors.

What are the top places to visit in Bali?

Must-visit places include Mount Batur, Jimbaran Bay, Tanah Lot Temple, Green Bowl, and Uluwatu Temple. Each offers unique attractions, landscapes, and cultural significance.

What are the transportation options within Bali?

Bali has various transportation options, including taxis, ride-sharing services, and motorbike rentals. Renting a scooter is a popular choice for short distances, while private drivers or tour services are available for day trips.

What are some recommended local dishes to try in Bali?

flavors such as Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Bebek Betutu (slow-cooked duck), and Babi Guling (suckling pig). International cuisine is also abundant, with acai bowls being a popular choice.

What types of accommodations are available in Bali?

Accommodation options range from luxury beachfront hotels to Airbnb villas and budget-friendly hostels or homestays. Choose based on your preferences and budget.

What should I know about Bali’s nightlife?

Bali offers a vibrant nightlife scene with beach clubs, bars, and nightclubs. Popular areas include Seminyak and Kuta, with venues like Ku De Ta, Potato Head, and Sky Garden.

Are there any cultural etiquettes to be aware of in Bali?

Respect the local customs, such as covering shoulders and knees when visiting temples. It’s customary to use the right hand for giving and receiving, and it’s polite to remove shoes when entering someone’s home.

What outdoor activities are popular in Bali?

Bali offers various outdoor activities, including white river rafting in the Ayung River, surfing in Padang Padang, hiking to waterfalls, exploring rice terraces, and visiting the Monkey Forest in Ubud.

Where are the best surfing spots in Bali?

Bali has numerous renowned surfing spots. Some of the best include Padang Padang, Uluwatu, Canggu, and Keramas. Each spot caters to different skill levels and preferences.

Are there surf schools in Bali for beginners?

Yes, Bali has numerous surf schools and camps catering to beginners. Popular areas like Kuta and Canggu offer lessons for those new to surfing, providing instructors, equipment, and a safe learning environment.