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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Bali

Updated: Jun 1


gate to heaven at lempuyang temple in bali
Lempuyang Temple

Whether you're a thrill seeker, outdoor enthusiast, budget-minded excursionist, or luxury traveler, Bali has it all. This tropical island is home to warm-hearted locals, rich culture, dramatic waterfalls, lush green landscapes, over 20,000 temples, and more. While tourism has boomed immensely in Bali within the last decade, authentic, local culture in many parts of the island is still prevalent.


If you're planning a trip to Bali, it may seem daunting as there is a seemingly endless amount of sights to see. Below you'll find an extensive guide on everything you need to know to plan a trip to the island, including our itinerary:


Quick facts

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR or Rp)


Notes come in denominations of 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; 50,000 and 100,000 Rp. Coins come in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Rp. If you forget to exchange currency prior to your trip, don't fret—there are several money changers, banks, and ATMs in Bali.


Religion: Balinese Hinduism


Most of the Balinese population are religious, and uphold many traditions, ceremonies, and rituals. In Bali, you'll quickly notice small basket offerings in front of homes, shops, and restaurants. Known as canang sari, these offerings are typically made of palm leaves, and are filled with items such as flowers and incense. Familiarize yourself with some of Bali's common traditions, so you can avoid minor mistakes such as stepping over an offering.


Language: Indonesian


The main language in Bali is Indonesian or Balinese. Since Bali is a popular tourist destination, many of the locals can speak English. However, it’s always good to know basic conversational phrases. Here are a few that may be useful:


• Thank you "terima kasih"

• How are you "apa kabar"

• How much is this "berapa ini"


Weather: There are two seasons in Bali—wet and dry.


Wet season is between October and April. Even with heavy showers or occasional downpours, it's not uncommon for there to be sunny weather throughout the day. My friends and I visited Bali in April, and were lucky to have sunny weather throughout most of our trip. Keep in mind that the weather is humid and warm during wet season. Tip: Invest in a rain poncho if you're planning to visit during wet season.


Dry season is between May and September. You can expect warm weather and less humidity, but occasional downpours are not uncommon.


Budget in Bali

You're in luck! In terms of costs, Bali is great for budget-seekers and luxury travelers. While I can't provide an exact budget for your trip, as personal preferences can greatly affect overall costs, here is an estimate of how much my friends and I spent for our 6-day, 5-night trip (all costs listed are in USD):

• Airfare: $690

• Accommodation: $424 / 3 people = $141 per person

• Transportation: $160 / 3 people = $53 per person

• Attractions: $38

• Food, snacks, alcohol: $40

• Souvenirs: $10

• Extra (Nusa Penida island tour): $55


Total: $1,027 per person


Booking your flight to Bali

International flights can get expensive—especially if you're flying from the United States to Bali. Purchasing your plane tickets months in advance can save you a great deal of money. My friends and I booked our flights with EVA Air 11 months in advance, and were able to score reasonably-priced tickets.


Keep in mind that high season is between June and August, so airfare may be significantly higher during those months. If you're looking for more affordable flights, April to May and September to October are the best times to visit.


Where to stay in Bali

There is no shortage of accommodations in Bali. You have the option of staying in hostels, hotels, or Airbnbs. We found that staying in Airbnbs provided the best overall value. Airbnbs in Bali are generally inexpensive, and you can even book affordable villas and treehouses. (Yes, treehouses!) Below are the homes that we stayed in—I highly recommend them for your trip:


Ubud: Our Airbnb was located in the heart of Ubud, and offered walking distance to numerous attractions, restaurants, and shops. Our hosts provided delicious, complimentary breakfast every morning during our stay. Click here for a link to our Airbnb.

Seminyak: Our second Airbnb was a luxury villa with its own swimming pool. Click here for a link to our Airbnb.


airbnb ubud
Airbnb in Ubud

airbnb ubud breakfast
Complimentary breakfast at our Airbnb in Ubud

Getting around in Bali

There are several modes of transportation in Bali—motorbike, car rental, car hire, taxi, and ride share.

Motorbike or car rental: I don't recommend this option unless you are confident in your driving abilities because the roads can get chaotic, especially in the more popular tourist areas. If you do decide to rent a motorbike or car, don't forget you need an International Driver's Permit.

Car hire: This is my recommended option—hire a private driver for specific days and times. We found that having a private driver not only allowed us to explore at our own pace, but also gave us the opportunity to interact and learn from a local. Click here to contact our guide (and friend), Adi.

Taxi: Taxis are popular on the island—you can find them almost anywhere in popular tourist areas such as Ubud and Seminyak.

Ride share apps: Grab is the most popular ride share app in Bali.


Our 6-Day Itinerary in Bali

Sunday:

Denpasar Airport: Fly into Denpasar Airport, the only airport in Bali.

Airbnb in Ubud: Check into your Airbnb and drop off your luggage. Relax and settle in after a long flight.

Ibu Rai Bar & Restaurant: Grab a local dinner at Ibu Rai. Try the mie goreng here!


tegalalang rice terrace in ubud bali
Tegalalang Rice Terrace

Monday:

Tegalalang Rice Terrace: Tegalalang Rice Terrace is a must if you're visiting Bali. You can walk along the rice terraces, and there are plenty of spots for photos. Paid entrance.

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple: Saraswati Temple is a small Balinese temple that is situated behind two large lotus ponds. Free entrance.

Ubud Art Market: This is a great spot to purchase souvenirs and local goods. You'll find dozens of local vendors here.

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary: Ubud's Monkey Forest is a fun spot to enjoy a leisurely walk while getting in close encounter with hundreds of monkeys. Beware—these cute, but mischievous monkeys may try to jump on you and steal your belongings! Paid entrance.


pura taman saraswati temple Ubud Bali
Pura Taman Saraswati

ulun danu bratan temple bali
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

Tuesday:

Ulun Danu Bratan Temple: Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is a picturesque lakeside temple with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Paid entrance.

Handara Golf & Resort Gate: Handara Gate is a massive Balinese gate with vibrant green hills as the backdrop. Paid entrance.

Sekumpul Waterfalls & Hidden Falls: Sekumpul Falls is stunning—one of my favorite memories from our trip. After descending a steep staircase and trekking through water in a lush green jungle, you will be rewarded with a massive waterfall. Make sure to bring a bathing suit as you will get wet! Paid entrance.


sekumpul waterfalls bali
Sekumpul Waterfalls

ulun danu bratan temple bali
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple

handara golf resort gate bali
Handara Gate

Wednesday:

Bali Botanica Day Spa: Indulge yourself in an affordable spa at Bali Botanica Day Spa. If you want a quick treatment, I recommend booking the exfoliation and flower bath package.

Lempuyang Temple: Lempuyang Temple is known for its split gate with Mt. Agung sitting center in the background. Paid entrance.

• Airbnb in Seminyak: Head to your next Airbnb and relax before dinner!


airbnb seminyak villa bali
Airbnb in Seminyak

flower bath jungle bali botanica day spa
Bali Botanica Day Spa

Thursday:

Nusa Penida Island: Click here to check out my guide on visiting Nusa Penida in one day.

Potato Head Beach Club: Grab drinks and food at this popular beachside club.


kelingking cliff nusa penida island bali
Kelingking Cliff at Nusa Penida Island

Friday:

Kynd Community: Start off your morning with a delicious vegan breakfast. Try their Paradise Pancakes—vanilla infused pancakes with coconut ice cream, maple syrup, berry compote, candied hazelnuts, strawberry cream, and bananas... so good!

Denpasar Airport: And... it's time to head back home!


breakfast brunch kynd community bali
Kynd Community


Tips

• Pack bug repellent: Bali is a tropical island with (inevitably) a lot of insects. Prevent bug bites by packing bug spray.

• Wear comfortable walking shoes or sandals: You will be doing a lot of walking, so make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes or sandals.

• Dress conservatively at temples: Be mindful when visiting Balinese temples by dressing conservatively. Some temples will allow you to rent a shawl.

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