Ask any backpacker and they’ll tell you that Bali is by far the best spot for an amazing holiday in Indonesia. And they’re right! The beaches are beautiful, the locals are friendly, the food is fantastic, the countryside is lush, and yoga is practically a national past time. What’s not to love? Kick off your epic adventure with our handy Bali guide.
Do all the things
Whether you’re into adventure, chilling, nature, partying or pretty much anything else – you’ll find it in Bali. Go hiking, mountain biking, jungle trekking and canopy zip-lining. Soak up some sun on the golden beaches (Nusa Dua, Sanur, Balangan and Crystal Bay are some of the best). Or dive into the crystal water, snorkel with friendly marine life, and explore a spooky shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean. Feeling a bit stressed? Bliss out with a Balinese massage session. Or sign up for a yoga retreat. Keen for a bit of culture? Explore thousands of temples around the island – be sure to hike up to Pura Besakih on sacred Mount Agung (it’s actually an active volcano). Check out the cheeky monkeys in the Ubud Monkey Forest, and get your thrills as you cycle down Mount Batur. Party peeps will want to hit up crazy Kuta too.
Om nom nom
It’s no secret that the food in Indonesia is amazing – and Bali is no exception. Not quite as spicy as Thailand, Balinese food is super flavourful (and you can always order some hot sambals on the side). For a true taste of the local cuisine, hit up a Warung (street-style café). You’ll get to snack on everything from the peanutty goodness of satay skewers, fragrant curries, and fresh, fruity salads to freshly grilled corn on the cob, fried bananas and more – you definitely won’t go hungry in Bali.
Know your budget
Backpacking in Bali on a budget is easy peasy – especially if you stick to hostels, street food and more affordable activities. If you keep things simple, you can get by on about 500 bucks a day. This includes a hostel dorm room, street-side dining, bicycle rental and some fun activities (like hiking or a Balinese dance show). Free WiFi and breakfast are usually included at your accommodation. Save some change for a small donation when visiting temples too.
How to stay thrifty
Bali is pretty cheap to begin with. But if you really want to stretch out your budget, there are a few sure-fire tricks to keep things extra thrifty. Western food is pricey, so stick to local street food (it’s tastier anyway). Never accept the first price offered at a market. You can bargain down to nearly half the cost if you play hardball. Bali, Kuta, Ubud, Seminyak and pretty much the entire southern region are the most popular and expensive destinations. Head up north for way better deals and quieter beaches too. Skip expensive taxis and share an Uber Pool instead. Look out for happy hours or just buy your booze on the cheap at a local store. Save money (and the environment) by bringing along your own water filter bottle.
You won’t find much to worry about when it comes to crime in Bali. It’s one of the safest places to travel (even if you’re on your own). The most common thing to watch out for is theft, with sneaky people (and sometimes trained monkeys) grabbing your bag, phone, jewellery or sunglasses. Be especially careful on public transport. Don’t carry all your cash with you during the day and draw money from a bank not an ATM (where your card details could be stolen). Keep your friends and family up to date on where you’re headed, and keep copies of your passport and ID somewhere safe. Travel insurance is a must – so make sure you get it sorted before you go!
Gear and packing list
The weather in Bali is great. It’s pretty much hot and humid every day, with some heavy showers in the rainy season. So when it comes to packing, don’t get bogged down with heavy gear and chunky jerseys. Bring your swimsuit, some long-sleeved shirts and pants (this keeps the mozzies off too). Some must-haves include suntan lotion, a sarong, a warm top, light rain jacket, flip flops, closed shoes for hiking, phone/laptop chargers, a lock for your valuables, water purifying bottle, zip lock bags, any chronic medication you need, and a medical aid kit. Remember, shopping in Bali is great so you can bargain for pretty much anything else you need at the market.
Now that you know what a holiday in Bali is all about, you’re good to go!