The Ultimate Guide to Bali
Traveling through Bali is something I cannot recommend enough! From hiking up mountains to surfing and relaxing on the beach. Watching dolphins play at sunrise to biking through miles of rice fields. Relaxing in a yoga class to jumping off waterfalls. Bali is beautiful, full of culture and has something for everyone.
How to Get There
Bali is the most visited island in all of Indonesia. It has an international airport with flights from many places in Asia connecting all over the world. Once you arrive in Bali you can take a car, moped or boat to anywhere on the island.
Best Time to Travel
May to July is an ideal time for backpacking Bali because prices and crowds are lower and rain is minimal. The average temperature during this time is 27-28°C (80-82°F). July to September is the next best time to visit offering similar weather with an increased number of tourists.
Our Average Daily Budget
370,000-600,000 IDR ($25-$40 USD) per person while staying in a private room at a home stay, using a motorbike as transportation, and eating mostly local food. It is possible to spend a lot more in Indonesia; but we stayed comfortably within this price range. Here is our daily breakdown:
- Accommodation: 135,000 – 210,000 IDR ($9-$14 USD) per person based on splitting a room between 2 people.
- Food: 90,000 – 210,000 IDR ($6-$14 USD) per day.
- Transportation: 750,000 IDR ($5 USD) per day based on $3.75 USD for a motorbike rental and $1.75 for a tank of gas.
- Activities & Entrance Fees: 100,000 ($7 USD) per day on average.
The recommended vaccinations for traveling to Indonesia are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, Dukoral (for travelers’ diarrhea), Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis (because this disease is rare many people don’t get this vaccination). Malaria pills are not necessary for Bali but should be taken for Lombok and other islands. Always double check with a travel clinic before you leave to make sure all your shots are up to date.
Agoda was perfect for finding everything from hostels and homestays to 5 star hotels. You can search by map or by price and they have free cancellation.
Budget: 80,000-100,000 IDR ($6-$12 USD) per person/night. Breakfast is sometimes included in a hostel dorm room, you will get a fan but no A/C. For 2 people it is worth staying in a mid range private room instead.
Mid range: 180,000-280,000 IDR ($14-21 USD) for 2 people/night. Breakfast and A/C included with a private room in a homestay. A home in Indonesia is made up of many different buildings on one property. Our homestays were all newer buildings with a private room, washroom and a balcony which they bring your breakfast to in the morning.
Luxury: 375,000 IDR + ($100+ USD) for 2 people/night. Includes A/C and breakfast. Treat yourself for a night or two in a high end room. Luxury room and bathroom, A/C and quite possibly your own private pool. By doing some research and booking ahead you can easily stay in a 5 star hotel for under $100 USD/night.
40,000-80,000 IDR ($3-$6 USD) per person per meal on average
We ate a lot while backpacking Indonesia because the food is SO good! You can order a local plate of Nasi Gorang for 15,000 IDR ($1.12 USD) or a 4 course feast for 200,000 IDR ($15 USD). Trip Advisor`s cheap eats section is great when you`re in a new place without any recommendations. We never got sick when eating from the street carts but followed some general rules. First; look for the street cart where all of the locals go to. A busy cart means that the same food hasn’t been sitting out all day and the locals will know the best ones. Secondly; make sure to steer clear of the street meat. You just never know exactly what it is or where it came from; so its easiest just to skip it all together.
Some of our favorite local foods:
Nasi Gorang: Rice, choice of meat, and vegetables
Mia Gorang: Noodle, choice of meat and vegetables
Satay Chicken or Beef: Chicken or beef skewers with rice and a peanut sauce
Tempeh: A thin, deep-fried soybean patty. Most places will offer tofu or tempeh as a vegetarian option. It’s packed with protein and more firm and flavorful than tofu!
Fried Bananas with Ice Cream: A fairly common desert in Bali and it is so delicious
Pumpkin Soup: Very similar to butternut squash soup with tons of fresh spices and vegetables
Motorbike: This was by far the easiest mode of transportation while backpacking Indonesia. It costs $50,000 IDR ($3.75 USD) per day to rent a motorbike and about $1,500 IDR ($1.15 USD) to fill up with gas. The roads can be dangerous and you do have to be careful but in our opinion its the best way to go.
Related: Renting a Motorbike in Bali
Hire a private driver: 40,000-50,000 IDR ($30-$37 USD) per day. Do this when you have a lot planned for a day and/or the places you want to go are far away from each other. For example; we were picked up at the airport at 7:30 am. From there we drove 2 hours to a temple, then to a viewpoint 1.5 hours from there and finally back to our homestay that evening. We didn’t have to man the crazy airport taxi mob, we could leave our packs in the car while we were exploring, and we ended up getting a steal of a deal for all the driving.
Take advantage of transportation included in tours: Most tours will pick you up or drop you off anywhere on the same island. We booked a Bike Tour through a company in Ubud and they picked us up in Uluwatu for no extra cost. They stored our bags during the tour and this saved us 400,000 IDR ($30 USD) on a cab ride.
Walk: We walked A LOT in Indonesia. We always felt safe and the local people were very helpful when we needed directions.
Taxi: Make sure to haggle with your taxi driver beforehand. You can offer about half the asking price. Taxi meters are becoming more popular in which case it is more difficult to haggle. Be cautious they aren’t driving you in circles or the long way to up the meter.
Bali is a Hindu island in a Muslim country. The local women are not required to be completely covered up here but it is important to dress respectfully in sacred places. I felt very comfortable wearing shorts and sundresses most places in Bali. You must have your knees and shoulders covered to enter temples but most provide sarongs free of charge. A very lightweight rain jacket is good to have if you are going on the shoulder season.
Related: Southeast Asia Packing List
- Get a homestay with breakfast included.
- Book tours on travel days to take you from city to city.
- Haggle 50-60% on anything you buy from a shop or a booth.
- Rent a motorbike for transportation.
- Go to temples and attractions on your own instead of with a tour.
- The airlines will charge you up to $35 USD per checked bag so bring a carry on sized backpack if you plan to catch any flights.