Bali Travel Guide
Why this Ultimate Bali Travel Guide is Different:
While the ‘Island of the Gods' is truly like no other, there are a lot of key things you should know to make the most of your trip. I had a TON of questions before visiting Bali and it took dozen of Google searches to get answers. I kept running into shallow travel blogs with really great photos…but zero substance. They were visually stunning, but didn't tell me ANYTHING about traveling to Bali, other than how to pose for a photo there. Or one (non-luxury) travel blogger suggesting everyone should stay at the Bulgari Resort. Pfft! In my dreams I have a $1000/n budget!
While I love the travel blogging industry, I find some people are doing it solely for the sponsored post and popularity contest, and not for the love of travel. Ya feel me?
This is why I’ve made this Ultimate Bali Travel Guide, so you have a one stop resource for everything you’ll need to know. Without the fluff. (You'll want to bookmark this page for later!)
This Bali Travel Guide will teach you:
Bali at a Glance
Costs, Top Attractions, Weather, Best Time to Go
Bali is CHEAP, but that is changing fast as tourism levels keep skyrocketing. Right NOW is the time to take advantage of the super low prices before they start rising.
In fact, Bali is so cheap, I think it’s ruined me for other countries. I literally can’t get a massage in North America anymore because I can’t justify paying $150 when they’re only $8 in Bali.
By the way, all prices in this blog are USD, because it's the easiest currency to use for comparison sake. I'm sorry fellow Canadians.
Average Costs in Bali
get ready to be mindblown
Lunch like a local $1.75
Trendy 3 course dinner for 2 $20
Bottle of Water $0.50
Average Hostel $14
Average 3 Star $48
5 Star Starting at $85
Average Taxi Ride around town $3
Private driver 4 Hours $25
Bus Ride $1.50
Scooter Rental $3
1 Hour Massage for 2 $17
Dress at market $10
What's NOT Cheap in Bali
Alcohol is heavily taxed in Bali, making it much more expensive that you remember back home. The price gets even higher for any imports. For example, a bottle of Apothic (barf) brand Red Wine is $10 in North America, but will be $45 at the Bintang supermarket in Seminyak.
All hotels and bars will have ‘westerner’ premium on mixed drinks and cocktails. Your best value is to buy local wines and spirits.
Things To Do in Bali
So that you actually leave your hotel room
Sacred Monkey Forest – Ubud
One of the most interesting things you will ever do. It's literally what you believe it to be- a forest, filled with monkeys. There are hundreds of these little guys, all waiting for you to slip them a banana or two. You will have a thousand photo opportunities and a few laughs. If I'm being totally transparent, I was a little afraid of them, but I'm also a big wuss. For more info, check out my friend Tiffanys post Ubud Monkey Forest – the Need to Knows.
It's 50,000 IDR to get in and they open at 8:30am.
Tanah Lot Temple – Canggu
An ancient Hindu temple sitting a top a small cliff with the crashing waves below. There is an entire legend and story that goes along with it's history, but I'll let you discover that for yourself. Be aware that you'll have to wait for low tide to access the temple.
60,000 IDR entrance fee. Opens at 7am, but the best views are at sunset.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces – Ubud
Amazing view, Insta worthy and a very low cost attraction. You will park your car in a big (free) lot and continue to the ticket booth. Entrance is only 10k IDR (about $0.80 USD) so about as cheap as it gets to see something of this beauty.
A short 3 minute walk through street vendors will bring you to the first set of stairs with a great Insta photo op.
There is a man who will put his rice carrier across your back for a great photo.
You can walk about 5-10 minutes through the field until you come to a toll booth. It's 10k IDR to continue. (again, so cheap! just pay and go!) There are many little cafes and ice cream booths inside if you get dehydrated!
10,000 IDR to enter and $5,000-$10,000 IDR to hike it.
Built in the 11th century at a river junction, this temple cave has bursted in popularity from photos being shared on Instagram. Inside the cave you will find seats where ancient holy men could be found meditating, along with early religious inscriptions.
20,000 IDR to enter and open 8:00am – 4:00pm
The original gangsta when Bali's beaches are concerned. Kuta Beach was once of the first draws to the island and it still attracts tourists by the thousands. ‘Quiet' is not a word ever used to describe this bustling hot spot, but it's the best place to come for a good time. You can surf, drink, dance, shop and party all night long.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
As of July 2018 this site is almost completing construction, but is still an awe-inspiring stop. The enormous new statues being built are a truly impressive feat.
The centre has meticulously manicured grounds to walk through, plus many opportunities for photos. Every afternoon and evening there is some type of cultural show or dance.
185,000 IDR entry fee includes lunch or dinner and a show.
In the area surround Ubud you will find ample opportunities to visit a Luwak coffee plantation. What makes this coffee different from your normal java is the fact that it's pooped out of a small mammal before roasting. The Asian Civet eats the coffee fruit and poops out the bean, which is then collected, washed and roasted.At many farms you will get a free tour, interact with the Civets and try some Kopi Luwak for yourself.
Dozens of Temples
There are so many remarkable temples located throughout the Island of the Gods.
Some of the most popular temples you should put on your list are:
Uluwatu temple, Besakih temple (the oldest and largest), Pura Tirta Empul, and Ulun Danu.
More 'Things To Do' in Bali:
Our friends over at Wanderfully Living have created the 28 Must-Do Bali Bucket List Items, give it a peek if you need more ‘what to do' ideas!
The weather is too nice...for 'inside' jokes
Best Time To Go To BALI
The ‘BEST' time to go to Bali can vary a lot depending on who you talk to. Some people are picky about weather, while others don't want to blow their budget during high season. Here is how I see it: ANYTIME is a good time to be in BALI!
OFF SEASON. Heading to Bali outside of the peak tourist times has it’s perks. You can enjoy lower hotel prices, friendlier (less stressed) staff, cleaner air and less crowded beaches. Rainy season from Dec-Feb (not including Christmas/New Years) will also bring up some bargains, as well as rain clouds.
The middle of the summer has the most sunny days, least amount of precipitation, and the lowest humidity. However, this is when the beaches are most crowded with Aussies fleeing their winter down under, so HIGH SEASON prices will be in effect. I would only recommend to go over the summer if you hate rain, love hustle and bustle and have a bigger budget.
Planning Your Trip to Bali
Packing tips, Tourist Visas, Currency
Bali Packing Tips
helping husbands carry less luggage since 2018
I personally find Bali one of the easiest places in the world to PACK for! Why? Because the weather is always warm, the vibe is super chill and it’s actually surprisingly developed (like, come on, there is a Sephora!) to re-stock anything you forgot.
My advice: Take advantage of just how EASY it is to pack for Bali and pack as light as possible! You will thank me later.
Bali is super chill. Leave the pencil skirts at home! 90% of your luggage should be loose fitting, flowy, casual, light clothing. Lot’s of tank tops, thin tees, comfy shorts, crop tops, etc.
Your time in Bali might bring you to a super fancy hotel or posh restaurant, so you might want one formal type outfit. Women can get away with so much more in this department, I have to admit. We can put on a silk dress and some cute shoes and Ta-Da! We’re dressed up! Guys might want to pack a light collared shirt, some slacks and closed shoes for any bougie activities. (Side note- I feel like Bali isn’t the place for being super luxe. There are many other Asian capitals that work much better for being fancy.)
No, not your grandpa’s velcro orthotics, but certainly not your Louboutin’s either. Think about shoes/sandals like Birkenstocks, Teiks, Havaianas, and anything you can walk around in all day. I lived 99% of the time in the same pair of gold flip flops and really didn’t wear the other shoes I brought. You will, without a doubt, scuff your shoes. I promise you.
Dresses are a girls best friend. You can twirl in them with a rice terrace behind you for the perfect Instagram pic. They are flowy and breezy for super hot days. You can even dress them up or down depending on the occasion. I packed 6 dresses and wore every single one of them multiple times during my 2 months there. (I even went against my normal behaviour and bought a few in Bali too!)
You will want a sarong not only as a beach cover up, but also to be respectful at certain attractions, like temples. Visiting many religious sites in Bali you will be required to cover your knees and shoulders. Some places have sarongs for sale/rent outside the front doors, but why not bring your favourite along with you.
Bring a few different suits because I guarantee you will be in the pool or ocean at least once a day! Nobody likes damp bikini bum, so rotate through 2 or 3 pairs while the others ones are drying.
No matter how hot the climate, I really don’t travel without a light cover up of some kind. You might need to cover up on a chilly night, when riding a scooter, or if you find yourself in Air Con hell. Plus who doesn’t need a comfy sweater on a plane? I literally can’t fly without one!
For some reason BOTH mosquito spray and sunscreen are 100000x’s the price. Maybe they make it with Gold there? We went to a local store and saw a cheapo ‘Walmart’ type brand of sunscreen for $280,000 IDR, which is around $20! I saw prices as high as $500,000 which makes me die laughing. That means someone is paying that y'all…No thanks! Bring your own to avoid sticker shock.
I consider myself lucky that I never encountered a squat toilet, but I cam across plenty with no TP! Carry some in your purse, especially when out sight-seeing for the day. Yes, all hotels will have TP…so no need to pack half your suitcase with double ply.
Antibacterial wipes are a life saver! I wipe down the entire plane, questionable surfaces on public transit, the remote in the hotel room, whatever needs disinfecting!
You will want a few of your fav items, but you won’t be filming any makeup tutorials while in Bali. It’s always hot and humid, making shine and sweat a reality on your face. The ‘I’m Melting!’ look doesn’t compliment anyone. Bring a BB cream with SPF instead of foundation, waterproof mascara, and lip tint.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT leave home without travel insurance. It’s not worth the risk. If you think it’s too expensive, then you shouldn’t be booking a trip to Bali. Strong wording, I know, but I’ve seen and heard of too many horror stories about people being stuck with smothering medical bills. Travel insurance will also cover things like lost or stolen items, delayed flights, emergency cancellations and much more! I have the TD Infinite Privilege Aeroplan credit card that gives me 22 days of coverage each time I travel, and then I top that up with World Nomads. I love World Nomads because they let me get additional insurance when my trip is in progress, so I can change or extend my travel plans.
I always travel with a universal adapter. There is nothing more annoying than going hunting for one once I’ve realized I can’t plug anything in. Like what if my PHONE died you guys!? Bali uses the 2 prong European plug at 230V, so many non-Euro visitors will need an adapter/converter.
Also note!!! If you want to bring your electric razor, blow drier or other small appliances, make sure they will work on 230v, or that they have a switch. My tiny travel blow dryer has a switch I can turn for this voltage, and then back again for North America. Without it, my blow dryer could catch fire! My husband also brought his electric razor with an adapter thinking he was in the clear, but the razor wasn’t capable of working at that voltage. He had to buy one locally.
Tep Wireless is a personal Wi-Fi hotspot that gives me data and internet while travelling. I really dislike buying SIM cards for different countries and just prefer to have my hotspot with me. I wrote an entire review article about how Tep works and what it costs. Basically it will run you about $8 per day you choose to use it, but gives you unlimited data and the ability to connect up to 5 devices! Some of the hotels in Bali had really crappy Wi-Fi, so Tep was a lifesaver for getting work done. I also used it while in Taxi’s for directions and having a connection while sightseeing! I personally wouldn’t travel without it.
Things you can get REALLY cheap in Bali:
Even though I am not a huge fan of shopping, it's good to hack cheaper countries for stuff I was going to buy anyway. We all forget things, but luckily Bali has cheap stores everywhere you turn. It’s very easy to stock up on certain items that you might even want to purposely pack lighter and grab what you need on location. (open each tab to read more)
There is a swimsuit shop every few feet. Some are high end luxury ones with prices to match, but many are very affordable! I saw countless bikinis and one-piece suites for $5-$20.
Again, you can’t walk more than 5 feet on any mani street without seeing a huge sunglass stand. My husband bought his favourite pair ever for $6. They were Ray ‘Bon’s (almost every stand has counterfeit replicas of big brands) and they are the lightest most comfortable shades he’s ever owned!
I feel like I am repeating myself, but flip flops are also everywhere. Everywhere. At mini-marts, markets, malls and sidewalk shops. They are cheap and do the trick!
One of my pet peeves is going to a market to buy ‘locally made goods’ and they all have a ‘Made In China’ sticker on them. There are many places in Bali where the clothing is actually made in Indonesia, or even better, on the island! I bought a few locally made dresses between $10-$20 and I simply adore them. If you want the real cheap (non-local) stuff, you can find dresses as low as $5.
At the Bintang (the local supermarket where everyone goes) they have packs of makeup remover wipes for $1-$2! And they are good! I usually pay between $10-$14 for my favourite makeup remover wipes back in Canada, so this was a nice treat.
Between the salty ocean, over chlorinated pools and the hot sun, your hair is going to be fried! You can get a super cheap hair mask treatments at almost any spa from as low as $5. Leave the deep conditioner at home and treat yourself to a spa day instead.
Things You Should Leave At Home:
1- Bali is casual. I didn’t see a ton of high end luxury women draped in jewels. Its not the place. 2- Bali is hot and sticky. Your fingers will swell and your bulky statement necklaces will feel oppressively heavy. I would fathom that most jewelry people bring ends up sitting in a hotel safe the entire trip.
The floors, sidewalks and public areas of Bali can be filthy. Not because the island is dirty, but because of the lifestyle. Ashes from incense, remnants of offerings, people cooking skewers on the sidewalks, heavy downpours that bring mud and debris…. This is not the place for your cute handbag or high end shoes. They will get clipped by motorbikes, sticky from placing them beside you, and scuffed up from the busy Bali lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of heels. I used to wear them religiously for years and years until I started traveling more. Heels + small (or non-existent) Bali sidewalks = broken ankles. Just don’t. Get a cute pair of wedges, flats, or thick heeled shoe, but stilettos are going to be an item you will regret.
Denim & Other heavy materials
Unless you live in South East Asia and are very used to the heat and humidity, you will want to leave your skinny jeans at home. Bali doesn’t ever dip below 20 degrees Celsius, even in the dead of night, and heavy denim can get really uncomfortable. Also, unlike the USA, Balinese people usually don’t crank the A/C to North Pole type temperatures inside public buildings, so you won’t need that heavy sweater either.
Tourist Visa's in Bali
know before you go
How to Get a Tourist Visa Bali
You likely DON'T need one. As of 2015, many countries can enter Bali for 30 days ‘Visa Free’. If you know you might stay a little longer and you might want to extend your visit, you MUST opt to buy a ‘Visa On Arrival’ at the Denpasar airport.
In general, Visa’s confuse the heck out of me, but I did find this guide on Bali Visa’s that cleared it all up! It’s the best resource on the net I have found on this subject.
Since we've visited Bali a few times in the past year AND extended our Visa here 2x's, we learned a few things about staying longer. If you are looking to stay more than 30 days in Bali and need help, check out our guide on the EASY and FAST way to extend your Bali Visa.
Staying UNDER 30 Days
You're good to go. Many countries can enter ‘Visa Free’. So if you know for sure you are staying under 30 days, just head through Immigration as per normal. This type of ‘Visa’ (since there really isn’t any Visa issued in the first place) cannot be extended. I repeat, cannot be extended.
Staying OVER 30 Days
You will head over to the ‘Visa on Arrival’ counter at the DPS airport and ask them “I would like to pay for the 30 day tourist visa!” This is the type of Visa that you can extend later on. The price should be 350,000 IDR (about $25 USD) and they do require you to pay it in CASH. This type of Visa can be extended for another 30 days before it expires.
Currency and Money in Bali
make it rain!
In Bali, they use the Indonesian Rupiah. If you have time, grab some before you leave on your trip. If you forget, don’t fret, you can get some at the airport, but just know the exchange won’t be a good.
As of July 2018, the exchange rate was:
$1 USD =
$1 EUR =
$1 CAD =
I have to admit, having $280,000 IDR makes you feel like a millionaire celeb, even though it’s only $20. “No pictures, please”
There are ATM’s all over the island, so don’t think you have to get all your spending money before hand. You should however get enough IDR cash to cover things like your Visa on arrival, cab to the hotel, and the first few days of eating out.
When using ATM’s in Bali, only use ones that are inside a mall, store, or have a proper kiosk around them. Nobody wants to get their credit card or bank card info stolen while abroad! Be smart when using public ATM’s, and don’t try and take out huge wads of cash at a time. Bali is a very safe destination, but there are bad apples in every country just waiting for the perfect opportunity. You whipping out fat stacks outside of the bar would be one of them.
Where to Stay in BALI
Different Areas, hotels, villas and hostels
Areas Of Bali
There are many different cities and areas in Bali that all offer a different type of experience! It really is an island of wonders that has something for everyone. Figuring out where to go first, what cities to skip, and what area has the vibe your looking for can be a challenge. Let’s talk about the most popular destinations:
The Top 5 most popular cities of Bali are Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, and Ubud.
The first 4 cities are all sandwiched together on the south-west coast, with Ubud being landlocked in the centre of the island. Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu could really be viewed as one big sprawling city, but they do come with their differences.
North of Seminyak is Canggu, which has commonly been called ‘The NEW Seminyak’. It’s newer, it’s trendier, and as of a few years ago it wasn’t really on the map.
Canggu is for: Vegans, Yoga lovers, Surfers
Away from all the coastal cities, a few hours in-land, you will find Ubud. A jungle paradise tucked into rolling hills, rice terraces and lush greenery.
Ubud is for: Culture lovers, Outdoor explorers, Honeymooners
Other area's of Bali:
Some other areas in Bali you might want to consider are:
Beach city on the south east side of the island. Much quieter, great for older visitors or low key travellers.
South of the airport, this fishing village has great beaches and seafood for days.
Up on the North coast of the island. Not as developed as the south, but has some of the best diving and dolphin watching in the area.
Hmmm… I might get some heat for this one, but I don’t recommend Nusa Dua. It’s a purposely built area, all gated, and full of big brand mega resorts. Sounds like a money grab to me. If you like being overcharged and void of culture, Nusa Dua might be a great fit! I hear people with families like it.
There are many other areas of Bali you might want to include on your itinerary. I have chosen not to write about them, as I haven’t experienced them yet. If you recommend a place NOT on the lists above, send me a message so I can include a quote or link from you on that area.
Where to Stay in Bali
On a budget!!!
Bali is KING for cheap hotel prices! What might cost you 3 days in other top destinations, will get you 3 weeks in Bali.
Here are some suggestions on where to stay in your preferred budget range. CLICK on any of the hotels below for more info. (For the below hotel searches, I used USD and dates between Sept-Dec 2018)
Bali Hotels under $30
Bali Hotel's Under $50
Bali Hotels Under $100
Best Hostels in Bali - Under $15!
I’ll be honest, hostels are not my thing, but I can appreciate a budget. Here is a list of traveler-verified, clean, and safe hostels in Bali for under $15: (click each one to open more info)
Enjoying Your Vacation in BALI
Transportation, shopping, Do's & Don'ts, useful phrases
How to Haggle in Bali
Get out your poker face
How NOT to Haggle:
Don’t give them your final price right off the hop. It’s seen as rude for you not to ‘come up’ as they ‘go down’. Start out lower than you know you can get it for and go up a bit each time they come down a bit. It’s a game of give and take!
Don’t try and haggle at franchise stores, like Quicksilver or Religion. It will usually end up with the sales clerk looking at you like you’ve lost your mind. I am sure you could ask if there are any sales they could give you, but haggling on specific items isn’t successful.
How To Get Around in Bali
Other than by foot, which is always a good idea
I find taking Blue Bird taxi’s the easiest way to get around Bali! The fare starts at just 7,000 IDR ($0.50 USD) with most rides around town being $2-4 total.
Beware: There are a TON of taxi’s that paint their cars blue and try to imitate a Blue Bird Taxi. These guys are usually 3-4x’s higher in price, don’t have a metre, and are a pain in the ass to deal with. I have more tips on spotting a REAL Blue Bird Taxi.
Uber in Bali
As of May 2018, UBER sold it’s South East Asian business to ‘Grab’, which is now the go-to ride sharing app. So no, you cannot use Uber anymore in Bali.
If you are a ride sharing fan, download the Grab app. Grab is cheaper than Blue Bird, but not very well liked amount taxi drivers in the area. In 2018, it’s still a taboo subject and if you do decide to take a Grab, just be discreet about it. I have made a guide about taking Grab, Go-Jek and how ride sharing works in Bali.
Renting a Scooter
Scooter rentals are CHEAP and run around $3 a day. Some villas and homestays even offer the use of a scooter included in the rate.
Be aware that the preferred method of transportation, especially by locals, are scooters and motorbikes. This means they are ALL OVER the road and it can be quite overwhelming if you are a newbie driver. Regardless if you are a pro or not, NEVER drive or ride on your scooter without a helmet. I have seen some nasty wipeouts!
In North America, hiring a private driver for a tour can run anywhere between $50-$300 an hour! Not in Bali! You can get a half day for around $25, including stops and your driver doubling as a tour guide.
We used Enrico from Bali Flow ID and had a great experience with him! His car is clean and he is a very personable, funny and kind person. I would recommend booking him if you want a private driver in Bali.
Bali Travel Do's and Don'ts
As told by locals and embarrassed tourists
We've all done it. Committed a faux pas while abroad, simply because we didn't know any better! Here are some tips to help you develop your Bali Etiquette:
Hand people money, business cards and other things with your RIGHT hand. In their culture, it’s very rude to hand people things with your left hand, although they are aware that many tourists don’t know this.
Touch people on the head. The head is considered a holy part of the body and should never be touched by strangers. This including patting super cute kids on the head, which is considered okay throughout most of the world.
Take some time to learn about the local culture. It would be a shame to come all that way to just stay in an American-ised hotel the entire time. The Balinese people are very warm, welcoming and full of wonder.
Get a massage under 70,000 IDR ($5 USD). I am not saying that anywhere under 70k is unscrupulous, but I can tell you it will be a sub-par experience. The beds may not be changed between clients, the therapists won’t be trained as well, and it won’t be the ‘spa-like’ experience you were hoping for. I had a TERRIBLE experience at a massage place that I will never forget. It was at an extremely sketchy place on the main road in Seminyak. If you want to know more, send me a message and I’m happy to warn you about them! I’ve also compiled a list of my preferred spas below.
Drink bottled water. It’s very cheap and widely available. I also brushed my teeth with it every single time. Drinking the tap water in Bali will make you awfully sick, so just stick to the bottles. MOST restaurants and hotels will be using bagged ice, but it you unsure, just ask them where they get their ice. Don’t feel like you have to avoid ice at all costs. We had it in our drinks every day once we knew the source.
Attempt to buy street drugs. Indonesia has one of the strictest policies on drugs in the world. Possession of maraijuna can land you 4 to 20 years in jail, with the death penalty being imposed on traffickers. Just don’t. Be high on life, bro.
Take screen shots of addresses you need on the go, like your hotel. Many cab drivers won’t know how to get to each villa and hotel, because there are thousands of them on the island. Take a few screen shots of the address and directions so you have them for when you aren’t in a Wi-Fi zone.
Step on the Sacrificial Offerings you will see all over the sidewalk. The Balinese people put these offerings out for the Gods each day and respect needs to be shown. During a busy day, it’s not the easiest task, but it’s the right thing to do.
Take advantage of Pool Access Rooms! Every place I travel to always has it’s own common ’themes’ at hotels. In Myrtle Beach it’s the lazy river, in Vegas it’s casinos, and in Bali it’s pool access rooms! Compared to other vacation hotspots, the pool access rooms in Bali are very affordable and are super luxurious! For more on Pool Access Rooms in Bali, check out this guide for the Top 15 Pool Access Rooms under $100.
Be afraid to eat at local Warungs. Most people are terrified of food poisoning if they eat at a cheaper local place, but that’s not always the truth. Look around: if there are a ton of locals eating there, it’s usually just fine. For example, we stayed at a super luxe 5 star hotel in Seminyak and saw the hotel employees always crossing the street for dinner to eat at a local Warung. If it’s good enough for them to trust for their daily meals, it’s good enough for me! It was ridiculously cheap (90% lower than the hotel) and tasted amazing! The cooks were very interested in us choosing to come over to them instead of staying at the hotel.
Dress modestly and conservatively inside temples. You should cover up your shoulders and knees with a sarong. Remove your shoes when necessary.
Useful Words & Phrases For Bali
Talk The Talk
It’s always a good idea to learn a few useful phrases for the country you will traveling to. In Bali they predominantly speak Bahasa Indonesian.
If you are unsure how to pronounce any of these, just look up a YouTube video, or use Google Translate.
Language Hack- You can use Google translate to interpret almost anything for you. A Balinese person can simply speak out loud near the app and it will translate it into English on the spot for you. You can also take pictures of street signs and let the app do it’s magic on translating them for you.
Another Language Hack: I don't eat red meat, but I DO eat chicken. So I memorized ‘chicken', ‘pork' and ‘beef' in Indonesian so I always knew what kind of dishes I could eat!
“Thank you – Terima Kasih
You’re welcome – Sama Sama
Good Morning – Selamat Pagi
Good Afternoon – Selamat Siang
Good Evening – Selamat Sore
How are you? – Apa Kabar
“Fine – Baik
Welcome – Selamat Datang
Goodbye – Selamat Tinggal
Cheers – Santi
Help – Tolong
Stop – Berhenti
Extending Your Visa in Bali
Because nobody likes being deported...I would know
Fall in love with Bali? Want to quit your job and move there for life? Okay – maybe you just want to extend your stay by another month, I get it.
IF you got the proper Visa on arrival (you know, the one that CAN be extended that I described above) you are able to make the choice to stay longer. When we arrived in December, we got the correct Visa and then started the extension process around day 22. If you have lots of time, patience, and a small budget, you can do the extension 100% yourself. This will include trips back and forth to immigration, line-ups, waiting games, etc.
If you have no patience (like us) and don’t mind spending a bit of cash, you can get a Visa Agent to do it for you. Not all Visa Agents are created equally, and since you have to hand over your passport to them, make sure they are a reputable company!
We used Visa Agent Bali in Canggu and were really pleased with the result! They had the whole process done in 2 business days, with us only having to go to Immigration once. We did pay the ‘super fast’ package price, which was $1,500,000 IDR per person, which included the $350,000 IDR 30 day visa price. I know it’s steep, but we didn’t want to spend days and days dealing with it! We would do it again in a heartbeat! The company was super trustworthy and professional.
The only other way to ‘extend’ your Visa is to leave the country and start all over again. This is called a ‘Visa Run’ and it refers to the act of hopping on a cheap flight to another country for the night, and flying back in to reset your 30 day tourist visa. Technically, it’s frowned upon to do this and it can get you in hot water with immigration if your blatantly abusing the system.
If you are a real YOLO type person and just decide to overstay your Visa, you will be charged $300,000 IDR per day you go over. Ouch!
Kashlee's Personal BALI Recommendations
My favorite spas, hotels, and restaurants
Would 45 massages in 2 months be considered excessive? I'm asking for a friend...
Murano Spa Seminyak
A one hour massage will run you $100,000 IDR ($7 USD) and a 90 minute massage is $140,000 IDR ($10 USD). In all the spa’s we tried, this place had the best atmosphere, vibe and quality of massage for the lowest price!
Sun Island Legian Spa
Inside the Sun Island Hotel in Legian, I had the best 90 minute massage I experience on the entire island. It was blissfully perfect. They are always having promos and sales, so call the hotel and ask what the specials are!
Spring Spa Canggu
They have locations in Seminyak and Canggu and are one of the most fancy spas in Bali! The treatment menus are extensive, but so are the prices. However, when you compare them to 5 Star Hotel prices in Europe, they look like a bargain again.
My personal restaurant recommendations:
You should do Finn’s at least once during your stay. It’s overpriced, but so fun you don’t notice why your bill has a few extra zeros on it. Beach club, high end party zone, with delicious food and fancy cocktails. Finn's Menu
Ku De Ta
The most fancy place on the Island. This is Bali’s bougie night out place. The service is incredible, food is delectable, but not something I would do regularly. One bill for 2 people here would feed you at local Warungs for a month. It’s right on the beach, super luxe, and unforgettable. Ku De Ta Menu
You Should Stay Here:
The Bali Hotels I LOVE
Check Prices at Kamar Kamar
I LOVE Kamar Kamar! How could I not? We got a 650 sq ft pool side room for $35 a night. Plus, it came with afternoon tea, full made to order breakfast and poolside juice. Hands down, you will NOT find a better deal with as many perks.
It's not located right in the heart of the city, but it's not isolated either. We stayed for two weeks because it was so dang affordable, comfortable and quiet.
Between the jungle infinity pool and the rice terrace view rooms, Atta Mesari is serving up all the Bali vibes. If you stay here, you'll have about 65 million opportunities to take pictures for the ‘Gram.
The included breakfast is delicious and they have a shuttle to take you to Monkey Forest.
Check prices at Haven Suites
This TUB! I was sick of sharing pictures of the amazing pool access feature, so I thought I would post the drool worthy tub.
The room is massive and super fancy. You can fall off the deck into a glorious pool. A short walk on the beach will bring you right to Finn's.
Haven Suites opened 2 years ago and now is the time to go before the prices start rising.
Sun Island Boutique
Check Prices at Sun Island Seminyak
The location of this place is the BEST of all 5 recommendations. Just outside these lush pathways is the bustling city of Seminyak.
We stayed in a private pool villa that made us feel like luxury! I wrote an entire review blog HERE with video tour and tons of pictures.
The Trans Resort
Check Prices at The Trans
Yep…That is the pool directly beside the bed. How cool is that!? This room is called the ‘Celebrity Suite' and it sure made me feel like one! The Trans is a 5 star resort in Seminyak that lives up to its rating. The rooms, service and amenities all rival The Four Seasons, but the price is way less.
Plus, the gym here is hands down the BEST one in Bali.
Check out my full review HERE with video tour of the rooms.
Pool Access Hotels in Bali
Your BALI Travel Questions
F.A.Q. for your most asked bali questions
“Is Bali safe for female solo travellers?”
YES! I’ve looked through many travel blogs, forums and even trusted sites like Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor and they all say YES.
Even though I was traveling there with my husband, we saw lots of females who appeared to be traveling alone. After being there and seeing the atmosphere of Bali with my own eyes, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Bali to ANY of my solo girlfriends.
“How much should I budget if I want to stay in Bali for a month?”
That depends on what kind of traveler you are! If you want to rent a place long term, you can find some incredible deals, which is usually the biggest chunk of a travel budget.
Here are some general budgets for spending 1 month in Bali. This is for 1 person, but don’t double the amount for 2 people! Accommodations will usually be the same no matter if it’s 1 or 2 people sleeping in the room, plus transportation and other expenses will also be the same. Add on roughly another 30% for the second person.
These prices are still living like a ‘tourist’ and not a local.
$750/m – around $25 a day ($1,100,000 / 360,000 IDR per month/per day)
What ‘Budget' travel in Bali looks like: You could spend $800 a month if you were eating half your meals in lower priced local restaurants and the other half cooking. Your nights would be spent in hostels or budget hotels, or splitting a nicer hotel with others. You would get to most places on foot, but take the occasional taxi or scooter rental. You would get 1 or 2 massages a week and not spend your money on shopping.
Daily Averages: Breakfast $2. Lunch $3. Dinner $3. Accommodations $12. Transportation $2. Shopping and Fun $3.
$1365/m – around $45 a day ($1,950,000 / 645,000 IDR per month/per day)
What ‘Moderate' travel in Bali looks like: You could spend around $1365 a month if you were eating out 80% of all your meals in moderately priced restaurants. Some meals you’ll even get a Bintang beer. Yes, smoothie bowls and avocado toast are included. You will always be staying in at least a 3 star hotel with a private room, or perhaps splitting a 4 star hotel with a friend. You have a budget for a scooter rental every-day, or a round trip taxi fare every other day. You can get 1-2 spa treatments per week, along with a few drinks at the beach club.
Daily Averages: Breakfast $2.50. Lunch $4. Dinner $6. Accommodations $25. Transportation $3. Shopping and Fun $5.
$2500/m – around $85 a day ($3,575,000 / $1,215,000 IDR per month/per day)
(Now this one could obviously get out of HAND, so I am starting at the BASE of what luxury on this island would be. If you check into the Four Seasons… that is not going to work for this budget.)
What ‘Luxury' travel in Bali looks like: You could spend $2500 if you ate out, every single meal, 3 times day. Plus stopped for ice cream a few times a week. Your breakfast would be brioche French Toast with homemade sauce and coffee. Lunch and dinner would be fresh meats, ancient grains, and tasty desserts. Almost always served with beer or wine. You would always be staying a high rated 4 star hotel, or be splitting a room with a friend at a 5 star resort. You might even have your own luxurious 2 bedroom villa with private pool and housekeeper. You would have the budget to take a round trip taxi around the area per day, or a private driver twice a week. You could afford a spa treatment 3 times a week (like a body scrub, massage, hair wrap, or manicure). Plus, on-top of the spa, you would still have enough to go shopping. (Or if you're a minimalist like me, you would spend extra on experiences instead!)
“What are the prices in Bali for food and accommodation if we are a family with kids?” Janelle
You will find accommodation to be around the same as if you were not travelling with kids, that is of course, if they are staying in the same room as you! Many hotel booking sites like HotelsCombined let you filter results with key terms like: Childcare, Kids Club, Connecting Rooms, or a ‘Family’ theme. Try searching in areas like Seminyak, Ubud, Sanur, or Jimbaran with those filters on to catch the best family friendly hotels.
Another way to save a few dollars is to take advantage of the free breakfast that comes with MOST hotels in Bali. The spreads are usually huge and served until 11am, making a great opportunity to make that an early ‘lunch’. We saw lots of families doing this and snacking on healthy bars and pieces of fruit earlier in the day.
If you have older kids and they need their own space, consider renting a villa! You can find hotel villas (fully serviced) by selecting ‘Villa’ as the type of accommodation on sites like HotelsCombined and Booking. You can also check AirBnB for 2 or 3 bedroom villas for your vacation dates.
“Who should I book a Bali hotel through?”
M.J. P & Natalia Z
We used a few different hotel booking sites during our 2 month tour through Bali. My advice is to check prices on all of these sites (plus a few more if you have the time/sanity.) In my experience, ONE booking site is not always universally the cheapest. They seem to take turns!
Finding a good deal takes a lot of time and research.
Hotelscombined is usually my go-to site for booking hotels. It comes out cheapest the majority of the time. I love how you can search with the taxes included and really narrow down the hotel features you are looking for. We booked 5 Bali hotels with HotelsCombined.
We used this app to book 2 hotels last minute, and I kid you not, they were literally 60% off ANY other price I could find. This app is great for South East Asia when you are looking for a super last minute deal.
The most popular site for Asia. We did find one incredible deal for a 5 Star resort in Seminyak and booked it through Agoda.
This is Trevor’s favourite app. They always have great pictures, good pop up deals, and they seem to have hotels that other sites don’t. We booked 2 of our Bali stays with Booking.
If you haven’t used Booking before, THIS will give you $25 off your first stay!
“What kind of kids activities exist in Bali?”
Rebecca T & Melissa B
There are tons of family and kids activities in Bali! There is so much culture all around that most children find day to day life quite fascinating.
Depending on the ages and interests of your kids, there are many different attractions geared towards families.
Monkey Forest – Ubud
A jungle park with ancient temples and hundreds of free roaming monkeys. You CAN feed them, but they get in your personal space without hesitation. Adult: $50,00 IDR. Child: $40,000 IDR.
Royal Palace Dance – Ubud
Legong and Barong Cultural Dance. An hour long dance and performance that will be sure to keep kids enchanted. Tickets: $100,000 IDR
Peekaboo – Sanur
Home of the largest children’s playground in Bali. Adult: Free. Child: $110,000 IDR for 3 hours.
Tanah Lot Temple- Canggu
A coastal temple located on a black sandy beach. Lots of crabs to be spotted. Adult: $60,000 IDR. Child: $30,000 IDR
Waterbom Bali – Kuta
Huge waterside and pool park, rated the best waterpark in Asia! Expensive, but fun! Adult: $490,000 IDR. Child: $325,000 IDR
Turtle Island Tour – Tanjung Benoa
You rent glass bottom boats and tour over to the turtle conservation area to learn, see and touch turtles! Glass bottom boat rental $150,000 IDR, Entry: $20,000 IDR
Gallery Trick 3D Art – Seminyak
A museum type gallery with 80 pieces of 3D art that kids can pose in front of, creating cool photos and experiences. $150,000 IDR
In addition to this list, there are lots of animal safaris, bike tours, snorkelling, hikes, parks, cultural centres, libraries and other fun activities for families.
“How safe is Bali?”
If you remember the news from 2002 you would have heard about the ‘Bali Bombings’ that killed 202 people. While this atrocious act of terrorism took many innocent lives (both locals and tourists), Bali has been exceptionally safe ever since.
Hotels and parking lots still check under the car and in trunk for every vehicle entering the property, but don’t be alarmed by those security measures.
Bali is safe for female solo travellers, children, families, and people of every colour and religion. The area of Kuta is considered one of more dangerous places, but mostly because of drunken tourists causing fights at the bars.
Of course, like in any country, you can run into thieves, scam artists and tricksters. Bali is no different. Using common sense will help keep you safe during your stay.
I do want to mention, we feel more in danger in most parts of the USA than we do in Bali. It’s not slam the US, but there are some seriously sketchy areas all over that country.
“How can I find affordable flights to Bali?”
You’re right… the flight price (and distance!) can make a trip to Bali seem overwhelming. Let me first say… it’s worth it! Bali will give you memories that will last a lifetime, and saving up extra money to make it happen is worth it.
Secondly, there is no rhyme or reason why flight deals or anomaly prices will just POP up! Seriously! One random day there might be Bali flights for up to 70% off and the next day they will be way over normal. The only thing you can do is watch and check daily for a deal. Try and budget for full price, that way if you encounter a deal, your budget just freed up!
I personally use SkyScanner and Google Flights to research (and then check daily like a madwoman) my flights. I also sign up for flight deal alert emails (just google it) that tell me when new flight deals are found for my originating airport.
Another word of advice is to get creative! Try searching from nearby airports, one way vs round trip, different dates, using points, etc.
“How can I make a difference while I’m visiting Bali?”
Such a noble question! Unfortunately, if you enter Bali on a normal Tourist Visa, you are not allowed to volunteer in any way. There are heavy fines and even a chance of jail time if you are caught volunteering. That being said, you CAN apply for a volunteer Visa and enter Bali that way.
You can make a difference in many other ways.
Do not ride the elephants. Elephants are NOT a natural animal of the island and many were brought in just to exploit them into tourism.
Tip for great service. If you meet a local who gives you exceptional service, be sure to gift them with a tip and a smile. Cash in the hands of the locals is one of the best ways to contribute.
Donate to a local Balinese foundation. There are dozens of foundations and non-profit that work with children, poverty and animals. Choose one close to your heart and make a donation.
Don’t litter or contribute to the trash problem. By pledging to not buy single use plastic items, cleaning up your trash and not creating a ton of waste in your hotel, you are contributing to the conservation of Bali.
“What religion is Bali, and is Bali tolerant of other religions?”
Bali is an incredibly unique island, because the vast majority, around 85%, are Hindu.
This is a striking contrast to the 90% of the rest of Indonesia, who’s citizens are Muslim. Here’s another cool fact for you- Since several islands had once been colonized by European countries, around 25 MILLION people in Indonesia are Christian. Because of this beautiful mix of religion and culture, Bali is extremely tolerant and welcoming of other religions.
“How is the internet in Bali?”
Surprisingly fast! After spending a lot of time in Mexico and South America where internet can be painfully slow, I was pleasantly surprised!
The average download speed in Bali is 8.5 MBPS, which is more than enough to do anything you need to do online. A standard Netflix movie uses only 1/3 of that speed and Skype video call 1/8th of the speed.
You will be able to watch Instagram stories, video chat with your cat back home, and re-watch every episode of Gossip Girl.
Some hotels haven’t upgraded their systems lately, so you might run into a few that are painfully slow. You can get around this by using a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, or getting a local SIM card with pay as you go data.
If you want to check if your hotel’s internet sucks beforehand, go to Tripadvisor, open the hotel in question, and type ‘wifi’ into the search bar above all the reviews. It will bring up past guests review either raving or complaining about the speeds. This way you have time to re-book a more connected hotel, or bring your own internet.
“I’ve heard Mount Agung keeps erupting. Isn’t it a risk to go to Bali right now?”
Unless you are intending to camp out at the volcanos base, you should be good to go! True story, we flew in just DAYS after the airport was closed due to the impending eruption in Nov 2017. It was all over the news with a real doom and gloom twist. So much so, that we thought we’d made a wrong choice. Family and friends were so worried about us going to such a dangerous area.
But… when we got there… it was 100% peachy. No smoke, no lava, no ash, no danger, no fear. The sun was shining and the locals were begging tourists to return.
This is because 90% of the tourist areas are way beyond the danger zone of the volcano.
My personal opinion is that the press likes to sell panic, so book your trip to Bali anyway.
*Note: This is not to overlook the actual danger and devastation that a full fledged eruption could do to locals. People could lose their homes, their lives, and good health. Natural disasters are deadly and life altering for anyone in their path.
“Is it safe to travel to Bali with a 1 and 3 year old”
Yes! Many people travel with their little ones to Bali, but know it’s not the easiest destination to travel to. If you are from North America, be prepared for at least a 20 hour day of flying, if not significantly more. Talk to your doctor before hand to ensure there are no vaccinations or medications you will need before hand. Brand name baby food is very expensive in Bali, so be prepared to pack some for the trip.
Once you get to Bali, many hotels are kid friendly, but might have an age minimum for the Kids Club (usually 3 years of age). You will want to be extra cautious with food and water and make sure it’s all properly cooked, prepared and bottled before giving it to your young ones. Note: Car seats are essentially non-existent. Even if you bring your own, the taxi’s won’t have anchors. Also, sidewalks are very narrow and don’t do well with strollers, but if it’s super slim you might be okay.
Toys, diapers, wipes, kids clothing and laundry is all VERY cheap in Bali, so don’t overpack these items.
More Bali Blogs
What can I say...I have a problem
A total guide on getting around Bali and the best types of transportation.
A round up of the top 15 hotels in Bali with pool access type suites! Best of all, they all come in under $100 a night.
A detailed review of our stay at Sun Island Seminyak – a hotel villa right in the centre of town.
Our stay at the luxurious 5 Star ‘Trans Resort' in Seminyak. You have to see the celebrity suite!
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