Discover our Top 10 Bali travel guides and tips for your enjoyable trip

By Catur, 2024.05.22

If you’re planning a visit to Bali, the task of sourcing as many Bali tips as possible can be overwhelming. Should you rent a motorbike? Should you get everywhere in Bali by taxi? Which area has the closest access to the beach? Which area is the best to stay at in Bali?

Don’t be afraid! We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive travel guide for any first timers in Bali. Read through to find tips and travel advice about the Island of the Gods to ensure a seamless experience on your Bali trip.

Restaurant on the island from Bali travel guide

1. Climate in Indonesia: The Best Time to Visit Bali

Woman is watching the scenery while sitting on a rock in Bali

Indonesia has a tropical climate all year round due to its proximity to the equator line. Bali is a perfect destination to spend all day at the beach. But is there such a thing as the ideal time to visit Bali?

Dry Season ☀️

Couple is traveling in Bali during the dry season

The dry season in Indonesia starts in April and lasts until October/early November. The temperature during the dry season ranges from 28 to 32 degrees Celsius (80–90 degrees Fahrenheit), with an average of 10 hours of sun daily. The humidity can be high, so always be prepared to get sweaty, especially if you spend most of your time outdoors.

If you’re a surfer, this is the best period to visit Bali as the dry season brings consistent large swells and powerful waves from the Indian Ocean. This is perfect for experienced and advanced surfers, especially in the south of the island at places like Uluwatu, Padang-Padang, and Bingin.

June and July are considered peak seasons in Bali as they coincide with school holidays in Indonesia. If you’re planning to spend some time in Bali during these months, there will be high season surcharges in many hotels and resorts.

Wet Season 💦

The raining in Bali during the wet season

The wet season may hinder you from planning your visit to Bali, but the temperature from November to March ranges from 25 to 29 degrees Celsius (75–85 degrees Fahrenheit). The average sunshine during the wet season is seven hours. Humidity doesn’t change significantly during the wet season, but the rain helps cool down the temperature.

December, January, and February are the wettest months in Bali, featuring high levels of rain. But don’t be discouraged as the rain rarely lasts all day. If you go to central Bali (areas like Kintamani and Bedugul), the temperature may be a bit cooler than in southern parts, with a higher frequency of rainfall.

If you want to learn how to surf, the wet season is a perfect time in Bali as the waves and swell are not as strong as in the dry season, especially in Sanur, Serangan, and Nusa Dua.

The end of the year is the peak season in Bali as the Christmas and New Year’s holidays attract travellers both domestically and internationally. The high season usually lasts until mid-January, when everything slowly returns to normal.

Expert Opinion

Personally, I think the best time to visit Bali is during the dry season, except for June and July, then August to November, as the weather during these months is quite pleasant and there aren’t too many visitors. We will not suggest visiting in December or January as the rain can ruin any itinerary.

2. Packing Your Suitcase for Bali Travel

Woman is packing the suitcase for traveling to Bali

Since Bali is a tropical island, packing your luggage should be easy and without a fuss, even when it’s wet season. So, what do you pack for your first trip to Bali?

Wet season in Bali 💦

Man is packing the warm clothes for wet season in Bali

Some of the additional items that you need to pack if planning your visit during the rainy season besides your essentials (daily clothes, toiletries, and shoes) are:

Dry season in Bali ☀️

Woman is packing the clothes for dry season in Bali

Chances are that on your first trip to Bali you’ll want to spend most of your days at the beach or the beach clubs enjoying the sunshine. These are some additional things you need to bring outside of your basic needs (clothes, toiletries, shoes, etc.):

Expert Opinion

With the many activities on offer in Bali and areas around Bali to explore, what you pack depends on your time of visit. Leave your suit and formal dress at home, as everyone in Bali dresses casually, even at a restaurant. You only need specific shoes to hike Mount Batur/Mount Agung.

3. Flights and Visa Requirements in Bali

Filling out the Bali visa application form

Ngurah Rai International Airport currently serves 33 direct international flights to Bali. Once you book the ticket, the next thing to consider is the visa. There are different permits for different needs before you fly to Bali.

VOA in Bali ✈️

Approved sign on a visa application form

VOA, or Visa on Arrival, is the standard visa for tourists in Bali seeking leisure purposes, which gives you a single entry into Indonesia. You can apply for a Visa on Arrival online, which saves you from queueing at the airport upon your arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport. The fee for VOA is USD 35/IDR 500,000.

The VOA is valid for 30 days and you can extend it once if you wish to stay longer. The government has just implemented a bridging visa in April, which allows you to remain in Indonesia while extending your stay permit. Previously, foreign nationals had to leave Indonesian territory to extend their visa.

On top of VOA, the Bali government also requires you to pay tourist tax/levies, which you can pay upfront before arrival. The fee of this tourist tax is 150,000 Rupiah, which the Bali government will use for environmental purposes and to maintain Balinese culture.

Social visa in Bali ✈️

The hands are holding the tickets for flight to Bali

This type of permit allows you to stay in Indonesia for 60 days with a maximum of two extensions, making it 180 days. To obtain this visa, you need to have a sponsor from Indonesia. Plus, you can only use this permit for cultural exchange purposes, attending courses or training, participating in sports competitions, or visiting your family.

Social visa holders are not allowed to engage in business activities in Indonesia.

Limited Stay visa in Bali ✈️

Woman is holding the passport and phone in her hands

You can also get a Limited Stay Visa (KITAS) with a one-year validity if you get sponsorship from Indonesian citizens/companies. Whether for work, spouse, retirement, or investor purposes, this permit lets you engage in any business activities and can be extended.

Expert Opinion 

Getting the VOA is enough if your purpose of visiting Bali is only for leisure. It’s better to pay for the VOA before your arrival, however, as this will save you a lot of time once you land in Bali.

4. Transport Options in Bali

The navigator in a car in Bali

Getting around the island always comes to your preference. Many Bali travel tips suggest renting a bike around the island, but this is not your only choice. We break down the transportation options below for the Island of Gods.

Taxis in Bali 🚖

The inscription of taxi on the car

The only recommended taxi company on the island is Blue Bird. The company is the most reliable as it has the Blue Bird taxi app that you can install on your phone, and they are the only taxi with fitted meters. With any other taxi you need to haggle with the taxi driver about the price, which is certainly not an experience you want to have.

There are also Grab and Gojek available, which function similarly to Uber. You can order the car via the apps and pay cash. It’s prevalent in Bali for tourists to use both apps to get from one place to another.

Cars in Bali 🚘

The family is traveling by rental car in Bali

Renting a car in Bali, whether with a driver or without, is undoubtedly an option. Just as a heads-up, Indonesians drive on the left side of the road. You may need adjustments if you’re used to driving on the right side of the road. Make sure that you obtain an international driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car without a driver in Bali.

It’s a good idea to rent a car with a driver to take you around for a day trip. The average price for a full-day tour (around 8 hours) is 800,000 Rupiah, which is very common in Bali. You can plan your itinerary (see the rice terraces in Tegalalang and then go to Gunung Kawi Temple, for example) and simply tell the driver which spots in Bali you’d like to visit.

Motorbikes in Bali 🛵

Woman is traveling by motorbike in Bali

Many travel blogs suggest that renting a bike on the island is the only way to experience an authentic Bali experience on your holiday. This is certainly the case if you have driven one before in your country and have an international driving licence. But driving a bike in Bali is a different ball game.

Tourist areas like Canggu, Kuta, Seminyak, and even Ubud are very crowded, and the traffic is horrible. Moreover, there have been many accidents in Bali involving tourists as they don’t have enough control of their bikes or they don’t put their helmets on. If this is your first time in Bali, it’s better not to risk your life by driving a bike there.

You can still order motorbike taxis through the Grab or Gojek apps. This provides you with a safer alternative than driving on your own.

Public Transport in Bali 🚍

Public Transport in Bali - view from the rear

Bali is known for its unreliable public transport system; the only public transportation you’ll see is the TemanBus. Local Balinese and tourists don’t usually take public transport as it’s only served in certain areas, making it unreliable enough for many people with high mobility.

Expert Opinion 

A bike is the best transportation to take while you’re in Bali, but this is still not advisable if you have never driven one before. It’s better to take a Blue Bird taxi and ride-hailing apps like Gojek or Driver for your commute and hire a driver if you want a day trip.

5. SIM card and internet

Sim card and the smartphone in the hands

Another question you may ask when you visit the island for the first time is whether you need a local phone card. This part of the article will delve into the phone and internet operators available in Bali.

SIM operators in Bali 📱

Man is texting the message using a mobile phone

There are several providers in Indonesia, but Telkomsel, Indosat, and XL are the three biggest ones. The signal strength of these three providers is quite good, with Telkomsel often receiving signals in remote areas. You’ll be able to get the SIM Card at the airport from the small counters on the side of the road. Just ask the driver/staff at your hotel to help you activate the card.

Internet in Bali 🌐

The boy is smiling and using the Internet in Bali

The internet in Bali is good, though the internet speed in Indonesia is generally slow compared to neighbouring countries. Wifi is available in most restaurants, cafes, and hotels, so you don’t need to worry about not having an internet connection.

You can also buy the internet package together with your SIM Card purchase. This includes choosing how many gigabytes you need, as each provider has different packages and prices.

Expert Opinion 

The best SIM card to get is Telkomsel as their coverage is the best in Indonesia, both for phone signal and internet speed.

6. Food and Drink in Bali

French toast and an orange drink for breakfast in Bali

Bali offers an array of food and drinks to try, from traditional Balinese and Indonesian food to international delicacies. In places like Seminyak and Canggu, the options are even more diverse. Here’s what you need to know about food in Bali and the dishes you should try on the island.

Must-try local dishes 🍛

Traditional Balinese dish on the plate

Some of the Balinese foods that you need to try are:

Must-try local drinks 🍹

Traditional Balinese drinks in a small bottles

Bali is also renowned for some of its local beverages, such as:

Must-try local fruits and vegetables 🥭

Balinese exotic fresh fruits in the market

As a tropical island, Bali is home to some exotic fruits you can only find here. You should try:

Expert Opinion 

If you buy food from street vendors, say that you don’t eat spicy food (you can use the phrase ‘Tidak pedas’), as most sellers usually put chilies on their food. If you want to try Arak, please order it from reputable establishments like restaurants and bars to ensure its safety.

7. Safety and Health Tips

The packing cosmetics in a travel bag

The island is relatively well equipped regarding health facilities, as some international hospitals are in operation. Going to a hospital on holiday is never a fun experience, but sometimes the unthinkable does happen.

Insurance ✅

Health insurance page on the laptop screen

Make sure that your travel insurance covers all the possibilities of health issues you may face while in Bali. If you need to go to the hospital, BIMC and Siloam Hospital are both reputable international hospitals on the island.

Bali Belly 🤢

Woman is feeling sick in the hotel in Bali

The only way to avoid Bali belly is by adjusting the food you eat step by step, largely because what you consume daily in your country will differ from what’s available in Bali. Bali belly is a condition often described as bad diarrhea. You should be fine if you don’t eat anything spicy, especially if you’re not used to it. Also, don’t drink the tap water in Bali.

Bali Kiss 💋

Plaster on a man's hand after Bali Kiss

Bali Kiss is when you get a scratch on your body from driving a motorbike. It’s like getting a kiss from the road, hence the name. Many foreign visitors get Bali Kiss on their first few days in Bali as they often rent a bike without having proper knowledge of operating it.

Expert Opinion 

Getting sick in a foreign country has never been an enjoyable experience, especially if you’re on holiday. The tips to have a flawless holiday in Bali are to ensure that your travel insurance is active, not to eat anything spicy, to drink only bottled water, and not to ride a bike if you can’t get used to it.

8. Does and don’ts in Bali

Indonesian family in traditional dresses doing the ritual near the temple

Bali has a strong tradition and culture; whether you like it or not, there are rules to follow to respect the island and the people.

Don’t enter the temple area if you’re on your period 🚫

Mount Agung temple in Uluwatu, Bali

Suppose you’re a female traveller and have a period. In that case, you’re not allowed to enter the temples on the island (including the tourist destinations like Uluwatu temple or Tanah Lot temple) or hike Mount Agung, as both the temple and Mount Agung are considered holy places for Balinese people.

Don’t step on the offering or canang 🚫

Canang sari - the daily offering in Bali

Balinese make offerings called canang three times daily: morning, afternoon, and evening. The first rule is to never step on it deliberately, which is considered rude and disrespectful. If you step on it without any bad intentions or by mistake, then it’s okay.

Do bring your shopping bag ✅

Woman at the market is holding a paper grocery bag

The Bali government has banned plastic bags in the big supermarkets around the island. It is advisable to bring your shopping bag, though you can also buy one at the supermarket.

Be respectful of local tradition ✅

Indonesian women in traditional clothes is carrying the baskets

If you enter sacred areas like a temple or go hiking up Mount Agung, please be respectful by watching your words and actions. These places are considered holy by the Balinese. There have been instances when foreigners have disrespected these sites, which resulted in deportation.

Expert Opinion

You should be fine if you’re respectful and use your common sense in Bali, especially in sacred places. Balinese believe in karma, so respecting people and nature will make your trip enjoyable.

9. Money in Bali

The hands are holding the dollar banknotes

The currency in Indonesia is Rupiah and, as a popular tourist destination, transactions in Bali can be paid for in cash or by card.

All about cash in Bali 💰

Counting of the money at a cash register in Bali

The banknotes in Indonesia are divided into 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000. There are also 100, 200, and 500 coins.

Cash is still king in Bali, especially if you purchase food from street vendors or souvenirs at art markets. They rarely accept anything other than cash. Fortunately, there are many reputable money changers on the island. If you’re in doubt, you can go to the bank to exchange your money for rupiah.

All about cards in Bali 💳

Using of the credit cards in Bali

Most restaurants, shops, supermarkets, boutiques, spa centres, beach clubs, and cafes in Bali accept cards, even though many still use the swipe method. The first thing you need to do is contact your bank and ensure that you can use your cards in Bali.

All about payment options 💱

Doing the online payments by mobile phone

Unfortunately, only selected places can use digital wallets unless you have an Indonesian bank account – if so, you can use the QRIS method.

Expert Opinion 

Cash is still the most acceptable payment method in Bali, so bringing enough with you should be fine. Another important point to note is that many do not accept American Express, so bringing your Visa or MasterCard cards with you is essential.

10. Bali Laws

Balinese rituals process

Bali’s laws are not that different from those of other areas in Indonesia, but it’s still important to know how to avoid breaking them.

Overstaying 🙅🏾‍♀️

Filling out the documents for overstaying in Bali

Since the government has already implemented a bridging visa allowing foreign citizens to extend their stay without leaving Indonesia, you have no reason to overstay in Bali. If the immigration officers find out, there’s a fine of IDR 1,000,000/USD 65 per day.

Illegal Drugs 🙅🏾‍♀️

Man is eating the pills

Indonesia has a strict law when it comes to narcotics and drug use. According to Amnesty International, 82% of the death penalty in Indonesia is for drug possession and trafficking. If you’re caught using or possessing illegal drugs, there is a maximum of four years in prison and rehabilitation. Indonesia is one of the countries with the strictest and harshest laws when it comes to drugs and narcotics.

Driving 🙅🏾‍♀️

The couple is driving the rental scooter in Bali

Driving in Indonesia without a proper driving license is punishable by a fine of up to IDR 1,000,000 or imprisonment for up to four months. While driving without a helmet can get you a fine of up to IDR 250,000 or a month in prison.

Expert Opinion 

Obeying laws when you’re in Bali should be mandatory as no one wants to involve themselves with the authority. If you don’t break any law and be respectful, you should have an enjoyable holiday.

Conclusion

Landscape of the Balinese coast with the rocks

Bali is one of the dream destinations for many travellers and this Bali tips article is created to help any first-timers who have never visited the island. The top tips here are curated to make sure your trip is enjoyable and commences without a fuss.

To summarise, these are some crucial points to take note of before flying to Bali:

Bali is a small island, so being responsible tourists should come first and foremost. Follow what your guides or local people tell you if you are in sacred places, and always put your trash in the bin, as waste management in Bali is not yet regulated correctly.

OnBali always strives to provide travellers with comprehensive guides. If you’re looking for recommendations about finding out what to do in the Bukit Peninsula, finding restaurants that are right on the beach, the best things about staying in Nusa Dua or Ubud, or how to plan a trip to Nusa Penida, you can find many tips to make your experience in Bali memorable.

The most important thing about your trip to Bali is to fully immerse yourself in the experience and enjoy every minute of your time there. We promise that you’ll want to return to this magical island.

Catur

The author of the project On Bali

Hi everyone! My name is Catur, and I was born and raised in Central Java. I moved to Bali in 2011 but left the island in 2016 before returning in 2018. Bali feels more than a home to me, and maybe that’s why my name feels like a premonition. Catur means four, both in the Balinese and Javanese languages. It is spoken like ‘c’ in chess, which is also the meaning of my name in Indonesian.

Date of Last Update: May 28, 2024

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