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Back in April, I wrote a post titled ‘The Indonesia Beyond Bali‘, this December I visit Bali for the 20 something time…Ironic eh? You are probably thinking she should check some other places of the list, but I categorise Bali as my second Home and will always try and come here at least once a year! To some Bali is solely a vacation destination, but it has some insanely rich culture waiting to be explored! The welcoming nature of the Balinese, the incredible value for money, the vibrant atmosphere, and the year-round pleasant climate make Bali a popular haven for all types of travellers.
Today, after some requests and many Bali trips, I’m here to share my Bali Travel Guide!

Related: 10 Amazing this to do in Sulawesi, Indonesia




THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BALI

Getting there: Jetstar often have sale fares to Bali and takes around 5.5 hours from the East Coast of Australia. If you are coming from someone other than Australia I would recommend using Garuda (Indonesian’s owned airline) and searching for your desired dates via Skyscanner.com



 

On arrival: You will arrive at Denpasar International Airport. Walking out of the airport you may initially feel overwhelmed as there is often a mass of people (usually men) that are waiting to give you transport. I highly advise organising a shuttle with your hotel, alternatively, there is a Taxi rank when you exit to your right that is fixed priced; from memory, it is around 120,000rp to Seminyak area which is about 20-30 mins away depending on traffic.

Population: 4.22 million

Capital: Denpasar

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)

Exchange Rate: As of 21/12/2016 it was 9,800RP to $1.00 AUD

Language: Bahasa Indonesia, with their own Balinese dialect.

Religion: Religion is a very important part of the culture in Bali. 85% of Balinese are Hindu and around 10% Muslim. The remaining five 5% practice Buddhism or Christianity. 

When to visit:  July, August and December are classed as the peak season. Dec-March are the wet season. My favourite would be anytime 🙂 During the wet season the prices are down but the rubbish on the beaches rise!

Getting Around: Although Bali ist not huge, there are a lot of locations to visit and several ways you can reach them! Hiring a motorbike is an option – although I am never game. I usually get around by organising a local driver for day trips or for going longer distances.  For shorter distances, I either walk or use “Blue Bird” taxis.

Related: 10 Tips for Travelling to Asia



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WHERE TO STAY IN BALI

Bali measures around 5,600km, so not too overwhelming in size, but with numerous hotspots, it’s hard to choose where to stay. During our recent 3 week trip, we spent 3 or 4 nights in each location. 



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Sanur
A quieter and more relaxed coastal area. Around 30 mins from the airport, it sits on the opposite side of the island to Kuta.  A long stretch of beach that offers shallow blue waters. The main street Jalan Tamblingan is home to restaurants, shops and hotels. We stayed at Wirasana Bali on the main street for under $30 a night!

Kuta and Legian
Once the most popular areas of Bali, these neighbouring towns are known as the city centres. They are the busiest and touristy part of Bali. Literally drowning with Restuarant, Shops and Hotels. I usually avoid staying around here, except I found a gorgeous villa on the outskirts of Legian that was just wonderful. Check it out here.


Our Private Pool 2 Bedroom Villa @ Ini Vie Villas

Canggu
Another beach town but with a cooler edge thanks to the surf scene. The town is surrounded by rice paddies which makes Canggu very beautiful. In town, there’s an array of organic restaurants and cheap gorgeous villas and hotels. Try Bali Dream Villas  or Fella Villas via Air BnB for some luxe for less. Or the very cool Chill House if you are a backpacker!

Join Air BnB with this link to save $45 AUD on your first booking!


The Pool at Bali Dream Villas, Canggu

Seminyak
I always stay in Seminyak when I come, there are so many cheap gorgeous villas that you can rent long term or stay at for a couple of nights. Although getting busier every time I visit, it has all my favourite cafes that I just love working from! Seminyak has everything including designers boutiques, Bali’s famous beach clubs, Spa’s to fit every price range and fine dining restaurants. Try Alam Bidadari if you are after a Villa or D’djabu if want a budget option!

Related: “Top Seminyak Accommodation for under $200


Seminyak Beach

Ubud
Ubud to me is the culture hub of Bali, located about an hour’s north of the airport, up the in mountains. It is surrounded by rice paddies and lush rainforest, making it a breath of fresh air. A lot of people come here to recharge, meditate and take part in yoga classes. The calming atmosphere, amazing restaurants, incredible landscapes and culture make Ubud a must stay location! Our accommodation was absolutely magical. Suarti Boutique Village is located just out of Ubud’s city centre, with impressive gardens, stunning rooms and free daily activities!


Our Gorgeous Room at Suarti Boutique Village

Jimbaran
Just around the corner from the airport, Jimbaran is famous for their fresh seafood beach restaurants! The long stretch of beach offers calm waves and fishing boats. We stayed at Watermark Hotel and Spa which is around $150 and has a great selection of facilities including 3 restaurants, gym, two pools and Liang Spa. Jimbaran is also home to a bunch of luxury 5-star resorts like Ayana and the famous Rock Bar.

RELATED: WATERMARK HOTEL AND SPA REVIEW


Rooftop Pool & Bar at Watermark Hotel, Jimbaran

 

Nusa Dua
I have never stayed in Nusa Dua, the 5-star resorts always put me off. On our most recent trip, we ventured here for a day trip. It turned out to be our best day. We found a small beach that had pristine water and fell in love. Although Nusa Dua can be very expensive, it’s also extremely beautiful and has an incredibly calming atmosphere! I had a look at Ayodya whilst I was there, as I am planning on staying here next time! Amazing beach front location, colourful bean bags and doesn’t break the bank!


Beach Front Restaurant at Ayodya Hotel, Nusa Dua

 

For a more in-depth read on where to stay in Bali, my fellow Travel Blogger has you covered: “Where to Stay in Bali” by www.danflyingsolo.com

WHERE TO EAT IN BALI

As stated in a previous post, Bali is foodie heaven. You will be absolutely spoiled for choice, so I usually check with Tripadvisor for reviews!

CHECK OUT OUR BALI FOOD DIARY VIDEO HERE

Here are my favourites in each place:

Sanur: Grocer and Grind, Little Bird Warung, The Glasshouse, Warung Kecil,

Ubud: Warung Sopa, Kafe, Clear Cafe, Watercress Ubud

Jimbaran: Warung Surabaya, Imadoki

Seminyak: Sisterfields, Kim Soo, Sea Circus, Zucchini Cafe, Bo & Bun, Nebula, Boss Man,
Sashimi, Biku, The Corner House, Batik, Ultimo, Cafe Bali

Kerobokan: Warung Sobat

Nusa Dua: Ayodya

Kuta/Legian: Warung Metta Catering, Sacred Ground, Sang Ria Grill Bali, Zanzibar, Warung Yogya

Canggu: Crate, Betelnut, Avocado Cafe


Chicken Banh Mi and Vietnamese Coffee from Bo & Bun


The Melville Breakfast from Crate Cafe

Nasi Campur from Warung Metta Catering



Fritters from The Corner House


Dumpling and Taco Bowl from Warung Sopa 

Related: “Our Top Restaurants in Seminyak


THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IN BALI

+Climb Mt Batur

Photo credit: www.danflyingsolo.com

 

+Shop In Seminyak

+Eat Delicious Local Foods

+Stay in a Private Villa

+Have seafood at Jimbaran Beach

+Watch the Sunset

+Do a Cooking Class


+Visit the Rice Fields

+Enjoy the Beautiful Beaches

+Learn to Surf




+Try the Weird and Wonderful Exotic Fruits

+Visit the Surrounding Islands
Gili Islands, Lombok and Nusa Lembogan are popular choices!

 

+Induge with Spa Days

 

+Enjoy Cocktails Daily

+Meet the Wildlife

+Do Yoga in Ubud

+Appreciate the Gorgeous Daily offerings given to the Hindu Gods

+Shop at the Famous Ubud Markets

+Go Snorkeling

 

So that’s is our Bali Travel Guide! What is your favourite thing to do in Bali? Comment below xx


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  • Sindhu Murthy

    Woow. This definitely looks like an ultimate guide to Bali. I have been reading quite a lot about Bali recently and your blog seems to have all the details one would look for. Love the pictures. Especially those of the semanyak beach. The beach looks so inviting with all the colors.

  • Sheena Leong

    This is such a comprehensive & colourful post on Bali, it’s so helpful to travellers, especially Australians like me haha! There’s heaps to do, it’s a place you can keep going back to, especially with cheap Jetstar flights 🙂

  • Christina

    Amazing that you have been to Bali 25x! I wish I could go at least once in my lifetime. It looks like a great place to bring the family, relax on the beach and eat good food together.

  • Revathi

    While I myself am a Hindu, I never knew that Bali was a Hindu majority place. You have such gorgeous pics from your travel. The seafood look mouth watering. Adding Bali to my bucket list right away 🙂

  • Thanks for this extensive guide, definitely will come in handy when we will eb traveling around, hopefully this year! Great inspirations!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am planning a two week trip to Bali in April and all the information I gained from here is valuable! Having been to Bali so many times, I was wondering if you could answer to some of my questions I have. Would it be doable to stay in Ubud and go to the dentist in Kuta every few days? Is it an hour drive or could it be more depending of the traffic? (Going to the dentist is my main reason for visiting while I also want to see and do as much as I can.) Is there any good scuba diving locations besides in Gili? How expensive is it to climb Mt. Batur? I am trying to find accommodation at the moment too and there is just way too much choice! I am going to go through you suggestions too. Pinned as well! Thanks!

    • Hi Lovely, thanks for your comment. Glad our post was helpful!

      How many times do you need to go to the dentist? Ubud is about 1 hour and 15 mins from Kuta but yes traffic can easily change this to make 2 hours! Perhaps you could start your trip in Sanur or Seminyak which is a little closer to Kuta then head up to Ubud for a few nights then go to Jimbaran which is also close to Kuta? There are tons of good scuba diving sites, including Padang Bai (which is where you get the boat to Gili), Ahmed/Candi Dasa, Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and up north at Lovina!

      Mt Batur is about $40-50 USD per person but can be cheaper if you book whilst in Bali.

      What is your budget for Accom? There are so many amazing places for any budget! The easiest way is to first plan your itinerary then have a look into accom. Feel free to email me if you need further help with itinerary/ accom etc! My email is [email protected]

      xx

  • I am surprised you’ve visited Bali 25 times and intend to visit regularly. Must be a real wonderful place for you! Truth be told I have never been to Bali. I would love to go there with my sister. Thanks to this blog I could familiarize myself even before I could check the plane tickets. This guide to Bali is indeed the ultimate!

  • Shem Hooda

    Wow! I cannot believe you’ve visited Bali 25 times — you are so lucky to get to call it a second home! It certainly has always felt like a vacation destination so far out of reach to me, but you are making me so eager to go! I definitely would love to indulge in some beach time, but the off the beaten path ideas sound so much more amazing to be able to dive deeper into the culture there! The Ubud markets look so pretty and colorful and I’d love to shop there! I’m totally going to save this post for whenever I visit, since you are so familiar with the region!

  • Kassie- The Fly Away Life

    Wow 25 times is dedication! I love returning to a favorite place though, so I totally understand.

    I fell so in love with Bali when I visited. The people were so kind and the food was amazing. My favorite part of Bali had to be Ahmed. They had some of the most beautiful coral reefs for snorkeling and we stayed in a private villa for $15 dollars in the off season!

  • You had me cracking up at that first/introductory paragraph! You must love Bali so much to go back that many times! And with that much time in Bali, I think you are the perfect guide to write this down. I love that you can do so many things and it’s clear why tourists love Bali so much! Coincidentally, we just featured a travel film on Bali on our blog. We love the culture in Bali, as much as you do!

  • Neha Verma

    You visited Bali the 25th time!! You must love the place so much. Although I must say, I have been reading your posts on bali and some other posts also, bali does look like a very very interesting destination. I will also love to visit here

  • James Smith

    I’d definitely climb Mt Batur and visit the rice fields. I’m sure I’d get great photos! The daily cocktails sound great too whilst watching the sunset. The food looks good but I would be craving a burger!

  • Bali is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, so jealous you’ve been 20-odd times! There’s nothing wrong with going back somewhere time and time again, especially if it starts feeling like home. The Melville Breakfast looks amazing!

  • Kristine AARSHEIM

    I’ve always wanted to visit Bali…and you’ve already been there 20 times!! that’s crazy. I’m jealous! 🙂 I’d love to go there for my honeymoon (whenever that time comes). It definitely has the atmosphere for it. And the meals looks so yummy in your photos! Food is a big part of traveling, in my opinion, and with a breakfast like that – how can you go wrong 😀

  • Bali has been on my list of places to go for YEARS! Thank you so much for creating this guide! I hope I can use it this year, fingers crossed!

  • I haven’t been to Bali yet but it’s nice to know there are several options of where to stay and that each one is different. I think I would spend a ridiculous amount of time shopping in Ubud!

  • Marge Gavan

    I also have a friend whose favorite place is Bali. Like you, she always returns, sometimes 2 to 3 times a year. She also considers it as her second home. She attributes it more to the people, they are very kind she said.

    I haven’t been there yet, I lost a chance to go last year because the trip was too long and my superiors at work didn’t allow me to go. But I do wish to go there myself. I love discovering new culture and I can see that Indonesia is a country whose cultural identity is very much intact. I cannot say for my country unfortunately, we are too westernized.

  • Jenni Sheldon

    All the pools look amazing I bet they were needed to refresh in. I love the idea of hiring a local driver to get around rather than a motorbike I will definitely look into this when I go

    • Hahah yeh motorbikes scare me! Drivers are fantastic plus they always give you extra knowledge of Bali and the culture!! x

  • stephaniestraveldiary

    I was on Bali last summer and loved it!
    Stayed in Legian and Ubud (and the Gili’s)and although it was a bit crowded, it was not that bad.
    x

    • Its always fine as well if you stay in the back streets which is still close to everything yet far enough from the crowd! Glad you loved it Steph! xx

  • Sharon Manoe

    Loved reading your travel guide for Bali and loved being reminded of the fantastic time we had , thanks darling for a great read.

    • Thanks Mum! Cant wait to go back with my favourite Bali buddies <3 xx

  • Lyn – A Hole in my Shoe

    Loved your posts on Bali, I am a huge fan and been coming since 1997. Its nice to read a post that isn’t bagging Bali. Australia is so blessed to have a place like Bali so close, even closer for us in Perth 🙂

    • Thanks Lyn! Oh I envy your 2 hour flight! I would be going on weekends haha! x

  • Loved this post on Bali – been 10 times but always something new to discover. warm hospitality!

    • Thank you! Oh yes such kind people ! I am still finding new places to explore! Crazy how such a small island can have so much to do and see!

  • That is a very comprehensive post on Bali, now I realise how little of Bali I have seen 🙂 Time to visit again I guess

    • Thank you so much! What did you love most about Bali when you visited? x

  • Sandy Papas

    my second home too – lots of good tips here for first timers

    • Thanks lovely! Do you have any tips I could add? Also where do you love to stay when you go? x

  • Velyz Zhang

    I love the unique temples in Bali, and you shouldn’t miss Kecak Dance performance 🙂