Travel to Bali Indonesia

Travel to Bali 2020 – 13 tips to plan your trip (+ ROUTES)

Travel Ideas

Do you want to travel to Bali and have doubts / questions …? Great because I’m here to solve them. I have been to Bali several times, one of them living a couple of months on the island. With which, I can tell you about the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly … I hope that your doubts are clear, and that in the event that you decide not to travel to Bali, you do so at least for Indonesia. Indonesia is a wonderful country, and Bali is the most recognized face, each island is a different world!

You won’t find the vibe in Bali anywhere else in the world. It is a paradise in many ways, although it also has some very touristy cities / spots that you will want to avoid.

Let’s do it, I am going to discover the places to see in Bali, what to do, and also wonderful places where you can stay during your trip.

Tegallalang rice fields

1. What is the best time of year to travel to Bali?

The climate of Bali can be divided into 2 seasons: rainy seasons and dry season:

  • November to April: monsoon and rainy season.
  • May to October: dry season.

Of course, it is much better to travel in the dry season, since you will have less rain, but traveling in rainy seasons does not mean that it will rain all day – or yes, it is nature and it cannot be controlled.

The low season, where you will find more travel offers, is from November to April. With the exclusion of the Christmas season, as many people from Australia and New Zealand travel to Bali for Christmas to enjoy higher temperatures.

Although you dress Bali in rainy seasons, the climate is quite pleasant, it does not get very cold. Of course, more rain also means more mosquitoes.

You should bear in mind that if you want to trek to its volcano, the temperatures inside are somewhat cooler than outside. During dry season, with long leggings and a couple of layers (sweatshirt + raincoat) it will be more than enough to feel good in the mountains.

when to travel to Bali beautiful sunsets

2. Do I need vaccinations to travel to Bali?

The quick answer about vaccines for Bali is that you don’t need any. There is an exception. If you traveled during the last 9 months to a country where yellow fever is endemic (for example Brazil), it is mandatory.

For the avoidance of doubt, take a look at the WHO list where it defines the countries in which yellow fever is an endemic disease.

I recommend that you always go to your doctor and consult the risks, as there will be other vaccines that will recommend you: Tetanus, hepatitis, typhus … Consult your doctor a few months before traveling. If you are missing a vaccine, you may need more than one dose and you should wait 2 weeks between vaccines (as for the Japanese encephalitis, which applies to many places in South East Asia).

3. Do I need a visa for Bali?

As always, visas depend on your passport. There are 169 countries that have a visa exception for Indonesia, including Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, Mexico … Check the list of countries here.

You can also check if you need a visa at iVisa.com

You just have to put where you are from and the country you are going to. Although you do not process the visa with them, you can check it. And if you want to process your visa with them, they are reliable. I have processed more than one with them without any problem.

For those who do not need a visa, they can travel around the country without the need for a visa by a maximum of 30 days. eye! Those 30 days are calendar days, and count the day of entry and the day of departure. It is not a month.

I mention it because there are months that have 30 days, another 31, and they also count the day of arrival and departure … so you have 28 real days to travel around the country. Don’t do as I did, I paid a fine for being one more day.

If you go over there is a penalty, which amounts to around € 50 per day! Make sure you count the days well. You can do many things with that € 50 in Bali.

Also remember that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months, have an entire empty page, and you may be asked to present your return ticket before boarding the plane.

Also recommended, although I do not do it very often (and should) is to register in the traveler registration database of the Ministry of your country. This is done to find out where citizens are in an emergency (such as a pandemic, a natural disaster …).

4. How to get to Bali?

To get to Bali you must go by plane to its airport – Denpasar, or arrive by boat from some other island. I recommend the plane, as it is usually cheap and much faster.

If you are looking for international flights, you can look to fly to Jakarta, where the flights are usually cheaper, and from there fly to Bali with a low cost company.

Be very careful if you arrive in Jakarta, it is a more chaotic and scammed city, so if you intend to spend only the night there, better hire a transfer / uber to get to your accommodation. Take money from the airport, before going out, because I know many travelers where their card was copied at the ATM in Jakarta.

If you are traveling to Bali from Madrid, I recommend you also look at the connections to Singapore, Hong Kong. Sometimes they have huge deals, and you can buy a cheap flight with low cost companies (like Air Asia) from those international airports to Denpasar.

If it is a wedding trip and / or you want to forget all the planning and simply travel, you can always opt for an organized trip to Bali. Of course, you will pay the service (normal, because you are organizing a trip). I organize the trips myself, because the money I save for the management, I have to spend on experiences, but that will depend on each one.

Sunset without filters Bali

5. What currency is used in Bali, Indonesia?

In Indonesia, the official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR or RP). They only have bills, so it is much more comfortable than having bills and coins.

To know the exchange of the Indonesian Rupiah with your currency, I recommend that you download the XE Currency app. It is completely free, and works off-line, if you need to be connected to the internet. You will have to connect once to the Internet to download the conversion, once you have added the currencies you want in the app you can use it without being connected.

6. What language do they speak in Bali?

The official language in Bali is Bahasa Indonesia. He is also known as Indonesian. The inhabitants of the island also speak Balinese, which is a Malay-Polynesian language that is used in:

  • Bali,
  • Nusa Penida,
  • Western Lombok
  • Java East

Bahasa Indonesia is fairly easy to pronounce for Spanish speakers. I leave you here a couple of useful words that will make you provoke more than one smile if you use them:

  • Hello = Halo
  • Thanks = Terima Kasih
  • You’re welcome = kembali
  • Yes = Already
  • No = Tidak
  • Goodbye = Dahh

6. What to see in Bali?

I leave you here the places you should see in Bali, where to sleep, and what to do, plus some tips or things that I would avoid or do during my vacation in Bali.

In the next section I will propose the ideal routes according to the time you have to visit, where I will give you more advice.

SEMINYAK

The first stop for most people traveling to Bali.

Seminyak is known for its party clubs, photogenic cafes, and rich restaurants (some quite expensive). If you stay in Seminyak, you will not experience Bali, as it is rather a place built by and for tourists.

I’m not telling you not to go over there. In fact, take advantage of partying, and eat in one of those beautiful cafes, but continue on your way to discover a more authentic Bali.

What to do in Seminyak?

  • enjoy Seminyak beach (not white sand)
  • eat in their restaurants and cafes
  • relax at the beach clubs during sunset

If you are looking for an ideal movie beach with white sand, I already tell you that you will not find it in Seminyak. The sand is brown and there are many clubs that put their sun loungers and also tables at sunset. Nor is it a beach where bathing is a joy, since the tide is quite strong. If you do not feel comfortable swimming with waves, you will not enjoy the water on this beach.

The sunset is beautiful, I recommend you go to a club / bar to enjoy the color show, or stroll along the beach. If you sit in a club, you will see that there are many street vendors trying to sell thousands of things. It is great fun to see how they try to sell some items that nobody wants to buy. Do not make eye contact if you do not want to be approached (you are warned).

Bali beach seller

Where to stay in Seminyak?

Seminyak is a good starting point when you arrive in Bali, as I do not recommend staying at kuta Bali at all. Since traffic is one of Bali’s biggest problems, getting from the airport to Seminyak can take 2-3 hours, even if Google tells you it’s about 40 minutes. It will depend on the volume of cars on the only main road, and the traffic on the small streets to your accommodation. If you sleep in Seminyak, the Kosta hostel It is a good option if you travel alone.

In this area of ​​Bali there are many huge resorts. If you are traveling with a friend or your partner and you want something smaller, I recommend Koeno koeni Villa. It is a more local accommodation, with a pool and good service, not far from the beach.

KoenoKoeni Villa Seminyiak

CANGGU

The most hipster on the island! Canggu is a paradise for lovers of beautiful food and instagrammable restaurants.

It is very close to Seminyak, but it has a different vibe. This area is where you will find all those menus full of avocados and some of the coolest restaurants on the island.

Canggu is the most surfing place, full of expats who live in Bali permanently. It is the place where you can stay a long season and not get bored. There is a street market in Canggu that sells a lot of art and cute bags and dresses. Remember to haggle if you want to buy something. In Canngu there are also a lot of clubs where you can go for a drink and meet people. Among my favorites, the Old Man, and Pretty Poison – in the latter there are skaters every night doing spectacular tricks.

What to do in Canggu?

  • Echo beach surfing
  • go to Batu Bolong Beach (sunset)
  • Eat rich in their coffees
  • Street markets
  • visit the Tanah Lot Temple (it is not in Canggu, you must rent a motorcycle / driver to get there)
Tanah Lot Temple

Where to sleep in Canggu?

Undoubtedly, I would go to The Farm hostel. A hostel with a very good vibe, spacious rooms, and exterior bathrooms. They have those outdoor bathrooms, like in the villas, where the shower is outside with plants … The food is also delicious, although you can walk to many other places, such as the Crate Café, one of the most famous cafes in the area.

As they do not have private rooms, if you want a private room I recommend this Airbnb in Canggu. It is a room in a traditional wooden house with a shared pool.

UBUD

The Zen temple and the heart of Bali. For me the place with the best vibes (and more Balinese) on the whole island. Make sure you stop by Ubud.

You will find thousands of places where they do yoga classes (even retreats), rich cafes, vegan food … It is a paradise for vegans and those interested in microbiotic food.

Ubud is also a very good place to enjoy a villa or hotel with an infinity pool, visit waterfalls, and attend a traditional dance.

Do not miss a walk through its terraces, although they may seem “crowded”. Many people also go to the Monkey forest, but I am not a fan of that place … You will see monkeys in many other much freer places on the island.

What to do in Ubud?

  • visit the rice terraces in Tegalalang (they will ask you to pay entrance)
  • Campuhan Ridge Walk
  • Tegenungan waterfall
  • Hidden canyon
  • Ubud flea market
  • Take a cooking class
  • see a traditional dance (I saw 2 different ones, I keep the Teka, because the show is more impressive).
Teak dance Ubud, Bali

Where to stay in Ubud?

If you want to sleep in a villa in Bali, Ubud is the place! There are plenty of nice hotels with infinity pools that offer wonderful experiences. With bathtubs for you to take baths with flowers and essential oils, where they will bring you breakfast in bed and offer you a welcome cocktail. There are several luxurious hotels for around € 60 / night, for example the Ubud Dedari Villas. I stayed in it for one night and was amazed by the place.

Room in a villa in Bali

It is also true that you find a lot of somewhat less luxurious villas for less than € 30, such as Junjungan Serenity villas.

And of course, if you go on a tight budget, there are thousands of cheap and cool hostels. For example:

The onion collective: If you don’t stay in this hostel, at least go eat a veggie burger. They are delicious

Puri garden: This hostel is perfect if you want to meet more travelers.

MUNDUK

Something further or out of the way of all travelers is Munduk.

Many people only approach one day, to their rice plantations (somewhat less crowded than those of Tegalalang in Ubud), to the door of Handara Golf Resort and to the site that you have surely seen in a thousand Instagram photos: Wanagiri Hidden Hills.

If you move away from these 2 places, you will find several walks with wonderful views and the occasional less crowded waterfall. Locals consider Munduk to be the best area on the island.

What to do in Munduk?

  • take a thousand photos in Wanagiri Hidden Hills
  • experience the Bali Swing, the swing with jungle views
  • take a photo at Handara Bali Gates
  • visit the rice terraces of Jatiluwih
  • go to waterfalls: Munduk, Banyumala Twin, Nungnung, Leke Leke
  • see Lake Tamblingan and its temple
Handara Golf Bali resort gate

Where to stay in Munduk?

I did not stay to sleep in Munduk, I simply went to visit some of the places renting the motorcycle and driving to the places, my base was Ubud. A friend of mine slept in Munduk Moding plantation And if you see the hallucinatory photos.

LOVINA

Most people who come to this area are to see dolphins. I personally did not go (it was not the season) but I have heard wonders and I write it down for my next trip.

Remember that if you want to see dolphins, choose a company that respects animals.

What to do in Lovina?

  • see dolphins
  • Sekumpul waterfall, Aling Aling, Gitgit
waterfalls in Bali

BALI EAST

This part of the island is where there is a lot of culture. There are many famous places that are slightly off the beaten path. With which, if you want to make the most of it, stay to sleep around the area and integrate with the locals.

If you don’t have time and want to see the wonders that this place offers you, you will find excursions that will take you to see it during the day. If you choose this plan, be prepared to see enough tourists, especially in the Pura Lempuyang temple.

What to do in East Bali?

  • see the Pura Lempuyang temple
  • palace purity ritual Tirta Gangga
  • sunrise on Mount Agung
  • Hidden Canyon
Tirta Gangga palace

Where to sleep?

An impressive place in this area that amazes me – and maybe you have seen in a photo because it is very beautiful, it is Hideout Bali. It’s not cheap, but it’s beautiful, and it’s in the middle of nowhere. Ideal if you are on a romantic trip. If you like it, keep in mind that this place is reserved a year in advance.

NUSA ISLANDS

Just 40 minutes by boat from the island of Bali, you will reach the Nusa Islands, which have become very famous for the Kelengking beach and its dinosaur-shaped rock formations.

The most iconic photos and lots of adventures are waiting for you here: Nusa Penida, Nusa Cenigan, Nusa Lembogan.

If what you are looking for are white sand beaches, then here you will find your paradise.

How to choose between the 3 islands? Nusa Penida is where most of the places you have seen in the photos are. Stay two nights and explore it. Then you see Nusa Lembogan for two nights to rest and enjoy the sunsets. From Nusa Lembogan you can return to Bali and go to Nusa Cenigan through its yellow bridge.

How to get to the Nusa islands?

To go to Nusa Penida from Bali, you must take the ferry at Sanur Beach. If you want to have the best price, buy your tickets in advance.

If you don’t buy the tickets in advance, make sure you go to the box office and buy the tickets there. A lot of vendors will come to sell you the ticket, they will even try to prevent you from getting to the box office on time, but you will get a better price if you go directly to the box office that you are buying from these street vendors (apart from you will have to negotiate with them) .

NUSA PENIDA

This is the largest island and the one with the most views. Surely you have seen photos of Nusa Penida if you are looking for information about Bali, as its well-known Kelingking beach is one of the most photographed places.

Nusa Penida has a very good connection to the island of Bali. In fact, there are many people who only go to spend the day and return. I recommend that you sleep in Nusa even for one night, because you will be able to enjoy moments with fewer tourists and live a little more with the locals

What to see in Nusa Penida?

  • Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave
  • Atuh beach
  • Peguyangan waterfall
  • Kelingking ‘T-Rex’
  • Manta Bay
  • crystal bay beach
  • Angel’s Billabong
  • Broken beach
  • lookout point Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu)
Nusa Penida

Where to sleep in Nusa Penida?

In Nusa Penida, I recommend the Penida Bay village guesthouse, which is only 10 minutes walk from the main port.

If you travel alone, I recommend the Nuansa Penida hostel, where you can easily make friends. It is 10 minutes by motorcycle from the port, so contact them to see if they can pick you up or rent a motorcycle directly for the time you stay on the island. Remember to negotiate prices!

NUSA CENIGAN

Nusa Cenigán is the smallest island of all, but don’t let that stop you from visiting it! It has a lot of beautiful places to see, and especially the sunsets are wonderful.

What to see in Nusa Cenigan?

  • blue lagoon
  • driftwood bar
  • mahana point
  • secret beach
  • yellow bridge

Where to stay in Nusa Cenigan?

Being the smallest island, it is the one with the least offer. They have been targeted at a more exclusive audience, making prices somewhat more expensive. But also find places where the value for money is extraordinary!

For example in the Twilight Lembogan Not only will you have a good accommodation, you can also enjoy some sunsets that take away the hiccups without leaving your hotel.

If your budget does not allow you to stay on this island, take a look at Nusa Lembogan, as you will find much more on offer. You can spend the whole day in one of the beautiful hotels in Nusa Cenigan. You will only have to consume something and you will be able to enjoy its facilities – in some you must also pay a ticket.

NUSA LEMBOGAN

The medium island is the one that offers more accommodation and therefore the one that attracts more tourists. Quiet, it has many fewer tourists than Bali, although it is true that during the day it is filled with many people who come to visit it. Therefore, I advise you to stay on one of the islands, so that fewer people can enjoy them when tourists leave.

What to see in Nusa Lembogan?

  • beach dream beach
  • devil’s tears
  • jungut batu beach (for stunning sunsets)
  • mangrove forest
Mango groove Nusa Lembogan

ULUWATU

The surfer’s paradise.

Uluwatu, Nusa Dua, and Jimbaran – the southern part of the island of Bali, is an ideal place to rest and where the best beaches in Bali are located. It has several recommended places: Padang Padang, Bingin, Melasti …

Many people skip going to this part, as it is quite far from everything. You will not believe it because it seems easy, but the Bali traffic makes it take a long time to arrive … So you can stay here for a couple of days and move around here, it is much better than arriving with the thought that you will make an excursion from Canggu or some other place – well you will spend most of the day driving on the highway.

What to do in Uluwatu?

  • visit the abandoned plane from Bali
  • enjoy the beach: my favorite is Suluban Beach but I leave the best marked on the map
  • learn to surf
Nyang Nyang Beach

GILI ISLANDS

If you like turtles this will be your paradise!

Many travelers do not include the Gili Islands on their 3-week Bali itinerary, as they are from Lombok, the island next door, but I recommend that you include them if you have time!

And it is that these islands well deserve to be visited.

Crystal clear waters, snorkeling with turtles … and the famous swings on the beach that you will not want to miss.

What to do in the Gili islands?

  • relax on the beach
  • explore the island
  • take a thousand photos on the swings in the water
Sunrise on the Gili islands

8. Routes and itineraries

Well, now that you visit cool places, you may be wondering how long does it take to see Bali? In my humble opinion, I would say that to get a good impression of Bali you should travel about 20 days. I comment it because if you go 5 days, and you only stay in Kuta, Canggu and / or Seminyiak, your perception will not be of Wow, what a past!

In fact, my first month in Bali did not seem to me at all that paradisiacal place that everyone says it is, because it also has negative things (which I will comment on in the next point). But with 20 days, it gives you time to see many beautiful places, to adapt to the culture, the food and the way of getting around.

5 day Bali itinerary

There are many people who travel 5 days to Bali, especially Australians who have been to the island many times. If it’s your first time, those 5 days I recommend that you invest them like this:

  • 2 days in Canggu
  • 2-3 days in Ubud

If you do not mind not seeing the beach, you can spend the 5 days in Ubud directly and see waterfalls, rice terraces … In Canggu you can go to clubs, to the beach … although you could also change Canggu for Uluwatu if you prefer white sand beaches and not you are very interested in partying.

10-day itinerary in Bali

If you have a week and a half, I propose the following itinerary:

  • 2 days in Canggu
  • 3 days in Ubud
  • 3 days in the Nusa islands
  • 2 days in Uluwatu

With this itinerary, you have a little bit of everything. Beaches, sunsets, parties, tranquility, culture, and the wonderful Nusa Islands.

3 week itinerary in Bali

With 3 weeks, you can see a lot of things. My route proposal would be the following:

  • 2 days in Canggu
  • 3 days in Ubud
  • 2 days in Munduk / East Bali
  • Trekking 2/3 days mount Batur
  • 5 days in Gili
  • 4 days in the Nusa islands
  • 3 days in Uluwatu

The best of Bali in 15 days (only the coolest)

This itinerary is for all those who want to see the coolest – and they don’t need to tick places like Tanah lot. It is the tour that I did with two good friends when they came to visit Bali and they loved the experience. The itinerary consisted of:

  • Gili Islands

They arrived at Lombok airport – Bandara Internasional Lombok – from Jakarta, where they simply did not sleep at the airport one night. We went directly to paradise, staying at Gili Air, which is a quiet island but where you can do things.

In Gili we stayed 5 nights, enjoying the beach, snorkeling with turtles, watching incredible sunsets, catching up, eating like kings, and taking photos of the turquoise waters.

What better way to start a vacation than with white beaches and paradisiacal waters?

Gili islands Bali Indonesia
  • Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembogan

From the Gili islands, we took a boat to Sanur (Bali) to go to Nusa Lembogan. Actually, it was not an easy task, since we were almost all day between boat and boat, but we wanted to go directly from one place to another to take advantage of the days. In Sanur, they wanted to scam us, with the trick of “there is no ship here but there is another port.” Read the scams section to find out what I’m talking about. Fortunately, we did not fall and took the boat that would take us to Nusa Lembogan.

The boat stopped at Nusa Penida, and from there we had to make another “transfer = wait on a plastic platform for another small boat” to take us directly to Lembogan. Of course, they also tried to scam us on the way from Nusa Penid to Nusa Lembogan, asking for an exorbitant amount of money to get to the island once we were all on the boat and in the middle of the water. And when we arrived at the island, our accommodation had given the room to other people because they thought we were not arriving … Anyway, a day a little stressful and that nothing was going as planned but that teaches you how the place is and you learn to take it easy . In the end everything comes out.

In Nusa Lembogan we stayed 3 nights enjoying the island. The first day we spent lounging in a hotel pool, where you could eat and spend the day until sunset time came and we decided to go see him. The next day, we were riding a motorcycle through Nusa Lembogan and Nusa Cenigan.

From there we went to Nusa Penida, where we stayed 3 nights as well, to explore the points. Nusa Penida has some pretty bad roads, so getting around takes time.

Notice to boaters, the prices of Nusa Penida for a motorcycle are about Rs 70,000 per day. It is somewhat more expensive than in Bali, and it costs a lot to haggle … but 70,000 can be obtained without much discussion.

Dream beach playa nusa
  • Ubud

From Nusa Penida we took the ferry to Sanur, to go to Ubud, which would be his last stop. In Ubud we stayed in a very cute ghesthouse on the outskirts of town for 4 nights. We hired a motorcycle, and we dedicated ourselves to see Ubud, show them my favorite coffee (Seniman’s coffee, you have it on the map), go to Hidden Canyon and the rice terraces, see a traditional dance, and eat local food at Warungs.

From Ubud they went to the airport with an uber that we hired in time in case they caught traffic.

As you can see, in those 15 days, they only saw Gili, Nusas, and Ubud. Personally, I don’t think that having run more and adding Canggu, Seminyak, or Munduk would have made a difference, as they really saw many wonderful things, and we were able to enjoy the time without being overwhelmed by the transfers.

And it is that moving from one place to another, can make you lose 1 whole day of your vacation days, so better a less seen place and a better enjoyed … Don’t you think?

You have all the points of interest of each place that we visited section 7 and also marked on the map.

Hidden canyon, Bali

9. What is there to know to travel to Bali?

I leave you here things that you should know before traveling to Bali, so that it does not catch you by surprise and you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. At first, when I decided to spend a season living in Bali, I thought I had the wrong place.

I expected a paradise, nobody told me the bad things about Bali. Here I am to tell you everything bad and I did not catch you by surprise. So you can love Bali from the beginning. No one is perfect and blemishes are also part of the island.

  • Traffic

Traffic on the island is a real torture. If you are not scared of motorcycles, I recommend that you use the Go-Jek motorcycle taxi service, as you will get to the places sooner.

  • Private transport

Many people opt for private transportation in Bali, and while you can get good prices, sometimes they go out of their way asking for exorbitant prices. Look at uber and record the prices of the service you want and so you can know how far you can haggle

  • Communication

Buying a SIM card is easy and cheap. I recommend it, because in many places WiFi is not the best in the world.

  • Instagram

Keep in mind that all those places you saw on Intagram want to be photographed by hundreds of people every day. It should not surprise you that there is a queue, and that the place is much more beautiful on instagram than in your photo, as it is retouched / filtered and photographed from the best angle. Many times you will see places that offer you to take the photo for an amount X of money.

  • The fake face

In relation to what I was saying about the photos, there are many photos tricked by the network. For example, the Pura Lempuyang temple has no water. The photo is made by a man on a mobile phone and a mirror. You will have to queue and pay to have that famous photo. In order to get that photo you see, I had to pay extra. Actually, it’s only a few cents if you haggle well, but it bothers enough to pay to take a photo.

Pay to access some places
  • Eat cheap

If you don’t go to warungs (local food restaurants) the prices are around € 10 per meal -or even more. To eat rich and cheap you must go where the locals go, the Warungs. In these restaurants you can get food from a buffet and they will weigh your plate, or it will go per serving of x food … you can eat for less than € 5.

  • Beers and spirits on the Gili islands

While I was in the Gili Islands, the girl at the reception warned me never to drink open beers. Always, always, ask for a bottle, and they must open it for you. It turns out that at Gili they adulterate beverages – either with illicit mixtures or with very low-quality products.