The Complete 2021 Bali Travel Guide For First-Timers
Bali is a 95-mile-wide island located in the Indian Ocean and one of the famous islands in the Indonesian archipelago. It is blessed with lush surroundings, tropical weather, exotic temples, exciting seascapes, looming volcanoes, and a quest for more adventure, dubbing them the “Island of the Gods.”
The island was even named as “World’s Best Island in 2009” by Travel and Leisure Magazine, and second place amongst top regions at Lonely Planet’s Best of Travel in 2010.
Bali is included in the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. There are over 500 reef-building coral species that can be found on the island and is about 7 times as many as in the entire Caribbean.
There are plenty of reasons why you should include Bali on your bucket list. First of all, the island is home to an ancient culture known for its warm hospitality. If you are a foodie and want to taste the addictive flavors of Bali, this island offers endless local food choices and signature cuisine.
Bali is also home to active volcanoes, jungles, and beach resorts where tourists can also go surfing. Speaking of beach resorts, you can find most resorts and hotels in Bali’s famous areas, from cheap to luxurious ones.
The Balinese culture is steeped in an otherworldly tradition that mainly focuses on art and religion.
In this 2021 Travel Guide to Bali blog article, we’ll give you detailed and comprehensive budget travel tips to the island of Bali with budget tips and advice on things to do and see, Bali Itinerary, money-saving tips, best places to stay, and more.
Best Time to visit Bali
- July to August – Peak Season
- May to June – The best time for visiting
- November to April – Dry Season
How to Get There
In case you want to visit Bali, the best time would be from July to August. AirAsia offers direct flights to Bali, Indonesia, from Manila, Philippines. To check out the complete flight schedule, click here.
Bali is AirAsia Philippine’s international destination from Manila, with flights departing daily from NAIA Terminal 3.
AirAsia Manila to Bali Flight Schedule:
Also Read: How to get to Bali, Indonesia from Manila
Like here in the Philippines, traveling and getting around the city is more convenient and cheaper if we just rent a car. There are also buses, minibusses or bemo, and a motorbike rental if you want to wander around the city like a real tourist. Grab Taxi and Uber are also available on the island; just download the app to book a ride.
One of the cheapest modes of transportation on the island, if you don’t want to drive, is hiring a GO-JEK – an app for a motorbike taxi very similar to Uber.
Plus, you’d get to appreciate the city more if you decide where to go and go on impromptu trips with your friends. However, if you want an itinerary and be able to tour around some notable spots in Bali, then we suggest you book a tour package.
Top Bali Tour Packages
Tour packages offer an all-inclusive package for tourists, including hotel accommodation, transportation, itinerary, and most especially, this saves them bucks. And if you’re a person who is always in doubt and wants everything to turn out the way you imagine it, then you better find out some best tour packages for your next worry-free journey.
You can check out the following Bali packages via Klook.
Bali’s Greatest Hits (P2,127)
- See Bali’s local craft industries in action, everything from art to jewelry to woodwork.
- Take a seat at a traditional Balinese Barong and Kris performance
- Tuck into a local lunch with views over sparklingly clear waters to Batur Volcano
- Be cleansed of a temple’s holy waters and see royal tombs
- Choose the Private Tour, and you can tailor the itinerary to fit in additional gallery stops if you wish
- Enjoy air-conditioned transport with hotel pick up, accompanied by your friendly private guide
Bali Safari and Marine Park (P2,337)
- Visit the petting zoo and enjoy the Safari journey
- Visit the freshwater aquarium and watch the frenzy of the piranha feeding
- Enjoy adrenaline-pumping rides at the Fun Zone and get wet in the Water Zone
- Enter the world of nocturnal animals at the Night Safari and enjoy a BBQ dinner
- Leopard ticket holders enjoy Express Line entry to all attractions, plus a welcome drink and lunch, and premium seating for the nightly Balinese show
The Heart of Bali Tour (P2,024)
- Visit Jatiluwih rice terraces
- Enjoy the natural volcanic hot spring Angseri located at the foot of Mount Batukaru.
- Visit ancient temples off the beaten track with a stunning natural landscape.
Pure Ubud Tour (P3,425)
- Private tour of Ubud’s best spots like Bali Bird Park, Pura Desa Batuan, Pass by some of Bali’s most stunning rice paddies and sawas, etc.
Bali Nature Biking (P3,113)
- Tour run by Sobek – one of Bali’s oldest and experienced adventure companies
- A 3-hour bike ride on a beginners track
- A day filled with insight into Balinese culture
- Hotel pick up provided from most areas in Bali
- Buffet lunch included in the tour
Tour Package Prices may change without Prior Notice. For more Bali Travel and Tour Packages, head over to www.klook.com.
Learn Some Local Lingos
One of the most defining moments when traveling is making memories and taking photos of the tourist spots you visit but more likely, it’s the locals you meet and the language you learn. Plus! It’s such a letdown visiting a country if you couldn’t even ask and respond the local way. It’s a great experience, by the way.
Here are the basic local lingos and basic Bali words and phrases you should use and learn when you visit here:
- selamat pagi (good morning)
- tolong (please)
- terima kasih (thank you)
- persmisi (excuse me)
- ya (yes)
- tidak (no)
- sampai jumpa (good bye)
- apa (what)
- kapan (when)
- dimana (where)
- berapa (how much/many)
- apa kabar (how are you?)
Where to Stay in Bali
There are plenty of hotels in Bali to choose from, depending on your budget. Since this island is an avenue for people who want to experience retreat and culture immersion, you might as well suggest top hotels near some of the tourist attractions in Bali.
If this is your first time traveling to Bali, remember that it is divided into 6 main areas from South, Central, West, North, East, and Southeastern Islands.
We’ve listed here 2 recommended luxury and 2 budget hotels, depending on your preference.
Sheraton Kuta Bali
Address: Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta Bali, 80361, Indonesia
(Check Hotel Rates Here)
Experience true sanctuary in the only 5-star beachfront resort in Kuta – Sheraton Kuta Bali Resort. Kuta is a famous beach resort destination in Bali, conveniently located at nearby shopping establishments and just a few steps away from the famous Kuta Beach.
Their hotel rooms range from Deluxe Rooms and Presidential Suite and is something that speaks of luxury. From their Ocean View rooms, one can have a breathtaking view of the ocean.
When it comes to their in-house restaurant, their staff are ready to rustle up a plate of their cuisine ranging from Balinese, Italian, and Western.
Element by Westin Bali Ubud
Address: Jl. Raya Andong No.88, Petulu, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
(Check Hotel Rates Here)
Feel like royalty and stay at the newest hotel in Ubud, in Element Westin Bali Ubud. All rooms are air-conditioned, equipped with rainforest shower, mini-refrigerator, coffee and tea making facilities, 43″ LED Television with Remote Control, In-Room Safe, telephone, and most importantly, a fast & free WiFi access.
There are two dining options inside Element Ubud – the Andong Teras All-Day Dining Restaurant and the Andong Pool Bar. Element also has rooms perfect for holding conferences, meetings, exhibitions, and venues for special occasions.
Also Read: Element by Westin Bali Ubud Resort Review
POP! Hotel in Kuta Beach
Address: Jl. Kubu Bene, Legian, Kuta, Kuta Legian Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80361, Indonesia
(Check Hotel Rates Here)
You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy your stay in Bali. We suggest you stay at a POP! Hotel, located at Bedung Regency in Bali.
The chain of hotels caters to all smart and eco-friendly travelers. More than just a place to sleep, it is a perfect place for those looking for efficient and affordable accommodation.
Their 15 sqm room is equipped with a king-size bed and a comfy “Dream Care” mattress, exclusively developed by King Koil for POP! Hotels. Also, their 100% cotton linen will even give you a better “good night” sleep. Each room also has a safe deposit box, bath towels, and complete bathroom amenities.
The Haven Bali Seminyak
Address: Jl. Raya Seminyak 500, Seminyak, Bali, 80361, Indonesia
(Check Hotel Rates Here)
Located at the dynamic hub of Seminyak lies The Haven, a pioneering lifestyle resort surrounded by an array of restaurants and famous beaches.
Once you step foot in this resort, you’ll immediately feel the tropical vibe with its landscape itself. Its interior comprises the contemporary design and also houses 5-star facilities.
Like other hotels, The Haven house complete bathroom amenities, a coffee and tea maker, LCD TV, in-room safe, and laundry services.
- Hotel Review: Alila Seminyak Bali
- 8 Best Luxury Hotels In Bali That Will Make Your Vacation Truly Ecstatic
- Top 10 Budget Resorts in Bali, Indonesia
- Hotel Review: PrimeBiz Kuta Hotel in Bali, Indonesia
- Hotel Review: Adi Dharma Hotel in Bali, Indonesia
- Hotel Review: Grandmas Hotel in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
- Hotel Review: Bali Dynasty Resort in Bali, Indonesia
- Ultimate List of the Best Hotels and Resorts in Bali, Indonesia
Best Places To Eat in Bali
Now let’s move on to the highlight of your Bali experience — EATING.
Bali has plenty of dining options from casual brunch, cafes, and seafood too. One of the few things you should try is looking for some restaurants serving ridiculously great-tasting Bali cuisine like the ones listed below.
Warung Ibu Oka
Address: Jalan Tegal Sari 2, Ubud, Bali
In the Philippines, we have lechon and crispy pata. But in Bali, ask anywhere, and there’s a Babi Guling for any occasion. In case you are wondering, Babi Guling is a Balinese suckling pig seasoned with local herbs and spices, then roasted, served on rice with stewed vegetables and blood sausage.
At Warung Ibu Oka, you’re sure to taste the best of Bali flavors with their signature Babi Guling. The main branch of Ibu Oka is centrally located in Ubud’s town square, across the street from the Royal Palace and just down the street from both the art market and the Museum Puri Lukisan.
Address: Jalan Hanoman, Padangtegal, Ubud
Another of Bali’s famous restaurants is Bebek Bengil, meaning Dirty Duck Diner, famous for serving Bebek tutu or smoked duck.
The whole menu here is almost entirely dedicated to the humble duck – crispy fried duck, duck in chili sauce, duck fried rice – but the specialty, smoked duck, has to be ordered 24 hours in advance. Smothered in Balinese spices and wrapped in betel leaves, it is slowly smoked for a whole day and is served with rice, satay, and vegetables.
Address: Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
People have commended this restaurant for a time now. Café Lotus, its location itself, has lured tourists to dine and behold Bali’s beauty whilst dining there.
During night comes to life with performances of Balinese dancing accompanied by a gamelan orchestra. Their bestseller is the asih goa lawah (fish marinated in turmeric, lemongrass, and ginger then steamed in a banana leaf) to tuna carpaccio or the vegetarian favorite, lentil, and shitake soup.
Bebek Joni Restaurant
Address: Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 974738
The restaurant was stunning, with a beautiful view of the nearby rice field. We sampled their Nasi Campur Bebek and Mi Goreng and it was very good. The staff is really friendly, and the place was clean too.
Things to Do and See in Bali
Bali is surrounded by amazing temples and iconic landmarks waiting to be visited. The most frequent temple you should visit include the following:
- Tanah Lot
- Uluwatu Temple
- Besakih Temple
- Goa Gajah
- Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Gunung Kawi Temple
- Taman Ayun Temple
- Pura Taman Temple
- Lempuyang Temple
- Batuan Temple
- Vihara Dharmayana Kuta Temple
Surfing in Bali
Interestingly, the “Island of the Gods” is considered a playground by surfers around the globe. Here is the list of places where you can catch some great waves while in Bali.
- Padang Padang
- Green Bowl
- Nusa Lembongan
Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest is one of Ubud’s most popular attractions you must see. It is a natural forest sanctuary that is home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques.
Visit Bali’s Artistic Villages
Locals in Bali take pride in their creativity. It is a must to visit how they woodcarve and shape intricate Garuda statues and craft gemstones into shiny and sophisticated jewelry pieces.
Visit some Ghost Time
If you’re more of a person who likes eerie and supernatural stuff, we suggest you also visit some abandoned places in Sanur Beach proper, where you can see a collection of ‘lost planes’ in some of the weirdest places and several cave-like temples.
Visit Green School in Bali
Address: Jalan Raya Sibang Kaja, Banjar Saren, Abiansemal, Sibang Kaja, Abiansemal, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80352, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 469875
Experience and see Green School in Bali. Take a glimpse of what this unique school offers to its community, students, and their families. The Green School, which opened in September 2008, consists of 90 students and a tailor-made campus that emerged from the jungle and rice fields. Since then, it has grown to 400 students and to an inspiring example of education for sustainability.
Ubud is a town located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency. Promoted as an arts and culture center, it has developed a large tourism industry. Ubud has a population of about 30,000 people. The area surrounding the town is made up of small farms, rice paddies, and dense forest.
Here are some of the best activities you can do in Ubud:
- Visit Tegallalang Rice Terraces
- Shop for local handicrafts
- Whitewater Rafting
- Bike Tour in Ubud
Museums and Galleries in Ubud
- Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), Jl Pengosekan, +62 361 975742, e-mail: email@example.com. 9AM-5PM.
- Blanco Renaissance Museum, Jl Raya Campuhan, +62 361 975502. 9AM-6PM daily.
- Museum Puri Lukisan (Museum of Fine Arts), Jl Raya Ubud (on the main road just west of the market), 8AM-4PM daily.
- Museum Rudana, Jl Cok Rai Pudak 44 (on the road to Mas, about a 10 min drive south of Ubud town center), +62 361 975779, Open M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM.
- Neka Art Museum, Jl Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan, +62 361 975074, M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM.
- Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women, Jl Sriwedari 2B, +62 361 975485. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM.
Best Places to Shop in Bali
Time to shop for your pasalubong! But do you know where? In this article, we’ve rounded up some fancy shops where you could find the coolest souvenirs.
- Kuta Art Market (Bazaar-like complex where you can find unique Bali souvenirs and handcraft items)
- Jalan Pantai Kuta (go-to place of a mix of local art shops, jewelry boutiques, international surf brand outlets, and cafes)
- Garlic Lane (Interesting home decors, art shops, DVD stores, fashion boutiques, and woodcarving galleries
- Jalan Raya Kerobokan (Go-to destination when shopping for antiques, glassware, and statues)
- Jalan Raya Ubud (mix of fashion boutiques, batik, antique galleries, and local art shops. )
- Kuta Beachwalk (houses luxury brand shops and various dining areas.
- Jalan Monkey Forest (Most are art shops with selections of assorted handicrafts, antiques, and alluring textiles from the archipelago and Bali)
- Poppies Lane
Also Read: A Guide to Shopping in Bali, Indonesia
Local Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
(As of March 2018)
PHP100 = IDR26,410
USD1 = IDR13,753
Money matters wherever you go. Here are the best places to change currency:
- International Arrivals of the Ngurah Rai International Airport
- Central Kuta (Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa, Ubud, Sanur and Bali’s capital of Denpasar.
- Dirgahayu Valuta Prima
- Bali Maspintjinra
Wifi and Internet Access
Do you want to post photos of your Bali travel on your social media account but don’t know where to rent pocket wifi and a sim card? Well, here is where.
- Book a 4G Wifi Device online PHP156 / Day (Reserve Pocket Wifi here)
- Buy 3G/4G SIM Card Online PHP416 (Denpasar Airport Pick Up) (buy 3G/4G SIM Card for Bali here)
- Buy sim card Inside Bali Denpasar Airport
- Mobile phone shops located at the main tourist streets
- Mini markets
- Co-working spaces
- Free Wi-Fi at restaurants and cafes
- 24-hour convenience stores
- Always be mindful of your money. Once you arrive in Bali, arrange for shuttle services provided by your hotel or villa and go for meter taxis only.
- Ask your hotel to help you book a local driver and guide to avoid overcharging.
- Do some research and search for free activities.
- Learn to negotiate. Don’t buy the first souvenir you see and roam around until you compare all the prices, then negotiate nicely.
- Most importantly, keep track of your budget for the entire Bali travel.
Travel and Tour Packages
DIY Bali Itinerary: 4 Days and 3 Nights Bali Tour Sample Itinerary
Day 1: Airport Pick Up + Uluwatu Sunset Tour
TBA – Pick up at the airport
16:00 – Hotel Check-in / Pick up
17.00 – Visit Uluwatu Temple
17.45 – Watching Kecak Dance Performance
19.30 – Enjoy Seafood dinner at Jimbaran Beach
20.30 – Back to the hotel
21.00 – Arrive at Hotel
Day 2: Ubud Village and Kintamani Volcano Tour
08.00 – Pick up at the hotel
09.30 – Watching Barong Dance Performance
10.30 – Visit Celuk Village ( gold/silversmith)
11.00 – Visit Batuan Village (traditional Painting art)
11.30 – Visit Batuan Temple
13.30 – Lunch at Kintamani with view Volcano
15.30 – Visit Tegalalang Rice Terrace
16.30 – Visit Ubud Monkey Forest
17.00 – Back to Hotel
Day 3: Bali Water Sports and Sunset Tanah Lot Tour
08:00 – Pick up at the hotel
09.00 – Visit Nusa Dua for Water Sports activities
14.00 – Enjoy Lunch
16.30 – Visit Taman Ayun Temple
17.00 – Visit Tanah Lot Temple with Sunset view
18.30 – Back to the hotel
19.30 – Arrive at the hotel
Day 4: Free and Easy + Airport Transfer
TBA – Free and Easy at Hotel
TBA – Hotel Check out
TBA – Arrive at Airport
This is just our recommended Itinerary; you can also create your own Bali DIY Itinerary based on your interests and preferred activities.
Have you been to Bali? Help us improve this Bali Travel Guide Blog by sharing your personal Bali travel tips and recommendations 🙂
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