Bali travel guide 2020: the ultimate guide for your Bali trip
You’re going to Bali! You’ve book your flights, but where to stay? What to do? We’ve got you covered with our 2020 guide, no matter where you’re staying or where you want to visit. We help you with where to eat, where to get that illusive perfect massage or have a romantic evening out.
Where to stay in Bali?
Don’t know where you want to stay yet?
Staying in Seminyak – busy streets, great food and shopping!
A little more sedate that its busier sister, Kuta, Seminyak offers great surf, stunning sunsets, an array of shopping and more eateries than you could imagine. Stay here is you’re after a busy holiday, with great coffee in the mornings and delicious coffees in the evenings.
Our favourite place to stay: Katamama, for ultra cool vibes!
Staying in Canggu: Hipster venues with healthy food options
Canggu is known for its super hipster vibes and pretty surf beaches . It used to be one of those hidden gems in Bali, but is now getting business with its new found popularity!
Staying in Uluwatu: stunning views and famous surf
Uluwatu in the is a wonderful place to visit if you want beautiful views, quieter days and long days on the beach. The Uluwatu cliff temple is also a must-visit, with some of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever experience.
Staying in Ubud: relaxed, yoga vibes.
If sand is not your thing but yoga and green juices are – then Ubud it your jam. Surrounded by stunning forests, vegan eats and rice paddies you’ll never want to leave.
Check out our favourite Ubud activities.
Things to do in Bali
This ultimate Bali travel guide wouldn’t be complete without our favourite things to do in Bali. Bali truly has something for everyone, from beach beers, to intricate cocktails and from shopping trips to massages and relaxation. From Vegan eats to South American inspired deliciousness.
In the south of Bali, especially the west coast of southern Bali, you’ll find world-class surfing nearly everywhere. From easy beach breaks in Legian, Kuta and Seminyak to challenging reef breaks in Uluwatu. If you’ve never surfed but are keen to try Bali is a great spot for learning. Opt for a 2-hour surfing lesson and learn how to duck dive, stand up, and catch some of the best Balinese waves on your holiday!
Watch the sunset into the Indian Ocean
Being an island, Bali is, of course, famous because of its many beaches. Whether you’re travelling alone, with friends, or with your partner: you cannot miss out on watching one of the magnificent sunsets into the Indian Ocean. Tanah Lot, Uluwatu and Jimbaran are known for its perfect sceneries at sunset.
Go eat pray love and dive into the spiritual scene
Liking them hippie vibes and spiritual scenes? Go and eat your hippie heart out in Ubud. You’ll find fortune tellers in every way possible: tarot readers, palm readers, spiritual healers, numerologists and everything in between. If you don’t want to waste time we provide some suggestions in our Bali travel guide, like a spirituality experience based on the popular book ‘Eat, Pray Love’. During this adventure, you’ll start with a spiritual walk through nature, to then take a 1,5-hour yoga class, and eat some of the best organic and vegan food you’ve ever had. You can also go for a spiritual cleansing and healing tour in Ubud, where your mind and soul will be purified at the Bali Holy Spring Temple.
Visit one of the islands next to Bali
This Bali travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the islands next to Bali: Nusa Cenningan, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. These islands are little slices of Bali that truly offer something special. On these islands, you’ll experience true island life as nothing and nobody ever seems to be in a hurry. Especially Nusa Penida has a lot of highlights to offer which makes it great for exploring. If you’re into the funderwaterzone than a stay on either one of the island is a must. Diving can get tricky due to high currents but the manta rays, healthy corals and mola mola sunfish make it worth your while.
Although geographically they don’t belong to Bali, the Gili Islands are also easy to visit from the mainland of Bali. With no motorized transport on any of the Gili islands, you’ll find yourself in flipflop paradise with picture-perfect beaches and nice cold beers.
Read our complete Nusa Penida guide.
Get your temple fix
The Hindu culture left Bali with more temples than you can visit in a week. In this Bali travel guide we won’t go into all the temples you can visit, but we most certainly can recommend to visit at least a temple or two. Just to get an idea of what Balinese culture has to offer. Our favorite temples are the mother temple: Besakih – in the northeast of the island, the Tirta Empul temple east of Ubud, and the Uluwatu temple on the stunning cliffs in Uluwatu.
Check out all our recommended temples and Bali temple tours.
Eat your way through the island of the Gods
You can’t say you’ve visited Bali if you’ve not explored its rich culinary scene. Ubud, Seminyak, and Canggu are the three most popular areas when it comes to food. Many restaurants offer mouthwatering fusion dishes, authentic Balinese meals and/or super healthy food options. If you’re keen to let yourself be pleasantly surprised then go on of the awesome food safari’s: street food in Bali, best restaurants in Seminyak or the best restaurants in Jimbaran.
Looking for a high-end luxury food experience? Our helicopter tour Bali takes you along three remote destinations on the island. At each venue, your taste buds will be positively surprised. The best chefs on the island prepare only the most delicious dishes with perfectly matching wines and/or cocktails.
Explore the island with a private driver
Are you keen to get a taste of all that Bali has to offer? Book a private driver who will proudly show you all the amazing spots his island has to offer. You can explore the island in 10 hours with visits of your choice or recommendations by your driver.
Get out on a day-tour adventure
If you’re in for some day trip adventures then we suggest you look into wild water rafting on the Ayung river or the Telaga Waya river – perfect if you want to get away from the hectic city and just be surrounded by nature. Also, a Quad drive around the island, the waterbomb park or a volcano trek will get your adrenaline pumping.
Diving around Bali
South East Asia is known for its incredible diving opportunities, and some of the best diving spots are those in Bali. If you’ve never tried diving before and want to get familiar with the underwater world, we suggest you to do a trial dive in Padang Bai. During 9 hours you’ll get familiar with the diving equipment in shallow water and the basic diving techniques. This is the perfect choice if you’re afraid to get claustrophobic underwater – with a trial dive you’ll stay close to the surface of the water and you’ll be able to judge whether diving is for you or not.
If you feel more secure and want to literally dive into a new adventure, you can go for your 3-day PADI open water course. If you’re not feeling the commitment but still want to explore the underwater world you can always go snorkelling at Tulamben in Bali.
Bali Travel Guide: practical stuff
Before packing your bags, there are a few practical things you should know. And our Bali travel guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning them.
Passport and visa
Before departing from your home country it’s a good idea to check the passport requirements for Indonesia for your nationality. In many cases your passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after you depart from Indonesia. If this is not the case, you won’t be allowed on your flight to Bali and your ticket will not be refunded.
Another must-check are the visa requirements. Visa requirements for Bali have become less complicated over the past years, but you still need to check out the different visa options to see what fits your trip best. On arrival, Bali gives you a Visa on Arrival (VOA), which is free of charge. With this VOA you can stay a maximum of 30 days. If you want to stay longer you can get a tourist visa on arrival for around IDR 500.000 which you can extend one time with 30 days which gives you a total of 60 days to explore Bali and other parts of Indonesia.
Bali Belly: is it real and how to prevent it!?
The last thing you want during your holiday is to rush to the toilet every other second while you could spend your time on the beach, climbing a volcano or trialling delicious food. Traveller’s diarrhoea, also known as Bali Belly, is caused by consuming contaminated food and water that contain bacteria, viruses or protozoans. Because of poor sanitation, these pathogens can also sometimes appear in your food. You can prevent Bali belly by being cautious about how and where you eat. Don’t eat of a wet plate, don’t drink water from the tap, and always check the restaurants you’ll eat for hygiene. The more western places are usually not a problem but when you get more local it’s good to check what kind of guests visit the restaurant and how clean they keep the place.
If you do get sick, we advise you to drink lots of water and rehydration drinks. Visit a doctor who will prescribe you antibiotics to get you back on your feet. In any case we suggest you to avoid drinking alcohol and eating spicy food.
Bisa bicara Bahasa Indonesia???
The language spoken in Bali is Indonesian, also known as Bahasa Indonesia – this literally means “Indonesian Language”. Bahasa Indonesia is the language that gets spoken throughout all of Indonesia, however, each island (and sometimes region) has its own dialect. Balinese is a completely different language than Javanese and both also don’t sound like Bahasa Indonesia. Especially in the south but generally in most areas of Bali the locals have no problem at all speaking English. In many cases, they even speak another foreign language such as Dutch, German, French or Chinese.
The local currency in Bali is the Indonesian rupiah. When taking the notes from the ATM you’ll feel like a millionaire as 1 million rups equals about AUD 100/USD 70/EUR 60/GBP 55. At the ATM you receive either 50.000 or 100.000 notes. Depending on the ATM you can take out 1,250,000 up to 3,000,000 at once.