Bali is a popular destination for travellers from all around the globe and for good reason. From idyllic beaches to spectacular nature spots, unique shopping venues and centuries-old temples, the island is replete with things to see and experience. So if you’ve booked your flights to Bali, we’re sure you couldn’t be more excited. The question is… what next? Work out what to pack, an itinerary for eating and sightseeing and master a few basic phrases so that you feel prepared once you land.
Discover everything you need to know about Bali and use our travel guide to plan the trip of a lifetime:
A Beginner’s Bali Holiday Guide
- Best time to fly to Bali
- Which airlines fly to Bali?
- When you land
- Where in Bali should you go?
- Where to eat in Bali
- What to pack for Bali
1. What’s the best time to fly to Bali?
There are two main seasons in Bali: wet, which goes from November to March, and dry, from April to October. Deciding which season is the best time to visit Bali will depend on what you’d prefer: to stay within a certain budget and avoid crowds or to enjoy a bustling tourist destination and join more outdoor activities.
Flight tickets and accommodation are typically cheaper during the wet season and don’t let the “wet” part fool you – even though there is some rainfall, temperatures are still nice and warm. On the other hand, the dry season is when most tourists flock to Bali and, although it’s not as cheap, a trip during this time of the year means more opportunities to socialise and venture out into Balinese nature.
2. Which airlines fly to Bali?
Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Garuda and Jetsar all offer airfares to Bali via flights to Ngurah Rai International Airport, also referred to as Denpasar International Airport (DPS), the main airport in the island. Flights from Australia to Indonesia can take anywhere from 2 hours 45 minutes to 7 hours, and prices can go from just under $200 to about $1000 return, depending on where you’re departing from.
3. For when you land
The national language is Bahasa Indonesia, but there are many people living in Bali from varying regions of Indonesia. The local language is Balinese, and there are many guidebooks that have a list of helpful phrases. There are also some handy YouTube videos with a guide to pronunciation.
While it’s not mandatory or even necessary to know any phrases at all, the people of Bali are so friendly, that it is delightful to at least appreciate them by greeting or thanking them in their own language.
Salamet Pagi (‘good morning’) will get you through to 11 am. Use Salamet Siang from 11 am until 2 pm, and then Salamet malam (‘good evening’) onward. Introduce yourself with Nama Saya, which means ‘my name is.’
As much as Bali is a wonderful place for visitors, there are endless invitations for “taxi, taxi!” so if you prefer to just be left in peace, either thank them and keep walking, ignore them, or say “Jalan jalan!“, which means ‘just walking’.
If you opt to use a taxi or a scooter, negotiate the price before you set off. Know approximately what you should pay for a trip so that you can confidently negotiate. There are online sites that give lists of what the taxi and Uber are likely to charge you.
4. Where in Bali should you go?
While it’s a generalisation, and there are exceptions to the rules, for the most part, the following locations in Bali are ideally suited to particular goals of travel and types of travellers.
Considering that it’s easy and affordable to travel between towns, it’s worth planning to get to a couple if you have longer than a few days. For example, a day trip to Canggu from Ubud, or Seminyak to Sanur is easy to do and many travellers are glad to experience the diversity of each place within one trip.
However you choose to explore Bali, these are a few must-visit spots:
A favourite among surfers and those seeking nightlife, Kuta has plenty of partying spots, cheap food, drinks and entertainment. It also has a number of family-friendly accommodation and entertainment options so, for families, it can be an appealing and more affordable choice relative to the other locations.
Things to do in Kuta
- Go shopping at beachwalk. With its unique open concept, award-winning architecture and laid-back atmosphere, an afternoon spent at this venue will make for a shopping experience like no other.
- Catch a wave at Kuta Beach. Every year surfers flock to Kuta so you know the waves are top-notch. Still a beginner? Join a surfing class and learn with the best! Be sure to stay until sunset and enjoy a beer while gazing out as the day turns to night.
- Meet the adorable turtles living at Bali Sea Turtle Society. Learn all about the organisation’s efforts to protect turtle eggs from common threats and, if you find yourself in Kuta from April to October, watch the adorable turtles make their way into the ocean.
This beach resort area tends to attract those who want to check out more refined restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. It is the Bondi Beach of Bali if you like. It’s a nice in-between atmosphere between Kuta and the more spiritual and creative areas of Ubud and Canggu.
Things to do in Seminyak
- Spend a day at the beach. After all, no trip to Seminyak (or Bali) is complete without at least a quick dip in the ocean. Choose between Seminyak Beach, Double Six Beach, Legian Beach and more.
- Swim, sip and unwind at Potato Head Beach Club. There are many beach clubs in Bali and Potato Head is a favourite among tourists. Freshen up with an ice cold cocktail while relaxing on a daybed and don’t leave without enjoy one of the two infinity pools available.
- Visit Pura Petitenget, one of six sea temples in Seminyak. Although you’re not allowed in the inner sanctum, which is reserved for locals to pray, there is still plenty to admire at Pura Petitenget.
Many Australians, Brits and Americans have made their home in Canggu where there’s access to schools and business services. It’s similar to Ubud in its wealth of plant-based eating, yoga studios, bohemian flavoured shops, locals and tourists but with the added bonus of fantastic surf beaches.
Things to do in Canggu
- Dance the night away at one of the many bars in Canggu. Enjoy a sunset cocktail at Ji Terrace by the Sea, have a margarita at Lacalita Bar y Cocina, join a hip-hop night at Peekaboo or discover the grungy vibes of Black Cat Mini Mart.
- Find the best eco-friendly goodies at La Laguna Gypsy Market. Held every Sunday from 4 pm, the market brings together over 40 vendors selling a variety of handcrafted and homegrown items.
- Admire the sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple. Overseeing the Indian ocean, the temple is a prime vantage point for anyone wanting to watch the sun go down over the water.
Offering beautiful, clifftop resorts and clubs, bars and dining venues overlooking the beach, Uluwatu is a trendy destination, but still off-the-beaten-path enough that you won’t find as many crowds. Similar to other spots in Bali, Uluwatu is a mecca for surfers but there’s more to the area than its world-class waves.
Things to do in Uluwatu
- Visit Uluwatu Temple, one of the most popular temples in Bali. Thanks to its location, perched on a steep cliff 70 metres above sea level, the temple has some of the most spectacular views of the ocean and, as you can imagine, the sunsets there are absolutely breathtaking.
- Go paragliding and explore the region from up high. The best months for paragliding are August to March so if you find yourself in Uluwatu then, this is definitely something to add to your itinerary.
- Enjoy a Sunday Session at Single Fin’s, a popular surf bar with unparalleled ocean views. Sip on a mojito, negroni or bloody mary while a DJ mixes some beats and be sure to try one of the pizzas, salads or tacos.
Amongst the rice fields and nearby volcanoes, Ubud is lushly green and vibrant with a very arty, creative and serene vibe. It is considered the home of yoga and wellness in Bali and it is also home to many local museums, ancient templates and emblematic landmarks.
Things to do in Ubud
- Zen out and recharge batteries. If you’re looking for places in Bali to detox and unwind, a trip to Ubud is in order. Join a yoga class or sound healing event at The Yoga Barn or try the Radiantly Alive studio for pilates, barre and yoga classes.
- Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest and its 600+ long-tail monkeys. Be sure to check out the three temples – Pura Dalem, Holy Water Temple and Cremation Temple – and admire the amazing flora.
- Admire the Tegenungan Waterfall. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit to for a dip, have a go on the swing and be sure to snap a couple photos of the magical spot!
5. Where to Eat in Bali
Half the joy of travel is discovering your favourite spots so that you can indulge in them and share your own experiences with friends and family. It’s also entirely worthwhile to ask locals and fellow travellers where they like to dine and why. That said, for a couple of starter ideas, the following places are tried, tested and loved.
Cafe Organic is gorgeously tropical in a kitschy, joyful way. Pineapples sit at every table. It’s a bright, open space with white walls and indoor palm trees (great for your Instagram). Healthy and nutritious, the meals are all available in-house and for takeaway, and there is plenty of smoothies, juices, coffee and kombucha to choose from.
In Ubud, Kafe has long been a favourite of visitors. With dependable WiFi, a great menu of mostly vegetarian and vegan meals (as well as keto and macrobiotic options) and a wide range of juices, this stalwart venue is still one of the best in Bali.
For plant-based, gluten-free pizza, try the sundried tomato and also the wild mushroom and spinach pizza at Alchemy (and finish off with a refreshing scoop of raw ice cream). Check out The Shady Shack in Canggu for a post-surf lunch or brunch. Sit indoors or soak up the sunshine and beach breeze outdoors with your smoothie and burger.
6. What to Pack for Bali
Check online for a guide to the weather in the particular region of Bali you’re travelling to. While the general guide to seasons is largely accurate, online weather guides provide the most up to date guidance as to what you should pack.
A set of staples, with tank tops, shorts and also a long-sleeved top and loose long pants or skirt so as to be able to enter temples or sacred places while maintaining adequate cover, will get you through your first holiday to Bali. Sunscreen, sunglasses, swimwear and a hat are all advised, also. If you’re visiting during the wet season, don’t forget your rain jacket.
As for shoes, sandals or thongs are a must, but it might also be a good idea to pack a pair of hiking boots if you have a trek or two on your itinerary. Note, as well, that some nightclubs don’t allow guests to wear flip flops or sandals, so if you want to do some partying, be sure to pack an appropriate pair of shoes.
Many hostels have universal outlets, but should you need to, you can buy an adaptor for the power points from any of the local supermarkets and it’s much cheaper than at the airport or in Australia.
Now that you’re armed with some Bali travel tips, book cheap flights to Bali with Webjet and be on your way to falling in love with this Indonesian island. You can also book Bali hotels or holiday packages to Bali if you want to take care of your accommodation and flights in one click.