• Ubud

Bali

Indonesia

So much has been said about Bali, and yet no single description can accurately capture the magic that can only be experienced by setting foot on the island itself. It’s a small island in Indonesia located just 3.5km away from the mainland of Java, yet in every other sense Bali feels like an alternate universe. Unlike the rest of the country, Bali boasts its own distinct Hindu cultural identity that has been refined over the centuries to include rich art, music and dance traditions -- all perpetuated by some of the most welcoming people on the planet.

Although parts of the island can feel overdeveloped at times, there is still always some exquisite ricefield terrace, enchanting temple ceremony or pulse-pounding surf for you to escape to and remember what it’s all about. The jangling sounds of a gamelan orchestra are never far away, while exquisitely woven offerings to the gods filled with flowers and fruit are scattered everywhere you look. It's a testament to the Balinese’ tenacious hold on their traditional way of life in spite of all the changes that the 21st century has brought.

From the commercial whirl of Seminyak to the cultural heart of Ubud, the white-sand beaches of Jimbaran and the legendary surf and dramatic cliff views of Uluwatu; Bali never ceases to surprise with its depth and vivacity. The island also happens to be home to some of the most breathtaking resorts and hotels in the world, alongside a lively burgeoning expat scene that has world-class restaurants, bars and designer shops opening every day. The recent rise of Seminyak as a jetsetter hotspot has all but cemented Bali’s position as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.  

Why Go?

A tiny island in the Indian Ocean packed with beaches, surf, breathtaking scenery, art & culture, Bali fits the description of paradise.

When to Go

Bali enjoys tropical weather year-round with an average year-round temperature of 31°C (84°F). Weather-wise, the best time of year is between mid-June till the end of August, when cooler, dry weather and a delightful ocean breeze make for perfect beach weather and pleasant evenings. Unfortunately, this time of year (together with the Christmas-New Year and Easter weeks) is also peak season, bringing in hordes of international crowds. The humid wet season lasts from October until March, and sees daily thunderstorms and occasional flooding, especially during the months of December till February. Hotel prices are at their lowest during this period.

The Balinese New Year, or Nyepi, falls in mid-March and is celebrated by a day of silence, fasting and meditation. The airport is closed, electricity is turned off and people remain indoors, while visitors are not permitted to leave their hotels.  

Average Temp

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

High °C

29

30

30

32

33

31

31

31

31

31

31

30

Low °C

23

22

23

22

23

22

22

22

22

23

23

23

High °F

84

86

86

90

91

88

88

88

88

88

88

86

Low °C

73

72

73

72

73

72

72

72

72

73

73

73

Book to Pack

The Island of Bali by Miguel Covarrubias, first published in 1937 and still regarded as the ultimate guide to Bali’s fascinating culture; or Balilicious by Becky Wicks – think Eat, Pray Love meets Bridget Jones.

  • The majestic form of Mt. Agung overlooks most of Bali
  • Bali is home to a rich and unique culture evident in its food and dance
  • Tirta Empul Temple in Ubud, Bali
  • From beach clubs to rice fields, Bali has it all
  • Uluwatu Beach, Bali
  • Whitewater rafting and surfing are two popular activities in Bali
  • Tirta Empul holy shrine, Bali
  • Young girls performing the Kecak Balinese dance
  • Bali is a paradise for beach and surf lovers
  • Temple offerings in Ubud

Things to Do

  • Explore the countryside via a trek or bicycle tour. The area around Ubud is filled with lush green terraces of rice fields where you'll catch local farmers tending to their crops and children playing in the rivers.
  • Climb a volcano and watch the sunrise. Mt. Agung and Mt. Batur in the north are easily scalable with a half-day tour, with Mt. Batur being easier on the legs. Just be prepared for a 2am start in order to catch the spectacular sunrise over a smoking crater.
  • Try your hand at traditional Balinese art forms such as batik painting, Balinese dance, gamelan orchestra, basket-weaving and woodcarving at the many studios around Ubud and discover your hidden talents. 
  • Fashionistas, trendies and shop-a-holics should hot-foot it down to Seminyak, Bali’s most cosmopolitan enclave and a mecca for the international jet-set as well as the young and creative.
  • Visit an ancient Balinese temple. Bali's breathtaking temple architecture is marked by Hindu influences but adapted to a tropical environment. Some of the more well-known include Puri Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Tirta Empul, Besakih and Goa Gajah.
  • Channel your inner god or goddess with a variety of yoga classes, wellness workshops and meditation retreats designed to help you unwind and detox from everyday life.
  • Watch a Balinese dance. Balinese classical dance is an ancient art form that usually depicts tales from Hindu mythology, such as the Ramayana and Mahabhrata, accompanied by a traditional gamelan orchestra.
  • Experience a thrilling whitewater-rafting ride through Ubud's river rapids, passing through verdant rice terraces and jungle canyons along the way.
  • Surf Bali's world-renowned waves, including the legendary Padang-Padang, Impossibles and Dreamland beaches out on the Uluwatu peninsula.
  • For a day of culture and dramatic landscapes, go on a drive west to explore the charming Tabanan Regency and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, revealing the ancient farmlands of emerald green ricefields, volcanic mountains and black-sand beaches dotted with fishing communities.
  • Head north to explore the volcanic lakes near the mountain town of Bedugul, including Lake Bratan with its photogenic and stunningly positioned Pura Ulun Danu – one of Bali’s most important temples. Stop by Candi Kuning to experience a traditional flower and fruit market and oggle at the fresh highland produce.

Besakih Temple, Bali
Gamelan instruments and Balinese masks

Getting There

By Air

Ngurai Rah International Airport (DPS) is Bali’s newly-renovated airport located in Tuban near the popular tourist towns of Kuta and Jimbaran. The airport is the third-busiest in Indonesia and a well-connected hub for flights from all over South-East Asia, Australia and Europe. International airlines including Garuda Indonesia, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airines, KLM, Korean Airlines, China Airlines, Qantas Airlines, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways International, Shanghai Airlines, Eva Air, Malaysia Airlines, Transaero, Cebu Pacific Air and Virgin Australia, operating frequent flights from around Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Popular regional low-cost carriers include AirAsia, Tiger Air and Jetstar, serving major cities in the South-East Asian region as well as Australia.

Domestic routes in and out of Bali include the major Indonesian cities of Jakarta, Surabaya and Yogjakarta, as well as the nearby islands of Lombok, Komodo and Flores. These are serviced by a number of domestic airlines, including Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Air, AirAsia Indonesia, Wings Air, Mandala Air, Lion Air and TransNusa.

Official airport taxis may be obtained at a counter just outside the departure hall – regular taxis are barred from picking up passengers here. For those not willing to wait in line or pay airport rates, it is also possible to hail a street taxi along the main road just outside the airport gates.  

By Boat

Bali is connected to the neighboring islands of Lombok and the Gili Islands via harbours located at Padang Bai and Tanjung Benoa in the southeast, as well as to the town of Ketapang on the Java mainland via Gilimanuk in the northwest.  A number of fast boat and ferry operators service the Lombok / Gili route (approx. 2 hrs), although these vary greatly in safety standards and reliability and are subject to weather conditions. The ferry crossing from Java to Gilimanuk operates every 15 minutes and takes just 30 minutes.   

Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are the main mode of transport for visitors to the island, and are easy to flag down in urban areas such as Seminyak, Kuta and Denpasar. There are a wide variety of companies, all with a varying degree of reliability; if unmetered, be sure to negotiate the fare before getting in. We recommend Blue Bird Taxi, T: (0361) 701111 – recognisable by their light blue colour and logo – for their reliable metered rates.

If travelling outside city areas, it is advisable to hire a driver for a half or full day to take you on a customised tour itinerary. Rates are approximately Rp 300,000/600,000, to be negotiated with the driver.

By Motorcycle / Scooter

This is a popular way to get around in rural areas such as Ubud, Uluwatu and Canggu. However drivers should exercise extreme caution on the roads and think twice before entering crowded urban areas in the south such as Denpasar and Kuta, which are notorious for their chaotic traffic conditions. Rentals are easy to find and cost anywhere between Rp 40,000 – 100,000 per day for a 125cc model. Note that an International Driving Permit (IDP) with a motorcycle endorsement, together with a driver’s license from your home country are the official requirements for driving a motorcycle in Indonesia. Police spot checks are frequent in Bali. Wearing a helmet is compulsory.   

The Essentials

Visa Requirements

As of 2016, most nationalities, including citizens of Singapore, Australia and the USA can enter Bali by obtaining a free 30-Day Visa on Arrival (VOA) at the airport. Long-stay visas for certain nationalities may also be obtained in advance at an Indonesian embassy. For up-to-date information on visa requirements, visit the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website.

All visitors leaving Bali are required to pay a departure tax of IDR 75,000 for domestic flights and IDR 200,000 for international flights. This is settled at the airport counter just before immigrations – remember to save enough cash to do so.

Currency

Indonesia uses the rupiah (IDR), which has a tendency to fluctuate wildly in value. As a general guide, IDR100,000 is approximately equivalent to US$8. Visit xe.com to view the latest exchange rates.

Health & Safety

Bali is generally considered one of the safest places to travel in Asia, due in large part to the Balinese’ friendly and peace-loving disposition. Violent crime is rare, although the usual common sense rules still apply.

The most common health issue for travellers is diarrhoea, nicknamed Bali Belly. It is a good idea to pack anti-diarrhoea medication and to avoid eating street foods.

Walking along sidewalks (if they exist) can be dangerous, as they are often filled with pot-holes and poorly maintained while placing you just inches away from roaring traffic (a concern especially for those travelling with children). If walking at night, carry a torch light as roads are seldom lit, especially in rural areas. The presence of stray dogs can also be a concern when walking through rural neighbourhoods at night. If confronted, it’s best to keep calm and walk slowly to avoid provoking them, as they can carry rabies.

Mosquitos are a concern as they can carry dengue fever, although Bali is officially a malaria-free zone. Use mosquito repellent when outdoors especially during dawn and dusk or when entering jungle areas. Avoid drinking tap water; bottled water is cheap and readily available.

Balinese temple offering

Learn the Lingo

Bahasa Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. English is also widely spoken throughout Bali.

Welcome - selamat datang

How are you? - apa khabar?

What is your name? - siapa nama?

How much is this? - ini berapa?

Excuse me / sorry - maaf

Thank you - terima kasih

See you soon - jumpa lagi