The Definitive Bali Travel Guide
Bali is one of my favorite places to travel to. The first time I went back in 2010 I fell in love and it stole my heart. Since then I have been back multiple times, and I currently in the process of looking for a villa to buy so I can live between there and San Diego a couple months out of the year. I have been there so any times now that I have become somewhat of an expert on making your way there and how to avoid some of the typical tourists traps. Reading this blog will save you a couple of hours sifting through trip advisor and lonely planet. Enjoy!!
Population of Bali is about 4.1 Million with about 6 million tourists in and out each year.
Unlike most of Muslim-majority Indonesia, about 93.18% of Bali’s population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, formed as a combination of existing local beliefs and Hindu influences from mainland Southeast Asia and South Asia. Minority religions include Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism.
Balinese and Indonesian are the most widely spoken languages in Bali, and like most Indonesians, the vast majority of Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common Balinese
Currency – Indonesian Rupiah
English is a common third language (and the primary foreign language) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements of the large tourism industry. Staff working in Bali’s tourist centers are often, by necessity, multilingual to some degree, speaking as many as 8 or 9 different languages to an often surprising level of competence.
Bali is famous for many forms of art, including painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Balinese gamelan music is highly developed and varied. The dances portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, and kecak (the monkey dance).
If you are thinking about planning a trip to go there, I have put a guide together to help you out
Flights to Bali
You can find flights from the US ranging from about $650-$1400 round trip for a standard economy ticket.
If you’re a surfer.
Bringing surfboards boards can make or break your travel budget. YOU MUST CHECK TRAVEL AND BAGGAGE RESTRICTIONS on all airlines. For example. China Air charges $100 per board each way when EVA air will charge $100 for a board bag (up to 2 boards) each way. You can find a really cheap ticket and end up paying $400 to get your boards to and from, so make sure you check before you buy.
Also, I have simply bought a surfboard when I got to Bali and sold it when I left, you lose about $100-$150 on the resale of the board, but it usually ends up being a wash.
I have included a short list of all the popular places that people usually stay. If the name of the city is not on the list below, don’t stay there. For a group of 4+ people of mixed surfers and non-surfers, I suggest Canggu or Seminyak through Airbnb. Should be about $150-250 for a 3-5 bedroom place. Uluwatu is cool to stay at but there isn’t much to do on that side of the island exact go surfing.
Here is the break down:
- Seminyak – Cool, lots of shopping nice area, not crazy like Kuta
- Kuta – Mother fucking shit show if you like to party. Never Quiet, farthest from traditional bali, lots of drunk Australians
- Canggu – Quiet, and where all the hipsters hang out.
- Uluwatu – Surf Surf Surf, not much else to do
- Ubud – Lots of Yoga, far from the beach.
MONEY – If you don’t have your capital one account yet, get it TODAY to make sure your card gets here in time!
One thing that you will need on your trip is access to $. I use a capital one account that charges no ATM or international fees and the best part about it is that if you use this link to sign up for the account, then you even get a $20 bonus just for opening it up.
The checking account has no FEES, No minimum balances, no gotchas or any other bullshit, it is my GO TO travel fund that I have used for years. So everyone reading this please follow this link, open an account with enough time before your trip to make sure you get your Debit/ATM card before you leave.
I’ve got it figured out to where you can pull money out of an ATM in Bali getting NO FEES ON EITHER SIDE!!!!
- Make sure to bring Money for the ride the ride to and from the airports.
- Keep roughly $150-$300 cash USD for the trip
Here is what you can expect to be spending daily and what things cost.
- Scooter rental $4-$7 per day
- 1 hour massage $5
- Breakfast $3-$5
- Lunch $3-$5
- Dinner $5-$8
- Pre Paid Sim for Cell phone including internet $15 then about $10 per week ($35 for the whole trip)
- Water – $3 per day
- Gas for scooter every couple of days ($8)
- Then incidentals, but you should plan for about $30 a day tops!
I take out a travel insurance policy anytime I leave the country. I have ended up making a claim on it about 50% of the time. Travel insurance covers everything from Broken Boards, Smashed or Stolen Go-Pro to lost and delayed baggage and trip cancellation and or Medical expenses. Some people think their credit card covers this shit but it doesn’t. On average a travel insurance policy for a trip that we are taking is going to run you about $80-$120 and is worth EVERY FUCKING PENNY!
I usually go directly to my local AAA office and do it there, however if you are not a AAA member, here is the company I have used and they are solid and have paid out all the claims when I made them http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/
For your convenience, I have included my packing list I use for Indo trips, this will cut down on you bringing a bunch of extras stuff and ensure that you have all of your really important items. (Click link to download the excel spreadsheet)
Cell Phones and Calling Home
You can get a cheapo phone in Bali to use to make calls locally or you can do what I do and get and “Unlocked” phone and buy a pre-paid sim card for it. Usually your best bet is to get an old iPhone, like a 5 or 5s (around $100) and just use it there. They are really convenient to have because you can get internet on them and use Google maps feature for turn by turn directions while you are navigating around on your scooter. Just makes sure that it is unlocked and you are good to go.
Otherwise you will be using Skype to make phone calls home, so if you don’t have an account, set one up and put $10 worth of credit on the account. Thats all you will need to call home, unless of course you have Mac or what to use FaceTime from your iPhone which is free with Wifi.
Here is a breakdown of the time changes so you can make calls.
Ok thats all you need to know. Your welcome as a bonus, I threw in the surf guide.