The famous island of Indonesia: Bali #Paradise is not all paradise. If you are planning to go for your holidays to Bali, don’t imagine everything will be as you see on Instagram, because it won’t be! In this Bali blog post, you will find the essential Bali travel advice to know before getting there!
And since you are planning to visit Bali, you might be interested in some other travel resource I wrote about the paradise island:
- 5 days in Bali (itinerary)
- What to do in Ubud, Bali
- Discover Lombok, the beautiful island next to Bali
- 3 days on the Gili islands
For the past few years, Bali was some sort of divine land in my mind, one that I had to set foot on as soon as possible. I wasn’t even sure what country it was, that’s how famous the island of Bali is.
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To be completely frank, I didn’t even want to research too much about it, because I wanted to keep my sanity and not think about it frantically every second of every day. That was until I won a trip to Bali, Indonesia in December 2018.
The internet is flooded with all kinds of information and especially beautiful edited photos from Bali. All digital nomads, travel bloggers and millennials have to spend their holidays in Bali at least once in their lifetime. Some move there for a while, while others might even build a house. But
What is the Bali weather like?
If you have been to South East Asia before (in the wet season), then you will not be so shocked. But if you haven’t, then you will feel like you are out of breath once you get out of the airport! No worries, that’s just the humidity you are feeling, nothing bad is going to happen to you.
If you come in the dry season, the weather is much better. Try May and it’s a completely different story.
I had been to Thailand and to Malaysia before and had an idea of the weather and the insects. So, expect to sweat a lot, midday is usually a time to rest somewhere where the AC is on, and you cannot go anywhere without sunscreen lotion and mosquito repellent lotion. And if you forget, you can buy those anywhere, really cheap.
During the rainy season (November – March) you can expect heavy rain at any moment and once it starts raining, nobody knows for how long it will last. It can rain for 10 minutes, it can rain for hours. But it’s not all bad. From my experience, it never rained more than a few hours and usually, it was raining during the night and the day was humid and hot.
I have no idea if it’s the same during the dry season, that is in the summer because I have only visited the tropical area in November and December.
In a nutshell, Bali weather is like showering in your own sweat, especially if you have a lot of visiting that you want to do. You get
Planning your Bali holidays?
As I said before, Bali is like the garden of heaven and all social media is mad about moving there and the island gets so much attention and tourists that it feels almost like Europe, but with tropical weather.
Welcome to the jungle, but with all the comfort of city life. Sure you will occasionally see some huge piles of trash waiting to sink into the ground/water, free chicken running on the street, children playing all around and the traffic is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
It has been said before that Bali is the island of God and there is a place for everyone on it.
But it’s all safe and the locals are very much used to tourists and take very good care of you. Travelling solo or travelling in a group in Bali is no problem.
I recommend hiring a driver with a car (You will love the AC in the car) to take you around for visiting. If there are two of you (or more), this is the best way to go around, comfortable and affordable.
Taxi drivers are waiting for customers on the streets. You will see agencies everywhere, with price offers for almost everywhere on the island. The prices may differ a bit from place to place, and most of the times there is room for bargaining.
Prices and bargaining in Bali
Usually, if something has not a written price anywhere (I’m talking about souvenirs, taxi fares, trip fares, all kinds of tickets), then you could bargain. It was funny to walk into some shops and see signs reading “please don’t bargain! we have fix prices”. That’s how crazy it is.
You will love it if you are a nature fan, love to walk a lot and don’t mind sweating every day, and the mosquitos everywhere. Your holidays in Bali will be for sure some memorable ones.
After spending 2 weeks in total on 3 different islands of Indonesia (out of 17000 islands) I can tell you will not get bored. And every corner and island and experience is beautiful and unexpected. Indonesia deserves to be visited and cared for because it is a heavenly land on Earth.
Planning a cheap holiday to Bali?
Getting to Bali
Ok, this is gonna be tricky. Bali is far away (assuming you’re not from Asia) and getting there takes forever and it’s expensive. The flight from Romania took 23h to go and 17h to come back. I had one stop in Doha. for both flights. The first journey took so much because of the 8h layover in Doha. The bright side of that was the 10 Eur Doha city tour offered by Qatar Airways, which took around 3h and was pretty nice.
What others do is to try and manage their own connection flights. For instance, try to fly from a big city from Europe (London, Paris or Istanbul) to Singapore and separately search for low-cost flights between your origin and that big airport.
For me it could be a good idea to search for a low cost such as Ryanair from Bucharest to London, then take a long flight to Singapore and then another Asian low cost to Bali. It takes longer but it could be half the price.
So, Bali is far, which means a holiday in Bali isn’t cheap. But!!! Watch out for airline promotions, or set price alerts on your flights’ search engine. I came to the conclusion that flights don’t get much more expensive as the departure day is getting closer, but buying your ticket 4 months ahead is the cheapest price you will get and it’s about 100 Eur less.
Of course, low-cost airlines could help, but they only operate within a continent, and you still need a way to get to Asia first. Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or Singapore are good stops on your way to Bali. From there look for Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, or Air Asia.
Also, I heard bad things about some Indonesian airlines, so I recommend Garuda Indonesia to fly around to other islands if you wish to do that. It’s a bit more pricey than others, but it’s not a low cost (and still has a price of a low cost).
Don’t forget, safety comes first, and when travelling on a budget you should, in faraway lands, have
Accommodation in Bali
Talking about cheap holidays, you will find Bali affordable and mostly cheap. In most touristic places, prices will vary from cheap to moderate, considering western standards. Because Bali is so touristic, locals and westerners who build restaurants and hotels for westerners charge more for their services. But there are still many options to choose from.
As one Australian from Lombok said, “Bali is like Disneyland, and here is the real Indonesia.” Indeed Bali is crowded with nice hotels and
Five star hotels are easy to find, but lucky also many homestays still exist. I stayed with both. The hotels can be amazing, and you will not pay more than 100 Eur per night for a double room, in a 5* hotel. And it’s pretty amazing. Especially if you are the comfortable type.
But homestays have come a long way. For 25 Eur I got a double room, private bath, AC, and an amazing breakfast. Central location, a beautiful pool at the location and friendly and helpful owners. In Europe, you would get a bunk bed in a hostel and that’s about it, for the same amount.
As always, travelling on a budget is up to each one of us, but for sure it is easier to do in Asia. My advice would be to save for the flight and watch out for airline promotions, at least to somewhere near Indonesia, and be ready for last-minute deals.
Perks: Balinese Massage and Beer
I have to mention a few other things related to Bali. The Balinese massage is amazing and it’s a must. I bargained even for that, but I have never seen it cost more than 7 Eur. I paid 4.5 Eur for 1h and it was amazing. I am just sorry I didn’t go for more massages in Ubud.
Bintang is the local beer and it’s fairly easy to find.
Alcohol is not exactly tied to local culture, but Bali is more liberal than the rest of Indonesia as it’s the only non-Muslim island. The prices vary from affordable, in the supermarket, to a bit pricey in hotels and bars. Compared to local prices for food and other items, alcohol is expensive, but it’s still affordable if you are coming from a developed country.
And I have great news, if you are still interested in Bali. You can go backpacking in Bali.