Ultimate travel guide to Bali

  • Bali, Indonesia

Bali is probably our all-time favorite destination and last time we spent three weeks on this island. It has a mix of everything with great culture and design, friendly locals, great food and very good value. The island caters to everyone from the backpacker to the more affluent traveler. The trick to enjoying Bali for us is to get away from the touristy areas such as Kuta and Ubud to the cheaper, calmer and less busy parts of the island.

Good information to know

  • Weather

    Tropical, warm and humid climate all year around. Normal temperatures around 27-32ºC but due to high humidity it often feels hotter. Two distinct seasons with dry and rainy seasons. Dry season is from May to September and wet from October to April.

  • Best time to visit

    Generally the dry period is considered the best period and also when the surf season is. Flights and hotels are however more expensive. The wet period is still warm weather and clear, but be ready for some rainy periods.

  • Transportation

    Uber is no longer available unfortunately. Use ride-sharing app Grab or the reliable taxi-company BlueBird. Beware of impostors (“BirdBlue” instead of “BlueBird”) and always carry small as the drivers notoriously don’t have enough change.

  • Language

    Balinese and Indonesian most widely spoken languages. English frequently used and understood by a lot of Balinese people.

  • Currency

    The currency is Indonesia Rupiah. 1 USD is worth 13 500 IDR and 1 EUR is worth 15 000 IDR.

  • Credit cards & ATM’s

    ATM’s are easily available in main cities. A lot of places accept credit card but always keep cash on hand.

  • Plugs

    The plugs in Bali are type C and F, which is the standard two-pin plug used in larger parts of Europe. If from U.S., U.K., Australia or Canada for example you need to buy a plug adapter.

  • Safety

    Bali is in general a safe destination. Biggest thing to watch out for is road safety and especially if one a scooter.

  • Alcohol

    Legal drinking age is 21 rarely enforced. Restrictive laws have been introduced throughout muslim dominated Indonesia but Bali mostly be exempt from this.

  • Religion

    Indonesia is predominatly muslim (90%) but Bali is an exception with 84% Hindu.

  • Internet

    Wifi can be so so and invest in a prepaid SIM card. For $5-6 you can get a SIM card valid for 25 days and 8gb of data that is ready for pickup at DPS International Airport.

General information

Bali is an Indonesian island province located between Java and Lombok with a population of 4.2 million people. Located just 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali has a warm climate all year round. Tourism has increased since the 1980s and today accounts for almost 80% of its economy.

While Indonesia is majority Muslim (90%), Bali is predominately Hindu and approximately 84% of its population adhere to Balinese Hinduism. Throughout the island, you will see temples and other Hindu celebrations.

Different parts of Bali

Most tourism is centered around the southern part of Bali and Ubud. The different areas are very different and as a general rule the further inland you get the more authentic and less touristy.

  1. Ngurah Rai International Airport – Also known as Denpasar International Airport. Located 13km south of the capital Denpasar and you will be landing here.
  2. Kuta – Good for partying. The most famous beach and one of the liveliest nightlife areas. Too touristy with a lot of tourists, big bars, drunk tourists, Western food and overpriced clothes.
  3. Seminyak – This is where we stayed for most of our time. Not party but great restaurants, boutique shopping and really good hotels.
  4. Canggu – Upcoming area not so tainted with tourists yet. More of a hipster meets surfers’ escape and very chill. Not as big as Seminyak but still great beach bars, amazing food, and shopping.
  5. Munduk – A surprise stay for us that we really loved. Very few tourists and experienced several waterfalls all by ourselves. Due to its elevation slightly cooler climate which can be quite nice.
  6. Mount Agung – Highest point on Bali and the active volcano that erupted just last year.
  7. Ubud – Located in the hills about an hour away from Kuta. Definitely worth a visit for 2-3 days. Incredible temples, gorgeous cafes, yoga and of course the amazing monkey forest.
  8. Sukawati – Stop on our way from Ubud to Ulawatu. Stayed at The Royal Purnama and the area here have black, volcanic beach.
  9. Uluwatu – Slightly more remote but insane views along the jagged coastline of the Bukit Peninsula. Cool cafes, good restaurants, and a haven for surfers. If staying here, choose a resort with great views and an infinity pool!
  10. Nusa Lembongan & Penida – Two islands that are a 30-minute boat trip from southern parts of Bali. Gorgeous islands, good for water sports and scuba.

Our itinerary

Based on our description of the different areas of Bali above you might be able to guess where we spent most of the time. Our majority of living accommodation was in Seminyak and Canggu with trips to Ubud, Munduk, and Uluwatu. We can’t emphasize enough the need to visit more than the most touristy areas. Kuta, for example, we spent one-half day in while living in Seminyak.

  • Day 1 – 7: Seminyak
    We started of in Seminyak for the first week and can read about it below in Seminyak section.
  • Day 8-9 Munduk
    After this week we drove north and inland to Munduk. Munduk was to be honest a real surprise, strange with cooler climate and saw some amazing waterfalls.
  • Day 10-12: Ubud
    From Munduk, we headed south again to Ubud. We had 2.5 days here with monkey forest, temples, great food and some yoga.
  • Day 13: Sukawati
    On the way back to the main area we made a stop at The Royal Purnama. Our favourite hotel during our entire stay and unique black, volcanic beach in the area.
  • Day 14-16: Uluwatu
    Two days in Uluwatu in the southern tip with visits to Uluwatu Temple, Kecak Fire Dance, beach clubs and Bingin Beach.
  • Day 17-21: Canggu
    Back in Seminyak and Canggu area for our last days before heading home.

How to get around

Transportation around Bali is very cheap and usually very good.

Taxi – Essential to getting around Bali. The starting rate is around 7 000 IDR ($0.50) and then 4 000 IDR ($0.30) per kilometer. BlueBird is readily available and by far the most dependable company. Be aware of fake versions (BirdBlue for example) and they do have a smartphone app available. Uber is no longer available but Grab is the best ride-sharing alternative.

Motorbike – Renting a scooter is around 60 000 IDR ($4-5). You can also order one to ride along through Grab or Go-Jek. Cheap, much faster if traffic and they even bring you an extra helmet.

Buses – There are minibusses and vans available. We never tried it but is supposed to be very cramped and time-consuming.

Private driver – For longer trips, such as heading up north, we recommend hiring a private driver. A day-long trip costs around 300 000 IDR ($23) and then you can set your own itinerary.


Seminyak is a beautiful resort area in Bali with beautiful white beaches, delicious food and great design. It is located north of Kuta and about a 25 minute drive from the airport. We stayed here for a week and did shorter day trips from here. The area is filled with great shopping, top restaurants and beach clubs.

What to do

  1. Visit beach clubs – Long beautiful beach with many trendy clubs. Our favourites are Potato Head Beach Club and Mano Beach House. Usually have a minimum spend that can be anywhere from 100 000 to 500 000 IDR (7-35 USD). Be also sure to check out La Plancha, which is little less fancy and perfect for some afternoon chilling and drinks.
  2. Shopping – Great shopping in the city center with both local and International brands. The Balinese people have a great eye for design and handicrafts.
  3. Enjoy the food – Seminyak have great restaurants with stunning design, Instagrammable smoothie bowls and variety of cuisine. Be sure to try out the restaurants listed above.
  4. Day trips – If you are planning to stay in Seminyak the entire trip, make sure to do day trips to Canggu, Ubud and possibly Uluwatu.
  5. Spa time – Great, cheap treatments and spas so spoil yourself with a massage, haircut or manicure. Also great yoga opportunities in Seminyak and Canggu.
  6. Surf – Not the top place for surfing, but still a few good spots to catch beginner waves. Check out the surf schools on the beach and try out a lesson. If you want better waves, check out Kuta or Uluwatu.

Where to stay

The hotels and resorts in Seminyak are some of the best in Bali and everything from five star resorts on the beach fronts to hostels. Our two recommendations are below.

The Apartment Umalas

Website | Google Maps

Located slightly outside Seminyak in Umalas. Loved our stay here, five minute ride to Seminyak and great value at 50-60 USD per night.

The Elysian Villas Resort

Website | Google Maps

Boutique, luxury villa resort located in the heart of Seminyak.

Where to eat

Bali and Seminyak is a foodies dream and you have endless variety of restaurants throughout Seminyak. Not only is the food great, but the design is stunning as well. Besides the below recommendations you can also find great food and drinks at the beach clubs above.

  • Cafe Organic – Perfect breakfast place with great coffee and tasty bowls.
  • The Fat Turtle – Another must visit breakfast place. You have to try the red velvet pancakes!
  • Motel Mexicola – Trendy Mexican restaurant. Good food, good drinks and really good atmosphere. Slightly expensive for Bali.
  • Barbacoa – Our favorite of all restaurants and two visits in one weeks speaks for itself. Another trendy restaurant with BBQ, wood fired and inspired by Latin American style flavors. Also on the more expensive side for Bali.
  • Vin+ – Great wines and comfort food.
  • Boy’n’cow – Magical meat restaurant!
  • Flat Stanley – Delicious pizzas.


Canggu is a fantastic little town that is popular among young travelers, surfers, and digital nomads. Just north of Seminyak and Canggu is more of a laid-back, trendy surf-vibe town surrounded by rice fields, hipster cafes, and yoga studios.

What to do

  1. Tanah Lot Temple – Must visit temple that is a 30 min-drive from Canggu. Extremely popular among tourists and locals that come here to worship the Bali sea gods. Sunsets here are magical and must experience.
  2. Surf lesson – Canggu has waves for all levels. Surf season is from May to September and definitely worth to take a few lessons while here.
  3. Hang out at a beach bar – Great bars both along the beach with great views and clubs with pools. Our two favorites are La Brisa and The Lawn.
  4. Old Man’s – One of the best known bars to have a drink of party until early hours. Last Saturday every month it turns into a great market filled with clothes, handmade items and so much more.
  5. Enjoy the food – Canggu is foodie heaven and check out the restaurants above!
  6. Spa & massage class – There are great spa’s and our favorite was Escape Spa by far. Enjoyed a great massage but also a massage class that was surprisingly good.
  7. Work out – Take the time and work out, try out yoga or take a fitness class. Several really good gyms and we spent the most time on Body Factory Bali.

Where to stay

There are three main areas to stay in. Batu Balong is the main area with restaurants, bars, and shopping. Good walking distance and best pick. Berawa is upcoming and a little less crowded. Finally, Pererenan has the best beach, closer to rice fields and quite calm.

Surf Motel

Website | Google Maps

Priceworthy hotel with nice rooms and okay location.

COMO Uma Canggu

Website | Google Maps

Five-star luxury hotel in great location just by the water. Beautiful hotel and great service!

Where to eat

  • Manggis – Great modern restaurant with all plant-based foods.
  • Warung Bu Mi – Indonesian food with fresh meat, fish and veggies. Great value and a full plate is below 2 USD.
  • Deus Ex Machina – Iconic restaurant and shop with good food and ambience.
  • Crate Cafe – Great for breakfast and lunch. Good place to bring your laptop and get some work done if you have to.
  • Nalu Bowl – Beautiful and tasty bowls. Must try!
  • Pizza Fabbrica – Popular and packed place with great classic Italian pizzas!


Ubud is a very popular cultural village in the center of Bali. There is a lot to do from cultural activities, enjoying world-class food, visiting countless waterfalls and yoga retreats.

Getting there

Ubud is a 1-hour drive from Denpasar airport. The best option is to get a personal driver that takes you there. Once in Ubud, either use ride-sharing or rent a motorbike.

Where to stay

Some of the best hotels in Bali are in Ubud with great scenery and jungle vibes. Our recommendation is to stay slightly outside of the city center and there are options for all wallets.

B. Saya

Website | Google Maps

Intimate villa complex a few minutes north of Ubud. Prices from 40 USD.

Bisma Eight Hotel

Website | Google Maps

Boutique luxury hotel with suites and villas. Perfectly nested into the nature of Ubud.

Where to eat

The food is amazing in Ubud and could easily fill this list with 15-20 recommendations. Below are our favorites that you should check out!

  • Locavore – The most famous restaurant in Ubud. More expensive side with a tasting menu and needs to be booked well in advance. Also a smaller deli version, Locavore to go, that is worth checking out.
  • Hujan Locale – Our favorite with great food, beautiful design, and good value.
  • The Sayan House – Mixture of Latin and Japanese cuisine, great seafood and stunning scenic view of the forest.
  • Warung Mendez – Local warung located on an untouristy street. Try the Gado Gado!
  • Melting Wok Warung – Another cheap warung but with great food. Always full in the evenings.
  • Room 4 Dessert – Fine dining meets desserts. If you have a sweet tooth then a must-visit!
  • Night Rooster Bar – Upscale cocktail bar with imaginative drinks. Run by the Locavore team.

What to do

  1. Visit the monkey forest – Fenced of park with hundreds of monkeys in the center of Ubud. Beautiful park that you have to visit. Keep in mind to remove all loose items (jewelry, sunglasses), don’t feed them and avoid looking into their eyes.
  2. Tegalalang rice terraces – Must do when in Bali and this is a magical valley with gorgeous rice terraces. Crowded during the days and best to come early at 8-10 AM.
  3. Campuhan Ridge Walk – A 2-kilometer long walk that is very scenic.
  4. Shopping – Stroll around Ubud with small art boutiques, clothes shopping and souvenirs. Visit the Ubud Market in the town center. In the early morning, it is a food market and from 9 AM it changes to an art market.
  5. Art or cooking class – Perfect opportunity to take a class to learn painting, jewelry making or cooking class. We enjoyed a cooking class that included a visit to a market and how to make offerings.
  6. Visit the temples – Several well-known temples in and around Ubud. Visit Pura Tirta Empul with its holy water spring, Pura Gunung Kawi and the elephant cave Goa Gajah. Usually, a small entrance fee of around 15 000 IDR and they provide sarongs at the entrance.
  7. Tibumana Waterfall – If you haven’t experienced Bali’s waterfalls before or not planning a visit to Munduk for example, go check out Tibumana Waterwall. About a 20-minute drive from Ubud.


Most people do a day-trip to the Munduk area to visit the temple at Tamblingan Lake but we recommend to spend a few days here. The mountains here are a hidden gem that is much more quiet, greener and cooler climate. It is a 2-3 hour drive from Seminyak and Ubud so the best bet is to arrange transport with a personal driver.

The weather

Due to the high elevation and mountains, the temperature is much cooler and around 20-25 degrees. Common with clouds, fog or light rain in the afternoons and a nice escape from the heat at the beach.

Munduk Moding Plantation

We stayed at Munduk Moding Plantation and loved it. Great rooms with incredible views, good service and the most stunning infinity pool with panoramic views of the mountains and Java sea. It is located in the heart of a working coffee plantation and they have guided visits to the plantation as well.

The waterfalls

The area has several big waterfalls that are less than a 30-minute drive apart. Spend half-day swimming in these waterfalls. Often less crowded than Bali’s other waterfalls and we were pretty much along on several of the waterfalls. Check out Munduk Waterfall & Banyumala Twin Falls.

Ulun Danu Bratan

Probably the most stunning temple in Bali and is incredibly picturesque. The entrance fee is 50 000 IDR (3.5 USD) and best to visit early in the morning.

Swings at viewpoints

The mountain range offers a great view of the two connecting lakes called the Twin Lake. There are many great viewpoints such as bridges, swings, and cafes.


Surprise stop when we found a beautiful place that we really wanted to stay at. The nights at The Royal Purnama was easily our favorite hotel during our time on Bali and can read all about it here. The area itself is not that interesting besides the hotel and the black volcanic sand on the beach. If you are in the area, then you should consider a one or two day stop here.


Relaxed and trendy destination on the hilly peninsula in the southern tip of Bali. Beautiful limestone cliffs, great surfing and some of the best beaches in Bali. It is a 45-minute drive from the airport.

Visit Uluwatu Temple

One of the most scenic temples built on a 70-meter high cliff. Visit late afternoon and watch the Kecak Fire Dance at sunset time at 6-7 PM. The entrance is XX and the performance show is 100 000 IDR (7 USD). Usually sells out so be there at least 5.30 PM.

Uluwatu Cliff

Stunning 70-meter high limestone cliff straight into the ocean. Also known as Karang Boma Cliff and time it together with a visit to Uluwatu Temple. Fantastic just before sunset.

Sunset at Single Fin’s

Single Fin is the most popular cliffside bar and a great place for drinks at sunset. Live DJs and parties on several evenings during the week.

Bingin Beach

We stayed here for two nights at Villa V Uluwatu. A quite hidden beach that honestly was a bit of a hassle to get two with walking several hundred stairs down with our suitcases but well worth it. Great for sunbathing and having a drink at one of the restaurants.

Beach clubs

Great beach clubs in the area and our two favorites were Ulu Cliffhouse and Sundays Beach Clubs. It can be a bit pricey sometimes to check their prices before.

Instagram accounts to follow

If you have read this far, then you for sure want some more inspiration. Here are the best Instagram accounts to follow for even more inspiration on Bali.

Final words

We have been to Bali twice and the last time we spent three weeks here. Every day we spend there we fall more and more in love with the island, its culture, and people. The combination of a good life, great design, world-class food, and amazing value is really unique. So if you haven’t been here, book your trip and head to Indonesia. Once there, stay away from Kuta and touristy places and go more inland to find a truly unique experience.


  • Beautiful island & scenery

  • Friendly locals

  • Food scene

  • Cheap cost of living

  • Weather & Sunshine


  • Long flights from Europe

  • Some areas can be touristy