Essential Bali travel tips

It’s time to take it easy! A trip to Bali puts you on the most visitor-friendly island of Indonesia. White-sand beaches, world-class surf, coral reefs, spas galore and so much more.

Here's what everyone should know when planning a Bali adventure:

When to go & costs

Seasonal change makes little difference,  so any time is a good time to go.However, it’s worth checking out the main Indonesian holiday periods. The end of Ramadan gets busy as domestic tourists fill resorts and prices escalate. Our 'When to go' section has the details.

Bali can be superb value, particularly for budget accommodation. Book ahead to get a great deal on a hotel.

Shopping and bargaining

Bargaining in markets and shops is part of the whole shopping experience. Get into the swing of things and test your negotiating prowess. Just don’t get carried away and suddenly find you’ve spent the past 10 minutes quibbling over 50 cents.

Getting sick of hawkers constantly trying to sell you something? There is an invisible line on Kuta beach that hawkers aren’t allowed to cross. So park yourself closer to the sea and you won’t be hassled.


If you’re looking to catch a wave, check out Surf Travel Online. It has information on surf camps, boat charters, and package deals for surf trips to remote Indonesian locations, as well as Nusa Lembongan. For more information on suring in Bali check out our Surfing for novices amidst Bali’s monster waves and Finding Indonesia's perfect wave articles

Local eats

Treat your tastebuds and try out a warung (a small traditional roadside eatery). They are seriously cheap, no-frills hangouts, each serving something different. The food is often displayed in cabinets out the front. Take a seat, make a selection and get the real flavour of Bali real cheap.

Language & culture

To get under the skin of Balinese culture and life, check out Murni’s, which has everything from explanations of kids’ names to what one wears to a ceremony.

A few basic words of Bahasa Indonesia will take you a long way. Try selamat pagi (good morning), tolong (please) and terima kasih (thank you), for starters. For a fun introduction to the language, check out Bahasa Indonesia in 7 Days.

Getting around

The best way to get around Bali is with your own transport - whether you drive, hire a driver or ride a bike.

Excited yet? Check out our full destination guide to Bali. Or have a peek at the rest of Indonesia.

This article was originally published in July 2009. This article was refreshed in August 2012.