A large island situated in the heart of Indonesia, Bali is a popular choice for backpackers, honeymooners, hippies, surfing enthusiasts and sightseers alike. With a large western influence, Bali has everything from smoothie bowl bars to luxury villas and yoga classes by the beach. Although it is flooded with tourists all year round, Bali is still very budget friendly no matter what your taste. As one of the first stops on our trip this year I was eager to explore everything Bali had to offer on a backpacker’s budget. Needless to say, it didn’t feel like a backpacker’s budget! I know a lot of people travelling to Bali this year who have asked for some tips. So here is a few recommendations on what we did during our visit, hope it helps!
Where to Stay
After spending a month in hostels in New Zealand, We were ready for a hotel with a room of our own! There is actually no need for hostels here as you can find stunning luxury hotels at such affordable prices. We stayed at the Ping Hotel smack bang in the centre of Seminyak. A boutique hotel with a small pool but it is extremely clean, friendly, central and affordable. It suited us perfectly, I was just excited to have our own room haha. I would really recommend it. However if you have a bigger budget there is an abundance of villas, infinity pools and cliff view hotels to choose from. We choose Seminyak as a base to explore the rest of the island.
There is so much to see and do in Bali. We hired a driver for the day to bring us wherever we wanted. I would highly recommend doing this. It cost 400,000 IDR (€27) to do this and you can spilt the cost with your travel buddies to save money. It works out so much cheaper than booking trips though a travel company. We done two different day trips but you can do more depending on preferences. One of my favourite things was to head down to Seminyak beach to watch the sunsets. Just spectacular! Read a complete list of everything we did in Bali here.
How to Get Around
We mostly just used taxi’s or a driver to get around, and for anything central we walked. If you choose this option however, be prepared to haggle for the best prices. An alternative would be to hirer a moped and drive yourself. Moped’s are after all the Bali way of life. If you feel comfortable enough driving, this can be a quick and cheap way to bypass the crazy traffic and explore the countryside of Bali. BUT be warned..no lanes or traffic lights exist in Bali, it’s pretty much an “everyone fends for themselves” situation. So pleaaaaase be careful if you opt for a moped. I have seen so many injuries as a result of mopeds this year. Not that it will stop us from using them in different countries, you just need to be careful. I know I won’t be driving as I DEFINATLY don’t trust myself, so here’s hoping Darragh doesn’t kill us!
One of the biggest tips I can give is that in Bali, cash is king. Make sure to carry a handful of 20,000 -700,000 rupiah for daily expenses and haggling. ATM’s are easily accessible. You can haggle for almost everything in Bali, except accommodation, shops and restaurants. The Balinese people are very friendly, but remember the “price” is never the price! When it comes to climate Bali is very warm all year round. The rainy seasons are between October to March, however we were there in March and apart from the odd short shower, the weather was heavenly.
Another tip I can give you is to avoid travelling to Bali for Bali New Year. This fell on the 9th of March this year but changes every year so be sure to check it out. Basically everything closes for two or three days during this time. On one of these days called “Nyepi” the entire place shuts down and tourists are prohibited to leave their hotels or face a fine of up to €70. Everything closes, even the airport so you can’t fly on this day. It is a Hindu day of silence to let the evil spirits pass through Bali. This didn’t bother us too much as we were travelling for such a long time. However if you were just on hol’s for a few days, I’d imagine It would be quite frustrating if everything was closed for 3 days of your trip. Having said that, the spiritual celebrations and parades on the lead up to this is something really special to experience!
So that’s my Bali trip in a nutshell! I’ve a separate post here you can read on everything we did during our stay. If you have any other specific questions please let me know 🙂
Thanks for reading!