Bali, also known as “the island of the gods”, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world thanks to its varied landscapes, including mountains, hills, coasts, sea views, in addition to a rich cultural background marked by a unique spirituality and countless possibilities to spend holidays for all tastes, from water sports to historical tourism and archaeological attractions.
Bali belongs to Indonesia, being one of the more than 17,000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago. It is located about 2 km east of the island of Java and west of the island of Lombok. About 4.2 million people live in Bali and the surface of the island is 5,780 square kilometers, the distance from east to west is 144 km and from north to south is 80 km. The capital of the island is Denpasar.
- 1 The weather in Bali. What is the best moment to visit Bali?
- 2 Useful information to visit Bali
- 3 Curiosities about Balinese names and Balinese children’s names
- 4 Traffic in Bali and how to get around
- 5 The main tourist attractions in Bali
- 6 Overnight in Bali: The best hotels and villas
The weather in Bali. What is the best moment to visit Bali?
Bali is near the equator, so the climate is tropical, warm and humid all year round, with two seasons: the dry season (from April to September) and rainy season (from October to March).
The best time to visit Bali obviously depends on the climatic conditions that mark the prices of accommodation. The high season is during July and August and during the Easter and Christmas holidays. But the best months to visit Bali are April, May, June and September, before and after the high season. These months enter the dry season, humidity is somewhat lower and accommodation prices are 30-50% lower than during the high season. Many shops offer discounts and promotions, restaurants are less crowded and the atmosphere is more relaxed.
These months are perfect for water activities such as scuba diving, surfing, snorkeling, etc. The waters are clear and the beaches are not very crowded. In addition, attractions for families with children such as Zoo, Marine & Safari Park, Bali Bird Park, Waterbom, White Water Rafting, Monkey Forest, etc. are less crowded. The same goes for the temples and the main tourist attractions.
The central area of Bali is dominated by volcanic mountains with heights of 3000 m. Here the temperatures are much lower, with rains that make their presence with more frequency than in the coastal zones.
Useful information to visit Bali
What is the official currency in Bali?
The official currency in Indonesia (and Bali) is the Indonesian rupiah (IDR). Exchange rate (at the time of writing) is 1 euro = 17 596 Indonesian rupiah 1 $ = 14 285 Indonesian rupiah. Often, local prices are shown as: Rp.
Do I need a plug adapter in Bali?
In Bali, two-pin plugs are used, common in much of Europe, so there is no need for a plug adapter. The voltage is 230 V, frequency 50 Hz.
How to connect to internet in Bali?
To connect to the Internet, it is preferable to buy a local card. Although Internet speeds in Bali are not always high, services have improved over the years and today the network connection is common. The 3G network is available in most of the island. A prepaid card is a very good option, with absolutely reasonable prices. For about 10 euros, you can have internet access for one month. An interesting option are the Simjek cards.
What language is spoken in Bali?
English is the third language spoken in Bali and by far the most popular language. The first two are Indonesian and Balinese. Due to the large number of tourists (about 700,000 Australians arrive in Bali annually), many locals speak English, so communication is relatively easy. Many signs are bilingual and in restaurants, menus are usually translated into English. For natives, Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is the main language.
Curiosities about Balinese names and Balinese children’s names
A very interesting thing in Bali is related to the names of the locals. There are only four names used by men or women. The firstborn is called Wayan, the second Made, the third Nyoman and the fourth Ketut. For the fifth child the names are over, so Wayan is repeated. Some receive a series of nicknames, while others continue with their original names.
Balinese newborns cannot touch the ground in the first months of life, so they are carried everywhere in their arms. These are considered little angels and the spiritual connection is protected from the fact that they must not touch the earth. When parents think it is the right time, a ceremony is held and they are allowed to have contact with the ground.
Traffic in Bali and how to get around
You can rent a car or a motorbike in Bali but you have to be very careful when driving in Bali. First, in Bali, you drive on the left and anyone can enter an intersection without even looking around.
There are many narrow streets, not always well signaled. In addition animals (dogs, chickens, cows, etc.) can always appear on the road at any time. The roads are often closed for religious processions.
To drive in Bali, you need an international driver’s license or a temporary Balinese driver’s license. The tourist license, which you can get from a local police station in the capital of Denpasar, the price is approximately 30 euros.
Rent a car in Bali
If you want to rent a car in Bali, the recommendation is to rent it with a driver included. A driver costs between 10-15 euros per day and frees you from many inconveniences. Many people rent cars to discover the island, but driving a whole day in Bali can be really stressful. A local driver is faster, knows the roads, the places to park and will take you where you want to go. He is often a sociable travel companion who gives good advice on places and destinations. And if something happens with the car, he’s the one who answers.
The main tourist attractions in Bali
Bali is an island where you never get bored and where you can discover every day a new place to enjoy and delight your soul. However, there are some major tourist attractions that you won’t want to miss and that you should visit outside of the high season.
Temple of Tanah Lot
Located 20 km northwest of Kuta, the Temple of Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most famous sacred sites due to its spectacular location on a small rocky island bordered by ocean waves. For the locals, it is one of the most sacred temples on the island (the largest and most sacred is Besakih). Every night, thousands of tourists from Kuta, Legian and Sanur find their way to Tanah Lot and admire its impressive sunset.
The Tanah Lot was built in the early 16th century and is said to have represented a vision of priest Nirartha, who asked local fishermen to build a temple after spending a night on the rock.
You can also relax in one of the area’s restaurants and bars, where you can enjoy a cup of Indonesia’s famous Kopi Luwak coffee, the most expensive in the world. The curious thing about this coffee is that it is made with civet excrement.
From Tanah Lot you can continue along the surrounding trails to the beautiful Batu Bolong, another marine temple on a cliff in the sea.
Located on the south coast of the island, Seminyak is one of the most exclusive holiday destinations in Bali. In this small town there are 5 star hotels, first class restaurants, renowned spas, famous department stores and much more. The place is also known among surfers, who enjoy the beaches and the big waves that form most of the time. Seminyak is a dynamic and vibrant place where you can spend all your holidays in Bali without getting bored.
Batur is a still active volcano, which includes no less than four craters, a lake and several villages. One of the most popular activities related to this mountain is to hike to the top to admire the sunset from there. Climbing is relatively easy and takes about two hours. Visitors arrive in Batur and see Pura Ulun Danu Batur, one of the nine main Hindu temples in Bali.
Batur is located to the northeast of the island, and has an altitude of 1717 meters.
The Beach of Kuta and other beaches of Bali
Kuta beach, together with the beaches of Seminyak, form an area much sought after by surfers and water sports lovers. In Kuta you can take surf lessons, rent equipment or relax in one of the many bars and restaurants along the beach. If you’re looking for a quieter beach, head to Sanur, Jimbaran or, in Nusa Dua, Geger Beach. Surfers will find fun and big waves on the beaches of Dreamland, Canggu, Balangan, Bingin and Padang-Padang.
Ubud Monkey Forest
A 10-minute walk from downtown Ubud is Monkey Forest, also known as Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, one of the island’s top recommended tourist attractions. Prepare to admire hordes of long-tailed and gray-tailed macaques that develop in their natural environment. Walk the trails through the dense forest, where at any time, you may find yourself in front of an ancient statue or temple. The well-preserved forest is supposed to symbolize the harmonious coexistence of humans and animals. Here there are also many species of rare plants and the location is used to study the behavior of macaques, especially for their social interaction.
In the forest there are three temples, two of which are the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal (14a), on whose walls hang hundreds of monkeys and the Pura Beji, an ancient temple bath, located near a stream.
During the visit to Monkey Forest, it is best to avoid eye contact with the monkeys (do not smile, as it can be interpreted as a sign of aggression) and not give them food.
Ubud is considered the cultural center of Bali. In Ubud are the most important museums of Bali, like the Museum of art Neka, that lodges a great collection of painters of Bali and also of international painters.
Dance and music takes place every day through the city’s galleries. There are also a large number of craft shops waiting to welcome new tourists.
After the film Eat, Pray and Love, starring Julia Roberts, there was a tourism boom in Ubud, sometimes becoming a little stressful. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes on foot or by bicycle to escape the crowds.
Temple of Uluwatu
Built on a cliff (75 meters high) above one of the best surf spots in Bali, the temple of Uluwatu is another well-known sacred place worth visiting, especially at sunset. The temple of Uluwatu is one of the oldest in Bali since its construction dates back to around the tenth century. Uluwatu is said to protect the island of Bali from evil spirits.
A splendid path stretches from the temple, along with breathtaking scenery. Only Hindus have access to the temple, but the Kecak landscapes and dances that take place at dusk are certainly worth a visit.
Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Penida
Nusa Lembongan is a small island, located near the southeast coast of Bali, so small that tourists can walk it on foot in three or four hours. The sand of its beaches is white and the water is turquoise blue. Nusa is perfect for snorkeling and diving lovers as there are a lot of sea creatures in its waters.
The island near Nusa Lembongan is called Nusa Ceningan and is linked to it by a bridge near a beautiful lagoon. There is also a third island, the large island, Nusa Penida, accessible by boat, where tourists can see sea caves, rock formations and a bird sanctuary.
The Sidemen Valley is the pure representation of what Old Bali means, in times before tourists conquered this beautiful island. In this valley there are several small villages forgotten by the world, distributed among the rice crops. The villages are the main attraction of the Sidemen Valley, here you can get in touch with the locals and observe their daily life and traditional activities. You can also walk on Mount Agung (a volcano that erupted on 25 November 2017). Rafting can be done in the area’s rivers, and yoga practitioners will find refuges in which to enjoy their passion.
Overnight in Bali: The best hotels and villas
With more than 6,000 hotels and more than 1,000 private villas, Bali never raises the idea of problematic accommodation. Accommodation is a personal choice, it depends on what you want to see and do on your holidays in Bali.
Recommendations of 5 star hotels on the beach in Bali
- The Samaya , in Seminyak
- Ayana Resort in Jimbaran
- The Oberoi , in Seminyak
- St Regis in Nusa Dua
- Anantara Resort in Uluwatu
Recommendations of 5-star hotels off the beach in Bali
- Viceroy Bali in Ubud
- Kamandalu , in Ubud
- Kayon Resort , in Ubud
- Jamahal , in Jimbaran
- Banyan Tree in Ungasan
Recommendations of hotels of 3 to 4 stars in Bali
- Bisma Eight in Ubud
- Bali Villa Ubud in Ubud
- Tandjung Sari in Sanur
- Kejora Suites , in Sanur
- Hotel Tugu in Canggu
Recommendations of hotels of less than 50 euros a night in Bali
- Grandma’s Plus Hotel in Seminyak
- First Hotel , in Seminyak
- Casa Pajar , in Ubud
- NEO , in Kuta Legian
Recommendations from private villas
- Semarapura in Tanah Lot
- Samuan Villa in Seminyak
- Kaba Kaba in Tabanan
- Villa Tjitrap, in Seminyak
- Dea Villas in Canggu