When people are looking for the best travel destinations in the world, Bali, Indonesia constantly makes the list. Located in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean, Bali is approximately 787 miles/1,266 km north of the coast of Australia and approximately 1,031 miles/1,660 km southeast of Singapore.
Bali is known for the lush scenery of its rice fields, the amazing scenic views from its mountain trails, and some awesome surf. Temperatures tend to be warm even in the middle of the winter season, which is why Bali is such a desirable tourist destination.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Bali is very close to the Equator, so temperatures do not change too much throughout the year. According to US News & World Report, the average temperature ranges from a low of 85.3 F/29.6 C in August and a high of 93.9 F/34.4 C in April. Every other month falls somewhere in between.
While it remains tropical year-round at the beach, things get a lot cooler as elevations increase. Bali has several volcanos and peaks. The highest is Mount Agung, which tops out at an elevation of 9,944 feet/3,031 m.
If you plan to go hiking, you’ll want to bring a light jacket and it better be waterproof because rain happens a lot in Bali.
What’s the best time of year to visit Bali?
When it comes to planning a visit to Bali, all you need to know is whether you’re visiting during the rainy season or the not rainy season.
Heavy downpours occur from November to March every year. According to US News, December (10.87 in./276 mm), January (13.58 in./345 mm), and February (10.79 in./274mm) see the heaviest rain of the year.
Since April to October are when Bali is the driest, they are also the most popular times to visit. According to the site Bali.com, the high tourist season is “…July and August, during Easter Holidays, and Christmas/New Year (December till 1st week of January).”
If you’re looking to save a buck, choose times right before or right after high season. You’ll get the good weather, without paying the premium hotel and entertainment rates. April, May, June, and September are ideal.
Bali.com says, “It’s still dry season, it’s slightly less humid, and room prices and villa rentals can be 30-50% cheaper than during high season. Many shops offer sales and promotions, restaurants are less crowded in those mid-season months, and in general, Bali is a bit more relaxed.”
What should I see in Bali?
The beauty of Bali is its outdoors and there’s plenty to do there.
Bali has a lot to offer when it comes to water sports.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
Whether you’re just learning or a diving pro, Bali has something for everyone. There are sunken ships to explore, coral reefs, and plenty of sea life including batfish, angelfish, and parrotfish. The site Scuba Diving has a look at the five best places to dive in Bali.
Bali is known for some of the best surfing in the world and there’s an opportunity for all skill levels. According to the site Surf Indonesia, “Surfing in Bali is most commonly known for its perfect barreling left-hand reef breaks, however, there is also a vast range of world-class right-hand reef breaks. The long list of famous surf spots means no shortage of waves for experienced surfers. There is also plenty of mellower surf spots for intermediate surfers and beach break options for beginner surfers.”
Check out Surf Indonesia for all the hot surf spots in Bali.
White Water Rafting
With all those mountains in Bali, it’s no wonder that there’s some excellent white water rafting available. According to travel site Live Love Raw, there are two rivers to choose from Telaga Waja or the Ayung Rivers.
Check out Live Love Raw for the pluses and minuses of each location before you make a choice.
If you’re looking for something a little more commercial, then check out Waterbom, a massive water park in Bali. Waterbom features Asia’s steepest slide, The Climax.
The ancient temples of Bali are one of the greatest attractions. There are dozens that you can visit in Bali, each with its own particular draw. For a complete list, check out Ithaka Travel.
Below are some of the most popular.
Tanah Lot Temple
This is considered one of Bali’s most important landmarks, so if you visit Bali, you need to make a stop here. Not only does the ancient Hindu shrine have spiritual meaning, but it’s also beautiful to look at.
The Tanah Lot Temple is located on a rocky outcrop that is constantly battered by waves. You can catch the full beauty of Mother Nature year-round. Just below the Tanah Lot Temple is a series of smaller shrines that include shopping, restaurants, and regular dance performances.
Located at the southernmost tip of Bali, the Uluwatu Temple offers one of the best views from the Bali coast. During the day, look down at the Indian Ocean to watch surfers ride the waves at one of the best-known surf spots in the world. At night, watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean and stick around for the daily Kecak fire dance performances.
Well above sea level sits the Besakih Temple. The “mother temple” of Bali is located on the slopes of Mount Agung. A highlight of the visit is the three temples dedicated to the Hindu trinity, Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu.
If hiking is your thing, then you have to check out Mount Agung. Mount Agung is an active volcano and marks the highest point in Bali at 9,944 feet/3,031 m. If you’re a little less ambitious, check out nearby Mount Batur which is 5,663 feet/1,717 m.
Not only is a visit to the rice terraces an amazing sight, but it’s also a look at the history of Bali. Many of the rice fields were hand-carved hundreds of years ago and have been maintained throughout the years.
A walk through the rice fields of Bali is a memorable experience. The big problem is choosing which field to walk through. The site Things to do in Bali has some tips.
Travel+Leisure calls the Goa Gajah, a.k.a. The Elephant Cave, one of the most “bewitching tourist attractions” in Bali.
The site says: “[Goa Gajah] is reached by walking down a long set of stone steps, past rectangular pools where worshippers once did ritual ablutions. Ornate stone carvings of lotus flowers and mystical creatures surround the entrance to the cave; most dramatic is the fierce-looking beast whose open mouth serves as the entryway. Inside are statues of Buddhist deities, including the elephant-headed god Ganesha and the goddess Hariti, as well as various fertility symbols.”
Ubud Monkey Forest
The Monkey Forest is a sanctuary for the Balinese long-tailed macaque. At this time, more than 1,000 macaques live within the sanctuary. When you arrive at the Ubud Monkey Forest, you have the opportunity to visit three of the temples inside the sanctuary and you will be up close with the monkeys the entire trip.
With more than 500 rare and exotic animals, the Bali Zoo is an awesome place to visit. There you’ll see everything from Asian Small-Clawed Otters to African Lions to gibbons.
Bali Bird Park
If our feathered friends are more your speed, then head to the Bali Bird Park. Home to more than 250 different species of birds, it’s an ornithophile’s dream.
Bali Safari & Marine Park
If you want to sleep among the animals, then a trip to the Bali Safari & Marine Park may be a good choice. Have breakfast with the lions and then stop by for a visit with the Komodo Dragon.
Go Fly a Kite
In Bali, flying a kite is part of the culture. If you want to get a true feel for Bali and its people, then find yourself a kite. Prime kite-flying season is June through August. If you want more details on Bali’s Kite culture, check out this article in The Story Institute.
Ubud Art Market
Of course, you’ll need to pick up a few things while you’re in Bali, so stop by the Ubud Art Market. Filled with Balinese handicrafts, the Ubud Art Market is the perfect place for a more traditional gift. For a complete look at what to expect at the Ubud Art Market, check out world traveler Omnivagant’s blog post.
Tips for a Cheap Trip to Bali
Since this is a dream vacation, you’ll probably be willing to spend some money, but you never want to be ripped off. Here are some tips to save a few bucks.
Stop Close By
Getting to Bali can be one of the more expensive parts of the trip, so if you can, make a stop close by. According to blogger A Broken Backpack, “If you’re willing to make a stop on the way then flying to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur first are normally the best options.”
Book in Advance
This is a good tip from Practical Wanderlust, book everything in advance. Bali is a tourist destination, so waiting until the last minute only guarantees that you will be paying the highest price possible. Book well in advance to save yourself a buck.
According to travel blogger Nomadic Matt, you will find much better deals the further north you stay in Bali. Matt says the southern area is the most popular and therefore the most expensive. If you stay north and northeast, you’ll find cheaper rates on accommodations.
Just about every travel blogger says the same thing, be adventurous and eat local. There are plenty of restaurants to make Western tourists feel at home. They include Western food and Western prices. If you want to save a buck, eat the local food. You’re in Bali after all.
Every travel blogger also agrees that Bluebird Taxis are the most reliable way to get around Indonesia. Not only are they metered, which means they cannot price gouge you, they’re also dependable. Plus, you’re more likely to get an English-speaking driver in a Bluebird taxi.
Take Cash and Haggle
When it comes to shopping, be prepared to talk it out. According to Love and Road, haggling is something that’s easily done in the markets in Bali and it usually works. Get those negotiating skills honed before you take flight.
We hope this helps you start planning your trip. If you are looking to stay local be sure to check out this previous post about Minnesota!
Written by Erika Towne