Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Bali



Bali is the western most island in the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. The island is located west of Java and east of Lombok. With a population of over 3 million with the vast majority of the island's population, 93.18%, being Hindu makes this place very different from the rest of Indonesia. Bali is one of the largest tourist destinations in Asia and the largest tourist spot in Indonesia.




The island was first settled around 2000 BC by people from Taiwan. The culture took a major shift when Hinduism was introduced from India in the 1st century AD. When the Hindu empire on Java fell in the 15th century most of the intellectuals, priests, musicians and royalty relocated to Bali. The Dutch discovered the island in 1597, although Dutch control was not solidified untill the 1890s. Even then Dutch control was loose at best. After Indonesian independence the island was hit hard during the communist crackdowns of the 1950s and 1960s with 10% of the islands population being executed. In 2002 and 2005 bombs were set off in major tourist areas, which greatly affect the tourist industry.




Kintamani Lake, Bali

Kintamani Lake, Bali

© claireh

The island contains of a series of steep and high volcanos with the tallest being Mount Agung at 3,142 metres (10,308 feet) on the eastern end of the island. Mount Batur, also on the island, had one of the largest volcanic events on the planet about 30,000 years ago. The southern part of the island is the alluvial plain, which has several shallow rivers that are low during the dry season and swell during the wet season. Bali is surrounded by beaches and vibrant coral reefs. The beaches in the south usually have white sand and the beaches in the northern or western parts of the island have jet black sand. The ecology of the island is stunning with over 280 species of birds and plenty of wild animals.




The Indonesian province Bali is divided in the capital Denpasar and eight regencies. The latter used to be kingdoms before Indonesia’s independence.

  • Denpasar’s territory includes the beach resort area Sanur. The Bali Museum in Denpasar deserves visit.

The regencies are:

  • Badung, which includes the southern peninsula and an elongated strip in the centre of Bali (due to the mountain ridges running from north to south).The name of the capital is Mangupura. Popular tourist destinations are Benoa, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Uluwatu and Ungasan on the peninsula, as well as Tuban, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Kerobokan and Canggu on the west coast, and Sangeh Monkey Forest up north.
  • Bangli, the only regency without a coastline. The name of the capital is also Bangli. Of interest to tourists are Kintamani with Mount Batur and Lake Batur, and the Bali-aga village Terunyan.
  • Buleleng, comprising most of the territory north of the watershed. The capital of Bulelelng is Singaraja. Main tourist destinations are West Bali National Park (including Menjangan Island), Pemuteran and Lovina.
  • Gianyar with capital of the same name lies east of Denpasar. Bali’s cultural centre Ubud lies in Gianyar, as well as the attractions Goa Gajah, Tirta Empul, Yeh Pulu, Gunung Kawi and Tampaksiring.
  • Jembrana with capital Negara is Bali’s westernmost regency. Most tourists just pass through Jembrana, when coming by ferry from Java and travelling by road from Gilimanuk to Denpasar.
  • Karangasem, the eastern part of Bali, with capital Amlapura. The volcano Mount Agung lies in Karangasem, as well as the ‘mother temple’ Pura Besakih. Other destinations in Karangasem include Padangbai, Candidasa, Tulamben, Amed, Taman Ujung, Tirta Gangga, and Bali-aga village Tenganan.

Klungkung, a small regency on the south-east coast, with capital Semarapura. The territory of Klungkung includes the islands Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. The ancient Kerta Gosa meeting hall and the cave Goa Lawah are the main attractions.

  • Tabanan covers Bali’s south-centre area west of Badung. Its capital is also called Tabanan. Tourist destinations range form Tanah Lot in de south to Bedugul in the north.




  • Singaraja was the colonial capital of the province.
  • Denpasar is near the southern coast and is the current day capital of the province and largest city on the island.

Tourist Towns



Sights and Activities

The main attractions for tourist going to Bali are the stunning beaches, amazing mountains, art work, dance, music and pumping nightlife. On top of this there is extremely clean and clear water that are filled with coral reefs, which makes for world class diving. For adventure seekers there is some of the best surfing in the world and excellent mountain climbing.

Tanah Lot, Bali

Tanah Lot, Bali

© ferryardx

Tanah Lot

Located 20 kilometres from Denpasar sits the amazing temple and rock formation of Tanah Lot. The temple was built in the 15th century by the famous priest Niratha, who was wondering the coast and came along some fishermen. After the fishermen gave him food and spending the night on the little island he told the fishermen to build a shrine on the rock. The temple is one of the seven seaside temples located around the coast of Bali. The temple is supposedly protected by poisonous sea snakes.

Bali Barat National Park

Bali Barat National Park is located in the north western part of the island. The park is roughly 10% of the land area of the island of Bali. it is bordered by the port town of Gilimanuk and the village of Goris. The park covers many different ecological zones including coral islands, savanna, mangroves and mixed-monsoon forests. There are even some ancient volcanic remains to explore.

Neighbouring Islands

There are some neighbouring islands near to Bali. Located around 20 kilometres away from Bali to the southeast you'll find Nusa Penida Island, Nusa Ceningan Island and Nusa Lembongan Island. Each of these islands shares their own unique tourism destination and arts. For many peoples, these three islands might not be recognized as parts of Bali’s district. Somehow, they give a great contribution to the tourism development in Bali area. Among these three islands, Nusa Penida Island is the largest one, and also well known as the best destination for scuba diving. Although the two others islands, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are located separated, they're still administratively part of the Nusa Penida area. Administratively, the islands is a district of Klungkung regency. The Badung Strait separates the islands and Bali.
In this archipelago, specially Nusa Penida Island, you will find beautiful pure beaches and some conservation places protecting plants, birds, and also turtle. When you are diving in Nusa Penida Island, you will likely to see the large pelagic, such as Manta Ray’s (Manta Birostris) at some locations and Mola Mola (Oceanic Sunfish). If you get lucky, you will sometimes see the whale-shark too.

Other Sights and Activities

Oh Beautiful Bali

Oh Beautiful Bali

© erin-sean

  • Seven Seaside Temples - Seven Seaside Temples are worth a visit becayse these seven coastal Hindu temples are within eyeshot of each other. Most were built in the 15th century and have stunning architecture.
  • Mother Temple Besakih - Mother Temple Besakih is located in Besakih village, Rendang district, on the southern slope of Mount Agung is one of the most important Hindu temples in Indonesia.
  • Beaches - Spend time on white and black sand beaches to get a good tan and relax.
  • Surfing - Hang ten on some of the best waves in the world.
  • Diving in Bali is a great place to check out the reefs with some scuba diving or snorkeling.
  • Rock climbing here is amazing on the cliffs around the island.
  • Arts and Crafts on Bali are some of the best in the world.
  • Traditional Dance here is stunning. Learn a move or two of traditional Balinese dance makes a trip great.



Events and Festivals

  • Rice Harvest Festival - Every year in May, Bali salutes Dewi Sri, who is locally revered as the rice god. The harvest time is considered a blessed season among Bali residents, and celebrations erupt all over the city. Small straw rice dolls created to represent Dewi Sri are placed all around town and are expected to bring good fortune. Along with lavish decorations and parades, traditional delicacies are served.
  • Bali Spirit Festival (25 Mar 2014 - 01 Apr 2014) - Drawing yogi's from all across the globe, this event is a celebration of all things Namaste. For the past 5 years, this festival has brought hundreds of musicians, dancers, and yogis to Bali for a festival full of live music, yoga, and performance art - all for the common cause of making the world a more positive and peaceful place.
  • Bali Arts Festival - A month-long celebration that reaches every region in Bali. Visitors will be able to choose from an array of events during this time - from traditional dance and musical performances to local crafts and artwork presentations. Delicious local cuisine will also be prepared and available for visitors to sample. Parades are also a common occurrence during this cultural festival, complete with extravagant colors and beautiful displays that will sure to leave you in awe.
  • Negara Bull Races - Typically held on Sundays during the months of July and October, bull races are held in Bali. The bulls are cleaned and dressed in garland and hitched to makeshift chariots before they are raced in this exciting event.
  • Melasti and Nyepi - Melasti is a purification festival held the day before Nyepi. On Melasti, villagers dress in their finest clothing and make their way to the sea carrying offerings to their gods. At the shore, pigs are also ceremonially sacrificed and statue representations of the gods are cleaned. This festival is supposed to get a little rowdy with loud cheers and banging of drums; everyone exhausts themselves in preparation for Nyepi. During Nyepi, Bali becomes a ghost town, and everyone - including tourists are expected to remain silent. No one is allowed to work, travel or partake in any indulgences. Visitors are advised to observe this custom and to stay inside their hotels for the day. It is believed that if everyone participates, the evil spirits will leave the island because they will think the city is uninhabited. This event occurs every year in March in accordance to the lunar calendar.




Bali has a tropical climate with hot, humid conditions. Temperatures are mostly between 30 and 32 °C during the day and nights are still well above 20 °C. The mountains in the interior are cooler and see more clouds as well. The April-October period is the dry season and November-March is the rainy season, though showers are still possible during the dry season and periods of dry weather occur during the monsoon season.

Climate Zone is a good website for seeing the weather at Bali through the year.



Getting There



© Frankee

By Plane

Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) is located in the southern part of the island, just 13 kilometres south of Denpasar. It is the third busiest airport in the country and now meets international aviation security standards. The airport has extensive international service and good domestic service, including flights to Jakarta, Surabaya, West Papua, Borneo, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Pretty much every country in the Asian and pacific region can be reached directly by flights from this airport.
Garuda Indonesia flies to/from Hong Kong, Melbourne, Nagoya, Osaka, Perth, Seoul, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo and lowcost airlines Air Asia serves Kuala Lumpur.
Several other airlines have some more destinations, including Taipei, Amsterdam, Dili, Darwin, Brisbane, Doha, Bandar Seri Begawan, Guangzhou, Broome, Bangkok, Moscow and Adelaide.

By Boat

There a car and passenger ferry connecting Bali (Gilimanuk) and east Java (Ketapang), crossing takes about an hour. There's also a car and passeger ferry between Bali (Padangbai) and Lombok (Lembar), crossing takes about 4 hours. There are now also some direct services from Bali to the Gili Islands as well, all of them either via Lombok, or continuing to Lombok after the Gili Islands:

  • Blue Water Express travels from Benoa to Bangsal on Lombok, continuing to Gili Trawangan, taking about 2 hours
  • Gili Cat travels to Gili Trawangan from Padang Ai (1.5 hours).
  • Island Getaway travels there from Serangan (2 hours).
  • Perama Express to Trawangan from Padang Ai, continuing to Senggigi.

Pelni ships link Bali with many other parts of Indonesia, including Waingapu, Ende, Kupang and Kalabahi, Bima, Makassar and Papua, Labuan Bajo and Sulawesi.

By Bus

Some long-distance services can take you all the way to Jakarta, using the ferry services described above. Jakarta is about 24 hours away, Yogyakarta about 16 hours. Lombok can be reached as well by bus. Check the Peramatour buscompany for more schedules and prices.

By Train

There’s a train station near the ferry port on Java, with trains to Probolingo, Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Jakarta.



Getting Around

By Car

Most of the roads hug the coastline or the edge of the mountains. Due to the steepness of the mountains in the interior of the island there are very few roads across the island, although some take you to the central volcanos. A car with a driver is relatively cheap if you share with a few more travellers and gives you maximum flexibility regarding the route and sights.

Metered taxis are very common in southern Bali as far north as Denpasar, but few and far between elsewhere. The starting flag fall charge is Rp 5,000 for the first two kilometres and the meter ticks up Rp 5,000 per km after that. Waiting time is charged at Rp 30,000 per hour. Trips outside southern Bali will incur an extra charge of 30%, as the driver has to go back empty.

By far the largest and most reliable taxi company is BlueBird Bali Taksi; they have a telephone call service ☎ +62 361 701111 for both instant taxis and advance bookings. If you are hailing a taxi on the street, Bluebird cars are sky blue with a white top light. The cars are modern and the drivers well-informed with a decent level of English-language ability. There are several other reliable taxi companies but these are not always easy to identify. If entering a taxi with no working meter, you are probably being deceived, you can negotiate a price with the driver but it is unlikely to work to your favour. Always insist on the meter being turned on, do not believe stories that the taxi has no meter or that it is "broken" and leave the taxi if the request to use the meter is not met.

If day-tripping, it is often cheaper and more convenient to arrange for your taxi to wait and take you back.

By Motorbike

Touring Bali by motorbike/scooter is popular, both among domestic tourists and foreigners. Renting a motorbike is easy and cheap. The bikes mostly come in the range of 110 to 125 cc, with rates from IDR 50,000 to IDR 100,000 per day.

As a foreign tourist you can only ride a motorbike in Bali if you also do so at home. The days that one could buy ‘Sim C’ in Bali are long gone. In other words, you must hold a driver’s license for a motorbike in your home country. And that license must be accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit (IDP), which provides a translation of your home license. In many countries an IDP can be obtained from a tourist or automobile association.

If you don´t have your national license, you can still hire a bike with driver and go sight-seeing piggyback for a day.

Most rented motorbikes in Indonesia come without insurance, both for when you cause or are the victim of an accident. So check whether the policy that covers you at home also does so in Indonesia. Although you may be insured, you may want to avoid areas with dense traffic. These include Denpasar and the route Gilimanuk to Denpasar. Indonesians are erratic drivers and accidents are frequent. On the other hand, riding a bike with moderate speed on the less busy roads is an ideal way to explore Bali.

Sumbawa - Road from Baku Beach to Sape

Sumbawa - Road from Baku Beach to Sape

© theo1006

Inter-island motorbike travel

As a rule one is not allowed to take a rented motorbike off Bali, e.g. to Lombok. However, a few rentals cater for foreigners who want to travel several islands, taking the bike by ferry from one island to another One can pick up the bike at one island and return it on another. A popular route is Bali – Lombok – Sumbawa – Flores, but it is also possible to pick up or drop off the bike in Java and Timor (even in Dili, Timor-Leste). As on the way one may well meet Indonesians who do not speak a word of English, one may also opt for a tour with a guide on an extra bike.

Of course these inter-island rentals come with a different price tag. Discuss your plan and ask a quotation from a company that you find by googling something like “one-way motorbike travel Bali¨. Take care that your plan fits in the time frame of your visa. Allow for ad-hoc side-trips or missed ferry crossings. The farther east the less reliable the ferry schedules are and bad weather may disrupt them. The most popular crossings are:

Ketapang on Java to Gilimanuk on Bali: 24/7 several per hour, duration 20 minutes.
Padangbai on Bali to Lembar on Lombok: hourly, duration 5 hours.
Labuan Kayangan to Pototano on Sumbawa: hourly, duration 5 hours.
Sape on Sumbawa to Labuan Bajo on Flores: once daily: duration 8 hours.
Larantuka on Flores to Kupang on Timor: 3 times a week, duration 16 hours.
Local ferries to Lembata and Alor as well as Pelni ferries to Kalimantan and Sulawesi are less predictable.

By Bus

The Perama bus company serves the budget traveller well in Bali and beyond, and they have offices in several major tourist destinations on the island. There are other scheduled shuttle buses between many of Bali's most popular destinations too.

Trans Sarbagita government bus service operates on Bali since August 2011. There are several corridors. Corridor-2 may be useful for tourists start from Batubulan bemo terminal, go via Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai (stopping in Sanur on the way) and Hanuman statue roundabout to Central Parkir Kuta (near Giant supermarket on Jalan Raya Kuta, a kilometer or so inland from the main tourist areas of Kuta), make a loop via Sunset Road back to Hanuman statue, and go south all the way to Nusa Dua, then go back. For visitors, the main advantage is there's no need now to change bemos and to deal with 2-3 bemo drivers to get to Batubulan terminal (from where direct bemos to Ubud, Kintamani and other north and north-eastern destinations are available) or to Sanur. Those going to Nusa Dua or Benoa may find the southern part of the route useful.

Larger minibuses and full-size buses ply the longer routes, particularly on routes linking Denpasar, Singaraja and Gilimanuk.

By Bicycle

Travel by bicycle is quite possible and provides a very different experience than other means of transport. You should bring your own touring bike, or buy locally - there is at least one well stocked bike shop in Denpasar, but with a racing/mountain bike focus. Bicycles are also widely available for rent and some of the better hotels will even provide them free of charge. While traffic conditions may appear challenging at first, you will acclimatise after a few days, especially once you escape the chaotic heavy traffic of southern Bali.

Besides travel by bicycle, you can try bicycle at north of Ubud and at Kintamani. One of easy route is from Kintamani to Gianyar. Tour operator will pick you up at your hotel and bring you to Kintamani which bicycles are ready for you. After short briefing, the tour through good road with very light traffic among paddy fields, village environment and many small temples. Most of the route are slightly down or flat and only not more than one kilometer hike.

By Boat

There are no regular connections between places on Bali as it's faster overland, but you can rent boats to go for a day out on the sea including fishing trips.




Bali has a huge variety of cafes and restaurants, serving both Indonesian and international food. For better or worse, some American chains have established a presence here, although almost exclusively confined to the southern tourist areas. You will see KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Interestingly, the menus are often highly adapted to the local tastes. The menu at Pizza Hut looks nothing like one you find in western countries.

Try the smaller local restaurants rather than touristy ones; the food is better and cheaper. Be sure to try the ubiquitous Indonesian dishes nasi goreng (fried rice), nasi campur (pronounced nasi champur, steamed rice with various vegetables and meats), and mie goreng (fried noodles). These dishes should rarely cost more than Rp 25,000 and are often considerably cheaper.

Some of the most authentic food can be found from roving vendors called kaki lima, which literally means "five legs". This comprises the three legs of the food cart and the vendor's own two legs. Go to the beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak at sunset and find steaming hot bakso, a delightful meatball and noodle soup, served up fresh for a very inexpensive Rp 5,000. You can season it yourself but be forewarned: Indonesian spices can be ferociously hot. Go easy until you find your heat tolerance level!

Padang restaurants are a good choice for both the budget-conscious and those visitors wishing to experience authentic Indonesian (but not Balinese) cuisine. These are usually marked with a prominent masakan padang sign and serve food from Padang, Sumatra. The options are usually stacked on plates in the window. You choose what you want and it is served with steamed rice. The most famous Padang speciality is rendang sapi (spicy beef coconut curry) but there are always a number of chicken, fish, egg and vegetable options. Padang food is always halal, and you will eat well for Rp 15,000-20,000.

Actual Balinese food is common on the island but it has made few inroads in the rest of the country due to its emphasis on pork, which is anathema to the largely Muslim population in the rest of the country. Notable dishes include:

  • Babi guling - roast suckling pig. A large ceremonial dish served with rice that is usually ordered several days in advance, but also often available at night market stalls and selected restaurants. A very notable outlet for babi guling is Ibu Oka's in Ubud.
  • Bebek betutu - literally "darkened duck", topped with a herb paste and roasted in banana leaves over charcoal. The same method can also be used for chicken, resulting in ayam betutu.
  • Lawar - covers a range of Balinese salads, usually involving thinly chopped vegetables, minced meat, coconut and spices. Traditionally, blood is mixed into this dish but it is often omitted for the more delicate constitutions of visitors. Green beans and chicken are a particularly common combination.
  • Sate lilit - minced seafood satay, served wrapped around a twig of lemongrass.
  • Urutan - Balinese spicy sausage, made from pork.

Other local Balinese specialities include:

  • Ayam panggang bumbu bawang mentah - Grilled chicken with sliced shallots, chillies and lime
  • Ayam panggang bumbu merah - Grilled chicken with red chili and shrimp paste sauce
  • Ayam tutu - Steamed chicken cooked with Balinese herbs and spices
  • Tum ayam/ketopot - Sliced chicken mixed with herbs and spices and steamed in banana Leaves
  • Ikan kakap bakar bumbu terasi - Grilled snapper in local hot spices
  • Sudang lepet - Salted dry fish
  • Pepes ikan laut - Sliced fish mixed with herbs and spices grilled and served in a banana leaf
  • Pelecing kangkung - Water convolvus with shrimp paste and lime
  • Pelecing paku - Fern tips with shrimp paste and lime




Indonesia's most popular beer is the ubiquitous Bintang, but the cheaper Bali Hai is nearly as widespread. Bintang is a fairly highly regarded classic light Asian beer, but Bali Hai is a rather bland lager, and despite the name it's actually brewed in a suburb of Jakarta. Another Indonesian beer is Anker. Foreign brands Carlsberg, Heineken, and San Miguel are all brewed in Indonesia as well, and widely available. A wide range of more expensive imported beers are available. Beer is relatively expensive in local terms, though still cheap by western standards; at Rp 15,000 and up a small bottle costs the same as a full meal in a local restaurant. In tourist centres, happy hours are widely publicised before and after sunset, with regular bottles of beer going for Rp 15,000-20,000 and the large bottles for Rp 20,000-30,000. Today, formally mini market cannot sell alcohol drinks anymore, even beer, but by Governor discretion, 'warung' and small vendors still can serve/sell beer with note they should be in a group/cooperation.

Bali produces its own wines, with Hatten being the oldest and most popular brand, available in white, red, rose (most popular) and sparkling varieties. Quality is inconsistent, but the rose is usually OK and massively cheaper than imported wines, which can easily top Rp 300,000 per bottle. Wine aficionados are better off bringing their own bottle in with them. Most restaurants will let you bring your own bottle and some will charge a modest corkage fee. Smaller establishments may not have a corkscrew, so bring your own. The new popular wine is snake fruit wine from Karangasem with sweet and sour taste.

Bali also produces its own liqueurs and spirits, with Bali Moon being the most popular. They offer a wide range of flavoured liqueurs: banana, blackcurrant, butterscotch, coconut, hazelnut, lychee, melon, peppermint, orange, blue curacao, pineapple and coffee. Vodka and other spirits are also produced locally, with Mansion House being the most popular brand. Be aware, though, that many of these local spirits are little more than flavoured rice spirit. Cocktails in Bali range from Rp 30,000 in small bars to Rp 100,000 in high end establishments. Bali Moon cocktails are available in almost every bar, restaurant and hotel in Bali. Liqueurs are available in many retail outlets; just enquire within if you wish to have fun making your own cocktails.

Bali's traditional hooches are arak, a clear distilled spirit that packs a 40° punch; brem, a fermented rice wine sold in gift shops in attractive clay bottles that are much nicer than the taste of the stuff inside; and tuak, a palm 'wine' which is often served at traditional festivities. Visitors should be extremely careful about where they purchase arak, as there have been a number of serious poisoning cases and even some deaths involving tainted arak.

Tap water in Bali is generally not drinkable, and when it is it's hard to ascertain its quality. Bottled water is universally available and inexpensive (Rp 5,000 or so for a 1.5 litre bottle); restaurants usually use commercially purified water for cooking. The most popular brand is Aqua and that name is often used generically for bottled water. Filtered water shops are also common, providing on-site treatment of the mains water to a potable standard. This is known as air putih (literally "white water"). These shops are much cheaper than retail outlets, selling water for about Rp 5,000 per 11-litre reusable container, and they avoid the waste created by plastic bottles.

Fresh fruit juices cost from Rp 10,000 upwards and their mixes may include watermelon, melon, papaya, orange, lime, banana or almost any other fruit you can think of. In Bali, avocado (alpukat) is used as a dessert fruit. Blended with coconut milk or milk, a little water and ice - and frequently use palm sugar rather than chocolate syrup - this is a beverage you will rarely find elsewhere. Almost all restaurant menus have a section devoted to various non-alcoholic fruit-based drinks.




Bali has sleeping options for every kind of traveller. Therefore if your looking for a luxury resort or a hut on the island has a place to sleep for any kind traveller. Backpackers tend to head for Kuta, which has the cheapest (and dingiest) digs on the island, while many five-star resorts are clustered in Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Seminyak and Ubud. Sanur and Jimbaran offer a fairly happy compromise if you want beaches and some quiet. Ubud's hotels and resorts cater to those who prefer spas and cultural pursuits over surfing and booze. Legian is situated between Kuta and Seminyak and offers a good range of accommodation. The newest area to start offering a wide range of accommodation is Uluwatu which now boasts everything from surfer bungalows to the opulent Bulgari Hotel. Further north on the west coast is the district of Canggu, which offers many traditional villages set among undulating ricefields and a good range of accommodation. For rest and revitalisation, visit Amed, an area of peaceful fishing villages on the east coast with some good hotels and restaurants, or head for the sparsely populated areas of West Bali.

Budget accommodations including travellers ratings:

Private Villas

Bali has become famous for its large collection of private villas for rent, complete with staff and top-class levels of service. Low labour costs result in single villas boasting staff teams of up to 30 people at the really high end. A private villa rental can be a great option for a visit to Bali, but it pays to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Not every place sold as a villa actually fits the bill. Prices vary widely and some operators claim to go as low as US$30 per night (which usually means a standalone bungalow on hotel grounds with little actual privacy). Realistically, you will be looking at upwards of US$200 per night for anything with a decent location and a private pool. At the top of the range, nightly rents can easily go north of US$1,000. The general rule of you get what you pay for applies here. There are, of course, exceptions, but a 4 bedroom villa offered for US$400 and one for US$800 per night will be different in many ways - the standard of maintenance, the number of staff and their English ability, and the overall quality of furnishings and fittings in the property.

Look carefully as to who is running the villa. Is it run by the owner, a local company, a western company or by local staff who answer to an absent overseas owner? And who you are renting through - directly from the owner, a management company, an established villa agent or one who just opened a month ago after his friend Nyoman told him how easy it was? Each path has its pros and cons. If it is an agency, see if there are press reviews. Ask how long the villa has been taking commercial guests, as villas normally take a year or so to get to best service levels. In the first six to 12 months of operation, great villas may offer introductory rates that are well below market value to gain awareness. In all circumstances thoroughly examine and query the security arrangements, especially if dealing with an apparently inexperienced or opportunistic operator to ensure you are not exposing yourself or your belongings to any unnecessary risks.

Many private villas are found in the greater Seminyak area (Seminyak, Umalas, Canggu), in the south around Jimbaran and Uluwatu, in Sanur and around the hill town of Ubud as well as Lovina in north Bali . They are rare in heavily built-up areas like Kuta, Legian and Denpasar.

View our map of accommodation in Bali



Keep Connected


Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.


See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.


Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -6.1227778
  • Longitude: 106.9916667

Accommodation in Bali

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Bali searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


as well as Lavafalls (13%), theo1006 (9%), chandie702 (6%), AdrianF (1%), missindo (1%), Peter (<1%), Angela89 (<1%)

Bali Travel Helpers

This is version 127. Last edited at 22:18 on Nov 17, 22 by theo1006. 67 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License