Bali is really an island with many mixed opinions. For those who love this island, they will often PR for Bali very strongly. But on the contrary, there are those who expect too much of it, because they have never visited any time but always hear about a slogan “Bali is truly an island paradise”, so expectation is inevitable. They even compared Bali with the Maldives, then they got a bit disappointed when it was not as beautiful as in their dreams. So, are you planning a budget trip to Bali and don’t know how to start? This Bali travel guide blog (Bali guide blog, Bali blog, Bali travel blog) will help you from A to Z. Now, let’s check out our Bali trip blog with the fullest Bali travel guide (Bali guide, Bali island travel guide) from how to get there, where to stay, best places to visit, must-eat food… to find out the answer!

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
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Tegalalang terraced rice fields
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Enjoyn sunset at Kuta beach
Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, Bali, Indonesia
Babi guling, must-eat in Bali. It is best served with vegetables, rice and spices.

But for those who have ever been to Bali, once felt the culture and beauty of this island, they will probably remember the experiences here and want to come back for many times. Compare with the Maldives?! The beauty of the Maldives is the beauty of paradise, a pure beauty without spot. While the beauty of Bali is the beauty of a distinctive culture, of something very mundane, and even dreamy beaches. It is difficult to compare Bali and the Maldives, because I come to the Maldives for relaxation, and in Bali, I come to learn about nature, people and its spiritual culture.

Tanah Lot Temple. One of the best places you must visit in Bali, Indonesia
Tanah Lot Temple. One of the best places you must visit in Bali, Indonesia
Bali, the land of the water temple.
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Bali, isan ideal surfing spot for sea sports.

Bali travel guide blog: What do you know about Bali?

Before coming to Bali, I recommend that you preview Julia Roberts’s “Eat, Pray & Love” movie, so so you don’t have to regret saying “God, I’ve missed so much in Bali”. I went to Bali like many other tourist destinations, but when I saw this movie, I understood that Bali is not just a famous tourist island of Indonesia, but also an intersection of happiness, enjoyment, religion and culture. There was an extremely developed arts scene including sculpture, painting, leather goods, metallurgy and music. Indonesian people are Muslim, but in Bali, 93% of the population is Hindu. Balinese people have always considered Bali as the center of the universe, so when you come to Bali, find a place that you think it as the center of Bali, which means you are already at the center of this infinite universe.

The heaven gate at Lempuyang Temple.
Tegenungan Waterfall (Ubud),best waterfalls in bali,most beautiful waterfalls in bali,bali best waterfalls,best waterfalls to visit in bali (1)
Bali owns many stunning waterfalls, one of them is Tegenungan Waterfall (Ubud).

Going to Bali is looking for happiness that I have not yet found, a happiness very different compared with the other places I have been experienced. Balinese believe that to have happiness, you need to always know where you are. It is a place with perfect balance, right at the intersection of heaven and earth, without too much selfishness. If not, life would be crazy. Meditate like an Indian every morning, and after that, enjoy Bali on your own way.

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Praying at Putra Tirtha Empul
ingredients, Babi guling, roasted suckling pig, Bali, Indonesia
The public market in Ubud is a colourful place to shop for ingredients.

Bali trip blog: Some tips and experiences for preparing before going to Bali

How many days should I spend in Bali?

The answer depends on the time and budget of each person. However, with a really large island and so many things to explore like Bali, just going to famous attractions and check-in, you must spend at least 4-5 days (not including the flying time). To enjoy, feel and live with Bali culture, you should stay at least 1-3 months. I think to have a good itinerary, you should spend 1 week to fully explore Bali.

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Swing in Bali
Calma Ubud Suite & Villas floating breakfast
Enjoy breakfast at the Infinity Pool in Ubud, a specialty of Balinese people.
Monkey forest, Ubud

Currency in Bali

In Bali, people use Indonesian Rupiah currency (abbreviated as IDR). If you buy IDR at exchange currency shops in Vietnam in Ha Trung or Bui Vien street, the exchange rate will be very high, for example, I asked to buy IDR at a shop in Ha Trung their rate: 1IDR = 1VND, which is too high. So I think you should exchange for USD first, then bring to Bali to exchange for IDR later, or buying IDR from your friends who have gone to Indonesia before. In Bali, you will not have to worry about where to find money exchange shops, because at any place with tourists will has a place to exchange money, or even right at the airport also has exchange counters although the rate is slightly higher.

Indonesia travel tips
Both rupiah or US dollar are accepted at most services.

The exchange rate from USD to IDR at exchange shops in Bali ranging from 12.600-13.000 IDR for one dollar. I exchanged a little at the airport to take a taxi to the city at the rate of 12.600, the rate in the city center was quite chaotic. In remote areas, the exchange rates are the least attractive, while in Ubud, many shops have very good rates, all around 12.900-13.000. If you still have excess money when you return, you should not exchange it at the airport (this bank association is so profitable) but take it home and bring it to Ha Trung to exchange, I exchanged with the rate at 1IDR = 1.8 VND. Oh, get a little profit also.

An exchange money shop in Ubud. | bali travel guide blog

Another experience when exchanging money in Bali is that it is very easy to get a scam if you exchange in unreliable places. I used to almost lose money if I wasn’t awake. They offer a little attractive rate to attract you, when exchanging they will give you a full face value of 50.000 IDR, which means if you exchange $300, you will have to carry a very thick papers of money in your wallet. Initially they will count each file 1 million IDR, then they give you to count again, when you finished counting, then they get it back and pretend to count again. This is the time when they will swap or withdraw some money that you will not know, if you do not re-count the money and not giving it to them, the money you bring back will probably be lost without knowing the reason. I struggled for a long time, I kept counting and they got the money back from my hands and pretended to count it again, but I was so nervous, shouting “Please don’t touch my money!”. So in the end they had to give in and give me full the money. They looked so bad because they couldn’t catch the “chicken” as me, haha.

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Ubud town, Bali | bali travel guide blog

Temple dress code

Like some other religious countries such as Myanmar or Thailand, in Bali they respect their beliefs very seriously, which is reflected in the dress code when visiting the sacred temples. Remember to always have a Sarong – a rectangular cloth to wrap around the body from the waist down – when you enter a certain temple in Bali, avoid having to rent or buy at the temple will be very expensive.

Famous temples in Bali Pura Taman Ayun
Visitors wearing sarong at a temple in Bali.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

3G/4G Tourist Sim Card

If you need to call an Uber or Grab from the airport, you can buy a Sim here, otherwise you can buy it at shops in the city center. 4G Sims are sold at most grocery stores or small Sim shops on the island that you can easily find while on the way. If you intend to stay a short time you can buy a White Prepaid SIM Card and top-up for the 420MB data package, the total cost is about 42.000 IDR. Stay for a week, you can top-up a data package of 1.3GB for 60.000 IDR. In general, the price is quite cheap compared to other countries like Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan.. It’s the best if you buy a Sim in advance via Klook and receive it at the airport.

3G/4G Prepaid SIM Card (DPS Airport Pick Up) for Bali

Always to bargaining before you buy anything

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Ubud Market

Always remember to bargain before you buy anything, my way when I go to shopping is to bargain down to 1/3 the price they said. With polite-looking shops, still bargain but “lighter” than a bit, but in the mind always inscribed with one word “bargain, bargain and bargain” !!!

Bali trip blog: When to visit?

Like many other tropical islands, the Bali’s climate is divided into two separate seasons: dry season and rainy season. The rainy season runs from December to April and the dry season from May to November. I chose the end of October for my trip and found that it was a great choice, the island didn’t welcome crowded with tourists flocked in as around July and August and the weather was super nice.

One of the gorgeous scenes in Nusa Penida island
One of the gorgeous scenes in Nusa Penida island

Why I titled this article “The chasing with the Sun God” is because here the moment of sunrise and sunset on the island is so ecstatic, it’s beautiful day after day, and every day there is a different beauty . However, one drawback is that the island is too large, so every time you want to see the sunrise or sunset, you often have to go a not short distance to get to a new spot. So I always have to walk while praying for the sun to stay a little longer so that I can come and enjoy it longer …

Banah Cliff Point - Nusa Penida
Banah Cliff Point – Nusa Penida
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Spectacular sunset at Tanah Lot
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Single Fin, one of the best sunset spots in Bali
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OMNIA Dayclub

Budget trip to Bali: How to get to Bali?

Fly

Currently, there are direct flights of VietJet and Vietnam Airlines (VNA) from Saigon and Hanoi to Bali. Or you can transit at one of the airports in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Singapore. Of the three airports above, it seems that the option to fly over to Malaysia is the most reasonable. The cheap airfares ranging from $130-$215. The airlines often have a number of cheap ticket promotions, so you will have to plan early and book in advance if you want to hunt the cheap tickets to Bali.

Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali
Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali

In addition to familiar airlines such as Jetstar, VNA, Vietjet or AirAsia, to flying to Bali you can refer to Malindo, which seems to have only one way from Bali to Hanoi but not the other return way. The ticket price is sometimes quite good at $86/one-way for a good airline that is not a low-cost carrier. However, the online payment is quite annoying because of many difficulties, sometimes ok, sometimes not. If you cannot pay, you can go directly to the company’s office to book and pay in cash.

Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali

If you choose to fly with low-cost airlines, you will probably have to come to Bali late at night, the good news is that sleeping at Denpasar airport (Bali) is quite convenient. There are few people on the 2nd floor of the airport and so you can strip the towels out here for sleeping, no problem. Finding a chair that can lying on to sleep is almost impossible.

Getting from the airport to the city center

Taxi is almost the only option to get from the airport into the city. If you go to nearby areas like Nusa Dua or Kuta, it’s quite OK, but go to Ubud, you will quickly run out of money because the island of Bali is very large. Even, go to some places around Kuta if you ask for a taxi at the airport, the price is about 300.000-500.000 IDR. Many visitors also suggested some good meter taxi companies such as Blue Bird, but in general the price is still expensive.

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Bali bluebird taxi

Private Ngurah Rai Airport Transfers (DPS) for Bali

There is a small tip to save money is that you should not take a taxi right at the outside of the arrival hall of the airport, but walk out a little, there will be some cheaper taxi companies that not allow to stop at the airport or there are a number of taxis that take visitors to the airport without passengers returning. I tried this way and it was reduced by half the price compare with taxi at the airport, only me in a taxi, really wide and comfortable.

Another way is to call Uber or Grab, even though the two companies are very stigmatized in Bali. To call this service you need to buy a pre-installed sim card to have a number in Indonesia and make a call with the driver. Usually, the driver won’t be able to get deeper inside the airport, they will meet you at a certain point outside the airport, if you travel with any Indonesian friend, it’s best, they will assist you more easily.

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Grab

Bali travel guide: Getting around Bali

For someone who often travels with 1-2 people and rarely follows large groups like me, motorbikes are always the optimal choice for traveling on the island. Before going to Bali, I often see some groups rent a car for a whole day of riding (costing around 500.000-800.000 IDR) but my condition does not allow. But actually, I always like self-drive and go freely. Actually, riding a motorbike on the island, you will feel how happy and fun when both enjoy the island’s fresh air and watching the surroundings, moreover you also will see many Western backpackers also ride motorbikes, so interesting. Especially at night, it is fun to take the motorbike and run to the bars, so cool and exciting.

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You can rent a car to self-driving around Bali
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Riding scooter around Bali

Renting a motorbike in Bali costs from IDR 100.000-150.000 IDR/day differs in each area. Usually renting in a central area like Ubud will be a bit more expensive than in remote areas like Kuta or Nusa Dua. The rental condition is still a deposit or passport. For me, due to stay at 808 Residence, they lend motorbikes for free, helmets are good too. Just refuel and go to explore Bali (gasoline price is about 7.500 IDR/liter). Also you can use a taxi or bus to travel on the island. Although the bus is cheap, it will be quite inconvenient in terms of time, you can refer to the map of the bus routes and bus schedules here.

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A rental shop
Bali bus map

Read more: Bali transport service — Some useful tips on how to get around Bali.

Bali blog: Where to stay in Bali?

Bali is a very large island (covering an area of about 5,780 km²), the distance from the closest point to the farthest point on the island can up to 100km apart, the same as going from the city to the countryside. Therefore, you will need to consider the place you plan to stay in when traveling to Bali. There are 3 main areas for hotels and resorts in Bali:

Kakul Villa Ubud
  • Ubud (Agoda.com or Booking.com): The cultural center of the island, the convergence of many sacred temples and old streets, eateries or central market.
  • Nusa Dua (Agoda.com or Booking.com): The place where gather the most luxurious resorts in Bali, the beach is also very beautiful.
  • Kuta – Seminyak (Agoda.com or Booking.com): This area is located between Ubud and Nusa Dua, concentrating on dining venues, bars and beautiful beaches.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay Hotel in Indonesia
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay Hotel in Indonesia

See more: Top places to stay in Bali — Top 10 best areas to stay in Bali Indonesia for the first-timers.

In general, if you have 7-day itinerary in Bali and plan to visit almost all of the island’s tourist attractions, you can consider stay in 3 areas above, each area for 2-3 nights. Such a selection will help you have a focused sightseeing itinerary, convenient traveling, not too far between locations but experience local life in many parts of the island. Regarding booking, I always choose 3 important websites, namely Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb.com (specializing in finding beautiful apartment rooms).

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Canggu beach resort

I recommend 808 Residence hotel, the room rate is quite good for a cool, fresh campus with standard apartments, features outdoor swimming pool, very good service quality. Plus, they also borrow motorbikes for free during your stay at the hotel, I was surprised by this. This hotel is divided into many zones with different prices, the cheapest room is about $45/night. In the afternoon, only a few steps walk to the beach. Some pictures of 808 Residence:

See also: Review of the beautiful 808 Residence hotel in Bali.

808 residence bali

808 residence canggu bali (1)

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Few steps to the beach

Below are some best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.

The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa: A 5-star hotel with room rates from $170/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa
The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa

Sankara Resort Ubud: A 4-star hotel with room rates from $110/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

Sankara Resort Ubud3
Sankara Resort Ubud

Hotel Terrace At Kuta: A 3-star hotel with room rates from $21/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

Hotel Terrace At Kuta
Hotel Terrace At Kuta

Visesa Ubud Resort: A 5-star hotel with room rates from $94/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

Visesa Ubud Resort
Visesa Ubud Resort

Mason Elephant Lodge: A 5-star hotel with room rates from $86/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

Mason Elephant Lodge
Mason Elephant Lodge

Puri Santrian: A 4-star hotel with room rates from $76/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

Puri Santrian
Puri Santrian

INAYA Putri Bali Resort: A 5-star hotel with room rates from $126/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

INAYA Putri Bali
INAYA Putri Bali

Sapodilla Ubud: A 4-star hotel with room rates from $53/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).

Sapodilla Ubud
Sapodilla Ubud

In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Bali: ROMANTIC GETAWAY – ARCHITECTURAL MASTERPIECE at $69/night or Beautiful villa on the edge of BLUE LAGOON at $62/night.

–> Airbnb link discount up to $35 for the first booking here: https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185

Bali travel blog: What and where to eat?

Bali is rich in cuisine. | bali travel guide blog

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