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9 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Travel in Bali (Update 2018)

If you plan to travel in Bali for the first time, you will LOVE reading this.
If you are a frequent traveler to Bali, you will LIKE it as well.
Why?
I list all the travel tips in one post for your easy reading. Each tips include my advice and recommendation. So, you can have a quick info on which area to explore, activities to do in Bali, Indonesia, by reading this post.
sunset from legian beach, cloudy afternoon
I share these tips based on my experience. I’ve been back-and-forth to Bali since 2009. I go to Bali usually for diving or playing body board or getting away from the hectic life in Jakarta.
 
Anyway, I made these tips based on my last visit to these places, so some might have been different from the present.

INFORMATION YOU CAN FIND IN THIS POST

  • – The best area to visit and stay in Bali, especially for the first time.
  • – The best beach to check out in Bali
  • – The best places to snorkel / dive / hangout
  • – The Food
  • – Thing You Should Have Known Before Visiting Bali

9 Best Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Travel in Bali, Indonesia

#1 – CHOOSE THE BEST AREA TO VISIT OR STAY IN BALI 

This is the list for area you can choose according to your preference. Unless stated otherwise, I’ve spent at least one night in these area.

KUTA

Kuta is like the center of everything. This is a very touristic area, some called it crazy, some (me) called it awesome.
 
When hearing Kuta, people immediately think that this is not the best place to stay or it’s too crazy. For me, this area has everything.
 
If you like quite place or away from crazy ‘new’ bikers, you can choose the southern part of Kuta along Segara beach. If you want to be near a nice beach for surfing or crazy party zone, northern part of Kuta is your best option. That is along Kuta beach or Bakung Sari street or Benesari street.
 
If you are a backpacker and ready for all the actions, Poppies lane is your place. My fave place in this area is Poppies Lane 2. There are many affordable guesthouses. The are is surrounded by great nightlife, cheap food, plus I can walk to my fave beach (Legian beach). One downside is that most people here only respect foreigners. It’s about 20min drive from airport.

> click here for kuta area map
>
click here for poppies lane 1 map
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click here for poppies lane 2 map

LEGIAN

This area is more calm than Kuta. It’s next to each other so sometimes it’s hard to differentiate which one called Legian or Kuta. If you are confuse, it is the area where lies in Padma Street, Werkudara Street, and Arjuna/Double Six street.
 
Legian is kind of in the middle of crazy Kuta and exclusive Seminyak. IMO, if I have enough budget, I will stay in Legian whilst in Bali. It’s more quiet than Kuta, close to my fave Legian beach, and many nice restaurants in the area. Although they are a bit pricey. I also like Legian because of the environment where the hotel or restaurant staffs respect local tourists. It’s about 20-25min drive from airport.

> click here for legian area map.

SEMINYAK

We can say that Seminyak is an exclusive area. You can find many nice boutiques and nice restaurants in this area. It can be very quiet (imo), but still good for family or couple. Everything looks expensive but there are many good restaurants serving nice foods there. You will need transport to go anywhere though. It’s about 25-30min drive from airport.

> click here for seminyak area map.

SANUR

I stayed in Sanur few times recently. Once I stayed near the Sindhu traditional market, during my diving course, then few times in Jalan Danau Tamblingan. Many divers stay in this area since there are many dive centers. I saw many elderly tourists as well as expats.
 
The beachfront cafes along Sindhu beach are nice place to hangout. There is a big Hardy’s department store for your daily supply. You can reach it by taking angkot (public transport) for 10,000.
 
For me, it’s too quiet and far from the action. It’s about 30-40min drive from airport.

> click here for sanur area map.

CANDIDASA

I supposed to visit Candidasa with my friend as a stop for try-scuba lesson in Tulamben. But she cancelled last minute while I’d had my booking. So, I spent there for 3 nights in a nice hotel in low season.
In my opinion, Candidasa is too quiet for solo travel but perfect for couples. Many honeymooners..  I hardly see any solo traveler ><”  I was so like in the wrong zone.It’s about 2-2.5 hours drive from airport.

> click here for candidasa area map.

LOVINA

This area is the best place to stay if you wanna go diving in Menjangan island. I stayed in Jalan Mawar which is about 20m  to the beach where lies many beachfront cafes. The beach itself is not that interesting. I saw many divers and some elderly tourists 🙂 It’s about 4-5 hours drive from airport and a 45min drive from Lovina.

> click here for lovina area map.

PADANG BAI 

I dunno why, but I like this place. The weather is not too hot, the dive site is right in front of you. The wind can be very cold that you’ll need warm clothes, esp on July. Cheap food is near the entrance harbour gate and so is a nice secluded beach, Bias Tugal beach. At nite, you can see thousand of stars in the sky. The environment doesn’t make me scared to go out at nite. You can cross to Gili islands too from here. I did enjoy my stay there.It’s about 2-2.5 hours drive from airport.

> click here for padang bai area map

AMED

I was here for a snorkeling with my family. It was very dark and quiet at night but the snorkeling site was amazing. In Jemeluk beach, you can swim there. It’s only a few feet from the beach, you will find an amazing clear water, corals, and marine life. I cant imagine how can there be so many fish there. I had wonderful time here and hope can go back again soon.

> click here for Amed area map

NUSA LEMBONGAN

Finally I visited this island and keep coming back-and-forth. I love how laid back it is. Beautiful scenery of the beach. It is relax, no night life. I like spending my time in Mahagiri Resort private beach and Mushroom bay. A note: food, accommodation, and transportation are more expensive than Bali here. Plus do not expect that you will get the same food quality or hotel amenity as in Bali.

> click here for Nusa Lembongan area map

My fave area to stay : Legian and Seminyak

Other area I want to visit and stay more than a nightUbud and Nusa Penida

Where should you visit in Bali for the first time? Ubud, Uluwatu, Lovina, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida

Where should you stay in Bali for the first time? Away from touristic Kuta, such as Seminyak or Ubud.

Click to Tweet: The Most Essential Tips to choose which area to visit or stay in Bali.




#2 – CHOOSE THE BEST BEACH TO RELAX IN BALI

Surfer in Bali beach
Photo by Bertomic on Pixabay

These are the beach you can choose to spend your time and relaxing. There are many in Bali. Mostly with wave, even big one and hardly find a calm beach for swimming. Bali is famous for surfing.  The beach in west part of Bali has good wave in the dry season and beach in east part of Bali has good wave in the wet season.

KUTA BEACH – It’s a white sandy beach full with tourist. It’s best for watching beautiful sunset, surfing and body boarding. There are times when you will find garbage in the water. But amazingly, you won’t find them in the next day..

kuta beach

kuta beach

LEGIAN BEACH – It’s in the end of Kuta beach, a quieter part of it. Sometimes people called it Double Six Beach. It’s half white sandy beach and half is getting darker cause of the mix with black sand from Seminyak beach. This beach is also best for watching sunset, surfing and body boarding. I like it better than Kuta cause lesser tourist here and one thing for sure, the rental for beach bench and body board are cheaper than in Kuta beach..

MAHAGIRI BEACH – Lies in north part of Nusa Lembongan as private beach of Mahagiri Resort. I like spending my time here, looking at the awesome view of Bali island across the water. Not to mention the nice sunset view.

MUSHROOM BAY – Lies in the south part of Nusa Lembongan, it is a relax place. Nice beach where you can swim. The cafes here offer less lower price to go snorkeling to 5 spots around Nusa Lembongan island and the nearby Nusa Penida island.

JEMELUK BEACH – Lies in Amed and offer amazing marine life where you can see after a few feet swim. This  is why I love this beach.  It is highly recommended for snorkeling with family.

PETITENGGET BEACH – It’s in the end of Legian beach, part of Seminyak beach. This beach is great for chilling out but you cannot surf / play body board cause it’s in sacred area. I saw local family with children playing in the water on the weekend. I like the atmosphere there and it’s cleaner than Legian beach / Kuta beach..

NUSA DUA BEACH – It’s a nice beach to spend the time with your family. You will see the beach on your right and on your left.. If you see Bali map, you will know where this beach located. You can swim here, it is a bit calm and further from the beach, you can surf..

GEGER BEACH – It lies in Nusa Dua area. It’s a long stretch white sandy beach. First time I was there, I think it looked like Kuta beach. But last November (2012), I went there to find that there was a big hotel construction nearby. It doesn’t look as good as my first visit and according to my friend, the water tasted sour. Maybe because of the seaweed plantation there. That’s too bad. This beach is in the left side of a temple. While in the right side, there is a nice place for surfing.
> click here for YouTube video: Geger beach video 1 & video 2


DREAMLAND BEACH – It is in Pecatu area. I think this is the best beach in Bali. Most of my visit there, I see a high wave about 1 meter or so just a few steps from the beach. Crazy.. and Awesome!!  I am afraid of high wave so I don’t play body board there, just relax, laying on the beach bench.  The water is clear and clean. There is KLAPA cafe uphill where you can watch beautiful sunset. I love it there!!.

SANUR BEACH – This is a great beach for family, calm water but be careful if you swim further from the beach, esp near the canal arean. I had my diving there and the underwater current is pretty strong towards afternoon. There are many cafes along the beach and a jogging track. Great place for chilling out or for jogging/bicycling while watching the sunrise.

LOVINA BEACH – I didn’t go to this beach in the morning/noon but in the afternoon, there are many local boats. The sand is kinda black, if I am not mistaken. There are cafes along the beach, mostly the tourist are elderly or divers.

TULAMBEN BEACH – Hardly sand here, mostly rocks with great underwater!!.

CANDIDASA-BEACH – My only memory about this beach is that there are many rocks there LoL!.

BLOO LAGOON BEACH –  It’s in Padang Bai area. I only saw it  from a distance. It’s so small and not interesting but the underwater is great. Best for snorkeling..

PADANG BAI BEACH – It’s a white sandy beach but many local boats there and many garbage. Maybe because it’s in the harbor area??.

PADANG-PADANG BEACH – It’s a nice beach, you can swim here. Guess the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” made this beach popular ^^.

BIAS TUGAL BEACH – It’s in Padang Bai area and it’s the best one!! I went there in the afternoon and in the early morning for sunrise. It’s like a small private beach that time. I love it there. Just watch this video I took there (Padang Bai Video 1)

Other beach I want to visit :  Secret beach in Candidasa, beaches in Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida

My fave beach : Padang-padang beach in Uluwatu and Jemeluk beach in Amed

Click to Tweet: Which one do you think the best beach to in Bali?

#3 – CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME UNDERWATER WORLD IN BALI

Tulamben, Bali
Tulamben, Bali

 

Tulamben

It’s the best for diving since you can see many kind of marine life here. Awesome!! I think it’s best to go there on November, no much people dive and the shore entrance is not difficult (no wave). No big current. For snorkeling, I think the visibility is not as good as diving. The water is a bit greenish.

Menjangan Island

I was there on February and the water was clear. It’s best for snorkeling and also diving. You better go there in the morning because the current is getting stronger towards afternoon.

Amed

I love my snorkeling trip to Jemeluk Beach in Amed. It’s a short swim from the beach to see beautiful and colorful fishes as well as coral.

Padang Bai

I was here for diving. The water is cold. Many sting rays. I saw 3 sharks here 😀

Sanur

One of the sites that dive center use when taking open water course. I was here because of that too. The current can be strong here. I didn’t see many fish down there though.

Crystal Bay

It’s located in Nusa Penida. I went here from Nusa Lembongan, few minutes boat ride. Amazingly many marine life here. The water is crystal clear but please be careful with the current and choppy water.

Gamat Bay 

This one is also in Nusa Penida. Clear water and many fishes.

Tanjung Benoa

This is the water sport area that also offer short dive. Many fished but when I was diving there, the visibility was low. It’s too crowded under the water too.

My fave place to dive/snorkel :  Menjangan Island for diving, Amed for snorkeling

Other site I want to dive/snorkel : Nusa Penida, Amed

For diving, I would recommend to go to Tulamben and Menjangan Island, both are suitable for beginners. Then Nusa Penida for advance diver.

For snorkeling, I would recommend to go to Amed and Crystal Bay.

You can check my post for diving: A week for relax and diving lesson (sanur, kuta, tulamben)

Click to Tweet: You should know these tips to make the most of your diving or snorkeling trip in Bali 

#4 – TRY THESE NICE FOODS IN BALI

Babi Guling Pak Malen, Bali (suckling pig set meat & orange juice)
Babi Guling Pak Malen, Bali (suckling pig set meat & orange juice)

The price range for food in Bali starts from USD 1-2, especially in cheap places (called “warung”), a local restaurant/street vendor. More than that is categorized as expensive or good restaurant 😀

My fave mealNasi Campur Bali in Bambu Sari Resto and Babi Guling Pak Malen in the corner of Seminyak-Kerobokan-Sunset road

My fave place to eat :  Warung Indonesia in Gang Ronta Poppies Lane 2 Kuta. It’s cheap and tastes good.

Best food I’ve had Bambu Sari Restaurant in Jl. Kahuripan Kuta, Mozzarella Restaurant (Italian) in Padma Street Legian, Ultimo (Italian) in Seminyak.

Click to Tweet: Recommended tips for Food in Bali to make the most of your first time here.

#5 – BEST PLACE TO HANGOUT

Double Six, Bali
Double Six, Bali

When I go to Bali, I seldom chill-out in café so I only had few experience.

My fave :  La Planca in Legian / Double Six for sunset

#6 – THE PLACES TO HAVE THE BEST NIGHTLIFE IN BALI

Party Bar on Unsplash
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

My fave :  Sky Garden in Legian street, Kuta

Craziest club I’ve been Bounty Club in Legian street, Kuta used to be the one. Now I consider Sky Garden for this criteria.

#7 – THE BEST AND THE WORST BUDGET HOTEL TO STAY IN BALI

Budget Hotel, Bali
Budget Hotel, Bali

My fave :
– on a very limited budget, I prefer staying in Poppies Lane 2 Kuta. Beneyasa I, probably my fave cause I stay there many times :p
– but on a slightly higher budget, I love Fave Hotel in Seminyak. You might need to rent a bike to go to the beach but I had the most comfy bed ever here and 101 Legian for their superb hospitality

The cleanest budget place :  Little Pond guesthouse in Sanur

My worst experience Fat Yogi Cottage place has been replaced with Villa Coco in Double Six, Seminyak. Staying here totally ruined my new year holiday in 2018. I would recommend to stay away from this hotel, especially if you are local with a western partner. You can read more about it in my post “Think Twice Before Staying Here or my tripadvisor  review “Great Manager“. I am still emotional every time I think of this place and what they did to me. Her response in tripadvisor is not 100% real fact of what happening.

#8 – SEE THE TOURIST ATTRACTION IN BALI

Honestly I hardly visit their tourist attractions. So far, the place I think interesting is Ubud and Tanah Lot. I would recommend you to see traditional dance like Kecak dance on sunset at Uluwatu Temple and Barong Dance in Batubulan. Besakih Temple is worth a visit too.

Kecak Bali
Photo by Den on Unsplash

#9 –  OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BEFORE TRAVELING TO BALI

I have this other post about Bali, Top 10 things I should have known before traveling to Bali. This post would be a great travel tips to Bali for you as well.



So.. what do you think about these 9 tips?

Did I miss anything?

If you have other tips, please let us know in the comment below! 

By the way, I create a longer version of this post with more detail information. There will be several posts about Travel Tips to Bali. You can check the first one here, “The Best Travel Guide to Bali Ever!“.

2 thoughts on “9 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Travel in Bali (Update 2018)

  1. I think you must update the food section since last time I go to warung Indonesia, the price was way much higher than you have mentioned…

    1. Thank you for ur input. yeah, i hv no time to update about that cheap resto post.
      For more update price, u can find it at my latest trip journal.
      Yep, Warung indonesia is slighty higher than last year. Last month i had some veggies n egg for 13k. But i guess, it’s still affordable, easy to reach, nice food 😀

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