Located west of Java and East of Lombok, Bali is a backpacker’s idea of HEAVEN. Simply put…Bali is incredible and has been voted GoKo Travels No1 destination for backpackers. The dramatically beautiful rice paddies, stunning beaches, challenging hikes and hospitable locals…Bali is a place of dreams.
And IT’S CHEAP.
There’s a reason why Bali is full of expats who probably will never leave this sun-kissed paradise.
Listing all the incredible reason why Bali is our No1 choice for backpackers would take weeks, but the tropical weather, phenomenal surf, spicy food, rich heritage and unique bar lifestyle is why it has captured our hearts so deeply.
Our only advise….unless you are a party animal, longing to return to the Maga days, keep your stay in Kuta to a minimum, as the island has soooo much more to offer!
This post will highlight:
> Daily budget plans and Vaccinations
> Advice on accommodation and the best ways of getting around
> Top tips and Must-sees
> Top restaurants, Bars and Surf breaks in our favourite towns
> Visa Requirements
NEED TO KNOWS:
Rupiah (IDR) = 173018.66 Rupiah = £10.00 GBP
> Hepatitis A
Others you should consider:
> Hepatitis B
> Japanese B
£30-£35 GBP/$40-$45 USD per day!
Although Hostels/ homestays can be generally quite expensive in Bali if you do not book early, the majority found on sites such as booking.com and hostleworld.com are absolutely epic and arguably the best within South East Asia; Boating awesome facilities, free breakfast and good enough wifi.
Basic 6-12 mixed around £2.84GBP/ $3.65USD per night. Single-sex dorms in both homestay’s and hostels change depending on where you are within Bali, however, they generally start as low as £2.84GBP/ $3.65USD per night.
But the majority of hostel prices sit around £3.68-£4.55 / $4.85-$6.00 USD
Private rooms on booking sites start at around £14.10 / $18.60USD per night.
>>The average prices of private rooms are about £23.00 / $30.00 USD per night, if you do not book early.
Luckily for you, all transportation around Bali is extremely cheap and flights to Bali from most of South East Asia or Northern Australia can be found for as little as £50-£60/ $64-$77
Renting a Scooter/Motorbike: This is by far the best way to get around the island and of course the most fun. For as little as $2.25-$3.70 USD per day or around $14.90-422.30 USD per week, you can explore the intricacies with the wind in your hair – HIGH RECOMMENDED.
Pushbike: Lovely way to get around if it isn’t too hot. Prices start at around $1.50-$3.00 USD per day
Taxi: Even a taxi from one town to another should only cost you around $4.85-$7.50USD
Mini-Van: If you are in a large group looking to plan a day trip or wanting to move from one city to the other, your best option here is a Mini Van. A full minivan rental costs around $14.50-$18.60USD! So the more the merrier.
OUR TOP TIPS: BALI:
1. Avoid western food. The local food is Bali is epic and you will save some serious money here. The Indonesian rijsttafel (Food buffet) is sublime and offers a large varity of cuisines. We ate rijsttafel every day and didn’t pay more than around 6000-80000VND (under a £0.48GBP/ $060USD).
2. Hostels in Bali are some of the best in South East Asia. As a result, popular ones get booked up really quickly, so book early.
3. Alcohol is very cheap. Having said that, drinking in restaurants or in bars (like Kuta for example) soon adds up, so make the most of happy hour.
5. RENT A BIKE!! Nothing beats exploring the unbeatable beauty of Bali with the wind in your hair. Rentals are dirt cheap.
6. BARTER, BARTER, BATER!! The locals love to overcharge you, have fun and save a few dollars.
7. Make sure not to overdo Kuta. Although it is a lot of fun and the booze is cheap, Bali has so much more to offer than the seedy, boisterous party vibe of the capital
8. Learn to surf! The surf in Indonesia is famed worldwide, attracting complete beginners, amateurs and professionals all year round. If you have yet to give it a go, Indonesia is the perfect spot to learn for the first time.
WHAT CAN YOU SEE AND DO IN BALI?
Often overlooked, Canggu is our favourite place on the planet. Boasting incredible surf, hippie cafes, boutique restaurants and trendy bars submerged in skate parks, live music and tattoo artists, Canguu is our idea of heaven.
Best eats in Canggu:
1. Crate Café:
The hipster hangout – the breakfasts here are epic. From granola shakes, to avocado smoothies, poached eggs, fried bacon and pink fruit superfoods; surfers come together to hang out, smoke and pig out after a morning ride. (get up early and beat the surfing crowd as you may not be able to get a seat)
Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, Betelnut has incredibly colourful, mouthwatering food. We ate their most nights
Surfboards boards on the wall and a cosy yet minimalist feel, Canteen boasts the best lunch menu in the area
1. Old Mans:
With an ocean view, colourful decorations and stunning people, Old man’s will become your second home. From day to night, Old man’s is pumping with good music, great vibes and awesome people.
2. Pretty Poison bar and skate park:
Sat between two rural paddy fields, Pretty Poison is an awesome hipster hangout. With its backyard Californian deep bowl style pool (‘dog bowl’), it attracts skaters from all over the island and encourages visitors to dive in and shred in some rounds themselves. Even if you are not a border, kick back and watch some surf videos on the big screen, drink some amazing cocktails and eat some awesome western food. Weekly skate jams and taco Tuesday (ever Tuesday buy a taco and get a free 10-minute tattoo while drinking a Bintang) attract the most crowds, with live bands, DJs and pro skaters.
3. Deus Ex Machina:
Not only is Deus a great surf shop, restaurant and bar, every Sunday jam out to some live music in the courtyard and explore the vintage motorbikes and art galleries inside. Must do if you re in Canggu on a Sunday night.
BEST SURF SPOTS:
1. Old Mans
2. Batu Bolong Beach
Best hostel vibe I have ever experience is at the small yet famous “Lay Day Surf Hostel”. Its a must, but please book in advance, they can be fully booked weeks in advance.
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, then Ubud is the place to be. Monkey temples, Jaw-dropping rice paddies, fine dinging, spas and even a volcano, Ubud is a magical experience.
Top things to do in Ubud:
1. Monkey Forest
Housing approximately 340 monkeys, the Monkey forest is a stunning, yet terrifying experience. The forest itself comprises approximately 26 acres and contains at least 115 different species of trees, waterfalls, and an old bathing temple. This truly is a great day out that cannot be missed, however, the monkey can be quite scary and aggressive at times… so whatever you do, do not show your teeth.
2. Rice Paddies
Ubud is famous for its scenic expanses of rice fields, and god they are impressive. Jump on a bike and head up the best vantage point just north from main Ubud. The paddies are honestly sensational, we even went back twice.
3. Ubud Art Market.
From silk, handicrafts, handmade bags and colourful traditions, Ubud art market is a beautiful example of the Balinese traditions.
4. Climb Mount Batur
Best reached from Ubud, climb the stunning Volcano of Mount Batur. Book your tickets in Ubud town centre as you can always negotiate the price. Get picked up at 5 am and reach the top in time for sunrise. Although very touristy, the guilds are fantastic, the views are phenomenal and the Volcano is still violently active. An incredible experience…well worth it
The amazing “In Da Lodge” hostel, is one of our favourites in South East Asia. Very clean, great pool, cool bar and a great vibe.
Not only does Uluwatu boast one of the island’s most iconic temples, together with impeccable coastlines that serve as world-class surfing playgrounds, people from all over the island head down to the south coast to party the night way in the world-famous “Single-Fin” bar on Sunday nights. Uluwatu is a surfers paradise and radiates charm and energy.
Top things to do in Uluwatu:
1. Uluwatu temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) and local dancing shows.
If you are going to see any temples while you are in Bali, it should be this one. The temple sits on the south-western edge of a limestone cliff that is surrounded by a forest and cheeky monkeys. Every evening, the temple and the incredible sunset serves as a wonderful background to the Kecak dances performed by the locals that are held at the open-air theatre.
1. Single Fin
The famous single fin is an amazing spot to grab and drink and eat some awesome food, while watching the incredible sunset over the majestic cliff edge every single night of the week. However, on Sunday night, people from all over the island (including famed models, surfers and skaters) to party to live music and jam out until the early morning.
Best surf spots:
Sat directly under Uluwatu town and close to the famous Pura Luhur temple, sits perhaps the most legendary of Bali’s best surf spots. Knownits consistent good quality surf, a variety of breaks and conditions throughout the day, well into the evening, Uluwatu is famed for the impressive surfers that ride here.
A stunning stretch of white beach, Balangan attracts both local and international surfers all year round. Need experience for this one.
For professionals only. Known for its huge barrels and spectacular rock formations, this spot can only be reached by walk through a few caves system. Be careful when you go here, make sure you are with someone who has been before.
The stunning white sand and variety of big and small waves, make it perfect for both beginners and professionals. (Although, its previous conditions have made it known for its killer waves and attract the more experienced surfs.)
5. Green Bowl
Best known as a secret beach hideout, green bowls awesome waves and its unspoiled, deserted feel, makes the whole experience a little bit special.
6. Nyang Nyang
Not only does Nyang Nyang boast stunning sands, and natural beauty, the variety of peaks and unpredictable breaks make it both an interesting and challenging spot.
The only form of accommodation in this area are homestays; unless of course, you look to rent an Airbnb. Best if you check them out yourself before booking. But don’t worry, most of them are awesome.
Best suited for those on a holiday and not on a budget, Seminyak boasts expensive chain restaurants, classy bars, extravagant nightclubs and world-class restaurants. Although a trip to Seminyak is necessary, make sure it is only a trip and avoid spending to much time there.
Having said that, if money isn’t a problem, your in for a treat as the shopping, food an nightlife is unbeatable
Top things to do in Seminyak:
1. Shop til you drop
With everything from boutique and vintage goods, to world-renowned chains and classy malls, Seminyak is a shoppers paradise
2. Take a Cooking course
Seminyak is known for its amazing cooking classes. During a typical class, you’ll learn to cook several Balinese dishes and end the day with a feast with your cooking class.
Best Bars/ Clubs:
1. Potato head Beach Club.
This coastal village has become a world-class hotspot. With live music, submerged swimming pool bars, top- end restaurants and an incredible sunset, an all-day-drinking-session is an absolute must when you’re in Bali. (yes it is expensive but well worth it).
2. Koh Bali
Backpackers love this one. Inspired by the renowned underground clubbing scene of Berlin, rave the night way to house, techno house and deep house. Great vibe, great music
3. La Favela Bali
Feel like you are partying in a tropical rainforest, and party hard in La Favela. With retro and antique furniture dotted around the unorthodox rooms, plants that seem to grow everywhere, old bikes, scooters and even a worn out Volkswagen van really makes this a popular hotspot for backpackers.
If you are a backpacker on a budget, we advise you not to stay in Seminyak as it is very expensive.
The capital is not only charming, charismatic and party-centric, it is also overcrowded, noisy and very commercialised.
Nevertheless, Kuta boasts by far the best nightlife in Bali, attracting party-goers from all over the world. Despite the negative press, the beaches are golden, the locals are awesome and the shopping is unmatched.
Top things to do in Kuta:
1. Kuta beach
The golden sands and shortwave breaks make it an ideal spot to learn how to surf. The sunsets are magnificent over Kuta beach and the art markets are only moments away.
2. Rent a bike and explore the surrounding area.
Below tells you more about the best bars Kuta has to offer.
Best Bars/ Clubs:
2. Alley Cats
4. The Bounty Ship
6. Engine Room
7. Paddies Pub
Every time we visited the capital we would return to “Funky- Monkey”. Great facilities clean rooms and the vibe is always a chilled out.
Indonesian Visa Requirements
Depending on your passport there are 3 options to enter Indonesia that apply to most travellers that come for tourist or social purpose only:
1) No Visa required (the majority of countries – FREE entry, 30 days valid, NOT extendable)
2) Visa on Arrival (35US$, 30 days valid, extendable- once for 30 days)
3) Nationals who are not eligible for visa-free entry or visa on arrival need to apply for a visa at an Indonesian embassy or consulate.
Visitors to Indonesia must obtain a visa unless of course, they come from one of the visa exempt countries.
All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months as well as a valid return ticket. (The immigration officer at the port of entry may ask the passenger to produce any necessary documents – such as hotel reservation and proof of finance).
Persons holding passports issued by the following 169 jurisdictions can visit Indonesia without a visa for 30 days. (The visa-free facility does not apply to holders of emergency or temporary passports.)
The permitted activities include:
2. Family and social visits
3. Art and cultural activities
4. Official government duties
5. Giving speeches
6. Attending seminars or international exhibitions
7. Conducting meetings with head office or representative office in Indonesia, or transit through Indonesia.
Visitors utilizing the visa-free facility are not allowed to extend their stay, convert to other types of visas, or engage in activities not listed above (such as visits for business or journalism purposes).
Passport holders from all visa exempt countries can enter Indonesia through one of the 124 designated border crossings, including 29 airports, 88 seaports and 7 land border checkpoints
Here is a list of all the countries exempt from purchasing a visa:
All European Union citizens and British nationals
Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan
Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina , Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi
Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China Comoros Costa Rica Cuba
Dominica, Dominican Republic
Ecuador Egypt El Salvador
Gabon Gambia Georgia Ghana Grenada Guatemala Guyana
Haiti Honduras Hong Kong
Iceland India Ivory Coast
Jamaica Japan Jordan
Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Kuwait Kyrgyzstan
Laos Lebanon Lesotho Liechtenstein
Macau Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Mexico Moldova Monaco Mongolia Morocco Mozambique Myanmar
Namibia Nauru Nepal New Zealand Nicaragua Norway
Palau Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines
Samoa Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Singapore Solomon Islands South Africa South Korea Sri Lanka Suriname Swaziland Switzerland
Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor Leste Togo Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Tuvalu
Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United States Uruguay Uzbekistan
Vanuatu Vatican City Venezuela Vietnam
Nationals who are not eligible for visa free entry or visa on arrival need to apply for a visa at an Indonesian embassy or consulate.
Nationals from 10 following countries require an approval from the Immigration Office in Indonesia before travelling for Business, Tourist and Social Visits purposes (this policy is called Indonesian Calling Visa):
COUNTRIES NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE FREE VISA ON ARRIVAL
Niger Nigeria North Korea