Bali is Indonesia’s main tourist destination having seen a significant rise in tourists since the 1980s. It has been popular with surfers, photographers and temple-goers who flock to its shores each year. Bali has a lot of western influence from international & diverse restaurants. Here is my ultimate Bali travel guide with tips to plan your trip to Bali!
GETTING TO BALI
VISA REQUIREMENT: I have heard it is increasingly tough for Nigerian passport holders to visit Indonesia as processing is done in Jakarta and Nigerian travellers are subjected to extra scrutiny (because of incidents of drug trafficking). So Nigerians should expect longer wait times.
As a British citizen, I didn’t have any issues flying to Bali. I didn’t need a visa to enter Indonesia for visits of up to 30 days.
FLIGHT TIME: There are no direct flight from Nigeria to Bali or even from major cities like London or New York. Expect one or two stops. I flew with Lufthansa & Singapore Airlines. Lagos to Frankfurt, then to Singapore. And then from Singapore to Bali. Flight time on my route was 22 hours (excluding layover time). Note that there are quicker ways to get to Bali from Lagos but I decided on Lufthansa for the star alliance air miles.
WATCH the first leg of my flight in Business class from Lagos here
WHAT TO EXPECT IN BALI
Bali is affordable and it can also be luxurious which allows all travelers of all types to find what exactly they are looking for. Ubud is known for its rich Balinese cuisines, its incredible jungles and formidable rice fields. For beaches, head to Seminyak or Uluwatu. To surfers, head to Kuta.
LANGUAGE: The official language is Indonesian. English is used extensively so you won’t find it an issue communicating as a tourist.
CURRENCY: Bali’s local currency is the Indonesian rupiah. USD is not allowed as a spending currency. Wait till you get to Bali (at the airport/in town) to change your money for best rates.
CLIMATE: Bali weather is warm all year round —but keep note of the rainy season, January to April and October to November.
GETTING AROUND IN BALI
Bali is quite a large island with much to see. Traffic in Bali isn’t as bad as Lagos traffic but with its small roads, it can get very congested so always over estimate the time it will take you (especially to get to the airport!).
SCOOTER: Even though I didn’t use one during my trip, this was the most recommended and popular mode of transportation in Bali. I asked around for pricing and it was certainly the cheapest mode of transportation in Bali. You don’t have to hire a scooter if you are uncomfortable driving yourself but can book it like an uber type service using G0-JEK app.
TAXI: Taxis are expensive but you can also book a taxi via the GO-JEK app. Note that in many areas in Bali, GO-JEK drivers are banned especially in areas like central Ubud so you would have to use the expensive local taxis. If you use a local taxi, ensure to agree on pricing before you get into the car. Feel comfortable to negotiate what works for you.
PRIVATE CAR: There are many private drivers in Bali and I opted for this when I was in Bali. It made sense financially as I had a lot of sightseeing to do. The great thing about hiring a private driver is that they doubled as a tour guide (and photographer in my case). To locate a great driver, ask friends that have been to Bali before (happy to share mine if you send me an email) or ask your hotel. The great thing is I was able to communicate with my driver via whatsapp.
WHERE TO STAY IN BALI
Many visitors to Bali tend to stay at multiple locations because of how big the island of Bali is. Different areas have different things to offer. I will share details of the 3 hotels I stayed in – in Bali
RENT A AIRBNB: I didn’t use Airbnb in Bali but I feel its important to share this option. Airbnb operates in Bali so you can take advantage of the low prices of Bali and rent a private villa for yourself. A number of the villas are furnished with private pools, beautiful ocean or jungle views.
THE STONES HOTEL – Legian Bali, Autograph Collection – KUTA: One of the most luxurious hotels in Kuta. The Kuta area is popular with surfers but has lost its charm to its neighbour Seminyak. Nevertheless if you decide to stay in Kuta, you will not regret a stay at this hotel.
FOUR SEASONS RESORT AT SAYAN: Travel & Leisure crowned this hotel the best hotel in the world and I could see why. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway/hideaway, look no further than this resort. The resort only has 60 suites/villas. The resort has many activities from river rafting on the stunning ayung river (which cuts through the grounds of the hotel) to unique tours never been explored named “Can you keep a secret”. The resort is a 10 minute from the markets and restaurants of Ubud.
FOUR SEASONS RESORT AT JIMBARAN BAY: This luxury resort is very different from its sister hotel in Sayan as its set on the beach. All villas have an infinity pool and the hotel even has its own pool waterfall . The Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay offers stunning premier villas featuring authentic Balinese decor. This is a perfect destination for relaxation.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Bali. Leave a comment if you found the guide useful OR have any questions.
Stay tuned for detailed hotel reviews of all hotels I stayed in AND recommended activities to do, in Bali