Bali

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

About Bali

Bali is not your ordinary destination – it’s more than the beaches, the temples, the food and its people. Bali for me is a living museum! Bali may not have the character similar to UNESCO Cities such as Vigan, Melaka, George Town, Hoi An and Luang Prabang but none the less, Bali has the charm that can entice both the body and soul. And I think this is one of the several reasons why people come to visit Bali.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

How to Get to Bali from Manila

Both Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly non stop from Manila to Denpasar Airport, Bali.

Suggested Bali Itinerary for First Time Filipino Travelers

I have been to Bali twice and here is my 4D3N suggested Bali itinerary for first time travelers.

Day 1 – Beaches of South Bali
Since Bali’s Denpasar Airport is located in the southern part of the island, it is just but practical to start touring around South Bali first. If you are traveling solo as I always do, you may opt to hire a car or a motorbike to tour around. Southern Bali includes the areas of Denpasar, Jimbaran, Kuta, Legian, Semiyak, Uluwatu, Canggu, Sanur, Tanah Lot and Nusa Dua. However, I have only been to Kuta, Legian, Semiyak, Nusa Dua and Tanah Lot.

Kuta (beach) is Bali’s most touristy beach because it offers the best surfing site in the island. Expect to have lots of people, hotels, restaurants, bars and anything very touristy to extremely touristy in Kuta.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Legian (beach) is located north of Kuta and offers a less touristy environment. Expect prices of goods to be little cheaper than in Kuta.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Semiyak (beach) is located north of Legian and offers more exclusive atmosphere since some of the best hotels and resorts in Bali are in Semiyak area.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers03_174557

Actually, Kuta Beach, Legian Beach and Semiyak Beach are on the same stretch. It’s like in Boracay where we have Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3. The main difference is that Kuta, Legian and Semiyak’s beach is far more longer than Boracay. However, Boracay’s sand and water are far more superior.

Day 2 – High End Beaches of South Bali
For a Pinoy traveler like me who lives literary in a paradise blessed with some of the world’s best beaches and coves, Day 1 itinerary might be a little disappointing. I have been to El Nido, Boracay, Cebu, Camiguin and Caramoan and I don’t even consider those places as ‘very beautiful beaches.’ But if you try to compare, it appears that the ones we have in the Philippines are better and more beautiful beaches. However, the beaches of Bali has its character and a charm worthy to be visited.

For Day 2, I explored the more high-end beaches in Bali – Jimbaran, Dreamland and Nusa Dua before I ended the day in Uluwatu Temple.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Jimbaran (beach) is one of the best beaches in Bali that offers some of the island’s most luxurious hotels and resorts. Jimbaran is located few minutes from Denpasar. Most tourists would go here for sunset dinner.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Dreamland is located in Pecatu Tourist Complex. What is unique with Dreamland beach among all other beaches in Bali are the cliffs around the area. Apart from its fine white sand, Dreamland beach is also a famous surfing site.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Nusa Dua is undeniably the best area in Bali for a fine holiday getaway. Nusa Dua has the best sandy beaches in Bali. Nusa Dusa is the center of what fine Bali luxury is.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Uluwatu Temple is Bali’s most must see temple during sunset. The sunset in Uluwatu Temple is one of the best sunsets I have ever seen in my life.

Indonesia | Bali Temples from Sunrise to Sunset

Day 3 – Cultural Town of Ubud
Ubud is the heart of cultural Bali that is away from the noise and craziness of Kuta. Interestingly, Central Ubud can be explored by foot without the need of any map, motorbike or a tour guide. A simple walk along Ubud’s streets would make one appreciate the culture of the locals. However, should one intends to see beyond Central Ubud, renting a car or motorbike helps.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Day 4 – Bali’s Most Famous Temples
No visit to Bali is complete without visiting Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and Tana Lot.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple also known as Bedugul Lake Temple is a Hindu Temple built in Beratan Lake with four mountains serving as its backdrop. In papyrus chronicle of the Mengwi, this temple is referred to as the name of Parhyangan ri pinggiring danu Beratan (sanctum located in lakeside of Beratan Lake ). Ulun is from Hulu word meaning ‘head’ or ‘power’ and in this case, it is intended to Ulun Danu Beratan – the power of Beratan Lake – the Danu Goddess. I visited Ulun Danu Temple early in the morning before tourists would rush-in.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Tanah Lot (literally “land in the sea”) is a large offshore rock where a temple has been built on top of it. Originally built in the 15th century, Tanah Lot remains to be one of the holiest Hindu temples in Bali. The present rock has been restored in 1980 and about 1/3 of the original rock has been replaced with artificial one. There is a cave of ‘holy snakes’ beside it. I visited Tanah Lot in the middle of the day and at this time, the temple complex is full of tourists.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Transportation in Bali
I still believe that the best way to go around Bali is to rent a car or motorbike. Cost of vehicle rental is relatively inexpensive and the road conditions are relatively good. Should one gets lost, the lovely locals will always find their way to extend help.

What to Eat in Bali
If there is one thing unique and must taste in Bali, it must be Babi Guling. To Pinoys, Babi Guling is ‘lechon baboy’ or roasted pig. Pork as a delicacy in Indonesia is rare. Note that Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country. However, the island of Bali is predominantly Hindu with more than 90% of its population.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Photo from commons.wikimedia.org. I can not locate my own file ;(

Where to Sleep in Bali

Since Bali is a major tourist destination, expect a lot of accommodation that offers great deals all year round. Interestingly, despite the fact that Bali is a touristy island, prices of accommodation and food is relatively cheap. As a matter of fact, rates of hotels in Bali are even cheaper compared to those in Boracay, Cebu or Palawan and yet one gets a better service and facility.

In Kuta Beach, Ibis Bali Kuta offers rooms for as low as 25USD per night. That’s roughly 1,100.00 per room per night. Ibis Bali Kuta is located 10 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Another great option in Kuta is Kuta Beach Heritage Hotel. This 5 star hotel is Kuta’s first hotel built in 1930s. Rooms start at 88USD per night or 3,800.00 per night.

In Denpasar City, All Seasons Bali Hotel offers room for as low as 27USD/night which is roughly 1,200.00 per room per night.

In Legian Beach, All Seasons Bali Legian offers rooms for as low as 38USD/night. That’s roughly 1,700.00 per room per night.

In Nusa Dua, Mercure Bali Nusa Dua is a great choice for only 43USD/night. That’s roughly 1,900.00 for a 4 star hotel!

Interestingly, Accor Group of Hotels is having an Accor Destination Campaign in Asia and the Pacific. Hence, the best guaranteed hotel rates can also be availed if one is visiting Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea or even just chilling around Manila. What is amazing with the Accor Destination Campaign is the fact that one gets the best guaranteed room rates through Accor’s online booking system. Accor has designed their online promotions in such a way that the best rates are guaranteed online. Of course, staying in any Accor Hotel – Sofitel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, The Sebel, Novotel, Ibis, Ibis Styles, Ibis Budget or Orbis Hotels will spell the difference between a ‘great vacation’ from a ‘just a vacation!’

How Much It Cost for a 4D3N Bali Trip

Consider this: promo fare from Cebu Pacific costs roughly 6,500.00 for a return ticket; hotel accommodation in Ibis Bali Kuta costs roughly 1,100.00 per room per night booked through Accor Destination Campaign; food costs roughly 200.00 per meal and daily motorbike rental with gasoline costs roughly 500.00 per day. Now, do the Math.

Bali Travel Guide for First Time Travelers

Things to Remember when in Bali

1. Bali is predominantly Hindu hence, expect fine Hindu temples in classical Bali architecture.
2. Despite being predominantly Hindu, Bali has several nude beaches.
3. Be careful when exchanging money with local Foreign Currency Exchange Shops. Count your money 100x slowly and carefully before leaving the counter. I got almost scammed here.
4. Prices of goods (and services) are normally jacked up. Ask for discount 50% of whatever amount they offer. If a shirt costs 10usd, ask it for 5USD or less. They will give it.
5. Avoid illegal drugs. You will surely end in jail
6. Bali is never tiring. Don’t rush the experience.

Map of Bali

map_of_bali

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53 replies »

  1. very informative…thank you for sharing your blog…I have been to Bali too for 8 days last October 2014 and it’s such a shame that I wasn’t able to enjoy much of Bali because I was so lazy bumming on kuta beach and night market (lol) but I am planning to go back again this February 2015 to Bali and make sure I visit the places you visited there. Thank you again and I can’t wait to read more of your blogs!

    Ms. M

  2. Hi.. Informative blog. Which is better to rent a motorbike or a car? Do they accept peso for money exchange? Or better bring us$.? Tnx..

    • hi mae. car or motor bike depends kung ilan kau. if solo ka, motor bike is ok pero if medyo maselan ka, then take a car. either of the two, you have the option to selve drive or hire a driver. yup they accept peso pero sobrang devaluated. take usd instead. enjoy bali 😉

  3. Hi there,

    Thanks for the tips. Very informative.

    Just wanted to ask if I Should Utilize a travel agency or just book a flight and make my own itinerary.

    Best, More Power.

  4. Bali is just a beautiful island ! The Balinese are very friendly and cheerful, always ready to help you. Many agencies offer their services to find you an accommodation or offer you various activities. The agency I love Bali is specialized in renting villas and offers many activities such as snorkelling, diving, walks back elephants …

  5. Hi, I would just like to ask where you exchanged your money? Is it better to have it changed before going to Bali? And if yes, should we bring US dollars or Rupiah?

    Thank you for your help! 🙂

  6. Thank You for Promotion about Bali
    and for your information Bali also have another side,North Bali,Singaraja Bali

    5 Reason Visit North Bali

    1.The Only one beach that has a Dolphin Tout Activity in the wild with beautiful Sunrise,in your luck you will find more then 500 dolphin
    2.The only one area that has more than 9 Niagara
    3.The only one district that has two large lakes, Lake Tamblingan and Buyan lake with spectacular views,Best Place for trekking in Jungle and best adventure cross Tamblingan lake with traditional Canoe
    4.The Only one area has have number one Snorkeling and Diving site, Menjangan Island,you find thousand of fish, will see 7 temple and only Deer population in this Island
    5.The only one area with entrance Ticket Object CHEAPEST and Low Traffic

  7. Very helpful! Thank you for sharing this. Will go there for 4D/3N only so I want to make the most out of our time. More power to you sir! ☺️

  8. Hello! Thank you so much for your blog, this is so informative and helpful! I was wondering if there’s a good place you know of to see orangutans? I don’t want to support any mistreatment, so if you know of any legit and friendly places with well treated captive orangutans (that I could preferably cuddle with!) I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you again for your time!

  9. First time ko po mag bakasyon sa ibang bansa, I already have my return tickets. Ayaw ko lang po madeny/offload so ang mga documents ko ay passport, UMID ID, Voter’s ID, company ID. I even asked for a COE and Income Tax Return copies. My Filipina friend in Indonesia (working as a teacher since July 2015) sent me an invitation letter thru email. I will book a cheap hostel this week. How much po minimun/maximum na puede kong dalhin na cash? Are my documents enough na po ba? Or may namimiss pa akong procedure? Any tips please. Thank you very much.

  10. Sir, thank you sa mga tips regarding the Bali Trip because of you m planning a trip this coming oct sabi mo parang bora lang so no need to transfer the hoter kung mag check in ako sa Kuta beach tapos pupuntahan ko lahat yung place na pinuntahan mo sir by that time may power p ba ako makabalik sa hotel hahaha 🙂 thank’s

    • your philippine lto driver’s license is valid. you can use it for 1 month. should you stay for more than a month and you drive, you need to get an international driver’s license. apply at the nearest aap (automotive association of the philippines) office in your place. fee is 3,000.valid for 1 yr.

      • Does this apply to other countries as well like Thailand? Thanks for this. Been searching for an answer quite some time now.

      • Is there a website where we can confirm that we can drive in Bali with a philippine driver’s license? Last time we checked too that Indonesia is not part of aap’s list of countries where your international driver’s license is valid

  11. Sir we are going to bali this november, tanong ko lang sir, kailangan pa ba namin magtransfer ng hotel to another para makatipid at maging comfortable sa amin or just rent or hire a car? Thanks po

  12. i been to Bali last December 1 – 5, 2015…im quite adventurous, i traveled alone and stayed in Sindu Guest House, very cheap accommodation but cute, nice, clean and guest house care taker were very friendly. it was very exciting but it will be more if i could have some friends or company to share the excitement…i been to Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, BMW River rafting, etc etc. u can actually view my pics on my FB page..name May Emperador
    Enjoy!

  13. Hello po. Questions po:

    Kung mag rent po ng motorbike, may driver ba yon or need marunong mag drive? Need ba ng international licence?

    • 1. you can drive on your own. cheaper.
      2. you can hire a driver. expensive.
      3. no need. phil lto driver’s license is valid here for 30 days upon arrival.
      😉

  14. Hi, patulong naman. Punta ako ng Bali sa Otcober via Malaysian Airlines , may 3hours na lay over . Pag nasa KL airport na ba e kailangan ko pang sumakay sa train patungo sa bagong plane na sasakyan ko to Bali? Malaysian Airlines pa din nmn ang sakyan ko from KL to Denpasar na. Help pls!! Thank you.

  15. Love the food and the spot! So delighted to meet the local people there and very fascinated by the taste of Indonesia. I checked in at a restaurant of Rama garden called “pisang Pisang”. I must say one must go and have a try out. Iam very surprised by the service. Also during my stay in Nusa Lembongan I really enjoyed the surf lessons from Monkey Surfing. They were really helpful to guide us organize our holidays and transport to Lembongan. Its so amazing and cool. Thanks Indonesia for making my days unforgettable.

    • Love the food and the spot! So delighted to meet the local people there and very fascinated by the taste of Indonesia. I checked in at a restaurant of Rama garden called “pisang Pisang”. I must say one must go and have a try out. Iam very surprised by the service. Also during my stay in Nusa Lembongan I really enjoyed the surf lessons from Monkey Surfing. They were really helpful to guide us organize our holidays and transport to Lembongan. Its so amazing and cool. Thanks Indonesia for making my days unforgettable. http://www.monkeyactivities.com/

  16. There are no words to say it is a great post. After reading your article we booked a package tour via http://7.holiday/ and had really great time in Bali. I would like to thank you for sharing this post as it has really helped.

  17. Hi sir, for car rental ano normally requirements nila? Also how much does it cost for a compact car? Left hand drive din po ba dun?

  18. Hi, This is so informative. Finally, I was looking for a pinoy traveler who do blog about Bali. I’ll be travelling some time in March for like a couple of days and this helps a lot.

  19. Sir mag ask po nag plan po kami ng bf ko na mag vacation sa bali.Im a filipina and its my first time travel..do I need to apply a visa..ano po bang mga possible requirements para maka vacation..

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