If this is your first time in Bali, get ready for a massive culture shock, especially if you’re coming from Australia.
It might be our nearest neighbour, but it is worlds apart in terms of culture, food, roads, traffic, shopping and everything else you can imagine. It is a mind-blowing, wonderful holiday destination, which is why people keep coming back, and many end up retiring here.
It’s a place you can never tire of as it’s so visually exciting, friendly and definitely never boring. To help you get acquainted with Bali, this is a handy guide for all those first-timers.
1. Where to stay in Bali – what’s right for you
Whatever you do, do not underestimate the size of Bali. It’s a very big island, and many people are thrown by this.
Each tourist area has its unique personality, style and ambience. Most tourists stay in the trendy Seminyak, Umalas, Oberoi or Legian areas, while others looking for a more chilled-out time will head off to Ubud, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua or Canggu.
Bali has so many tourist pockets that you need to know what’s right for you and what suits your holiday lifestyle. Following is a breakdown of Bali’s different tourist areas and their fabulous individual characteristics – make sure you choose the location that suits you best.
People are now calling Canggu the new Seminyak as the hip/trendy crowd has migrated to the next area, which is only 20 min north (by scooter), in search of a more peaceful Balinese environment. Canggu is known for its great surfing beaches, wonderful beach clubs (La Brisa, Cafe Del Mar, Finns and Atlas Beach Fest), hip cafes, family-friendly holiday villas, and gorgeous rice field views that you get from the villas. The main form of holiday accommodation is villas, as there is a lack of large well-known hotels in this area (but this will soon change as developers move into the area). There are, however, a lot of homestays catering for the budget backpacker market. Canggu’s main shopping and restaurant strip is called Jalan Batu Bolong, and many of the most popular Canggu villas are near this tourist hot spot.
Best Villas in Canggu to stay for you next Bali Holiday
Villa Noya – 4 bedrooms
- Near Finns Beach Club and Atlas Beach Fest
- Pay in $AUD in Australia.
- Sun-splashed swimming pool
- Close to Frestive supermarket
- Villa manager & housekeeping
- 4 modern bedrooms with private en-suite bathrooms
- Top wifi
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Near cafes, ATMs, convenience stores, supermarkets, bakeries, delis, pharmacies, day spas and car/scooter hire
View: Villa Noya in Canggu
Villa Bondi – 2 bedrooms
- Private pool villa with a peaceful location on the fringes of popular Canggu
- Boho-chic interiors you’ll love
- Big L-shaped pool
- Luxurious daybeds in the garden
- Rustic tropical chic interiors
- Kitchen with island bar to sip your cocktails
- Pool access from the bedrooms
- Mezzanine in master room with optional 3rd bedroom
- Freestanding bathtub in the room
- Near cafes, beaches, delis, ATMs, convenience stores, pharmacies, day spas and more
View: Villa Bondi in Canggu
Villa Bon Bon – 4 bedrooms
- Superbly located just 200 metres from Berawa Beach
- Open-plan tropical feel that’s light and very spacious
- Outdoor BBQ facilities
- Pay in $AUD in Australia
- Finns Club is just a few minute’s drive away
- Near ATMs, convenience stores, supermarkets, bottle shops, delis, patisseries, bakeries, health food shops, yoga studios, gyms, taxis and pharmacy
- Seminyak is a 15 min taxi ride away – all the best restaurants, bars, amazing cafes & shops are close by.
- A perfect holiday destination for families
- Free driver & car every day for 8 hours
- Great value for your holiday
- Top wifi and cable tv
- FREE airport pick up
View: Villa Bon Bon
Villa Mawey – 4 bedrooms
- Luxury appointments
- Fully air-conditioned
- Open-plan living spaces – perfect for entertaining
- Daily butler service
- Smart TVs in each room
- Pay in $AUD in Australia
- Stunning swimming pool area with lots of space for relaxation
- Rice field views from the bedrooms
- Gorgeous private and luxurious en-suite bathrooms
- Near Berawa, Echo and Batu Bolong beaches
- Near cafes, bars, pharmacies, car/scooter hire, supermarkets, beach clubs, money changers, gyms, beaches, yoga studios and more.
View: Villa Mawey
The very trendy area is part of Canggu but has its own very distinct character and charm. Here you’re going to find loads of new restaurants and cafes where most ex-pats and tourists who have been to Bali before like to come and hang. It’s right between Seminyak & Canggu so as you can imagine draws a very diverse crowd. The main thoroughfare is Jalan Pantai Berawa, where all shops, cafes and restaurants are. It winds its way down to the beach. along the route, it’s a foodies heaven. At the end of the main road is the famous Finns Club, which is super popular and a must-visit. They also have a VIP area perfect for relaxing on a day bed right by the beach and enjoying the 5-star facilities and service. There is also a new shopping centre here called the Tamora Gallery and it’s worth a visit if you’re coming with kids as it has a playground area. It’s loaded with shops, cafes, day spas, bottle shops, coworking centres and a yoga studio. If you’d like to view some of our Berawa villas to rent then please browse this website.
Best Villas in Berawa to stay for you next Bali holiday
Villa Ipanema – 5 bedrooms
- Gorgeous designers villa by Dutch designer Piet Boon
- Open living room from where you can access the pool
- Fabulous 17-meter lap pool
- Decadent sunken bathtubs in the bedrooms
- Sunset terrace overlooking rice fields
- Walking distance to Cafe Del Mar
- 100 metres to Batu Belig Beach
- Short drive to Seminyak
Villa Avalon – 4 bedrooms
- Tropical villa complex by Balinese architect Popo Danes
- Located just a stone’s throw from Batu Belig Beach
- Garden BBQ & al fresco dining
- Entertainment hub with AC, billiard and a big TV
- Spacious garden with a 15-metre private swimming pool
- Authentic Javanese Joglo houses made out of teak wood
- Butler services
- Ideal for large families and special events
Villa Waha – 4 bedrooms
- Minimalistic luxury villa surrounded by rice fields
- Ideal for families (it even has a bedroom with bunk beds!)
- Media lounge for entertainment
- Personal chef at your service
- Opulent master suite with a bathtub overlooking the rice paddies
- Just a 5-minute drive to Berawa Beach
Villa Puro Blanco – 5 bedrooms
- A stunning tropical chic design
- Elegant all-white interiors
- Just 100 metres from the beach
- Fabulous rice field views
- 200 metres to Vue Beach Club & Cafe Del Mar
- 800 metres to Finn’s Recreation Club
- Upstairs lounge area in addition to the open-concept living room downstairs
- Luxurious in-room tubs and rain showers
Known for its shopping, local Balinese vendors selling souvenirs, large hotels, shopping malls and swarms of tourists who flock here, especially from Australia and the UK. It also is home to some serious all-night clubs catering for the backpacker and twenty-something market. This is where tourism began in Bali, and it’s loud, noisy and packed. Watch out for the traffic jams here, as they can be horrific. Kuta is definitely for those who don’t mind being around many other tourists. One positive aspect of Kuta is that it is a beachside destination, so most hotels are on the beach, which is really handy. Over the last couple of years, the area has been cleaned up, and there are now some decent hotels here along the main Jalan Pantai Kuta.
This is where you will find a lot of holiday villas as well as all the top restaurants, really amazing cafes, day spas, clubs, high-end shopping as well as the day clubs, surf shops (there are thousands of these throughout Bali) and all the uber-cool/hip people. This is a non-stop 24/7 area of Bali, so expect there to be lots of action, crowds, traffic and people watching. Most of the accommodation in Seminyak is catered to the villa market, which is all close to the famous Jalan Kayu Aya, also known as Eat Street. Most people will gravitate here at night as there are loads of restaurants here and some well-known bars and clubs. It’s really the hub of tourism in Bali.
For some fun, head to Motel Mexicola, La Favela, The Champagne Bar and for a treat, the two hottest beach clubs are Ku De Ta and Potato Head. Definitely go there for sunset drinks, a few cocktails and a meal. Seminyak also has an overload of amazing day spas such as The Blow Bar, The Shampoo Lounge, Rob Peetoom and Sundari Day Spa that all cater for guys and gals wanting some pampering on their vacay. Also read: Best Day Spas in Seminyak
Best Villas in Seminyak to stay for you next Bali Holiday
Villa Banyu – 4 bedrooms
- Stunning villa with a unique water-inspired design
- Water garden with ponds & fountains
- Fabulous private swimming pool
- Entertainment area with a pool table & TV
- Direct pool access from the open living room
- Just a stone’s throw from Eat Street (Oberoi Road)
- Walking distance to the beach, KU DE TA, Mano Beach House & La Lucciola
Villa Nilaya – 5 bedrooms
- Breakfast included
- Being part of the Residence Villa complex, you are right in the very heart of all the action in Seminyak.
- 5-10 minutes from Ku De Ta, Potato Head Beach Club, Sisterfields, Seminyak Village & Eat Street
- Large garden area with fabulous pool and outdoor BBQ for those lovely tropical Balinese evening dinners
- Personal chef, butler, housekeeping & security
- Large satellite TV with great wifi
- Pay in $AUD in Australia
- Near ATMs, convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries, bottle shops, delis, car/scooter hire, health food shops, yoga studios, patisseries and taxis
- FREE airport pick up
Villa Miro – 3 bedrooms
- Located in the chicest part of Seminyak (near Eat Street)
- Walking distance to the beach
- Alfresco dining possibilities
- BBQ in the garden
- Big private pool with a shallow area for the kids
- Outdoor jacuzzi
- Air-conditioned TV lounge
Villa Siam at The Residence – 3 bedrooms
- Safely tucked inside The Residence
- Few hundred meters from Eat Street
- Walking distance to Seminyak Beach and KU DE TA
- Jacuzzi in the master suite
- Rooftop terrace with a relaxation bale
- AC in the living room
- Butler services
- Free breakfast prepared every morning at the villa
Villa Arte – 3 bedrooms
- The stylish villa is hidden away in the buzzing city centre of Seminyak
- Large and lofty open-plan living room
- Cozy TV nook
- Big garden with a lengthy private swimming pool
- BBQ available for a garden feast with friends and family
- Walking distance to Double Six Beach
- CCTV, wifi and cable channels
- AC in all 4 bedrooms
- An impressive traditional art collection
Villa Pintu Biru – 5 bedrooms
- Private butler
- Central Seminyak location
- Fabulous garden with a pool, daybeds and swings
- Extremely family-friendly
- AC in the living room
- 1 km to KU DE TA, 600 metres to Naughty Nuri’s Warung & Oberoi Street
- Near ATMs, convenience stores, cafes, supermarkets, pharmacies, car/scooter hire, delis, bakeries, patisseries, yoga studios & more
- Top wifi and cable tv
- Pay in $AUD in Australia
- Amazing location within walking distance from Petitenget and Oberoi
Right next door to Seminyak, but you really wouldn’t know it. A favoured area among ex-pats, Umalas is so much quieter & chilled out, which is why it’s so popular. There are loads of new restaurants and cafes sprouting up everywhere you look, and so are the new villa developments that want to capture this new eclectic vibe. It’s a mix between Balinese rustic village life and European chic. Most people often overlook Umalas as a place to visit or stay as it’s a pathway between Seminyak and the popular Berawa area. But, make no mistake; Umalas is about to boom. Some great cafes are worth visiting here; the most popular is the well-known Nook. Others include Warung Dua, Bucu ( this has a great vibe with tasty Indonesian food), 7 AM Bakers Club and La Casetta.
Best Villas in Umalas to stay for you next Bali holiday
Villa Songket – 3 bedrooms
- Balinese villa with modern luxuries
- AC in the living room
- A sprawling tropical garden with a swimming pool
- Stylish interiors and exquisite artwork
- Cable TV & DVD player and every room
- Bluetooth speaker
- Tropical outdoor showers
- Baby facilities available
Villa Galante – 6 bedrooms
- A huge tropical garden (2500sqm) overlooking the rice fields
- Quiet location close to Canggu & Seminyak
- Traditional architecture
- Amazing collection of antiques and traditional art
- Yoga studio with AC
- A stunning 18-metre infinity swimming pool
- Indoor and outdoor dining options
- Excellent in-house chef
- Great villa for large groups and special events or retreats
Villa Kayu – 4 bedrooms
- Traditional luxury villa with a quiet location
- Just minutes to get to Seminyak
- An impressive 18-metre infinity pool
- Javanese Joglo houses decorated with art and antiques
- Entertainment pavilion with a billiard table
- Spa-style river-rock bathtub in the en-suites
- Enjoy the services of a private chef and butler
- Part of Blue Karma Villas
Villa Santai – 4 bedrooms
- Tropical villa
- Peaceful location near Seminyak and Canggu
- Short drive to the beach
- Lagoon-like private swimming pool with a waterslide
- Media room
- A generous lawn where kids can run around and play
This is cultural and, some would say, the spiritual heart of Bali, and it’s set in the middle of the island, about two hours drive from Seminyak. Arts, crafts, incredible rice field views, vegan cafes, cooking schools and yoga studios are all in Ubud – where you come for real peace and quiet and to absorb yourself in the rustic Balinese countryside. It is actually lovely here and well worth visiting, even for a day. The best thing to do is to rent a car with a driver and go for a day trip to Ubud. There are so many things to do here, but for starters, go to the famous Monkey Forest Temple, take a photo at the popular Tegalalang Rice Fields, spend a couple of hours on the Campuhan Ridge Walk, and, of course, visit the Ubud markets where you can, buy souvenirs, artwork and a couple of sarongs.
Best Villas in Ubud to stay for you next Bali Holiday
Villa Alamanda – 4 bedrooms
- 4-bedroom villa surrounded by nature
- Beautiful garden with a private infinity pool
- TV room with AC
- Alfresco dining possibility
- Gorgeous river and valley views
- 5 km to the centre of Ubud
- Traditional architecture and tropical thatched rooftops
- Butler services
Villa San – 6 bedrooms
- Traditional luxury villa located in the heart of Ubud
- A big private garden with a 25-metre swimming pool
- Outdoor yoga area
- Artist studio for painting and more
- Private gym
- Entertainment room with AC
- Kids playing room with lots of toys
- Personal chef
- 300 metre to Ubud Palace
Villa Kamaniiya – 5 bedrooms
- Beautiful river villa with fantastic valley views
- Short drive to the centre of Ubud
- A stunning 15-metre infinity-edge swimming pool
- Private spa
- Reading room/family room
- Indoor and alfresco dining
- Wine cellar and high-tech kitchen
- Treetop house
- Jacuzzi in the master bedroom
- Billiard table
Villa Vastu – 4 bedrooms
- Tranquil holiday haven surrounded by rice paddies \
- A massive private garden with an infinity pool
- Office space on-site
- Entertainment room with AC
- Spa room
- An impressive collection of original paintings and artifacts
- Free shuttle to the centre of Ubud
- Ideal venue for yoga retreats and special events
Villa Omah Padi – 5 bedrooms
- A stunning design by Balinese architect Ketut Arthana
- An amazing family holiday retreat near to the centre of Ubud
- Free-form swimming pool with shallow area for the kids
- Breathtaking rice field views
- Private chef
- BBQ available
- Luxurious rain showers and tubs
- 15 minutes to the heart of Ubud
Surf, surf and more surf – plus some incredible cliff-top villas. Uluwatu is also known as ‘Ulus’ and is on the island’s southern tip. You feel like you are in another world here as the cliff faces and fabulous coastal views make Uluwatu drop-dead gorgeous. It almost has a bit of a laid-back ‘hippy’ vibe with some world-class resorts, great cafes starting to pop up and stunning villas. If you planning to stay in Uluwatu, be prepared to see some spectacular beaches and sunsets as this area is famous for both. The area is also popular as a wedding destination, so be prepared to see lots of bribes walking around having their photos taken on the cliff tops. Some things to do in Uluwatu include: obviously surfing, visiting the Uluwatu Temple, enjoying some clifftop yoga sessions, getting a group of your closest friends together, and renting a fabulous Uluwatu clifftop holiday villa. This is now extremely fashionable and the ‘in thing’ to do as the villas are fabulous.
Best Villas in Uluwatu to Stay for you next Bali Holiday
Villa Dewi Lanjar – 4 bedrooms
- Amazing clifftop location
- Breathtaking ocean views
- Infinity swimming pool overlooking the ocean
- Close to some of the most beautiful beaches in Bali
- 200 metres to Pandawa Beach
- Media room with AC
- Part of Karang Saujana luxury villas
- Enjoy butler services
Villa Ambar – 5 bedrooms
- Part of The Ungasan Clifftop Resort in Uluwatu
- Complimentary VIP access to Sunday’s Beach Club
- Clifftop garden with a sea-facing infinity swimming pool
- Butler services, a private chef, a chauffeur and a nanny included in the rate
- Free access to minigolf, tennis and gym
- An amazing venue for weddings and other events
- TV room with AC
- Open living room with oversized sofas and exquisite artwork
Villa Lidwina – 3 bedrooms
- Affordable private pool villa in Uluwatu
- A short drive from many stunning white sand beaches
- 2,7 km to Omnia Day Club
- 10-metre swimming pool with Balinese fountain statues
- Alfresco dining bale
- 3 bedrooms with AC
- Great surf villa
Villa Markisa – 3 bedrooms
- Beautiful tropical 3-bedroom villa at Akilea Estate
- A gorgeous garden with fruit trees and a lagoon-like swimming pool
- Short drive to Dreamland Beach, Balangan and Padang Padang
- Butler services
- The pool had a wading area for children
- Airy open-sided living room
- Fabulous garden bathrooms with tubs and rainfall showers
- A great choice for families
this is a quieter beach area where you can escape the craziness of Seminyak and Kuta and find a quieter holiday environment. Jimbaran is famous for its seafood restaurants on the beach, where scores of tourists all flock at night for seafood meals and the fabulous sunset. Jimbaran is the gateway to the Bukit area of the island, making it the perfect place to stay if you want to rent a villa here and go for day trips to places like Uluwatu, Sanur and Seminyak. Think of it as being in the centre of lots of popular areas. Jimbaran is growing in popularity, and there is now a huge new Samasta Lifestyle Village which has added shops, cafes, bars, day spas and children’s entertainment to the area.
If you are coming to Bali for the first time, we recommend starting in the southern part of the island and then exploring there.
2. Tips for holiday accommodation for first-timers in Bali
Honestly, this is a villa rental website, so we are going to give villa-style accommodation a bit of a plug here, and the reason is that they are:
- very affordable and make a great alternative to hotels – check this recent article about a fantastic family holiday in Canggu
- Bali villas have staff and can look after your needs – it’s like having your own private chef & butler service
- it actually works out a lot cheaper than a hotel, especially if you are coming to Bali as a group of friends or family where you can split the costs
- you get heaps of personal privacy, and all the villas we have on our website have a pool, so you do not have to share it with anyone else
- most of the villas we manage on this website are very close to Seminyak & Canggu, which means you get to sample the finest restaurants, shops, beaches and bars in and around the Seminyak, Petitenget, Batu Belig, Berawa and Canggu areas.
3. Things to do in Bali for all those newbies.
This topic could literally go on forever, as the list is limitless. There is so much to see and do in Bali that most people will not even scratch the surface in terms of sightseeing. It really is best to limit it to a few things, as you also want some downtime where you can chill out and do nothing in your private pool.
Lots of retail therapy
One thing about Bali is it’s a shopper’s heaven. Start in Kuta and make your way down Jalan Legian to Seminyak and then head down Jalan Kayu Aya ( or Eat Street ) through to Oberoi and to Petitenget, where you will have hundreds of shops selling anything from local sarongs, surfwear, high-end boutique women’s fashion, homewares, children’s clothing stores right through to Balinese souvenirs which are sold by local vendors keen to tap into the tourist market. It can take you days to do this; this will only be one part of the island. Other areas like Sanur, Ubud, Nusa Dua and Canggu still have their own pockets of shops for those starved of retail therapy & shopaholics. Take your credit card, you will need it.
Canggu is also a really decent shopping area, especially along Jalan Batu Bolong and into Jalan Batu Mejan. A market in the centre of Batu Bolong is called ‘Love Anchor’, is worth visiting. Berawa in Canggu has now added a new shopping centre, the Tamora Gallery, worth checking out.
A tip here is to bargain hard but don’t overdo it – remember you are paying in Rupiah, so it’s still pretty cheap!
If you like surfing, Bali is a mecca.
Surf breaks like Uluwatu, Bingin, Canggu, Nusa Dua, Padang, Keramas and Balian and all household names in the surfing community. Bring your board and go for it or if you prefer to buy one here or even rent one.
Surfing in Bali is fantastic, so make sure you take advantage of this. If you are a surfer, I am preaching to the converted here, as you should already know about this. If it’s your first time and you’re a beginner, try easy breaks like; Tuban, Kuta or Batu Bolong ( try Old Man’s as it’s a really gentle wave) & Batu Belig which is in the Canggu area.
Pamper your body and hit the day spas.
Some gorgeous day spas in all the main tourist areas offer; massage, facials, reflexology, hair and makeup, and nails. In Bali you can choose the type of day spa according to your budget, from a cheap $5 massage on the beach, right through to day spas dotted along most of the main tourist roads to hi-end spas that are famous worldwide and are located in the 5-star resorts, villas, hotels and in main retails strips. Some of the best day spas are in the southern part of Bali ( Seminyak & Canggu ): Prana, AMO, Goldust Beauty Lounge, Therapy Day Spa, Spring Day Spa, Sundari, Rob Peetoom and Think Pink Nails.
Also read: 6 Top Day Spas in Seminyak.
You can even get a professional massage therapist to come around and give you an hour massage in your own private villa. Now that is decadent. The best day spas are in the southern part of the island; as you can imagine, this is where most of the tourists are.
Get lots of Balinese culture.
Head off to Ubud and explore the monkey forest, which is well known & high on most tourists’ radar (where cheeky monkeys will do anything to steal your sunglasses, so watch out and make sure you do not have anything loose hanging off you) or wander among the picturesque rice fields to see the farmers working the land. If you have seen the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ you will have seen that this was filmed in Ubud, where yoga and meditation are featured so be prepared to recharge and re-energise your batteries here Ubud. Ubud is famous for its cycling and trekking through the rice fields and typical Balinese villages, so make sure you set some time aside for this.
There are hundreds, if not more, of yoga schools and retreats throughout Bali, each with its discipline and practice. Bali is a top place to learn Yoga, and if you are an experienced ‘yogis’ why not continue the practice in a new exciting place? Most of the yoga studios are in Seminyak and Ubud – all you need to do is Google the words ‘ yoga Bali’, and you will get a huge list. Personally, our favourites are Jiwa Bikram yoga in Seminyak and The Practice, Samadi and Pranava Yoga in Canggu. There’s also the ultra-famous Yoga Barn in Ubud. All these studios have yoga classes daily and cater to beginners to advanced yogis who have perfected the headstand. There are a lot of people now who like to host their own Bali yoga retreats in a private villa with a group of friends. It offers an alternative holiday experience and is a fun way to develop yoga skills, especially in a luxurious and peaceful setting.
See a traditional Balinese dance.
If you’re not into visiting temples but want a tiny bit of culture, then you must see a traditional Balinese dance. Your villa manager will be able to point you in the right direction – why not have them organise Balinese dancers to come to your villa and perform? This can be done and can be easily organised.
Climb Mt Batur in the early hours of the morning to see the sunrise.
There’s also Mt Agung which is an active volcano, so you can put this on your bucket list as not many people can say that they have scaled an active volcano. Make sure you have a reasonable level of fitness before attempting this.
Learn how to cook Balinese and Indonesian food by taking a cooking class in Bali.
If you love Nasi Goreng and sate, you will enjoy learning how to cook these scrumptious dishes, and best of all, you get to eat them. There are tons of cooking classes all over Bali. Again, ask your villa manager.
4. Forget any crash diets – Bali is all about food and lots of it.
When you’re on holiday just go for it, especially in Bali where there are so many fantastic restaurants selling local and western-style food. Bali is a foodies paradise and everywhere you look there is at least 1 restaurant or local warung. Food prices are incredibly cheap here and you can have a 3-course dinner for 2 people for less than $20. Having said that, there are other places where you can spend an absolute fortune eating out – most tourists go middle of the road and hit some of the many famous restaurants in Seminyak’s Eat Street, Legian, Canggu, Kuta and Peitienget.
Our top 10 restaurants that are moderately priced and very family-friendly are:
1) Mades Warung in Seminyak – this is family-friendly, so take the kids and enjoy a traditional style Balinese dance show while you eat.
2) Biku in Seminyak – service Western-style and Indonesian food, Biku is also very popular for its afternoon high tea.
3) NUDE in Berawa – one of the most popular casual eateries on Jalan Pantai Berawa
4) Mason in Canggu and I want to throw in Crate, Shady Shack, The Common, Fold, Milk and Madu and Monsieur Spoon as well – all worth a visit and either on the popular Jalan Batu Bolong or close to it.
5) Happy Chappy in Seminyak – enjoy all-you-can-eat Yum Cha and a la carte Chinese food.
6) Sisterfields in Seminyak – the iconic restaurant that everyone goes to. Opposite Seminyak Village serves delish Western food, making it a must-visit.
7) Milk and Madu in Canggu/Batu Belig – a family-friendly restaurant with a perfect vibe. Plus it has a kiddie’s playground.
8) Deus ex Machina in Canggu – the original hipster hang in Canggu with an eclectic surfie vibe.
9) Nook in Umalas – enjoy Indonesian and Western dishes with amazing rice field views.
10) lastly, a meal prepared for you in your villa – nothing really beats this, especially if you are in one of our fabulous, luxurious villas. The staff will be more than happy to go shopping for the ingredients and prepare a fab meal for you and the kids.
Tips for eating in Bali
Don’t drink the water from the tap; even to rinse your mouth when brushing your teeth.
There are lots of vegetarian restaurants, and even the ones that aren’t will have great vegetarian dishes on the menu.
If you’re looking for halal restaurants well, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world so there’s no shortage here.
If you have any special dietary requirements, the Balinese waiters are very patient and will do their very best to accommodate your needs.
There are tons of quirky, cool little cafes where you can watch the world go by. All you have to do is start exploring your local area.
If you travelling to Bali on a limited budget, go for the local warungs – these are clean and in 99.99% of places, the food is fine – same as back home here in Australia.
Bali restaurants place a lot of emphasis on local, organic fresh produce, so you know that you are getting fresh meat, chicken, fruit and veggies daily.
There are many supermarkets, such as Popular, Pepito and Nirmala, where you can stock up on food. There’s one literally every couple of hundred metres or so. Plus, thousands of 7-11’s and Circle K convenience stores sell lots of smaller items and junk food – same as back home.
The local beer is called Bintang, and it comes in 2 sizes, small and large and costs Rp 25000 for a small and Rp 50 000 for a large – that’s $2.50 and $5 dollars!
5. Changing money in Bali
Be careful and only use reputable money changes at the airport or in larger stores – never be enticed by someone on the street to change money.
Be really careful here, as predators are on the lookout for suckers. A good tip is and pay close attention to this – it’s better to change money in Bali, NOT at home, as you get a far better exchange rate of up to 20-30% more if you do it in Bali.
Also, there are heaps of ATMs everywhere, so you don’t have to bring that much cash. Don’t stress about finding ATMs as there are heaps of them everywhere, even in most convenience stores.
Also read: Changing Money In Bali, You Have Been WARNED.
6. How much money do I need in Bali?
That depends on your budget and holiday lifestyle, BUT here is a rough breakdown. Note: this does not include accommodation or flights.
If you eat in cheap local Balinese warungs and spend your days n the beach doing little shopping and not much else, then you can squeeze by on $15-$25 per day. This includes the occasional massage on the beach ( you would have to bargain a bit for this, I’m afraid) and the odd Bintang or 2. Not much fun, but great for those wanting to keep it low-key in Bali.
If you like a bit of luxury. A good budget for this is about $100 daily, and you can have some fun here. Eat out basically wherever you like and enjoy your daily massage at a pretty good day spa. You could also rent a scooter to look around the island (if you hate renting a motorbike, then this budget would allow you to get taxis everywhere) and enjoy a bit of nightlife with a few cocktails. This is a good family budget where $100 would be per person, allowing a good holiday budget. You probably won’t even spend that much, and like most people, you will have a handful of Indonesian currency when you leave.
Well, you can spend big time in Bali if you like. Stay in a beachfront luxury villa. You can shop at high-end luxury boutiques and dine at world-class 5-star restaurants where international chefs cook. Bring your credit card and have a fabulous time.
7. What to pack for your Bali holiday
The tip here is to pack light.
While it might be cold from your departure city, and you might be tempted to pack the extra jumper, don’t do it. It’s a waste of space. Bali gets hot, and I mean really hot and very humid. You won’t need any winter clothing. Pack light t-shirts, board shorts, singlets and thongs. Also, take a pair of good walking shoes as you will need these. Remember to pack light, as you will wear minimal clothing during the day. If you plan to go to some nice restaurants at night, then the dress is always smart/casual – nothing over the top as you will look out of place. Bali is very chilled out, and your attire should reflect this.
Also, take mosquito repellent as well as diarrhea and vomit tablets, as you may need these. Having said that, there are heaps of chemists all over Bali, and if you get sick, you can always duck into a local 7-11 to pick up these necessities.
8. Need to know gadgets
Bali’s electricity is different from Australia’s, and you will need an adaptor. Most of our villas will have these, but for $10, pick one up at the airport before you leave.
The wifi is improving in Bali, and most villas have great Wifi with minimal dropout. So if you are coming to Bali and want to stay connected, you can. Also, nearly all the restaurants and bars have Wifi, so you are pretty much certain to stay connected where ever you go.
In terms of mobile phones, coverage is really good, and I know that Vodafone has a great deal where you can speak to Australia and make as many calls as you like and talk for as long as you want for only $5 per day – this is a really good deal especially if you want to do some work while away.
9. Transport in Bali
This is easy as there are taxis all over the place. Make sure you use a metred taxi and NOT a taxi where they tell you the price – this is a rip-off. Bluebird taxis are the best and most reliable. If you are leaving your villa, our staff will organise a taxi for you and take you anywhere you want. Ensure you have the villa’s address written down for your return journey.
You might also like to rent a motor scooter for about $10 per day. This is really common and a great idea, but it does come with a huge warning – BE really careful as the driving laws in Bali are not regulated, and it’s chaos on the roads.
Probably the best thing to do if you are coming to Bali as a family and want to tour the island or go somewhere is to organise a driver for the day. This costs about Rp 500 000 or $50, and you get a minivan ( with air conditioning) with a driver for roughly 8 hours – this is such good value, and most families end up getting a driver for their entire stay. We can also organise this for you before you arrive in Bali.
Walking anywhere on the roads in Bali (except the main tourist areas) is not advisable as drivers tend to make up the rules as they go, and accidents do happen frequently. Best to get a taxi or a driver – it’s a lot safer for everyone.
The best way now, on 20 April 2023, is to use the Go-Jek app and get a Go-Jek to come and pick you up. They are the same as Uber in Australia, and you can get a Go-Jek scooter, car or van. And, Go-Jek will deliver food directly to your Bali villa or hotel. Go-Jeks are everywhere all over Bali and are now the most preferred form of transport. Most tourists now use Go-Jek, but taxis are still more prevalent in areas like Seminyak.
10. Do’s and don’t in Bali
- shop at midday as it’s far too hot – stay out of the sun from 11 am to 3 pm
- walk on the offerings in the street – known as Canang sari; these holy Hindu offerings are all over the place, everywhere you look and must be respected.
- drink from the tap – always from bottled water and never rinse your mouth out when brushing your teeth with the tap water – you will cop the Bali belly!
- bargain too hard with the locals when buying anything
- do drugs – this may be offered to you, but whatever happens, walk or run away – this is not a joke, and to even try them at a club or bar is seriously risky!!!!
- don’t point at local people using your index finger – this is insulting and will cause offence. Hand anything to the Balinese with your left hand – use both hands or your right. This can be tricky but try to keep it in mind
- don’t eat street food like Bakso from the carts. They are everywhere. As tempting as this might be, you’ll likely get the Bali Belly if you do.
- drive recklessly on a scooter
- get off the plane as quickly as you can and try to get to the immigration area quickly, as the queues can be horrific
- visit a temple and observe a religious Balinese ceremony
- try surfing for the first time
- wear a helmet when driving a scooter – the police are on the lookout for this, especially foreigners who can extort a bribe from you.
- have fun and enjoy the culture
- see as much as you can of the island – you can hire a driver for the day, and they’ll take you anywhere
- stay hydrated
- make sure you drink only brand and well-known names of alcoholic spirits – there have been cases of bottles being substituted with methanol
- wear appropriate attire if you are visiting any temples
- change money at the airport or reputable money changers
- have travel insurance
- take emergency money
- make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months
11. Bali for families with kids
Bali is a great choice for a holiday destination with kids. It’s tropical and exotic, with lots of things to do, and it’s also a safe place with modern conveniences and beautiful family villas you’re bound to love.
If you want the best of both worlds, we recommend staying in Seminyak or Canggu and exploring the island from there. You can enjoy the beach, the shopping streets, the beach clubs and the Western supermarkets and go on day trips and tours with a private driver (you’ll be surprised how affordable luxury like having a chauffeur at your service is!).
We know first-time mums can get anxious when travelling abroad with their newborn baby or toddler, which is why a family villa holiday in Bali is a perfect choice. Your villa will have a living room, a garden with a pool, a kitchen and bedrooms with AC. It really is like a ‘home away from home’. In modern supermarkets like Pepito, Carrefour and Bali Deli, you’ll find all the stuff you need including baby stuff and imported goods.
Villas are usually equipped with baby cots and high chairs. Anything else you need, such as a baby car seat, pool fence and more, can be hired on your behalf.
DO bring swim nappies, sunblock for kids with SPF 50, mosquito repellent with DEET and a first-aid kit. We also recommend bringing a baby carrier. Most places in Bali aren’t stroller-friendly. A carrier can come in really handy!
Things to do for families with kids
- Beach fun (swimming, surfing, bodyboarding, etc.)
- Beach clubs for families such as KU DE TA, Artotel Beach Club, Potato Head, Sunday’s Beach Club and many more
- Bali Safari & Marine Park
- Bali Zoo
- The Sacred Monkey Forest Temple in Ubud
- Snorkelling and diving
- Endless water fun at Waterbom Bali
- Finn’s Recreation Club (trampoline centre, bowling alley, waterpark, kids club)
- Park Life (a huge outdoor playground with kids’ activities)
12. When is the best time to visit Bali?
In short, Bali is great all year round.
The weather is always warm, tropical and, best of all, HOT. Temps are always between 26 – 30 degrees Celcius and never dip below 25. Having said that, if you are heading off to the inland part of the island for some exploring, like Ubud or the surrounding areas, then temps can get cooler as you are higher up in the mountain regions. If you visit Lake Batur or do some early morning walks along Campuhan Ridge, you must keep warm.
The dry season is from May to late September, and it generally doesn’t rain during this period. However, there can be days when it does rain, but this is an exception to the rule. The rainy season where you get tropical downpours that can last anywhere from hours to days, is between Oct to late March. So bring a poncho or raincoat ( especially if you decide to hire a scooter or plan to do a lot of walking).
The peak tourist season is June, July and August, as well as the usual peak holiday periods like Australia Day, Easter, long weekends and Christmas.
In terms of villa pricing, you will get better deals during the ‘off-season (May and September), where discounts of up to 30%-50% are common – make sure you speak with our reservation team about the best villa deals during these months.
Please also note that if you are coming to Bali during the religious day called Nyepi, nothing is open, and no one is even allowed on the street. Essentially, you are villa/hotel bound and restricted to where you can go. It is a solemn day, so expect to hang out in your room or by the pool the whole day without doing anything that involves outside activities or noisy events.
Now you are armed with all this information, go and enjoy yourself on this amazing, fantastic island!
About the author
Steven is one of our most experienced Bali Villa Escapes marketing team members and has been living on the island for over a decade. A surfer, foodie and lover of Bali culture, Steve is always on the lookout for what’s popular in Bali, the newest tourist attraction and what travellers are likely to enjoy. He has written extensive Bali travel guides for this site.