Why Go To Bali

Shangri-La, Elysium, Arcadia, Utopia and Bali are all synonymous with "heaven." The only difference between them is that you can actually visit Bali. Many travelers have never been to this Indonesian island. Yet, the word "Bali" conjures daydreams of the most fantastical landscape: towering volcanoes wrapped in a deep green canopy, sandy shores that fade into turquoise waters and curving coastlines crowned with staggered pagodas. And believe it or not, Bali rarely disappoints.

You'll be amazed at how many different types of visitors revel in this paradise. The ordinary traveler simply stays at the palatial oceanfront resort and indulges in luxurious spa treatments, decadent cuisine and lazy sunbathing. But the historian will find his or her delights at the island's many temples while the adventurer will discover new paths up an active volcano in Kintamani. Plus, the town of Kuta boasts more riotous pleasures for those inclined to late nights. Bali is a dream come true, so wake up and book your ticket.


Find Flight and Hotel Deals


Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.


The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of Bali

Bali Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Bali is between April and October, the island's dry season. Bali experiences only two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. Throughout the year, the daytime temps hover between the mid-80s and low 90s, with only the humidity and precipitation patterns changing. The lack of rain during the summer season makes Bali more comfortable for beachgoers.

Weather in Bali

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
Average Precipitation (in)
See details for When to Visit Bali

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Check out remote neighbors The Gili Islands are about a 90-minute boat ride from Bali's east coast and offer pristine sands and relaxing isolation.
  • Know culinary favorites In southern Bali, seafood is king. In central Bali, the local specialty is babi guling, which translates to "turning pig." Plan to sample both.
  • Nyepi is the party of the year Nyepi or "Day of Silence" is followed by the Balinese New Year, which falls in mid-March. You'll see exuberant parades and festivities throughout the island in the days leading up to Nyepi.

How to Save Money in Bali

  • Cruise on by Bali's accommodations can be extraordinarily pricey. Consider taking a cruise through Indonesia which docks in Bali.
  • Be prepared to barter If you're shopping at any one of Bali's markets, do as the Balinese do and respectfully barter.
  • Be your own tour guide You'll be bombarded with proposals from eager tour guides at nearly every temple. Politely refuse and do your own self-guided tour. 

Culture & Customs

Bali is a part of Indonesia; for this reason, the official (and dominant) language is Indonesian. However, you'll still hear Balinese (a Malayo-Polynesian language) being spoken by some locals. Because international tourism plays a key role in Bali's economy, English is widely spoken in larger towns and cities. That means you shouldn't have a problem getting around, purchasing souvenirs or ordering food.

The currency in Bali is the Indonesian rupiah. Since the rupiah to U.S. dollar exchange rate fluctuates, be sure to check what the current exchange rate is before you go. Also, keep in mind that because the large numerical difference can be confusing for foreigners, locals sometimes ask for unreasonable prices and can trick travelers into coughing up more cash than they need to. For reference, $1 is equal to approximately 14,330 rupiah.

In terms of religion, Bali is unique among the Indonesian islands, which are mostly Islamic. Hinduism is the predominant religion in Bali. Most of the temples found here are sacred Hindu sites, so be respectful of the customs you'll witness, such as praying in pools of water. To get a sense for the island's unique religion, don't miss a visit to Bali's temples.


What to Eat

Bali's cuisine scene is heavily Indonesian, with Chinese and Indian influences. Most dishes include rice, vegetables, meat and fish – and plenty of spice. Many meals feature base gede – a spice paste that usually consists of garlic, red chili peppers, shallots, nutmeg, turmeric, coriander, ginger, shrimp paste, coconut oil and bay leaves. With that many ingredients, you can be sure that dishes featuring this spice blend are flavorful. Fish, chicken and pork are often rubbed or stuffed with the spice paste, cooked with coconut milk and served with rice and veggies.

There are several standout dishes that travelers should sample. Order babi guling (turning pig) and you'll get a plate of tender roasted meat that's also crispy and caramelized. Bebek betutu is a spice-rubbed, slow-roasted duck often cooked in banana leaves. The satay (or sate) in Bali includes strips of chicken, pork, fish or tofu placed on skewers and grilled over a hot flame; accompanying sauces vary, but peanut and shrimp paste-based sauces are common. When it comes to restaurants, experts and travelers recommend trying a variety. Many of the resorts feature upscale dining, the markets throughout Bali offer up fresh, local fare and the eateries along the coast dish out casual meals (with beautiful beach views).

There are hundreds of thousands of dining establishments spread across the island, in which travelers can sample the local cuisine, along with other cuisines from around the world. In Ubud, Abe Do earns high marks from travelers for its fresh juices and raw, organic plates. For a fine dining experience, consider Lamak Restaurant & Bar, a hit with past visitors for its steak dinners and inventive martinis. Another splurge-worthy restaurant in Ubud, Mozaic is an award-winning Asian restaurant with tasting menus that highlight the region's best ingredients, such as Indian Ocean octopus and Javanese pigeon, along with a bevy of local fruits, vegetables and herbs. Outside of Ubud, Warung Padang Kecag in Candidasa is popular for its seafood dishes while the trendy Mamasan  in Kerobokan is a hit for its blend of Asian cuisines and stunning decor.

Explore restaurants

Getting Around Bali

The best way to get around Bali is with a hired car and driver. This option gives you the freedom of roaming around the country without the hassle of having to drive yourself. Biking is another option, just be prepared to weave through chaotic traffic. Boats are a great way to get to neighboring islands, but they are not frequently used to get around Bali.

Most travelers arrive through Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), which is located between Kuta and Jimbaran on the island's southern tip. To reach your hotel, check in advance to see if there is a complimentary resort shuttle available. Some hotels also provide private transportation for a fee. Though it can be pricey, some visitors say it's worth the cost (especially if you're arriving at night) as the driver will know exactly where to drop you off – a convenience some say is worth the extra rupiahs. If you plan to take a taxi, you'll prepay your fare at the airport's taxi counter. Fares range widely depending on your destination, from 45,000 rupiahs (around $3) to 315,000 rupiahs (about $22).

Entry & Exit Requirements

Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least six months from when you enter the country and have at least two blank passport pages. You must obtain a visa exemption or a 30-day visitor visa upon arrival at the airport in Bali for $35. The visa exemption allows tourists in the country for up to 30 days (and absolutely no longer); the temporary visa applies to tourist and short business trips only and can be extended if necessary. If you are coming to Bali for more than 30 days, you must apply for a special visa prior to arrival. For more information, check out the U.S. Department of State's website.


Bali1 of 37
Bali2 of 37

Nusa Dua is known for its multiple resorts and long stretch of beach populated with lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Zsol Hlinka/Getty Images

Explore More of Bali

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


The 12 Best Niagara Falls Tours

Explore one of North America's most impressive natural sights and the surrounding region on a tour.

Lyn MettlerJuly 19, 2019

The Cheapest Ways to Travel: 15 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

These cheap travel tips can help you save big on your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonJuly 18, 2019

The 9 Best San Francisco Wine Tours

Taste some of America's finest wines on one of these daytrips.

John RodwanJuly 18, 2019

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

Holly JohnsonJuly 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

Gwen PratesiJuly 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

Lyn MettlerJuly 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

John RodwanJuly 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

John RodwanJuly 2, 2019