Bali is a beautiful travel destination and a backpackers paradise. Known as “The Island of the Gods”, Bali has so much to offer with pristine beaches, rugged mountains, lush jungle, volcanoes, rice terraces, historical landmarks, breathtaking religious temples, art, and architecture.
Friendly locals who maintain their traditions, inexpensive local food, lodging, and picturesque scenery. Bali has a spiritual vibe despite the thriving tourism the island enjoys year round. Much of Bali is tropical and there is an amazing wildlife and ecosystem around the entire island.
If you are traveling Bali on a budget, the options for backpackers are incredible! Super cheap lodgings, delicious inexpensive local food, and an active island nightlife make Bali such a popular destination for a variety of travelers. You will find anything from honeymoons in Bali to digital nomads and backpackers and travelers on a budget.
Traveling To Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands and approximately 600 miles east of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Bali is located approximately 1,600 miles due north of Perth in Western Australia.
There are no nonstop flights to Bali from the US and routes will typically include a layover in Asia or Australia. American travelers can usually find the best deal by flying to Bangkok first and then taking the flight down to Bali. Bali’s airport is located about a mile from Kuta which is the most popular tourist beach on the island. By starting your trip to Ubud, you could be out of the airport and on a beach shortly after arriving at the island.
Best Time to Travel to Bali
The best time to travel to Bali and save money is to go in low season April – June and September when you can get some of the best deals on lodging and island activities while still enjoying good weather. The low season provides heavily discounted lodging and activities up to 50% in many cases, so you can travel cheaply, making this the perfect time to plan a backpacking trip.
Monsoon or the rainy season begins around October and November when rainfall is at its highest and lasts until March. Travel is good year round and many tourists hit the high season where rates peak in July and August, so if you want to avoid the crowd, traveling in September when the weather is cool and dry, is the perfect time for a backpack vacation.
Best Areas in Bali For Backpackers
Bali is an ideal location to backpack due to the lush tropical environment, beautiful historic sites, great weather, cheap lodging, amazing local cuisine, and friendly locals. Balinese people are a deeply spiritual culture and are incredibly kind and hospitable.
Most of the culture is Hindu and there are many exquisite local temples and religious places mixed throughout the terrain.
There is so much to take in and so many cool things to do, it might be hard to fit everything into one trip. Most people that travel to Bali return time and again due to the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere, friendly locals, beautiful scenery, and great prices.
Bali is perfect for backpacking in Indonesia where you can soak up the local culture.
Food and drink in Bali
Bali cuisine offers a mix of Balinese and Indonesian cuisine that has been influenced by many different cultures including Chinese, Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabian, and other Asian local areas. Spices and seasonings are made into pastes, sauces and soups.
Among the popular Balinese dishes, most are made with rice, fresh vegetables, seafood, pork, duck, and coconut. The food is cooked fresh and eaten daily.
You have plenty of options most places on Bali when it comes to food. From local rice and satay dishes, spicy fried rice, fried noodles, and seafood, you can get most meals at the local markets for 15’000IR somewhere around $1.50 – $3.00 per meal.
Lodgings in Bali For Backpackers
Most backpackers head for Kuta upon arrival. Just a short drive from the airport, it’s famous for being a hotspot with many bars and dance clubs where many tourists hang out.
Kuta is a great starting point for a backpacker’s itinerary to begin exploration of the island. You’re sure to find the right place to stay for your budget due to the many inexpensive international hostels and local boutique hotels in Bali. Starting around $10 USD per day up to $50 USD if you’re looking to stay within a tight budget, there are no shortage of options. If you’re traveling on a backpacker budget, you’ll still within budget at $10-$13 U.S.D per day!
The Happy Mango Tree is a colorful, inexpensive hostel in Bali perfect for a backpack budget.
Backpacker’s Itinerary for Bali
The world-class surfing, lush rice terraces, amazing beaches, exquisite temples, traditional culture with many festivals, and a wide variety of activities make Bali a perfect place to visit and immerse yourself in the local culture. Backpacking on a budget in Bali can easily be done and your money will go a long way.
Boutique shops, spas, and holistic healing centers are found on the central interior of the island You can find lakes, volcanoes, rice terraces outside of Denpasar. Plan a day trip to the hot springs or explore the rainforest. Rent a motorbike which is both a popular and cheap method of transportation. Ubud is an ideal place to start!
5 Top Sites to Visit on Bali Backpacking Journey
1). TEGALALANG RICE TERRACE – lush rice terraces attract visitors from all over the world. Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of Bali’s most famous tourist attractions. Panoramic views of the terraces provide an amazing experience. You can pose with a local farmer for a small fee and there are many animal carvings and local sarong stands within the grounds. You can pick up an inexpensive authentic souvenir to remind you of your time in Bali while helping the local economy which relies heavily on tourism.
The Rice Terrace which is an irrigation system locals call Subak date back to the 8th century. Take in the lush greenery, amazing views, and stroll down all the different levels, have a swing, and make new memories by taking lots of photos. The best time to arrive is early before 10 am and at sunset to avoid the tour buses and crowds. This is a very popular destination and gets packed easily.
Location: Jl. Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561, Indonesia
How to get there: Tegalalang is half an hour’s drive north of Ubud. From the main Ubud art market, head east to the large statue intersection and head further up north.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace located North of Ubud, Bali
2). UBUD Monkey Forest
The UBUD Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal is considered a natural forest sanctuary and home to over 750 monkeys, 186 species of trees in 12.5 hectares of forest.
Conveniently located near Ubud Town Centre, and within easy walking distance to the resorts along the main roads of Jalan Hanoman.
You can stroll along the paved pathways through the tropical nutmeg forest while you watch monkeys in their natural habitat. They will keep you entertained while swinging through canopies, eating bananas right off the banana trees, and interacting as families talking and grooming their young.
Location: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal Ubud – Gianyar- Bali (80571)
How to get there: Start from the Ubud main road and enter south into Jalan Hanoman, which leads you to a right turn towards the sanctuary.
Bali has plenty of “off the beaten path” spots to discover all over the island
3). TIBUMANA WATERFALL – this secluded waterfall is located close to the TEGALALANG RICE TERRACE and is surrounded by lush tropical jungle. There are worn paths and it’s about a 10 minute walk down to the waterfall once you enter the park.
TIBUMANA WATERFALL is about 30 minutes from central Ubud. The largest waterfall in Ubud is also one of the best hidden gems in the area. If you are looking for solitude, the waterfall is quiet and secluded.
The best way to travel is by scooter which can be rented out for around $5-$7 per day. This is a cheap, fun way to get around while on your backpack travels. Much less versatile and inexpensive than renting a car, a scooter will get you where you need to go to see some of the major sites in Bali. A temple is located onsite and
the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful. There are many different species of birds, butterflies, plants, and flowers. You can hear the soothing sound of the waterfall along the trek downward. The water is cool and a great spot to swim. Enjoy this amazing natural site!
There are a few local hotels and hostels in the area for any budget. The Sila Urip Guest House – is a great place to stay on a backpackers budget.
Location: Jalan Desa Apuan, Apuan, Susut, Apuan, Susut, Kabupaten Bangli, Bali 80661, Indonesia
How to get there: TIBUMANA WATERFALL is 30-minute drive from central Ubud. Located next to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace.
Tibumana Waterfall is the largest waterfall in the Ubud area making it a favorite.
4). Ubud Traditional Art Market – one of the most famous art markets in Ubud, this market was featured in the movie, Eat, Pray Love starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. If you’re looking for an authentic market experience that doesn’t have the same standard tourist items, this is your place.
The market has something for everyone and you can find a great deal by negotiating the final price with local vendors. The wares are unique and are of a higher quality made by local artisans so when you make a purchase, you are helping to promote the local Balinese culture.
Be sure to check out the Ubud Art Cafe, which is a five minute walk from the Art Market. After a day of shopping, it’s a great place to unwind and enjoy a coffee or local smoothie.
Location: Jl. Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
How to get there: Located in front of the Ubud Royal Palace (Puri Saren Ubud)
5). Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
Mount Batur in Bali is considered a sacred mountain by the locals and is surrounded by Hindu belief. Located in Batur village, Kintamani District, Bali, Indonesia, Mount Batur is 1717 meters or 5,633 feet above sea level and can be hiked in around 2 hours if you are in good shape. Otherwise, plan to take more time as you will need to take short breaks. Most tours leave around 2 am and arrive by 5:30 am so a lot of time is spent waiting around. Make sure to dress warm because it’s cold and carry a light backpack or satchel.
Mount Batur is considered an active volcano and many tourists are intrigued by seeing an incredibly beautiful Bali sunrise. Mount Batur Sunrise Trek is recommended due to the step climb up the volcano. An experienced guide with a group of fellow climbers can help you find the best places to climb safely. Make sure to bring plenty of water since the trek will take some time and a snack for energy.
After the long trek, there is a natural hot springs on the descent. Toya Devasya hot springs is located on the lake and feels amazing surrounded by spectacular views of the volcano.
There are so many great things about Bali from taking in the natural historical sites, immersing yourself among the friendly locals and soaking up the Balinese culture. Experiencing the spiritual vibe of the island and enjoying delicious, unique local food and drink.
Shopping in the local markets or art market and visiting the many temples located all over the island. Bali is truly a backpackers paradise and you can many amazing things to do. Take some time to explore the many activities that Bali has to offer. It will keep you coming back for more and one trip will soon turn into many trips, each time inspiring you to dig deeper into this magical island.