13 tips for travelling to Bali if you're a newbie

13 tips for travelling to Bali if you are a newbie

Nikki ParkinsonLife, Travel 137 Comments

* The below post was updated July 9, 2018

Bali has always been on our list of places to visit. So many good friends had been and fell in love.

When we booked and surprised the kids with this end-of-school-holidays trip, we had a pretty good idea we’d fall in love too. I’ve since been back again on a girls’ getaway. And in 2016 I hosted a shopping and styling trip. In June/July 2018, I returned again with most of the family (leaving one home to house and dog sit!). For this latest trip, we stayed at Uluwatu and Canguu.

Researching for each trip was pretty easy – there’s a stack of info out there in Google land. And the Styling You Facebook community was GOLD in sharing its Bali knowledge. I also follow quite a few key Bali Instagram accounts that were helpful in finding new places to stay and play. One fave, @the_seminyak_snob, has become an obsession. This Aussie expat knows her way around a great beach club or accommodation offering.

I first put together these tips for travelling to Bali if you are a newbie in January 2013 when we ended up with A LOT of spare time at Denpasar Airport waiting for our delayed flight home. It proved to be a good use of my time as this post has been read by more than 600,000 people.

13 tips for travelling to Bali if you're a newbie

This is by no means an extensive list but it might be a start for you.

And if you are a Bali visitor from way back, then please add in your tips in the comments below.


The Volcano, Bali

October to April is the rainy season; May to September the dry season. On our first trip we travelled late January, which is considered off peak and in the wet season. We lucked it with the rain with most of the heavy falls coming at night time or early morning. Kind of cleansing really.

For my October trips, it rained only a couple of times in five days – and that was early morning or mid afternoon and then was clear. 

For June/July, we had just one five-minute shower and really mild temperatures – high 20s – and not-so-bad humidity. If you’re not one for extreme heat and humidity, opt instead for these months. It’s still warm but not so oppressive that you won’t feel like getting out and seeing things.

What to pack


Pack light clothes in natural, breathable fabrics. I worked on two-three outfits a day, one throw-over type dress or shorts/light top combination for during the day and kaftans for evening if we were heading out to a bar or restaurant. Even in the upmarket restaurants it’s still pretty casual. Mr SY wore dress shorts and a rolled up shirt and deck shoes if we were getting our fancy on.

Pack at least two swimsuits means you always have a dry one on the go. SPF 50+ sunscreen is a must. You are right near the equator Stylers, that sun has bite. Even at 5pm.

Speaking of bites, keep the tropical strength insect repellant handy. Try this natural alternative – it worked for me.

I’m a safety girl and also packed half a pharmacy – travelling with a family of five, I wasn’t taking any chances. We had everything from kids’ Nurofen to antibiotic ointment, ventolin, antihistamines and stuff to help should Bali Belly strike … see below.

(More details in this post)

What to pack for a trip to Bali | Styling You



Bali is geared up for tourists in a big way. Accommodation ranges from the very basic thorough to some of the most amazing five-star hotels you’ll find anywhere in the world. The trend over the past 10 years is for villa accommodation. This style can offer you the same comforts as a hotel but with more privacy and better options if travelling as a family or group.

For our first family trip we stayed at the Bali Swiss Villas, booked through Australian company, Cantik Villas. It was cheaper booking through this site than direct. What I also liked about Cantik was that you could easily search for a villa option based on location, number of guests and your budget. We also availed ourselves of the layby option, paying off our accommodation over three months – pretty handy on the budget when airfares have to be paid for on booking.

We paid about $1700 for the week, which included a three-bedroom villa {two pavilions with king beds; one with two king singles; all with ensuited bathrooms}, airport transfers and breakfast cooked for us each morning – once again, pretty good for a family of five. But. There’s always a but, isn’t there? When I booked I knew that we’d be 10-15 minutes drive {only max $5-10 each way in a cab} from the action. This is not for you if you like to step outside your accommodation and stroll to a bar or restaurant. It only suited us as we had booked a driver for the week. Otherwise, opt to pay more to stay on the beach side of Sunset Road.

For my October 2013 trip, we stayed in the Bali Villa H2O, 11 of us each paying $400 for the five nights.

Also, like real estate images of houses for sale, don’t be surprised if your accommodation doesn’t quite look so shiny and new when you arrive. Our villa was clean but had definitely aged since the website photos were taken. Shower pressure was non-existent – as was hot water in the shower – and the indoor/outdoor nature of the bathroom, meant that sometimes going to the toilet came with a shower from nature on top.

If travelling with small children, the private pool/villa thing may not work for you as pools are not fenced. There is a company that hires out temporary fences though {check out Little Bali Love for a link}. Also the separate pavilion-style rooms within a villa may not work if your kids are used to being able to get to you in the night. We loved it for the space for teenagers and us!

For our October 2016 trip, it was my first experience with a hotel stay in Bali. Our group stayed at the Anantara Seminyak – a fabulous beachfront, boutique hotel that offered five-star accommodation with the feel of a personalised villa stay thanks to the hotel’s small size. The rooms were extremely generous, each including a dressing room, large bathroom, sitting area, desk, king-size bed, day bed and sunken bath on the balcony. Loved sunset drinks and dinner at the rooftop MoonLite Kitchen and Bar.

In 2018, we stayed in a luxury boutique villa complex, The Edge, at Uluwatu as a fabulous treat. The four of us stayed in a massive two-bedroom, two-level villa, with its own pool, butler and view of the Indian Ocean. Our $1000/night package included daily cooked breakfast, including a floating breakfast, airport transfers, local transportation to nearby beach clubs and restaurants and a three-course dinner. For the second part of this trip, we moved to Canguu, Seminyak’s northern and quieter beachside neighbour. I found Fella Villas, via Instagram and then booked through airbnb. Six nights for this three-bedroom; three-bathroom private oasis with the dreamiest of interiors (see below) cost $2600. This also include a maid, who cleaned and washed our clothes everyday and made us the best nasi goreng ever.

Fella Villa Canguu

Where to stay

Nusa Dua, Bali

I know from people who have visited Bali before that they are pretty set on the areas in which they like to stay. What you want from a holiday can be very different from the next person.

For us, we love a good bar, good food and shopping, so Seminyak suited us perfectly for our initial visit and my subsequent visits. It’s got the Bali vibe but with a more upmarket edge to what you’ll find in Kuta. Want 5-star plus the central location? My money would be on The W Retreat & Spa

It was a refreshing change to try two new places on our 2018 trip and I’d return to both again in the future. I’d love to stay (on a kid-free holiday) at The Slow in Canggu. I’ve also got it on my bucket list to stay at the Ayana Resort (home of The Rock Bar) in Jimbaran. 

Others swear by heading to the hills for an escape … it was beautiful but we love the water and have a couple of surfers in the family.

Others again love the exclusive five-star enclave of Nusa Dua. It was certainly beautiful but, for our travel tastes, was lacking a bit of the Bali vibe found elsewhere. 

The W, Seminyak, Bali


Dewa Bali Smart Tours

Public transport is non existent – you have cabs or drivers as options for getting around. Both are cost effective.

Some accommodation houses come with their own shuttle services. And if you’re booking a tour, that company will come and pick you up from your accommodation.

We found our driver, Dewa {pictured above at the end of our latest trip}, via the Little Bali Love website. You can book him via his Facebook page. Dewa is an absolute champion. He is amazing for taking you to and from the airport, to and from a trip to a beach club or to book tours to different parts of the island – you’ll get a great price.

Food and drink

Single Fin dinner | 5 reasons to stay and play in Uluwatu on your next holiday in Bali

Food is cheap. Even at the fancy places, you could eat handsomely for less than equivalent standard in Australia.

Menu items include Indonesian staples plus other Asian, Mexican and Western favourites.

We also picked up drinks {Mr SY loved that Bintang is almost cheaper than water} and snacks at little supermarkets. The deli-style supermarket at Seminyak Square is particularly good.

Favourite places we drank and dined at and would recommend include:

  • Sarong: One for the grown ups and up there with some of THE best dining experiences I’ve ever had. Still dreaming about the soft shell crab salad. We paid about $AU200 for three courses, two cocktails, a bottle of Australian wine ($60) and coffee. More here.
  • MAMA San: From the same family as Sarong, enjoy lunch or dinner of amazing Asian treats. My hot tip – try everything on the starter menu. Book ahead.
  • Ku De Ta: Beachside bar, pool and restaurant, perfect for sunset drinks. Lobster gyoza a must eat. More here.
  • Potato Head: Beachside pool and bar. Perfect for sunset drinks too. More here. If you can swing dinner as well, do try the chilli crab at Lillian
  • The W: Stunning location for the whole day. Drinks and food served poolside too. Got a special occasion or just because? Book the famous Sunday brunch. It’s worth it.
  • Grocer & Grind: Deli items, dine in and takeaway. Was craving a salad and this place gave me that fix.
  • Single Fin, Uluwatu: Cheap eats and drinks with one of the best views high up above this famous surf break.
  • Sunset Bar, Ayana Resort: If you can’t get into The Rock Bar – they don’t take bookings – then this is a great place to watch the sun set. Order a signature watermelon or coconut cocktail.
  • Motel Mexicola, Seminyak: Go for frozen magaritas and braised beef tacos. More here.
  • Revolver, Seminyak: the big difference I found in the three years since visiting Bali was that good coffee was more plentiful. This was a favourite and also very much worth a breakfast or brunch stop.
  • Sisterfields, Seminyak: This Aussie-influenced cafe always has a line up outside – make it a must for breakfast, brunch or lunch.
  • oneeighty, Uluwatu: Enjoy fresh and fabulous dishes, served at this cliffside restaurant with the famous glass-bottom pool. Book ahead to secure a spot.
  • Sundays Beach Club, Uluwatu: the menu is crafted by Australian chef James Viles from Biota Dining in Bowral, NSW. The team works with local farmers and fishermen.
  • Ulu Cliffhouse, Uluwatu: was next level with a food and drinks menu that had me at the fun graphics but delivered on fresh and fun dishes and cocktails with a twist.
  • The Slow, Canggu: this was some of the best food I’ve ever experienced, not just in Bali. We dined for dinner but its breakfast is pretty famous too. Go early to dinner and enjoy sunset on the rooftop.
  • The Lawn, Canggu: another beachfront beach club with a pool for sunset views, we also loved the food and vibe here.
  • Old Man’s, Canggu: in the tradition of an Aussie beachside beer garden, Old Man’s offers great pub food at good prices.
  • The Loft, Canggu: Canggu has become the Bondi of Bali, with health-loving cafes on every corner – and in between. This was just one of the many near our villa, serving up everything from smoothie bowls, to poke bowls and almond milk lattes.

oneeighty food | The Edge | 5 reasons to stay and play in Uluwatu on your next holiday in Bali

Bali Belly

We ordered and drank bottled water everywhere: here at Ku De Ta, Seminyak, Bali

We lucked it on the January trip with only one of us succumbing to the dreaded Bali Belly. In October, the 11 of us were affected in some way. On the 2016 trip, four of our group, including me succumbed. Luckily I was home before it set in. In this last trip none of us really experienced any issues. Not sure if it helped with my recovery and prevention but we took probiotics every day – from a week before and continuing after. 

Big key? Drink and brush teeth with only bottled water. 

Places to see

Waterbom Park, Kuta, Bali

  • Waterbom Park: seriously the cleanest and most efficient water park I’ve ever been to. The fact that I could drink cocktails from our poolside cabana while the kids went crazy? Big, big plus.
  • Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest: The kids loved this. Bigs especially. The monkeys were pretty well behaved the day we went. More here.
  • Mount Batur volcano: Stunning contrast to the beaches in both climate and view. Dine at one of the restaurants that line the ridge with a view to the volcano and surrounding lakes.
  • Lembongan Island cruise: a bit crazy, crowded touristy for my liking but the youngest in the family LOVED this. The boat takes you and 200 others across to a pontoon moored off the island of Lembongan. From the pontoon you can snorkel, ride a banana boat, take a village tour on the island or slide down the waterside 50,000 times like Mr 7 did. Expect to pay about $US275 for a family of four {kids under 12}.
  • Uluwatu: Loved travelling down to this part of the island – stunning views and scenery. More here.
  • Nusa Dua: Not staying at one of the resorts in this enclave? There is a public beach plus beach clubs where you can lounge all day as long as you order drinks. More here.
  • Bodyworks: Not so much to see but to do. Beautiful spa treatments in Balinese style at a fraction of Australian costs.
  • Quad bike riding: the boys loved this. It was a tour and activity in Ubud organised through our driver, Bali Smart Tours.
  • Day trip to Nusa Penida: Also organised through Bali Smart Tours, we travelled to Sanur, caught a fast boat to this island off Bali for some picturesque photo spots, followed by some of the best snorkelling ever.

Nusa Lembongan cruise to snorkel on reef, Bali


In previous trips, we did most of our shopping on the streets of Seminyak. It’s boutique-y and not trashy. There are also plenty of surf brands on offer at slightly cheaper prices than in Australia. This trip, I wandered the boutiques of Canguu – in a couple of different areas in Canguu. The first area was near us in the northern part (Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong); the other was in the southern part (Jl. Pantai Berawa).

Mist boutique, Seminyak, Bali

Fave stores:

  • Mist: I was told to hunt down this label when in Bali and I wasn’t disappointed. Beautiful summer frocks in hand printed fabrics of the softest rayon. That’s why you’ll pay more – $AU80-90 – than similar designs in other stores. And I’m told that’s considerably cheaper – about 40%- than buying in Australia.
  • Drifter Surf: Mr SY loved this indie surf store. A refreshing addition to the big name surf brand stores which dominate the island.
  • Sari Dewi Silver: our driver took us here on the way to Ubud. It’s a massive store where the prices are in $US but you’re encouraged to bargain down to less than half the marked price.
  • Biasa: Italian-designed floaty cottons in statement cuts that scream quality.
  • frockk: Another Australian brand based in Bali, frockk’s signature style is all about effortless elegance through cotton/linen blends. Expect to pay about 30% less than in Australia.
  • Toko Emporium: Aussie expat Janet curates a fabulous collection of decor items, accessories and some clothing – you won’t be able to leave the store without buying something.


We used Visa credit and debit pretty much everywhere and only needed actual cash for paying our driver and a few cab fares. There are money changers everywhere. With 1 million rupiah equalling about $100 it’s very easy to feel like a millionaire. Suggest taking a large-sized wallet that can fit a lot of notes!

Internet access

Just about every cafe and restaurant in Bali has free wi-fi, well free for the price of a drink or lunch. Just ask for the password. 

Unless venturing out of the main tourist areas, or needing phone access for work, I wouldn’t bother with an international data pack or a pre-paid Bali sim card.


We felt very safe throughout the trip. There are security checks on cars and often bags, as well before entry to any of the major tourist spots and hotels. On our first trip, as we drove past the site of the Sari Club bombing and memorial to those who lost their lives, it seemed to me that this “new” Bali is here to stay.

Over to you … what tips do you have for Styling You readers travelling to Bali?

More Bali posts

October 2013:  You can read all about my tips for a girls’ getaway to Bali here.

October 2016: You can read about my tips for a shopping escape to Bali here

July 2018: You can read about my tips for staying and playing in Uluwatu here.

Why I choose Allianz travel insurance


Why I choose Allianz Travel Insurance

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My travel insurance of choice is Allianz Travel Insurance. I can quickly and simply purchase my insurance online to suit my travel dates and destinations. Allianz offers competitive rates for travel to destinations all around the world.

When travelling to Bali in October 2016, I chose comprehensive insurance as not only did it provide cover for unlimited medical assistance but also, if unexpected cancellations occurred that prevented my travel home, I’d be covered with help for new accommodation and flight expenses.

It’s also peace of mind, knowing that I can call a doctor to my hotel or villa should I, or any member of my family fall ill.  This happened with one of our group in 2016. She fell ill the day before flying home and was able to get the doctor to come to her hotel room and treat her so she could travel.

Book online here.


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Comments 137

  1. Great post and spot on. This is my third visit to Bali and I too use Dewa. He is awesome, great driver, knows everything to do and nothing is too much trouble. Very good price with a great guy

  2. Awesome article! Thank you for sharing. We are going to bali for the first time next week Monday from South Africa. Really excited and your article got me more clued up and more excited.

  3. Super useful post Nikki! I’m currently contacting Wayan and Dewa about their service when I’m there next month. Can’t wait πŸ™‚

  4. Hello, I’m going to Bali in 2 weeks time. I would like to know whether the hotels/bars/restaurants there prefer USD/AUSD/Rupiah? I’m from Malaysia, so I’m worried that if I bring Rupiah notes, they will charge me more than I have to pay when I’m paying using the other 2 currencies which are slightly higher than our MYR.

    P/s: You wrote that visitors are required to pay for entry visa on arrival at the airport. Is it only applicable to Aussie or applicable to all visitors prior entering the island? Thanks SY =)

    1. I would check re the entry visa but I think it applies to all nationalities Azri as for currency on the ground, we used rupiah (withdrew from atms) for smaller cafes/restaurants and our visa debit or credit at hotels and shops.

    2. Hi Azri, I’m also going to Bali in about a month time and I’m from JB. M’sians are exempted from the visa requirement so we don’t need to pay the USD25 πŸ™‚

  5. Great post, and handy tips…. if only I had found your blog before my first trip to Bali back in July…. but we must have hit the ground running, because we loved it so much we are heading back for 2 weeks in 10 days time. One week in Seminyak and one week in Ubud. Can’t wait.
    This time, I need to learn to pack light, REALLY light, I didn’t need half of what I took last time, (jeans? really? what was I thinking). There are so many beautiful (not to mention awesomely priced) things to buy in Bali I need room to fill my suitcase on the way back. This time we are taking over books and school supplies for a school visit we have planned in a little village outside Ubud, which will leave space to fill with lovely little treasures.
    My only additional tip for Bali goers (that you have touched on), if your villa staff/driver go above and beyond to make your stay even better, give them a tip. The average hospitality wage in Bali is $60-$80 a month, so a little $20-$30AUD thank you goes a long way and is so appreciated.

  6. Hi there! Great post πŸ™‚
    I’m looking at going there for the first time in August, but I’m not sure where to stay. I really like the idea of staying in Ubud or Seminyak, but I’m not sure which. I really like going to handmade markets and snorkeling and stuff. Can you give me some more tips, etc? First time traveling alone and have no idea what to do lol. Thank you!

    1. hi Cristin, I am ruddy…I have plan to visit bali alone too,,I live in east borneo, I can guide you in bali if you want it…you can reach me on +628115828468

  7. Bali as you know is overwhelmed by foreigners
    investing money, which is good for the economy, BUT many are making mega
    dollars benefiting from the cheap labor and long term rent of the land.
    Through the building of villas and then advertising overseas, often the
    workers have no idea of the cost of the rooms, the transactions are not
    done in Bali, and the money goes elsewhere. Slowly the Balinese owned
    hotels and restaurants are disappearing because of the competition.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to book a hotel knowing the money goes to a
    Balinese family business? Well next time you visit, check as to who owns
    the hotel or restaurant you often visit and make sure your dollar goes
    to help the local people!

    1. On both my trips to Bali this year we made a difference to at least two families – that I know of. The driver that I’ve mentioned above? He contacted me personally to thank me – he has people contacting him every month to book him thanks to my blog. On my October trip, the villa is managed by a Balinese family (owned by an Australian who lives in Bali) but this family not only received an income via us that week but we also gave them extra at the end of our stay.

  8. Hello, such an informative post, my partner and friends are traveling to seminyak in 2 weeks time for a fortnight and I was just wondering if it is worth packing a jumper in case it rains? I have heard that because it is tropical rain the temperature doesn’t really drop like it does here in Australia… Also if we were planning on going out newyears night is it worth making a reservation this far in advanced or would it be okay to turn up to a venue on the night with no reservation?

    1. Hi Sian, the only time it was cold for us was when we went up to the volcano. The rain is short and sharp and relieves the humidity briefly but that’s it. And yes to making a reservation – on my girls’ trip we booked in advance for all as even in a non-peak season it can be difficult to get into the places you want to get into. If you’re wanting to spend the evening at somewhere like Potato Head – I’d make a dinner reservation. You can’t book the pool beds so you’d just have to get there super early and spend the day.

    2. Hi Sian, the only time it was cold for us was when we went up to the volcano. The rain is short and sharp and relieves the humidity briefly but that’s it. And yes to making a reservation – on my girls’ trip we booked in advance for all as even in a non-peak season it can be difficult to get into the places you want to get into. If you’re wanting to spend the evening at somewhere like Potato Head – I’d make a dinner reservation. You can’t book the pool beds so you’d just have to get there super early and spend the day.

  9. Hi Nikki,
    The post is very useful. Thanks for it πŸ™‚ I am travelling to Bali for first time in April 14. Can you let me know what will be the average cost of living (in USD) per day for a tourist in Bali.

  10. Hi I just wanted a little bit of info what time should I leave the hotel in seminyak for a return flight to Sydney leaving at 1 am?

  11. Great tips, thanks!! Taking the family in January, 1st o/s trip, and getting very excited apart from the negative comments I’m receiving from people around me who have never been to Bali before. (I’m only listening to the positive ones who have been!!) One thing I’m not sure about is the vaccinations. People that have been, say you don’t need them. What do you suggest? Staying in Nusa Dua and will visit Seminyak and Legian often as my sister who is married to a Balinese will be staying in Legian and also travelling 2 hours north to visit my brother in laws family.

    1. We were advised that staying in the main tourist areas we wouldn’t need M but maybe if visiting your BIL’s family, it’s worth getting advice from your GP about. And yes, funny how the negative comes from those who haven’t visited. We felt safe the entire time. The new airport is great too.

  12. great page πŸ™‚ im traveling back to bali for the 2nd time in march with a group of friends.last time i went was 1 1/2yr ago with family was great but got Bali belly witch was the worst πŸ™ i had my 1yr old daughter and she loved it there we loved the Safari & Marine park it was great we got photos with white tiger and the monkey & had a elephant ride.also loved the waterbomb park and potato head. we stayed in Legian at the all seasons hotel and will be staying there again in march thank you for all ur extra tips will be sure to check them out

  13. Thanks for taking the time to share your info we stay at Villa Ani Ani in Umalas when we are in Bali great old school Bali tropical villa.

  14. I love Bali! I went for the first time last year and had a ball. One of the most fun things we did was go white water rafting in Ubud. SO fun. We’re going back again in December and this time, we found an amazing treehouse on Air BnB in Ubud, overlooking rice paddies. Can’t wait!


    1. Hey Jo-Anne, how was it there for you the first time? Me and my hubby
      are going visit Bali for the first time on December 6th, cant wait!! πŸ˜€
      but first we must survive 17 hours on a plane =/ we are traveling from Sweden.

      Can you tell me more about the water rafting? Sounds awesome πŸ˜€

  15. yes nikki definitely worth the money to sit in one of the airline private lounges and the other one that i always use and have gotten alllll my friends to use is VIP VOA, its a vip service that you can buy sooooo cheap, i think its about $30 (plus your visa on arrival money), the $30 is for a person that greets you not far from when you get into the airport from off the plane, you are whisked away to a lounge where you receive a refreshing drink and you just sit for a little while and then, you are whisked outside through the arrival gate, through customs and out to where your luggage is waiting for you to collect – its a faaabulous service and helps you navigate through the sometimes long and tedious (and sweaty) queues that you can encounter when arriving in bali!!! Im not sure if I post on here the details or what do i do nikki??

  16. Hi Nikki! I’m visiting Bali in November and this article is really great! Would you know which timings to avoid arriving at the airport? We were told that the queues can range from 30 mins to 3 hours depending on our time of arrival. We are really hoping to avoid the long queues to clear customs..Thank you!

  17. Hi Nikki … I’m off to Bali soon so your tips have been really helpful. One question … did you drink any drinks with ice in them … or cocktails?

  18. Hi Nikki, it looks like you had an amazing holiday and thank you for the tips – I have started planning our next holiday based on them! I just wondered where you were in the photo eating burgers (right under your food & drink heading). Looks perfect for my little ones!

      1. did you ever manage to get to the living room?? its simply gorgeous, candleabra’s everywhere which absolutely make the restaurant’s atmosphere amaaazingly romantic! Not sure if the food is still french based, after all i havent been there for four years, but certainly when i lived there, it was wonderful!

  19. No wonder this is such a popular post….you’ve included so much helpful information. I’ve not been to Bali, but am very tempted.

    1. the drivers will be as involved or un involved as you want, they will walk around with you and very much like to be included as part of the “family”, this would include buying their meals and drinks whilst they are driving for you….at least offer it to them, if they say no thank you (which balinese say a lot, but really they mean thank you) you can ask them again and they will more than likely say yes!!! Funny people and a very very interesting culture!!

  20. Thank you for that interesting and informative write up! Beautiful family pics!!! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Great blogs. Really love to read it.
    Australian normally the love water activities and Elephant Ride at Taro.
    Bali Hiking is pretty popular for young Australian now.


    Bali Hiking

      1. actually my friend started up the first suntan salon in bali, she is right behind bali deli (another FANTASTIC place to eat in bali, an institution as its where alot of your “wealthy” expats tend to do their grocery shopping, GREAT people watching)!!!

      2. actually my friend started up the first suntan salon in bali, she is right behind bali deli (another FANTASTIC place to eat in bali, an institution as its where alot of your “wealthy” expats tend to do their grocery shopping, GREAT people watching)!!!

  22. Awesome travel tips Nikki. This is probably the best Bali guide online I have come across…great help… thanks a lot. :):)

  23. Have you ever been to Pandawa beach in Bukit ? it’s a new famous white-sand beach in Bali now

  24. Hi, I was wondering if Cantik Bali Villas was a good and legitimate website to book through for a villa in bali? Thanks for your help!

    1. For sure, Michelle, I wouldn’t have linked to them if I had had any problems. We booked, paid our deposit then layby-ed the accommodation over three months. It’s an Australian-based company and the prices are more competitive than booking via the villa direct.

  25. Some great tips there – my best tip is to fly with Garuda and from Sydney airport you can prepay the $25 visa and you won’t have to line up on arrival at Denpasar and go straight thru to customs πŸ™‚

  26. Hey Nikki, I used to live in bai and wanted to give you some tips before you went but luckily you found out about the two greatest places over there Potato Head and Ku De Ta, if you like hanging out with the beautiful people that is (or people watching) both are just as interesting for those things…..another fantastic tip that I ALWAYS make sure i take advantage of is, on arrival at Denpasar airport there is a service called VIP VOA, its run by an indonesian guy, they collect your passport and money off you when you get off the plane and escort you to a room where you are seated and given a fresh juice and you wait maybe 1/2 hr 20 mins, they come back, escort you OUT of the airport to where your driver will be waiting and there you go, you dont have to get your luggage, you dont have to rush to get to the visa on arrival queue, and wait for sometimes aaaages, its all so simple, civilised and CHEAP, I think its $45 max but i cant quote that as i havent been for three years, but, the woman who deals with him all the time, travels all the time and i could find out via her if you would want me to, or anyone else that wants to know…..also my girlfriend is the top seller for garuda orient holidays and boy, does she know some beautiful places to stay, she is a good one to book through as well…..sooooo glad you had a great time, its a beautiful special place and i hope one day to live there again!!!!

    1. The people watching was amazing! And yes, we were aware of the VIP service but opted out of it and glad we did – when our plane arrived there were no others around and we went straight through and our driver was waiting at the other end.

  27. Some great advice! Just to let you know, you can pay for your entry visa with AUD these days. Ends up being $25-27 depending on the exchange rate. Not sure why it’s more especially as our dollar is stronger than the US$.

    1. Really? I always organise USD before heading to bali as I can’t be bothered with the fuss of them rejecting AUD at the counter.

  28. Will re-visit this post when we go for our second Bali trip one day. I think I must be the only person I know who went to Bali and DIDN’T visit a spa – boooo! We stayed at the Padma hotel which I loved, and the fave family trip is a toss up between the elephants and the downhill long bike trip.

  29. Huge thanks, we are going for 10 days in June/July. I am so excited just reading your post. We will use many of your tips for sure. Bec x

  30. Ah Bali, your post brought back lovely memories, now, I wonder if I could squeeze a little trip in between now and the end of the year! Ubud has some great little boutiques too. And a great villa/day spa combo for a great price, I love the serenity and it’s a great way to slide into Bali and shake off our hectic lives. Thanks for the info Nikki, love your work!

  31. I have been to Bali multiple times now over the past 10 years, the most recent was over the new year period. I can honestly say that I will never go back again. The traffic has become a nightmare, 3 hour traffic jams to get from one side of the city to the other. More and more pushy sellers who wont take no for an answer. Scams galore, dirty, over crowded etc etc. Bali has become a victim of its own success.
    I urge anyone who is thinking of a Bali holiday to look at Lombok instead. It is all the best bits of Bali and none of the bad stuff.
    The people are friendly the roads are amazing, the hawkers are not intrusive, people come and talk to you and they don’t want anything from you. The beaches are cleaner, there are less tourists etc etc.
    I am afraid that Bali is no longer the paradise it once was. If you have never been before you obviously wont know how much it has changed so it might not bother you as much, but it really is sad to see that it has almost become the very opposite of the reason you want to visit.
    Lombok on the other hand is truly a tropical paradise.

    1. It’s funny you should say that – we were kind of “prepared” for the traffic (coming from a very busy tourist area ourselves) – but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it’s busy (I’m told that we were off peak so not as busy as when you went) but I was amazed at how patient drivers on the road are over there. And I agree if you’re looking for a “get away from it all” experience, then you would be disappointed. We weren’t after that – I love my creature comforts too much πŸ˜‰

  32. Great post, Nikki. Sounds like you had an amazing time with the family and you certainly packed in sooo many of the best bits of Seminyak. I am heading back to Bali for my third year in a row in May (fourth time over there) – just can’t get enough! Dreaming of Sarong and Bodyworks now : )

  33. We love Bali & usually go at least once a year, so quick to get there & cheap from Darwin. We call it our Gold Coast. We also do the probiotic tablets & luckily have never had bali belly, it’s also he only time I ever drink full strength coke also – they reckon that keeps the Bali belly away too!

  34. Great tips Nikki. I loved Bali and I think you have hit the nail on the head there.. Some tips I had already forgotten about and will be sure to read this blog post before I go again. x

  35. So pleased you had a great holiday and arrived home eventually and to not too much damage. Nothing worse than being stuck in an airport when the joy is being allowed to get on the plane – only to find you are cooped up for longer! The joys of living in Australia. Thanks so much for the tips and suggestions – I never wanted to go to Bali as it wasn’t really my cup of tea but the places you visited on your holiday have made me reconsider that.

  36. Really helpful tips, Nikki. I love Bali and it’s probably the shortest flight we can take from Perth – closer than any airport in Australia, so we have been a couple of times and I think your wrap is great advice for any Bali newbies. For Nusa Dua, I can recommend the lovely Melia Bali and for very very special occasions, Maya Ubud in the hills near Ubud.

  37. Hi nikki, love seminyak shopping, but I found all the clothes to be tiny and I’m only a size 12. Did you find any stores that sold anything other than 6 and 8’s? Thanks

  38. Glad to see you arrived back safe and sound Nikki! Loved the IG daily pics throughout your trip. We had friends here over the weekend and I said to them that after seeing your pic’s and reading your posts I would now love to go to Bali. Thanks so much for the inspirational posts and excellent tips πŸ™‚ Post saved to Evernote for future reference!

  39. Thanks Nikki you sure used your waiting time,very well,No I have never been to Bali I thought it was very touristy and not a place I would like to go,but since you have covered everything I think you have changed my mind,I love all the tips , the shopping and spa’s and Restaurants are right up my alley,thankyou for all the research you did and It does look like a place I would like to visit,I am going to look into it and I would prefer a villa as well,Love all your family pics,beautful, thanks for sharing with us.

  40. Thanks Nikki. I’m heading to Seminyak with a group of girlfriends next week and I’ve been following your posts,taking notes and making lists! Glad you and the family had a fabulous holiday.

  41. So thorough. Thank you again, am going to use all this info for my first trip in July.
    So glad you had such a lovely holiday and kind enough to share it.

  42. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this information! We are planning to go in April but really had no idea where to start. I love hearing other people’s experiences and recommendations before I book anything. Will be definitely taking all your suggestions on board πŸ™‚

    Hope you are all keeping safe and dry up there!

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