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Backpacking Bali Travel Blog {The Ultimate Expert Guide 2018}

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Backpacking Bali Travel Blog

The Ultimate Expert Guide 2018

Backpacking bali travel blog thumbnail

The Ultimate Backpacking Bali Travel Blog {Updated Expert Guide 2018}

Commonly referred to as “The Land of the Gods”, backpacking Bali has quickly become one of the most sought-after adventures on the minds of every traveler around the world.

With a seemingly endless array of majestic natural wonders, looming smoking volcanoes and pristine turquoise colored beaches embraced by powdery white sand, Bali is a place that seems almost too beautiful to be real.

Continue reading our Ultimate Backpacking Bali Travel Blog to learn everything there is to know about a Bali Backpacking adventure.






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Bali Backpacking For First Timers

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No matter whether you’re an avid explorer, a relentless party animal or simply looking to relax poolside at your secluded beachside villa sipping a mojito into the sunset, Bali has got you covered!

Instantly engaging from the moment you arrive, Bali is as dynamic a destination as they come.

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Tukad Cepung Waterfall | Ubud

Photo Edit | Tropical Obsession Lightroom Preset Pack

Not to mention that one of the biggest upsides to backpacking Bali is that you will have the chance to explore one of the most mystifyingly captivating places on earth and you won’t even come close to breaking the bank.

Bali is one of the most affordable holidays you can possibly treat yourself to!

From the ravishingly elegant accommodations to the assortment of exquisite Balinese cuisines topped off by the chaotic yet surprisingly addictive nightlife, Bali is a destination within everyone’s budget.

How To Get Around Bali

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Rumah Pohon Treehouse | Nusa Penida


Although Bali might seem like a small island it is actually fairly large with the vast majority of destinations spread all throughout.

Although some destinations like Seminyak and Canggu offer excellent base locations to begin your Bali backpacking holiday, if you hope to become fully acquainted with every corner of magnificence on this island be prepared to venture around a bit.

Renting a scooter in Bali

 Granted this may be the preferred method of transportation as it is the quickest and most versatile, it is also the most dangerous.

Although anyone backpacking Bali on a budget will quickly fall in love with the budget friendly transportation option that the scooters offer, just be aware that there is a bit of a learning curve.

The traffic on the island is quite congested, chaotic and unforgiving.

Therefore, first time scooter riders will get their first dose of culture shock as they attempt to navigate the organized chaos that is Bali traffic.

In spite of all that, once you become familiar with riding the scooters, exploring Bali or any Southeast Asian country becomes a joyful and invigorating experience.

backpacking bali motorbike

How much is it to rent a scooter in Bali?

Estimate between 40k-70k IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) depending on your location.  The prices in the Nusa Islands do tend to be on the higher end while mainland Bali trends toward the lower end.

Hire A Private Driver In Bali

Don’t feel comfortable riding a scooter? No worries and trust me you are not alone…


Hire a private car and driver to transport/guide you throughout your days sightseeing itinerary.

A little bit of extra money goes a long way in Bali!

Hiring a private car will get you a comfortable air-conditioned ride in a modern Sedan or SUV as you are conveniently chauffeured around Bali.

How much does a private driver cost in Bali?

Estimate between 400k-700k IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) depending on your location. The prices in the Nusa Islands do tend to be on the higher end while mainland Bali trends toward the lower end.

Take a ferry in Bali

Ferry transports can be easily booked from either the ferry port, travel agent or even your accommodation if they offer this service (most hostels and hotels do).

However, just be sure to reserve your spot a day in advance to prevent the possibilities of a sold-out boat.

How much does do ferries cost in Bali?

Estimate between 100k-300k IDR (Indonesian Rupiah) for a one-way ticket depending on your desired destination.

Where To Go In Bali

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Nusa Islands

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Suwehan Beach | Nusa Penida

Photo Edit | Tropical Obsession Lightroom Preset Pack

For a majority of travelers, the Instafamous islands of Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida will steal the show as the most remarkable destinations you will visit during your backpacking Bali holiday.

Although they are a short ferry ride away this tropical trio is still considered to be part of Bali and offers travelers the chance to step into a dreamlike island paradise touting some of the most spectacular coastal panoramas in all of Bali.

Not only are they the most beautiful but they are also the least crowded offering travelers a much more pleasant Bali backpacking experience.

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Kelingking Beach | Nusa Penida

Photo Edit | Tropical Obsession Lightroom Preset Pack

However decreased amounts of tourists is not for everyone…

By the same token, as alluringly beautiful as these islands may be, if you are interested in destinations with nightlife and a legitimate social scene then be advised there is virtually none of that here.

So don’t mistake these islands to be anything comparable to the atmosphere found on the Gili Islands because you will be highly disappointed.

Best For:

  • The adventurous ones! If your soul yearns for secluded, exquisite endeavors then Nusa Penida is your dream come true.
  • Not to mention, if one of your life long goals is to swim with Manta Rays, then this is also your dream come true.

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Manta Point | Nusa Penida

Photo Edit | Tropical Obsession Lightroom Preset Pack

Don’t Stay Here If:

  • If you’re searching for an easy-going, comfortable holiday where everything is spoon-fed to you in an all-inclusive resort.
  • This is the least developed part of Bali and therefore a majority of the roads are dirt and gravel.
  • Not to mention there’s only a select few restaurants to eat at in town.

Where Are The Nusa Islands Located?

The Nusa Islands are located just 30 minutes off the east coast of Bali mainland.

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Devils Tears | Nusa Lembongan


How Long Should I Stay In The Nusa Islands?

Depending on what your particular interests are 4-5 nights is the perfect amount of time to explore all of the astounding sights that the Nusa Islands have to offer.

Nonetheless, be sure to spend a majority of your time in Nusa Penida given that it is the largest of the three islands and the most difficult to navigate.

Things To Do In The Nusa Islands

  • Kelingking Beach
  • Suwehan Beach
  • Swim With Manta Rays at Manta Point
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Devils Tears
  • Rumah Pohon Treehouse
  • Thousand Islands Viewpoint
  • Atuh Beach

Click Here To Find The Top Rated Nusa Penida/Cennigan Accommodation


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tukad cepung waterfall cave



Bali’s cultural hub has struck a fine balance between traditional and contemporary offering a completely tranquil and soothing experience for anyone backpacking Bali.

Located just an hour north of Denpasar Airport, Ubud is unlike a majority of other cities in Bali as is exalts authentic Balinese traditions as opposed to the much more westernized cities of Kuta and Seminyak.

Characterized by its old-fashioned traditions, verdant picturesque vistas that stretch for miles and an overwhelming sense of tranquility, Ubud is the perfect place to experience a snapshot of Bali’s cultural epicenter.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace Love Bali Signs

Tegalalang Rice Terraces | Ubud


Best For:

  • Nature lovers and anyone interested in exploring the breathtaking Rice Terraces!
  • Unique traditional artwork, handcrafted sculptures and exceptional souvenir shopping.
  • Yoga, spas, meditation and relaxation away from all the hustle and bustle found elsewhere while backpacking Bali.

Don’t Stay Here If:

  • If your main priorities surround nightlife and partying.
  • Although there are some bars in town it’s nothing too crazy or even worth getting drunk for. 

Where Is Ubud Located?

Ubud is located in central Bali about an hour north of Denpasar Airport.

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Tegenungan Waterfall


How Long Should I Stay In Ubud?

Depending on what your particular interests are 3-4 nights will be more than enough time to explore all the different Ubud attractions.

Things To Do In Ubud

  • Tegalalang Rice Terraces
  • Tukad Cepung Waterfall
  • Monkey Forest
  • Tibumana Waterfall
  • Tegenungan Waterfall
  • Ubud Art Market
  • Hike Mount Batur

Click Here To Find The Top Rated Ubud Accommodation

Gili Islands

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Gili Trawangan

Although not technically part of Bali, the Gili Islands are a frequent stop on most travelers Bali backpacking itinerary. Or at the least those in search of some wild, booze fueled and infamously scandalous nightlife.

Well just to be clear that description is only accurate for one island in particular named Gili Trawangan. The other two islands of Gili Air and Meno are nothing like this.

gili underwater statue

Best For:

  • A wild party atmosphere fueled by cheap drinks and carefree hedonistic mentality.
  • Acquiring a Certified Diving License.
  • Days spent lounging in the sun on a tropical paradise with not a care in sight.

Don’t Stay Here If:

  • You are interested in more adventurous activities like hiking or trekking.
  • You are not interested in experiencing nightlife, otherwise you will struggle to find the beauty of this destination. (Gili Trawangan)

Tiu Kelep Waterfall Lombok

Tiu Kelep Waterfall | Lombok


Where Are The Gili Islands Located?

The Gili Islands are located just off the northwest coast of Lombok, which although commonly associated with Bali is why they are technically part of Lombok.

How Long Should I Stay In The Gili Islands?

This is a difficult question to answer because given there isn’t much in particular to be seen between the three islands, the answer is solely based upon how long you care to indulge in the tropical and carefree Gili lifestyle.

I’ve seen people spend three weeks here during a one-month Bali backpacking holiday and others leave after two days because they truly didn’t care for it.

However, if you love a good party and are looking to relax after relentlessly exploring all the breathtaking destinations in Bali than I would recommend 5-7 nights.

It’s all too common to fall head over heels in love with the Gili Islands, especially Gili Trawangan.

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Gili Trawangan Boat Party 


Gili Trawangan (The Party Island)

As the most developed and westernized of the three islands, Gili Trawangan is guaranteed to present you with some of the wildest nights of your entire trip.

Along with the incessant partying and more hangovers than you will care to remember, days are often spent recuperating along the beautiful white sandy beaches or in hot pursuit of one of the worlds cheapest diving certfications.


Gili Meno (Romantic Getaway)

Gili Meno is the smallest of the three islands, however it is known as the most romantic. It is a flawlessly romantic getaway for couples interested in nothing but each other’s company amongst the most tropical of settings.

Gili Air (Chilled Vibes)

Gili Air offers the best of both worlds between the upbeat atmosphere of Gili Trawangan along with the remote tropical feels of Gili Meno. The island maintains similar amenities as Gili T, however it manages to maintain a low-key hippy feel among its nightlife venues.

Things To Do In Gili Islands

  • Get Your Diving License 
  • Snorkel Trip
  • Underwater Statues
  • Tui Kelep Waterfall
  • Boat Party
  • Party

If you're wondering how to get to the Gili Islands from Bali then be sure to CLICK HERE FOR OUR DETAILED GUIDE


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Seminyak has a bit more of an upscale feel to it offering high end fashion, fine-dining and some rather luxurious accommodation options

Not to mention that some of the most popular beach clubs in Bali can be found in Seminyak such as Potato Head and Mrs Sippy.

Finally let’s not forget about the nightlife as Seminyak has also got you covered in this department featuring the crowd favorites Motel Mexicola and La Favela which both on weekends regularly see hour long waits to get in.

If you are on a bit of a budget while backpacking Bali, you might want to reconsider staying in Seminyak and look to other options nearby like the up and coming area of Canggu.

Best For:

  • Someone looking for a balance of everything that includes beaches, beach clubs, nightlife, good food and shopping.

Don’t Stay Here If:

  • You are backpacking Bali on a budget. Although Seminyak is quite exceptional, on the other side of the coin it can also be quite expensive.
  • Looking for somewhere that is less touristy and surrounded by nature. If so, your best bet is to stay somewhere like Ubud or Uluwatu.

Where Is Seminyak Located?

Seminyak is located on the west coast of Bali just 25-minutes north of Denpasar Airport.

How Long Should I Stay In Seminyak?

Seminyak is more of a base location and lifestyle place as opposed to it being a sightseeing destination, therefore the duration of stay is solely based on what type of experience you are looking for out of your Bali backpacking holiday.

I would recommend staying 3-4 nights in Seminyak if you are attempting a full Bali backpacking tour.

Things To Do In Seminyak?

  • Mrs Sippy Beach Club
  • Potato Head Beach Club
  • Motel Mexicola
  • La Favela
  • Photoshoot At The Entrance of W Hotel
  • Seminyak Beach
  • Shopping Along Seminyak Main Strip



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Formerly branded as the party capital of Bali, Kuta is now a run down, disappointing and quite frankly dangerous shadow of its former self.

With a number of other destinations flourishing in recent years thanks to the sudden boom in tourism of places such as Seminyak, Gili Trawangan and Canggu, Kuta has been left in the dust offering little to no value to anyone interested in a remarkable backpacking Bali experience.

Although Kuta still has a semblance of its prior nightlife, there are plenty of other places (like the ones mentioned above) throughout Bali that will offer you a much more pleasant and memorable experience.

Best For:

  • Partying, souvenir shopping, and getting robbed.
  • Anyone on a budget looking to stay near more popular areas like Seminyak.

Don’t Stay Here If:

  • You’re looking for anything remarkably fancy or luxurious. Kuta can sometimes be enjoyable, however keep in mind it can also be quite sketchy, dangerous and is infamous for pickpocketing so mind your belongings.
  • If you’re envisioning a destination with tropical charm surrounded by nature, Kuta is not the place for you and I would keep reading on to find somewhere to suit you better.

Where Is Kuta Located?

Kuta is located in southern Bali about 12 minutes north of Denpasar airport and 15 minutes south of Seminyak.

How Long Should I Stay In Kuta?

Spend as little time here as possible. There are much better places that offer similar affordable rates as Kuta without all the negatives that go along with it.

Things To Do In Kuta

  • Sky Garden
  • Kuta Beach
  • Shopping



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Uluwatu Temple


Famed by towering coastal cliffs flaunting luxurious resorts and villas embraced by unmatched panoramic views, Uluwatu is one Bali destination that truly stands in a class of its own.

The laid-back surfer’s atmosphere found in Uluwatu offers a wonderful place to simply relax and escape the crowds.

Best For:

  • Anyone who craves exploring a vast selection of still fairly untouched beaches, delicious local cuisine and with much fewer tourists!
  • Luxury accommodation, peaceful/relaxing atmosphere, surfing and beach vibes.

Abandoned Plane in Uluwatu

Abandoned Plane | Uluwatu


Don’t Stay Here If:

  • Honestly, I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend Uluwatu to.

Where Is Uluwatu?

Uluwatu is located on the southern coast of Bali around a 30-45 minute drive from Denpasar Airport.

How Long Should I Stay In Uluwatu?

Uluwatu is located all the way in south Bali, making it not a good base location for exploring the northern regions of Bali.

However, there is a ton to see and do in the area so I recommend at least 3-4 nights in order to see the highlights of Uluwatu.

At the same time, you could completely justify staying a bit longer to really soak up the splendor of this magnificent place.

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Tegal Wangi Beach | Jimbaran


Top Things To Do In Uluwatu

  • Suluban Beach
  • Uluwatu Temple
  • Abandoned Airplane
  • Tegal Wangi Beach
  • Bingin Beach
  • Single Fins Beach Club (Sunday Sessions)
  • Saturday Night Beach Party At Padang Padang
  • Melasti Beach



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Touted as one of Bali’s next up and coming destinations, Canggu has quite a lot to offer backpackers.

With an immaculate blend of an upbeat yet laid-back hipster atmosphere complemented with a variety of trendy cafes and boutiques and embraced by a hedonistically driven party ambiance, it’s not hard to see why Canggu is on the rise.

Similar to Seminyak, Canggu is another excellent base location, busy enough to be social, yet close enough to the adventurous activities.

Canggu is one of those places where you might find it quite challenging to leave.

Best For:

  • Those looking for a carefree backpacker community.
  • Vegans and Vegetarians for its vast amount of vegan friendly restaurants! (And yes, they have Acai Bowls and Poke Bowls!)

canggu where to stay in bali

Don’t Stay Here If:

  • I literally have nothing bad to say about Canggu and would recommend it for everyone.

Where Is Canggu Located?

Canggu is located on the west coast of Bali right next to Seminyak and around 50-minutes north of Denpasar Airport. 

How Long Should I Stay In Canggu?

Canggu is more of a base location and lifestyle place as opposed to a sightseeing destination.

Therefore, the duration of stay is solely based on what type of experience you are looking for out of your Bali backpacking holiday.

However, I would recommend staying 3-4 nights in Canggu if you are attempting a full Bali backpacking tour.

Things To Do In Canggu

  • Tanah Lot Temple
  • The Lawn
  • Old Man’s Bar
  • Finns Beach Club
  • Visit Seminyak


where to stay in bali ad | Bali Accommodation


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