Bali is Indonesia’s most popularly visited island, particularly for Australians, though it is also very popular with Eastern Europeans and many internationals who come for the surfing at Canggu, for example, and for Russians who just like new places. If you have ever wondered about Packing for Bali, and lots of Handy Hints about Visiting Bali, well read on. You might also like to read 54 Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Bali
Having been to this island many many times, I guess we still overpack, when we don’t need to. I read on TripAdvisor that all you need is your “passport & bathers” (or swimmers, cossies, boardies, speedos, budgie smugglers as we Aussies say), but you do need a couple of other things as well.
Packing for Bali, and lots of Handy Hints about Visiting Bali
- 1 Packing for Bali, and lots of Handy Hints about Visiting Bali
- 1.1 Weather in Bali
- 1.2 Bali Packing List for Men
- 1.3 What to buy in Bali?
- 1.4 What NOT to buy in Bali?
- 1.5 Bali Packing List for Women
- 1.6 Safety in Bali
- 1.7 Bringing Electronics to Bali
- 1.8 Money and Documents for Bali
- 1.9 Where to stay in Bali
The Balinese are very religious, and while you make walk around your hotel, resort, villa in your swimwear, when you visit a temple, for example, you need to cover your knees and shoulders. I think it is also courteous when you are outside of your accommodation to dress a little more modestly, in respect of the lovely and gentle Balinese people.
Weather in Bali
Bali is hot, and Bali is humid, and tropical so you need to make sure that what you pack is lightweight, and you will get tropical downpours. You might like to read about what to do when it rains in Bali. Forget any fancy hair, because it is not going to stay like that in Bali. Just saying.
The other thing to be aware of, is that you can buy virtually anything and everything in Bali, and this supports the local economy and that is always a good thing, right?
Bali Packing List for Men
We have a friend who goes to Bali for a week each year. He packs his passport and arrives in shorts, a t-shirt, and thongs (flip-flops, jandals, or “plakkies” in South Africa. I just learned this term, and really wanted to use it in this packing for Bali post). His first stop is to buy seven t-shirts, seven boardies/shorts, seven items of underwear (jocks), and that is it. It costs him very little as Bali is cheap, but not as cheap as it used to be. Haggling is actively encouraged here; it is like a game that the Balinese love to play. Don’t haggle too hard because we are a lot better off than many Balinese who work very hard. But play the game a little because that is part and parcel of shopping in Bali. Our friend then donates these clothes, as he departs Bali after he has paid $1.30 to have them laundered. So there is your men’s packing list for Bali.
But …I would also include, one nice lightweight shirt, one nice pair of shorts, and one nice pair of boaters (Boat Shoes, slip-on loafers, or sandals). You will/might need these should you go to Potato Head Beach Club, Ku De Ta, the Rock Bar at Jimbaran or the Sheraton for Sunday brunch or any of the many upscale restaurants you will find all around Bali.
It never hurts to look nice on these occasions, though again, many people will just turn up in their beachwear. But then they probably walk around the streets in some of the (in)famous Bali t-shirts, like “I’m not gay, but $20 is $20”. I seriously cacked myself (which means in Aussie jargon, that you “laughed so hard you shit yourself,” which I didn’t, but sometimes you can’t always take the moral high ground… you gotta see the humour. My gay friends loved it.
What to buy in Bali?
Bali is awash with shops. They are literally everywhere from the shanty type shops to the large shopping malls, to the boutique shops. You can buy crap for the fun of it, clothing so that you support the local economy, or you could get some unique items from the boutique shops, particularly in Seminyak towards the Potato Head Club. You can also buy from the local vendors, and the food vendors do have some incredible food.
What NOT to buy in Bali?
You will inevitably be offered anything and everything illicit in Bali. We were sitting at breakfast one morning on the open balcony when a man asked me if I wanted viagra for my husband. I said no, he was ok. He then asked whether he might need some Valium. I sort of thought it was a shot at me, and considered it, but said no thank you. You will be offered uppers, downers and everything that you must not buy in Bali. Just say ‘no, thank you’ …politely.
Bali Packing List for Women
Footwear for Bali
Other than your thongs (flip-flops, jandals, or “plakkies”), and make sure they have a really good tread because when it rains the sidewalks are like ice skating rinks; you should also pack a pair of joggers (trainers, running shoes) should you go trekking in the rice fields of Ubud, or white water rafting. You won’t be able to climb Mount Batur or Gunung Agung as this volcano is about to blow it’s stack, quite literally. You may also need some ‘good’ shoes to enter some clubs and restaurants. Three pairs of shoes max. and remember you can buy pretty little-jewelled sandals in Bali for very little money.
You might like to read, 48 Hours in Ubud, Bali
Because of the humidity, you will find yourself changing your under garments frequently. If you are going for seven days, probably take ten pairs of knickers (panties, whatever you call them). We know you will live in your swimmers (bathers, cossies) a lot, but just to be safe. Ditto, two bra’s, they do get wet in the humidity.
You do not need a lot. You can literally buy five dresses for about 5 dollars. But I think for seven days in Bali; you would want about four light dresses, shorts, and t-shirts, or singlet tops, a nice outfit for the clubs and fancier restaurants. A Camilla Franks kaftan is always a good call.
Buy a Bali tote bag when you get to Bali. Make sure that it has a zipper across the top and that you can wear it across your body, for security sake. Make sure it is always packed with a sarong, which has multiple uses, and your sunscreen, and mozzie (mosquito) repellant, it is a tropical country, as well as bottled water.
Unfortunately, mosquitoes in Bali could carry dengue fever. As an aside, apparently, if you take Vitamin B daily for ten days before you go to Bali, it will repel the mozzies. You will see that all of the hotels, resorts, and villas spray their entire properties twice a week. Always apply your (mosquito) repellant.
About drinking the water in Bali
The water in Bali is NOT safe to drink; not even the locals drink it. Buy bottled water from a reputable outlet, and you will need to drink a lot of water. We buy a case of it as soon as we arrive from one of the grocery stores. This also means not using the water from the tap to clean your teeth. If you are like me and just instinctively do it, then put a sock over the tap, and that will remind you not to drink the water in Bali.
Bali Belly – if you can’t cook it, peel it, or wash it don’t touch it
You could get Bali Belly if you drink the tap water. My doctor told me if you can’t cook it, peel it, or wash it (with bottled water) don’t touch it. It’s not rocket science that this great advice. There are so many beautiful tropical fruits, food cooked hot and fast at local warungs, and cafes and restaurants that you are not too limited. WASH your hands regularly, and keep some hand sanitizers in your Bali tote bag.
You could take some anti-diarrhea medicine with you, though you will find that you can buy these easily from the pharmacy. I would probably not buy them from the men who also sell viagra on the streets. You only need to pack only a small travel first-aid kit with the basics when you visit Bali.
Safety in Bali
Bali is a safe place, but as with any tourist destination, things can and do happen. When you are walking along a busy street, and many are awash with motorbikes, keep your bag away from the traffic, as motorcyclist could grab it and drive off. Do wear a helmet when you inevitably hire a motorbike to explore this very paradisiacal island. It is illegal not to anyhow, but some tourists think that they know better. You are likely to be pulled over by the police, regardless of whether you are wearing a helmet or not, as you are a tourist. Have some cash in your wallet to offer to them. Just sayin’
Bringing Electronics to Bali
Bali has surprisingly good internet, especially in the cafes. Because we have been to Bali many times, our phones intuitively pick up the free Wi-Fi – it’s like we have our own network. Regardless, virtually all cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as your accommodation with have free Wi-Fi, and generally, have the password written up somewhere. It is not worth buying a SIM card in Bali.
You definitely want your phone, and a camera, though phones now take very good photos. Because of the humidity, you will find that if you walk from an air-conditioned mall into the humidity, then your phone or particularly your camera will fog up. It is a total pain. Lot’s of people bring their kindle, tablet, ebook reader, as they sit around the pool. We take our laptops because we work on the road.
Indonesia uses the round, two-pronged, CEE7 power outlets. Voltage is 230 volts / 50 Hz.
Money and Documents for Bali
While Bali is a relatively safe country, because of the increase in visitors, there has been an increase in crime. You need to make sure that you make a copy of your passport and any other travel documents. One lot should be locked in the safe at your accommodation and the other, should be well hidden or left at home with a trusted friend who could email them to you, should the wrong thing happen.
Bali has a lot of ATMs, but we do get some rupiah (cash) before we go so we can pay the Grab or the taxi driver, and in case the machines go down, which can happen.Make sure that when you enter your pin number that no-one is watching. Unfortunately, this does happen, and with zoom phones now, a person could be across the road and can see you enter your pin. Cover your hand when you get your money.
Where to stay in Bali
You will enjoy your stay on the beautiful tropical island of Bali, and we hope these Packing for Bali, and lots of Handy Hints about Visiting Bali will make your stay more enjoyable.