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What to pack for a trip to Bali in Indonesia

The thing about Bali is that it’s very hot all year around, which means you don’t have to cater for changing weather situations.  Even if it rains, it’s still hot! 

To get you started I’ve prepared a list of what to pack for Bali that will ensure you’ve got something for every occasion.

Money and Visa Documents for Bali

Travel smart

Get the right visa

Visa requirements for Indonesia have become more sophisticated in recent times.  With millions of tourists visiting Bali each year, they have made things simpler to transit through their country.

Remember to photocopy your passport, drivers license, travel insurance papers and other important travel documents before you leave home.  Scan them and store them online (somewhere safe like google-drive).  Email yourself a copy incase you need urgent access.

For the finer details, visit VisaBali.com

Be money smart

Before you travel make sure you let your bank know where you’re travelling so they don’t assume identity theft and lock down your card.

It’s preferable to carry USD, AUD or Indonesian Rupiah when you visit Bali.  We prefer to take cash in larger denominations and change no more than $200 – $300 at a time as a precaution.  Never assume an ATM in Bali is safe and always make sure you cover your hand when entering your PIN.

If you use a money changer, watch them carefully.  Don’t get distracted.  It’s easy to fall for the ‘count back’ scam and end up short a few rupiah – it’s happened to us!

Understand the conversion rate

As a rough estimate, Rupiah usually converts: $1AU = 10,000 IDR.

Bargaining in Bali is expected!  Know the value of your money.  Shop owners expect you to challenge their prices.  There are a few exceptions such as McDonald’s or the big Department stores, but in the smaller shops it is an expected practice.

Get some great haggling tips in our guide Haggle like a PRO in Bali.

What to pack for Bali

pack light - family time

You won’t need suitcases of clothes!  Bali is very casual.  The thought of vacationing on an exotic island will lead you to think of skimpy beach attire, locals dress very conservatively.

Choose lightweight cotton or breathable fabrics.  The weather in Bali is always hot and humid.  Pack things like comfortable, loose-fitting shorts, singlet-tops, shift-dresses, board shorts, T-shirts and other items you would wear during summer at home.  Jeans will be too hot and heavy for most circumstances.

I always carry a sarong in my bag to cover my knees or shoulders when visiting temples or sacred sites such as the Elephant Cave or Uluwati, or even when visiting smaller villages inland.

If you’re taking an extended trip, you’ll find plenty of inexpensive places that do laundry.

Beachwear

Swimwear is easily the most important things to pack for your Bali escape!

Take my advice and pack two swimsuits so one can be drying while you’re wearing the other and don’t forget to take a cover-up or sarong just incase you want to go for a walk.  Bali is a modest culture so it’s important to be respectful.

We like to take our own lightweight Youphoria microfibre travel towels when travelling and recommend you try these out when heading to the beach or pool.  They’re lightweight, absorbent and dry quickly.

Pack a light tote you can put your beach essentials in.  I like to make sure my tote is not see-through so everything inside stays hidden away.  It doubles up as a great beach bag to pack up your towel, hat, sunglasses, book, camera and sunscreen when you head down to the water or go for a walk around town.

Be sun-conscious – Slip Slop & Slap!

Protect yourself from sunburn … bring a hat and good quality sunscreen with high sun protection factor (SPF).

I really do have a hat for every occasion but my Furtalk beach hat is my favourite.  It’s high quality paper straw, fashionable, functional and stylish.  Totally packable, this summer hat tucks away in your bag or suitcase for easy travelling.

The best shoes for Bali

As with most of Southeast Asia, the default footwear for Bali is a pair of thongs (jandals or flip-flops).  It’s the fashion for both men and women and suits most occasions.  Havaianas are a hot favourite so get into Bali holiday mode now! 

Some shops, temples, bars, and restaurants may ask you to remove your shoes at the door.  Flip-flops are easy to slide on and off than sandals with straps.

Most people get around in thongs or lightweight flat sandals for their entire holiday.  You absolutely won’t need high heels!

If you’re planning to do some hiking (Bali has some great hikes), you will need to pack appropriate closed-in walking shoes or at least hiking sandals.

These Ecco Yukatan Sandals are available in both mens and womens styles and I’m really happy with the comfort and fit.

Taking electronics to Bali

Most hotels in Bali, cafes and guesthouses now offer in-room Wi-Fi but depending where you stay, the internet may be quite slow.

Cheap 4 GB data packages are available for purchase for your smartphone which you can hotspot to if you want to stay connected.

Indonesia uses the round, two-pronged, CEE7 power outlets common in Europe. Voltage is 230 volts / 50 Hz.  A handy tip is to take an International Travel Adapter with you so you won’t have any issues connecting your electronics.

Good quality luggage

When we’re travelling to Bali we don’t take much luggage with us and usually manage with a carry on each and a backpack.

For day use I take my Travelon Signature Hobo crossbody bag with me.   It’s small but big enough for my Sony Mirrorless camera, as well as my phone, sunglasses and a scarf.  A great size to take everywhere with me.

The crossbody strap is great when visiting the Ubud Monkey Forest making it more difficult for the monkey’s and pickpockets alike should they try to steal your bag.

Trev takes his Ripcurl day pack when we’re out and about.  It’s compact and has enough room for his camera and other bits and pieces.  The Ripcurl has anti-theft proof straps and body.

Suitcases tend to get thrown around in transit so it really is worth investing in good quality luggage that can withstand some rough treatment and be locked securely when travelling.

We’ve made choices to buy some of the most robust travel luggage around.  I like the Samsung S’Cure range and take the smallest bag as carry on (21 inch) when travelling to Bali, whilst Trev usually takes a softsided duffel bag for the trip.

Reusable eco-friendly carry bags

Take a couple of reusable bags with you.  They’re eco-friendly, washable and handy to pack away dirty shoes, wet clothes or damp swimwear.

They’re also handy for those extra things you can no longer fit into your luggage, because you may have found a bargain or two when out shopping!

Protect your belongings, and yourself

Although violent crime is not really an issue on Bali, the influx of tourists does attract some petty theft.

Be mindful when choosing your bag. Backpacks or satchels with popular logos (IBM, Lenovo, GoPro, etc) are more tempting to thieves who may be interested in the valuable contents.

Don’t take expensive jewellery to Bali.  Expensive jewellery will get you higher prices and is likely to single you out making you more of a target for petty theft.

Make sure you take travel insurance before you leave home.  Not only will your valuables be protected, but you will be covered for accidents or illness whilst you’re away if the unexpected occurs.  We never leave home without it.

Check here for an obligation-free quote.  It really is peace of mind!

Medical Precautions

I’ve always been cautious when travelling Asia as we’ve heard so much about the risks of coming into contact with contaminated food and water.

There are a few simple rules to follow so be cautious and be prepared.

  • Rule 1:  Don’t add ice to your drinks.  The ice is unlikely to be sanitised.
  • Rule 2:  If you buy from street vendors, watch to see where the locals eat.
  • Rule 3:  Use Insect Repellent to guard against midges or mosquitos.

Take a small First Aid Kit

Bali is fairly well prepared for sensitive stomachs with local stores stocking up on bottled water and precautionary gastro-stop and electrolytes available.  If you think you should see a doctor, ask at your hotel desk.

Buy a bottle of good quality insect repellent and use it regularly which is especially important if you’re visiting places like Lombok and Gili where Malaria is a bigger threat.

Before leaving home, ask your doctor for a note to explain any medications you may be taking.  Fill your prescriptions and take your medications with you.

Fortunately, walk-in pharmacies will have any likely first-aid needs you require.

  • Antiseptic
  • Band aids, adhesive dressings – used for minor cuts or skin injuries.
  • Antihistamines for controlling allergic reactions.
  • Bandages.
  • Eye wash.
  • Gauze Pads
  • Insect Repellent – Malaria is still prevalent in many Indonesian islands.
  • Stingose. To provide instant relief to mozzie or insect bites.
  • Tape (microfiber). Used to hold dressings in place or to protect small cuts or bruises

Know what to pack for Bali … pin it for later

Read more posts about what to see and do in Bali

If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Bali already and have some suggestions to add to this ‘what to pack for Bali’ list, please share them in the comments below.  Let me know your best tip for travelling to Bali.