Bali and Lombok are neighbouring islands located in the heart of the Lesser Sunda Islands along the Indonesian archipelago. Bali is home to an ancient culture famed for it’s welcoming atmosphere and traditional temples and palaces fringed by world class beaches and dense rainforests.
Spend your days catching waves at sunrise, get a freshly made smoothie bowl for breakfast, discover a new area, have lunch at a local warung (small eatery), stroll through rice paddies in the afternoon, and end the day at the beach with a Bintang in your hand watching an unforgettable sunset with your friends.
If surfing isn’t your thing, swap your morning surf session and get up a little earlier one day and hike up one of the active volcanoes like Mt. Batur instead. Make sure to have your camera ready as you will feel like you are literally above the clouds watching the sunrise. Bali and Lombok are that close to each other that you can sit on Mt. Batur looking at Lombok. Besides, get ready for pristine snorkelling from the Nusa Islands, unforgettable parties on the Gili Islands, and learn more about the spiritual side of Bali in Ubud. Bali and Lombok have numerous different facets and are truly a destination for every type of traveler – whether you prefer to travel relaxed, full of adventure, or parties, you will find your place here.
When you fly to Bali or Lombok, the best airport to get to is in Denpasar on Bali, right next to Kuta Bali. That is also why these two towns are great spots to start and/or finish your time in Bali and Lombok. Denpasar is actually the capital of Bali and it is also the largest city on the Island. In Kuta Bali, on the other hand, you will find a large party scene and good beginner surf waves.
Local tip: Kuta Bali and Denpasar are pretty busy cities. If you are looking to stay somewhere close to the airport but in a smaller, more local town, we would recommend staying in Jimbaran. You will be at the airport by taxi in no time, but you will be able to spend your last night on Bali sitting at a calm beach, watching locals play soccer or fly kites, and eating freshly made corn on the cob while watching the sunset.
Uluwatu really has something to offer for everyone but first and foremost it is known for potentially having the best surf breaks in Bali. No matter if you are looking to go on scenic sunset walks along various beaches, seeing world-class DJs perform, or perfecting your surf skills, Uluwatu has got it all.
When you are in Uluwatu, you will want to make sure to head to the famous Bingin Beach, also called Pantai Bingin. The best way to get to Bingin Beach from Uluwatu is to rent a scooter for the short drive. Nevertheless, be aware that it is a steep flight of stairs you will have to overcome from the top of the cliffs to get down to the Beach but believe us when we say that it will be worth it. Bingin Beach is known for its challenging reef breaks with people coming from all over the world to put their surfing skills to the test. At the same time, if you stroll along the beach, you will come across smaller secluded beaches which will let you feel like you have just arrived in a place you would normally only see on postcards.
Local tip: What is important to know is that Grab and Gojek are currently banned in Uluwatu so the best way to get around here is by foot or renting a scooter. Another option is to get a couple people together from your hostel and rent a private driver for the day who will show you the hotspots in and around Uluwatu.
Some of the most known and, therefore, touristy spots on Bali are Seminyak and Canggu. But there are several reasons why these are so popular. What you will find here is a hipster scene filled with trendy and organic cafés and bars on every corner. If you are a beginner surfer, Canggu also has some great spots to catch a wave for the first time. Next, you will find some of the best beach clubs in both Seminyak and Canggu. Imagine yourself sitting on a black sand beach, watching the sunset with your new friends from your hostel and then heading all together to an epic beach club to have an incredible party.
Rumor is one of our own team members stayed in Canggu and came back from a hostel night out with a new tattoo. Why? Simply because she and her friends found a deal on offer where you could get a cocktail + a tattoo for IDR 200.000 (around AUD 20). So, get ready for some extraordinary night outs.
Are you looking to learn more about the spiritual side of Bali? Then you will want to head to Ubud, the spiritual center of Bali. Lots of travelers come to Ubud to visit the many temples and take part in a purification ceremony. You can also go for dips in the waterfalls surrounding Ubud, walk between seemingly endless rice paddies, and stop at local warungs to enjoy mouthwatering, freshly cooked food. Many people also come to Ubud to get their yoga teacher certification or simply try out a new meditation or yoga technique – why not give it a try yourself?
Local tip: From Ubud, you can sign up to go on a sunrise hike up the active volcano Mt. Batur or, if you dare, the even higher volcano, Mt. Agung. Many hostels offer these trips themselves, otherwise, your hostel will definitely be able to help you sign up for a good trip. Both are strenuous hikes but the views you will get from the peaks are something you won’t stop talking about for a very long time.
Hidden beaches, countless waterfalls, and epic hikes are awaiting you on Lombok. You can easily get there by speedboat/ferry. Lombok has become an increasingly popular destination as it is, as of right now, less touristy than Bali and has a more laid-back vibe to it. It also has epic surf breaks for both beginners and experienced surfers. On top of that, if you are on Lombok between approximately April – January, you have the chance to go on a 3-day trek up Mount Rinjani. Be aware that this trek definitely requires you to be in good physical condition as it is full of long and difficult hikes but if you do it, you will find yourself potentially camping right at the crater’s edge watching the sunrise, looking at Mt. Agung in Bali.
Only approximately a 30 minute ferry ride from Lombok, you will find its world-famous Gili Islands. The Gili Islands consists of three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno. Gili Meno is the quietest of them all and, therefore, known as a popular honeymoon spot. If you are rather looking for some adventure, Gili Air is your best bet as it is known to have some of the most remarkable diving and snorkeling sites. If you are looking for the ultimate party experience, Gili Trawangan, also referred to as Gili T, should be on your bucket list. Here you are pretty much guaranteed to have some memorable night outs partying with countless fellow backpackers.
The three famous Nusa Islands – surely, you have heard of them. If not, as soon as you arrive on Bali or Lombok you are guaranteed to hear a fellow traveler talk about their stunning time on the Nusa Islands. The three Nusa Islands consist of Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan, and Penida. Nusa Penida is the most famous of the three islands, known for its impressive cliff drops and countless spots for the perfect Instagram picture. Nusa Lembongan is the more relaxed version of Nusa Penida. Of course, Nusa Lembongan also does not fail to offer impressive views, sugar-white beaches, and unforgettable sunsets. On top of that, this island is also known for its incredible surfing spots. Last but not least, Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the three islands but also the most relaxed. Because it is the smallest island, you can perfectly do a day trip here from Nusa Lembongan to see the possibly clearest, most turquoise water you have ever seen. If you dare, Nusa Ceningan has a handful of very popular cliff jumping spots.
Keep in mind that the taxi operators like Grab or Gojek do not operate on the islands and driving a scooter is fairly difficult here due to the rocky terrain, often you won’t even have the chance to drive on a paved road.
Local tip: If you are looking to go snorkelling with Manta Rays between impressive coral, this is the spot. Snorkel trips to the well-known Manta Bay depart from both Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan nearly on a daily basis. The best part is that if you do not see Mantas you will instead have a very high chance of seeing dolphins!
Find yourself exploring Bali for 12 amazing days with our 12 day Bali adventure tour. This group trip includes the best places in Bali and highlights all of top places to visit in Bali.
Our 9 day Bali group tour is the perfect intro to Bali. A fully guided experience that takes you to the best locations and meet new people. Book in advance and explore the best of Bali.
As a backpacker in Bali and Lombok, your expenses will largely depend on your travel style and choices. Discovering Bali and Lombok can be relatively more expensive compared to some other Southeast Asian countries, but they still offer many budget-friendly options for backpackers. So, it is fully up to you whether you are happy to stay in dormitory-style hostel rooms or rather prefer a private accommodation option. In terms of food, we would recommend you to eat at the local warungs as this is the perfect way to try the local dishes while keeping your expenses low. In the end, it all depends on what type of experience you are looking for. One of our friendly travel specialists can help you find the best options that fit into your budget.
The most popular time to visit Bali and Lombok is during the dry season which is usually from April to October. The good weather, calm seas, and lower humidity will make your travels much more enjoyable, whether you are exploring the islands’ natural beauty or relaxing at the beach. Between November to March you find yourself in the wet season, meaning higher humidity and more frequent rainfall. This can mean that you will pay lower prices for accommodation due to fewer tourists but it can also mean that you won’t be able to do some activities due to the weather.
One of the many great things of traveling Bali and Lombok is that you can mostly plan simply a few days in advance. Especially during the wet season it is possible to travel as you go and remain spontaneous. However, during the rest of the year it can get very busy leaving you with less choices of accommodation and possibly not allowing you to do all the activities you want to do as they will be fully booked. So, because Bali and Lombok are such popular destinations, we would 100% recommend pre-planning if you are traveling during the dry season.
Hostels are your best friend! You will also meet plenty of other travelers at bars or on group tours but your best bet is to simply socialize at the hostels. Especially during the peak season, most hostels organize social activities to help you get to know the other travelers easily.
Overall, Bali and Lombok are considered very safe destinations to visit and the majority of travelers have a wonderful experience there. Nonetheless, it is always advised to be cautious while traveling to prevent the risk of theft incidents. Moreover, we strongly emphasize the significance of treating locals and their cultures with respect throughout your journey.
The best international airport to fly into is the Denpasar International Airport (DPS). From there, you can easily start your travels in Bali or continue on to Lombok. Our Bali group trips pick you up from the airport and bring you right away to your first destination to meet your group.
You might have heard of Bali Belly before but if not, it is a common condition ‘Bali belly’ known as traveler’s diarrhea caused by consuming contaminated food or water. To reduce the likelihood of experiencing Bali Belly, prevention is key, so be mindful of what you eat and drink. Avoid raw or undercooked food, tap water, and ice cubes. Stick to bottled or boiled water and well-cooked meals instead.