I just wanted to start by saying that I absolutely LOVE Bali!
We’ve been there twice already in the last 3 years, and combined spent almost 2 whole months exploring it from top to bottom!
We’ve done it all ...
So it’s fair to say that we know what we’re talking about when it comes to planning a trip to and knowing what to pack for Bali.
That’s why I wanted to give you an in-depth rundown of exactly what we took with us when backpacking Bali, and what you should pack for Bali to make for the most epic trip ever!
So sit back and relax with the only Bali packing list you're ever going to need!
First up ...
Deciding which bag to buy for Bali is a very important topic, so I thought it right to give this it’s own section.
Of course, this is also very personal and will depend on the exact nature of your travel plans.
So when choosing which bag to take, consider the following.
For all of our backpacking adventures, Bali included, our policy has been to have a large backpack and then a day bag each.
For us, Osprey have long proved to be the ideal choice for backpackers, as they are fantastic quality, great value and last for a very long time!
In fact, if you have backpacked anywhere in the world then it’s hard to disagree as you quickly realise that most other travellers like you are also carrying an Osprey bag.
When picking a large backpack, I would say that something in the range of 50-65 litres is absolutely tonnes for one person.
In fact, Cazzy and I carry just one 70 litre bag between us (more on that below).
And bear in mind that we travel for at least 2 or 3 months at a time, and this is plenty of space.
Here are our 2 recommendations:
A day bag is a crucial thing to take to Bali, as there are so many wonderful day trips to be had.
In fact, on our second visit here, Cazzy and I rented a moped for 4 days from Kuta, left our bags at our hotel and ventured out on an epic road trip all around the north.
We had just one day bag between us and it was all we needed to carry what we actually wanted.
Of course, it was important that it was great quality and comfortable.
My chosen day bag is a smaller Osprey day bag that’s perfect for more adventurous activities and is super lightweight and comfy (I’ve had the same one for 4 years)
And for Cazzy, she has a slightly bigger bag that’s well suited to carrying our laptops and other tech and gadgets when we’re out photographing or working remotely for the day.
**As of 2021, I would actually recommend picking up a Tropicfeel Shell backpack. I WISH we had this in Bali, as it would have been the perfect bag for our trip! Being able to expand and contract to our needs. Read more in our review of Tropicfeel's Shell backpack.
So, with that being said, here are our two recommendations.
The first time we visited Bali was as a part of our 3 month backpacking trip that included packing for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
Our second visit was our 2 and a half month Indonesia adventure.
So both times we were in full backpacking mode; but with one key difference …
The first time, Cazzy and I each had a large 50-65 litre bag each; and the second time we only shared one between us.
Based on both experiences I can confidently say that just one such bag is plenty for 2 people!
Especially when you consider that Cazzy and I carry a lot more tech and gadgets than the average traveller seeing as we work when away.
There are a lot of benefits that come with having just one bag, such as:
For me, this last one is the most crucial.
It’s so liberating when you travel with only what you need as opposed to packing everything but the kitchen sink!
But if you take a bag that’s too big, then your natural impulse is to fill it with things you don’t really need or want.
Okay, now that you’ve picked your bags to take to Bali, it’s time to start filling them!
First up, I’m going to give you a run down of all the travel essentials you’re going to need for your trip, as well as what to wear in Bali.
I broke it up into 6 sections that you can skip to using the links below if you want ...
Here’s what I would take to Bali for a trip or holiday lasting 2 to 3 weeks ...
You’ll be happy to hear that there are no real strict rules when it comes to women’s clothing in Bali.
Actually, you can wear pretty much what you want, except of course when visiting religious sites.
In general, think light clothes, bikinis, dresses etc that are easy to pack, wash and you can mix and match.
This is an example of what I would bring for a 2-3 week Bali trip.
Almost all of the hotels, hostels and villas that we have stayed in in Bali have had some sort of washing facility.
And even if not, you’ll find someone locally who can take your clothes and have them washed and returned within a day.
It’s not very expensive either, so this has always been our policy for washing clothes in Bali.
We take a small first aid kit to us to every country we visit.
It doesn’t have to take up very much room and is there to deal with the majority of any minor cuts or scrapes you might take.
If you don’t yet own a travel first aid kit, then here’s a good option to buy.
It contains the majority of what you need and you can then just add in any other items you want to take with you.
Plus, it’s small enough to tuck away in your backpack and not take up much space.
We tend to pick up most of our toiletries before we leave for the country, and I recommend you do the same when travelling to Bali.
Toiletries can be a little pricey here, especially in the popular tourist areas, and they don’t have any large supermarkets offering cheap versions.
A crucial part of your Bali packing list should be how you plan on withdrawing cash.
Another one of the great things about Bali is that they have ATM’s absolutely everywhere and they don’t charge you to withdraw!
This is a big plus compared to many countries in Asia which charge ridiculous fees to withdraw cash (just one of the many reasons I dislike Thailand).
For us, we always take 4 travel cards with us; it sounds like a lot but they’re free and it means we have plenty in case of emergencies.
In fact ...
That way, if ever a situation arose whereby my wallet got stolen, or one of our bags got lost or stolen, we are not stranded without means to getting cash out.
We also usually keep a few dollars hidden away in one of the bags so that it’s there just in case; USD is a pretty universal currency.
There are lots of different banks in Bali and we have never had difficulty getting cash out, so in that matter I don’t think we actually have a favourite bank.
They typically all take both Visa and Mastercard and we have never had trouble using our UK-issued travel cards in them.
We’ve tried a number of different travel cards since we started travelling and the two favourites that we have settled on are Monzo and Revolut.
These are digital banking companies founded in the UK that have grown rapidly in popularity and customers.
And it’s really not very hard to see why when they are better than typical banks in almost every way!
Not least the fact that they can be used in any country around the world and have no fees for exchanging or paying in foreign currencies.
If you’re from the UK then I recommend giving them a go, if you're from outside the UK then look into them but I’m not sure whether they are yet being offered to customers from outside the UK.
They are both completely free to use; simply download the app through the links above, enter the standard personal details and they then send your card to you directly.
You just need to allow up to a week for it to arrive; though in our experience they have always arrived in just 3 or 4 days.
You then activate your card via the app and you're good to go.
You top up from your regular UK bank and can then use it in the UK or any other country.
Just be sure to always pay in the foreign currency so as to get the best exchange rate.
This also includes at ATMs where you choose the “pay in local currency” option as opposed to the “charge in GBP '' option; in which case you’ll be given a bad exchange rate through the ATMs bank.
Read Also: Monzo vs Revolut: Which Is Best For Travel?
Before travelling to Bali, make sure you’ve got all the necessary travel documents you need.
This includes those for entering the country, for renting vehicles and even for emergencies.
Here’s the important documents we took with us to Bali.
The reason Bali has become so incredibly popular in recent years, is largely due to how spectacularly beautiful it is.
It really is a very scenic country, with endless rice paddies, gorgeous waterfalls, old temples and white sandy beaches.
In fact, even after exploring many of the other islands in Indonesia (like Java and Nusa Penida), I can honestly say that Bali is the most naturally picture perfect one I’ve seen.
So, when you visit, it’s only fitting you have the right gear necessary in order to take full use of nature all around and capture those Instagram worthy Bali photos.
When we backpacked Bali, here is the camera and other gadgets that we took with us.
A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera is a great way to up your photography game beyond using your smartphone. There are all kinds of DSLRs on the market and it doesn’t matter too much which one you get so long as it’s a good quality one that is compatible with a wide range of lenses. We purchased a wide angle lens before our visit to Bali in order to take full advantage of capturing the landscapes (notably the rice paddies up north).
We’ve used this blogging camera now for a number of years and it’s a great way to capture high quality pictures and videos everywhere we go. It also has great quality sound recording, perfect for then editing together videos from our travels. We use this extensively in our travels, particularly for times when we don’t want to carry the DSLR around with us and need something more compact.
Since we started travelling we’ve trialled a number of different action cameras. But I can confidently say that none have come close to the quality of the GoPro Hero range. Newer models (notably the 7 onwards) have incredible image stabilisation which means that it smooths out any videos you record. They also now come with far better sound recording technology and you no longer need to fit them in a waterproof case. When it comes to photography, you get some really incredible, high quality fish-eye lense shots. You’ll get a lot of use out of these when you’re in Bali, particularly if you plan on surfing. Just be sure to pick up a few surfboard mounts before you visit.
We bought our drone just before visiting Sri Lanka in 2018 and have not looked back! It really is unbeatable in its ability to capture the most breathtaking photos and videos. You simply can’t get the sorts of shots it allows for and it’s also a lot of fun to fly. You’d also be surprised by how easy the best travel drones are to fly, though I have always stuck to the DJI range which is easily regarded as offering the best range of hobbyist drones on the market.
In Bali, two of your biggest natural hazards are the sun and the mosquitos.
As mentioned earlier, it’s usually 30 degrees and above all year round in Bali, so having a good quality sunscreen is a must-have.
Mosquitos aren’t quite as frequent, but do become more prevalent in the rainy season.
Here’s a few other items we packed that you may want to consider adding to your own packing list for Bali.
Now that we’ve covered most of the things you do need to take with you, here’s a few things that I don’t think you need in your final Bali packing list.
Finally, here’s a few things that we didn’t take with us to Bali but which you might want to consider yourself.
If you’re just heading to Bali for a relaxed holiday, then you don’t need to worry quite so much about being strict on what you pack. But, if like us you plan on renting a moped and exploring much of this island and neighbouring islands; then plan ahead by having the right sort of day bag that will allow you to carry all you need.
Regardless of whether you’re a guy or a gal, make sure your clothes are lightweight and not made of heavy fabrics. Even once the sun goes in, it’s typically warm and muggy in Bali so loose-fitting clothing is best.
Don't panic and pack everything but the kitchen sink. Bali is a very developed country, especially in Kuta where they now have a massive shopping mall! So if you do find you’ve forgotten any clothing for toiletries, then it’s easy to pick up new ones there.
Well, that’s about it!
If you do have any other questions about what to pack for Bali, then just drop a comment below and I’ll help where I can.
Other than that, I hope you have a really memorable time in this truly crazy country!
For more Bali travel tips and help planning the rest of your Bali backpacking adventure, here’s some other guides you might find useful: