Wondering what to wear in Bali and don’t know where to start? On my recent second trip to the island, we spent more than three weeks delving into the culture, the beautiful beaches, the amazing vegan food scene, and practiced yoga every day.
One thing is for sure, a trip to Bali is magical, but it very difficult to pack. Here’s the ultimate Bali packing list and why we suggest each item mentioned.
The Ultimate Bali Packing List
One thing that might not come to mind when thinking about what to wear in Bali is water shoes! Cameron laughed at me a few times when we were exploring the Bali waterfalls, but I got the last laugh with my beautiful feet protected by water shoes.
If you plan on spending time hiking around the waterfalls in Bali and going in the water it’s worth it to pick up a pair of cheap water shoes. There essential when thinking about what to take to Bali will help you grip the slippery rocks and protect your feet from sharp rocks. The better alternative would be to pack a pair of hiking sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.
Once you get to Bali, it will be hard to find your favorite sunscreen, and when you do, you will pay a premium for it. We suggest you pack an eco-friendly sunscreen to protect the island’s fragile coral reef ecosystems.
Cheap sunblocks are loaded with a number of chemicals that have been proven to cause harm to coral. If your packing for Bali in just a carry on consider at least bringing a travel-sized bottle with you.
Sandals are never a bad idea at beach destinations and should be on every traveler’s Bali packing list. Sandals are really great in Southeast Asia as it’s customary to remove your shoes when entering many stores, homes, and restaurants.
We both recommend a pair of Rainbow Sandals as they last forever and are super comfortable once the leather forms to your foot. For women’s sandals, another tremendous cheap and stylish option is Plaka sandals. One last random tip, we suggest you bring your flip-flops inside at night since stray dogs have stolen ours before.
Proper Trekking Footwear
Bali is great for beaches, but it doesn’t hurt to bring a pair of tennis shoes or hiking shoes. Especially if you plan on doing a sunrise hike up Mount Batur or climbing Mount Agung. Unless you plan to do a lot of hiking large boots are unlikely to be necessary so pack hiking shoes.
Bali is fantastic for its temples, culture, and healthy food but you also don’t want to neglect the beaches. I would suggest also going to some on Lombok, the Gilis, or the Nusas for those luscious white sand blue water ones.
When I travel, I always bring at least two suits so that I have a dry one on hand. Guys can keep it a little more simple with a pair of boardshorts.
If you’re wondering what to wear in Bali I would recommend at least a few outfits of light and loose clothing. It can get very hot, humid, and sticky on the island so you don’t want to bring all stiff clothes that cling to your body. My favorite casual pants are these from prAna.
I wore my Mantra Hemp pants almost every day as they’re antimicrobial, look stylish, fit several occasions, and keep you fresh. Cameron refused to wear casual pants for a long time but has since found the men’s Vaha Pant to be his favorite pair of pants ever.
Vacay Style sells curated collections of clothes to help pack a multitude of styles in as few as items as possible. Tasha picked up the Sayulita collection and it comes with five pieces of clothing it mixes and matches to create over 21 different outfits.
It all comes with a guide to share the different styles and how to make the most of your wardrobe with minimal pieces. It takes up a limited amount of space in your luggage and eliminates the need to think about what to pack – a massive win.
We spent almost three weeks in Ubud alone, so you can bet there was some yoga gear in my suitcase. Ubud is the spiritual and cultural capital of Bali, and there seems to be a yoga studio on just about every corner. If you plan on practicing yoga, I would suggest bringing some eco-friendly yoga pants.
Most studios will provide you with a mat; however, I travel with a travel yoga mat now so that I can always stretch and practice. You can also see all our favorite travel yoga mats here!
A sun hat or baseball cap is never a bad idea when traveling to tropical destinations especially if you are prone to sunburn or have sensitive eyes.
We always travel with a microfiber travel towel just in case we find ourselves in a situation without a towel. Unless you are in hostels most accommodation providers will provide you with bath towels, but they won’t want you taking those bath towels to the beach and ruining them.
The Youphoria travel towel is quick to dry, antibacterial, and doesn’t hold on to sand like a regular bath towel. Plus, it packs up light and small! Of course, many resorts do provide you with beach towels!
Dry bags are great if you’re going to spend time at the beach or are going on any boat trips. They will protect your phone and any other electronics from the ocean, or more importantly, if it starts to rain.
Bali is the perfect spot to lounge around and do absolutely nothing. If you are wondering what to pack for Bali for more than a week, consider.
A travel hammock that you can string up between railings on your balcony. It’s perfect for those times when you want to relax in nature.
Just in case you run out of juice, having a backup charger is never a bad idea.
A sarong is essential when traveling to Bali. Not just for throwing on over your bathing suit, but also when you visit temples or religious sites. Many locals dress conservatively, and it’s often disrespectful to enter temples with your legs showing. Don’t worry if you don’t pack one as you can easily buy a cheap one once you land on the island.
Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Bali. Our favorite pocket-sized point and shoot cameras for quick trips is the Sony RX100V. It takes fantastic photos and video and is the size of your palm.
We bought this camera specifically for our trip to Hawaii as we could easily add on underwater housing for an affordable price. It came in handy when we went snorkeling on Nusa Penida! Check out our other travel cameras here.
Every day we were chasing a new waterfall, enjoying the beach, or just going to the nearest cafe to catch up on work. For all our excursions we had the Osprey Dayliteto carry our essentials for the day.
You can also get a cheap foldable backpack that will do an excellent job of securing your things too. Here’s a review of all of our favorite daypacks.
The tap water on Bali is not drinkable, but most hotels and Airbnbs will provide large water tanks for their guests so that they can fill up their water bottles.
Indonesia has a huge plastic waste problem so I can’t stress how important it is for visitors to refill their own travel water bottle. We’ve recently fallen in love with Hydro Flask bottles as they keep water cool for a very long time. See more of our favorite travel water bottles here.
Have I mentioned that Indonesia has a trash and plastic problem? When considering what to pack for Bali, think of all the plastic you could be saving by cutting out single-use straws. We brought metal straws to Bali to try and cut down on that when we order coffees and smoothies.
We both have these exact metal straws, and they are great since they have a rubber stopper for your teeth. However, you don’t have to get metal – Bamboo or paper straws get the job done too. Of course, straws are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plastic waste on the island.
Check out some of the best-sellers right now and pick up a copy. I like to read on days when I just feel like sunbathing and relaxing. Cameron is pretty impatient so having a book to read on the beach provides some much-needed entertainment.
I’ve recently upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and love it. It’s small, has touch screen functions, and a backlight so that I can read at night without a harsh glare.
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun on your beach trip! I personally can’t even go outside without sunglasses. We just invested in our first pair of high-quality sunglasses and love them.
Smith Optics has awesome ChromaPop sunglasses color-enhancing lenses. Polarized glasses are great at enhancing vision in bright environments and removing glare from windshields and the water
If you plan on snorkeling a few times it may be worth purchasing fins and a mask, before you go. We actually bought ours in the US a few months before this trip and now bring them around the world.
It beats paying for snorkel rental equipment everywhere we go! (My fins even fit perfectly in my suitcase).
If you are traveling during monsoon season do yourself a favor and bring a rain jacket with you to Bali. We were there in August (dry season) and it still managed to rain a few days. I was happy I had my rain jacket with me.
It can get real dusty riding around Bali on a motorbike. Wearing a Buff will protect your face from all the dirt.
Indonesia uses the Europlug. Pick up a good universal travel adaptor before you arrive.
Bali Packing Tips
- Type of Traveler: Determine if you are traveling to Bali for a relaxing beach vacation or a rugged and adventurous vacation (or both!). It will determine your necessities.
- Weather: The climate is tropical, given its proximity to the equator. While temperatures stay stable, your time of travel can significantly affect what is on your Bali packing list.
- Season: Bali has two distinct seasons: dry and wet. The dry season runs between May to September and the wet season is between October and April. May to September brings the best weather, but it is also the most touristy time of the year and when you will find the highest prices.
- Laundry: When thinking about what to take to Bali, be aware that you can get your laundry services in Bali are incredibly affordable. I wouldn’t worry about packing an absurd amount of clothes as a local laundromat will wash, dry, and iron your clothes for less than $5.
- Surf Essentials: Bali is one of the great surf destinations of the world. If you’re a surfer, remember your surf essentials. On top of that, consider a board rental as the island’s popularity means there is an excellent selection of boards on the island.
- Natural Sunscreen: Please be conscious of the environment when you apply sunscreen and utilize eco-friendly sunscreen when you are going into the ocean. Respect the environment you are going to enjoy for vacation and only wear eco-friendly sunscreens.
- Shop Local: If you like shopping you can find any clothes you need in Bali, especially in Ubud and Kuta. You have two great options cheap street stalls for backpacker wear and fashionable boutique shops.
- Pack Less: The less you pack, the better, especially if you are traveling between islands. Stick to one checked bag, and one carry on to make life easier on yourself. It’s much easier when navigating the Bali, and the ferries if you plan to island-hop.
What Not to Put on Your Bali Packing List
- Expensive Jewelry: You won’t need it in Bali as you can get artisan jewelry everywhere. Expensive jewelry makes you a target for thieves.
- Jeans: It gets very hot in Bali, the last thing you will want to wear is jeans that cling to your skin.
- Dark clothing: The same thing goes for dark clothing. Hot sun mixed with black shirts is no good.
- Drugs: Don’t ever mess with drugs especially in Indonesia. You could face serious prison time in an Indonesian jail or even death.
- Too many clothes: Like I mentioned getting your laundry done is a great deal in Bali. A huge basket of clothes cost us less than $5 to have it washed, dried, and folded. I would rather pay that any day than have too many clothes on me.
- An international data plan: Data is very cheap in Bali. Don’t pay for an international data plan or roaming. Instead, ask your hotel or guesthouse where to pick up a sim card and put data on that. We were paying about $10 for 20 GB of data.
Plan your Trip to Bali
- Any trip to Bali will start and end at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. We arrived late at night and had to depart early in the morning. We stayed at Grandmas Airport Hotel and enjoyed our stay.
- The remainder of our time in Bali was spent in Airbnbs. The island has many Airbnb accommodation options for everyone. Get $35 here! It’s also worth checking out the best places to stay in Bali here.
- Read and Watch before you go: Eat, Pray, Love.
- The Best Way to Get Around Bali: Is with a motorbike or taxi. Taxis are cheap in Bali, we used Grab to get around, which is similar to Uber and offers fair pricing. Motorbike rentals will run you about 60-70 Indonesian Rupiah a day.
Things to Do in Bali
- Check out Ubud’s Monkey Forest
- Practice your downward dog at a yoga retreat
- Take a Ferry to the Nusa Islands
- Surf at Uluwatu Beach
- Dive the USAT Liberty Wreck Dive
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