Travelling to Bali and don’t know what to include on your Bali packing list? Whether you are a beach babe or adventure seeker, the list below will make packing for Bali easy and fuss-free.
I’ve been to Bali multiple times, including longer periods such as 6-12 moths and learnt what to pack the hard way. This post is a collection of everything that I’ve learnt about packing to Bali. Here it is!
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Bali Packing list – Bali Essentials
A good quality backpack may be superior over a suitcase if you’re planning to move a lot. Bali doesn’t have really good roads and pavements and wheeling a bag may not be ideal. The suitcase may be particularly impractical if you’re travelling to the Gili Islands where there are no roads or taxis to take you to your hotel. I like Osprey, their packs are made to last and are very practical.
You’ll also need a smaller day backpack or a sling bag. Bali means going on a lot of adventures – riding a scooter, climbing down to the beach or hiking to a waterfall. And, for adventures backpacks are best! I really like Kanken. It’s minimalist, comes in so many different colours, and it’s made of quality materials. It’s also super comfortable to wear.
I love my packing cubes! They are especially useful if you plan to move around and stay in different hotels/hostels. They help to organise your bag and also save space. You can quickly find what you’re looking for without messing the whole bag. I mean how did I even pack before I discovered packing cubes?! Seriously they’re the best thing invented for travellers!
After what we all lived through in 2020, I don’t think anyone will ever travel without insurance. Luckily, I’ve never had to claim anything on insurance, but I advocate for always having one. We travel with many valuables, even a smartphone can be worth $1,000, so it’s essential to have a cover. If you travel more than 2 times during the year, I recommend getting yearly insurance which will save you a lot of money and hassle. Get insurance with a reliable provider such as World Nomads.
Plugs in Bali are 230v/50 Hz and have round pins like in most European countries. I recommend using a universal adaptor that will cover you charging needs in Bali and anywhere else in the world you will go. What I like the most about the travel adapter that it’s got multiple USB ports and it can charge a few devices at once.
In addition to Bali power adaptor, I always take a power bank. It’s handy, and I use it on the plane, on the bus and also have it in my backpack just in case. A power bank can be a lifesaver when you’re travelling on a scooter and need Google maps on your phone to get back to your hotel. I really recommend including a lightweight one in your things to pack for Bali.
If you love reading, I recommend taking a Kindle or iPad instead of a paper book. I’m surprised with myself because I love the feeling of holding a paper book, but after years of travelling, I’ve learnt to use my iPad for reading. It allows me to have access to as many books as I want which is handy during a more extended trip. And sometimes it is just great to watch Netflix in the evening after an adventurous day.
In addition to my regular camera, I love taking my Go Pro to Bali. It’s small and extremely lightweight, waterproof and durable. Go Pro is perfect for adventure shots whether you’re surfing, chasing Bali waterfalls or snorkelling in the Gili Islands. My favourite feature is that it is voice-activated – you can say: ‘Go Pro take a photo’, and it will!
Water camera floater is to protect your camera from getting lost in the water. If you drop it, it will float back to the surface of the water. I would never go snorkelling with my Go Pro without any protection. A Go Pro stick with a strap around your wrist also works.
If you’re into photography but don’t want to carry a massive camera with you everywhere, then I recommend buying a compact camera. I use Sony Alpha like many other bloggers and influencers, and I love it. It’s light, takes fantastic shots, and you can buy additional lenses that suit your needs.
What to take to Bali – essentials for your adventures
This is something that not many of us think to take with you, but it can be a lifesaver! If you plan to do snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing or any other water activity, then you need a rash guard. Rash guard is a t-shirt that you wear in the water to protect you from sunburn. No sun cream is fully waterproof, which I learnt the hard way snorkelling in the Gili Islands and getting my back completely burnt. Now, instead of worrying about applying sunscreen, I just slip on my rashie, and I’m good to go and have fun in the water. My favourite brand for rash guards is Roxy, I love the quality and how they look on me.
A pair of water shoes may come handy if you’re planning on going to Gili Islands or Nusa Penida. I found that in the Gilis, there are lots of sharp pieces of a dead coral reef by the shore. The sea is shallow a long way before it gets deep enough to swim, especially on the western side of Gili Trawangan.
A dry bag is another excellent accessory for any adventure that you may be embarking on. I like keeping my valuables such as passport and camera, in a dry bag inside my backpack for extra protection in case of rain.
You may think I’m crazy that a rain jacket is one of the things that I suggest to pack for Bali. But, trust me, my friend, it rains in Bali, and when it rains, it pours. You may find a raincoat particularly useful on your Bali checklist if you’re planning to be more adventurous. Volcano hiking, riding a scooter and visiting the monotonous North, where the weather is more unpredictable, and the temperature much lower will require some kind of rain protection. My favourite rain jacket in Columbia. It’s really durable, I’ve had mine for years, and what I love the most about this jacket is its flattering fit and that it comes in so many pretty colours.
Whenever I go, I always take my mini first aid kit that includes:
– Bandages – make sure you have some waterproof bandages with you
– Paracetamol – it is also widely available and cheap in Bali
– Hand sanitiser and tissues – not all places in Bali are equipped with great bathrooms, so to prevent having stomach problems I always carry with me a small bottle of hand sanitiser and tissues in case there is no toilet paper
– Mosquito repellent – you need the tropical strength one, some places get lots of them in Bali such as Ubud or Sidemen.
For backpacking Bali
If your planning to do backpacking to Bali and staying in hostels, you will need a padlock. Most hostels typically provide some sort of lockers for storing your belongings safely, but you will need to bring your own lock. I recommend getting a combination lock. You won’t need to worry about losing a key or as I did it once, leaving it in your backpack and locking it inside the locker.
The biggest disadvantage of staying in a hostel for me is sleep quality. People tend to leave and come back at different times, and I’m usually the one that is early in bed trying to get some sleep before catching a sunrise the next day. I find that wearing a nice eye mask and earplugs can really help falling to sleep in a dormitory bedroom and staying asleep a full night.
Fast-drying towels are great and so practical! Hostels often charge for a towel, so you can save a few dollars if you have your own. I even take one if I’m staying in hotels. A fast-drying towel is compact and can be taken for adventure trips such as exploring Bali’s hidden waterfalls and beaches.
I love my hanging toiletry bag. It comes very handy, especially when you travel lots and can never fully unpack. You can just take it with you to the bathroom and hang it wherever without getting the whole bag wet. They also work as travel organisers. With many different pockets and compartments, there is a place for all your makeup and toiletries, and it’s all visible and accessible without having to take everything out.
Eco-friendly things to take to Bali
Wherever I go I take my water flask. The times of buying water in plastic are long gone. Nowadays, most airports are equipped with water stations where you can refill your water bottle for free. Bali has also been making a lot of effort to eliminate plastic from everyday use. You’ll find that in most hotels, hostels and restaurants you will be able to refill your water flask for free. I love Chilly’s bottles. They come in different sizes, and there are so many cool designs to choose from.
When choosing a sun cream, I always look at whether it’s reef friendly. We apply sun cream so many times while on the beach and then it washes in the sea form our skin. It’s essential to make sure we don’t contaminate the seas while on holiday in Bali. I like a few brands that are reef-friendly- Sun Bum, which is natural, vegan and sea friendly and Omuci’s Nothing to Hide.
A tote bag is always on my packing for Bali list. It doesn’t take a lot of space in my luggage, and it’s super practical. I take it with me when I go shopping, so I never need a plastic bag. Here in the UK, we do it all the time. A while ago, shops started charging for plastic one-use bags, and it was great for building a new habit of always having your own multiple-use bags.
Well, packing for Bali your own straw may sound a little over the top, but you can really make a difference by having one. In Bali, a lot of established restaurants and cafes don’t serve plastic straws anymore. However, more traditional warungs are still doing it. Think about how many coconuts, smoothies and other drinks you are likely to have on your holidays in Bali, and how many plastic straws you can save from ending up in the ocean.
Reusable make up remover pads are something that I’ve recently started using at home and will be taking it on my trips from now on. Again, how much waste do we produce while cleaning our make up every day? Reusable pads are a great solution, they not only reduce the trash but also will save you some money. They come with a little laundry bag so you can wash them easily in the washing machine when you’re back home.
Menstrual cups are a life changer. I love wearing them, especially while being active and travelling because you can just forget that you have your period. They are super comfortable, take up little space in my travel bag and don’t produce any waist. If you’ve never used them before, then I recommend reading a few reviews and trying it out. It may be the best product you’ve ever bought.
What to wear in Bali
What to bring to Bali in terms of clothes? Most importantly, don’t overdo it. Bali has a tropical, hot and humid climate, and you won’t need any jeans or jumpers. I recommend taking just one jumper and a pair of leggings to wear on the plane. Also, many laundry places in Bali offer to wash your clothes for very cheap, so no need to bring too many outfits.
And, leave some space in your suitcase for clothes shopping in Bali. Places like Seminyak and Ubud are great for shopping for clothes in Bali with many chic boutiques, swimwear stores and batik clothing. Bali is a paradise for shoppers.
Trust me, my friend, you will spend most of the time in a pair of flip flops. They’re the best footwear for going to the beach, exploring temples when you often need to take your shoes off and when it’s raining, and streets in Bali turn into a mess. I love Havaianas, I’ve got two pairs, and they are very comfy and adorable with so many designs to choose from.
Sports sandals with straps are the best type of footwear for any Bali adventure. They dry quickly and are sturdy enough to keep you safe on your hikes. I use North Face sandals, I’ve had them for years and they never let me down.
I take them mostly to travel in. Trainers are also useful for hikes and gym sessions. Call me old school but I love sketchers, they are the most comfy shoes I’ve ever had! And they are not only for grandmas!
• Pjs – Pyjamas come handy, especially when you stay in hostels.
• Beach cover-ups – I like wearing them because they don’t take up too much space in the luggage and are great for the beach where you don’t need to wear much and certainly not your best outfits. Oversize t-shirts also work well in this role.
• Maxi dresses – Maxi dresses or skirts are great for visiting temples. I love wearing them because they look amazing on the photos, they protect me from the heat, and they cover the knees which is required in all Bali temples.
• Shorts & tops – Great for mix and match situation.
• Pair of leggings & sports bra – If you’re planning to do some yoga classes in Bali or hiking. Leggings are also great for the airplane journey.
• Fleece or hoodie – You are probably only going to need it in the airplane and maybe on a sunrise scooter trip.
• Sunglasses and hat
• Small handbag for nights out
• Large scarf or sarong – to cover bare arms while visiting Bali temples
• Shower gel
• Shampoo & conditioner
• After sun cream – that contains aloe vera in case your skin needs some relief from the Bali sun
• Deodorant – get a natural one
• Makeup – I usually take only mascara, bronzer and some powder. After living 6 months in Bali, I hardly put any.
• Tangle Teezer – If you don’t know this brush, then you’ll absolutely love it.
• Micellar cleansing water – I like it because it works well both as a toner and makeup remover and it’s really cheap.
• Face moisturiser – Choose one that is oil free for Bali.
• Face suncream – I use a separate, UV 50 protection for my face. I still get tanned and hopefully this way, I protect my skin from ageing.
• Toothbrush & toothpaste
What not to include in your packing list for Bali
Here is the list of things I recommend ditching from your packing list.
- Bali has a hot and humid climate, so the last thing you want to wear over your newly tanned legs are jeans.
- Any clothes that are made of synthetic materials are a big no go for Bali.
- Leave at home expensive jewellery, especially if you’re planning to backpack Bali and stay in hostels.
- Heavy books. If you’re a keen reader, replace books with Kindle or an app on your phone.
- Too much make up. You are likely to spend a lot of time on the beach and not wear any makeup. In the evenings you may want to put some on but not a heavy foundation which may be of a wrong shade because of your new tan.
- Too much cash. In fact, I hardly travel with any money, but instead, I take a prepaid travel card and a backup credit card. If you must bring cash, take only a small quantity like $50-$100 ‘just in case’ money.
- Illegal drugs. Indonesia has stringent law over drugs and even a death penalty for smuggling illegal drugs to the country!
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