Last updated on July 14th, 2022
Are you planning your trip to Bali but struggling to decide what to include on your Bali packing list? I’ve got you covered.
The island of the Gods is a magical place. From spectacular beaches to towering waterfalls, iconic rice terraces, and the friendliest locals, Bali is one of my favorite places in the world. And no matter how many times I visit, I just keep coming back for more!
So, after multiple trips (and a few too many packing mishaps), I think it’s fair enough to say that I know a thing or two about what to pack for Bali. And I’ve covered them all in this mega packing guide.
Things to Know About What to Pack for Bali
To pack or not to pack… The age-old questions when packing for Bali. You’re probably wondering whether that extra maxi dress is necessary or if you’ll need something fancy for a night out on the town. Short answer – leave them at home!
The vibe in Bali is super relaxed. And whether you’re here for the photos and fashion or to set your inner hippie free, you’ll fit right in.
If you’re beaching it up, then you’ll most likely wear a pair of shorts and a tank top over your bathing suit for your daily adventures. Then, when the sun begins to set, you’ll pop into a warung or beach bar – and it’s totally acceptable to be in the same clothes you wore earlier in the day.
What I love most about Bali is that I never feel as if I need to look or dress a certain way. It’s not pretentious and it’s not image-conscious (although some who visit Seminyak or Canggu may argue with me on this one).
Here are a few things to note when packing for Bali
Bali has a tropical climate so it’s relatively warm all year round. But there are two distinct seasons and what you pack will be dependent on the time of year you’re visiting.
- The dry season (May-September)
The dry season is from May to September. During this time, the days are sunny and warm, and the nights are a moderate temperature. You might need a warm top for those sunrise scooter missions but overall, the temperature is pretty warm.
This is my favorite time to visit as it’s not scorching hot and it’s not rainy either.
- The wet season (October-April)
As the name suggests, the wet season can be extremely, er wet! You’ll need to keep a rain poncho handy as the storms sneak up on you. Expect daily downpours but they only last for an hour or so.
And with the rain, comes the humidity! Yep, Bali in January and February is ridiculously hot and humid. It’s next level and can be uncomfortable.
This weather applies to the entire country so if you’re planning on visiting more Indonesian islands during your trip, this is something you’ll need to consider.
Appropriate clothing to wear in Bali
It’s important to be respectful of the Balinese culture. When visiting temples or sacred places, dress appropriately and cover your shoulders, chest, and knees. Don’t worry too much if you haven’t packed long pants as it’s common practice to rent sarongs from the vendors outside the temples.
But when you leave and hit the beaches, just about anything goes.
The type of traveler you are
How you prefer to travel will determine what you add to your Bali packing list. Me – I’m always on some adventure so I just bring what I need.
This packing list includes Bali travel essentials, but I’ve added those extra items that you may want to bring along if you’re a luxe traveler or if you’re moving to Bali for a few months.
Bali Packing List: Your Bags
Before you do anything, you’ll first need to decide what you’re going to pack everything into.
If you’re a luxury traveler embarking on a 5* resort holiday with private transfers, then you’ll get away with a hard wheelie suitcase.
But for everyone else, use a backpack!
“But backpacks are for backpackers” you might add.
Well, before my first Bali trip, I’d only ever used hard suitcases for my travels. I must have been living under a rock because backpacks are game-changers! And they’re not only for backpackers – they’re for everyone.
Backpacks are so convenient! They’re light, easy to carry, and won’t get muddy or wet (as you won’t have to drag it through the dirt roads, rice fields or between ferries).
And with all the activities and attractions in Bali, you’re most likely going to be moving around quite a bit. If that’s the case, a backpack is the way to go.
Carry-on backpack or day bag
Having a good carry-on backpack is crucial to every Bali packing list. This over-the-shoulder bag is needed for all your day trips, beach hopping shenanigans, and scooter missions.
Store your water, snacks, phone, camera, sunscreen, and beach towel in here. You’ll be all set and ready for the day.
Packing cubes are essential travel items that should be on your packing list no matter where you’re going.
They can be used to separate all your clothing items, from swimwear to underwear, dresses to shorts. They are affordable and come in sets of 3 or 4 varying sizes so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
And they’re not only for clothes! Here’s what else I use packing cubes for:
- Laundry bag: Laundry in Bali is so cheap with hostels and homestays offering laundry services for under $5! Keep your dirty clothes aside and have them washed every few days. They’ll be returned the next day, washed, dried, and neatly folded.
- Toiletry bag: Who needs a toiletry bag when you have packing cubes.
- Make-up bag: Ladies, don’t judge me for this! Instead of spending money on a fancy makeup bag, use a packing cube instead.
What to Wear in Bali (Women)
Deciding what to pack for Bali is no easy task – especially for us ladies. You want to be prepared for every occasion but that often means overpacking. Don’t do that!
When traveling to Bali, less is more!
While the Instagram pics may showcase a more dolled-up side to Bali, the island is super easy going and it’s totally acceptable to wear the same shorts and tank tops day in and day out.
Here’ what to add to your Bali packing list (Women)
Trainers: If you’re planning on hiking Mount Batur or doing a walk through the rice fields, you’ll need a pair of closed shoes. They’ll get very dirty so don’t bring your new sneakers! You can also wear these on your scooter trips and during the flight.
Flip flops (Havaianas): Every Bali packing list should include a pair of flip flops. I wore mine every single day – to the beach, shops, restaurants, and bars.
Sunglasses: Make sure they’re UV protected
Hat: I prefer a baseball hat as they’re easy to travel with. While the wide-brimmed sun hats look fab, they are a mission to pack
3 tank tops: They’re light, quick-drying, and don’t take up much space. Best worn to the beach and when you’re going out.
2 tops/vests: Bring 2 tops that cover your chest and shoulders. These can be worn when visiting temples, hiking, or doing yoga. And if you get a bit too much sun, you’re going to want to cover up the next day, so these are great for that.
3 pairs of shorts: I recommend a pair of denim shorts and 2 light shorts that you can wear over your bathing suit.
1 pair of yoga pants: I always carry a pair of long tights/yoga pants with me. You can use them for yoga, exercise, and also travel in them.
2 sundresses: Bring 1 or 2 flowy dresses that you can dress up or down.
2 bikinis/bathing suits: You might be tempted to bring more, but 2 is enough.
2 sarongs or beach cover-ups: I wore my sarong just about every day. After wearing it around the beaches in Uluwatu, I converted it into a dress or skirt and then hit the warungs on the cliffs.
A light jacket: Although it will be hot, bring a light jacket to wear in the mornings, on boat trips, and for your flight. Avoid a denim jacket as it takes up a lot of space and you may not even need it.
3 pairs of socks
Sling bag: Bring a small sling bag that you can use when going for dinners or drinks. It doesn’t need to be big – just something that can fit your purse, phone, and keys.
What to Wear in Bali (Men)
It’s so easy for guys to pack for Bali. Gary had half the amount of clothing that I did!
- Flip Flops
- 3 Boardshorts
- 3 vests
- 2 tops
- 1 t-shirt
- Light jacket
- 3 socks
- 6 underpants
Other Items to Include
- Beach towel: While homestays and hotels will provide you with bath towels, you’ll still need to pack a small, lightweight towel for the beach. It should be small enough to fit in your day backpack, along with the other items, so don’t bring a large heavy towel. These are the best and they’re easy drying.
- Reusable water bottle: The tap water in Bali is not safe to drink. Your accommodation may offer complimentary water that you can decanter into smaller reusable water bottles. If this isn’t an option, purchase the bigger 10l water canisters from the corner store and decanter them into smaller bottles for your day trips.
- Combination locks: I’ve never had a problem with theft in Bali. But if you’re traveling in big tour buses or overland to other islands, then bring a lock to keep your items safe.
READ MORE: The Ultimate 3 Week Bali Itinerary
- Shampoo and conditioner (2 in 1): I’ll let you in on a secret. When I’m traveling, I use the 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner for my hair and body so no need to bring a separate body wash
- Body cream: After hours in the sun, you’re going to want to moisturize
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Sunscreen: bring a factor 50 for your face and a 25 for your body
- Make-up: Don’t pack too much makeup. All you need is a bit of foundation, mascara, and blush
- Hair ties and clips
First Aid Kit
There’s no need to go overboard with medical supplies. The island has everything! But I recommend you add these items to your packing list for Bali.
- Antiseptic cream
- Mosquito spray
When you’re hiking volcanoes, driving scooters, eating street food, and dodging traffic, you need to be covered for emergencies.
The amount of people who don’t travel with insurance is really scary. In Bali, it’s a common occurrence for foreigners to end up in the hospital due to motorbike accidents, food poisoning, and even dengue fever. Make sure you’re covered in case this happens to you.
I personally use World Nomads when traveling as they cover everything from stolen luggage, missed flights, natural disasters, vehicle accidents as well as activities such as surfing and scuba diving. You can get a quote here – it only takes a few minutes.
- GoPro: If you don’t have one, buy one! You’ll want to capture all your favorite memories (and they’re also great for selfies)
- Portable power bank: Your phone battery may not last an entire day when you’re using it to follow Google maps and taking photos every two minutes. You’re going to need a portable power bank (and make sure it’s charged)
- Adapter: US plug ports don’t work in Bali. The plugs here take twin round pins, similar to European and South African pins.
- Speaker: A speaker will come in handy when you’re chilling at your homestay with a Bintang in hand, playing an intense game of cards. We used ours often but if you’re planning on being on the go all the time, then it might not be necessary.
Essential Travel Items to Pack for Bali
- Air ticket
- Debit and credit card: bring both as you never know if one will give you issues
- Driving license and International Driving License
- Copy of Passport, Travel insurance, Drivers, accommodation booking
- Passport wallet to hold your Passport and other important documents (all of the above)
- Money purse: When going on day trips or scooter adventures, don’t travel with a big wallet.
- Instead, keep your cards, drivers’ licenses, and other documents in your travel wallet (above) and use a small money pouch to carry cash for the day’s activities
READ MORE: The Best Places to Stay in Uluwatu, Bali
Non-Essential Items That You Might Want to Pack
Here are a few extra items that you might want to include on your Bali packing list, although most are not necessary.
A pair of sandals: If you’re planning a nice dinner in Seminyak (Motel Mexicola is awesome) or a champagne brunch in Nusa Dua (St Regis is incredible) then you’ll need a pair of sandals. But if these types of activities aren’t on your Bali itinerary, leave them at home.
A dry bag: Planning on doing a bit of island hopping, snorkeling, or diving? Bring a dry bag to keep your things safe. But honestly, these dry bags do take up a bit of space so if you’re only doing 1 or 2 boat trips, then it’s not entirely necessary.
A beach bag: Some people may prefer to have a nice beach bag for their day out in the sun. A tote bag also works well and takes up little space. Or better yet, leave these at home and use your small backpack instead – that’s what I did.
Snorkel and mask: The snorkeling in Bali isn’t much to write home about. The Gili Islands and Nusa Penida are a different story though. But carrying around bulky snorkeling gear is a mission and it’s easier to rent them on the islands.
Exercise clothes: Unless you’ll be doing yoga or exercising every day, don’t bring any workout gear. All you need is a pair of yoga pants (which I included earlier) and a normal top.
Money: You don’t need to bring Indonesian Rupiah with you to Bali as there are several ATMs just outside the arrival terminal at the airport.
Rashguard or swim shirt: If you’re learning to surf and expect to spend hours in the water, then you may want to consider adding a rash guard to your Bali packing list.
Rain Poncho: Traveling during the dry season (May-September)? Don’t pack a poncho! But you’ll need one for the rainy season. They’re sold on every street corner so you can pick one up in Bali, they’re far more affordable here.
Playing cards: I always travel with a pack of cards!
The book “Snowing in Bali“: I don’t read much but this book is amazing and I couldn’t put it down. It’s all about the history of drugs and gangs in Bali. Super interesting!
What Not to Add to Your Bali Packing List
- Expensive jewelry: Or any jewelry for that matter. It’s not needed.
- High heels: No one wears heels in Bali. Rather bring a nice pair of sandals.
- Jeans: They’re heavy and bulky and you won’t wear them because it’s so hot.
- Water shoes: I’ve seen a few Bali packing list blog posts that recommend bringing a pair of water shoes. While these could come in handy when you’re walking over the rocks in Uluwatu, they aren’t necessary, and I never needed them during my time on the island.
Bali Travel Tips
Now that you’re all packed and ready to go, all that’s left is to get on a flight! If this is your first time in Bali, here are some of the best things to do and travel tips for visiting the island.
- Visit the beaches in Uluwatu as they’re the best in Bali. Read more.
- Spend a few days inland and explore the hidden gem of Sidemen Valley. Read more.
- Know the rules for renting a scooter as they’re a lot stricter now than they were a few years ago. Read more.
- Make sure you know what to expect when visiting Indonesia. Read more.
- Go off the beaten track and explore these hidden gems in Bali. Read more.
Are you planning your trip? Have any questions about your Bali packing list? Drop me a message in the comment section below!
Looking for more Bali travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!
- The Ultimate Bali Travel Guide
- 9 Awesome things to do in Munduk, Bali
- The Perfect Ubud Itinerary
- What to Pack For Indonesia: The Essential Packing List
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