Every backpacker has Bali on their travel bucket list – and rightfully so! Bali offers endless opportunities for off-the-beaten-track adventure and discovery. Lush with jungles, lined with gorgeous beaches, flowing with waterfalls and hot springs, and full of city life and marvellous temples, Bali certainly doesn’t disappoint.
You won’t have a shortage of things to do or see, and you want to be prepared for any environment that you encounter on your travels. The activities on your list are likely varied, which makes knowing exactly what to pack for Bali – without breaking your back – an important part of your planning.
And that’s why we’ve put together this handy Bali packing list for you! Here you’ll find all you need to know including 21 must-haves, Bali travel tips, what to wear in Bali and how to pack by season, along with recommendations specifically tailored to women – and most importantly, what NOT to pack.
Once you’ve checked off all your Bali packing essentials, you can comfortably focus your attention on the important part – having an epic trip!
Top 21 NEEDS for Bali – Bali Packing List
#1 – Nomatic Travel Bag
As a backpacker, your most vital piece of travel gear is – not surprisingly – your backpack! For terrain as diverse as Bali’s, having a bag that’s durable and versatile is particularly important. You’ll also love all the pockets and compartments that maximize every valuable inch of packing space.
That’s why we give Nomatic Travel Bag the #1 rank as the best backpack for Bali. It’s spacious yet compact, expertly designed and well-made – it’s the adventure backpacker’s dream travel bag!
#2 – Active Roots Security Belt
One of your Bali packing essentials includes protection against minor theft and pickpockets – even though travel in Bali is considered overall safe.
Our favorite is a subtle accessory, the Active Roots Security Belt, because it appears to be a regular belt from the surface but houses a zipper pocket within, allowing you to secretly stash away your cash. Its fashion meets anti-theft security!
#3 – World Nomads Insurance
As a member of the globetrotting backpacking community, being prepared for the unexpected is an expected requirement. That’s why it’s a must-have to travel with travelers’ insurance.
Most use World Nomads Insurance because their affordable variety of coverage plans take care of you for everything from medical services to theft protection to unforeseen travel cancellations and theft protection. You’ll travel more peacefully knowing you have it.
#4 – Active Roots Water Bottle
In a destination full of outdoor adventure and sometimes highly strenuous activities, a top-notch bottle is a requirement on your what to pack for Bali checklist.
Staying hydrated in tropical weather is important to see you safely through long days of hiking or jungle trekking. We’re big fans of the 25-oz Active Roots Water Bottle made of eco-friendly stainless steel and it holds 8 more ounces than comparable bottles.
#5 – Combination Lock
Another basic travel safety precaution is keeping your main travel bag locked when left unattended. You leave your backpack without supervision more often than you’ll realize.
Backpacks are especially susceptible to shared-space accommodation, so take extra care if you’re staying in hostels. We recommend the Active Roots Combination Padlock because it’s travel-friendly, easy to use and conveniently locks with a resettable combination.
#6 – Skeletool
Whether you’re hiking through a jungle, traversing a rain forest or simply chilling at the beach, you’d be smart to include a travel-friendly multi-tool on your what to pack for Bali list.
Our favorite is the Skeletool because it comes in pocket or keychain-size models with many useful, cool tools. You can imagine how scissors, corkscrew, and even pliers may come in handy if you venture out to the middle of nowhere!
#7 – Active Roots Microfiber Travel Towel
In such a water-centric travel destination, a travel towel is one of your Bali packing essentials. Plus, you can’t be too sure of what you’ll get with your budget-friendly accommodations – if you get a towel at all.
It’s just impractical to pack a regular towel, so we recommend a quick-dry one like the Active Roots Microfiber Travel Towel. It’s ultra-lightweight and easily packs away without taking hardly any space at all.
#8 – Fairywill Electric Toothbrush
If you’ve never considered traveling with an electric toothbrush before, we highly recommend doing so. We love the Fairywill Electric Toothbrush, and we know you will too!
It’s travel-friendly and light-weight, and with 30 days worth of use from one 4-hour recharge – it barely needs recharging. The thorough teeth cleaning you get feels totally amazing and is definitely worth it.
#9 – SunGod Sunglasses
A must-have item on your what to take to Bali checklist is a durable pair of sunglasses. Our top recommendation is SunGod Sunglasses because they’re designed tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and built with frames made from SunGod’s trademarked Adventureproof? Frame Material – which makes them perfect for any Bali adventure. But they’re also super stylish, so it’s a win-win!
#10 – Foldable Daypack
One of your Bali essentials is a light, waterproof daypack for carrying essentials like your phone, camera, sanitizing wipes, scarf or sarong, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and anything else you may need for the day. This one folds up so small, it takes up barely any room in your main bag.
#11 – Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitoes thrive in tropical weather, so you can count on encountering your plenty of these pesky buggers – making an effective mosquito repellent a must-have on your what to pack for Bali list.
Mosquitoes in this area are carriers of tropical diseases like malaria and dengue, you need the best possible prevention. We recommend Jungle Formula Maximum Range, a product that contains 50% DEET and is endorsed by the Hospital of Tropical Diseases.
#12 – Lightweight Travel Sheet
It’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t find luxurious, immaculate bed linen in your budget-friendly hostel accommodations in Bali. Having your own lightweight travel sheet can be a lifesaver and really improve your sleep experience – not to mention give you more peace of mind. It’s always reassuring to know that the sheets you’re sleeping haven’t been used by anyone but you!
#13 – Travel Pillow
For the same reasons given above for packing a travel sheet, adding a travel pillow to your hygienic sheets is a nice addition to your Bali packing list.
Your best bet is to get one that can be compressed into a compact, packable size and will make sleeping more comfortable, whether that’s in a hostel bed or in an airplane seat.
#14 – Packing Cube Set
Living out of a backpack, even with the best of backpacks, can get disorganized and messy – and pulling everything out of your bag to find one specific pair of shorts gets irritating quickly.
That’s why packing cubes are a game-changer. Knowing the clothing item type you packed in different sized cubes will save you time and frustration – plus let you pack in a whole lot more.
#15 – Waterproof Mobile Phone Case
Some of the many highlights Bali has to offer are its epic water adventure opportunities. But when you’re taking selfies in locations surrounded by water, you’re at high risk of ending up with a damaged phone.
You can safeguard your cell phone with a waterproof phone case that will both save you the headache of dealing with a ruined phone and let you take some of those Bali selfies underwater!
#16 – Travel Adapter
Bali has power socket types C and F, but if you’re a world traveler, keeping track of all of these get confusing and you end up with 10 different adapters in a drawer.
It’s obviously important to keep your electronics charged, so it’s information you need to pay attention to and be prepared for. The easiest way to make sure that your plugs will work in any outlet without keeping track is to travel with a universal travel adapter that works globally. It’s the way to go!
#17 – Biodegradable Sanitizing Hand Wipes
While researching Bali, you likely came across the term “Bali belly.” Typical symptoms are cramping, upset stomach, vomiting and commonly a few days of diarrhea. It’s usually contracted through the consumption of contaminated water or food and caused by exposure to new bacteria.
The best way to avoid getting Bali belly is to never drinking Bali’s tap water and to clean your hands before and after eating, or as much as possible. That’s why we suggest making biodegradable sanitizing hand wipes one of your Bali packing essentials.
#18 – Diarrhea Medicine
On the subject of Bali belly, you want to have immediate access to an over-the-counter medicine that will provide relief. Packing a box of Imodium will be a lifesaver to help get you through this unfortunate ordeal.
If it’s a more serious viral infection or parasite, be sure to seek medical attention and take the proper medication. Many travelers look to activated charcoal as a natural way to rid the body of toxins, so it’s an alternative you may want to research as well.
#19 – First Aid Kit
All adventure travellers should travel equipped with a travel first aid kit stocked with essential first-aid items.
Even for the minor injuries – like scrapes and cuts – you need to properly disinfect and cover any exposed wound when you’re in foreign environments to prevent infection. A simple band-aid can be a lifesaver for blisters or other small lesions. It’s also smart to include basic over-the-counter medications, like headache medicine, as part of your first aid arsenal. This kit has it all!
#20 – Sunscreen
Being so close to the equator, exposed to constant sun and surrounded by water, can quickly lead to wicked sunburns. Make sure to make sunscreen one of your what to pack for Bali items and take care of your skin by applying it often throughout the day.
We highly recommend using reef-friendly sunscreen that’s free of oxybenzone and octinoxate to help protect the local environment and marine life. A sunscreen stick is a good option as it’s smaller, lighter, and won’t spill in your bag.
#21 – Waterproof Dry Bag
Chances are you’ll be partaking in island activities like boat trips, snorkeling, diving, waterfall exploring and other situations where your precious belongings are at risk of getting dunked and ruined.
The best way to preserve your valuables – like your cell phone and camera – is by storing them in a waterproof dry bag during water-centered excursions. After it’s been rolled and fastened, the dry bag is water-tight and floats in water.
What to Wear in Bali
Because of its tropical weather and island living, Bali fashion is overall very informal. But travellers need to keep in mind that Bali is indeed a predominantly Muslim country with Hinduism as primary religion. This means that their culture is very modest and must be respected by tourists by wearing appropriate attire.
For what to wear in Bali in summer – and in most of its other seasons too – shorts and beachwear are acceptable on the beach. But, when visiting smaller towns, men and women should wear pants or skirts that fall below the knee. Covering your knees is a requirement for entering temples, as is covering your shoulders. Having a lightweight scarf or wrap or in your day pack is smart just in case you need some coverage.
Staying modestly dressed doesn’t mean having to be uncomfortable in the hot, and usually humid, tropical weather. We’ll give some suggestions on what to pack for Bali with more details about the weather broken down by season, so you’re well prepared for what to wear in Bali at any time of the year.
Seasons in Bali (And how to pack for them!)
Visiting Bali in Summer
- Summer – June, July and August are when Bali weather is most comfortable with temperatures that range from 72-85° F (22-29° C). July and August are also the islands’ driest months making summertime even more desirable. Despite this, you should still be prepared for the brief tropical storms that come and go unexpectedly.
The coastal areas usually have a nice breeze, and you’ll find chillier conditions in the area north of Ubud, but you can otherwise plan for these warm temperatures plus occasional humidity.
As you may expect, the season with the best weather also means the largest tourist crowds. But if your priority is warm temperatures, drier conditions and basking in the sun – and you don’t mind sharing space with other travelers – then summer is a good choice for you!
For what to wear in Bali in summer, lightweight items like shorts, linen pants, t-shirts made from breathable fabric – and of course, beachwear – should all be part of your packing list.
For example, a perfect summer Bali outfit idea for women is a pure cotton tank top with a flowy long skirt that is both appropriate for daytime and nighttime activities.
Visiting Bali in Fall
- Fall – the earlier part of the fall season keeps summer’s pleasant conditions, making September is a good shoulder month for Bali travel. Into September, tourists start clearing out too. October starts creeping into the wet season, but you’re sure to still see sunny days. The chance of showers really starts to increase in November, though the rain is often short-lived.
Bali weather in the fall stays consistent with that of summer with average air temperatures ranging from 72-88° F (22-31° C). The bigger change comes in the amount of monthly rainfall which increases to 60-90mm versus the 40-50mm in the summer.
Because of the continued warm temps and high humidity, your packing strategy for Bali should still focus on lightweight clothing basics. Keep it comfortable and simple with t-shirts, shorts, light pants and sundresses. A fall Bali outfit idea is a pair of linen pants with a cotton short-sleeve shirt or t-shirt topped with a light rain jacket – in the likely event that it will rain.
Visiting Bali in Winter
- Winter – December, January and February represent Bali’s low seasons – main because they are its wettest months and bring slightly higher temperatures. December is still a busy time, however, as the islands attract many tourists taking advantage of the holiday time-off to travel.
The average air temperature from December through February stays around 80° F (26° C) average, with highs that reach into the upper 80s. But with the rain comes increased humidity that reaches 80%, so the overall conditions feel hotter and less comfortable.
The good news is that – outside of the holiday rush – you can find some amazing off-season travel deals and save yourself some money. There’s also the advantage of having more of Bali to yourself with fewer tourists.
The downside is that planning outdoor activities is more problematic because you can’t be sure how the rain will affect your plans – the rain may be quick to come and go, or it may decide to linger for days. Also, be prepared for more mosquitoes during the humid, wet winter months.
As for what to pack for Bali for the winter, with the intense humidity you’ll want to pack basics that are as lightweight and quick-drying as possible. This is a good time to invest in some items made with a moisture-wicking material. Short, t-shirt, tank tops and breezy pants will keep you cool and fit in nicely with Bali street fashion. You also want to include a light, hooded rain jacket.
Visiting Bali in Spring
- Spring – early spring falls within Bali’s wet season, so conditions in March are almost the same as those in winter. Sunnier days, fewer showers and higher temperatures begin making their back in April. The average monthly rainfall decreases from winter’s 90mm to 70mm. May is another favorable shoulder month to consider if you want to take advantage of fewer crowds and less rain before the high season hits.
Bali’s temperatures reach their highest in the spring season – reaching over 90° F (32° C) in May. But because there are less rain and humidity, you may find this to be more bearable than lower temperatures with wetter conditions. So, if you’re okay with some heat and want low-season benefits, Spring could be your season!
For what to pack for Bali in spring, again, you want your main staples to be lightweight, comfortable items. Breezy cotton blend shirts and shorts will keep you coolest while dri-fit tops will serve you well in this heat. For women, packing a sundress or flowy maxi dress is perfect for what to wear in Bali at night for nicer dinner or outing.
What Shoes to Pack for Bali
No matter what’s included on your Bali activity calendar, it’s likely that water is involved in some way. Whether it’s beach hopping, waterfall touring, rain forest trekking, snorkeling, white water rafting or surfing – chances are your feet are going to get wet. For what shoes to pack for Bali, we highly recommend that those you choose are both comfortable and waterproof.
Maybe your preferred pair isn’t a pair of mesh slip-on water shoes, but when you’re climbing over slippery, wet rocks to reach that stunning waterfall, you’ll be happy to have them.
They’re light and comfortable and provide ample traction for any type of slippy surface. Plus, nobody enjoys walking around in heavy, soggy shoes. You’ll enjoy your watery adventures much more with a pair of these.
You should definitely pack some flip-flops or comfortable sandals. Flip-flops are a staple of Bali fashion and are used on the beaches and also for walking around town and cities.
Also, temples and other public places require removing your shoes before entering, so it’s convenient to wear shoes that are easy to take on and off. Since Bali street fashion is overall casual, you’ll easily be able to use them for what to wear in Bali at night for going to restaurants and bars/clubs, too.
Females – What to Pack for Bali
Ok, now let’s talk about some ladies-only items that you should consider adding to your what to pack for Bali list!
The most versatile article of clothing that we recommend packing is a sarong. As such a thin, lightweight piece of fabric, you can easily have one on hand in even the smallest daypack. Forgot to wear sleeves and want to enter the temple? Use your sarong to wrap around your shoulders! Shorts too short to cover your knees? Just wrap your sarong around your waist and use it as a long skirt. Unexpectedly encounter an amazing beach you want to lounge on? Lay your sarong on the sand and use it as a beach towel!
And you only need to pack one. There are so many good deals and beautiful patterns you can get in Bali, you’ll probably buy more along the way.
Before venturing off to Bali, all women should be prepared should that time of month arrive during your travels. It’s never convenient, but getting your period doesn’t have to be stressful. Be aware that tampons are often hard to find and can be quite expensive in Bali. Especially if you plan on diving or doing other water sports, the more-readily available sanitary pads won’t be enough.
We recommend taking along compact tampons or a menstrual cup, like the Diva Cup. Many seasoned female travelers prefer a menstrual cup because you only need one – they’re reusable and can be worn for up to 12 hours. But if you’re not used to them, you should give them a trial run before your trip.
Bali is booming with endless yoga opportunities and classes that you’ll want to take advantage of. It’s the perfect time to get into zen mode and soak in Bali’s energy. We recommend packing a pair of yoga capri pants and a sports bra for this type of Bali experience. Whether you end up doing yoga or not, you’ll have some comfortable pants and bra for your travels!
Males – What to Pack for Bali
For you fellas, we’d like to recommend a few items as you’re planning what to pack for Bali:
You don’t want to be without board shorts. You’ll definitely use them on the beach and for other water activities like surfing, but a neutral-colored pair will also come in handy for everyday sightseeing and touring. They’re light and quick-dry, so they’re ultra-functional for all Bali activities.
You’ll also want to pack a pair of long pants, both for visiting temples and for what to wear in Bali at night. But jeans are too thick and heavy, and you won’t be comfortable wearing them in the Balinese weather. You’ll be happier in a pair of dri-fit chinos that keep you cooler and dry in Bali’s humidity and will also spruce up your style.
It’s smart to protect your head area when traveling in sunny, hot weather. Baseball caps will feel heavy and make you sweat more than usual, so we recommend a more comfortable, light alternative like a UV buff.
Because they’re made with moisture-wicking material and dry fast, they’ll keep you cool and dry. You can also wear them in different ways – as a headband, in beanie-style, as a bandana or wrap around your wrist to use as a sweatband.
What NOT to Pack for Bali
Now that we’ve covered what to pack for Bali, let’s talk about what NOT to pack for Bali. Let’s cover the items we suggest leaving behind:
- Don’t bring any valuable jewelry or items you’d be crushed to lose. When you’re constantly moving from place to place, the chances of losing things is much higher. Plus, there’s always the risk of theft. If it’s extremely valuable and not totally essential, you’re better off leaving it at home.
- Don’t pack heavy items. This includes things like extra shoes, thick-material clothing, and books. Don’t forget that you’re literally carrying all your things on your back, so every ounce makes a difference. If you’re an avid reader, bring an e-reader or pick up and drop off books at the hostels’ book swap libraries.
- Don’t even think about traveling with ANY sort of illegal drugs. Indonesia is extremely strict about this and won’t hesitate in prosecuting you, so please take this seriously.
The Best Backpack to Pack for Bali
Every backpacker knows that all of your precious belongings are sitting on your back, so the bag you entrust to carrying all of it is really important. If you’re searching for the perfect travel bag that is functional, durable and awesome in every way, look no further. You’ll get all of this in our top pick for the best backpack to pack for Bali: the Nomatic Travel Bag.
Why does the Nomatic Travel Bag our #1 rating in this category? Mainly because it’s the smartest travel bag we’ve seen for every type of backpacker. It has pockets and compartments for all your essential stuff – your shoes, stainless steel water bottle, your laptop or e-reader, your socks and underwear, and even a security and RFID pocket.
We’re its modern, innovative design that includes a strap system that lets you choose between backpack or duffel bag-style portability. Lugging a backpack around gets heavy, but you’ll lessen the load with its sternum straps and detachable waist straps.
You can also count on this travel bag to be your faithful travel companion for a very long time – its made with a durable, waterproof material that will withstand the most rugged of destinations and is perfect for any conditions you may encounter in Bali.
Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Bali
There you have it, friends! You complete Bali survival guide that includes our top-21 needs list, a breakdown of the weather conditions you can expect by season and how to pack for them, what not to take with you and the best travel backpack for Bali!
Just focus on your must-haves and don’t bog yourself down with the extras. Budget-style backpacking is about the adventure, so stay focused on packing smart and staying safe, and everything else will work itself out. So, gear up and get excited because Bali awaits!
Also – don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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