Lonely Planet is the largest publisher of travel guidebooks in the world, providing detailed guides, tips and advice from on-site experts. Although guidebooks are becoming less popular as more travellers take to the Internet to research their destinations, Lonely Planet remains an authoritative and trusted resource.
If Lonely Planet is the only voice you trust when it comes to booking your holidays, we’ve provided an overview of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Bali, including their expert recommendations of when to visit, where to go, how much money you will need and the best experiences you can have on the island.
Best time to go to Bali
According to Lonely Planet, there are three distinct seasons in Bali:
Low Season – January to April and October to November, which is considered the rainy season. You will find great deals on flights and accommodation, and still be able to participate in most Balinese activities, except the volcano treks.
Shoulder – May, June and September, where the weather is ideal and less humid. There are some good last minute deals available, and this is the best time for most activities, including diving and snorkelling.
High Season – July, August and December, which coincide with school holidays and Christmas and accommodation can be 50% more expensive than usual.
Money and costs
Lonely Planet has some solid advice when it comes to the money and costs involved with a Balinese holiday, recommending you can get by on one of three daily budgets which will afford you the following:
- Budget traveller (US$80 per day) – Accommodation at a guesthouse or homestay, cheap food and drinks and access to free beaches
- Mid-range traveller (US$80-$250 per day) – Accommodation at a mid-range hotel, a great night out eating and drinking, and a spa treatment
- Top end traveller (US$250+) – Accommodation at a high-end resort or hotel, a lavish evening out and a personal driver for the full day
The guidebook also recommends leaving a tip of 10% or more for exceptional service, although tipping is not expected in Bali. Lonely Planet advises ATMs are common around the island and it is easy to exchange money, while more expensive establishments will also accept credit card payments.
Top five things to do in Bali
If you would rather rely on Lonely Planet’s advice than the ramblings of an unknown blogger with an impressive Instagram account, here are the top five things to do in Bali according to the guidebook:
- Locavore – This is a fusion restaurant known as the foodie haven in Ubud, and is one of the hardest tables to secure a reservation to in Bali. Over 95% of the food is locally sourced, with degustation meals that top out at nine delectable courses. Book in advance here to avoid disappointment.
- Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali – Although very rough around the edges and in need of some major work, Lonely Planet recommends this museum in Denpasar for examples of Balinese architecture, traditional artefacts, ceremonial objects and rich textile displays.
- Gunung Kawi – This 11th century temple is one of Bali’s most unique archaeological sites, comprising of a collection of 10 shrines carved directly into the rock face surrounded by ancient rice terraces.
- Goa Gajah – Known to foreigners as the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah is a Buddhist temple located a few kilometres outside of Ubud. The temple is carved into the cliff face, and you enter through the mouth of a demon to explore rock wall carvings, bathing pools, a meditation cave, fountains and a relic filled courtyard.
- Neka Art Museum – This museum hosts what Lonely Planet calls an “excellent and diverse” collection of art work from private collector and dealer, Suteja Neka. It provides a great overview of the local Balinese painting styles and provides a good place to learn about the development of painting in Bali.
Other Lonely Planet suggestions for things to do in Bali include the Puri Agung Karangasem palace, the Pura Lahur temple in Uluwatu, Museum La Mayeur in Sanur and the Sacred Monkey Forest Santuary in Ubud.
Lonely Planet’s Bali travel tips
If there’s one source you can trust for travel advice, it’s Lonely Planet, and the guidebook recommends these 15 tips for first time travellers to make the most of your next visit to the island of the Gods:
- Expect crowds
- Choose your base carefully
- Don’t fret about ‘Bali Belly’
- Dress for the occasion
- Respect religious customs
- Prepare for a mixed bag of price tags
- Be cautious of wild and stray animals
- Avoid plastic water bottles
- Learn small local lingo
- Remember that low season often means rainy season
- Bargain respectfully
- Get your head around the current visa situation
- Play by the rules
- Respect the ocean
- Don’t stress
For further details about each of these travel tips and for more of Lonely Planet’s recommendations on where to stay and what to do in Bali, visit the Lonely Planet Guide to Bali at the official Lonely Planet website. Lonely Planet guides to Bali and Lombok can also be purchased from all leading bookstores.