Beautiful Bali is one of the most visited places on the planet. Families, backpackers and couples all descend on this island, in search of an idyllic lifestyle including drinking coconuts on the beach, trekking up volcanoes, learning how to surf, experiencing Hindu culture and the amazing people of Bali and enjoying the tropical weather and constant sunshine.
Bali is a fantastic holiday destination; but it is one where sustainable tourism must be practiced. The island has seen many surges in tourism throughout the last few decades – often while they were fighting their own battles behind the scenes. It’s so important to be a responsible traveler in Bali; to both think about the environment and the local culture.
You can do this in so many ways, including learning about Balinese life, eating at local restaurants (they are called Warungs and they are delicious and cheap), and taking part in beach clean ups – but one of the best ways to be a sustainable tourist in Bali is to pack the right things.
So, in this Bali packing list, I will start with some essentials that I think every traveller should pack for Bali. Bali is also a hotspot for digital nomads, with busy Canggu being maybe the most popular place for remote workers on the planet, so there’s a little packing list for digital nomads included as well.
What to Pack for Bali: Sustainable Travel Items
Being a very touristy island with a huge population, Bali is possibly the most vulnerable place in the world for plastic pollution. Reusable plastics are a colossal problem in Bali and in all of Indonesia, and many single use plastics go near enough straight in the ocean, where they can kill marine life and stay there, never decomposing. When you’re starting to plan what to pack for Bali, including these items can have a colossal impact.
- Metal Straw – You’ll get given plastic straws at every bar and restaurant in Bali. Including a couple of metal straws will make a huge difference.
- Tupperware – if you’re wanting to take food away, using your own Tupperware rather than single use plastic boxes eliminates a need for them.
- Reusable cup – this is great for takeaway drinks and coffees
- Water to go bottle – you can’t drink the tap water in Bali, but with this bottle you can! Follow the instructions to activate the filter and then just fill up and sip away. It’s that simple!
If you’re travelling with people, please encourage them to make similar purchases. It’s really essential that we start doing this to keep Bali a beautiful destination that both locals and tourists can enjoy for years and years to come.
Technology to add to your Bali Packing List
- Smartphone – I use the BLU Vivowhich comes unlocked, so you can put an Indonesian SIM in it. It’s very cheap for data in Indonesia and it makes it easy to get around.
- GoPro – this is fantastic for all of your adventures – you can take it snorkeling and around the rest of Bali! I use and love the GoPro Hero 6 – but the GoPro Hero 7 has just been released and is worth checking out!
- Camera – mine is the FujiFilm x-A3 (the newer model is the FujiFilm x-A5), which captures beautiful Balinese scenes perfectly!
- Kindle – this is great if you want a quiet evening with a book, or on the plane over
- Adaptor – a global adaptor is a great idea – then you can use it for other travels! This is the one I use.
- Power Bank – always good to have as a reserve incase your phone runs out of battery. This one lasts for up to 7 charges!
- IPad/ Computer – I always travel with my MacBook Air for work, but others may prefer not to. It’s up to you!
- Headphones – don’t forget a good quality pair of headphones to listen to your favourite music!
Medicine you may need for Bali
- Immodium – Bali belly is real.
- Rehydration sachets – these are also great for Bali belly, to make you feel better after a bad night!
- Tiger balm – you can get this there for a lot cheaper, but it’s my absolute go-to for headaches, muscle aches, mosquito bites… Make sure getting a jar of tiger balm is one of the first things you do when you get to Bali!
- Seasickness tablets – if you’re travelling from Bali to the Gili Islands, don’t forget these – the seas can be nasty! You can also get sea sickness remedies in the form of bands or patches.
What to Take to Bali: Toiletries
- Mooncup – for the girls, this one’s essential if you’re going to be travelling during that time of the month.
- Mozzie spray – there’s very little malaria in Bali, and generally you won’t need anti-malarials. But catching dengue fever is possible, and bites are irritating, so be sure to pack some high quality mosquito spray.
- Sun cream – high factor sun cream is essential – you are on the equator after all!
- Shampoo – using a solid shampoo barmeans you won’t be throwing away any plastics in Bali!
- Conditioner – these are possible to get in solid form as well (both of these linked products are vegan by the way)
- Deodorant – ditto the above!
- Face wash
- Shower gel or soap
- Clippers or nail scissors
- Earplugs– essential if you’re sleeping in dorms and aren’t a heavy sleeper!
- Eye mask– ditto, great if you want to sleep on public transport too
- Towel – I use an eco-friendly bamboo towel
- Aloe vera spray or gel
- Tangle teaser and hair ties
- Shaving/ hair removing supplies
- Pocket tissues – a few packets of these are great for public toilets!
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
Other Things to Take to Bali
- Snorkel and Mask – there’s lots of snorkeling opportunities in Bali, and you’ll save money bringing your own snorkel and mask rather than renting them every time.
- Dry Bag– a dry bag keeps your electricals safe on potentially hazardous boat rides.
- Head torch – perfect for if you’re staying in dorms or doing a sunrise hike, a good quality head torch will light up your life.
- Pack of cards– great for the evenings!
- Padlock – this will keep your stuff safe in shared accommodation or in your bag.
- Bumbag – keeping your valuables in front of your person is a great way to keep track.
- Packing cubes– if you are backpacking for a while, you’ll be grateful for these packing cubes, which keep everything tidy and organized!
- Extra plastic bags – these are a great idea – for muddy shoes, wet swimwear, dirty clothes… back a few, you’ll thank yourself.
Clothes to Bring to Bali
You can purchase a lot of the clothes you’ll want for Bali on the island for cheaper prices; so go out with a little empty room in your suitcase or backpack!
Clothes you can buy in Bali
- Light Trousers
- T Shirts
- Cheap Flip Flops/ Thongs (that’s Australian for flip flops!)
Items you’ll want to take with you – daywear, eveningwear and beachwear
- Shorts – there is no real strict dress code in Bali, and as you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach, you’ll want some casual shorts. But please be respectful at temples and do double-think your dress if you go to the Gili Islands, which are Muslim.
- Light shirts – make sure you have something to cover your shoulders and legs for temples. Light shirts are also great for protecting against mosquitos in the evening.
- Other tops – as many as you think you need.
- Sandals – I use and love Birkenstocks vegan sandals.
- High-Quality Sunglasses – the Bali sun is intense!
- Rain Jacket or Poncho – the quality depends on what kind of rain you’ll be in, be sure to at least get a couple of cheap ponchos for emergencies, or if you are hiking in rainy conditions, a high quality rain mac is important.
- Closed Shoes – just for the days when you don’t fancy wearing sandals!
- Dresses – perfect for meals out or lazy days!
- Hiking boots – Decathlon boots are very affordable
- Leggings/ hiking shorts
- Hiking top/ t-shirt
- Sports Bra (for girls)
- Hiking socks
Books about Bali
- Bali & Lombok Lonely Planet – this travel guide will show you the best of the Indonesian islands, including some of the best off the beaten path things.
- Under the Volcano: the story of Bali – this book details the history of Bali, including Dutch occupation, world war two and the negative and positive aspects of tourism. It’s a bit of a heavy read, but it’s really important to understand the culture of this island and to respect it properly.
- Eat Pray Love – it’s only partially set in Bali, and let’s be honest, it’s a little bit cliche, but it does show some really nice aspects of Bali and details the Hindu culture.
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