Wondering what to wear in Bali? Perhaps you can’t decide what essentials you’ll need for your adventurous trip? This packing list for Bali will help you decide exactly what to chuck in your suitcase, and what to leave out.
Bali in Indonesia is an amazing holiday destination. It offers something for everyone. Want an adventurous trip? Spend your days exploring volcanoes and waterfalls. Fancy a week of relaxation? Enjoy the spas and beaches of the island. Enjoy the cultural side of life? Take trips to temples or attend an interesting festival.Then there’s the food scene, which countries across Southeast Asia are famous for. In Bali, you’ll find traditional Indonesian dishes sitting side by side with photogenic millennial brunches. Snap photos of your smoothie bowls in Canggu or sample some tasty nasi goreng in Ubud.
With so many types of trip possible in Bali, you’ll need to plan your packing carefully. It could be easy to overpack or to leave out one crucial item.
Most people enjoy a mix of activities on the island. On my last trip I hiked a volcano, enjoyed several massages, lazed on a beach, explored the island’s waterfalls, wandered through rice paddies and visited a few temples. My partner even went scuba diving while I popped on some snorkel gear and spotted lots of colourful fish in the crystal clear waters.
If you’re starting to think about your packing list for Bali, I’m here to help. Not only will I share what to wear in Bali, but also a few useful extras you shouldn’t travel without. From bug spray and a reusable water bottle, to sun cream and a camera, there’s plenty to think about before you leave.
If you still need to plan where to visit in Bali, I’d recommend having a good look at my Bali travel blogs. I’ve covered everything from where to stay in Bali to what to do, tours to book and more.
Best Time To Visit Bali
Bali is a beautiful destination to visit all year round, but it’s worth noting there are two seasons. Rainy season runs from October to March. Most likely you’ll experience a few tropical showers, which are intense, but don’t tend to last for long periods.
Dry season runs from April to September. Humidity is lower during this period, and you’re less likely to encounter rain. Peak season tends to be from July to August, as well as two other high periods across the Easter and Christmas holidays.
In terms of temperatures, you can expect lows around 23 and highs up to 33 degrees celsius. The sea is warm all year round too – perfect if you fancy taking a dip during your trip.
If you can pick your timing, and aren’t restricted to school holidays, I’d recommend travelling to Bali in April, May or September, when crowds are reduced but it’s still dry season. Also, unless you’re used to high humidity, avoid March – it’s a lot to handle!
What To Wear In Bali
There are a mix of styles to the fashion seen across Bali. Traditional Balinese outfits are colourful and beautifully embroidered, often made from luxurious fabrics like silk. When it comes to tourists though, there are a few ways people tend to dress.
Bali is a popular backpacker destination, so casual clothes are common. Many wear shorts, t-shirts, summer dresses and trainers or sandals. Anything goes, but it’s important to be respectful of the local culture, especially if you’re visiting sacred sites or temples.
Bali has some smart places too. There are 5* resorts (lots are in my guide to honeymoon hotels in Bali, with chic restaurants and stylish beach clubs. For these you may want to dress up a little more, but I still wouldn’t go as far as to wear heels. While a few people might, I think the island is a lot more relaxed than that!
A lot of tourists dress for the activities they’re doing, (mostly based around nature) so I’d recommend packing some sportswear and comfortable, lightweight items.
What To Wear In Bali: Women’s Clothes
In order to write your packing list for Bali, be sure to research exactly where you’re going. The temperatures don’t vary much across the year, but the weather conditions do.
In general, I wore shorts or a midi skirt with a t-shirt or vest top during the day. This was suitable for most activities – from enjoying the beaches to adventures in the jungles.
If you’re wondering what to wear in Bali at night, a lot of the restaurants in towns like Ubud are very casual. I tended to wear short, but comfortable dresses in the evenings. It’s pretty warm all day, so I didn’t want any heavy layers!
For more adventurous hikes, like the Mount Batur volcano trek, I wore leggings with a sports bra, sports vest and trainers.
In the evenings I wore longer skirts with a t-shirt or vest top. At some temples, you’re required to cover your legs. Most have options to hire a scarf to cover up with, as I did at Goa Gajah near Ubud.
Bali has plenty of incredible beaches, so don’t forget to pack your favourite bikini or swimwear. You might also get the chance to take a dip in the cooling waters of one of the country’s spectacular waterfalls like Kanto Lampo Waterfall, Goa Rang Reng, Tegenungan or enjoy a warmer experience at Toya Devasya hot springs. You can find out more about visiting these spots and more in my popular Ubud Travel Guide.
A note on mosquitoes in Bali…
I couldn’t tell you what to wear in Bali without mentioning that there are mosquitoes and other insects that bite in Bali. If you feel lie you’re that person who always gets bitten, while your friends are fine, you might want to cover up in lightweight trousers or sports leggings.
My biggest piece of advice? Avoid being outside at dusk. The pesky creatures really come out and feast as the sun goes down, so if you can stay indoors then, you’ll probably fare better. Some people say that they’re more attracted to dark coloured clothing, so opt for lighter colours if possible. You can read more about some of the products I’d recommend packing, but I personally love the Bite Away pen – a clever electronic device which helps take away the itch after you’ve been bitten.
There is also a risk of dengue fever in Bali. Transmitted by mosquitoes, symptoms of this tropical disease include a fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. It’s a serious disease, so my advice is to always wear insect repellent, even during the day.
While this might all sound a little serious, I didn’t find Bali to be as bad for mosquitoes as other places I’ve travelled to (Belize is still the worst for me!) but it’s definitely something to think carefully about and protect yourself as best you can. I’ve popped a few tips below of other things you could take to help either with protection or relief afterwards.
What To Wear In Bali: Men’s Clothes
Similarly to women, men dress in a casual fashion in Bali. The main thing it to consider the climate and activities you’ll be doing. Most men I saw wore shorts or chinos with t-shirts, vests or shirts.
Men And Women’s Footwear For Bali
For visiting towns and cities, I’d recommend flat shoes, trainers or sandals. For exploring the jungles or rice paddies, you might want to wear hiking boots or sports trainers.
If you’re planning some adventurous activities, like white water rafting, a pair of water shoes would be handy.
Unless you’re visiting really smart restaurants or staying in fancy hotels, and you really want to dress up, you won’t need high heels. For dinners, I usually wore sandals while men wore basic leather shoes or espadrilles.
To help you prepare for your trip, save this Bali packing list to your phone.
Bali Packing List: Other Useful Items
If you’re planning your packing list for Bali, you should think about more than just clothing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…
Insect repellent – Don’t leave home without a decent bug spray. I got a few mosquito bites on my first trip to Bali, mostly around dusk when the sun was starting to set. There are plenty of environmentally-friendly insect repellants like this one. Some hotels and restaurants spray a mist of repellent each day across their grounds, while others offer sprays you can use for free.
As bugs love me, I’ve tried a few things over my time, from covering myself in malt vinegar (ick!) to wearing mosquito deterrent bands. I can’t say I noticed anything working that well, so these days I opt for repellent sprays and pack a few things to help ease the itch afterwards…
Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this, that helps to soothe any bites. I also invested in this gadget (bite away- electronic relief from insect stings and bites) which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here.
Travel towel – A microfibre fast-drying towel like this one will come in handy in Bali. Not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face!
Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one.
Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like Bali. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses.
Sun hat – Again, a useful addition for sunny days in Bali.
After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn.
Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers in rainy season (October – April)! As you won’t need to it for warmth, I’d recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket that packs down small. Something like this would be perfect.
Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my smallest handbag and is nice and sturdy.
Backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings.
Reusable water bottle – Drinking the tap water in Bali is not recommended – many think it causes Bali belly and other stomach related problems. However, a reusable water bottle is still a great idea as you can buy big bottles of water and keep them in the fridge of your hotel or apartment, then top up a smaller bottle to take out with you each day. I have a Chilly’s bottle that I was given for Christmas last year, and I take it everywhere with me!
GoPro – Bali is proper GoPro territory! It’s adventurous and fun, and you’ll want to capture everyhing you do, from surfing in Uluwatu to exploring the rice paddies near Ubud and hiking Mount Batur. GoPro’s are great for photos and videos, hard wearing, shockproof and waterproof. Whether you’re snorkelling, hiking, white water rafting, wildlife-spotting or zip lining, it’s the perfect accessory. Don’t forget to take out travel insurance that covers your gadgets too.
Portable battery pack – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip to Bali, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.
I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and last ages. This is the one I’m using at the moment, which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge, plus it has a fast charging capability.
Plug adapter – Plug sockets in Bali are the same as in most of Europe. It’s a two-pin plug, with round pins. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. I pack this adapter on all of my travels. It charges multiple items at once, using plugs or USB and can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets.
Dry bag – Since going to Thailand I’ve invested in a dry bag. They’re made from a thick plastic and are totally waterproof, so they’re perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity. They really do keep your gear safe and dry.
Hopefully this post has helped you figure out what to wear in Bali and how to plan your very own Bali packing list. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to check out my Bali travel blogs, which are packed full of travel tips to make the most of your time on the island, including the best things to do, where to stay as well as what to pack for your trip.
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