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. Countries across Southeast Asia offer amazing cuisine, but 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’s the kind of destination where it’s easy to completely 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, visited the island’s waterfalls, wandered through rice paddies and took trips to a few temples. My partner even went scuba diving and surfing, 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 other Bali travel blogs. I’ve covered everything from where to stay in Bali, to what to do, tours to book and more.
When is the 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 can be intense but don’t tend to last for long periods (and shouldn’t put you off booking!)
Bali’s dry season runs from April to September. Humidity is lower during this period, and you’re less likely to encounter rain. The main peak season tends to be from July to August, but there are two other busy periods across the Easter and Christmas holidays.
In terms of temperatures, you can expect lows around 23° C (73° F) and highs up to 33° C (91° F). 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 and satin. 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). Many of these have chic restaurants and stylish beach clubs. For these you may want to dress up a little more, but to be honest, I still wouldn’t go as far as to wear high heels. While a few people might, I think the island is a lot more relaxed than that!
A lot of tourists dress depending on the activity they’re doing (mostly based around adventure and nature) so I’d recommend packing some sportswear and comfortable, lightweight items. Even better if they dry quickly, so you don’t have to worry about a quick rain shower or dip in the water!
What To Wear In Bali: The Ultimate Guide
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 relaxing on 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 want 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 perhaps 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.
Here are a few specific items of women’s clothing I’d recommend for Bali:
Women’s sundress – Something strappy, pretty and not too short for everyday use.
Women’s maxi dress – I quite liked having a longer item or two, especially for when insects were out.
Women’s midi skirt – I live in items like this in warm countries and have them in multiple colours and patterns. They’re comfortable and not revealing.
Women’s shorts – I packed a few pairs. I’d recommend something loose and comfortable like these shorts, and then perhaps some classic denim shorts too.
Women’s summer top – I wore a lot of things like this. Neutral colours work best as you can mix and match with shorts and skirts. Plus, you can dress them up or dress them down!
Women’s bikini – You’ll need to pack a couple of items of swimwear. There are so many cute bikinis out there to choose from!
Women’s rash guard – Not essential, but if you burn easily (or plan to surf) I’d recommend one of these. This one is great as it has a built-in bra and comes with a pair of matching shorts.
Women’s sports vest – I’d recommend one or two sweat-absorbing vests like this for adventurous activities.
Women’s sports bra – Ideal for sporty or adventure activities. I prefer sports bras like this Under Armour one which has some built in padding for extra support.
Women’s leggings – You might prefer sports shorts, but depending on the activity you’re doing, you might want a pair of leggings for a bit of extra protection. These Under Armour ones are great as they’re very lightweight.
Sarong – A really useful item for any travels in warm countries! Use it as a towel, a cover up, to sit on, to lie on or for a cute addition to an outfit!
Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself.
Sunglasses – I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!
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 like you’re that person who always gets bitten (that’s me too!!) 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 around that time, 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. It doesn’t prevent getting bitten in the first place but I’ve been really impressed with how quickly the itch subsides.
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.
Here are a few specific items of men’s clothing I’d recommend for Bali:
Men’s casual shorts – I’d recommend several pairs of comfortable shorts for everyday use.
Men’s T-shirts – Pack a few options of t-shirts too.
Men’s shirts – A few shirts (long or short sleeved) are a good idea. I personally love these linen shirts. They look very cool!
Men’s vests – If you sweat a lot, you might find vest tops more
comfortable in the heat.
Men’s sports tops – For active days, something like this is really useful as it’s super-absorbent.
Men’s sports shorts – If you’re doing some adventurous hikes or activities, you’ll want shorts you can move freely in.
Swimming trunks – The more fun the pattern, the better! These ones have pockets and are quick dry too.
Baseball cap – Look for one with a mesh back like this one, so it’s more breathable.
Sunglasses – You can’t beat a classic pair of these Ray Bans!
Men And Women’s Footwear For Bali
If you’re wondering what footwear to pack for Bali, it will vary depending on where you’re going. For visiting towns and cities, I’d recommend flat shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops. 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 could be really handy. They protect the soles of your feet and give you a bit of extra grip.
Unless you’re visiting really smart restaurants or staying in 5-star hotels in Bali and you really want to dress up, you won’t need high heels. For dinners, I usually wore flat sandals, while men wore basic leather shoes or espadrilles.
Here are a few specific items of footwear I’d recommend for Bali:
Birkenstock sandals – Really durable, ideal for men or women and come in multiple colours. There are a few different styles to choose from too.
Teva trekking sandals – Really durable, great for travel, easy to take on and off and they come in lots of colours and patterns.
Skechers lightweight trainers – Really comfortable and they dry quickly too, so are useful for all sorts of travel.
Havianas flip flops – Male or female, everyone should own a pair! These ones for men are fun too.
Cute women’s sandals – Something like this is great for beach clubs, hotels and restaurants.
Tom’s flat loafers – A nice casual shoe for men, easy to slip on and great for exploring or going to restaurants.
Hiking shoes – Only necessary if you’re planning some big adventures. These ones are great as they’re lightweight and breathable.
Water shoes – Again, not essential, but can be useful for rocky areas or hiking around waterfalls.
5 Places You May Want To Dress Conservatively In Bali
I’ve mentioned how important I think it is to respect the local culture and traditions when you travel. While there are plenty of places you can dress how you like, here are a few places you might want to cover up.
- Temples and Religious Sites: Bali is home to numerous temples, and when visiting these sacred places, it’s essential to dress modestly. Wear clothing that covers your shoulders, chest, and knees. Sarongs are often provided at temple entrances, but it’s a good idea to bring your own to ensure you can properly cover up.
- Traditional Villages: When exploring traditional Balinese villages, it’s respectful to dress conservatively. Local villagers often follow traditional customs and appreciate visitors who do the same. I’d suggest you avoid wearing revealing clothing and opt for modest attire.
- Rural Areas: If you venture into the rural areas of Bali, such as rice terraces or remote villages, conservative dress is appreciated. It may also be useful in terms of avoiding getting bitten by bugs and mosquitoes!
- Formal Events and Celebrations: If you’re invited to a wedding or ceremony in Bali, conservative dress is expected. Usually women wear traditional Balinese attire or modest dresses, while men wear a traditional sarong and sash.
- Government Buildings and Offices: If you need to visit government offices or conduct official business in Bali, it’s advisable to dress conservatively.
As mentioned earlier, I’d always recommend having a scarf with you in Bali – it’s an easy way to cover up quickly and easily.
Bali Packing List
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 other items I’d recommend packing for your Bali holiday.
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 really good insect repellents like this one. If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too. 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 swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen, 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 fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy in Bali. These are great 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 on a humid day!
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 made by Sun Bum.
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. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!
Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat to protect yourself on all of those sunny days in Bali.
After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun. It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.
Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers in Bali’s rainy season which runs from October to April. As you won’t need 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.
Daypack 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. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack. It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!
Reusable water bottle – Unfortunately, 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. Personally I’d recommend the Chilly’s water bottles. I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality!
GoPro – Bali is proper GoPro territory! It’s adventurous and fun, and you’ll want to capture everything you do. From surfing in Uluwatu to exploring the rice paddies near Ubud and hiking Mount Batur, GoPros are great for photos and videos. They’re 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.
Power bank – 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 have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment, which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and 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 universal travel adapter for 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 like this. It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags 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.
Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!
Quick Bali Packing Lists
In summary, here are my recommended packing lists for Bali.
Women’s packing list for Bali
- Vest tops
- Midi or maxi skirts
- Sarong or scarf
- Sandals or flip flops
- Sun hat
- Rain jacket
Men’s packing list for Bali
- Vest tops
- Swimming trunks
- Flip flops
- Casual shoes
- Sun hat
- Rain jacket
Other Bali packing essentials
- Insect repellent
- Bite relief
- Travel towel
- Sun cream
- After sun
- Rain jacket
- Packing cubes
- Daypack backpack
- Reusable water bottle
- Power bank
- Plug adapter
- Dry bag
- Waterproof phone case
- Rash guard
- Snorkel and mask
- First aid kit
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 other 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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