Indonesia, Travel

What to Pack for Bali

what to wear in bali

Bali is one of my all time favorite places I’ve ever been. I went a few years ago now, but the experience remains. It was my first trip to Asia and I fell in love with the region thanks to this beautiful little island.

Packing for Bali is pretty simple. It’s all about long flowing, breathable pieces. It’s casual, but ridiculously hot. It’s a place of strong religious beliefs, so come prepared and ready to cover up whenever required.

That means walking around in your bikini is a big no-no. Balinese people are kind and modest and often won’t say anything even if they disapprove. Some villages have signs asking for you to cover up. If you’re not on the beach, at least put on some shorts and a t-shirt. 

Sarong

This is by far the most used item that I packed for my trip to Bali. I used it so much I bought two more while I was there. They are just so versatile.

Easily tie it around your waist when you’re wearing shorts and are heading into a temple or other holy place. Use it as a blanket on the beach, use it as a dress after the beach. I have wrapped it around my head when the sun is beating down on my dark brown locks (a hat would probably be a good thing to pack now that I think about it!). I also used it to dry myself after a shower when my towel refused to dry thanks to all that humidity.

Looking spiffy at a temple in Bali (wearing sarongs!)

Bathing suit

There are so many incredible beaches in Bali and the surrounding islands (I highly recommend spending a few days in the Gilis if you get the opportunity). Whether you’re there for the surf or simply for the sunshine, pack a few bathing suits to get you through your trip.

I find that it’s vital to have at least two. With the intense humidity, things take a long time to dry (if they do at all) and putting on a wet bathing suit is just nasty.

I’m not hugely loyal when it comes to bathing suits, I usually just pick the ones I like best from the Victoria Secret website (and they’re all on clearance atm because they are no longer making new swimwear). They always have nice patterns and bright colors. JCrew usually has cute bikinis in fun colors and feminine cuts.

Yoga Apparel

If you’re headed to Ubud for a little Eat, Pray, Love revival, you’ll need some yoga clothes. Yoga Barn is definitely one of the best spots to go for classes while you’re there. They also do yoga certification courses in English if that’s something you’re interested in doing.

Just remember, it’s super hot. Go for billowy, light pants and tank-tops to do your practice in. Leave your Lululemon at home.

what to pack for bali

Long Skirts & Long Flowy Dresses

These are the best options for staying cool and being respectful. If you plan on visiting any of the religious sites in the country or getting a bit off the Kuta and Ubud path, you’ll want to make sure that even in the villages you dress modestly.

There are plenty of places to buy beautiful, colorful long skirts in Bali, but it’s best to pack a few. If you are going to wear a dress that has a tank-top as the top, be sure to bring a sarong to cover your shoulders.

Flip Flops

You take your shoes off basically everywhere in Bali. You have to take them off before entering a shop, before entering your guesthouse, and often before entering certain restaurants. Flip flops are the easiest shoes to pop on and off.

As always, I’m a huge advocate for Rainbow Sandals. They’re leather so when it’s all hot and humid (which it is everyday in Bali) you won’t slip around in them. They are cute, comfortable, and absurdly durable.

what to pack for bali

If you’re not sure what’s acceptable, look around at the locals and see how they’re dressed.

Tons of Sunscreen

The sun is crazy hot in Bali. Definitely pack plenty of sunscreen and slop that stuff on throughout the day.

I prefer natural mineral sunscreens because they are better for your health and better for the environment. If you plan on swimming, then natural sunscreen is definitely the way to go. Chemical sunscreens wash off in the ocean and damage animal and reef life.

My favorite is the Josie Maran zinc oxide sunscreen & daily moisturizer. It’s light, it smells delicious (it has argan oil in it) and it protects me so well from sunburn. It’s the one I use pretty much every day here in Mexico.

Loose Fitting Shorts

I’m a huge lover of cut-off denim shorts. I usually grab up Luke’s old jeans and turn them into shorts for myself. They are loose around the waist and legs which means they don’t stifle you in hot weather (I wear them all over Mexico too!).

It’s also a good idea to bring a few pairs of non-denim bottoms. Flowy skirts and shorts that you can throw on over your bathing suit or wear on a casual day out in the village.

Tank-tops & T-shirts

I found cotton t-shirts to be simply too clingy and hot in Bali. Plus, nobody likes a t-shirt tan.

I opted for tank-tops most days. I paired them with my jean shorts or with a long flowing skirt and my sarong when I needed to cover up. They’re easy to wash and because it’s not much fabric, they dry quickly in the sun.

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Sunglasses are a MUST. Flowers in your hair are optional.

Sunglasses

Bali is the home of knock-off sunglasses. I picked up so many pairs of “Ray-Bans.” They’re dirt cheap and if you buy a few pairs from one person, they’ll be even cheaper.

That being said, they aren’t exactly sturdy and they’re definitely not protecting you from UV. The sun in Bali is no joke, so be sure to pack sunglasses that will not only look cute, but also actually shield your eyes from the sun.

Make-Up

I wouldn’t recommend packing much make-up for Bali. It’s so freaking hot you’ll likely melt it all off your face anyway. I do however always love a little brow pencil, mascara and bright lipstick to pair with my summery outfits. My coral lipstick from Sephora is my go-to for tropical holidays. It looks great with a tan.

I hope this has helped you figure out what to pack for Bali. It’s such a wonderful country and fear not, if you forget anything, you’ll be able to pick it up once you arrive. The shopping in Bali is some of the best in South East Asia. Be sure to barter, everything is negotiable!

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what to pack for bali