How to Escape Tourist Crowds in Bali

Bali Beach | © Alexis Lê-Quôc/Flickr
Bali Beach | © Alexis Lê-Quôc/Flickr
Photo of Edira Putri
22 August 2017

Bali’s charm and incredible culture have earned the island worldwide popularity. Consequently, the crowd Bali attracts may make it hard for tourists to get a seat on the sun bed at popular beaches, or to take a picture of a mighty sea temple without the heads of tourists in the frame. Read our guide on how to escape tourist crowds in Bali.

Choose the right time of year

While there’s no bad time to visit Bali, note that the popular island is most crowded around the New Year’s holiday (December-January) and the Indonesian academic holiday that coincides with Western countries’ summer holiday (June-August). During this timeframe, both domestic and international tourists overwhelmingly swarm the popular island getaway. If you have the option, try to pick another time of year. Also, note that the rainy season generally falls around September-December.

Choose the right time of day

Tanah Lot is widely known for beautiful sunsets and Kuta is most visited during the night. Consequently, that’s when the spots will be packed the most. If what you’re more interested in is the cultural value of the Tanah Lot as a sea temple, you may want to consider visiting it during the afternoon (it’s just as majestic then!). If the experience you’re interested in is horse riding by the beach, head out in the morning instead of near sunset hours. Plan the day according to your purpose.

Sunrise at Sindu Beach Bali | ©Megan Coughlin/Flickr

Rise and shine

Get up while other tourists are still in their hangover from gulping too much Bintang beer. Head out to the beach to watch the sunrise, go surfing, shop at traditional markets, observe Balinese daily prayers, or simply rise early to start your day trip earlier in order to avoid traffic and arrive ahead of crowded hours.

Sunrise at Sindu Beach Bali | © Tanti Ruwani/Flickr

Travel Off-The-Beaten-Path

If you want to get an exclusive with the island, you’re going to have to travel the extra mile, literally. Look for hidden beaches or spots and cherish the often overlooked beauty. Choose the less-touristy alternative over the more popular ones. Bali is in no shortage of beaches, sunrise spots, and rice terraces.

Kintamani from Mount Batur, Bali | © Jan Alonzo / Flickr

Get Your Own Transport

When in Bali, rent a motorbike. Don’t overthink this. Especially if you’re planning to explore the island instead of staying in one spot. It gives you the freedom to roam free whenever and wherever, even the road less-traveled. A motorbike will also get you around faster than cars, especially on more crowded or narrower roads.

Avoid Big Travel Agencies

Everyone who chooses the same travel agency will end up at the same place, right? If possible, choose a local-run business and try to get a personalized trip. Or, if you have your own transportation and know exactly where to go, hire a local guide on the spot instead. Chances are, those guides are more acquainted with that specific destination and you are still free to decide where to go from there.

Kecak fire dance show | ©Pon T./Flickr

Make Friends With Locals

Nothing beats a local insight. It’s not hard to make friends with Balinese people —just smile and start a conversation. Balinese people are proud of their beautiful land. If you ask nicely, they’ll spill secrets on the best, hidden spots to enjoy.

Go Up North

Bali is most developed and therefore crowded in the southern area. That’s where everything is: Kuta, Bukit Peninsula, Nusa Dua, Seminyak, and more. But that’s not all Bali’s got, not even close. Travel further north and find the mighty natural reserve of West Bali National Park, a wonderful diving spot at Menjangan, and more.

Coral Garden of Menjangan, Bali | © Lakshmi Sawitri / Flickr

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