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12 Best Nightclubs in Bali (Updated 2017)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I already wrote last year a complete review of Bali nightlife which I recently updated. I'm adding this ranking of the top 12 hottest clubs on the island. This list of the best party places should help you choose where to go for your night out. The $ sign indicates the average price category for a standard alcoholic drink.

The following venues are all the busiest party spots in Bali at the time of writing. Please feel free to comment!

I recommend you to choose a hotel near a nightclub. You'll avoid 4 things: Drunk motorbike accidents, motorbike bag snatchers, traffic jams and crooked taxi drivers. Read my article: 10 Best Girl-Friendly Hotels Near Bali Nightlife.

1) Jenja $$$: Best overall
Photo source: Jenja Bali
Where is it? Jenja is located on the basement of the Town Square Suites on Jalan Nakula. It is just between Kuta and Seminyak and 3 minutes away from Double Six beach. There has been several cases of robberies in front of the hotel so be careful late at night.
Who goes there? Expats 60%, tourists 20%, Indonesians 20% (among which some prostitutes)
Why should I go? Jenja is popular for having the right dosage between chic and underground. Good resident and guest DJs. European-style electronic music.
Why should I avoid it? You might feel claustrophobic on the dancefloor as the ceiling is pretty low and the club packed at peak hours.
When is the best time to go? Every nights from Wednesday to Saturday, after 1AM. Read more: Jenja.

2) La Favela $$: Best bar in Bali
Photo credit: http://jberginc.com/
Where is it? More a bar than a nightclub, La Favela is located in the heart of Seminyak, on Jalan Oberoi. It is just in front of Red Carpet Champagne Bar, and next to Le Bistro.
Who goes there? 50% tourists, 30% expats, 20% Indonesians.
Why should I go? The interior design of La Favela is really amazing, a real work of art. The place is rather big, with a nice, quieter outdoor area. Trendy, hippie kind of crowd.
Why should I avoid it? The music is a hit or miss, usually old-school with popular pop and disco songs. Not a sleek, modern place as it is made almost entirely from recycled materials and antiques. Popular with Westerners, much less with Indonesians. They give you plastic cups instead of real glasses.
When is the best time to go? La Favela is open all day as it is also a restaurant. The place becomes lively only after 11pm, almost any night of the week. Complete review here: La Favela Seminyak.

Update October 2016: La Favela is as hot and busy as ever, and you often need to queue to get in. They have introduced a policy forbidding Indonesians under 25 to enter. Strange and racist.

An alternative to La Favela is the restaurant/lounge/club Shanghai Baby (the hotspot for expats, deep house and cantonese cuisine) or to the Mexican open air café Mexicola.

3) Sky Garden $$: Best nightlife spot in Kuta
Photo credit: Club Sky Garden
Where is it? Sky Garden is located in Jalan Legian, Kuta. The street is often clogged with traffic so it's best to walk if you don't stay too far away. Beware of pickpockets outside and inside, especially at the end of the night.
Who goes there? Australians (50% Bogans), teenagers and backpackers from all over the world, Javanese prostitutes, 20-something Jakartans on their first trip to Bali, some younger expats.
Why should I go? The biggest club in Bali with a fun, mixed crowd in terms of age and nationalities, different music on every floors and rooms (electro, old school, rnb, live) including a rooftop and a huge main dancefloor with the best sound system in Bali (SkyDome), some great shows including sexy dancers. Girls can get free selected cocktails on ladies nights. Every day, cheap 5$ all-you-can-eat barbecue. Drinks are very reasonably priced.
Why should I avoid it? If you don't like college style parties, then you will hate it. There are also quite many prostitutes operating in the club but they are rather discreet. You may also not feel too safe as it is just a few hundred meters away from Ground Zero where the first Bali bomb went off. Many expats hate it because it is too mainstream and because it attracts quite many singlet-wearing Australians.
When is the best time to visit? Because it is always packed early in the night, SkyGarden is recommended any day of the week, after 9pm. Complete review: Sky Garden Kuta.

4) Mint $$$: Best venue in Seminyak for electronic music
Photo source: Mint
Where is it? Mint is located on Jalan Petitenget, in the heart of Seminyak. It is not far from W Hotel or Potato Head Beach Club. It is just in front of another popular bar, Mantra, which is a good option for pre-party cocktails.
Who goes there? Single male expats above 30 (from Bali and Jakarta), Javanese girls (among which many working girls), some gays, some Western girls, some tourists.
Why should I go? Intimate club with many regulars. Great electronic music. Drinks not too expensive. A fairly easy pick-up place for guys and girls.
Why should I avoid it? You won't like Mint if you are too young. It is a closed air-conditioned club that has no "Balinese" feel. Western girls might not be comfortable with the number of prostitutes.
When is the best time to go? I would only advise to go to Mint on weekends or when they have special DJs. 1AM is the perfect hour. More on Mint on Jakarta100bars.com: Mint Nightlife Bali.

5) Mirror $$$: Best new nightclub 
Photo source: Mirror
Where is it? Mirror is located in the back of Gardin Bistro on Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak.
Who goes there? The latest trendy club in Bali, Mirror attracts mostly people from the Seminyak expat community. Since the owner of the club is also behind the popular Fable in Jakarta, you also have a lot of Jakartans.
Why should I go? Unique décor, good crowd, full on weekends. They have also been bringing some famous DJs. People tend to dress up more than usual in Mirror.
Why should I avoid it? Mainstream electronic dance music. The club is made to look like a church. Personally I don't like it, it feels creepy. Others say it's a Harry Potter theme, which is even worse.
When is the best time to go? There are events from Wednesday to Saturday. You can go starting midnight. More info: Mirror Bali.

6) Boshe VVIP $$$: Best club for Asian party-goers
Photo source: Boshe VVIP
Where is it?  Boshe VIP is in Kuta on Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai. You will need a 10-minute taxi ride to reach it from Jalan Legian and 20 minutes from Seminyak.
Who goes there? Asians, mostly Indonesians (Javanese, Indo-Chinese, some Balinese), Malaysians and Singaporeans
Why should I go? Most people go to Boshe for the girls. They have some sexy lady companions and a popular karaoke. The events are usually quite fun: They have rather good local live bands and an excellent sound system. After the live music, you usually have a DJ playing electronic music. There is a really cool dressing code for the staff: All of them have dyed hair, tattoos and a rock attitude.
Why should I avoid it? Boshe is almost 100% Asian. Guys usually book a table or a sofa, pay for some girls to accompany them, and get drunk. There is not much interactions in the crowd. It is more difficult to meet a "normal" girl too. The live bands play a lot of Indonesian songs which can be boring if you are not familiar with them.
When I should visit it? Boshe is decently crowded during the week, and it is busy from Wednesday to Saturday night. If you want to hear the live music, come from 8am to midnight. For their latest events: Boshe Bali.

7) Pyramid $$$: Best club for late-night expat clubbers
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/bali.tonight
Where is it? Pyramid is on Jalan Dewi Sri, easy to reach from both Seminyak and Kuta (10 minute ride by taxi). The area is one of the worst in Bali in terms of safety. There have been countless reports of motorbike riders (females mostly) having their handbags snatched. Be very careful.
Who goes there? People usually go to Pyramid after all the other places (Jenja, Mirror, Mint, SkyGarden, etc) have closed. It is a mix of different crowds, but mostly you will find male expats and prostitutes.
Why should I go? The electronic music is usually excellent. Past a certain hour, it is the only decent place opened apart from DeeJay Cafe (see below).
Why should I avoid it? You may not like the 80% male crowd, 15% prostitutes, 5% normal girls.
When is the best time to go? I would only advise Pyramid on weekends as most of their events are on Friday and Saturday nights. 4AM is a normal time. Complete review here: Pyramid Bali.

8) Hu'u Bar $$$: Best club for Jakartans (CLOSED)
Photo source: Hu'u Bar
Where is it? Hu'u bar is centrally located in Seminyak, Jalan Petitenget, near the new Alila Hotel. It is 2 minutes away from Ku De Ta or Potato Head.

Who goes there? Mostly Indonesians from Jakarta and Indonesian residents of Bali. The rest is 25% expats and 15% tourists.
Why should I go? Hu'u has a Bali vibe with its large garden and swimming pool. Good crowd and one of the best pick up places on the island.

Why should I avoid it? The music is mainstream unless they have events. Since the opening of Mirror, it is not as happening as it used to be.

When is the best time to go? Weekends only, midnight. For a complete review: Hu'u Bar.

Update 2016: Hu'u has closed and it has been replace by Gatsby (which is not so crowded). Jakartans now go to Mirror.

9) Hypnotized $$: Best club for under 25

Photo Credit: VH Kuta
Where is it? Hypnotized and the Velvet Lounge, also called VH, are located in Beachwalk Mall in Kuta. Easy to find, but the traffic can be horrible on weekend nights. Some taxis may actually refuse to take you there and will drop you instead at Kartika Plaza (10 minutes walk).
Who goes there? The picture is misleading as most clients of Hypnotized are Indonesians living in Bali (but not Balinese). You also have some tourists from Jakarta and other countries.
Why should I go? Hypnotized is a rather clean club with less prostitution compared to other venues mentioned in this review. Guys looking to meet normal Indonesian girls could try it.
Why I should avoid it? Mainstream music. Younger crowd.
What is the best time to go? Weekends only unless they have special events or guest DJs. It starts to fill up around midnight. More information: Velvet Hypnotized Bali.

10) Akasaka / A-Club $$: Best underground club in Bali
Photo Credit: A-Club Bali
Where is it? Akasaka and A-Club are both in the same complex, in Denpasar, on the Simpan Enam roundabout. Every taxis will know where it is. If you don't have a taxi, you just have to follow Jalan Imam Bonjol from Sunset Road, then Jalan Teuku Umar. It is a 15 minutes drive from Sunset Road.
Who goes there? Mostly Indonesians, Balinese and Javanese living in Bali. There are also some long term expats who are used to Jakarta nightclubs. 95% of the girls in Akasaka are prostitutes, freelance or not.
Why should I go? Akasaka is the most popular nightclub in Bali with Indonesians. It is also one of the craziest and at the centre of Bali prostitution scene: It's the only place in Bali where I have seen nude striptease. They have some good events with DJs from Jakarta and even international ones.
Why should I avoid it?: As a typical underground place, you have a lot of drugs including ecstasy. Very limited chances of meeting a normal girl. The techno music played in the largest room can only be understood by Indonesian ears.
When is the best time to go?: Read more: Akasaka Bali.

11) DeeJay Club $$: Best after in Bali
Photo Credit: Paradiso Hotel
Where is it? DeeJay Café is located in Kuta, in Paradiso Hotel. It is not far from Discovery Plaza Mall on Jalan Kartika.
Who goes there? Though not a gay club, I would say that most of the crowd is made of gays or ladyboys. The guys to girls ration is terrible, probably 10 to 1, and most girls are prostitutes. There are always some foreigners, usually expats, but most people are Indonesians.
Why should I go? DeeJay Café is one of the only two after-hour club in Bali (with Pyramid) so you don't have much choice. The music is rather good, in general hits by famous Jakarta DJs (Bobby in particular).
Why should I avoid it? You should always avoid DeeJay café unless you are too drunk or too high to make smart decisions. You may also not want to pay the entrance fee (from Rp100,000 to Rp200,000). A lot of drug inside.
When is the best time to go? Saturday and Sunday morning after 5AM until 10AM. More information: Bali DeeJay Club.

12) Koh $$: Most promising nightlife spot in Seminyak
Photo credit: Umalagon
Where is it? The newest club in Bali, Koh is on Jalan Dyana Pura, Seminyak. It is not far from the gay nightlife area.
Who goes there? Expats and Bali residents 70%, tourists 30%.
Why should I go? The main reason to go to Koh is for the music, which promises to be on par with nightclubs in Europe.
Why should I avoid it? Underground clubs in Europe are popular because you can take ecstasy safely. I'm not sure the safe concept would work in Bali if people are just drunk on beer.
When should you go there: For now, weekends only, 1AM. Check if they have special events for the other nights of the week: Koh Bali.
Update 2016 on Koh: It's good only if you go during events, if a famous DJs is visiting. Check their schedule before visiting to avoid being in an empty club.

UPDATE BALI NIGHTLIFE 2017
Some new bar/clubs are currently happening and worth checking out.

Opium Nightclub: New club in Seminyak by the owners of Pyramid. You can read my full review here: OPIVM Seminyak.

Track 9 is a favourite for expats. It is a bar/restaurant/club. You can check their events here: https://www.facebook.com/track9bali/

La Laguna  (a beach club) and La Sicilia (bar club restaurant) were opened by the people behind la Favela. It's very popular and trendy with expats.

Old Man's in Canggu is a laid-back bar where long term residents and expats of Seminyak and Canggu hang out. It's more hippy/new age than the rest of the places mentioned here.

Conclusion: The Best Clubs in Bali
As the beach is more polluted and the rice fields in Kuta and Seminyak have vanished, the nightlife has become one of the few reasons for staying in South Bali nowadays.

Clubs, bars and restaurants are sprouting like mushrooms but only a few manage to be busy and successful. Just two years ago, Townhouse was the hottest party place in Seminyak. Today? It is closed down and forgotten.

For this reason, I would really be grateful if you could comment below in case a new clubs open or one gets shut down. Thanks in advance!

Photo credit main picture: Bali Tonight

Are you traveling in Asia? Check also my review about Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife.

Seminyak Nightlife in Less Than 500 Words

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
This article will tell you everything you need to know about Seminyak Nightlife in less than 500 words.

Seminyak is a small coastal town in Southern Bali, one of the top destinations for party-goers in Asia. It is located between the villages of Kuta/Legian on one side and Canggu/Kerobokan on the other side. It is a 45-minute taxi ride from the airport.

The nightlife in Seminyak is upmarket compared to Kuta. One of the reasons is the high density of luxury accommodation, including resorts and villas. It is also where most expats in Bali live.

My selection of the best places to stay in Seminyak is available here: Best Bali Hotels Near the Nightlife. If you are on a budget, you have great hotel deals on Sunset Road just 10 minutes away from Seminyak but you'll need to get around with a scooter or a taxi. If you use a motorbike, make sure you have a travel insurance. Read my guide: Why You MUST have a Travel Insurance in Indonesia.

In Seminyak, I usually start my nights out by watching the sun set on the ocean from a beach club. The most stylish and happening venues for that are Potato Head, Double-Six Rooftop, Ku De Ta and Woo Bar. A cocktail there will cost you about US$12 and a meal at least 20US$. They normally have a DJ who plays chill-out tunes. The crowd is international and mixed, including kids.

To spend less money, you can go instead on Double 6 beach and visit one of the laid-back beach cafés. La Plancha is the best one.

Once the sunset is over, you can head to Jalan Oberoi. There are dozens of bars/restaurants, from expensive to cheap. You can just walk around and choose the one you like. For eating, the most popular is Ultimo (Italian food). The busiest bars on Jalan Oberoi are La Favela (also a club, great bohemian décor), Red Carpet Champagne Lounge (fun and chic with an older crowd), Rumours (busy with expats), Zappaz (crowd of regular, live music) and Mexicola (young crowd, Mexican theme).

An alternative to Jalan Oberoi for early-night drinks and food is Jalan Dyana Pura (also known as Jalan Camplung Tanduk). You can try the salsa bar Bahiana and the gay nightlife area around the Bali Joe pub.

Clubbing in Seminyak starts after 1am. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are normally quiet. On those days, it is better to party in Kuta.

Each nightclub has its own crowd and music (read my ranking 12 Best Nightclubs in Bali for more details):
- La Favela gets a trendy and young international crowd that enjoys Top 40 hits and retro songs.
Jenja has mostly male expats and Indonesian girls (prostitutes or not). DJs play techno and electro in the basement room and hip hop in the upper room.
- Mirror is full of rich Indonesian Chinese from Jakarta. They have mostly Electronic Dance Music.
- Shanghai Baby is the newest hotspot. It's a restaurant with a small club and a lounge. Deep house music.

Occasionally, Potato Head, Woo Bar and Cocoon have interesting special events. You can pick up the free magazine The Beat for a detailed schedule.

Photo source: timotiusutji.

Kuta Nightlife in Less Than 500 Words

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
This article will tell you everything you need to know about Kuta Nightlife in less than 500 words.

Kuta is the main tourist destination in Bali. Originally a small beach town, it is now an urban area with 400 hotels, 5 modern malls and hundreds of clubs, restaurants, massage parlors and shops. It also has its fair share of pollution, noise and crime.

To get around, it is best to have your own scooter (but you must have a travel insurance to drive one) as the taxis will invariably try to rip you off (except Blue Bird). Apps like Uber and Gojek are a good option as well. Walk when possible to avoid getting stuck in Kuta's notorious traffic jams.

Kuta is popular with every age groups and every nationalities (especially Indonesians, Australians and Chinese). While some luxury hotels have opened recently, it is still considered a budget-friendly city: You can find a decent room for less than US$50$ and eat for less than US$8. If you don't have a place to stay, you can read: Bali Hotels Near the Nightlife. Alcohol is always quite expensive in Indonesia (Muslim country): A beer costs at least US$2 and a cocktail at least $US8.

Compared to Seminyak nightlife, Kuta is not as stylish or sophisticated but it can be a lot of fun as well.

Nightclubs start to get busy quite early, around 10pm, and by midnight you already have people throwing up in the toilets. Most of them are located on Jalan Legian, near the Ground Zero:

Skygarden is the most famous of all. It is inside a 5-floor building that can accommodate hundreds of clubbers in at least 4 rooms with each a different music genre (oldies, techno, EDM, Rn'B or Top 40). It is a cheap place to get drunk and to meet girls.

Next to it are dozens of other venues, each with their own specificities: Vi Ai Pi for live music, Apache for reggae, Eikon for cool Australians, Bounty and Paddy's for Bogans (low-class Australians). There is a fair amount of prostitutes, either inside the clubs or in the street. If a girl is making intense eye-contact with you, you can assume that she is after your money.

Venues near the beach front (10 minutes walk from Jalan Legian) are more sophisticated: Velvet/Hypnotized nightclub, inside BeachWalk mall, is crowded with young and trendy Indonesians. They have commercial music, hip-hop, house or EDM depending on the night. Nearby, the Hard Rock Café is also busy with locals and Asians.

Kuta does not have sex tourism like in Phuket or Pattaya. Nonetheless, there are some hostess bars, "plus plus" spas, executive KTVs and underground nightclubs. Boshe VVIP, near the airport, caters to an Asian male audience that enjoys bottle service, lady companions and sexy dancers. Jalan Dewi Sri has several naughty massage parlours, including Delta and Star Bugar Jaya.

The infamous DJ café on Jalan Kartika Plaza is the only after-hour nightclub in Bali: It is filled with prostitutes, ladyboys and drugs, but the music is often quite good (techno). On weekends, it stays open after 10am.

For a complete review of Bali nightlife, you can read 12 Best Nightclubs in Bali and Bali Nightlife.

Cheap Travel to Bali: A Complete Guide

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Traveling cheap in Bali is not difficult if you are well-prepared and well-informed. The following guide is a must-read for any visitor wanting to get the most out of her/his dollars without sacrificing on quality.

I've lived 3 years in the island, enough time to know the best tricks and tips to save money on what is unnecessary. My goal is to help you make the right decisions regarding your flights, your hotels, your meals, your transportation and the attractions you visit.

If you have any questions about your trip, you can leave a comment below or contact me directly: thibaud@jakarta100bars.com.

Best Time to Visit Bali? Choose Your Season Carefully

Choosing your travel dates is the decision that will affect your budget the most. Tourism in Bali is highly cyclical, alternating between fully-booked peak seasons and budget-friendly low-seasons.

Weather in Bali
The weather in Bali is not an exact science. I observed the following:
  • 15th November to 15th March: Rainy season (almost daily rain for several hours, hot weather). During this period, the sea is also rougher and it carries a lot of garbage onto the beach.
  • 15th March to 1st June: Shoulder season (occasional rain, very hot weather)
  • 1st June to 15th September: Dry season (No rain, hot weather)
  • 15th September to 15th November: Shoulder season (occasional rain, very hot weather)

Most Expensive Periods to Visit Bali
The peak seasons in Bali, when the prices are the most expensive, are the following:

- Christmas and New Year: This is the busiest period of the year, when all prices go crazy. Few people realize that it is actually a terrible time to visit as it is raining almost daily. I strongly recommend to avoid traveling to Bali during this time unless you are looking for noise and traffic.

- Lebaran: This is the most important holiday in Indonesia for Muslims. It starts after the end of ramadhan and last for approximately 10 days. Thousands of Jakartans flock to Bali for the occasion, particularly in the South (Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Nusa Dua). The date of the Lebaran is not the same every year: In 2016, it will start on July 6th. In 2017 on June 24th. In 2018 on June 14th.

- 1st of July to 5th of September: This is the holiday season in Europe. The whole island gets busy during that time, especially around August 17th when you also have the Indonesian Independence day.

- Around 20th of September to 10th of October: This is a school holiday in Australia and you still have a fair number of tourists from Europe.

- Chinese New Year: Usually happening in early February, this is a busy period as both local and international tourists (from Singapore, Malaysia and China) come for a few days, usually in the South (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran).

- Japanese Golden Week: It is the longest holiday in Japan from April 29th to May 5th. Since Japanese tourists are not as numerous as before, the impact on prices is now limited.

- Chinese Golden Week: Second longest holiday in China, it happens early October.


Best Periods to Visit Bali
Based on the information above, I would advise you to visit Bali from March 15th to the end of June and from the October 10th to the end of November. This is when you will get the best prices, the best weather and the less tourists.

Bali is also a weekend destination for residents of Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It is particularly true when you have long weekends due to a public holiday falling on a Friday/Monday. Naturally, prices go up during those times.

Finding the Cheapest Flights to Bali

Domestic Flights within Indonesia
Onward flight prices are higher from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning and outward prices are higher from Sunday night to Monday morning.

If you are on a budget, you probably won't choose to fly with the national airline Garuda. I've noticed though that if you check directly on their website, you can sometimes get excellent bargains. The advantage of booking with Garuda is that you get a 20 kilograms luggage allowance, a free meal and more flexibility for cancelling your flight.

AirAsia is usually considered as one of the best local low-cost airlines. Their pricing is not always interesting however, particularly if you have extra luggage and if you want to pick your seat.

I usually fly with Lion Air. Not only it is the cheapest, it currently allows passengers to check-in up to 20 kilograms of luggage for free. If you come early enough, they can also give you seats near the emergency exit so you'll get more space for your legs. Citilink, the low-cost carrier from Garuda is an alternative but slightly more expensive.

The easiest way to save money on low-cost flight is to bring a carry-on luggage only with you (usually under 10 kilograms is tolerated). Consider that unless you trek Mount Agung or Mount Batur, you do not need any warm clothes in Bali, nor shoes, nor pants. There are very few things you cannot buy in Bali. Don't hesitate to leave sunscreen or shower gel at home if it allows you to bring one less bag.


Saving Money on International Flights
I use 3 websites when searching for good deals on international flights: Skyscanner.net, Google Flight and Kayak Explore. Those websites are unique because they allow for flexible search, meaning you do not need to input a particular destination or a precise date.

For instance, on Skyscanner you can find the best prices for a whole month or find the cheapest month within a year. If your travel dates are flexible, it is an incredible tool to use and it can save a lot of money.
Skyscanner allows you to find the best prices during a particular month
Another great feature is that you can input a country as a destination and then see how much it costs to fly to each of the airports within that country.

This feature can help you get great deals to go to Bali if you don't mind making a stop-over somewhere else in Indonesia.

For example, international flights to Surabaya and Jakarta are usually cheaper so you can go there first, and then take a local flight to Bali (Surabaya- Denpasar can be as low as 20$ and Jakarta-Denpasar is not more than 50$).

On the example below, I am looking for flights from Singapore to Indonesia in general, not particularly Bali.
As you can see, Singapore- Jakarta costs only 40$ while Singapore-Denpasar is 150$. In this case, if you do a stop-over in Jakarta you can save at least 60$. It is also usually faster to do your visa in Jakarta.

Kayak Explore and Google Flights offer a similar alternative, except that the results are displayed on a map.

Avoid Frequent Flyer Programs
Almost each airline has its own frequent flyer program. In general, you get a certain number of Miles for each purchases you make with that airlines and its partners. With some companies, you can also get more Miles if you own a partner credit card and use it for daily payments.

Once you've collected enough Miles, you can trade them for a free ticket or an upgrade. If you are a frequent flyer, you can get benefits such as the use of the lounge, priority checking or a more flexible reimbursement policy.

Unless your tickets are paid by your company, I would advise against joining these programs. The companies are usually playing with your ego to make you feel like you are a "special" customer with small attentions and small benefits. On your side, this makes you book exclusively with them, ignoring cheaper prices from competitors. In the end, you pay for your "free" ticket or upgrade much more than they are worth.

Finding Smart Hotel Deals

Hotel developments have gone crazy in Bali. Investors start building hotels without having the necessary permits and license. This absence of regulation has led to a serious over-supply of rooms and a price war.

This is particularly true with the newest hotels that are not centrally-located or far from the attractions. If you don't mind behind a few hundred meters away from the action, you can easily save 50% of your hotel bill. Some of the best value hotels in Bali are on Jalan Sunset Road. Read carefully my advices about transportation below to make sure you don't spend the money you've saved in taxis though.

Apart from the typical booking engines like Agoda or Booking.com, I recommend you to try ZenRooms.com.

They have rooms all over Bali with prices starting only $15 per night, including AC, hot water and sometimes a swimming pool.

Best cities in Bali for cheap travel
The most expensive cities in Bali are Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Seminyak. For intermediate prices, you have Sanur, Kuta and Legian. The cheapest are Denpasar, Ubud, Amed and Lovina.

Beachfront locations in the South are pricey unless you go to Bingin beach or Balangan beach. If your dream is to stay in a beach bungalow and you don't have a lot of money, it's better going to Lombok or even Thailand.

Getting Around in Bali for Cheap

Can You Go Around Bali With Public Transport?
Semi-public transport options in Bali are limited, but they are good enough to take you to the most famous cities like Kuta, Ubud, Sanur, Lovina or Amed.

Bemos and Angkot
Both bemos and angkots used to be everywhere, but it is much harder to find them as almost every Balinese family now owns a motorbike. Bemos and angkots are minivans with a capacity of about 10 people. They usually follow a straight line from one point to another (the route is written on the front of the car). The price depends on how far you go, usually between Rp3,000 and Rp5,000. It's a cheap and authentic way to travel, but it is not convenient at all because there are not enough lines in touristic locations.

Komotra
Komotra are open-air colourful buses that operate between Seminyak and Kuta on Jalan Legian. You can wave at them if they pass buy and hop on for Rp10,000.

Perama
Perama minibuses are interesting for tourists as they connect some major points of the island like Ubud, Kuta, Sanur, Lovina or Candidasa. They can also arrange transfer to Lombok. You can check the lines available, the fares and the schedule on Perama's website. To get the best prices, you can book directly in their offices or you can also book on line with a credit card or PayPal. Otherwise, the tickets can be bought through your hotel or through one of the numerous "travel agents" you will find on the streets, but the prices may be higher.

If you plan on traveling around Bali with Perama, I would recommend choosing a hotel not too far from their offices/stops (you can see them on their website).

Prices with Perama are about a third of what you would pay for a private taxi. It saves you money but it isn't that cheap either.

Sarbagita
Sarbagita is the latest attempt by the provincial government to develop public transportation in Bali. Unfortunately, due to the pressure of taxi lobbies, the buses stop in very inconvenient locations far away from tourist spots. As a consequence, you may spend more money going to bus stops than on the bus ride itself (currently only Rp3,500/ride).

It is also very difficult to find information on the routes. The most interesting line for tourists is the one going from the domestic terminal in the airport (near Solaria restaurant) to Mengwi in the north of Denpasar. Using this route, you can stop on Sunset Road, and from there take a taxi to Kuta/Seminyak/Legian.

Technically, you can go to Sanur, Kuta, Ubud or Uluwatu with Sarbagita but you'll need some patience finding the stops and waiting for the buses. If you have time, it can be worth it though as the price is hard to beat. The only map I could find is this one. Don't hesitate to ask the driver for assistance.

Kura Kura
Kura Kura was developed by the Japanese travel company JTB because their customers were complaining about the difficulties to get around in Bali.

They have several lines in each major tourist cities of South Bali and one in Ubud. You pay a flat rate for each line wherever you decide to go. The price is interesting but only about half of what you would pay with a taxi.

In spite of a huge demand for their services, they had some difficulties as well at the start of their operation because of the complaints from taxi drivers.

More information on their website: Kura-Kura Bali.

Should You Rent A Scooter?
I was using a scooter the whole time I lived in Bali. It is very easy to rent, cheap, and it gives you much more flexibility. You are supposed to possess an international driving license but it's no big deal if you get caught without (a Rp50,000 bill will make the problem disappear).

Balinese pay around Rp30,000 per day to rent a scooter. The tourist price is between Rp50,000/day and Rp100,000/day. If you rent the scooter weekly or monthly, you can get much cheaper.

The downside of driving a scooter is that it is dangerous. Most of the deaths of foreigners in Bali are scooter-related accidents. Traffic in the Kuta area is crazy and few rules apply: Don't expect cars to warn you if they make a turn. Don't be surprised either to see everybody running a red-light when the police is not around.

In spite of the danger, I still think that scooters are the best way to get around in Bali.

Best Transportation Apps to Save Money in Bali
Transportation apps are a great way to travel for cheap in Bali. As elsewhere in the world, they face protests from traditional taxis and the government has called for their ban several times. They are still working until now.

I use the the following apps:

Grab
Grab is the umbrella app for services like GrabCar, GrabTaxi and GrabBike. GrabCar allows you to call a private car, GrabTaxi calls you a taxi, and GrabBike a motorbike. The prices are very reasonable (30-50% lower at least for GrabCar compared to regular taxis) and you don't have to negotiate anything.

Uber
Similar to Grab, but a bit cheaper. You need a credit card to order a car. They have two services in Bali: UberX and Uber Black (nicer cars, professional drivers).

Go-Jek
Similar to GrabBike, this popular local app allows you to book a motorbike (and a driver) for a cheap price. They have other services as well like Go-Eat to order delivery food.

Airport Transport
The airport is one of the most difficult places in Bali to find cheap transportation. Still, unless your hotel provides a free pick-up, it is better to do everything on your own.

There is not a lot of room for negotiation within the airport: Prices are fixed at about twice the normal rate. If you really want to save money, you have only a few options:

- Exiting the airport by foot and getting a taxi outside: If you have a small luggage, it is very easy to do and it takes just 5 minutes to get out.

- Take public transports: As I wrote above, you can now take a public bus from Bali airport. The lines goes to Sunset Road in particular, from where you can take a taxi.

- You can try your luck with Uber or GrabCar, but in that case, make sure your driver is waiting on the parking lot, discreetly. Taxis may get angry at your driver if they see he is picking you up.

Changing money and ATMs

Best Money Changers in Bali
Money changers are one of the most famous scams in Bali. Small ones on the famous tourist streets will advertise very interesting rates, then try to short-change you.

I actually used that trick several time to my own benefit by changing small amounts at a time and monitoring strictly the number of bills I was handled. This allowed me to benefit from quite higher rates. The owner of the shop may change his mind and ask for the money back though...

If you prefer safety, the most recommended money changers in Bali are BMC and Central Kuta Money Exchange. Both have several branches in key locations on the island.

They may refuse dollar bills that look a bit old or folded. Make sure you travel with new ones. You'll get more money out of them too.

If you are not changing dollars or euros, the rate might not be so interesting. For this reason, if you have rare currencies, you may want to change them first in dollars in your home country.

ATM
There are ATMs almost everywhere in Bali. The withdrawal limit is usually just over $100 (Rp1,500,000), but it can be as low as Rp500,000. Some foreign banks like CitiBank or HSBC allow up to Rp3,000,000.

The withdrawal limit is important as you normally have to pay a flat fee each time you take money. Ask your bank how you can waive such fees while you are on holiday.

Shit happens even in Bali, and in particular having your card blocked in an ATM. I would advise you to bring two cards or to keep enough cash to get by for a few days just in case.

Using the proper visa and proper agent

If you are in Bali or Indonesia for less than a month, most likely you won't need a visa. Just check the list of countries eligible for a visa waiver on the website of any Indonesian embassies).

Written on March 5th 2016: This information may not be valid in a few months. Please leave a comment below if you have any question about the current regulation.

If you stay more than a month, you have several strategies:

Visa runs (if your country is eligible for free 30-day pass)
You get a free 30-day pass upon arrival, book a return flight to KL or Singapore, and get a new 30-day pass. If you are lucky, you can get a return flight for less than $100. It's the most expensive and least convenient way to stay longer in Indonesia, but it saves you from the hassle of actually getting a visa.

Note that the free 30-day pass cannot be extended in Indonesia.

30-day paid visa + 30-day extension
Even if you can benefit from a free 30-day pass, you still have the option of paying for a 30-day visa in the airport (currently $35). A 30-day extension is allowed with this visa, for a price varying from $25 to $40. For agents recommendation see below.

60-day visa
The 60-day visa can be made in any Indonesian consulate abroad. At the time of writing, it costs $50 and it takes 3 days to proceed. You do not need an agent. Some embassies allow the process to be done by mail/courier. This solution is good if you stay less than 2 months and if you live in a city near a consulate. If not, even though it is sometimes possible to do it by courier, it becomes more complex and costly.

Socio-cultural visa (SOSBUD - sosial budaya in Indonesian)
This visa can also be obtained from any Indonesian consulate. You need a letter of invitation/sponsorship that can be written by an Indonesian friend, an agent, an organization or a company. The visa allows you to stay in Indonesia for 2 months and it can be extended 4 times for a month each.

In general, agents charge between $100 and $200 for a SOSBUD + $25-$50 per extension.

You can normally do all this by yourself, but it is not recommended. The staff in the consulates and the immigration offices want you to use an agent because they can get money from it. If you don't use an agent, they will make the process slower and more complicated.

Recommended Visa Agents in Bali
Prices can normally be negotiated. Don't hesitate to call several ones to get the cheapest prices.

Bayu Santero Visa Services: http://indonesiaimmigrationvisa.com/
Channel 1 Visa Bali: http://www.channel1.biz/
CCI (expat-owned): http://www.cciindonesia.com/
Okusi Associates: https://okusiassociates.com/balioffice
Lamansa Indonesian Visa: http://www.lamansalink.com/
Visa For Bali: http://visaforbali.com/
Expatrust Bali: http://expatrustbali.com/

6 More Useful Tips For Cheap Travel in Bali

Eating out
If you are alone, it is often cheaper to eat local food on the street rather than cooking by yourself. Indonesia restricts imports to protect its farmers, but it does not provide significant help for them either. In the end, you have few products, with lower quality and for a higher price than in other Asian countries like Thailand or Vietnam.

In spite of that, Indonesian cuisine is varied and delicious. Don't limit yourself to nasi goreng!

You can eat Indonesian street food for approximately $1 for a simple meal without meat, and $2 with meat. In casual restaurants, you can expect prices to be slightly lower than in Western country: About $5 for Indonesian food and between $5 and $12$ for Western food. Most restaurants add a tax and service charge to the final bill.

In the most touristic areas, cheap food stalls may be hidden in smaller streets. Ask Indonesians around for advice. Another possibility is to download the application GoJek: It has a food delivery option for just Rp15,000 that includes some cheap restaurants.

You can also read my guide for affordable restaurants: Cheap Eats Bali.

You have thousands of convenience stores in Bali. On some busy streets, you can find one every 100 meters. Unfortunately, they do not have a lot of choice apart from snacks, candies, sugar drinks and chips. If you need to do some serious grocery shopping, you can visit local supermarkets such as Nirmala (in the Bukit Peninsula) or Hardy's for the best prices.

If you need imported products, you can go to Carrefour, Lotte Mart or Bintang instead.

Finally, for expensive and gourmet shopping, try Papaya (Japanese food) or Bali Deli.

Alcohol and Party
What may cost you more money than food is alcohol and wine. The cheapest bottles of alcohol in Indonesia cost almost $25 in supermarkets, and even more in restaurants. If you plan on drinking wine, a good idea is to buy a bottle in the airport of your home country, and then bring it to the restaurant you want to go to (if they allow corkage).

For heavy drinkers and party-goers, the most affordable bars and clubs are located in Kuta. SkyGarden in particular offers interesting promotion before midnight. Start your night on their rooftop: They have an all-you-can-eat BBQ every night that costs only $5!

For a detailed review of the best places to party in Bali: Bali Nightlife and Best Nightclubs in Bali.

Buying souvenirs and bargaining
In all major tourist streets, it has become harder to bargain when buying souvenirs. Shop owners are agreeing on minimum prices that are often way above the real value of the objects.

If you plan on buying cheap souvenirs, I advise you to visit huge stores like Krisna or Hawaii Bali, both of which have branches near the airport. Most of their customers are Indonesians on bus tours looking for "oleh-oleh", cheap souvenirs, before heading back to their respective islands. You can find anything there including clothes, snacks, painting, bags and accessories. All prices are fixed.

If you buy more expensive products, I advise you to find out who the supplier is. Chic shops in Seminyak can charge you 10 times the price you could get directly from the reseller (some of which are located just 5 minutes away on Jalan Tangkuban Perahu in Kerobokan!).

Resellers do not have fixed prices so it may be difficult to know if you are being ripped-off or not. My method is to evaluate the cost of manufacturing and then add a 30% margin. For that you need to ask questions about the materials used and the number of working hours spent.

The cost of materials can be checked on www.alibaba.com. For the salaries, you can consider that a skilled worker is paid about Rp100,000 per day.

Smiling and being friendly is very important when negotiating a price. Being charming works much better than being threatening.

Laundry
Most hotels provide laundry services, but you can save money easily by taking your laundry outside. Typically, the price is Rp10,000 to Rp15,000 for 1 kilo, including ironing and folding.

You can find such laundries everywhere. Just ask around for the nearest locations.

Staying healthy and safe
It is not compulsory to be insured when visiting Indonesia but it should be. You should understand that the decent hospitals in Bali are all privately-run and they will not treat you if you cannot pay.

Prices are often outrageous and it's not rare to see bills over $10,000 for a broken leg.

A holiday in Bali means you will be taking more risks than you would back home: Thing about road accidents, tropical diseases, sports-related injuries, animal bites, food poisoning, etc. Do not visit the island if you cannot afford a travel insurance. You can read Choosing A Travel Insurance in Indonesia for a complete review of your available options.

Avoid scams, taxi "mafias", tour guides and ... the police
Compared to other destinations in Asia, Bali is relatively preserved from aggressive scammers. For sure they exist, but in general the only problem you will face is being over-charged by taxis, sellers, tour guides and hotel employees.

A little-known fact is that the whole tourism economy in Bali is driven by commissions. Most spas, restaurants, tourist spots, transportation companies and shops give commissions to anyone who sends them a client. The amount can be fixed, or it can be a percentage of the sales. In some extreme cases, the amount of commission can represent up to 50% of the total price. This is the case for some seafood restaurants in Jimbaran, for some fastboat companies between Bali and Lombok, and for most watersport activities in Tanjung Benoa.

For this reason, take recommendations from taxis drivers or hotel staff with precaution. Always double check on internet for reviews from real tourists. If you can, book directly.

Taxis in Bali are sometimes considered a mafia. Some companies will get the exclusive rights (sometimes through intimidation) to pick up passengers in a specific location (for instance in Bali Collection in Nusa Dua). They will then refuse to use the meter and charge you several times the normal rate.

If this happen to you, no need to try to bargain or get angry: Just walk outside of the area for a few minutes, and when there are no more taxis, order a Blue Bird (by phone or through their app), a Uber or a Grabcar.

Finally, the Police in Bali is not as bad as you would think. First, they will not stop you or arrest you for no reasons. If you are driving a scooter and all your papers are in order, they will let you go.

They may try to make problems if you don't have your passport with you. You can carry a copy of it to avoid this issue.

If you get caught for a minor offense, it is your call whether you prefer giving a small amount of money or not. Rp100,000 is more than enough. If you don't pay but act lost, there is a big chance the policemen will let you go after a few minutes.

These are my tips for traveling cheap in Bali. Did I forget something? Please leave a comment below if you think so!

Boshe VVIP Club and Karaoke (Bali)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Boshe VVIP is a karaoke and nightclub popular with Indonesian and Asian customers. It is located between Kuta and the airport, on the large street Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai. It is the second branch to open after the one in Yogyakarta.

The concept of Boshe VVIP Bali is almost the same as in Yogya: It is a medium-sized club with a large stage area and a high ceiling. They usually have a live band until midnight, and then a DJ. The music is commercial, from Rn'B to EDM. There are also a few breaks with sexy dancers and special shows done by the staff. The design, the sound system and the lighting are great, among the best in Indonesia.

Unlike in Western nightclubs, you don't have a dancefloor, only tables and sofas. For this reason, I recommend you to bring a few friends, reserve at least a table, and order bottle service. You'll get free entrance as well by doing so. Currently, you can get a cheap bottle of vodka for less than IDR700,000. Beware as the prices may increase during special events.

You will see some pretty girls everywhere in Boshe VVIP, but be aware that most of them are lady companions working in the club. They are paid to drink with guests or sing with them. Some are prostitutes as well.

One of the best thing about Boshe VVIP is the staff: They all have a "punk" style, with dyed hair, tattoos and piercings. They normally get on stage together at least once in the night and perform a short dance.

There is a campus night every Monday for students.

Overall: Boshe is a fun place if you enjoy bottle-service-style nightclubs (= if you are Asian or if you've lived in Asia for at least 10 years). It's a much better version of Hard Rock Café. It is crowded almost every night of the week. 

Regarding the karaoke, I haven't tried it yet. I can guess that it is modern and that you can easily find pretty girls to sing with you. There is a restaurant and coffee shop next to it as well (Black Canyon).

Boshe VVIP Bali
Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai 89x (very famous, all taxis know where it is)
Tuban - Bali
Phone number: 0361 360 3980 or 0361 823 5507 
Karaoke: 087861555908

Facebook: Boshe VVIP Bali
Instagram: Boshe Photos
Website: Boshe Bali

Entrance fee: From Rp60,000 to Rp120,000 depending on the event

7 Best Value Hotels on Sunset Road - Bali

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Looking for a 4-star hotel in Bali for less than 30$?
Sunset Road is a large thoroughfare running from Kuta to Seminyak in Southern Bali. In recent years, it has become the best place to find cheap, budget hotels with amazing value.

It is a very strategic and convenient location to explore Bali. The traffic is smoother than elsewhere and it is only 10-15 minutes away from the airport. From there, you can also easily go to Denpasar, Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur or even Ubud (through Jalan ByPass Ngurah Rai).

Sleeping in Sunset Road is less expensive than elsewhere but there is one catch: You do not have a direct access to the beach by foot. Beaches are about 2 kilometers away and the shopping street of Jalan Legian is 1 kilometer away. Since there are not sidewalks in Bali, it is better to use either a taxi or your own motorbike. Alternatively, you can also take the Kura Kura shuttle bus or download a transportation app like Uber/Grab/Gojek.

For eating, Sunset Road is close to Jalan Dewi Street and Jalan Nakula (5 minutes away). Those streets are perfect to get cheap international and Indonesian food, for instance in Gourmet Café or Warung Pepe.

Two of the best nightclubs in Bali are near Sunset Road: Pyramid and Jenja. Spa-lovers may also want to try the spas Delta and Star Bugar. Beware, they are reserved for male.

If you don't mind being a bit further from the action, you can expect to save up to 50% compared to the price of hotels on Jalan Legian or Jalan Pantai Kuta.

Below are my recommendations for the 7 best-value hotels on Jalan Sunset Road. All of them have a rating of at least 7/10 or higher on Agoda.

Previously a 5-star hotel under the brand Best Western Premier Sunset Road, it is one of the best options in the area. They have a free shuttle to Kuta Beach, a nice rooftop pool and comfortable beds.

Cheapest price found:
50$ net for one night on Agoda - Ramada Bali Sunset Road

Previously managed by Swiss-Bel Group, this 200-room property is close from Jalan Kunti where many cheap quality restaurants can be found. As it is located at the end of Sunset Road, it is actually walking distance from Seminyak center (10 minutes). For a budget hotel, it has a rather luxurious feel thanks to the large lobby and the garden in the pool area.

Cheapest price found:

This brand new resort is only 10 minutes from the airport and just across from Bali Galeria Mall. It features a huge lagoon-shaped swimming pool within a tropical garden.

Cheapest price found:

Favehotel is one of the best budget hotel chains in Indonesia. They have great properties in Jakarta where I've slept countless times. The Favehotel Sunset Seminyak is very close from the famous eating street  Jalan Oberoi and from the shopping center "Sunset Point" (with a Burger King, Domino's Pizza, etc). It is cheap, less than 30$ per night, and for this price you have a swimming pool, a powerful shower, a flat screen TV and a 5-star hotel quality bedding.

Cheapest price found:
22$ net per night on Agoda - Favehotel Sunset Seminyak

I used to go to this hotel quite often when I was living in Bali because it has a nice rooftop swimming pool. It is a quality property, managed by the same group behind Century Park Hotel in Jakarta. You can walk to Krishna Bali from there.

Cheapest price found:
34$ net per night on Agoda - Atanya Hotel Sunset Road

This hotel is close from Carrefour and Siloam Hospital. It is at the crossroads of Jalan Imam Bonjol (to Denpasar) and Jalan Raya Kuta (to Kuta beach). 

Cheapest price found:
30$ net for on night on Agoda - Swiss-Bel Hotel Rainforest

Avilla Group has a selection of budget hotels around Kuta/Denpasar. Berry Biz is one of their latest properties. It is targeting businessmen or travelers who just need to sleep near the airport before or after a flight. No swimming pool but clean and modern rooms. Each of them has an inspirational quote from an entrepreneur written on the wall.

Cheapest price found:

This hotel is not as good as the ones listed above, but it is still decent and within 10 minutes from the airport. Due to the intense competition in the area, they've decreased their prices as low as 21$ for a Deluxe Room with Pool View.

Cheapest price found:
21$ per night on Agoda - Adhi Jaya Hotel

Note:
I searched for the price of these hotels on Agoda. You can compare their rates with those of Booking.com or Expedia on the hotel comparator HotelsCombined.

For more Bali hotels recommendations, you can also read my guide: Best Hotels near Bali Nightlife.

Flamming Spa (Naughty Massage in Kuta) and Level One KTV

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Flamming Spa is a massage parlour where sexual services are provided. It is located in Kuta Central Park, about 300 meters from Jalan Legian (Bali), on the 3rd floor of Giant.

It is in a complex where you can also find Level One Karaoke and the beer lounge LV. Each are filled with prostitutes. Sexy dancers occasionally perform as well.

Prices for massage depend on your expectations:

Massage + Handjob is Rp300,000
Massage + Blowjob is Rp350,000
Massage + Sex is Rp550,000
Massage by 2 girls + Sex with both (threesome) is Rp700,000
Body Massage is Rp750,000 (I reckon it's a Thai style soapy massage/Nuru)

Please share your experience in the comment section below, and especially how Flamming Spa compares with Riverview Spa!

Flamming Spa and Level One Karaoke (the Spa may have changed its name to 21 Spa)
Jalan Patih Jelantik - Central Parkir Kuta
Phone number: 08 1353 996 810
Email: info@flammingspakuta.com

You can see the pictures of some of the therapists/working girls on their instagram: Flamming Spa

Check also:
Instagram: Level One KTV Bali
Twitter: Level One KTV
Ofis Spa: http://www.ofisspa.com/ (also a hidden brothel)