Bali is one of the best-known surfing destinations in the world, and for good reason. The swell accommodates a range of skill levels, the cost of living is affordable, and the local culture is fascinating and welcoming. If you’re planning a surf trip, Bali offers everything that you need for a memorable experience.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when researching Bali surfing resorts, flights, and ways to get around. To help you cut through the noise, we’ve compiled all that you need to know on the quickest way to get to the island, the best places to stay in Bali for surfing, and how to get around.
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Overview of Surfing in Bali
If surfing is the main reason for your trip, then there are a few key factors to consider. There is something special for everyone – from kooks to pros – but planning is key to making the most of your Bali surf trip.
Bali Surf Season
Bali is loved for having fairly consistent surf throughout the year. However, if you want to enjoy the best Bali breaks for your level, then the time of your visit matters.
Overall, the dry season is considered the Bali surfing season. Starting from May and lasting through September, the west coast and Bukit receive big, powerful swell and the perfect conditions for surfing addicts.
The wet season, which starts in September and continues until May, delivers smaller swell. With this in mind, Bali waves know how to give you a good time. Even on an average day on the island, you’ll experience better swell than anywhere else in the world.
The water is warm enough to surf in a bikini or board shorts. However, the dry season can be a bit cooler, and a 1mm rash vest is recommended for longer sessions.
Best Surf Spots
There are surf spots all across the island, but the Bali surf offers a different experience depending on where you are based.
Some of the most popular surf spots include the following:
- Kuta and Seminyak – breezy, mellow breaks for beginner surfers
- Canggu – some mellow breaks, but well-known for high-performance waves
- Keramas and Nusa Dua – the east coast boasts challenging waves during the wet season when other spots mellow out
- Uluwatu – and the Bukit Peninsula offer mostly reef breaks with speedy get-ups, making it best for intermediate to pro surfers when the swell sizes up
Staying in any of these areas will make sure that you have options to (duck) dive into the break of your choice. Even so, we encourage you to move around and see all that Bali has to offer.
- For more information on surfing in Uluwatu, read our guide here
- Surfing in Canggu? Read our surf guide here
Bali Surf Schools and Camps
In many ways, the coastal regions of the island have developed around the surfing culture. This means that there are plenty of Bali surfing resorts, camps, and schools to boost your experience.
If you enjoy meeting people and having a guided experience, then we can’t recommend Bali surf schools enough.
There are plenty of Bali surf tours to choose from, and something to quench everyone’s thirst for surfing.
Medewi, Yeh Kuning, and Jembrana are great places for beginners researching Bali surf trips. Take your pick from a shorter 4-day surf camp to a longer two-week experience. Prepare to push your limits and have a swell time doing it in the process!
Embrace the gorgeous reef break in Pecatu and the crystal clear waters along the southern coast. South Bali immerses visitors in nature in a very unique way, allowing surfers to indulge in beautiful views and stunning waves.
There are so many surf spots in Bali, each offering its own unique experience. Whether you’re a beginner and finding your feet, or an experienced surfer confident enough to let your feet do the work. Learn to surf, enjoy private lessons, and meet like-minded people on their own Bali surfing trip.
Bali Surf Rentals
There are several reasons that people choose to be their own Bali surf guide. Budget, availability, and a desire for flexibility inspire travelers to find their own way. If that’s your case once you touch down in Bali, then you’ll still have everything that you need.
All of the main surfing beaches rent out surfboards for two hours at a time, at a cost of approximately USD $3,5. Renting a surfboard is a great way to support the local economy, and there’s a wide range of surfboards to choose from.
If you plan on being in Bali for an extended period of time, then we’d highly recommend that you buy a surfboard. There are many Facebook groups, such as this one, that sell surfboards for an affordable price. You can then resell it before you leave. If you plan on traveling a bit and surfing at odd hours, then owning your own board gives you that flexibility.
Flights to Bali
There are several airlines that fly to Bali. Direct flights to Bali will land in Denpasar, the largest city on the island. As with all international trips, direct flights will cost a bit more than those with a layover, so assess your budget and book accordingly.
The most popular international carriers include;
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways
- China Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- American Airlines
After gathering your belongings and walking out the doors, be ready to embrace the smell of incense and take your pick from (many) taxi drivers available. We recommend that you get cash from an ATM before leaving the airport. While most restaurants, cafes, and stores accept credit cards, the more informal services only accept cash.
The cheapest time to fly to Bali is around October, but keep in mind that this falls outside of the peak surfing season.
If you’re only visiting for 30-days or less, then you can get a free visa on arrival. If you want to stay for longer, then you need to pay for an extendable 30-day visa. This visa costs approximately USD $35 and can be bought on arrival, giving you the option to extend your tourist visa another four times, for up to 30 days each time.
Getting Around Bali
Bali’s roads are organized chaos. There’s a good chance that the only time you’ll be in a car with four wheels is when you arrive and leave so that you can transport your luggage. Afterward, motorbikes and scooters rule the streets.
Renting an entry-level scooter with surfboard racks will cost you as little as USD $52 a month, or USD $3,5 per day. This cost includes a helmet (or two if you’re doubling up with a buddy).
If you don’t know how to ride a scooter, or the busy roads make you nervous, then don’t worry. There are services, such as GoJek, that are super affordable and available as a car or scooter pick-up.
Surf Resorts in Bali
The bulk of your experience will boil down to your choice of surf resort. Bali has no shortage, but hopefully, we can help to guide you in finding the best one.
Areas Near Best Bali Breaks
As mentioned, different parts of the island offer their own unique experiences. Where you choose to stay will essentially boil down to the surf you crave and the mood of the location.
A rugged environment with gorgeous, sweeping cliff faces that overlook powerful swell on the reef. The mood is laid-back and the surf is strong. Uluwatu and the rest of the Bukit Peninsula are a great choice for surfers that want to be one with the ocean and surf challenging waves.
An area best known for tourism and bustling with activity. If you want to spend your time out of the water visiting markets, shopping, trying delicious cafes, and socializing – then Canggu it is. From here, there is a choice of breaks to choose from. More challengings surf is available around Perrenenan, while Batu Bolong and Berawa offer milder swell for beginners.
If you are traveling in the wet season, then staying near the Keramas is a great choice. It offers a challenging wave that works to perfection when other areas on the island are more reserved. The area is peaceful and laid-back, perfect for coming back to earth after an out-of-worldly surfing experience.
Bali Surf Resorts
Indonesia has a wealth of surf resorts. Bali is no different. There is a choice of places to stay that are surf-centric, promising good vibes, great people, tasty food, and a fun community. If you’re a surfing nomad, then some of these resorts also offer space to work.
Most surf resorts offer surfboard rental (or a connection to a place), yoga classes, a restaurant on-site, and even surf lessons.
Our top picks
Here are a few awesome places to stay in Bali near popular surf spots;
Located in a quiet neighborhood, this spot is a coworking and coliving space combined. It’s a stone’s throw from hot surf spots and has a delicious restaurant on the premises.
Rapture Camp offers a communal living arrangement for social travelers, with easy access to some of the best surf spots in the Bukit. There is also the option for a guided experience if you want.
Bombora is very close to Medewi point break surf and offers everything that you need for a comfortable stay. The friendly and helpful staff have made a positive name for themselves, and the environment radiates authenticity.
If you’re looking for luxury, space, and access to a private beach, then Merusaka Nusa Dua is a real treat. The luxury villa also offers lots of space to work if you need to take meetings when you’re not shredding.
Visiting Bali in the wet season? This is the perfect spot to stay in the Keramas. The villa is stylish and spacious, with yoga on offer and epic surfing opportunities on your doorstep.
If you’re looking for more of a “surf camp” vibe and not simply a surf-centric place to stay, then we have suggestions for you too.
Coworking in Bali
The opportunity to pack your luggage, switch off communications and go off the grid in Bali is the dream. However, for many of us, this isn’t always possible. Luckily, there’s a huge culture of digital nomads and remote workers in Bali. Many of these nomads are also surfers – the two go hand-in-hand.
We’ve spent plenty of time as digital nomads in Bali. Over time, we’ve watched our productivity increase and our surfing improve. There are many reasons to choose Bali as a top choice for remote work.
Some of our favorite aspects of working remotely in Bali include;
- Lively atmosphere
- Unbelievable surf
- Friendly locals
- A large community of ex-pats
- Affordable cost of living
- Decent internet connection
- Choice of coworking places (and a vibrant cafe culture)
- The amazing quality of life
What to Pack for a Bali Surf Trip
To be honest – you don’t need to pack much for your trip to surf Bali. Most equipment can be bought at a good price or rented on the island.
Essential surfing items
Even so, there are a few items that we always pack.
Passports, plane tickets, accommodation details, and cash are essential items for any trip. A surf trip is no different.
As mentioned, you can rent a surfboard on arrival – and decent boards at that. Many people still choose to travel with a board, especially if you’re planning a shorter trip. Make sure that you check any airline fees for traveling with a surfboard and protect your baby from potential damage.
It never hurts to be safe, so packing an extra pair of fins is always a good idea. If your board has a hybrid fin set up, then an extra pair of fins can come in handy! Obviously, you’ll also need a fin key to make any changes to the setup.
The swell in Bali can be unrelenting at times. Having an extra leash is highly recommended. You never know when a session will be cut short because of a snapped leash. Having an extra one (or two) available will have you back in the water in no time.
These quick-fix kits can give you peace of mind in case of a small ding that needs a quick patch job. If you need a bigger ding repaired, you’ll find an Indonesian ding repair shop without much effort.
It’s always useful to have a bar of wax on the ready in case the swell arrives before you have a chance to hit the shops. Make sure that you get the correct temperature, and keep this in mind if you’re coming from other waters.
Yip, you’re not going to want to forget this item! Sunblock can be your saving grace and keep you protected for the long hours that you spend on the water.
Other, more obvious items to include on your packing list include;
- Boardshorts or costume
- Sun hat
- Enough clothing for the duration of your stay
- First aid kit (Bali Belly and sunstroke are real threats)
- Swimming towel
Enjoy Your Bali Surf Trip
Feeling ready for your trip to the island of the gods?
Keep in mind that the ocean deserves respect, and it’s always a good idea to play it safe in new territory. That’s where surf camps and guided surf schools offer real value. Make sure that you set aside some time to explore the rest of Bali that doesn’t involve surfing – it really is a special place.
Depending on what time you visit – perhaps we’ll see you in the water!