Bali Surf Trip

Every surfer has dreamed about a Bali surf trip. Indonesia’s magical island offers a huge variety of consistent waves and warm water. Bali also has amazing culture and a diverse party scene, all at a very reasonable price. Ridewithlocal is here to help you find out more about the best beaches for beginners and the best surf breaks for intermediates and experts. Know when to surf in Bali,  how much to budget for your Bali surf trip and more. Get the local knowledge you need and live the dream!

Bet on Bali for consistent waves and amazing adventures. With over 50 spots to choose from all within a couple hours drive time from the airport and reliable pulses of clean ground swell rolling past Australia from the always-active “roaring 40s”, there are always a variety of great options whether you are beginner or a pro.

The unique Hindu culture will keep you entertained in between waves with colorful ceremonies, literally 1,000s of temples, and the psychedelic tradition of Gamelan music with costumed Barong dances. At night, Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak come to life with party scenes ranging from truly crazed to elegant. If you get bored of all that, there is great diving and more surf on nearby Nusa Lembongan or you can go climb a volcano or shred a mountain bike or skate park.

Catch endless waves with Endless Summer surf school.
Catch endless waves with Endless Summer surf school.

Bali Surf Trip Budget

How much does a surf trip to Bali cost?

Everything on Bali is cheap, and by cheap, we don’t mean just low quality. Bali has a wide range of accommodations. dining, and party options. Lodging in Bali ranges from very ‘rustic’ homestays and traditional food that locals can afford to the very pinnacle of luxury and elegance with world class design. And all of it is 20-30% less expensive than what you would expect to pay almost anywhere else.

You can get a simple home-stay with air conditioning and wi-fi for around 15 euro a night. Scooter rental will cost you about 3 euro a day. A meal at a great nasi campur warung (buffet style Indonesian food) costs 2 to 5 euro. You can get by on as little as 20 euro a day, if you stay in a very basic room with a shared toilet and eat at the cheaper warungs.

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Learning to surf can be a real party if you want it to be.

A cold local Bintang beer will cost you 1 or 2 euro. Mixed drinks are quite a bit more expensive – 7 euro and up for imported liquor, so we recommend you bring your duty free allowance of 1 liter along if you fancy a cocktail or two.  The local liquor, arak, is cheaper, but sometimes it comes with (poisonous) methanol in it. If you decide to drink arak, take it easy. Be careful to avoid getting literally blind drunk!

With flights from Europe starting around 550 euro, you could take a 10 day trip for under 800 euro including your airfare, food, lodging, and a scooter to get around. If you want your own room with a western toilet, wi-fi and air conditioning, add another 100 -200 euro or so.

Bali Local Knowledge – Surf Camps

Bali has a huge variety of very different waves. There are deep water reef making long easy rides, shallow reef that makes hollow howling barrels and beach breaks with bottom contours varying from gentle to abrupt. They all react differently to swell and wind conditions. The southern parts of the east and west coast both get waves, facing in opposite directions and catching different swells. Nearby Nusa Lembongan offers its own range of options. To really get the most out of this incredible variety, you need someone who understands what the waves will be like given the groundswell forecast, tide, and wind conditions on any given day.

You only get so much time to surf in this life. We think it will probably be worth it to pay a little extra to make sure you get to the right place at the right time for the best waves for you, every day. Like everything else there, surf guiding in Bali is very affordable. All-inclusive surf camps in Bali with great guiding service and the local knowledge you need to make the most of your Bali surf trip cost only around 70 euro day.

Your all-in price can still be under 1,200 euro for a full week of surf and culture including airfare from Europe. There are a lot of options to choose from so we’ve narrowed it down to some of the best surf guides and surf camps in Bali for your convenience. We have also listed some camps on Nusa Lembongan which offer snorkeling and diving as well as surfing.

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Surf Discovery surf guides will get you to the right waves.

When to Go/Water Temperature

What is the best time for a Bali surf trip? Bali gets clean ground swell producing surf every month of the year. The dry season, May through October is best on the west coast and the wet season. November through April is better on the east coast. It is a little more crowded in the dry season, but the wave variety is better. Water and air temperatures range from 27 C to 29 C for both water and air, so you will be comfortable in board shorts. No wetsuit required!

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No wetsuit needed.

Best Beginner Surf Spots on Bali

There are several great options for beginners to learn to surf, depending on tide and swell conditions. The beach in front of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak offers about 5 kilometers of beach break. In the south it starts with “Half Way Kuta” ending in the north at Kudeta. Gado Gado and Double Six are among the best areas of peaks for beginners. Half Way can be suitable if the swell is not too big.

You might think reef is only for experts, but some waves break over reef in deep water. With some reef breaks, there is no risk of hitting the reef, but you get a very consistent wave with an easy channel to paddle out. Batu Bolong and Old Man wave in Canggu, about half an hour from the surf camps in Seminyak and Kuta, are good reef options for beginners. Playgrounds on nearby Nusa Lembongan is also suitable for beginners if the swell is not too big.

Stick to the beginner friendly spots when starting out.
Stick to the beginner friendly spots when starting out.

Best Expert and Intermediate Surf Spots on Bali

Bali has a lot of world class waves for experts and a good selection of intermediate waves as well. Pandang Padang and Uluwatu, on the “Bukit” peninsula in the south are justifiably world famous. On smaller days these waves can be suitable for intermediates as well, and the paddle out through the famous cave in the cliff of Uluwatu is an experience you won’t forget. The best wave on the Bukit for intermediates is Balangan. Experts looking for right handers should try Keramas and Serangan on the east coast.

The Bukit waves attract a lot of expert surfers, so intermediates will get more waves further north.  The Padma beach break in Seminyak is a nice hollow wave. The airport reefs, around 1 km off shore on either side of the airport, are easily accessible from the Kuta area by boat. The waves breaking over these reefs are moderately steep and fast, and can barrel but they are not as heavy as the waves on the Bukit. Airport right works best on a big swell and high tide. Airport Left, Middle, and Kuta Reef work on mid to high tide and ground swell of 5 to 7 feet.
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Things to See and Do on Bali

The waves don’t stop on the Island of the Gods, so at some point on your Bali surf trip, you arms are probably going to turn into noodles. For sight-seeing, visit the spectacular Tanah Lot temple in the sea, climb Agung and Batur volcanoes, get invited to a ceremony at one of several thousand temples, check out the Monkey Forest Temple near Ubud and take a drive to the steepest rice terraces.

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Tanah Lot by the sea is a must see

For activities, there is great diving and snorkeling, especially on Nusa Lembongan. Speed demons might want to check out the terrific downhill mountain biking complex atBali Bike Park. There are also several great skate parks including Amplitude and nightclub Pretty Poison’s famous pool. Nightlife in Kuta/Legian/Seminyak is as pumping as the swell. We’ll delve a little further into that mayhem in a future post.

To make the most of your trip, get in shape with our surf training exercises before you go! A one hour massage for 9 euro will help you get back in the water, but there will still be plenty of time between sessions to explore.

Wrapping Up…

Make sure to get yourself a sarong – a couple meters of cloth that you can wrap around your waist to cover your legs. This piece of traditional dress is required for entering temples. For a purchase price of 5 or 10 euro,  a sarong makes a nice souvenir and handy beach blanket. Now you have an idea of how much to budget for your Bali surf trip. You have some surf training exercises. You know when to come to Bali and where to go when you get there. Mark a date on your calendar, start saving, and before you know it, you will be living the dream!

See you in Bali!
See you in Bali!