Welcome at the Bali cruise port guide. Bali truly is magical. It often is stamped “world’s best island” and we think, for now, we’ll join that statement. Bali is an island and province of Indonesia with just over 4,2 million inhabitants and you’ll find it is completely different from the rest of Indonesia. The houses, the people, the daily life, the food are all entirely different. A part of this has to do with the fact that Indonesia might be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, but the majority of Bali is Hindu. The presence of this religion is clear on every street you walk on. Bali is known as “the island of the thousand temples”, but in fact there are probably over a million on the island and sometimes they even say Bali has more temples than houses. This doesn’t mean that you can only visit temples in Bali. It is such a nice destination because it has that perfect combination of cultural divine with the ultimate bounty island. Whether you are going to enjoy a day on the beach, visit the temples, climb Mount Agung, enjoy the Balinese Nasi Campur or swim underneath the waterfall; it is all possible on Bali.
Travel information Indonesia
Official currency – Indonesian Rupiah
Accepts Us dollars – yes
Creditcards – are not widely accepted
Drives on the – left
Timezone – UTC +7 – +9
Inhabitants – 255 million
Official language – Indonesian
Capital city – Jakarta
Republic of Indonesia
Government – Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Good day – Hari yang baik
How are you? – Apa kabar?
Thank you – Terima Kasih
Cruise ship – Kapal Pesiar
Port – Pelabuhan
Cruise Port Guide Bali – Indonesia: dock or tender
At this point there is only 1 option still available for cruise ships to dock and this is at Benoa harbour. Note: this port guide is not for Padangbai or Tanah Ampo.
The port of Benoa is a real tricky one. Larger ships often tender and smaller ships often dock. It could also be your captain will not take the risk to manoeuvre in and chose to go at anchor and tender you to shore. Docked or tendering, you will still go to about the same place in the Benoa harbour. You’ll find a rather large terminal building here with a tourist information centre, exchange office, batik shop, massage corner and outside the taxis and a small market.
There are limited options on transportation in the port. Most people would go by shore excursion or taxi and this truly is the best way to go. Most cruise lines do not provide a shuttle bus in Bali, but do check with them if this will be the case for your call in Bali. When there is no shuttle bus available your options are often limited to taxi transport. Taxi transport is the way to go on Bali. Taxis are cheap, the drivers know the way and often they can be a good tour guide as this is what they do for a living.
Taxis in Bali
Please find on the right hand picture the sign you’ll find outside the terminal that list the taxi prices on them. These are the taxi prices of 2015, keep in mind they might change in the mean time, but this will give you an idea of what to expect. Please know that these are not fixed prices you can still negotiate with the driver. Should you wonder if there is a difference in price in port compared to somewhere else on Bali: Yes, there is. Usually if you get a taxi on the street the price for a car and driver for a day is about 500.000 IDR (+/- 40 USD). Keep in mind that these drivers work extremely hard and although it’s a free market and you are allowed to negotiate do not get the price down to much as they still need to make a good living. Most cars are very decent and have A/C.
There are many different possibilities of what to see and where to go. If you just want to go to the beach the editors favorite is Jimbaran beach around the Belmond hotel or in the area of the Four Seasons (a 15 minute drive from the dock). It is not too crowded, white sand, lots of facilities and the most beautiful sunset while the beach transforms into one gigantic fish restaurant. Find more beach options below.
If you are renting a car for a day and you want to see the most inspiring and interesting cultural places of Bali may we suggest the following full day tour by car: Start at the port — 1 hour drive — visit Ubud Monkey Forest — 30 minute drive — Gunung Kawi Monument — 10 minute drive — Tirta Empul temple — 15 minute drive — Bali Pulina — 5 minute drive — late lunch at Bon Bali with a rice terrace view —-1,5 hour drive — Tanah Lot at sunset and catch the fire dance at 06.30 pm — 1 hour drive — back at the ship. This itinerary allows you to see monkeys, old runic temple monument, typical Balinese temple in use, rice terraces, the famous sunset and Balinese dance. The perfect impression!
Yes, there is public transportation available in the port. Whether or not you should use it is up to you. Walk outside the terminal towards the public road, find the bus stop here. They should come by every half an hour and they go to Denpasar. Be really flexible when it comes to public transport. You never quite know where you might or might not end up.
Rent a car or scooter
We wouldn’t recommend anybody driving on Bali themselves.You’ll need an International Drivers License to be able to drive a car, motor or scooter. Unfortunatly the police often knows you probably don’t have one and will take advantage of this situation. Not even to mention you could end up causing an accident which would be anybody’s worse nightmare abroad.
FAQ about Bali cruise destination
– The cruise itinerary says Denpasar. What is there to do in Denpasar? Denpasar is the capital of Bali and the commercial business centre, aside from the Bali Museum there is no reason to stick around in Denpasar.
– Which is better: Uluwatu or Tanah Lot? Subjective answer: Tanah Lot
– What is there to do in Benoa harbour? Nothing much. It is the commercialized port of the island so there might be some interesting vessels in port with you. There are no sights to visit or to see in the port of Benoa.
– Can I pay in US Dollars? Taxis and souvenirs you can pay in dollars, but keep in mind they are not accepted everywhere and it is cheaper to pay in IDR. There is an exchange office in the terminal.
– Is a sarong manditory in a temple? Yes, it is. You can bring your own and basicaly all temples provide one that is included in the entrance fare. Note that they are washed daily so it could be that you have to wear one that has already been worn that day. You often can buy one at the markets at the temples as well.
– Are menstruating women not allowed into temples? True, it might sound unreal, but any woman menstruating or anyone with a running sore or bleeding wound for that matter is considered impure and is not allowed into the temple.
If you are interested in the multi rooftops temples this is the one to go to! You’ll find a collection on 10 of the Meru towers. They are typical in Balinese temple architecture. They usually have 3,5,7,9 or 11 roofs and this indicates how sacred the building is. Note: you cannot enter the temple, you can only walk around it and make photo’s like the one above. From the port it is a 30 km / 1 hrs drive to the north.
This beach is approximately a 15 minute drive from the dock. See the map above for its location. It’s not crowded, not to touristy, it has all the facilities you could wish for and in the evening it transforms into THE beach to eat seafood and to watch the sunset. Because it’s so famous for evening entertainment there is hardly anybody there during the day. Ask your taxi driver for the Belmond hotel or Four Season. Walk onto the beach, pick a bed/chair and enjoy your day!
This is the temple that is famous for its sunsets. Join the rest of the island no later than 5.30 pm to see these two temples beautifully back-lit by the sun. Truly one of those experiences where you get mesmerized by Bali. After the sunset you can also join the daily fire dance at 6.30 pm at the temple of Tanah Lot. From the port it is a 28 km / 1 hrs 15 min drive to the north west.
Just over an hours drive from Benoa, to the north of Ubud you’ll find Tegallalang. At this town you’ll find the most breathtaking views over the rice terraces. A little bit north of Tegallalang you simply have to lunch at either Dewa cafe of Bon Bali, they both have delicious Balinese food while you are enjoying a view like this. This is a mandatory photo stop. From port it is 48 km / 1,5 hrs drive to the north.
Kuta Beach is simply the most popular beach around. It is the most commercialized area of Bali and most of it is all based and focused on tourism. You either love it or you hate it. From the port it is 10 km / 20 min drive to the north west.
The elephant cave also known as Goa Gajah near Ubud. See the map above to find it’s exact location. It is an immense temple complex where you can explore the temples that were re-discovered in 1923. Don’t expect too much of what you’ll find in the cave, but enjoy the view while you navigate the stairs going from temple to temple. From the port it is a 35 km / 1 hrs 15 min drive to the north.
Walk down the long staircase to the monuments, but keep your camera ready as you walk down the stairs as this is where you’ll see one of the most scenic rice fields come by. When at the bottom of the staircase discover these 11th century candi-altars carved into the rocks. From the port it is 52 km / 1,5 hrs drive to the north.
History lovers pay attention! Klung kung is the former capital of Bali. The city was destroyed during the battle of 1908, but what still stands are the court yard and the meeting room which are both famous for their art work on the ceiling. Be fascinated by the stories these paintings will tell you about Balinese life. From the port it is 40 km / 1 hrs drive to the north east.
Ubud is simply the most charming city of Bali. It is a gem to explore whatever your interests are. It has the famous monkey forest, the small little streets with boutiques, bars and cooking classes. It has the pasar/market for whatever you want to buy and the temples and rice fields are just around the corner. Remember though that if there is ever any furniture or art that you are looking for Ubud is the place to shop! From the port it is a 35 km / 1 hrs 15 min drive to the north.
The Virgin waterfall is better known as the Tegenungan waterfall. It’s a quite spot where you can escape daily life and enjoy a small piece of paradise away from the tourist sights. Make your way down the staircase and bring your bathing suit. Make it your paradise for a day. Bring drinks and just relax in the water or chill on the rocks. From the port it is a 26 km / 1 hrs drive to the north.
It might not be the best temple to get acquainted with the temple culture for the fact you cannot enter the temple, but it is known for its importance in the Balinese culture and its dramatic setting on the cliffs on the south of the island. Therefore most people go during sunset. Make sure you’ll be there at 5.30 pm. From the port it is a 25 km / 1 hrs drive to the south west.
Pandawa beach was back in the days known as the Secret Beach. This is where the locals, the modern day hippies, expats and families come to enjoy a relaxing day on the beach. Some would say this is the best beach of the island and many would agree. This is not the beach to enjoy the services of a resort, but to enjoy Bali the way the locals do. From the port it is 20 km / 40 min drive to the south.
First learn about the spices and fruit they grow on Bali and than get the chance to drink “the most expensive coffee in the world” for just a few dollars. This famous coffee, also known as Kopi Luwak, has first been eaten and defecated by the Paradoxurus or Luwak. Sip it up while overlooking the most dramatic rice terraces. From the port it is 45 km / 1,5 hrs drive to the north.
In the famous artistic Ubud, that is about an hours drive from Benoa, you’ll find Ubud. What used to be famous for woodcarving, paintings and other forms of art is nowadays also on the world map since the Hollywood movie “Eat, pray, love” was shot in Ubud. And let’s not forget the most famous inhabitants of the Monkey Forest that guard the temple complex here. From the port it is 30 km / 1 hrs 15 min drive north.
This is the tiny beach Padang Padang. Find it in a cove at an approximate 45 minute drive from the port. It is sometimes crowded but definitely worth it if you want to go a bit off the beaten track. There is a quite adventurous staircase to go down to the cliff to reach the beach and on the beach you’ll find a small market, the surfers and all the beach chillers. From the port it is 23 km / 45 min drive to the south west.
Tirta Empul is the 10th century temple famous for its holy water. This is where Hindu Bali people come to purify themselves. Make sure to bring a bathing suit because you are also able to purify yourself with this holy water. Behind the purifying pool is an entire temple complex where you are also able to see the impressive source of the water and water tanks. From the port it is a 50 km / 1,5 hrs drive to the north.
A must-visit for anybody interested in the Balinese culture and tradition. This museum is the best on the island. It is divided in 5 different buildings that have excellent exhibitions that tell you about the tempels, ceremonies, arts and rituals like tooth filing and cremation towers. There are English signs and often also a non-official guide willing to guide you through the museum for +/- 50.000 IDR. From the port it is 12 km / 30 min drive to the north.