Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (2023)

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Summary of this post:

  • 1 Sri Lanka vs Bali Comparison: Where to go on holiday when you can only choose one...
    • 1.1 Beaches in Sri Lanka compared to Bali: the best destination for swimming
    • 1.2 Nature in Bali compared to Sri Lanka
    • 1.3 Sri Lanka or Bali: which is cheaper? The best destination for a cheap holiday
    • 1.4 Sri Lanka vs Bali for surfing
    • 1.5 Best destination for bloggers and Instagrammers: Bali vs Sri Lanka
    • 1.6 Bali or Sri Lanka: summary (the best holiday country if you can only choose one)
    • 1.7 Here is more about both islands:

Hey guys, here's another one of my comparisons: Bali vs Sri Lanka - where to go on holiday and why. Is Bali better than Sri Lanka? How are the beaches in Bali compared to Sri Lanka and which destination is better for surfing? And which destination is ultimately more interesting for Instagram: Bali or Sri Lanka? (if that's what you're looking for). Therefore, in this post I will try to compare both destinations based on my personal experience of summering in both. This is of course my personal opinion, but I will try to be as objective as possible, so without further ado, let's get started!

Sri Lanka vs Bali Comparison: Where to go on holiday when you can only choose one...

Bali and Sri Lanka are similar in some ways and very different. Both countries are beautiful, have fantastic nature and are great for surfers. However, there are also many differences between these two huge islands (besides the fact that one is a country and the other is a part of a country). Let's compare Bali and Sri Lanka in several different categories and determine the winner in each category. Let's start!

  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (1)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (2)

Beaches in Sri Lanka vs Bali: The best swimming destination

If you're looking for a traditional beach vacation (all inclusive resort, blue-ass water and great swimming), both countries aren't great for that. Instead, go to the Philippines or another country in the Caribbean (readmy guide to the best resorts in Mexico's Maya Riviera).

However, in my experience, Bali had more beaches suitable for swimming; however, they were busier and less clean than in Sri Lanka. There are not many beaches suitable for swimming in Sri Lanka (read my article about Sri Lanka and whether it is worth going therefor more information on swimming in Sri Lanka); however, they are much emptier and cleaner than in Bali. Sri Lanka's beaches seem like a tropical paradise, but most of them have huge waves and are only suitable for surfing.

Winner: Bali

  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (3)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (4)

Nature in Bali vs Sri Lanka

Both countries have beautiful nature. Bali has impressive waterfalls, rice fields, volcanoes and beautiful temples. There is really a lot to see in Bali, so if you are a nature lover, you will not be disappointed. However, most places in Bali are very crowded. Unfortunately, Bali also has a major problem with traffic on the island. One day we were stuck in traffic for at least 3-4 hours, which of course did not allow us to see many places on the island.

This is not the case with Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka also has great nature, beautiful temples, tea plantations and outstanding wildlife (there are several safari parks); however, most places in Sri Lanka are nowhere near as crowded as Bali! Although the roads in Sri Lanka can be tricky and the distances can be long, it is generally a much more enjoyable experience to explore Sri Lanka's sights and must-sees!

  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (5)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (6)

Winner: Sri Lanka (if you want to avoid the crowds)

Sri Lanka or Bali: which is cheaper? The best destination for a cheap holiday

If you're on a budget and looking for a very affordable destination, head to Sri Lanka. Bali was cheap long before it became popular. Currently, Bali is not cheap at all! Many expats live in Bali and more and more bloggers and digital nomads are moving to the island, causing prices to rise. There are many beautiful restaurants and Instagram spots in Bali, but trust me, visiting them is not cheap at all.

However, if you compare the prices in Bali with the prices in NYC, Sydney or London, Bali is of course still quite affordable.

We had a great lifestyle in Sri Lanka for just £150 (approx $210) for a week for food, attractions and gas), so it's definitely a much cheaper destination! Food is very affordable in Sri Lanka and even some trendy and photogenic cafes are still quite affordable. If you want to live somewhere for a month without spending money, definitely choose Sri Lanka!

Winner: Sri Lanka

  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (7)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (8)

Sri Lanka vs Bali for surfing

I'm not a professional surfer so I can't give much information about surfing in Sri Lanka compared to Bali; however, both destinations have good surf beaches and excellent surf camps.

Some of the surf camps you can check out in Bali:san more;Padang Padang.

Some of the great surf camps in Sri Lanka:Surf rating,lapunt

Winner: ??? Both maybe

Best destination for bloggers and Instagrammers: Bali vs. Sri Lanka

If you are planning to go to Bali or Sri Lanka for photography, I must say that both destinations are beautiful. However, if photography is your primary purpose for visiting any of these countries, I'd say you should choose Bali. Since Bali became very popular about five years ago, many unique Instagram spots have literally sprung up all over the island. There are stately villas for less than $100 a night, beautiful luxury resorts, cafes, beach clubs, temples and nature spots that are all photo-worthy! If you're interested in the most Instagrammable places in Bali, check out mineInstagram guide to Bali!

Sri Lanka is also very popular on Instagram, but the first places are mostly natural places and beaches.

Winner: Bali

  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (9)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (10)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (11)
  • Bali vs Sri Lanka: Where to go on holiday? The best beaches, surfing and more (12)

Bali or Sri Lanka: summary (the best holiday country if you can only choose one)

Both destinations, Bali and Sri Lanka, are great and not mutually exclusive. They are very different in terms of food, religion and culture, but they share some similarities, such as beautiful nature, similar weather and great surfing.

If you are looking for an affordable destination, Sri Lanka is a better option. If you are a blogger or photographer, you certainly have more opportunities in Bali. Bali is a bit over the top in my opinion and the crowds and pollution are real. However, it is not impossible to find quiet places in Bali.

Sri Lanka is a little more unspoiled and less commercial, and is similar to Bali in 2010 (before it blew up on social media).

Here is more about both islands:

Is Sri Lanka worth it?Driving in Sri LankaHow expensive is Sri Lanka to travel?

Bali: is Bali worth it? Things to do in DecemberInstagram spots in Bali


Is Bali better or Sri Lanka? ›

Bali is known for its iconic beaches such as Kuta, Sanur, and Nusa Dua, which are ideal for swimming and surfing. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has a more rugged coastline with fewer developed tourist areas, but offers some of the most scenic beaches in the world, like Unawatuna and Mirissa.

Is Bali more expensive than Sri Lanka? ›

Cost of living in Colombo (Sri Lanka) is 13% more expensive than in Denpasar, Bali (Indonesia)

Where is it cheaper Bali or Sri Lanka? ›

Sri Lanka or Bali: which one is cheaper? The best destination for a cheap holiday. If you're on a budget and looking for a very affordable destination, head to Sri Lanka.

How many days is ideal in Bali? ›

Most travelers will agree that 10 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Bali. However, 5 days is the bare minimum if you want to explore more than one area of the island.

Is Sri Lanka one of the most beautiful country in the world? ›

We've always known that the gem of an island that is Sri Lanka is a spectacular place to visit. There's a never-ending list of things to see and do. And now it has earned recognition by one of the world's leading travel authorities for being one the most diverse, beautiful and captivating countries.

What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka? ›

Weather: During the months of December to April, most of the island country experiences a beautiful hot and dry climate. With ample sunshine, clear blue skies and lush green landscapes, this period is considered to the best climate to visit Sri Lanka in.

How close are Bali and Sri Lanka? ›

The shortest distance (air line) between Sri-Lanka and Bali is 2,623.37 mi (4,221.90 km).

How far is Bali from Sri Lanka flight? ›

Facts about the transport from Bali to Sri Lanka
Cheapest Transport$299
Latest Departure7:15 PM
Departures per day4
Distance7934 kilometers
Transport CompaniesAirAsia, AirAsia X, Indonesia AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, Srilankan Airlines
2 more rows

What time of year is Bali cheapest? ›

The cheapest times for accommodation in Bali coincide with the wet season, October through to March. During this time, tourism numbers are lower so hotels in Bali are cheaper due to a lack of demand and act as a draw to bring more people in.

What country is cheapest to go to Bali from? ›

Flights from Bangkok and Singapore to Bali are often the cheapest. Air Asia and other budget airlines offer extremely cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, via the new low-cost carrier terminal KLIA2. Bali's peak season is in the summer, especially between the months of June and August.

Is Maldives or Bali more expensive? ›

Is Bali cheaper than the Maldives? Bali is without a doubt cheaper to visit than The Maldives. Bali offers a huge range of accommodation starting at just $20 a night, up to $1000 or more. Not only is accommodation cheaper but the food and activities are also very budget friendly.

What months are best for surfing in Bali? ›

In general, the peak surfing season is during the dry seasons of May and September. This is when the legendary swells and strong offshore winds come together for the best surfing experience in Bali. Additionally, surfers should stick to the beaches on the south and western side of the island for the best swells.

What is the best surfing beach in the world? ›

The 8 Best Places to Surf in the World
  • Malibu, CA.
  • Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.
  • Ericeira, Portugal.
  • Hossegor, France.
  • Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
  • San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
  • Oahu, Hawaii, USA.
  • Conclusion.
Oct 14, 2022

Can you surf in Bali as a beginner? ›

While Bali boasts a plethora of advanced waves, it also has a decent amount of beginner surf spots that are perfect for learning. Many of those waves are right near our surf resort on the Bukit Peninsula.

How much money do you need for 2 weeks in Bali? ›

The average cost of a trip to Bali is around $3000 USD for two people for two weeks. This budget includes flights, accommodation, food, activities, and transport within Bali. Of course, this is just an estimate and your actual costs may be higher or lower depending on your specific travel plans.

Is Bali or Thailand better? ›

If you prefer being able to travel around a destination quickly and “see it all,” then you might enjoy Bali more. If you're looking for a destination that offers a range of different cities—each full of its own sub-culture, activities, and climates—then Thailand is an ideal choice.

What months are best to stay in Bali? ›

The best time to visit Bali is between April and October, the island's dry season. Although the weather is ideal for travellers, the island is also subject to soupy, humid days throughout the year. Many shops offer sales and promotions; restaurants are less crowded in those mid-season months.

What is the 3 most beautiful country in the world? ›

  • New Zealand. #1 in Scenic. #11 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Greece. #2 in Scenic. #25 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Italy. #3 in Scenic. #14 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Switzerland. #4 in Scenic. #1 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Spain. #5 in Scenic. #16 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Norway. #6 in Scenic. ...
  • Australia. #7 in Scenic. ...
  • Ireland. #8 in Scenic.

Why is Sri Lanka so special? ›

It is nicknamed Pearl of the Indian Ocean and teardrop of India. Sri Lanka is known for these two lovely names. Pearl of the Indian Ocean is given to this small island nation probably due to its incredible natural beauty, extraordinary biodiversity as well as its precious gemstones.

Why Sri Lanka is so famous? ›

Sri Lanka is well known for its rich Buddhist culture as well as other religions. Being a religious country, Sri Lanka has many places with religious and historic significance, which attract tourists from all over the world.

Which side of Sri Lanka has the best beaches? ›

The south coast is one of Sri Lanka's most rewarding areas to visit. Representing the island in microcosm, the region offers gorgeous beaches, colonial towns, and superb wildlife parks, as well as a host of Buddhist shrines and temples.

How many days are enough for Sri Lanka? ›

There's a lot to see in Sri Lanka—two weeks will allow you enough time to explore all the island's top sights or even travel to other countries in the surrounding area. However, you can still enjoy Sri Lanka in a shorter time frame.

Is Sri Lanka expensive to visit? ›

Generally speaking, you can travel around Sri Lanka on a budget of $25-$50 per day (per person). With a budget of $25 a day, you'll stay in budget hotels, travel with public transport, make the most of the (many) free activities Sri Lanka has to offer, and eat (delicious) local food.

Can we travel to Bali from Sri Lanka? ›

Sri Lankans have to apply for a B211A Visit Visa to travel to Bali / Indonesia for tourism purpose. With a Sri Lankan passport you can not get a Visa on Arrival at the moment. Please check the FAQ below for further details on your options on how to get a B211A Visa, the costs and process.

How much does it cost to travel to Bali from Sri Lanka? ›

Colombo to Bali Flights, Fares @ ₹ 14959 | MakeMyTrip INTL Flights.

Is it still ok to travel to Sri Lanka? ›

Sri Lanka has all the essentials it needs now and there are no critical concerns in this respect. During the summer of 2022, there were reports of medical supplies running short, but the private hospitals were able to maintain a normal service throughout and that is no longer an issue.

How close is Bali and Maldives? ›

How far is Bali from Maldives? The overland distance from Bali to Maldives is 12019 miles (19338 km). The flying distance is 12019 miles (19338 km).

How many hours does it take to fly from America to Sri Lanka? ›

It's a long journey from North America to Sri Lanka. The flight from North America to Sri Lanka takes around 20 hours minimum, necessitating at least one change of plane.

How long does it take you to fly to Bali? ›

How long do flights to Bali take?
Departure airportDestination airportAverage flight time
London Stansted (STN)Bali (DPS)18h 10m
London Heathrow (LHR)Bali (DPS)17 hours
Manchester (MAN)Bali (DPS)17h 05m
Birmingham (BHX)Bali (DPS)17h 15m
3 more rows

What are the best and worst months to go to Bali? ›

Best (and Worst) Times to Visit Bali 2023/2024 & When is the Rainy Season. The best time to visit Bali is between April and October when the weather is warm and dry. However, it is also prime tourist season, and hotel and flight prices peak for July/August. The rainy season in Bali occurs between November and March.

Is $1,000 enough for a month in Bali? ›

hello, 1000 should be plenty but always handy to have some 'xtra loot' as backup. I think it is enough, thats $100 a day, you dont drink and you are only planning one outing to Waterbom Park. You also have you card as a back up in case you see anything more expensive that you really want to buy.

How do I stop getting Bali belly? ›

How can you avoid Bali Belly?
  1. Make sure all meat and seafood is thoroughly cooked (not raw or rare)
  2. Avoid the following foods while travelling: Sushi. Unpasteurised dairy products milk/cheese/ice cream. ...
  3. Water: Don't drink tap water. Don't use tap water to brush your teeth. ...
  4. Hygiene: Wash your hands after using the toilet.
Aug 7, 2019

Is Bali cheap for American tourists? ›

Indonesia (is it a country worth visiting?) has a very low cost of living. This means that things like labour, food and accommodation are a lot cheaper than they would be in say, Western Europe, where the cost of living is high. Due to the cost of living being low, this brings down all costs in general.

Are there direct flights to Bali from us? ›

Can I get a direct flight to Bali (Denpasar) Airport? No airlines currently offer direct flights between United States and Indonesia. Most routes have one or more stops.

Why is it so expensive to fly to Bali? ›

Flights to Bali are expensive now due to factors such as rising demand, limited supply, inflation, fuel prices, closed airspace, and the increase in operational costs for airlines. One key factor within your control is the timing of your booking.

Is Hawaii or Bali more expensive? ›

Cost of Living

Living in Bali is cheaper than in Hawaii. It costs less to find a place to stay, buy food, and get around in Bali. This means that living in Bali is a good choice for people who want to save money.

Which is better Bali or Phuket? ›

Bali offers more hotel choices than Phuket does. If you're a surfer, Bali is your choice for its collection of world-class breaks. On the other hand, Phuket's beaches are more scenic and laidback, great for those preferring island beach escapades with a mix of water sports and just lazing on the sand.

Is Bali or Hawaii better? ›

If your're looking to explore a different culture and seeing sights that you would not see in a Western country, definitely go to Bali. If you're primarily a beach person, and not that interested in exploring the inland areas, then go to Hawaii.

Is surfing in Bali crowded? ›

While it is pretty easy to go from one spot to another, the downside surfing in South Bali is that the spots can get crazy crowded! Canggu is most known for its green scenery vibes, but the beaches are best for beginners to intermediate.

Do you need a wetsuit to surf in Bali? ›

What about the water temperature in Bali? The water temperature in Bali is between 26°C (July/August) and 30°C (December/January). You will only need to wear a lycra top or a thicker surf top but definitely not a wetsuit.

How good is surfing in Bali? ›

Bali's waves are so good and consistent that even the most surf starved surfer will eventually become “surfed out”. The surf breaks are breathtakingly beautiful, and it is mesmerising to watch perfect sculptured waves.

What is the surf capital of the world? ›

Pichilemu in Mapuche language means “Little Forrest”. Beautiful and calm spa located in the central zone of Chile, in the last few years it becomes beautiful and beautiful landscapes that go from the sea to the mountain range, everything together brings the qualified name: Pichilemu, The World Surfing Capital.

What country is number one in surfing? ›

Peru cements position as world's number one surf nation and a blond Mexican wins men's gold at Olympic qualifier while Team USA plunges to hitherto unseen low! And eight surfers gifted spots into the 2024 Paris Games, surfing to be held at Teahupoo!

Which beach in Bali is famous for surfing? ›

Uluwatu Beach

Uluwatu is probably the most famous surf beach in Bali due to some of the most famous surfers in the world favoring the spot. Not much of a sandy beach, the wide reef break is set below a huge cliff face - so be prepared for the steep climb down a lot of steps!

Where is the safest place to surf in Bali? ›

Kuta is by far the best beginner surf beach in Bali as it's rarely flat here and provides the perfect place to learn to surf, with fun and playful peaks up and down the beach. The gentle waves and soft sand offer the perfect opportunity to hop to your feet and ride the white water to the beach.

Do you need booties to surf in Bali? ›

Usually no, but certain surf spots might require surf booties on a lower tide if you are already an independent surfer and not in lessons. Surf shops around Swell sell good quality reeg booties.

Is Bali the most beautiful place in the world? ›

With its paradisal surroundings & magical vibes, Bali is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here are the must-see hotspots! Pristine beaches, candy-coloured sunsets, dense jungle and colourful traditions – Bali really is a picture-perfect paradise.

Which is better for honeymoon Bali or Sri Lanka? ›

Tourist Attractions

Both countries have a series of fantastic fascinations in all aspects. For beaches surely Sri Lanka is favored by most tourists, as they often find pristine and deserted more than what Bali has to offer you.

Is Bali actually worth it? ›

Bali is great for every type of traveler. No matter how you like to travel, you can't go wrong with a trip to Bali. The island has such a wide variety of things to do that there is truly something for everyone to enjoy. We can guarantee that you are not going to get bored in Bali.

Is Sri Lanka worth going? ›

Without hesitation, we respond… “absolutely, yes it is.” There is really no doubt in our minds that Sri Lanka is generally one of the safest places to visit in Asia, if not the world. While the economic and political issues are by no means solved, they will no longer impinge in any way on travellers.

What is the best of year to go to Bali? ›

Best time to visit Bali for weather (May - October)

Most people prefer to visit Bali during the dry season from May to October, when the weather is typically warm and clear - perfect for water activities and exploring the island. Visit outside of July and August for cheaper prices and fewer tourists.

What is the best time to visit Bali? ›

Although Bali is climatically comfortable throughout the year, and is a year-round destination, the best time to visit Bali is from April to October, the summer months in Bali.

Is it worth going all inclusive in Sri Lanka? ›

Ultimately, the advantage of an All Inclusive stay in Sri Lanka is that it secures all of your essentials and lets you know that you're going to have a full tummy and a cosy bed every night, all without any further fretting about the travel budget.

Is Maldives better than Bali? ›

Go to Bali if you're looking for the type of honeymoon that has a little bit of everything, for every type of couple. Do not go to Bali over the Maldives if: You are expecting a completely first-class, first-world vacation, or you're expecting to spend your vacation laying on a beach.

Which is more better Bali or Maldives? ›

If adventure on land is on your mind, Bali is for you. On the other hand, the Maldives offers better alternatives for the sea - the Baa Atoll offers amazing snorkelling, diving and underwater expeditions. Watersports in Maldives are better, and there are many places to try them.

Is $100 a day enough for Bali? ›

On top of flights, if you budget around $100 per day for your trip to Bali it would be more than enough. This amount would enable you to stay in a mid-range hotel, eat out for every meal and enjoy some of the island's best activities. Therefore, $1500 per person (plus flights) would be plenty for two weeks in Bali.

What are the negatives of tourism in Bali? ›

Bali has suffered from over-tourism, characterized by water shortage, environmental degradation, sanitation issues, over-crowded destinations, loss of authenticity, and higher cost of living.

Why is Sri Lanka so popular? ›

Sri Lanka is famous for its exotic beach resorts, flavorful cuisine, tea production, and incredible biodiversity amongst diverse landscapes. Sri Lanka is a South Asian country formerly known as Ceylon. It is an island that lies in the Indian Ocean, therefore has no bordering countries.


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