As soon as I booked my flight to Bali for yoga training this summer, I immediately started searching for options to rent a camper van in Bali. I was stoked to discover that vanlife is alive and thriving on the island of Bali!
Living in a van full-time is awesome anywhere, anytime. Traveling internationally in a van really takes your vacay to the next level. You can explore an exotic new place with the convenience and spontaneous freedom of vanlife. Sometimes getting off the beaten path is essential, and that is especially true in tourist hot spots like Bali. Here a van gives you that extra bit of freedom to see the authentic, unspoiled side of Bali.
Looking to expand your horizons? Let the Bali vanlife vacay begin! Here is everything you need to know about vanlife in Indonesia and staying in a camper van in Bali.
PukuCamper was the very first camper van rental company established in Bali. It’s Balinese-owned by the absolutely lovely Indra, a young entrepreneur who lives for camping and vanlife. Indra has basically brought camping to the island of Bali. He is a legend in the Balinese vanlife world. He has itineraries with sweet camping spots all over the island.
Indra’s camper van rental company helps visitors see the “real Bali” and explore well beyond the most popular areas. Not only is this great for us as travelers, but it is good for the locals as well. Seeing further-flung spots supports the local economy and allows locals to share more of their beautiful culture with visitors. Of course, I couldn’t wait to get off the Bali beaten track in a camper van!
I explored Bali with “Dolphin” a Suzuki ATV for a week. The van’s layout had everything you need for a vanlife vacation and could also work great for long-term travelers. Check out a one-shot shotgun van tour below!
What’s it like to explore Bali in a camper van?
Rice fields are gorgeous and they are absolutely EVERYWHERE.
In the center of the island near Ubud, the rice fields seem to span forever. Not only are they the heart of the economy, they are stunning. These fields are every bit as picturesque in person as they are in photos. The most famous rice field is the Tegallalang Rice Terrace outside of Ubud, which is 100% built up with restaurants, shops, and Instagram photo ops. While it is gorgeous (especially during rainy season when the greens are super bright), but it’s packed with tourists.
My favorite rice fields were in the Tabanan area, which was fantastic to explore in a camper van because there were hardly any tourists. We enjoyed lunch with a private view of beautifully maintained rice fields all to ourselves!
Waterfalls for days and days.
There are literally hundreds of gorgeous waterfalls to explore in Bali! The most popular ones will be full of tourists waiting in line to take photos for the ‘gram. Since we were exploring Bali in a camper van rather than a guided tour, we had the freedom to seek out the smaller, more chill waterfalls.
We checked out the visually impressive Kanto Lampo Waterfalls but we had the best time at Git Git Waterfalls. It was super laid back and the kind of place you could just chill for hours. Definitely make sure you have plenty of time to swim and enjoy the water! Honestly, plan ample time to splash around Bali. You could spend days just waterfall hopping around the island.
Tip for vacay vanlifers– Locals will charge you around a dollar for parking pretty much everywhere around the waterfalls and other attractions. They will also try to offer guided tours, but usually the waterfalls are simple to find and a tour guide is not needed.
Volcanoes make for epic sunrises and sunsets!
Since Bali is a small island, you can see Mount Agung in the distance for most of your trip. He makes the most impressive backdrop for sunrises and sunsets.
We spent some time at Blue Earth Village in Amed enjoying their epic patio sunset views. They also have morning yoga classes and free outdoor movie nights!
Mount Agung is an active volcano and it is the highest point in Bali.
I highly recommend doing a sunrise hike up Mount Batur. This is very popular though and you’ll be trekking in the darkness with an army of tourists. BUT the views are out of this world so it is well worth it.
Get your zen on at the temples.
I loved the temples but some of them are epic tourist traps, so choose wisely!
We skipped the most popular Bali temple, Lempuyang, because the wait for a photo can sometimes take up to 4 hours! PLUS– and this is totally crazy– the photo of the temple you’ll find all over Instagram is actually a fake photo! Tour guides do a photo trick to make it look like this is a water temple but it’s actually not. Super lame! While there are so many incredible sites and people in Bali, there is this overly-commercialized side as well.
Tip for vacay vanlifers– If you want to beat the tourists, you can stealth park your van near the temples and be ready to go before the tour guides arrive! These places open early though, so many sure you check the times ahead to beat the crowds.
Since we were free to drive all over the island, we hit up temples when they weren’t so busy. We went to the Ulun Danu Beratan water temple, Vihara Dharma Giri Buddhist temple, and other that were far from the crowds. It made such a difference in our experience. Being able to move away from the big groups allowed us to soak up what really makes Bali special.
One of our PukuCamper camping spots was an old temple on a peaceful lake in the jungle. This was one of my favorite highlights. It was so unexpected to spend the night at an ancient temple all by ourselves. It was a parking place to remember!
You’re going to love the locals!
You have probably heard this by now, but the Balinese are pretty much the nicest people in the world! All you need to do is smile at someone and you’ll be met with the biggest grin and warmest welcome. Next thing you know, you are joining family dinners and being told to call the woman of the house “momma.” It is a place where you can actually integrate and soak in the local life.
Fruit stands and street food vendors are great opportunities to get off the main roads and meet the locals. The kids loved playing tag around our van! Plus we were able to stock up on ultra fresh and local produce.
Pamper yourself in Ubud.
We ended our journey in Ubud for yoga and pampering– the perfect end to our week road trip around the island! PukuCamper renters get access to the epic infinity pool at the Beji Resort in Ubud, which was probably the most gorgeous pool I’ve ever seen.
There is so much to do here. Take a yoga class at Radiantly Alive yoga, go to ecstatic dance at The Yoga Barn, eat the best vegan food of your life at Zest Ubud, and get plenty of massages. And check out my buddy Trevor’s Heart Chakra Yoga Course on Airbnb Experiences.
Where in the world do you want to take a vanlife vacay? Share in the comments!