There is so much to explore on the island of Bali in Indonesia! From taking dance classes, to trying out street food at a Bali night market, you can easily fill your itinerary with activities. We had such a fun time diving deep into Balinese culture these past two months.
Recently, we partnered with a local tour company, Bali Adventours, to visit the Gianyar night market, in the city of Gianyar, just east of Ubud. We really enjoyed tasting all the different types of Balinese street food. Our guide, and owner of Bali Adventours, Didi, knew all the best vendors to visit. I’m glad I had a chance to experience one of the Bali markets during our time in Bali!
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Taking a Bali night market tour with Bali Adventours
If you’re planning a visit to Bali, taking a tour with Bali Adventours is a great way to get a feel for Bali from a local’s perspective. The company is fully locally-owned and staffed, and they offer over 20 different types of activities for exploring Bali.
The tours offered by Bali Adventours are very affordable for travelers, even family travelers! They range from $23-$40 (USD) per person. You can take your pick from village tours, temple tours, Bali markets tours, adventure tours, or even a scenic Instagram tour!
The tour we did was the “Exotic Tukad Cepung Hidden Waterfall With Authentic Balinese Night Market Dinner.” This tour involves a visit to the Tukad Cepung waterfall, and the Gianyar night market. The cost is $29 (USD) per person, and lasts around 4-6 hours.
Curious how much it costs to travel in Indonesia? Read my Indonesia budget post here.
Highlights of our visit to Gianyar night market
For our tour, Didi first took us to the waterfall, about an hour’s drive northeast of Ubud. There, we did a short hike down to a small ravine. Hidden behind giant boulders at the bottom of the ravine is Tukad Cepung, a waterfall about 20 to 30 feet high.
After a quick dip in the water and some photos, we headed out to Gianyar, a city located about 25 minutes east of Ubud. At Gianyar, we visited a popular Bali night market, Pasar Gianyar.
By day, Pasar Gianyar is a row of food stalls, selling local Balinese and Indonesian food. But by night, it transforms into a lively Bali night market, extending to the parking lot across the street.
During our tour, Didi took us through the Gianyar night market, letting us sample several types of street snacks. Then, he brought us back across the street to eat dinner at the food stalls. It was the perfect tour for food lovers like us!
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Tips for visiting a Bali night market
One of the ways we encourage our kids to become avid travelers is by introducing them to unique experiences. And visiting a Bali night market is certainly a unique experience!
If you’re in the mood to try out a Bali night market, definitely book one of the tours offered by Bali Adventours. Alternatively, you can check out some of the other night markets on your own.
There are several Bali markets that are open at night. Pasar Senggol is a Bali night market in Nusa Dua. In Denpasar, there’s the Kereneng Night Market. And in Sanur, you can visit the Sindhu Night Market. Also, if you’re in Kuta, you can visit the night market there. The Gianyar Night Market is the largest night market in Bali.
All the Bali markets are open all year. They start around 4-5pm and last well into the night. If you’re planning on visiting a Bali night market with your kids, here are a few of my tips.
1. Go with a guide
Navigating a Bali night market can seem intimidating. Where do you even start? That’s why we loved going with Didi. Having him there as our guide allowed us to really experience the market like a local. You can talk with the vendors and learn all about the food that’s for sale.
2. Spend time walking around the Bali night market
If you’re planning on exploring Bali markets alone, then spend some time walking around the market, before buying something. Get a feel for the layout of the market. And see what kinds of things are for sale. Often, we’re tempted to buy from the first vendor we see. But sometimes the best food or goods are further in to the market.
3. Keep your kids close by
Most public places in Bali are safe, but because of the sheer amount of people in Bali, it’s easy for a little kid to get lost. If you’re visiting a Bali night market with kids, make sure to keep them close by.
Don’t let them wander around on their own. And if you’re crossing the road, hold on to their hands so they don’t go too far into the road. The cars and motorcycles can go pretty fast in Bali.
4. Bring small bills
If you’re planning on buying food or things at a Bali night market, make sure you have some small bills on hand. The rupiah, Indonesia’s currency, comes in denominations of 1,000 (in coins and bills), 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000.
If you give a vendor a 100,000 bill for an item that’s only Rp. 8,000, they may have to scramble to find change from other vendors. Make sure you have plenty of 2,000’s, 5,000’s, and 10,000’s on hand, so you don’t have to sit around waiting for change. And remember, none of the vendors take credit card!
5. Pick stalls that have people sitting already
One of the biggest concerns of eating food at a Bali night market is food safety. How safe is the food to eat? If you have a guide, they’ll know exactly who the good vendors are. But if you’re going alone, one tip I have is to pick stalls where people are already eating. If locals are eating there, then it’s most likely safe for you to eat the food that’s served there as well.
6. Avoid food that’s been sitting out too long
Along similar lines, make sure the food you eat is piping hot. According to the CDC, food-borne illnesses can often come from bacteria that grows on food that’s been sitting around too long. Always order freshly cooked food.
Cakes, cookies, or breads are generally safe to eat. But avoid dishes where components of the dish were cooked ahead of time and then added in without reheating.
7. Bring water to drink
One final way to avoid food-borne illnesses while you’re visiting a Bali night market is to drink a lot of water. This helps flush out the bacteria in your system, so you’re less likely to get sick. If you want to avoid buying single use plastic bottles, get a GRAYL bottle. They have a built-in filter that removes 99.9% of particles, bacteria, and viruses from water.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Part of the fun of visiting Bali markets is learning about the culture of Bali. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re exploring a Bali night market.
Ask what ingredients go into the dishes you’re trying. Ask what other dishes you can try. And ask how the food is prepared. If you ask with genuine curiosity and respect, people will be more than happy to tell you about their culture and their food.
Want to explore more of Bali? Read my Bali posts here.
Seeking out Bali markets around the island
After visiting the Gianyar night market with Didi, we wished we would have had time to explore some of the other markets. We had fun sampling the local food, and we ended the night stuffed to the brim! Didi really showed us an amazing time!
If you’re planning a visit to Bali, spend some time exploring a Bali night market. You’ll be surprised at what you might discover there. And if you’ve visited a night market in Bali before, share in the comments how your experience was.
Is Bali part of a bigger family travel adventure for you? Use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as a resource for tools, advice, and action steps for planning your trip.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. We received a free waterfall and night market tour from Bali Adventours in exchange for this blog post. However, all the opinions expressed in this blog post are completely my own.
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