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Bali and Fiji are both paradise destinations so it’s no wonder they’re often compared. If you’re dreaming of a tropical getaway and wondering whether Bali or Fiji is the better option, I’ve got you covered!
Having visited both Bali and Fiji, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and advice so you can decide which is the best place for your next getaway. So, let’s get to it – Bali vs Fiji: which is best?
Are Bali and Fiji similar?
On paper, Bali and Fiji might seem similar. They’re both tropical destinations that boast glorious scenery, but there are actually many differences. I loved visiting both, but didn’t think they were that alike. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t both have their draws!
While Bali is just one island in Indonesia, Fiji is a South Pacific country made up of over 300 beautiful islands.
Fiji is a destination with gorgeous palm-fringed white sandy beaches and is an amazing choice for snorkelling, diving and water activities. Whereas Bali is a laid-back and cool destination with a much bigger focus on nature and sightseeing: think photogenic rice terraces, waterfalls and temples.
Both are absolutely beautiful and have so much to offer. Yet their key differences are really important to consider before booking your trip. I found a completely different vibe in each so it will depend on your travel style and preferences as to which is the best choice for you.
Are Bali and Fiji close?
On a map, Bali and Fiji seem relatively close to each other. They’re both just under the equator and are both near Australia. But, to fly from Bali to Fiji, you have to transit in Sydney and flights can take up to 12 hours.
Is it better to go to Bali or Fiji?
Best time to visit Bali vs Fiji
As both Bali and Fiji are tropical destinations, they’re defined by their wet and dry seasons. It’s much better to visit both during their dry seasons, but if that doesn’t work with your time off, it’s still possible to visit during the rainy season. Usually, downpours are brief, and you’ll find cheaper prices during these times.
I visited Bali in March during its wet season and it was still an amazing getaway even though it did rain a lot. We were still able to do everything we had planned and it didn’t detract from the beauty of the trip.
That said, try to visit both in their high seasons. This is especially important for Fiji if you’re dreaming of gloriously sunny beach days and snorkelling.
The best time to visit both Bali and Fiji is between May and October. In Bali, you can expect daily temperatures of around 30°C. Fiji is around 25 to 30°C at this time. It’s also when you’ll catch manta ray season which is an absolute must-experience!
Beaches in Bali vs Fiji
Both Bali and Fiji are renowned for their beautiful beaches, but in my opinion, they aren’t comparable. Fiji has cast away, paradise vibes – its beaches are spotless with soft white sands and turquoise waters. So if you’re dreaming of postcard beaches, Fiji is easily the winner.
There’s a ridiculous number of beaches in Fiji. The beaches also feel secluded and much quieter so they’re perfect for couples or those wanting a more peaceful vacation. Fiji’s beaches are truly breathtaking and offer everything you’d expect from a tropical destination.
The beaches in Fiji are also surrounded by coral (you can snorkel straight off the beach), so it’s an ideal choice for water lovers. The seas are crystal clear, calm and full of marine life.
Bali is still a great beach destination, but it offers a different experience to Fiji. You won’t generally find the whitest sand beaches in Bali, but they still have their charm. The beaches in Bali are cool, lively and unique – you’ll find beachside bars and amazing spots for watching the sunset.
Bali is also a brilliant destination for surfing with many beaches that are perfect for catching waves.
Nature & scenery in Bali vs Fiji
If you love nature and gawking at impressive scenery, you’ll love both Bali and Fiji! Both destinations boast a lot and have some of the world’s prettiest and most breathtaking landscapes.
Bali is famed for its scenery and has incredible natural wonders. Despite being a small destination, it has a lot to be wowed by – from lush jungles and rice terraces to volcanic scenery.
If you want a romantic, back-to-nature vacation, Ubud is a must-visit in Bali. It has gorgeous natural surroundings. Bali also has amazing waterfalls and hotels that make the most of nature. You’ll find so many idyllic settings surrounded by greenery.
Fiji is mostly known for its beach scenery. Its scattered isles aren’t built up so there’s a big focus on pristine sands and the chance to experience real island life. Yet, because Fiji has a huge number of islands, you’ll find so many different settings.
Some islands, especially those in the Mamanuca chain, are more like tiny sandbanks, but you’ll find others with hilly terrain that’s perfect for hiking. The main island of Fiji (Viti Levu) has wild rural scenery, while the island of Taveuni is an eco paradise with rainforests, waterfalls and so much natural beauty.
Things to do in Bali vs Fiji
Whether Bali or Fiji is best for you will be largely down to the kind of things you prefer to do on vacation.
If you love rural scenery, trekking and visiting temples, Bali is a really good option. Hiking Bali’s Mount Batur volcano is a must if you love being active. You’ll also be able to chase waterfalls, explore rice terraces and visit fascinating temples and religious sites.
Bali also has lively beach bars and markets. Plus, you can go surfing, take boat trips and visit the nearby islands of Nusa Penida and Gili Trawangan.
In Fiji, there’s a huge focus on water activities, from snorkelling and diving to boat trips. You can also go dolphin watching and swim with manta rays. Island hopping is the very best thing to do in Fiji. You can also visit traditional Fijian villages, go hiking and take part in cultural experiences.
Vibe & culture in Bali vs Fiji
I found that the vibes were really different in Fiji and Bali. Bali is a popular and lively destination. It’s a favourite with backpackers so there are lots of fun and laid-back beach bars. There’s also a big wellness community in Bali. The island is known for its yoga retreats, meditation centres and spiritual offerings.
Bali’s culture is rooted in Hinduism and it’s a very welcoming place. You’ll find so many beautiful temples in Bali that are worth visiting. There are also a huge number of celebrations and religious festivals that you can experience.
Culture plays a big part in a trip to Fiji, too. It is an exceptionally welcoming destination – you’ll be serenaded when you arrive at the small islands. Music and dance are a big part of Fijian culture and there’s also a focus on family and community.
If you go to Fiji, you’ll be able to visit a traditional Fijian village, take part in a kava ceremony and experience a meke performance.
Fiji in general, feels much quieter and secluded than Bali. You won’t find the same kind of beach bars – it’s a much more relaxed experience in Fiji where evenings can be spent stargazing rather than partying. It’s also the better option if you want to have more time for yourself or with a loved one.
Food & eating out in Bali vs Fiji
If, like me, food plays a big part in your vacations, you’ll find lots of traditional offerings in both Bali and Fiji.
There’s a lot of rice, coconut and fish in Fijian recipes. You’ll also find an abundance of fresh tropical fruits. For an authentic experience, you can try a traditional Lovo feast in Fiji, too, which is similar to a barbecue but cooked under the ground.
In Bali, dishes are influenced by Indonesian, Chinese and Indian cultures. Popular options include nasi goreng, gado-gado and satay. As well as more traditional meals, Bali has a huge vegan community so you’ll find loads of trendy places to eat.
There are so many incredible options for foodies in Bali – from cool brunch spots to healthy cafes. There’s definitely a lot more variety and endless choices in Bali with restaurants serving foods from around the world.
Nightlife in Bali vs Fiji
If you love nightlife, there’s no comparing the two – Bali is easily the winner in this category. Even though it’s a more laid-back option than somewhere like Thailand, Bali has a great choice of beach bars and clubs.
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Kuta, Canggu and Seminyak are the main spots in Bali for nightlife. You’ll find famous clubs like Sky Garden, as well as cool beach clubs like Potato Head and The Lawn.
Over in Fiji, nightlife isn’t really abundant. Fiji is a much quieter destination where you’re more likely to be sipping a cocktail at your resort than partying under the stars.
Fiji also has fewer tourists than Bali and visitors are less concentrated in one area, which means it’s a destination that’s more about privacy, slowing down and having a peaceful getaway.
Hotels in Bali vs Fiji
Bali and Fiji are equally renowned for being top honeymoon destinations so they both have a great hotel offering.
In Bali, many of the luxury resorts and hotels have a focus on nature. There are some extra special choices that have been made with couples in mind – from luxury eco-friendly resorts to rustic villas and gorgeous treehouse hotels. There’s also a big focus on wellness in Bali, so many resorts have a great spa offering.
In Fiji, you’ll find amazing island resorts that deliver tropical paradise vibes. If you want luxury accommodation, there are private island resorts and hotels with gorgeous villas and overwater bungalows. You’ll also find authentic beach bures that are simple but still thoroughly romantic.
Much of the accommodation in Fiji is located directly on the beach (usually a few steps from the sea), so you can fall asleep to the sound of waves. It’s the epitome of paradise living!
Getting around Bali vs Fiji
It’s difficult to compare Fiji vs Bali when it comes to transport because they are so vastly different.
As just one island, everything in Bali is within easy reach. To get around, you have the option of renting a scooter or a car, or hiring a private driver or taxi. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to travel around Bali.
As a collection of over 300 islands, Fiji is much more spread out. On the main island of Viti Levu, you can grab a taxi, hire a private driver or hop on a bus. To travel between islands, there are regular ferry services, or you can opt for private transfers via boat, seaplane or helicopter.
On the smaller islands – such as in the Mamanuca or Yasawa chains, there are no motorised vehicles, so you’ll get around everywhere on foot!
Is it cheaper to go to Bali or Fiji?
Out of the two destinations, Bali is the cheapest. It’s a popular island for backpackers so there’s lots of budget-friendly accommodation. It’s also a part of the world that’s generally pretty cheap, so things like eating at local restaurants will be more affordable.
With that said, Bali is also home to a host of luxury accommodation and upscale restaurants that are more suited to travellers with deeper pockets. But, even though these resorts are on the pricier side, they are typically more affordable than in some other destinations. It’s a great place to dip your toe in luxury travel if it’s not your usual option.
In Fiji, there are ways to visit as a budget traveller – there are dorms and budget bures on some of the islands, and general costs are cheaper than places like Western Europe and the US. However, Fiji is usually seen as more of a luxury destination.
Because you have to travel between islands, there are a lot more costs involved in a trip to Fiji than in Bali. You’ll also find luxurious island resorts that are on the spendier side.
Is Bali or Fiji safer?
Both Fiji and Bali are considered safe to travel to. I’d say there’s a slightly higher risk in Bali where pickpockets, bag snatching and scams can be a problem. The roads in Bali also aren’t great so be conscious of that when you’re travelling around the island. But, Bali is still a safe destination, you just have to practise a little caution.
Fiji is also a very safe country with low crime rates. It’s much less crowded than Bali so it’s easier to avoid things like pickpockets, but again – be mindful of your surroundings and keep your wits about you (as you would anywhere!).
Is Bali or Fiji better for a honeymoon?
Bali and Fiji are world-renowned honeymoon destinations so you can’t go wrong with either. There are amazing resorts and hotels in both that are perfect for newlyweds.
Because Bali is popular with backpackers and budget travellers, you might want to pay more for exclusive and luxury resorts to avoid crowds. There are also quieter regions in the north of Bali that are great if you want seclusion.
Bali and Fiji are equally great for couples who want to mix romance with adventure. Bali is one of the best honeymoon destinations in Southeast Asia and you can explore jungles and rice paddies, visit temples and go on boat trips. In Fiji, you can go island hopping, swim with manta rays, visit authentic villages and go hiking.
If you’re dreaming of a picture-perfect, postcard honeymoon with white sands and idyllic islands, Fiji will probably be better for you. It’s a perfect choice for honeymooners who want their own slice of paradise and a more secluded, romantic getaway.
You’ll also find the dreamiest hotels in Fiji – some boast overwater bungalows that are perfect for a honeymoon.
How to get to Bali vs Fiji
It really depends on where you’re travelling from as to which is easier to get to. If you’re travelling from the UK or Europe, unfortunately, neither are that easy or quick to get to. There are currently no direct flights from Europe to Bali and the journey is around 18 hours. For Fiji, you can expect a journey time of 30 hours.
If you’re travelling from the US, it can take up to 25 hours to get to Bali, but you can benefit from direct flights to Fiji from Los Angeles. It’s easy to reach both Bali and Fiji from Australia.
Which is better… Bali or Fiji?
There’s no clear-cut answer as to whether Bali or Fiji is better. A lot of it will depend on your preferences and what you want more out of your holiday.
I loved visiting both Fiji and Bali. I’d say I had a better time in Fiji, but that’s not to say that it’s necessarily the better of the two. They’re both incredible destinations and 1000% worthy of being on your bucket list.
If you want a remote island paradise, Fiji is my top pick. It’s everything you could want from a tropical escape with its jaw-dropping beaches and relaxed vibes. It’s also the better choice for water activities.
If you get itchy feet and want a more lively experience, Bali might be your better bet. It’s a much busier and more built-up destination so it’s easier to find more to see and do. It’s also a good choice if you want a wellness retreat or fancy a more vibrant experience.
But really… you can’t go wrong with either Bali or Fiji 😉