Bali vs Fiji is between two of the world’s most famous islands. It’s not an easy choice, because both places are said to be paradises. Both offer pristine beaches and crystal seas. Both come with stunning honeymoon hotels and amazing backcountries filled with jungles and rare animals.
On the one hand, you have Bali. The island is famed as the most-visited place in Indonesia, offering fantastic surf breaks for experts, emerald rice paddies, and incredible Hindu temples that smell like incense. Then there’s Fiji, an island of the South Pacific, where coral reefs and palm-backed sands out of Castaway are on offer to travelers.
But where’s the best place? This guide to Bali vs Fiji will answer that question. It outlines five key areas where these islands are different, from the quality of the beaches to the prices you can expect to pay, all to help you choose the right isle for you.
Bali vs Fiji: Ease of travel
Bali is by far the most popular Indonesian island. It sees millions of visitors every year. There is only one airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar Airport. Located in the southern part of Bali, the airport is only a short drive away from the popular resort towns of Kuta and Seminyak. You will find plenty of direct flight options to Bali from other Southeast Asian destinations, Australia, and even the Middle Eastern airports suitable for connections from Europe.
Buses are the only form of public transport in Bali, but those are rarely used by tourists. Most people either hire motorbikes or get around by taxi. Hailing a taxi on the street is pricy, so, for better rates, you can use apps such as Go-Jek or Grab, or arrange a private driver beforehand.
Fiji, on the other hand, is a popular stop on around-the-world tours, as well as being a honeymoon destination. It’s an archipelago of over 300 islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. The majority of direct international flights to Fiji come from either Australia or New Zealand, so getting here from Europe is a little trickier. From the US, there are flights from Honolulu, San Francisco, and Los Angeles with Fiji Airways.
The main arrival hub is the Nadi International Airport on the western side of Viti Levu Island, the largest and the most populous of all the Fijian islands. It is well connected, so getting around is quite easy and efficient, no matter whether you choose a bus or a car. Venturing outside of Viti Levu, though, is a different story. As the country spreads across an area of nearly 500 miles, it is no surprise that getting around is pretty difficult and time-consuming.
Bali vs Fiji: Beaches
Although many people imagine Bali to be a beach paradise, the island actually lacks iconic white-sand bays. The beaches here tend to have golden-brown or even black sands, and the seas are quite rough (great for surfing). If you’re after those crystal-clear turquoise waters and sugar sands, you will need to head further afield, either to Nusa Dua or to the Gili Islands. That said, there are plenty of beautiful beaches around Bali. Some of our favorites include:
- Seminyak Beach (Seminyak) – A long, sandy beach north of Kuta with mellow waves, perfect for beginner surfers. It’s a great place to enjoy the sunset with a Bintang in hand.
- Padang Padang (Uluwatu) – A beautiful sandy cove under the high-rising cliff of Uluwatu. It’s a bit of a trek to get down and up, but it’s worth it. Padang Padang is small and can get a bit crowded.
- Pasir Putih (Karangasem) – This secluded, sandy bay on the eastern shore of Bali was once a hidden secret.
- Bingin Beach (Uluwatu) – Pristine sands and turquoise waves hitting the shore are what you can expect from Bingin Beach. It’s popular with surfers, although not suitable for beginners.
Fiji, on the other hand, comes loaded with over 300 islands and has no shortage of pristine beaches. Empty, white-sand bays backed by lush, green palms and crystal-clear aqua are the name of the game. So, Fiji’s beaches are hard to beat! If you venture outside of the main islands, you will be rewarded with postcard-perfect shores that you may have just to yourself. With so many stunning beaches across the islands, it’s not an easy task to pick the best. But here we go:
- Monuriki – This small, uninhabited island located off Viti Levu was made famous by Tom Hank’s performance in Castaway. Most resorts in the area offer day trips to Cast Away Island Beach. Here, you will find unspoiled sandy coves backed by coconut palms.
- Natadola Beach (Viti Levu) – This is the best beach on Fiji’s main island. Soft white sands and turquoise waters – what more can you want?
- Seagrass Bay (Laucala Island Resort) – This incredibly beautiful bay is on a luxury private island. You will need to fork out if you want to spend some time in this paradise resort but it’s well worth the money.
- Koro Levu – A dreamy little island with pristine beaches and perfect waters. The area is a great diving and snorkeling spot.
Bali vs Fiji: Nightlife
The nightlife in Bali kicks in around the sunset at many of the island’s beach clubs and bars. The island’s west coast is perfect for watching the sun go down while sipping an ice-cold Bintang. The most action after dark happens around the southwest coastal towns of Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu. Those places are dotted with chilled bars and lively clubs manned by DJs…
You can enjoy sunset cocktails around an infinity pool at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak. You could head to Sky Garden in Kuta to dance all night at a multi-level nightclub. And there are relaxed escapes and rock bars in Canggu.
When it comes to Fiji, don’t expect the wildest nightlife destination on the planet. If you’re after mega-clubs and party islands, better head elsewhere. That said, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on here at night. In the resorts, it’s more about those chilled bars and quiet drinks rather than crazy parties with liters of alcohol. However, there is a lot more happening in the capital of Suva…
Just check out Traps Bar, where you can enjoy the choice of five areas with different styles of music and vibes. Other places worth a visit include Purple Haze and Down Under Bar.
Bali vs Fiji: Things to do
There are oodles of things to do in Bali, so you won’t have much trouble filling your itinerary with fun activities. The number one thing that you shouldn’t leave without trying is surfing. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, there are all sorts of waves for every level. You will find surf rentals and schools dotted across all the beaches and coastal towns with waves, and they won’t cost you the big bucks. Try Kuta or Seminyak if you’re a newbie or head down south to Uluwatu and Bingin for more challenging conditions.
If surfing is not your thing, there are lots of other things you can do, from visiting Ubud’s Monkey Forest and walking the Tegallalang rice plantations to going to one of the many yoga retreats. For those after a bit more adventure, you could hike Mount Batur or Mount Agung. And, finally, make sure to get a Balinese massage before going home – you won’t regret it.
Fiji won’t disappoint either, especially if you’re after some well-deserved relaxing time on paradise beaches. Bask in the sun and forget about your problems or take your snorkeling goggles and explore Fiji’s amazing underwater world. With crystal-clear waters and colorful reefs, Fiji is a fantastic place to try scuba diving. The best spots for diving are Bligh Waters and Great Astrolabe Reef, amongst others.
While most people think Fiji is all about the beaches, there are also plenty of amazing hiking trails across jungles and rainforests. You can hike the highest peak in the country, Mount Tomanivi, or walk the trails around the sleeping giant of Mount Batilamu.
Bali vs Fiji: Prices
When it comes to comparing the costs of traveling Bali vs Fiji there is one clear winner. Bali, being a part of the Southeast Asian economic area, is considerably cheaper to visit than Fiji. In fact, Indonesia’s most popular island is considered very cheap by western travelers. Whether it’s food, accommodation, or transport, all things should cost you a little less on the Isle of the Gods…
You should expect to spend around $900 for a week’s holiday for two people here. Most budget accommodation can cost as little as $10-$20 a night, but, if you opt for the more luxurious stays, you might need to fork out upwards of $300 for a night. Eating out is also very affordable, especially in locally-owned restaurants.
How does Fiji compare? Well, it’s much harder to travel on a tight budget. Fiji is famous for luxury retreats and private island stays, and those do not come cheap. On average, you should budget over $2,000 for a week’s holiday for two people, which is over double what you can expect to spend in Bali.
Hotels will eat a big chunk of your budget if you choose to stay in such luxurious resorts because those start at $100 and can cost as much as $1,500 a night! Staying in hostels and lower standards of accommodation could reduce your daily bill to $20 for a night’s stay, and save you lots of cash in the long run.
Bali vs Fiji: The conclusion
Bali vs Fiji isn’t an easy choice to make. Both islands offer that tropical paradise vibe. Bali is probably better for those on a budget or a tighter schedule, as it’s cheaper and easier to reach. Fiji is the one we’d pick for a honeymoon, for more adventurous travel, or as part of a round-the-world adventure. That said, we’d definitely add both to our bucket list.