Last updated on November 10, 2023 by Wandering our World
When people dream of paradise islands, Bali and Fiji are the kinds of places they’re thinking of. Soft sands, warm waters, sunny skies, peaceful vibes, and tropical wildlife define these two incredible destinations. They’re the perfect places to escape to when you want to leave regular life behind for a week or two of pure bliss.
But which one should you pick? Well, that’s not exactly an easy decision to make, especially as both of these destinations routinely top the lists of most romantic, scenic, and appealing vacation destinations. They’re both so beautiful, with so many wonderful ways to spend your time, and idyllic conditions to help you slip into a state of total relaxation.
And yet, for all their similarities, Bali and Fiji also have their share of notable differences. Indeed, they differ in quite a few key areas, such as food, vibe, attractions, and especially affordability, with one of the two being significantly cheaper than the other. By digging into these differences, you should be able to figure out which destination is better-suited for you.
That’s what this Bali vs Fiji guide is here to help with! Below, we’ll provide a thorough comparison of these two dreamy islands, breaking down their beaches, attractions, nightlife scenes, restaurants, hotels, and more. By the end, you should have a much clearer picture of which island to visit on your next big getaway.
- A Quick Overview Of Bali vs Fiji
- Which Has The Best Weather?
- Which Is Best For Activities?
- Which Is Best For Beaches?
- Which Is Best For Hiking?
- Which Is Best For Nightlife?
- Which Is Best For Shopping?
- Which Is Best For Food?
- Which Is Best For Families?
- Which Is Best For Couples?
- Which Is Best For Backpackers?
- Which Is Cheapest?
- Where To Stay According To Your Budget
- Bali vs Fiji: Which Is Better?
A Quick Overview Of Bali vs Fiji
Bali: A Quick Overview
Bali is an Indonesian island and province. Part of the Lesser Sunda Islands group, it’s located to the west of Java and includes the main island, along with a few smaller islands, like Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. Over 4.4 million people live in Bali, and the island extends across 2,230 square mile of land.
People have lived on Bali for thousands of years, dating back to around 2,000 BC, when Austronesian people settled there. Over the years, various other people came to the island, shaping its culture, which has evolved into a melting pot of Indian, Chinese, and Hindu influences.
Geographically-speaking, Bali has a large central mountain range, with some towering peaks and volcanoes, like Mount Agung, which reaches over 9,900 feet above sea level. Agricultural land also takes up a large part of the landscape, with vast rice crops and coffee plantations. There are also several large cities and coastal resorts on Bali, along with beaches and reefs.
A highly popular touristic hotspot, Bali is actually the most-visited part of Indonesia, with tourism responsible for around 80% of the island’s economy. And there’s a lot for tourists to do here, from basking on the beaches to touring the many Hindu temples and villages, diving below the waters and hiking through the wilderness.
Fiji: A Quick Overview
While Bali is just one island in Indonesia, Fiji is an entire island nation. It’s located in the South Pacific Ocean, consisting of an archipelago of more than 330 islands and hundreds of smaller islets extending across 7,056 square miles of land. Over 100 of the islands are inhabited, with a total population of more than 920,000 people.
Just like in Bali, people have been living in Fiji for thousands of years, dating back to the second millennium BC. Europeans didn’t visit the area until ages later, in the 17th century, and the British exerted control over the islands for around a century until, in 1970, Fiji finally gained independence.
Despite the fact that hundreds of islands make up Fiji, two of them account for around 3/4 of the country’s entire landmass. Those two large islands are named Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and Viti Levu is the main touristic hub. It hosts the country’s capital of Suva, along with other big cities, like Nadi and Lautoka, as well as dense tropical forests and towering mountains.
With its relatively remote location in the South Pacific, Fiji attracts far fewer tourists than Bali, but is regarded as a more exclusive, luxurious destination. It has some of the prettiest white-sand beaches in the world, combined with indulgent coastal resorts, world-class water activities, crystal clear waters, and the classic “castaway experience” many people crave.
Which Has The Best Weather?
The sun shines brightly above Bali and Fiji, and both of these island locations enjoy wonderful warm weather and tropical climates. But, since they’re located quite far apart, there are a couple of notable differences in the islands’ weather conditions.
While both Fiji and Bali are hot and humid for large parts of the year, Bali is closer to the equator and therefore enjoys slightly higher temperatures than Fiji. Therefore, you’ll find that Fiji is just a little milder if you happen to be visiting outside the long summer season, but the difference isn’t too noticeable.
Which Is Best For Activities?
If you head to either of these paradise island destinations, you’ll find that there are plenty of thrilling and indulgent ways to spend your days and nights. However, while both islands offer cozy beaches and water activities, they also have some clear differences when it comes to cultural activities and tours. Let’s take a dive into the best things to do in Bali and Fiji.
Bali: The Activities
Bali is a traveler’s paradise, with a very diverse range of activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking for history, culture, nature, or a mix of all three, you can find it here. Many travelers will want to kick off their visit with trips to some of Bali’s famed temples. Gunung Kawi is one of the best, nestled in the jungle and boasting highly intricate stonework.
Lempuyang Temple is another must-see. Situated on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang, some 2,000 feet above sea level, it’s regarded as one of the holiest sites in all of Bali. Then, there’s Uluwatu Temple, perched on the edge of a cliff and enjoying magical sea views. Beyond the temples, plenty of ancient palaces and gorgeous gardens also await on Bali, like Tirta Gangga.
If nature is more your sort of thing, Bali also has a plethora of lush jungles to explore and wonderful waterfalls to discover, like Sekumpul, Banyu Wana Amertha, and Tukad Cepung. Wildlife lovers will also enjoy the famous Ubud Monkey Forest, home to more than a thousand Balinese macaques – these creatures hold sacred status to the island’s Hindu population.
Or, if you’re looking for urban exploration, there are lots of great towns and cities spread across Bali. Denpasar, the island’s capital, offers lively markets and rich cultural experiences, while Ubud is the artistic center, with fantastic live entertainment and dancing. Kuta is also worth checking out, with its water sport opportunities and funky beach bars.
Fiji: The Activities
Fiji’s range of attractions and activities isn’t quite as deep or diverse as Bali’s, but there’s still more than enough to fill your travel plans for a week or two. Most travelers will spend the majority of their time on the coast, enjoying Fiji’s iconic beaches. The Coral Coast is a fine place to start, boasting some of the fanciest resorts and whitest sands.
Since Fiji is made up of so many islands, island-hopping is another terrific way to pass the time here. It’s quite easy to hop from one island to the next, and island groups like the Mamanucas and Yasawas are well worth exploring, with excellent hiking, snorkeling, and water sports opportunities – you can even visit filming locations for the likes of Cast Away and Survivor.
For cultural activities, visitors to Fiji should definitely try to witness a traditional firewalking ceremony, in which local islanders walk across scalding hot stones. Or, for something a little more laid-back, pay a visit to the Fiji Museum in Suva to admire an expansive collection of artifacts that tell the stories of the island nation’s past.
River rafting, kayaking, shark dives, and river safaris are just some of the adventure tours you can take while on Fiji, though many visitors may simply prefer to relax and enjoy the island lifestyle, basking on the beaches, walking along the water’s edge, or enjoying the luxurious amenities of their hotels.
Overall, both of these island destinations have plenty to offer. Fiji is the place to be for world-class beach and water activities, and it’s also tons of fun for island-hopping, as long as you’ve got a big enough budget. Bali, meanwhile, has more authentic cultural experiences and a nice mixture of urban and natural attractions.
Which Is Best For Beaches?
Beaches are a huge reason why so many people visit Fiji. And if you picture the most perfect beach in your mind’s eye, with white sands, pretty palm trees, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Fiji is where you’ll find it. Indeed, some of the beaches here are simply exquisite, ranking among the prettiest on the planet.
Natadola Beach, for instance, is a jaw-dropping delight of sugary sands and prime swimming conditions. Horseshoe Bay is another gem, perfect for couples on their honeymoon, while Castaway Island can provide that authentic paradise-style experience so many people crave when booking an island escape.
As well as being breathtaking beautiful, many of Fiji’s beaches are also secluded, quiet, and romantic. They’re perfect for couples who want to find their own little slice of heaven and feel a million miles from the hustle and bustle of city streets or the crowds of more touristic destinations.
So, how does Bali compare? Well, Bali’s beaches may not be quite as scenic or spectacular as those of Fiji, but there are still some true sandy treasures to be found here. Blue Point Beach, for instance, is a romantic spot, tucked away near the city of Uluwatu. Geger Beach is gorgeous, too, offering idyllic conditions for families and swimmers.
Many of Bali’s beaches feel livelier and more dynamic than those of Fiji, like Seminyak Beach, which stretches on for a few miles and always draws in the crowds. Kuta Beach is also an exciting place to people-watch or have some fun, with plenty of room and the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and sunset strolls.
Overall, Fiji wins the battle of the beaches, as its sandy spots are simply more aesthetically impressive and secluded. It’s also best for snorkeling and scuba diving, with so many pristine coral reefs to dive down and see. With that said, Bali’s beaches are still wonderful in their own ways, with plenty of super sandy expanses to have fun as a family.
Which Is Best For Hiking?
If you want to really explore the natural landscapes of these islands, you might like to plan a couple of hikes as part of your travel itinerary. And that’s much easier to do in Bali than Fiji. In fact, Bali has way more accessible and enjoyable hiking trails, taking you through dense jungles, up to the top of volcanoes, and even to secret waterfalls.
In contrast, while Fiji has a couple of good hiking spots, like Colo-I-Suva Forest Park, it’s not really the most hiker-friendly destination. The trails here are quite simple and short, ideal for families but less fun for seasoned adventurers. So, if you’re a big hiking fanatic, opt for Bali over Fiji.
Which Is Best For Nightlife?
Clearly, Bali and Fiji offer a multitude of ways to spend your days. But how about the nights? Well, if you’re the kind of person who likes to party and dance, you’ll love Bali’s nightlife scene. It’s definitely bigger, better, and bolder than Fiji’s, with a vast swathe of thumping beach clubs and dancing hotspots to discover.
Nightlife lovers can take a wander along Jalan Petitenget in Seminyak, for example. There, you’ll find an impressive lineup of luxury restaurants and fun beach clubs to keep you entertained. Other party havens include Dhyana Pura in Seminyak, Jalan Raya Legian in Legian, and Kuta Beach Road in Kuta.
As for Fiji’s nightlife scene, it’s simply not as well-developed or dynamic as Bali’s. In fact, many visitors to Fiji struggle to find much to do in the evenings outside of their resorts. The big hotels offer live entertainment and luxurious cocktail bars, but most of the towns and cities feel quite quiet after dark.
Which Is Best For Shopping?
Want to do some souvenir shopping or grab some traditional gifts to take back home with you? Well, Bali’s got you covered. The Indonesian island has a terrific shopping scene. From the quirky crafts of the Ubud Art Market to the large malls of Kuta and the long, boutique-lined streets of cities like Legian and Seminyak, there are tons of places to shop.
Fiji also has plenty of decent shopping destinations, especially if you’re seeking out souvenirs or handmade crafts. There are plenty of traditional markets, like the Nadi Handicraft Market or Suva Municipal Market, as well as malls and open-air shopping centers, like Port Denarau and Tappoo City.
Overall, while both locations can appeal to shopaholics, Bali is a little better. It’s got cheaper prices and a wider range of stores, malls, and markets, perfect for buying all sorts of items, from upscale clothing and accessories to traditional handmade gifts.
Which Is Best For Food?
No matter whether you pick Bali or Fiji, your taste buds are in for a treat. Both of these destinations offer delicious traditional cuisine and excellent restaurants. Finding good food is easy on either island, but there are some key culinary differences to consider.
In Fiji, fish and coconut are some of the most commonly-used ingredients. Popular local dishes include crab curries and fish in fragrant coconut milk sauce, and it’s common to enjoy barbecue-style meals down by the shore. However, most of the best food is actually food in the resort restaurants, and there’s a notable lack of diversity when compared to the food of Bali.
Since Bali is such a popular touristic spot, its dining scene has broadened over the years, with lots of different international styles and menus to choose from. It’s easy to find everything from sushi and burgers to Mexican meals and Asian fusion delights in Bali’s big cities and towns. The traditional Indonesian food is super tasty too, with lots of spicy, rich dishes to choose from.
Overall, the best option for you will depend on your tastes and preferences. If you love seafood and resort-style dining, head to Fiji. For a much more eclectic mixture of menus and flavors, opt for Bali instead.
Which Is Best For Families?
Bali and Fiji can both be fantastic destinations for family travel, and kids of all ages can have a terrific time on either of these islands. Fiji, for example, has the pristine waters and white-sand beaches that families are sure to love, while Bali offers idyllic conditions for all sorts of thrilling adventures for children and grown-ups alike.
If your family enjoys beach activities and the peace and quiet of natural spaces, Fiji has lots to offer. You can explore the famous Coral Coast, for example, or roam around the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Fiji is also a world-class spot for snorkeling and water activities, and there are lots of big, family-friendly resorts with enough amenities to entertain the entire family.
Bali has the benefit of being more compact, which makes things easier and cheaper when it comes to getting around. That may be important for families on strict budgets, or those with young children that can easily get bored on long journeys. There’s also a wider range of food on offer in Bali, as well as more cultural activities and urban areas to explore.
Overall, it’s tough to call a winner here. Families on a budget or those looking for lots of diverse activities will certainly favor Bali, while those looking for indulgence, relaxation, and some of the best beaches in the world should pick Fiji instead.
Which Is Best For Couples?
As two of the most talked about island escapes on the planet, Bali and Fiji often rank among couples’ favorite vacation destinations. They both also feature on lists of the most romantic places to visit for a honeymoon or anniversary, but which one is best for the average couple? Well, that all depends on what you’re looking for.
Couples who crave pristine white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and sunset strolls at the water’s edge will most definitely fall in love with Fiji. It truly offers that paradise island lifestyle that so many people dream of, and many of the activities here feel tailor-made for couples, like snorkeling in the coral reefs, relaxing on a peaceful bay, or hopping from island to island.
Bali is notably busier and certainly rawer than Fiji. Its beaches are beautiful, but not quite as pristine and perfect as those of Fiji. However, the cultural side of Bali is a little deeper and more engaging, with all those towns to explore and temples to visit. The nightlife, food, and shopping scenes are richer, too, which may appeal to couples looking for a more fulfilling, fun-filled trip.
Which Is Best For Backpackers?
For backpackers and budget travelers, the choice between Bali and Fiji is a much simpler one to make. Bali is definitely the more suitable backpacking destination, thanks to its significantly lower prices. It’s also more compact, which makes it easy for you to get around and visit the various towns, cities, and natural landmarks without the need for costly flights or boat rides.
In contrast, Fiji has much more of a luxury vacation vibe, and isn’t really well-suited to the prospect of backpacking. You require quite a big budget to visit this place, and you won’t find many simple hostels or budget-friendly guesthouses. The nightlife is also much more subdued, so backpackers who like to stay out late will definitely prefer Bali.
Which Is Cheaper?
When it comes to price, Bali is by far the cheaper of these two island destinations. Whether you’re talking about accommodation, food, public transport, or touristic activities, everything costs less in Bali than Fiji. There are still luxury resorts with high nightly rates, but there are also plenty of low-price backpacking hostels, making Bali a viable choice for all budgets,
At the other end of the spectrum, Fiji is much more of an expensive and exclusive destination. It costs a lot just to get to Fiji, due to its remote location, and the hotels tend to be grand and impressive, with big nightly rates to match. Island-hopping in Fiji is also quite pricey, and it’s pretty difficult to plan a budget-friendly visit to this island.
Where To Stay According To Your Budget
Budget: The Magani Hotel and Spa epitomizes luxury and serenity. A modern oasis in Bali, its sleek design harmonizes with lush tropical landscapes. From the opulent lobby to the inviting poolside, every corner exudes elegance. Relax in lavish rooms adorned with contemporary Balinese aesthetics, offering a tranquil escape.
Luxury: Raffles Bali exudes opulence and sophistication. Its architectural splendor harmonizes with tranquil gardens, captivating with Balinese allure. Cascading pools and private villas offer serenity while the nearby ocean adds to its allure. This haven radiates traditional elegance and contemporary luxury through lush landscapes and opulent interiors.
Budget: Fiji Gateway Hotel is a tranquil haven offering modern comforts amid tropical splendor. Lush gardens surround the elegant pool, while vibrant flora graces the grounds. Serene accommodations blend Pacific charm with contemporary design, creating a soothing ambiance. This retreat provides a serene escape in the heart of Fiji.
Luxury: The Grand Pacific Hotel stands as a majestic architectural gem along Suva’s waterfront. Its colonial charm and regal presence embody Fiji’s rich history. The opulent interiors, adorned with elegant décor, complement the breathtaking ocean vistas. This historic landmark marries sophistication with a sense of grandeur.
Bali vs Fiji: Which Is Better?
So, between Bali and Fiji, which island destination is best? Well, as this guide has shown, there are some sizable differences between these two locations, especially in terms of beaches, activities, food, and nightlife. Thus, the best one for you will depend on a range of factors, including your budget and the kinds of activities you like the most.
Of the two, Bali is arguably the better option for the majority of travelers. It’s much cheaper than Fiji, which makes it far more accessible overall. And, despite being smaller, it’s got a wonderfully diverse range of activities to appeal to everyone, including cultural tours, seaside fun, natural adventures, and big city exploration, combined with awesome food and nightlife. At the same time, Fiji is still a top-class destination that rightfully belongs in the exclusive echelon of the world’s greatest islands. Its beauty is second to none, its beaches are beyond compare, and it also has some of the most luxurious resorts of all, perfect for those seeking to enjoy the very best standards of comfort and indulgence