How do you choose between the idyllic beaches of Fiji and the pristine rice terraces of Bali for your next holiday? We share how you can pick the perfect place.
There's no doubt Bali and Fiji offer incredible scenic views, beaches, adventure activities and culture. When you have flight deals available for both, deciding which to visit can be a tough (but fun) decision.
That's where our comparison comes in handy. It details which is better for your budget, travel style and activity and cuisine preferences so you can make a quick and easy decision then be on your way.
TL;DR: Our verdict
The winner: It's a super tough decision here but we're leaning towards Fiji as the better option. It's generally cheaper to get to from the big smoke (Sydney and Brisbane, though marginally more expensive from Melbourne) and saves you hours in flight time compared to flying into Bali. Prices are higher in Fiji, but luxury abounds, as do unsurpassed beachfronts. It's also better for honeymoons and families.
Bali vs Fiji
Which is better for cost?
In recent years Fiji has seen an increase in prices, making it the more expensive option.Which is better for cost?
Its biggest money eater is transport with taxis charging $36 to $65 between cities. As Bali is more concentrated and less expensive overall, a 1-hour taxi ride will generally set you back around $30.
It's important to note the more remote islands in Fiji are also more expensive. So if you plan to venture further from Viti Levu or Denarau Island you should increase your budget.
|Flights (return fares supplied by Skyscanner, based on what the average Australian pays)||
|Hotels (3-star hotel)||From $13 per night. Prices obtained from Hotels Finder for a stay on 1 February 2020.||From $60 per night. Prices obtained from Hotels Finder for a stay on 1 February 2020.|
|Tour||An 8-hour Bali Quicksilver cruise costs $143.13 via Viator||An 8-hour Fiji day cruise costs $174.32 via Viator|
Prices obtained on 9 April 2019. Food and meal prices obtained from Numbeo.
- Winner: Bali is more expensive to fly to from cities like Sydney and Brisbane but makes up for it with cheaper accommodation, meals and tour costs.
How do flights compare from Australia?
Cost: Flights are generally cheaper to Fiji from Australia's most populous cities. Most set you back around $700 to $800 return.
Airlines: A good mix of budget and full-service airlines fly direct to Bali and Fiji. Airlines that fly non-stop to Bali include Jetstar, Qantas and Garuda Indonesia. Airlines that fly non-stop to Fiji include Jetstar, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Fiji Airways.
Airports: Bali has one main international airport (Denpasar) while Fiji has two (Nadi and Suva).
Flight duration: Flights to Bali from Australia's north and west (Darwin and Perth) are under four hours. However, if you fly from the east (Sydney or Melbourne) flights creep closer to the seven-hour mark. The opposite applies for flights to Fiji with journeys out of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane taking 4–5 hours and flights from Perth taking almost 10 hours.
Flight times and frequency: Numerous flights take off throughout the day to both Bali and Fiji. There are slightly more flights to Bali out of Sydney, with up to five flights per day as opposed to three flights per day to Fiji.
Search for flight prices to Bali or Fiji:
Both Bali and Fiji offer budget hostels, homestays, cheap hotels and luxury resorts. Fiji has the added bonus of camping as well, though this is mostly run by hostels and cost the same.
Which is better for hotels?
However, Fiji again is more expensive with budget dorm rooms starting at $27. Budget hotels start at $60 a night, mid-range hotels at $160 and luxury resorts from $300 per night.
In Bali hostels are common and generally start at $10. Homestays can be as cheap at $15, hotels start at $30 and villas at $100. Luxury hotels can range from $250 to $1,000, depending on the level of luxury you want.
As an aside, Fiji has overwater bungalows while Bali doesn't.
- Winner: Bali offers more consistent and generally better prices for accommodation across the island while Fiji may be cheap in some areas, but accommodation can be quite costly in others.
Things to do
Which is better for beaches?
Fiji is famous for its white sand beaches in just about every part of the country. Scoring a fine resort along the beach isn't an issue in Fiji and marine life is typically available for you to spot just off of the clean and not-too-busy beaches.
Bali, unfortunately, has beaches and waters that are notoriously dirty and often but not always busy. Many of the beaches are black sand beaches but white sand beaches exist too. If you want great beaches in Bali your best bet is on the shores of Uluwatu.
- Winner: Fiji easily takes this round, winning because of its cleaner and quieter beaches.
Which is better for food?
Balinese food is rich in flavour and consists of noodles, rice and fried dishes. As Bali is popular with Australian tourists, you won't be short of options for Australian/Western cuisine with many cafes and hotel restaurants offering familiar dishes, some even with a hipster atmosphere.
Fijian food heroes seafood, coconut, rice and cassava. As there are many Indian and Chinese Fijians, you'll discover a wide variety of cuisines or fusion meals that incorporate these cultures' palates. Resorts in particular offer a wide mix of cuisines, including your standard high-end Western restaurant and mixed buffet options.>
- Winner: For Australians, Fijian food is more exotic than Balinese. There's also a greater variety of cuisines to try while on holiday.
Which is better for night-life?
Fiji offers a number of bars on the main island of Viti Levu in Nadi and Suva, as well as the famous Beachcomber Island, which is known for partying. The bars are typically laid-back with surfer vibes.
Bali is the polar opposite, boasting an abundance of night-life from relaxed beach bars and lounges to world-class bars and nightclubs. If you're in the right spot, such as Kuta, Canggu or Uluwatu in Bali you'll be able to dance the night away to world-famous DJs.
Which is better for a honeymoon?
Deciding on where to visit for your honeymoon comes down to what type of honeymoon you want.
If you're craving adventure, exploration and culture then Bali is for you. If you prefer a romantic honeymoon on a beach resort where you just plan on relaxing or enjoying the waters, then Fiji is your winner.
- Winner: For a relaxing honeymoon away, Fiji takes the cake.
Which is better for families?
Bali and Fiji both have plenty of entertainment for kids of all ages and resorts designed for families. For younger kids, both destinations have nannies and kids' clubs. For older kids, Fiji is excellent for water activities while Bali has water parks, shows and animal parks.
Fiji, though, is often regarded as safer and cleaner than Bali.
- Winner: Fiji has all the makings of a family getaway, from its shorter flight time to its in-resort kids' clubs, right down to the number of marine activities that await.
Bali vs Fiji: Features compared
|Transport options||Bali has no public transport system so transport is limited to private drivers and some shuttles.||Travelling between the main islands is easy with a network of buses and ferries. Taxis, car hire, boat charters and small planes can also be hired.||Fiji|
|Best months to visit||April to September||July to September||Bali|
|Type of scenery||Jungles, mountains, beaches and rice-paddies||Rainforests, mountains, beaches and clear ocean views||Both|
|Airlines that fly there from Australia, non-stop||
|Average flight cost from Australia, according to Skyscanner||
|Cuisine||Indonesian and Western||Fijian, Indian, Chinese and Western||Fiji|
|Travel style best suited for||
Bali vs Fiji: Which won?
As much as we love Bali and love to keep to our budgets, Fiji has a little more going for it. This includes shorter direct flights from Australia's east coast, the option to luxe it up in overwater bungalows, more pristine beaches and being geared toward families and romance.
Here are each destination's finer points:
- Cheaper accommodation, food and activities
- Better night-life
- More adventure activities, including hiking and water parks
- Wider variety of airlines that fly direct to it
- Cheaper direct flights, overall
- Shorter flight time
- Better beaches
- More romantic and relaxing atmosphere
- Safer and friendlier for families
- More public transport options
- Wider variety of food options