The Balinese are among the most welcoming and accommodating people in the world, from my experience. Bali’s nickname is the “Land of 1,000 temples,” but the reality is that over 10,000 Hindu temples dot this Indonesian island.
The temples are stunning. But unfortunately, few of them are wheelchair accessible. And even more frustrating for wheelchair users, that sets the tone for the island as a whole—even many of Bali’s most popular attractions are largely inaccessible.
Nevertheless, certain areas of Bali offer better wheelchair accessibility than others. I spent one month in Bali, gathering information on accessibility as I explored the island, and will share what I encountered with you here.
Note: The information here is based on my observation as a non-wheelchair user. If you have firsthand experience as a wheelchair user in Bali, I’d love to hear about your time there in the comments section. I appreciate it, and I’m sure our future readers will too.
Overview of Wheelchair Travel in Bali
Traveling around Bali by wheelchair is challenging. That said, manual wheelchair users will have an easier time getting around than those who use power chairs.
Drop-down curbs are often only partially present or non-existent. So, having the ability to pop over them in a manual chair will increase your range of sidewalk exploration.
Another issue in Bali is that the sidewalks are often narrow.
Locals turn sidewalks into scooter parking areas, use them as opportunities to put signs advertising their businesses, and more. Large holes and broken parts of sidewalks are also common.
By staying in a more modern area of Bali (in the Kuta to Canggu beach region), you’ll have access to better quality (though still not entirely reliable) sidewalks.
Wheelchair Transportation in Bali
Wheelchair-adapted vans are essentially non-existent in Bali. However, Accessible Indonesia fills this much-needed gap by offering hydraulic lift minivans for wheelchair users.
I highly recommend contacting Accessible Indonesia before you book your Bali trip so that you can ensure they have availability for your tentative travel dates.
If your abilities permit, exploring Bali on the back of a scooter is a great way to get around this Indonesian island.
Accessible Restrooms in Bali
Most of the accessible bathrooms I encountered in Bali aren’t accessible in the American ADA sense: They often don’t have grab bars, and some of the sinks aren’t low enough levels.
So, below are the wheelchair accessible restrooms I encountered in Bali in the most basic sense—they have a flat or small ledge entry, wide enough doors, and enough space to turn around in a chair.
- Ubud Monkey Forest, Ubud (a separate door from the main stalls, but they keep it unlocked)
- Taman Ayun Temple, Badung Regency (has grab bars, but the space inside the bathroom is small and there’s a small ledge to enter)
- Alchemy Cafe, Ubud (a low toilet)
- Bird Park (contribution by Beata, one of our readers)
I know this is a short list. Please let me know if you encounter other accessible restrooms during your trip—there may not be tons, but there’s surely more than what I found.
My recommendation if you’re exploring the beaches is to grab a bite to eat or drink from one of the accessible hotels with restaurants that I’ll be talking about shortly so that you can use the restroom there.
Accessible Restaurants in Bali
Wheelchair accessible restaurants are few and far between in Bali.
Many warungs (local family-run eateries) sit within temple complexes. So, the steep staircase entrances make them prohibitive for wheelchair users.
But the Balinese are accommodating people. So, if you want to visit a warung within a temple complex, say the word and you’ll soon have a group of locals offering to carry you inside.
Your best bet for finding accessible restaurants is at the hotels I’ll be talking about in the next section of this article. Since I spent so much time in Ubud, I also compiled a list of accessible restaurants that I encountered there.
Wheelchair accessible restaurants in Ubud:
- Cinta Grill & Inn (there’s an accessible silk shop across the street from it)
- Kampung Ubud Bungalow & Resto
- Bali Lounge
- Sweet Cocoa
- Alchemy Cafe
Of these restaurants, Alchemy Cafe has an accessible restroom.
There are four popular areas that tourists stay at in mainland Bali. I lived in Ubud but took day trips to other destinations. Below is a run-down of my observations of their accessibility in order of the most to least wheelchair accessible.
Keep in mind that these ratings are relative—none offer good accessibility by ADA standards.
Seminyak makes the first spot on this list because it offers the best accessible beachfront, with a boardwalk/side street that runs beside restaurants offering ocean views.
That said, you’ll need to share the boardwalk with scooters, so take care. Most of the beachfront restaurants are also inaccessible, having one or more steps. People with manual chairs will likely be able to enter with assistance.
Seminyak also has a few wheelchair accessible hotels. Alila Seminyak offers an accessible Deluxe Garden Suite. The Trans Resort is another great hotel option, offering accessibility in several room categories. You can even dine at The Trans’ 18th-floor rooftop bar.
There’s also a Courtyard by Marriot located a few blocks inland.
I didn’t encounter a wheelchair accessible beach entrance at Kuta Beach. However, the sidewalks that run parallel to the beach area are wide and flat. The downside is that it’s hard to see the ocean from there because of a massive decorative wall.
As with all destinations on this list, drop-down curbs in Kuta are hit-or-miss.
So, I recommend doing a drive-through before you get out of your vehicle to map out where you want to explore. It’s far from ideal, I know.
Canggu is another popular beach destination in Bali. But I didn’t see an accessible entrance for this beach either (I’ll share an excellent beach for wheelchair users shortly).
I also found Canggu’s streets to have narrower sidewalks on its main tourist streets compared to Kuta and Seminyak.
So, I don’t recommend Canggu as a good place for wheelchair users to explore. There isn’t even a need to drive through it—you’ll find many other worthwhile sites on the list of accessible activities that I’ll be sharing next.
Ubud is dubbed the “cultural capital of Bali.” It has a more local feel than the three beach destinations I covered, and so many temples that you won’t know where to focus your attention as you pass them.
Unfortunately, the sidewalks in Ubud aren’t suitable for wheelchairs. They’re narrow, uneven, steep in some areas, drop-down curbs are essentially non-existent, and you can count on something blocking the path every few feet.
That said, if you have your driver let you off at the Ubud Art Market, you’ll be able to shop for souvenirs along an accessible path.
A portion of the path is on an incline. So, if you’re a manual wheelchair user, I recommend starting on the side of Karna Street that intersects with Raya Ubud street.
Then you can have your driver pick you up at the bottom of the incline at the intersection of Karna and Dewi Sita streets.
Accessible hotels in Ubud are tricky to find. But I stumbled upon Ubud Inn Cottages, and they gave me a free tour on the spot. You can read about accessibility at Ubud Inn here.
12 Accessible Things to Do in Bali
Below are examples of wheelchair accessible things to do in Bali. This is by no means a complete list—I’d love to hear about the accessible things you did after you return from your trip.
1. Taman Ayun Temple
Taman Ayun Temple offers the best accessibility of all the places I visited. They have ramps that lead throughout the property, even allowing you to bypass the stairs to get up to the main entrance of the temple for an iconic temple photo.
They also offer a raised platform with ramps so that you can see into the Hindu-only portion of the temple.
Once you explore the temple grounds, a series of accessible paths and ramps lead into various educational buildings, one of which includes an accessible theater to watch a film in English about the temple.
2. Pandawa Beach
Pandawa Beach is the best wheelchair accessible beach I encountered in Bali (that’s not to say there aren’t others, though).
It offers a flat entrance from the parking lot via wide boardwalks. From there, you can opt to go down to the beach or swing a left, where an accessible path will take you by stunning ocean views and several shops (with inaccessible entrances).
When you take a right from the parking lot, you’ll encounter some accessible warungs to grab a bite to eat.
The downside to Pandawa Beach is that of the many restrooms on its premises, I didn’t encounter any that were accessible.
For more details on wheelchair accessible beaches in Bali, check out my guide on Uluwatu beaches.
3. Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest sits within the heart of Ubud. You won’t even need to enter the forest to see monkeys—you can often spot them on nearby sidewalks and pestering store owners.
The monkeys at the Ubud monkey sanctuary are wild. But they stick around because the forest employees feed them.
A portion of the Ubud Monkey Forest is accessible, including the large ticket booth area, where you’ll also find an accessible restroom. There are some inclines throughout the property. So, manual wheelchair users might need help pushing at times.
You can read more details on accessibility at this forest in my article on the Ubud monkey sanctuary.
4. Jatliuwih Rice Terraces
The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are lesser known than the Tegallalang terraces in Ubud, but they’re far more accessible. And, in my opinion, far more beautiful.
You can park across the street from the entrance to the Jatliuwih terraces. Upon entering the rice fields, a wide paved path will greet you.
The path starts out flat. But it soon changes to a fairly steep incline. So, manual wheelchair users might need help pushing to return. If you’re a manual wheelchair user who can transfer to the back of a scooter, the Jatliuwih Rice Terraces is an excellent place to do so.
You can read more about this experience in my guide on the Jatliuwih rice fields.
5. Abian Desa Rice Terraces
The Abian Desa Rice Terraces comprise a portion of the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. They’re a short drive from downtown Ubud, and that specific area of Tegallalang is the best place to view them from a chair.
By following a short, paved path down a small incline at Abian Desa, you’ll arrive at an accessible viewpoint over the terraces.
You won’t be able to venture beyond this point in your chair, but it’s a great place for a photo op and to observe how steep the terraces are.
6. Kajeng Rice Field
At face value, the Kajeng Rice Field in Ubud isn’t wheelchair accessible. The path is too steep and too uneven to make it feasible to navigate with a chair.
However, if you can transfer to a scooter, you’ll be able to explore the entire rice paddy area, given that a small path runs through what is otherwise a pedestrian area.
What makes Kajeng special is that a small village runs the rice fields. You’ll feel that you’re miles away from busy Ubud as you cruise past farmers working on their rice farms and local vendors offering you snake fruit and young coconut water (young coconuts have more water).
7. Tegenungan Waterfall
I didn’t encounter a waterfall in Bali that was accessible at its base. However, the Tegunungan Waterfall offers an accessible viewpoint.
Arriving at the Tegenungan Waterfall viewing area involves following a paved path slightly downhill through many vendors that will try to get you to buy their souvenirs or a freshly made fruit smoothie.
When you arrive at the viewing area, you’ll be able to see a portion of the waterfall along the side of the fence.
Unfortunately, the centermost viewpoint has stairs, making it inaccessible.
8. Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot offers several wheelchair accessible paths, allowing you to view the famous temple perched on a rock in the ocean from afar.
Arriving at these paths isn’t obvious, though; steps lead down to it from the main entrance. So, you’ll need to head to the far left side to find the (steep) ramp.
I recommend visiting Tanah Lot with a guide. That way, you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying the scenery and less time figuring out how to get there.
You can read my guide on Tanah Lot for more details on accessibility there.
9. Drive Through Ubud
Aside from the Ubud Art Market and Ubud Monkey Sanctuary, Ubud is largely inaccessible. And yet it’s such an iconic cultural town in Bali.
So, I recommend driving around Ubud. That way, you’ll be able to take in all the sights and gawk at the dozens (perhaps even hundred) of temples that you’ll pass.
10. Drive Through Sidemen Valley
Sidemen Valley is another destination that’s hard to explore by wheelchair. But this countryside village is stunning, and driving through it is a great way to observe rice fields and see how local farming families live.
It’s also an opportunity to get a taste of the eastern side of Bali. Have your camera ready—you’ll pass by stunning country scenery along the way.
You can read my article on Sidemen Valley for more details about accessibility there.
11. Explore Bali Bird Park
This section and the following one are contributions by Beata and her 88-year-old father, George. Beata found our blog and so kindly offered to share her father’s experience in Bali. She’s the investor of Pierogi Pierogi Bali in Sanur, so be sure to stop by there during your time in Bali.
All the information below is in Beata’s own words, and she and George granted us permission to publish their photos. Thank you, Beata and George!
When you get to Bali Bird Park with someone in a wheelchair, you will see two entrances from the side road leading from the parking lot.
On the right is the Reptile Park. Even though there is a sign by the entrance with a “wheelchair,” indicating a route, that route is actually impassable. Thus we passed up this visit, so I don’t know what the accessibility is like inside.
On the left is the entrance to the ticket area of the Bird Park. Be prepared to push it up a very steep incline to the ticket and park level (my son and a staff member both pushed!). After that, the paths are pretty good, few bumps, cracks, or potholes, and the park is really lovely for a few hours’ visit.
The staff are super friendly and helpful (we’d forgotten our wheelchair and took the walker instead, and they lent us the one they have for emergencies for two hours, at no cost.) and will bend over backwards to help you get the wheelchair around the restaurant (several steps and narrow doors through the gift shop, impassable for a wider chair.)
Dad didn’t use the restaurant toilets so we don’t know whether there was an accessible one at the restaurant, but there is definitely one at the far end of the park, in a separate building, right by an ice cream booth. It was fine.
The bird shows are wonderful, given the size of the park, with competent staff speaking a mixture of English and Bahasa.
Two shows are held just in front of the restaurant, so it’s just a matter of maneuvering the wheelchair to the front of the crowd.
One show is held in an amphitheater area that’s inaccessible to a wheelchair unless it’s really dry and the person can be pushed across the grassy field to the top edge of the amphitheater (we managed, even with the big wide chair, so it’s doable.)
The pelican feeding is held at their pond along the path, which is narrow and the viewing area is small. We didn’t make it to that spot, and the view from the wheelchair was mostly obscured by the waterbank plants.
12. Meander the Path at the Beaches in Sanur
This section is also a recommendation that Beata so kindly contributed.
We often take George to the pathway along the Sanur beaches. That path is now almost 6 km long, though we use only part of it.
Unfortunately, access to it is very limited for a wheelchair-bound person, doubly so since one of the parking lots was closed off (the one behind a row of restaurants including Coco Bistro, Lilla Pantai and The Nest spa). The dead-end street is lined with parked motorcycles so even when we manage to get to the end of it, it’s difficult to open the car doors wide enough to let my dad alight and sit in the chair then maneuver the chair to the curb.
AND THEN… the gauntlet begins! Someone thought it would be a great idea to pave that passage with cobblestones with SHARP edges sticking UP! I assume it’s to prevent bikers from entering the beach, but it also cuts into the soles of your flip flops, damages stroller wheels and makes the entrance to the level path along the beach IMPASSABLE for a wheelchair.
There are also some parts of the path paved with these stones, but much smaller patches and therefore manageable. Gracefully, the nearby hotels allow us to park in their parking lots and wheel our father through the grounds (we often sit in the hotel cafe/restaurant to justify the “cutting through.”) Otherwise, a wheelchair-bound person would have a really difficult time enjoying the ocean and the wonderful Sanur beach atmosphere.
Most 5-star hotels along the path have accessible bathrooms. In others it’s touch and go. At Inna Shindu Beach hotel, there’s a bathroom that’s semi-accessible if the person can get up from the chair and take 1-2 steps towards the booths. The passage to this bathroom from the beach pathway is good.
Ready to Explore Bali?
Bali has a long way to go before it can be called a wheelchair accessible destination. But with advanced planning and a flexible mindset, you’ll be able to see many places on the island.
If you have questions about wheelchair accessibility in Bali, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help.
I’d also love to hear from you after you return from your trip. What was your experience like? What advice or places would you add or change to the information here?
P.S.—Reduce the chances of food and waterborne illness during your trip by learning about how to prevent Bali belly.