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Dubai or Bali – All Things Considered

Dubai or Bali, Where is Better for a Vacation | The Vacation Builder

Dubai and Bali are incredibly popular destinations for tourists, but they both offer a completely different type of holiday. Dubai offers a trendy and urban city break, whereas Bali offers a tropical haven type holiday. Wherever you end up, you will surely not be disappointed. If you’re struggling to choose between Dubai or Bali then this head to head will help you decide.

Below we compared Dubai & Bali to see which is the better holiday destination based on cost, weather, beaches, activities, families or couples, honeymoons, nightlife and culture. Overall, Dubai came out on top, but there wasn’t much in it!

Why Dubai & Bali are Great Places to Visit

Dubai is located in the UAE and experiences low temperatures of around 20°C and scorching highs of 40°C in the summertime. This luxurious city is home to world renowned sights including the Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world, built in 2009.

As well as its architecture, Dubai’s buildings are home to many world records with the Dubai Mall Aquarium being one of the largest suspended tanks in the world, and Ain Dubai aka. The Dubai Eye which is set to be the world’s tallest Ferris wheel.

Dubai encompasses the idea of a futuristic urban skyline and has become a hotspot for a modern city retreat.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Why Visit Dubai | The Vacation Builder

Dubai features lush sandy beaches stepping out into the Arabian Gulf complete with plenty of water sport activities or a place where you can just unwind and relax. You can also enjoy the modern skyline sights from the shore! Despite being a modern city, Dubai makes a good family holiday location as there are plenty of unique activities and theme parks to keep young ones entertained including Legoland, various waterparks, and Adventureland.

If you enjoy city breaks and you’re planning a special trip away, Dubai is a great option for couples with many of the buildings being beautifully lit up in the evening for a romantic mood. One of the best sights is the Dubai Fountain Light show which makes for a beautiful spot to spend some time with a loved one.

On the other side of the world we have Bali. Bali is an Indonesian island and in many ways, offers the complete polar opposite holiday to Dubai. It is known for its tranquil and paradise-like atmosphere and deep rooted culture and tradition. Rather than being a city break, Bali is surrounded by lush forestry, mountains, beaches, and vast amounts of exotic coral reefs.

The island sees low temperatures of 26°C and pleasant summers of 28°C making for a perfect year round location without feeling too overwhelmingly hot. Bali is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world with lush green foliage all around making for a blissful paradise.

In terms of sights, Bali is home to the impressively sculpted Uluwatu Temple which is a beautiful opportunity to see some culture. Bali is also home to conservation sites such as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, which is equally beautifully presented.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Why Visit Bali | The Vacation Builder

Bali doesn’t fall short of sandy beaches either, which are set against the backdrop of the forests and mountains. The island also borders the Bali Sea which eventually leads out to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Bali’s ecosystem is impressive as it is part of the Coral Triangle, home to an enormous amount of marine species with impressive coral reefs, in fact there are 7 times as many as the Caribbean in this one area.

Although Bali is quite culturally and environmentally oriented, families can still enjoy sights and attractions such as the Monkey Sanctuary, Bounce Bali, and the waterpark Waterboom Bali. As for couples, there are some great experiences to enjoy such as snorkelling, surfing, relaxing at the beach, yoga, and of course watching the sunset at the Uluwatu Temple.

Both destinations offer completely different holiday experiences, so this will ultimately come down to personal preference!

Dubai or Bali – Which is Cheaper?

Although most people love a holiday abroad, the cost can stack up quickly especially if you are vacationing to a luxurious location! Now we take a look at one high end hotel and one medium end hotel at each location to see how much it will cost for one night for 2 adults.

The TripAdvisor top rated Dubai mid-range hotel is Grand Plaza Movenpick located at Media City. There’s a plethora of room types to choose from starting from around 407 AED / $108 per night. The hotel itself is modern, luxurious, and uniquely structured. The Grand Plaza Movenpick comes with 5 restaurants, a pool lounge, an outdoor swimming pool, as well as a gym and spa.

TripAdvisor’s top rated Dubai luxury hotel is Grosvenor House located in Dubai Marina. There’s a good selection of rooms and packages you can pick from, but for the basic room it will cost at least 745 AED / $200 per night. The hotel is a landmark within Dubai Marina and it makes up part of the glimmering skyline! The hotel is home to a gym, a terrace pool and a spa, as well as 7 bars and restaurants onsite.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Which is Cheaper | The Vacation Builder

As for Bali, TripAdvisor’s top rated mid-range hotel is the Kaamala Resort Ubud located in the centre of Ubud. There is not a huge variety in room types, but some do come with bonuses such as private pools. The room costs start from 1,072,500 IDR / $73 per night. Kaamala Resort Ubud is described as the perfect romantic honeymoon villa, so it’s a good option for couples with magnificent views. There is one primary restaurant, a spa, an infinity pool, a wedding chapel, and a yoga venue.

TripAdvisor’s top rated luxury hotel is Padma Resort Ubud, which is located overlooking the Payangan bamboo forests. There is a fair selection of room types to choose from starting at 2,723,175 IDR / $186 per night. As for the hotel, there are incredible views plus facilities including 3 swimming pools, 3 bars and restaurants, a spa with a sauna and steam room, a kids club, and tonnes of onsite activities.

To round this section off, we will take a look over excursion costs and average food and drink prices in Dubai and Bali. Firstly, we will use Numbeo to look at the cost of living which shows average costs for restaurants and drinks.

Meal At An Inexpensive
3 Course Meal for 2 People
At A Mid-range Restaurant
Meal at McDonalds$7$5.50
Domestic Beer$12.50$2.78
Bottle of Water$0.48$1.15

Finally, we will look at how much excursions cost including a sightseeing tour, a cultural tour, a thrill excursion and a water sports activity, starting with Dubai!

Dubai Marina Yacht Tour
with Breakfast or BBQ
Camel Desert Safari
with Traditional Dinner
& Heritage Activities
Dubai Helicopter Tour$17912min
Hatta Heritage Village Tour
from Dubai with Kayaking

Now let’s see how Bali compares!

Bali Full-Day Traditional Village
Sightseeing Trip with Lunch
Bali Full-Day Water Temples and
UNESCO Rice Terraces Tour
Bali Quad Bike Adventure$429hr
Bali White Water Rafting All Inclusive
With Transportation and Lunch

Verdict: Bali

Dubai or Bali – Which Has Better Weather?

Although we touched on this at the start, we will now look at what the weather is like in Dubai and Bali all year round. We will also take a look at how reliable the weather is!

MonthAv. Temp DubaiAv. Temp Bali

As you can see, Dubai’s temperatures vary greatly upon the winter and summer months whereas Bali is quite consistent throughout the year. However, due to Bali’s tropical location, you need to be aware of monsoon and dry seasons.

In Bali, the dry season tends to be between the summer months of May and September, and the rain season is between October and April. In essence, Dubai and Bali work in complete opposites as Dubai faces the extreme desert heat throughout the summer months of May to September and the milder temperatures in winter. However, due to Dubai’s desert location, you can more or less guarantee that you will have dry weather and not face the disappointment of rain or a hurricane.

Verdict: Dubai

Dubai or Bali – Which Has Better Beaches?

Dubai’s warm beaches such as La Mer and JBR are known for being popular, allowing you to bask in the sun with plenty of restaurants, cafes and amusements within arm’s reach. However, due to their popularity, they can become subjected to overcrowding especially in peak tourism times. At these times, some of Dubai’s beaches may not be ideal if you are looking for tranquil relaxation.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Which has Better Beaches | The Vacation Builder
One of Many Bali Beaches

Bali’s sandy beaches can also become subjected to being incredibly busy, but for the most part due to the consistent weather, they avoid over crowding. Bali’s scenery is undoubtedly jaw-dropping and provides a paradisal space to relax and unwind in and marvel at natural formations. However, due to this, there are less places to eat or drink right on your doorstep, but they are still surprisingly close.

Which beach you will prefer will largely come down to personal preference. If you like inflatable water activities or amusements and restaurants located closer, then Dubai may be your best bet. However, if you are wanting to enjoy some incredible scenery and relax, but forfeiting as many places to eat, then Bali may be better.

Verdict: Tie

Dubai vs Bali – Which Has Better Things To Do?

Now onto activities and things to do during your holiday! For this section, we will take a look at the top ten things listed on TripAdvisor that there are to do at both Bali and Dubai.

Top 10 Things To Do In Dubai:

  • Climb the Burj Khalifa
  • Visit the Dubai Fountain
  • Shop at the Dubai Mall
  • Visit the Dubai Miracle Garden
  • Visit the Global Village
  • See the Dubai Frame
  • Visit the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
  • Take to the Slopes at Ski Dubai
  • Visit Dubai Creek
  • A Trip to the Dubai Mall Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Top 10 Things To Do In Bali:

  • Visit Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
  • Climb Mount Agung
  • Visit Waterbom Bali
  • Take the Challenge of Bali Wake Park
  • Tour Nyaman Gallery
  • Walk Round Sindhu Market
  • Visit Devil’s Tears
  • Walk Round Samasta Lifestyle Village
  • Tour Uluwatu Temple
  • Visit DMZ Bali 3D Art Museum

Although Bali offers a selection of cultural activities to get you out and exploring, Dubai’s attractions are generally more varied and monumental in terms of seeing landmarks.

Verdict: Dubai

Dubai or Bali – Which is Better For Couples?

If you are looking for a trip away with your partner, both Bali and Dubai are great options depending on your tastes.

Dubai offers the perfect mix of city and beach life. Enjoy the illuminated skyline once the sun goes down at one of the many roof top terrace bars! In terms of great couple activities there are many things to do such as camel rides, desert BBQs, hot air balloon rides, shopping malls and beach clubs to name a few. There are also plenty of spas littered around the city, so you can relax and unwind with your significant other on a spa break.

As for Bali, it is well-known for being a couple hotspot. One of the must-see spots is watching the sunset at the extravagant Uluwatu Temple, plus there are activities such as helicopter tours, horseback riding, as well as surfing and snorkelling around the beaches. You can also explore natural environments and marvel at beautiful waterfalls. Much like Dubai, there are plenty of spas for you to relax at in the tropical haven.

Bali is the ultimate paradise for couples, however the perfect mix of beach and city life in Dubai makes it one of the most sought after locations for couples to take a vacation in the world.

Verdict: Dubai

Dubai or Bali – Which is Better For Families?

With both locations offering very different settings and forms of entertainment, we now take a look at which is better for families.

Dubai has a huge range of activities and attractions to keep children and the whole family entertained. Firstly, there are various exhilarating waterparks located around the city such as Aquaventure Waterpark, Laguna Waterpark, and Wild Wadi Waterpark. There are also theme parks including Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai, and IMG Worlds of Adventure, all providing hours of entertainment for the whole family.

If your children particularly like animals, you can find the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and The Lost Chambers Aquarium. If this wasn’t enough, there are the various landmark attractions to see such as the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, which offers tonnes to do for families.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Which is Better For Families | The Vacation Builder
Photo by The Lost Chambers Aquarium

As for Bali, there are generally less large scale attractions due to the environmental focus of the destination. However, you can still find thrills at the Waterbom Bali Waterpark or Bali Wake Park to slip and slide through the tropical scenery! Other attractions include the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Bali Zoo, and the Bali Bird Park for those who want to get up-close with animals. There are also other attractions such as Upside Down World and Bounce Bali to put a spring in your step!

Although Bali has a good selection of entertainment for families, overall Dubai has more to offer young children.

Verdict: Dubai

Dubai or Bali – Which is Better for a Honeymoon?

Both Dubai and Bali can make for a romantic honeymoon, so now let’s take a quick look at a couple of honeymoon hotels and what they offer!

The first Dubai hotel is the Grand Jumeirah Zabeel Saray which is located on Palm Jumeirah. Complete with its own private beach, spa, and infinity pool this relaxing and romantic location will make for an ideal honeymoon retreat. Prices start from around 630 AED / $197 for 2 adults for one night.

Second on our pick of the best Dubai hotels for couples is Habtoor Grand Resort at Dubai Marina, which sports class and elegance for a sophisticated honeymoon! It is complete with an infinity pool, spa, terrace, and a bunch of restaurants to choose from. Prices start at around 834 AED / $141 for 2 adults for one night.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Where is Better for a Honeymoon | The Vacation Builder

As for Bali, the first hotel is Viceroy Bali, located at Kabupaten Gianyar. There is a specific honeymoon package at this hotel which offers you a luxury suite or to stay in a villa, an airport transfer, flower decorations with a candlelit dinner, a 2 hour couples’ spa treatment, a bottle of sparkling wine, and a box of red roses, a honeymoon welcome cake, and a flower petal bath! There is also an infinity pool! The package starts at 8,478,705 IDR / $580 per person.

The second hotel in Bali is the Aksari Resort located in Ubud. This hotel also offers a honeymoon package which includes a stay at a one bedroom villa with a private infinity pool, a honeymoon welcome package with flowers in the bathtub and flower decorations in the pool, a candlelit dinner, an ala carte breakfast, and welcome drinks. The honeymoon package costs 5,725,000 IDR / $395 for two guests for two nights.

Overall, there is no contending Bali as it offers far more honeymoon tailored packages than we could find for Dubai.

Verdict: Bali

Dubai or Bali for Nightlife?

Especially for young people going on a holiday, the nightlife is key! So where has better nightlife, Dubai or Bali?

It should come as no surprise that Dubai has a dominant nightlife scene. With the urban skylines and modern city backdrop, the nightlife doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re looking for luxury lounges like Buhayra Lounge, a casual bar like McGettigan’s JBR or Buddha Bar, or a wild nightclub like BASE Dubai or Toy Room Dubai, you can find everything in the city. And even more, the venues are incredibly trendy, technology based, and will provide a night you won’t forget.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Where Has Better Nightlife | The Vacation Builder

As for Bali, there’s also a nightlife scene intermixed with the tropical setting. There is especially an emphasis on outdoor venues such as La Favela, cocktail bars such as Woo Bar or Rock Bar, and various beach bars. However, there are also vibrant and thriving nightclubs such as Sky Garden Bali and Lost City Bali.

Even though Bali doesn’t disappoint, Dubai’s nightlife scene certainly lives up to the city’s buzzing reputation.

Verdict: Dubai

Dubai or Bali for Culture

Both destinations are rich in history and deep rooted culture, but which is the best to visit if you are wanting to experience the culture?

Dubai wasn’t always the urban city we see today, but luckily there are some spots you can visit that take you back in time. These include the various souks located around the city selling gold and spices, plus Dubai Creek for traditional dhow tours. To see the classic architecture, there is no better area to visit in Dubai than Al Fahidi, the historical district, to truly immerse yourself in the heritage and see sights like Al Fahidi Fort or Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House.

Bali is greatly enriched by its culture, offering many different types of cultural tours so you don’t miss anything! There are lots of visually astounding sights to see including Mount Agung, the Sindhu Market, or a visit to various yoga and wellbeing stations such as the Bali Silent Retreat. For spiritual culture, you can find many different sites such as the stunning Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, the Uluwatu Temple or the Tirta Gangga.

Dubai or Bali - All Things Considered - Culture | The Vacation Builder

Over the years, Dubai has evolved to produce a whole new modern culture, but there are still some spots to find and immerse yourself in the traditional Arabian lifestyle. However, Bali’s culture is still very much at the centre of its appearance and tourism.

Verdict: Bali

Why Dubai AND Bali Multicentre is a Good Option

You may feel like you can’t choose between the two destinations as they give such different holidays, well the good news is you don’t have to!

You can book a multicentre holiday, meaning that you split your time between both. As Bali can be an incredibly long flight from some countries, splitting up the travel time with a stop in Asia may be a more practical option. This way you can experience the best of both, from the thriving metropolis of Dubai to the tranquil paradise of Bali. This will give you the chance to experience the differing cultures, cuisines, attractions, landmarks, and accommodation!


Overall, this was an incredibly close call! Dubai wins for better weather, things to do, couples, family attractions, and nightlife. Bali was found to be better for cost, honeymoons and culture. We couldn’t split the two when it came to beaches with Bali providing paradise on earth but Dubai providing something more than just sand and ocean!

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