WHERE TO STAY
Now with technology it's so easy to find a hostel or an airbnb. I recommend getting a SIM card if you are staying for an extended period of time. This way you can have anything at your fingertips, it's not that hard to find in the cities, just look for the signs. Plus a SIM is not that expensive for a lot of data. It will make things much more convenient. You can easily search and book some really incredible places to stay. If you are just cruising though, and not that picky, then just find a place when you arrive wherever you are. This easier in low season... in high season, depending on the activities you are planning, you might want to find a place to stay a couple of days in advance.
WHAT TO PACK - WHERE TO GO
Well where do you want to visit in the country? Are you going all around or will you just visit a certain area? First of all, It's HOT! One driver I had said, 'there are only two temperatures in Bali; warm and hot!'. So don't over do it on any warm clothing. Protection from sun and mosquitos is all you really need sleeves for, and if you do the sunrise tour at Mount Batur, is a little chilly in the morning, but you will work up a sweat hiking up the sandy terrain of this active volcano. Otherwise, keep it simple, bring your bathing suit and know you will be sweating pretty much the whole time. Laundry service is cheap all around. Don't forget your bud spray and sun screen! Especially if you want some fancy organic brand. You can find some great products out there, you'll just have to search a little harder.
Speaking of Mount Batur, you will need a guide to take you to the top. There are definitely guys hanging out, waiting to lead you up. They are extremely helpful, and you'll be glad you hired them. Also... if you don't hire them, you're not hiking up. It's not a novice hike, be prepared to work for it.
Ubud is a great little niche of Bali, where many westerners venture for a more spiritual and holistic way of life. All the yoga and amazing vegetarian food you can imagine is there, and the streets are swamped with great little shops that you can go absolutely bonkers in buying clothes and souvenirs. Another reason to pack light, you will have a lot of things you want to take home with you. Heck you could just buy a whole new wardrobe there! Remember, everything can be bargained for, so don't accept the first price.
I stayed at a permaculture farm outside of Ubud and loved the more relaxed atmosphere, but liked that I could easily escape into town for entertainment. And there are lots of little secret places outside of town that you can find, so do your research and see what all you can get. You never know what little gem you might find. If you are a serious working traveller, some of the farms are a great spot to stay, get fed, and learn a little more about the culture.
Get as many massages as you can in Bali! They are inexpensive and a great way to pamper yourself on your trip. Sixty minute massages only cost around $15 and you can get $5 thirty minute massage just about anywhere you go. When you get into some of the high end spas though, you'll start seeing prices that are more what you expect in the western world. Prepare yourself... for an authentic Balinese massage, not these beach massages, but the real deal. It can be more painful than pleasurable, and you'll have to breath through it. I got several of these while I was there, but I like a strong deep tissue massage. However, after three massages I was looking pretty battered for the multitude of bruises on my legs. The Balinese assured me that the bruises were a sign of healing. :)
I love to surf, and even though my trip was more yoga focused (I was there working for Sadhana Yoga School), I carved out a bit of time at the end of my trip to explore some of the Bali surf spots. Canggu was the first beach that I got to catch some waves and really enjoyed it. Great surfing happening throughout most of the day. This is a spot for novice and beyond, easy to rent boards, and cruise. Plus, the surfer town has just about everything you could want. After that I got deeper into the Bukit Peninsula to check out Nusa Dua, Balangan and Uluwatu. Unfotunately, I didn't get to do more because I fell ill, but I was happy to get to hit these places. For the more intermediate to advanced surfer (depending on the season), Uluwatu is an incredible spot and very well known. Winding down a cliffside maze of shops and restaurants, that comes to a staircase, taking you into a sanding cave, where you paddle out to the beautiful blue ocean. This isn't a beach if you want to layout, but if you want to have a good meal and watch all the surf it's a must see. And if you can surf, it's rad gazing back at the establishments perched along the shear cliffs, and to be surround by them yourself... stellar.