I visited Bali over three years, but I’ve visited this magical island around four times now on four separate occasions and despite it changing constantly over the last 10 years it’s somewhere I decide to return to again and again. It’s a place which has a very special place in my heart and I have grown fond of over the years. In absence of me having visited over the past three years I have got nostalgic and decided to pull together more content from my time travelling around south east asia and Indonesia.
The island is usually split into four sections when deciding on a road trip: north, south, east and west. To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns and are great for surfing too. The best surfing spots on the island are Padang Padang and Uluwatu. Further inland is Ubud, a hill town known for its spa treatments, yoga and ecotourism, which may include a trip to a monkey preserve. But if you are better placed in the ocean then make sure you stop by for a snorkel at one of the islands many coral reefs teeming with sea life. Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species and in this area alone, over 500 reef-building coral species can be found.
Next up in my series of content, is a guide to one week in Bali itinerary. It includes everything from, where to stay, what to do and when to go. Keep reading to find out more!
10 FUN THINGS TO DO IN BALI
- Head to a yoga retreat in Ubud to find some real zen!
- Wander through Monkey Forest and keep your valuables safe as the monkeys are brave!
- Visit the world heritage site The Elephant Cave – one of Bali’s historic temples
- Climb the active volcano Mount Batur and watch the sunrise at 4am!
- Take a yoga class at one of the many yoga schools in Ubud
- Take a boat over to the Gili Islands and chill out on the laid back tropical paradise island
- Go on a snorkelling day trip and spot sea turtles and an array of colourful fish
- Spend a couple of days at a Balinese home stay to experience Balinese culture
- Jump on another boat and head to Nusa Lembongan, and go on the hunt to spot Manta rays
- Stay a night in the unique Bali Bubble hotel and sleep under the stars!
READ MORE: 21 Bucket List Adventures to do in Bali
Here is my ultimate guide to a week in Bali itinerary….
HOW TO GET TO BALI
There are no direct flights into Bali from the UK, however many popular airlines operate indirect flights via Europe or the Far East to this beautiful island. Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport, is located in southern Bali, 13 km south of Denpasar. It is Indonesia’s second-busiest international airport. The flight time is around 18 hours with a stopover in either Singapore or Dubai! However, some airlines could take as long as 41 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration. Waiting time at intermediate airports could be anywhere between 1 hr to 24 hrs. I flew with Emirates last time I visited Bali and it cost me around £450 in economy class. However when I just checked skyscanner for any time, any date in the next month if offered me a flight for only £241.
WHEN TO GO TO BALI
For many reasons, best time to come to Bali is April, May, June and September, just before and just after high season. It’s still dry season, it’s slightly less humid, and room prices and villa rentals can be 30-50% cheaper than during high season.
GETTING A VISA FOR BALI
Under the Visa Exemption rule, American citizens are not required to have a visa to enter Indonesia if staying for tourism for 30 days or less. Entry under the visa exemption is for free but may not be extended. U.S. citizens visiting family or traveling for other purposes may apply for a 30-day visa on arrival. For UK citizens you just have to pay for an entry visa and exit visa when you arrive and leave. I can’t remember the exact price but it was around £10.
HOW TO GET AROUND BALI
The best way to get around Bali is either by car, bus or by moped. If you’re seeking to go between towns, you can catch a ride on a public bemo (bus), a private bemo, a taxi, a car/driver rental package, or rent a car to drive. If you have cash to spare, you can hire a car in Bali, with the option to drive it yourself. If you rent from a reputable car company, you can have the benefit of driving your own vehicle to Bali’s less-traveled destinations, with your range being limited only by your gas budget. Riding a taxi in Bali works the same way it does everywhere else: you hail a taxi from the curb; a taxi stops to pick you up, and off you go. The blue taxis marked “Bali Taxi” (known as Blue Bird Taxis) are the most honest. If you want to relive that iconic Eat Pray Love moment then hire a bicycle and get around this way – but be careful and be aware of the cars on the road.
WHERE TO STAY FOR A WEEK IN BALI
Here are the various regions you could stay during your trip to Bali, I’ve stayed all over and can promise you Ubud is amazing! Here is my guide of where to stay in Bali!
South Bali includes Kuta, Western Bukit and Uluwatu, Canggu, Denpasar, Jimbaran, Legian, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak, and Tanah Lot. Here you are in the most visited part of the island by far, with tourists flocking to world renowned Kuta Beach and chic Seminyak.
Central Bali includes Ubud, Gianyar, Bedugul, and Tabanan. This region is the cultural heart of Bali and the central mountain range.
West Bali includes Negara, Gilimanuk, Medewi Beach, and Pemuteran. You have here access to ferries to Java and the West Bali National Park.
North Bali includes Lovina, and Singaraja. You can enjoy quiet black sand beaches and the old capital city.
East Bali includes Amed, Besakih, Candidasa, Kintamani, Klungkung, Mount Agung, Padang Bai, and Tirta Gangga. Here, you can discover another atmosphere with laid back coastal villages, an active volcano and the mighty Mount Agung.
Southeastern Islands includes Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan. These quiet offshore islands in the southeast are very popular for diving activities.
WHAT TO DO IN BALI
Here are my top 21 fun things to do in Bali…
1. Head to a yoga retreat in Ubud to find some real zen!
2. Wander through Monkey Forest and keep your valuables safe as the monkeys are brave!
3. Visit the world heritage site The Elephant Cave – one of Bali’s historic temples
4. Climb the active volcano Mount Batur and watch the sunrise at 4am!
5. Take a yoga class at one of the many yoga schools in Ubud
6. Take a boat over to the Gili Islands and chill out on the laid back tropical paradise island
7. Go on a snorkelling day trip and spot sea turtles and an array of colourful fish
8. Spend a couple of days at a Balinese home stay to experience Balinese culture
9. Jump on another boat and head to Nusa Lembongan, and go on the hunt to spot Manta rays
10. Stay a night in the unique Bali Bubble hotel and sleep under the stars!
11. Watch the traditional Kecak dance performance at Uluwatu temple
12. Marvel at the stunning Tegallalang rice terraces
13. Spend a day chilling out at the luxurious Sunday’s Beach Club in Uluwatu
14. Have a go at stand-up paddle boarding in Seminyak
15. Party the night away in Kuta where there is one of Asia’s biggest clubs (I spent many a drunk night here and can say I’ve had some of the best nights of my life here!)
16. Hop on a boat to Nusa Lembongan one of Bali’s neighbouring small islands and go on the hunt to spot Manta rays.
17. Laze around at Jungle Fish retreat and swim in the infinity pool overlooking the jungle.
18. Take a Balinese cooking class, learn how to make all the favourites!
19. Sip on a Bintang while watching the sunset over the Ocean in Old Mans in Canggu
20. Grab a Balinese massage at one of the many spas dotted across the island
21. Eat health and search of one of Bali’s many vegan restaurants or juice bars.
DAY ONE – Uluwatu, Tanah Lot and Seminyak
On your first day in Bali I would suggest jumping in a car and heading to the world famous Uluwatu Temple. Uluwatu Temple is a Balinese Hindu sea temple located in Uluwatu. The temple is regarded as one of the sad kahyangan and is dedicated to Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in his manifestation as Rudra. And once you’re done here, I would also head to Tanah Lot Temple, in time to enjoy the amazing sunset there. If you are also in time, catch the famous Kecak Dance here that is set against the backdrop of this beautiful temple. Stay the night from here in Seminyak!
DAY TWO – Seminyak, Petitenget Beach and Elephant Safari Park
Seminyak is a beach resort area at the southern end of Bali, Indonesia, with many luxury hotels, villas and spas, as well as high-end shopping and restaurants. Sleek bars and clubs with busy sunset scenes line Seminyak and Petitenget beaches, which are wide, west-facing stretches of Indian Ocean shoreline with gray sand and good surfing conditions. And if you’ve got time from here make a stop at Elephant Safari Park in Desa Taro.
DAY THREE + FOUR – Ubud and Tegalalang
For day three and four I would suggest an overnight stay in the magical town of Ubud. Here you can walk around the town, find cute cafes, shop in some of their boutique shops and enjoy a massage or spa day too. Whilst you are here you could also head out to the north to the neighbor town of Tegalalang to find classic rice terraces of Asia. Many tourists also like to stay in Ubud as it is quite central to many of the attractions around Bali and yet away from the crowds in Kuta.
DAY FIVE – Balangan Beach
Have a beach day today, after four days of exploring! Bali has some of the best beaches in the world so make sure you head to Balangan beach and Padang-padang beach and soak up the rays, as well as snorkelling in clear blue waters! Towards evening, go to Jimbaran for a romantic seaside dinner.
DAY SIX – Northern Bali, Mount Batur and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
On your fifth day in Bali why not head north and explore that area. Wake up early to catch the dolphins at Lovina and after, chill at the black sand beach then jump back in the car and head over to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, an impressive temple by the lake. This is one of the most important temples in Bali. After that, you can head further west to Mount Batur for a view or if you prefer a hike up and then end the northern loop at the Besakih Temple. Or do these two the opposite way round, with an early sun rise hike up Mount Batur and then an afternoon exploring the temples.
DAY SEVEN – Kuta and Party!
On your last stop on the island spend a day and a night in Kuta! It’s also fairly close to the airport too so you can get to your flight easily. Head quickly to Kuta beach and get some suntan and swimming in. After enjoying the beautiful sunset, head to the city and check out Kuta’s vibrant nightlife.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN BALI
Sisterfields is an Australian concept cafe, bringing good coffee into the heart of Seminyak. This place serves all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch menu, coupled with a huge selection of coffee. The acai bowl (RP $110,000; SGD $10.50) is super insta-worthy, due to its vibrant colours.
Located in the Ubud area of Bali, Bebek Bengil has become a veritable Bali institution since first opening in 1990. The restaurant’s name literally translates as the ‘Dirty Duck Diner’, a reference to the restaurant’s speciality.
The Café at Mulia Bali
It’s rare for buffet-style food to rank among a place’s top restaurants, but the Café at Mulia Bali is a welcome exception. Set in Mulia Bali, a six-star hotel in Nusa Dua, the Café offers one of Bali’s largest and most diverse spreads. The dining is divided into six sections: Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Western, Indonesian and dessert, with each cuisine prepared by a native chef for authenticity.
Lamak Bali exudes Balinese traditions through its thoughtful décor and menu, both of which fuse classic local dishes with modern Asian and European flair. The restaurant’s elegant interior incorporates stones, local wood and ornate carvings.
The Bebek Urbana (RP 145,000; SGD $13.90), crispy Balinese duck plated with sambal-fried vegetables paired together with fragrant jasmine rice is a dish you should try when you are at Urbana. Urbana has an all day happy hour so do make use of that to get your 1-for-1 cocktails!
Walls filled with self-drawn murals, Tamade is a cozy family-run café that serves home-cooked Indonesian food (read: not fusion food). The umami bowl (RP 55,000; SGD $5.10) is rice with either pork or chicken, drizzled with salted egg yolk sauce.
Vastly different from the typical Bali beach view, Cafe Pomegranate is located in the middle of a rice field in central Ubud. Cafe Pomegranate gets especially busy during the hours of sunset as many patrons want to enjoy the picturesque view while having dinner.
Bumbu Bali has a traditional Balinese setting with zen vibes, just minutes away from Nusa Dua Beach. With many dishes to offer, they even have set meals on their menu!
Finns Beach Club
Situated in front of Berawa surf break, Finns Beach Club is a great spot to enjoy a spectacular sunset view. Patrons can relax on a day bed or get a drink from the swim up bar in the infinity pool, while grooving to cool tunes spun by the club’s DJ.
Friendly staff and top notch quality are phrases people would often use to describe this cozy cafe. The cold brew (RP $35,000; SGD $3.35) has a chocolatey caramel taste to it, refreshing to have on a hot day in sunny Bali.
Potato Head Beach Club
Chilling on a day bed at Potato Head whilst sipping on a cocktail or taking a dip in the infinity pool to cool off is a great way to spend an evening. If you’re not looking for a splash, you can also check out their indoor dining area.
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