If you still have not figured it out, I’m a big fan of Bali and I will not get tired of going back to this paradise. If the island isn’t very big, about 80km, there are many things to see and discover. From heavenly beaches in the south, the volcano in the north, to the rice fields of Ubud, there are a wide variety of landscapes in Bali. And as if Bali was not enough, there many incredible islands to discover around. Whether it’s Lombok, the islands of Gili archipelago or Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, it’s hard to make a choice. Therefore, I have prepared some examples of Bali itineraries to help you if you plan a trip. I also introduce you to the most beautiful places in Bali and what you should absolutely see.
Bali Itinerary : What to see and what to do ?
Bali’s must-see cities
The most beautiful places of Bali
The island around Bali
Define your travel itinerary in Bali
I am generally more an “unplanned trip” kind of person. However, I advise you to plan a bit your Bali itinerary to find out where to go. You do not need to do a day-to-day schedule and book all your accommodations in advance, but just an idea of what you really want to see or do. It really depends on the time you spend in Bali and your desires. Obviously, in two weeks, you will not have time to see everything (and a good excuse to come back). If you stay a month in Bali (the duration of the tourist visa), you will certainly have time to move around. Here are some Bali itinerary ideas for your stay.
The first three itineraries are perfect for a two or three week trip to Bali. The last one is much longer and is perfect for a one month stay on the Indonesian island.
The first itinerary is the one I’ve chosen during my first trip to Bali. It lets you see the must-see places of Bali. You can party in Kuta or Canggu, discover the temples and the rice fields of Ubud and the heavenly beaches of Gili T or Air and Uluwatu.
Gili T or Gili Air : the first allows you to enjoy incredible beaches in a festive atmosphere. The second is much quieter and allows you to relax.
This second itinerary is for those who do not wish to leave the island of Bali during their trip. You will be able to tour the island and enjoy more time to explore. In Ubud and Lovina, you will have more time to discover the volcano, the rice fields and the waterfalls of the north of the island.
What about snorkeling? No need to go to one of the islands around Bali. The north of the island is perfectly suited for snorkeling excursions. This is also where you will see dolphins swimming at sunrise.
This third itinerary is perfect to explore Bali as well as the Nusa Islands. After enjoying the south of Bali at Uluwatu, you take a boat for Nusa Lembongan. It is the perfect place for relaxing and snorkeling. Then, go exploring Nusa Penida and its wild beaches.
Ferry or Fast Boat ? I will not lie, the fast boat is much more comfortable. However, if you pay attention to your budget, the ferry is the perfect option because it’s really cheap.
This last itinerary is perfect if you plan to stay a month in Bali. It will allow you to visit all the must-see places of the island, as well as the most beautiful islands around Bali. Of course, you can remove a few steps to stay longer at one place. I totally understand that it can be exhausting to change hotels every two or three days.
Bali’s must see cities
You’ll either love it or hate, but chances are you will spend one or two nights in Kuta during your trip to Bali. This is the closest city to the airport, so it’s easy to sleep here the first and the last night of your vacation to reach the airport easily. Personaly, I like Kuta and I had a great time there. With the beach, the crazy atmosphere of hostels, the various restaurants and the possibility of partying, you do not get bored!
What do to in Kuta?
- Relax on the 12km long beach by drinking a Bintang. The sunsets are beautiful from there.
- Take a surf lesson with a local. For around 200,000 rupees (€14) , enjoy two hours of private lessons.
- Have a drink at Apache Surfer Bar and enjoy a live concert.
- Party in Sky Garden. From 17h to 21h, you pay €10 for an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink pass.
Seminyak is the trendy city of Bali, a few kilometers away from Kuta. It is the perfect place for shopping, as there are many small shops and malls. I’m not a big fan of Seminyak, I find this place particularly fake : everything is much more expensive, including restaurants and there is no authenticity. Some will tell me it’s the same in Kuta, but in Kuta, you can meet many locals. A story of taste I guess.
What to do in Seminyak?
- Shop at the many local designer boutiques on Oberoi Street.
- Drink a cocktail at the KU DE TA or the Beach Club at Potato Head, two bars with an infinity pool facing the sea (it’s not cheap though!).
- A massage in one of the many spas of Seminyak. There is something for every budget, from standard to luxury spa.
- Taste the local food in one of the many restaurants. Some of Bali’s best restaurants are in Seminyak!
Canggu, the hipster city
We stay on the west coast of Bali to discover Canggu, just 25 minutes from Seminyak. For me, it’s a perfect mix between Kuta and Seminyak and it feels so good. The atmosphere is very relaxed, away from the hustle and bustle of the last two, but you can still meet many travelers in hostels, on the beach or in bars and restaurants.
What to do in Canggu?
- Visit the famous Tanah Lot temple on the ocean. It is located 30 minutes from Canggu and is a must-see. You can go there in the morning to enjoy the calm or at sunset time for an incredible view.
- Surf on Canggu Beach. Just like Kuta, the bottom is sandy so you can try surfing without hurting yourself.
- Test the maximum of restaurants : from healthy brunch to sophisticated meals, or Asia and international restaurants, it’s hard to make a choice in Canggu.
- The Happy Hours of Old Man’s from 5 to 6 o’clock. For one hour enjoy a 2-for-1 offer on all drinks and cocktails.
The most beautiful places of Bali
Uluwatu and the south of Bali
It is in the south of Bali that we find the most beautiful beaches of the island. The Bukit Peninsula is an hour from Kuta and should be on your itinerary. If you surf, you’ve heard about this region, with spots like Padang Padang, Dreamland or Blue Point Beach.
What to do in Uluwatu?
- Visit the Uluwatu Temple, perched at the top of a cliff at more than 100 meters high. Surely my favorite temple in Bali, the view is amazing at sunset time.
- Discover the paradise beaches of South Bali, they are all there! In this article, I’m talking about the five most beautiful beaches.
- Enjoy a cocktail at Single Fin, with an incredible view of the ocean and the sunet. The mojitos are pretty good!
Ubud and surroundings
Can we really go to Bali without making a stop in Ubud, the cultural center of the island. Ubud is the perfect place to enjoy some calm after the crowded beaches. It is also here that you can discover the green and lush nature typical of Bali.
What to do in Ubud?
- Discover the rice fields of Tegallalang, the most beautiful of the island. It’s so nice to stroll along the paths in the middle of these incredible landscapes!
- Get lost in the Sacred Monkey Forest. For 20,000 RP, move among hundreds of monkeys in a tropical forest where you will find many temples.
- Practice your trading skills in the Ubud Market, which is open daily. You will find everything in this colorful market : typical products, spices or clothes for example.
- Just relax! You can pamper yourself in a spa or take a yoga class : Ubud is the place to disconnect from reality.
Lovina and North Bali
North Bali is often set aside when planning a trip to Bali. However, I went there on my second trip and I discovered a new face of the Indonesian island. I stayed in the city of Lovina which I really enjoyed. It is the perfect place to spend a few days near the great beach of Lovina and enjoy much lower prices than the rest of Bali.
What to do in North Bali?
- Visit the famous Pura Ulun Danu Buyan Temple, the famous temple on a lake surrounded by mountains. The atmosphere is magical, even more if you can embark on a boat to discover the temple from the other side.
- Walking to the incredible waterfalls of Sekumpul which are for me, the most beautiful of Bali. It is not a waterfall, but a set of seven waterfalls in the middle of the green jungle.
- Snorkeling around the island of Palau Menjangan, the main attraction of North Bali. You will probably see colorful fish, turtles and even dolphins.
- Enjoy a sunset on the black sand beach of Lovina. The locals will surely meet you and this is the perfect timing to grab a Bintang in a relaxing atmosphere.
The islands around Bali
Lombok, the little sister of Bali
Lombok is an island located two hours by ferry from Bali and if often considered as her little sister. Speaking the truth, I have never been to Lombok, although I have heard only good things and I could not write an article about the must-see places in Bali without mentioning Lombok. The capital of the island, Mataram, can be found on the west part of Lombok, not far from the famous seaside resort Sengiggi. It is the most populated part of the island. To find deserted beaches and unspoilt landscapes, you should head to the east of Lombok. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the north of Lombok. Sedang Gili waterfalls, Tiu Kelep waterfall, as well as Indonesias’s second highest volcano, Mount Rinjani can be found in the north.
The Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small paradise islands located off Lombok. Each of the three islands has its own identity, but they all have something in common : white sand, coconut trees and a turquoise sea.
Which Gili Island to choose during a trip to Bali?
- Gili Trawagan – The party island
Gili Trawagan is the best known and most popular of the three. It is a paradise island of 15 km² surrounded by turquoise water and magnificent coral reefs. It is also an island where you come to party in one of the many bars and clubs that can be found everywhere.
- Gili Air – Snorkeling and turtle
Most of the inhabitants of the archipelago live in Gili Air, a second small piece of paradise. This one is much more calm and peaceful than the first one. We come here to devote ourselves to diving or snorkeling and relax in a magical atmosphere.
- Gili Meno – Take a break in paradise
If you are looking for a magical place to take a few days off, Gili Meno is the place for you. On the program : tanning on the beach, reading in a hammock and meditation. You will also find the turtle sanctuary, where baby turtles grow up before being released into the ocean.
The Nusa Islands
The Nusa Islands, located Southwest of Bali is the last island archipelago I wanted to talk to you about. To get there, take a ferry from Sanur and the journey takes about 30 minutes. This archipelago consists of three magical islands. The Nusa Islands are much less crowded than the others because they would be home for demons according to Balinese tradition. But do not worry, you risk nothing!
Which Nusa Island to choose during a trip to Bali?
- Nusa Lembongan – Island Getaway
This small 4-kilometer island is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Bali. Nusa Lembongan is popular for diving and snorkeling because you will even have the opportunity to see manta rays.
- Nusa Penida – the Wild Island
Nusa Penida is much larger than the first one with its 247 km². However, it is very sparsely populated, because there is only 45 000 inhabitants on all of this piece of paradise. This is were you’ll find the iconic landscapes of T-Rex Beach, Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach or Angel’s Billabon’s natural pool.
- Nusa Ceningan – Discover the Blue Lagoon
This last island is connected to Nusa Lembongan by a famous yellow bridge. If you have already heard about the famous Blue Lagoon, you will be able to see it on Nusa Ceningan.
My last tips for a trip to Bali
If you are still hesitating to go on a trip to Bali, I have only one tip to give you : Go for it! As you may have seen in this article, there is something for everyone on the Indonesian island, whether you want to enjoy the beach, party, relax or discover a new culture.
To help you plan your trip to Bali, I have written all the practical information to make the formalities easier.