Ohhh, Bali. Just the thought of this beautiful island makes my heart beat a little faster.
Bali is one of Indonesia’s most visited island and I’m sure you’ve already heard about from travellous friends or maybe even other digital nomads, that Bali is pretty much the place to be to Southeast Asia. Or the place where everyone checks in once in a while, if you work on a laptop that is.
But believe me, those Bali pictures you’ve been seeing on Instagram are nothing compared to actually visiting Bali. You just have to visit to fully believe it’s beauty, take in the Bali vibe and the friendliness of people.
Today, I’m taking you to Bali once again, as I have done a few times before and I’ve prepared a smashing Bali itinerary for all you first-time visitors. Go on and see a glimpse of magnificent Bali.
How Long Should I Spend In Bali?
Bali is approximately 5,800 square kilometers in size. Yep, THAT big.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure how big that actually is. For example, driving from Uluwatu at the southern tip of the island to the cultural heart of Ubud takes roughly between 2-3 hours, depending on traffic.
From Ubud to Lovina, which is a more quieter beach resort on the northern shorelines of Bali, it’s another 2,5 to 3 hours drive. Traffic isn’t as heavy in the North as compared to around Kuta and the capital Denpasar. Be prepared for a lot of standing or slow driving if you’re taking a car as your mode of transportation.
From flashy Seminyak in the west to family-friendly Sanur in the east, it’s a good 1-hour drive. That’s pretty much the extent you will need to know for your first-time visit as I am sure you’ll stick to those areas mainly.
One thing I can assure you is, that you’ll have a great time no matter if you stay for a week or a month. But for first-timers, perhaps you can allow a two weeks holiday. Two weeks is a pretty good length of time especially when you’ve come from far.
This will allow you to see a lot of stunning sites while also taking your time to relax and take in all the beauty and experiences that Bali has to offer.
How Many Places Can I Visit In Bai?
If you can only do a one-week vacay in Bali, I’d say you should visit a maximum of 3-4 places. It’s a decent amount of sites considering travel time and especially considering a comfortable length of your stay in one place. 3-4 places may sound few but when it’s in Bali, it’s totally worth it! If you want to take it more leisurely, consider visiting 2-3 places instead during this time frame.
Now, if you have two weeks to visit Bali, you can see 4 to 8 places easily, you could even take a trip out to the Gili Islands or Lombok!
I’ve taken the liberty to prepare a 2-week Bali itinerary to help you plan your travels more easily. So suit up, we’re going to Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud, Jimbaran and Uluwatu.
DAY 1-2: Kuta & Legian
All planes to Bali, national and international land at Denpasar airport, also called Ngurah Rai International Airport, which is only a stones-throw away to Bali’s tourist central, Kuta. Best known for its party-crazy vibes, Kuta is our first stop on this Bali travel guide.
I am personally not a huge fan of Kuta, because I prefer less touristy spots and authentic travel experiences.
However, the town of Legian is just next door which is a little less extravagant and has the proximity to explore Kuta in a breeze.
If you need your fill of beach time, head to Kuta Beach to soak up the sun, catch a wave or sip on an icy-cold coconut. Freshly cut of course, from the local hawkers that roam the beach. They seem to be a bit more pushy around here than on other beaches in Bali, say no if you don’t want to be sold to, sometimes you need to say it two or three times before they leave you alone, but don’t be turned off by that, the beach is still lovely.
Feeling adventurous and looking for an adrenaline rush? Head over to Waterbom Bali which is the island’s largest waterpark. There is also the 5GX Bali Reverse Bungy, wherein you will be experiencing a very thrilling ride to the air at a speed of 200 kmph.
If that doesn’t get your adrenaline rushing, I don’t know what is! The 5GX also has a very catchy slogan, “Get high in Bali” the legal way (of course!).
Fancy a bit of shopping? All along Kuta’s main beach road Jalan Pantai, you’ll find little stalls and stores where you can bargain your little heart out. Discovery Shopping Mall, as well as Beachwalk Shopping Center, are both good places to shop for western brands. I especially love the later, it’s fairly new. No bargaining here.
Brace yourself. Kuta has an awesome sandy beach to offer but be aware that it is quite touristy. If you love the crowds and looking to make friends easily, then you will love Kuta’s beaches. Kuta Beach is also a great place to see the sunset so you might want to hit the beach and the waves just a few hours before the sunset.
Kuta, being the main tourist hub of Bali, has been notorious for its crazy nightlife. There is a never-ending line of bars and nightclubs where you can dance the night away. There are lively dance floors with the likes of Hypnotized Club on top of VH Bali and the exhilarating 3-floor Engine Room.
If you prefer tamer surroundings, head to Sky Garden Rooftop Lounge.
…which brings us to your second day in paradise. Kuta and Legian both have a number of sites to tickle your creative side. There is the Dream Museum Zone Bali with 3D illusion large paintings. Prepare to take a lot of photos and selfies!
You can also click your camera away at Upside Down World Bali where you can do gravity-defying poses (or so it seems). Pandora Experience Bali is another must-visit if you love escape games. Let’s mix in a bit of history and Indonesian culture and witness a colourful and enchanting performance at Kuta Theater.
End your creative route around Kuta and Legian with a rejuvenating massage, there are plenty of salons around.
DAY 3-5: Seminyak
Here we are on to the next destination of your Bali vacation. Let me take you to fancy Seminyak where the beaches are just fab, the hotels and shopping are even more wow and oh, don’t get me started on the romantic sunsets by the beach.
Seminyak is not much of a secret for travellers anymore, however it is a still less touristy alternative to Kuta so you’ll have more room to enjoy yourself here.
If you’re travelling with a friend, partner or in a group, a great option for where to stay in Seminyak would be a private villa with its own swimming pool. There are numerous options for beautiful villas for all budgets. So spend your morning settling into your villa and perhaps have a cool dip in the pool.
For lunch, head out and have your fill of tasty local cuisine. Saigon Street serves delicious Vietnamese with a twist.
Another few of the best restaurants you will find in Seminyak:
- Barbacoa, where you can get your fill of Mexican-inspired BBQ
- Your Italian fix at Da Maria (by the chef that created some of Australia’s most iconic dining venues including Bondi Icebergs)
- Sea Circus, which is simply colourful and great for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus cocktails
- MoVida, located within the Katamama Hotel serving your Spanish-food cravings
- The elegant Metis serving French cuisine
- And finally Nook, still a bit of a local secret, sitting between rice paddies you’ll find traditional Indonesian food
After your generous fill, explore Seminyak Square and its delightful arrays of shops. This is a great place to look for knick-knacks, souvenirs, clothes and just about everything else. Take a break and beat the heat with a cool drink at one of the cozy cafes that surround the square.
End your day with a killer view of the famed Bali sunset as you bury your toes in the sand of Seminyak Beach. Recharge for your next day.
Your second day in Seminyak is all about luxury and relaxation. Drop in for a hearty breakfast or brunch at one of my favourites: Sisterfields. Or try Revolver Espresso, Monsieur Spoon, Café Organic or The Spicy Coconut. Don’t forget your daily fuel, a cup of coffee.
Next stop is the luxurious W Hotel and their AWAY Spa, which you can book a treatment at in advance9, even if you don’t stay here. They used to have day passes for the pool area too, however last time I checked they discontinued them, so better call up and check ahead of arriving. Alternatively, Peppers Hotel in Seminyak has a beautiful day spa to relax and rejuvenate at as well.
After all the pampering, it’s off to a very late lunch or early dinner. At the W you can find 8 different restaurants to choose from, ranging from elegant to cozy to laid-back.
Start your Seminyak stroll with a sumptuous breakfast at Grocer & Grind, another great breakfast spot in Seminyak. They open at 7:00 am so early birds can definitely be accommodated. The food is great, the coffee hot, plus the staff very friendly – and apparently they do some very good burgers too!
Next up it’s all about the ocean. You might notice that the sand at Seminyak Beach isn’t actually that impressive and lacks some powdery white sand, however it gives back through some awesome waves. If you have never attempted to surf before, now is the time to get a surf lesson under your belt.
There are many schools around or board hires if you feel confident to tackle the waves by yourself. You will surely meet some locals and travellers out there, if those waves are good that is.
You’re probably hungry after your surf. The best lunch spot in Seminyak is Ginger Moon or head to La Lucciola. The food at both is yummy!
Get back to the beach but this time explore the shores of the famous Potato Head Beach Club. Take a dip, have a drink, while away the time as you wait for the sun to set and paint the sky in red in orange shades.
Afterwards, the party in Seminyak is all yours to explore. La Plancha, Motel Mexicola or Mirror Club is where it’s at!
DAY 6-8: Canggu
Canggu is all about the surfing, visiting beautiful cafés, riding your scooter through lush rice paddies, practicing yoga and seeing a glimpse of Indonesian culture.
Grab your morning meal at my all-time favourite brekkie spot Milk & Madu where even I cannot decide if their coffee or food is more delicious, most definitely you’ll find them both exceptional!
Next stop is the beach! You can never have enough time in the water when you’re in Bali. At Old Man’s in Batu Bolong, you’ll see surfers riding the waves all throughout the day. Soak up that sun and get a Bali tan. Yesss.
Betelnut Café is without a doubt another of Canggu’s favourite and cannot be missed while you visit. Get the Falafel Bowl!
If you like a bit of activity, take a walk along the beach or why not hop on a horse and explore the rice paddies? Contact Bali Equestrian Centre to organise your little adventure. You can even go horseback riding along the shores of Canggu, with the stunning sunset as your background, it’s possibly one of the most romantic things you can do when in Bali.
Afterwards, unwind at The Lawn which recently had an upgrade! Recline on their comfy bean bags or sip on their cocktails as you witness the changing colours in the Bali sky.
Finishing off a perfect day, select from an array of delicious Balinese foods as you join the Tugu Cultural Evening, happening every Thursday at 7.30pm, as you witness local dance performances as you dine.
From Canggu, it’s also an easy 25 minutes drive to Tanah Lot, one of Bali’s most popular temples, which sits right in the water and which can only be accessed at low tide. It’s a beautiful spot for a late afternoon but it does get pretty crowded. If you want to avoid the tourist masses, visit Tanah Lot early in the day as every single tour bus stops here for sunset.
Breakfast or brunch at Crate Café in Canggu is superb. They have great breakfast bowls and the vibe and staff is absolutely lovely.
After brekkie, do something different and take a silversmithing class. Here you can learn how to make basic jewellery which is offered at the House of Alaia. Yes, you’ll get to make a necklace or a ring and bring it home as a souvenir. Nifty!
Is it grub time again? Sure is in Canggu! Sample on Hawaiian dishes at Poke Poke. This Hawaii meets Bali food shack will entice your senses. The place is also very Instragrammable so make sure to bring your camera or phone fully charged.
If you visit Canggu on a Saturday, make sure to have a look at the goods offered at Old Man’s market. I simply love browsing around the food stalls, preloved and brand-new clothing, various bric-a-brac and even the pottery!
Settle in for a very homey dinner at Warung Dandelion. The restaurant is housed in a traditional, wooden Joglo. The staff is very hospitable and their food is really made with love. Sometimes they have pet rabbits roaming the garden which are oh too cute to watch while you wait for your food.
Fuel up for another day at the most hipster café in town, Peloton Supershop, which is a combination of vegan café and bicycle store and has great breakfast food.
For yoga enthusiasts and even for those with no experience, Samadi Bali offers daily yoga classes. Here you can practice different yoga styles however Samadi specializes in Ashtanga Yoga.
Enjoy your lunch with a view at Cinta Café. You’ll surely love this unique place amidst the rice fields! Absolutely one I always return to, it’s an awesome place.
Every Sunday from 9.00am to 2.00pm, the grounds of Samadi transform into a vibrant market where you get to meet local organic farmers and local artisans. Have fun selecting the freshest vegetables and fruits. Browse through handmade crafts, jewellery, homemade cosmetics, and bric-a-brac that you’ll find at Samadi Sunday market.
Pamper yourself on your last day in Canggu with a heavenly massage at Goldust Beauty Lounge, make sure you book ahead as they are often booked out, or go for a mani and pedi at another one of my favourites, the NYC-style nail parlour called Think Pink Nails which can be found on the way from Canggu back to Seminyak.
Level up your eating experience at La Baracca. The place lights up at night and gives a romantic feel while elegantly presenting authentic Italian flavours, a real feast for your taste buds.
DAY 9-11: Ubud & Mount Batur
Expect this trip up to cultural Ubud be filled with exciting, physical activities, culturally significant stops, and lots and lots of lush green rice fields.
Dive into the scenes of Eat, Pray, Love at different places around town.
Read also: How To Experience Ubud Off The Beaten Path
Start off your first day in Ubud with a healthy breakfast at KAFE. This is actually run by the infamous Yoga Barn which is one of the biggest and best places to practice yoga in town. Alternatively, also try The Practice in Canggu for your fix of yoga and flow.
Lots of the interesting spots you want to see in Ubud are just a walking distance from one another. Otherwise, you can also rent a scooter and do a loop around the outside of town. Feel free to ask the locals as they will point out the standard route on a map.
Don’t miss the following things to do in Ubud:
- Ubud Palace, the official residence of the royal family of Ubud
- Ubud Market for souvenir shopping (don’t forget to bargain!)
- The beautiful Lotus Temple build over the water
- Tegallalang Rice Terrace, alternatively aim to get to the more untouched terraces of Jatiluwih Rice Terraces (it’s a little track over gravel road to actually get there but the terraces themselves are large and you can see the volcano at the backdrop – stunning!)
- Goa Gajah Cave with its ancient carvings
- Tegenungan waterfall
- Campuhan Ridge Walk
Have your lunch at Café Wayan & Bakery which was also featured in Eat, Pray, Love and is a great leafy place to eat.
Join a traditional Indonesian cooking class in the afternoon to learn how to prepare authentic Balinese dishes such as Sate sticks, Sambal Ulek and Ayam Bakar.
Want to find awesome activities to do in Ubud? Like having breakfast with the Orangutans, white water rafting or a private helicopter tour. Have a look on Expedia.
If you can still fit in food for dinner, try Naughty Nuri’s Warung which is famed for its barbequed pork ribs.
On the next day, explore Ubud’s surrounding villages by bike with Bali Eco Cycling which will take you on a truly scenic downhill bike tour among rice fields and local Balinese communities.For advanced bikers, there is an optional cycling workout of around 6 to 8 kilometers over mostly uphill trails. Or if your puffed out, jump on the bus and be wheeled to lunch. Totally what I did!
After that, if you fancy meeting some cheeky monkeys, go explore the Ubud Monkey Forest and its extensive temple complex.
All you need after this day packed with activities is to relax your body through a traditional Balinese massage at one of the spas in Ubud.
Relax for a while and then head to Fair Warung Bale for a dinner with a good cause. A portion of your bill goes to charity. Sleep early because tomorrow’s activity requires a very very early start.
The Mount Batur Sunrise Trek is a popular must-do for all first-timers to Bali. Pick-up time is between 2 to 4 am (yes, in the morning!), depending on where you are staying. That’s why sufficient sleep the night before is vital!
The hike up the volcano is not that hard if you are a normal fit person. It takes around 2 hours climbing up with flashlights in total darkness. This assures that you will reach the summit just before sunrise, which is totally stunning! Prepare your camera!
Welcome the new day from up here, sipping on a hot coffee and having a small breakfast, before you say hi to the monkeys that inhabit the mount and then climb back down. You can opt to relax your muscles at the nearby hot springs if you like, or head back straight to your hotel. You’ll be back in Ubud at around 1.30pm.
Catch up on sleep if you wish and then have an afternoon yoga session at the Yoga Barn.
Your last meal in Ubud has to be superb and classy and there’s no better place to have that than Locavore. Ceviche, Steak, Squid or Cucumber Curry, you will totally love this place. Advance booking is a must so please do as early as possible.
Then cap off your last hours with a drink at Bar Luna.
DAY 12-14: Jimbaran & Uluwatu
We’re back to the sea again on this last leg of your Bali trip.
You can either stay at Jimbaran or Uluwatu because both are easily accessible, although Jimbaran is nearer to the airport, in case you have an early flight out, I’d recommend you to stay around here.
Settle in to your accommodation of choice. Relax by the pool or at one of the many beaches.
Here are some beaches worth visiting around Uluwatu:
- Dreamland Beach
- Bingin Beach
- Padang Padang Beach
- Green Bowl Beach
Or if you don’t feel like getting sandy feet, experience another massage treatment at the Healing Village Spa which is part of the Four Seasons Resort in Jimbaran.
For lunch, make your way to the airy Bukit Café where you’ll be treated to a nice meal and impeccable service.
In the afternoon, head to the southern tip of Bali and visit one of the most atmospheric temples in all of Bali, the Pura Uluwatu, a temple sitting on the cliffs overlooking the sea. There is a Kecak fire dance show at 6.00pm daily which is worth watching. Tickets for the show can be bought right there on the spot. Come a bit earlier to grab a good seat.
If you like to make it a whole experience including a seafood dinner or spa treatment, have a look at the tours offered here.
Alternatively, grab a cocktail at Rock Bar, located at the Ayana Resort and Spa. The open bar sitting right on a cliff-side with extensive views of the beach and ocean is a fantastic place to witness another amazing Bali sunset.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana is your ultimate next cultural stop. It covers more than 60 hectares of park area, an amphitheater for cultural performances and other events as well as an art gallery, souvenir shop, an art market, massage place, and even ATV and Segway rentals. Take part in one of their adventurous activities offered here.
Your perfect restaurant where you should take your lunch: Kat’s Kitchen, serving up your favourite Thai food dishes.
Don’t forget your swimmers because you’re heading to Padang Padang Beach right after, a world-renowned surf spot which has hosted Rip Curl competitions several times.
End your day with a seafood dinner at Jimbaran, where you pick from the freshest seafood that is cooked right there for you while you sit on your table right on the beach, feet in the sand and sipping cocktails. It hardly get’s any better than this!
Set out to Honey & Bread Café for a great breakfast experience as you are on your way to Nusa Dua, a resort-like area known for its high density of 5-star hotels.
Visit Tanjung Benoa Beach Resort to experience some adrenaline-surging aquatic activities such as parasailing, flying fish, or the rolling donut. Don’t miss out on an Ironman experience as you give the exciting Flyboard a try. Relax at the beach until the late afternoon.
For your last dinner in Bali, choose the beachfront alfresco restaurant Eight Degrees South at the Conrad Bali Resort. A highly romantic thing to do to finish off your Bali trip if you came with a loved one to the island.
What an amazing Bali itinerary to look forward to! The beautiful beaches, welcoming people, amazing food, a wonderful warm culture, and some unexpected little things will be waiting here in Bali for you, about time you get to experience it!
Even spending 14 days here, I am still itching for more time.
That is why your first time in Bali is never the last time. You’ll want to keep coming back for more. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!