No trip to Indonesia is complete without a visit to Bali, its most well-known island. I’ve previously written about Mt Ijen and Mt Bromo on the island of Java (West from Bali) and about scuba diving from Labuan Bajo on Flores(East from Bali). Now it’s time for most visitors main attraction: Bali. Read on to find my ideal Bali Itinerary for 10 days. Why only 10 days? Well, because I want to encourage you to visit the other islands such as Java, Lombok, and Flores as well!
Welcome to Bali! A destination that has been on your list for a while and oh man, it’s going to be one hell of a trip!
Do you need travel insurance for Bali?
First and foremost, I encountered so many travel-related accidents on Bali and the rest of Indonesia that I couldn’t continue without first recommending you getting travel insurance. Most of the accidents I saw were related to motorcycle accidents. I heard some horror stories about a guy ending up in the hospital and not being treated because he did not have travel insurance. Therefore I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get this sorted.
I use World Nomads and love that you can get your insurance sorted even if you have already left the country. They design their insurance especially for the adventurous travel and are perfect if you intend to go scuba diving, climbing a volcano or any other exciting activity.
The Perfect 10-day itinerary for your Bali Adventure
Day 1: Arrive in Bali, Head to Canggu
Most likely you will be arriving straight into Denpasar Airport (unless you are coming straight from Mt Bromo or Mt Ijen), the main airport of the island. Depending on the country where you are from, you can be eligible for a visa on arrival. Make sure that you have either the local currency (the cheapest way to pay for your visa) or a common foreign currency such as USD or AUD on you.
We’re going straight from the airport to Canggu, my personal favorite spot on the island of Bali. Canggu is a hotspot for many tourists and I prefer it over more well-known beaches such as Kuta and Seminyak. I would simply avoid Kuta at all times unless you want to party all day, every day. The beach is nothing impressive but is good for learning how to surf on small baby waves. Seminyak is known as the shopping and dining center of Bali. It is a great spot to take a day trip from on your base in Canggu.
Day 2-4: Learn How to Surf in Canggu and explore the South Coast of Bali
Surfing in Bali
Learning how to stand on a surfboard is not easy and will take more than a week. But we’re only spending 10 days in Bali, so you can at least get used to a surfboard. If you are able to stand, you can always try a bit more surfing while exploring Lombok.
There are many places in Bali that offer surfing lesson with your accommodation. It’s worth having a look around as it might be cheaper to get a package rather than booking surfing lessons separately.
Depending on your surfing skills, there are beaches in Bali for every skill level. Echo Beach is the most popular Canggu beach and is perfect for a drink at Old Mans. The surfing here, however, is recommended for more advanced surfers. Trust me on this one as I’m a strong swimmer and I actually cried my way through surfing here. There are other beaches around Canggu which are more suited for beginning surfers.
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot is by far the most popular temple in Bali. I tend to avoid the very touristy places, but it is still worth a visit. Head North from Canggu on a scooter for around sunset. It is beautiful, but as mentioned, there will be a lot of other tourists. If this is not your thing, head to Tanah Lot during the day rather than at the very famous sunset.
Seminyak Shop and Restaurants
You will hear more Australian in Seminyak than anything else and that’s because Seminyak is THE go-to destination of most Aussies (with the party beach of Kuta on a second spot). That comes with the benefit of beautiful restaurants and shops. Many great Australian brands have a flagship store in Seminyak that tend to be cheaper than in Australia itself. The downside of this area being so Westernised is that Seminyak is one of the highest priced areas of Bali.
There are so many good restaurants around Seminyak! You can literally eat anything really well here. Good Mexican food in Bali? Sure thing! Find the 50 best restaurants in Seminyak according to Honeycomber here.
If you are on a budget, Seminyak is best visited on a day trip by scooter, which is easily rentable in Canggu. If you really do want to stay in Seminyak, I loved my stay in the super affordable 7 Bidadari Hotel Seminyak.
Canggu is known for being a digital nomad and traveler hub. A few years ago, it used to be a bit of a secret spot in Bali. That time is long gone. As the restaurants change frequently and there are a lot of them, I’m not going to list them up myself. I trust fellow blogger and Belgian, Babs from LesPetitesPestes.com to provide you with the best recommendations around. She has complete and amazing maps you can download from her site. Check her out on Insta to see that she really knows them all.
As I mentioned before, Canggu isn’t a secret beach anymore. There are plenty of digital nomads and travelers around. That does mean it has a lot of accommodation to choose from. Find my favorites for each budget below:
- Budget: D’Tegale Homestay: A traditional style homestay with a private room that looks so pretty! It’s only 17 AUD per night for two people which is peanuts to stay in something this gorgeous. It’s constantly rated at exceptional quality as well, so can’t go wrong with this one.
- Modern: Plawa Bali Guest House: With your own bedroom, view onto the pool and air conditioning, this is your spot to visit if you want a bit more luxury. A modern building with all the modern conveniences at 31AUD per night, this is such good quality for money. Have a look at your own dates to find the exact price on your day and in your currency.
- Luxury: The Lumbung Wood Villa: A bit further from Canggu and more in the Seminyak area, this place is breathtakingly beautiful for its price point (81AUD)! The features of this accommodation keep going and I would tell you to just have a look.
Day 5-7: Ubud and the rice fields surrounding Ubud
Ubud Activities: Monkey Forest, Temples, Yoga, and Mt Batur
Alright, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time in the ocean during your first few days in Bali. On day 5 to 7 of your 10-day Bali Itinerary, we have Ubud! Ubud is the epicenter of yoga, digital nomads and rice fields. Its small town center is filled to the brim with creative internationals who have found their home abroad here. What should you get up to during your 2-day visit to Ubud? A visit to the Monkey Forest, wander through the bright green rice fields, have an amazing organic brunch and attend a yoga class.
Ubud is also known as the cultural center of Bali and offers many tours that include an introduction into the Balinese culture. See a show with traditional dances and wander around the markets to pick up a traditional souvenir.
Ubud Monkey Forest
Known as one of the most touristy spots in Ubud, the Ubud Monkey Forest is a treat! While there may be a lot of people wandering around in the forest, I still found it amazing too see all these monkeys up and close. These monkeys are the cheekiest monkeys you’ll ever meet, so it’s your job to make sure they cannot steal your stuff. I saw monkeys stealing sunglasses off peoples heads, cameras and even a flip flop that was still on someone’s foot!
I recommend removing all food from your backpacks and packing everything safely away before you head here. Yes, a lot of tourists are feeding the monkeys anything and everything for a good photo. I disagree with this and don’t think you should feed wildlife -ever-. It disturbs their eating patterns and it puts both human and animal in danger. Head out with no food and I promise you, they will still come up close for their photography debut.
Wander through the Rice Paddies
Ubud is known for its green surroundings. You can take endless hikes through the greenest of green rice paddies. The most famous hike is called Campuhan Ridge Walk and guides you along a beautiful hill with rice paddies on both sides. It is a great way to see a little bit more of the countryside without going far from the city center. If you walk far enough along the ridge, you can relax in the beautiful huts of Karsa Café and talk to some fellow travelers while you’re at it.
If you are looking for a bit more adventure, there are also several waterfalls around Ubud that are visitable by private car or via a tour.
Hike Mt Batur
Located in the north of the island of Bali, the volcano Batur is located closer to Ubud than the south coast of the island. Therefore a lot of visitors hike the volcano while visiting Ubud. Similar to when hiking Mount Ijen on Java or Mount Kelimutu on Flores, you will depart around 1.30am to reach the summit at sunrise.
Go with a reputable tour to make your life easier and dip in one of the hot springs after. If you are looking at attempting the volcano without a tour, have a read of this fellow travel blogger’s post.
Visit the Ubud Markets
Ubud is the perfect spot to pick up a Bali inspired souvenir. The Ubud Art Market or Pasar Seni Ubud sell everything from paintings to fabrics, clothing and handmade bags. It easily located near the center and allows for hours of browsing.
Visit the temples in and around Ubud
Ubud is filled with temples which should definitely be on your list while visiting Ubud. Many Yogi’s love Ubud and its surroundings for its spirituality, so why not go and experience it.
The lotus pond around Saraswati Temple is probably the most popular one and it admittedly very pretty. The Monkey Forest also has several temples and if you are lucky, you may even catch a ceremony.
Yoga in Ubud
Well-known all around the world as a Yoga destination, Ubud has a large choice of Yoga studios. The most famous Yoga studio is The Yoga Barn, but there are quite a few others to choose from. Read more about a fellow travel bloggers favorite Yoga studio.
Ubud is known far and wide for its large selection of organic and vegetarian and/or vegan restaurants. Again, I would like to mention the elaborate guide of LesPetitesPestes.com. If you are looking for vegetarian restaurants specifically, have a look at this list.
Relax in your Ubud Accommodation
The best part about Bali is that you can afford to get a room in a gorgeous Hotel or Villa with an infinity pool and enjoy the view of the rice paddies from the water. Don’t make yourself too busy exploring and enjoy your beautiful surroundings as well! Here are a few of my favorites in Ubud for each budget:
- Ultra Budget (less than 20AUD per night): Dedeane Ubud Guesthouse: pool and new private rooms. This is what a guest said about the guesthouse: “This guesthouse was awesome! The room was super clean and quiet. Loooooved the big bed in there. The staff was nice and helpful. It was easy to move around and come & go as we wished. The pool was a nice extra for us to hang out under the Balinese sun.”
- Nick’s Pension is a favorite amongst many travelers that head to Ubud. It offers a pool, an airport shuttle, a wellness center, and breakfast included. Located in the midst of greenery, most guests say they would return for their next stay. Prices start around 60AUD but check the exact price for your dates here.
- Paraiso Cottage Ubud: With an exceptional rating of 9.9, this place is a steal for 59AUD. It’s located a little bit further from the center, hence the cheaper price. It’s basically the perfect spot if you don’t want to spend all your time in the center, but want to relax a bit in a beautiful area.
- Affordable Luxury: Dedik House: Only in Bali, you can have a private pool in a villa for only 110AUD. I clicked all the filters that I would want to have and I can’t believe it actually exists. Check it out and let me know how it was!
Day 8: Uluwatu
When you’ve had your fill of rice fields, it’s time to head back to the beaches. Uluwatu is most famous for its surfing. Experienced surfers love these beaches, but it is not the place for a beginner due to the reef along the ocean. This is why we started this 10-day Bali Itinerary with surfing along the sandy beaches of Canggu and Kuta.
If you don’t want to stay in Uluwatu itself, the town is perfectly accessible as a day trip from Canggu as well. I would recommend staying in Uluwatu itself though to properly experience a different vibe.
As with most surfer towns, Uluwatu is known for being very laid back. Enjoy the beautiful cliff sides and viewpoints, the various beaches including Padang Padang beach which is featured in the blockbuster movie “Eat, Pray, Love” and go to one of the many cliffside bars.
This Insta-famous bar is part of the AYANA resort, which is one of the most luxurious hotels on Bali. The bar is located in Jimbaran, which is slightly south from the airport and north from Uluwatu. It’s the perfect place to go if you feel like dressing up during your stay in Bali. You might need to expect a bit of a cue to get down to the bar, which is really located on the rocks down the cliffside.
Eat in a Warung
Because Uluwatu is slightly less touristy than the beaches of Seminyak and Canggu, you will find quite a few Warungs. This is the Bahasa word for a local restaurant. For less than a dollar, you can have a full meal or two!
If you are heading to Rock Bar or exploring the Jimbaran beaches, you will pass some on your path. The one we ate at was called “Tasty”, but good luck finding that exact one. Finding good street food is not that hard, just follow these rules and you won’t get sick.
Uluwatu temple is a little bit less famous than Tanah Lot temple. It’s right around the corner from Uluwatu so it’s the perfect day 8 activity. It features a bunch of monkeys that live in and around the temples. This photo of swimming monkeys is actually one of my favorite photos I ever took! Just like in the Monkey Forest, the monkeys at Tanah Lot at very cheeky as well. Keep everything very well tucked away to prevent the stealing monkeys to run away with your valuables.
Go to Jimbaran Beach
While you’re exploring the most southern tip of the island of Bali on your motorcycle, pop into Jimbaran beach. A super long beach, it’s a lot quieter than the beaches of Kuta or Canggu.
I didn’t stay in Uluwatu myself during my stay in Bali, but will on my next trip. Have a look on Booking to find your favorite ocean view hotel.
Day 9-10: Gili Islands
On the end of our 10-day itinerary around Bali, we’re leaving the island. What? Yes, it’s time for even more tropical vibes on the Gili Islands!
While the Gili Islands are actually a part of the island Lombok, they are super easily reached by speedboat from Bali. There are three small islands, commonly referred to as Gili T (Gili Trawangan), Gili M (Gili Meno) and Gili Air. I only had 24h on the Gili Islands and found it enough to explore Gili T. You can simply rent a bicycle and ride around the whole island, go snorkeling and take in the vibe.
The other two islands, Gili Meno and Gili Air, are known to be a lot more tranquil and more alternative. If you can’t fully let go of the party atmosphere and touristy feel, head to Gili Air. If you want complete isolation (for as far as you can find that on the Gilis), head to Gili Meno.
Getting from one island to the other is quite easy as these islands are on the very well beaten track. Just book a boat and show up. Don’t forget to negotiate when purchasing anything on the Gilis (and on the rest of Bali).
If you want to do something different from the Gilis, you can also easily reach Nusa Penida from Bali.
Gili Trawangan Accommodation
Gili Trawangan is visited by many tourists each year and has plenty of accommodation on offer. We ended staying in an Airbnb related to the owner of the famous La Boheme hostel. We were granted access to the La Boheme hostel and loved it (especially the pancakes!). If I were to go back now, I would do anything to stay at the most beautiful Le Pirate!
Bali Co-Working Spaces
Bali is a popular destination for people that can work remotely. If you also want to get some work done during your time in Bali, there are plenty of spots for that. The more defined hotspots for digital nomads can be found in Canggu and in Ubud. People bounce between their villas, the yoga studios, and their favorite co-working space. Not a bad life, right!
There are so many cafes to choose from as Wifi and Lattes are as widely spread in Bali as the tourists itself, but if you want a list of the best co-working spaces, I enjoyed the list by Honeycombers.
When to visit Bali?
Bali doesn’t have four seasons, but a dry and a wet season. I recommend visiting any tourist destination such as Bali in the shoulder seasons as there will be fewer tourists. The only downside that comes with this tactic is the occasional downpour. If you are traveling to another Indonesian island after Bali, take into account that the seasons are different on each individual island.
- May to October: This is the dry season in Bali and the height of the tourist season in Bali. The shoulder months May and October that may still have some rain. There are fewer tourists during these two months.
- November to April: This is the wet season of Bali. Expect showers and plenty of them in the middle of the wet season. You can take your gamble and enjoy lower prices around November and April, but I would aim for early November and late March to April. I visited in March and didn’t experience too much rain.
- Day of Silence or Nyepi Day: Every year, Bali has one national holiday that shuts the whole island down. The Day of Silence in 2019 was on the 7th of March and will be on the 23rd of March in 2020. You can expect everything to be shut down on the day itself, including the public TV and wifi! That means there is no food available anywhere on the day of silence, so if you do head here during this period, be prepared. The buses stop driving well on time the night before so only travel early during the day and enjoy the parades at night.
How to Get Around Bali?
The best way to get around the southern coast of Bali is by scooter. If you are planning to do a bigger distance such as Canggu to Ubud or to the north of the island, you can get a private car (negotiate for price) or grab a bus.
How to Get to Bali?
Most people fly into Bali via an international flight. If you fly in, start the 10-day Bali Itinerary in Denpasar and are best to move straight to either Uluwatu or Canggu. Another option is that you fly into Java, which is also well connected with international flights. This way you can visit the temples of Jogyakarta and the volcanoes Mt. Bromo and Mt. Ijen first. Getting to Bali from Java is a piece of cake. Follow my itinerary to Mt. Ijen and then take the ferry across. From there, you can take a bus to either Ubud or the South Coast of Bali.
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