Bali, Indonesia is undoubtedly one of the most popular travel destinations for the millennial generation, and for good reason. Sprawling rice paddies amidst lush jungles, turquoise-water beaches, and ornate temples are just a fraction of what adds to the island of Bali’s natural beauty and Instagrammable charm. Bali is also the perfect destination for a balance of wellness, adventure, and entertainment, and is an affordable option for Western travelers. In just one week you’ll be able to check off all the best of your Bali bucket list with this complete Bali itinerary. 7 days is the minimum recommended amount of time to experience the highlights of Bali, but I’ve made this itinerary completely flexible, so feel free to add or subtract days based on your preferences to make this itinerary perfect for you.
The Perfect Bali Itinerary: 7 Days in Bali, Indonesia
When beginning to plan your trip, you may first be wondering where to stay in Bali. This one week Bali itinerary includes splitting your time between three of Bali’s major areas: Seminyak (or Canggu), Ubud, and Uluwatu. By making these areas your base, you’ll be able to maximize your time spent in Bali while taking day trips to other nearby areas.
3 – 4+ Nights in Seminyak Itinerary (and/or Canggu)
Option 1: Begin your trip in Bali’s most popular beach towns. Seminyak is one of Bali’s main tourist hubs and therefore can be crowded and a little bit chaotic, but fun nonetheless. While it is definitely worth the visit, staying in the hustle and bustle of it all is ultimately up to you! If you enjoy being in the center of the action and love to party, consider spending 2 – 4+ nights in Seminyak.
Option 2: The neighboring area to Seminyak called Canggu offers a slightly more relaxed pace and neighborhood vibe. Once a sleepy surf town, Canggu is quickly evolving into a favorite amongst digital nomads. Chic beach bars, bountiful health food cafes, and stylish private villas are a way of life in Canggu, which is my personal top choice of area in all of Bali. Consider splitting your time between Seminyak and Canggu, or staying in Canggu for all 3 or 4+ nights while making the short trip over to Seminyak to explore as you wish.
Seminyak is Bali’s most popular beach city. It’s busy, crowded, and guaranteed a good time. Many people often compare Kuta and Seminyak, as Kuta is another major beach city and tourist hub since it’s located near the airport, however, I recommend skipping Kuta entirely and heading straight to Seminyak. That said, if you’re looking for more places to party, Kuta has plenty and as a short ride away.
Top things to do in Bali – Seminyak
Pool bars and beach clubs are the name of the game and among the top activities in Seminyak. Whether day or not, you’ll want to escape the heat in a beachfront infinity pool sipping expertly-crafted cocktails while enjoying light bites. The following are some of my favorites, along with other top Seminyak activities.
Pool party at Cacoon Beach Club: The luxurious Cacoon restaurant and beach club hosts one of Seminyak’s best pool parties. It is a great place to escape the Bali heat while sun-lounging and grazing their eclectic menu items with a Mediterranean flare. Perfect for brunch over-looking the ocean before hitting the pool party.
Do some of the best yoga Seminyak has to offer: Two popular options for yoga studios in Bali are Yoga Shala, which also has a great raw-vegan cafe on site, and Olop Iyengar Studio, housed in a traditional Balinese home and garden amidst chickens, dogs, and geese.
Chill out Mrs Sippy: A laidback saltwater pool bar with fun tropical vibes. Sip cocktails, enjoy the music and tropical vibes, and enjoy fine eats from their mediteranean-inspired menu.
Catch the sunset at Ku De Ta: Ku De Ta is one of Seminyak’s most chic beach-front restaurants and lounges and the absolute best place to catch the sunset. The venue hosts two dining options, a rooftop lounge, and a swimming pool. It’s a great place to socialize with one of their hand-crafted cocktails, while catching the sunset before enjoying a fine-dining dinner.
Visit Pura Petitenget Temple: Take a culture break and visit the Pura Petitenget Temple. This is one of Bali’s six sacred sea temples and a great place to get familiar with the authentic Balinese culture. At this temple, you’ll find dragon-shaped staircases among intricate shrines and pavilions.
Hit the beach: For the best beach in Seminyak, visit Double Six Beach. Located in front of the Double Six Luxury Hotel, the long stretch of soft golden sand and swimmable waters make this beach perfect for lounging all day.
Go surfing in Seminyak: The popular, accredited Santai Surf School is perfect for beginner and intermediate surfers. They’ll pick you up from your hotel and make sure to take you to the best surf spots no matter your level.
Walk & Shop on Jalan Laksmana: Seminyak’s main pedestrian strip, here you’ll find clothing stores of all types ranging from international and local designers, scattered about art galleries and trendy restaurants and cafes.
Things to do in Seminyak at Night
Seminyak is the best area for nightlife in Bali. If you want to party, Seminyak has many options to keep you drinking and dancing all night. Be sure to visit these 4 top clubs in Seminyak.
Potato Head Beach Club: Potato Head is one of Bali’s absolute best beach clubs. This large venue hosts Internationally-known DJs and bands as well as many local Indonesian talent. The cocktails are beautifully-crafted and innovative, and the vibe is lively and fun. Potato Head is also open during the day, and is a great place to have lunch while lounging on a reserved day-bed by their beach-front swimming pool.
La Favela: Another one of Seminyak’s best night clubs and restaurants. This multi-level, multi-room club in the heart of Seminyak is full of energy. The food and service are both excellent here, and the venue is built with exceptional detail. A guaranteed good time whether you are visiting for dinner or late-night dancing.
OPIVM: This two-level nightclub complete with areal dancers blares techno and house-music to keep your heart and hands pumping all night.
Mirror Lounge & Club: With a tastefully-trippy interior of tiled mosaics, colorful laser beams, and psychedelic walls under a glass ceiling, you’ll be able to dance all night under the stars while being indoors.
The Best Places to Eat in Seminyak
Seminyak is full of trendy and fun restaurants. You’ll find that many of the restaurants in Seminyak have pool bars to hang by during the day. In Seminyak, you’ll find cuisine from all over the world, offering something for every palette. The following are the top restaurants in Seminyak, Bali.
Merah Putih: an eco-sustainable restaurant and workspace offering a modern take on Indonesian food. Set in a lush, contemporary setting, Merah Putih is a bit on the pricier side compared to other Seminyak dining and reservations are recommended in peak travel season. That said, it offers some of the best dining in Seminyak and worth the visit.
Kynd: A hip, vegan cafe and Instagrammer’s dream. Here you’ll find salad and smoothie bowls and other Bali vegan favorites, in a bright and airy atmosphere.
La Lucciola: a lively beachside Italian restaurant. Set beach front, the food is as good as the views whether you’re visiting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Motel Mexicola – a fun and vibrant Mexican restaurant. This Mexican-themed venue is also one of the best bars in Seminyak.
Dahana – contemporary Japanse food with a beautiful poolside setting. If you’re craving sushi, this elegant gem is where you should go for the best in Seminyak.
Balibola: Another hip Instagrammers spot, Balibola is bright and colorful with a plant-based menu. Healthy bowls and salads are found here alongside heartier faux-meat dishes.
Sardine: For a change of scenery, enjoy an elegant meal overlooking the rice paddies in Seminyak. As the name suggests, Sardine offers a seafood-centric menu in a tranquil atmosphere.
La Plancha: Another restaurant and beach bar combo, here you’ll find fresh Spanish-style seafood and beanbag chairs sprawled about the beach for a relaxing meal by the water. Twice a month on Saturdays they also host a fun craft and flea market at the back of the restaurant.
Revolver Espresso: One of Seminyak’s most loved coffee shops, and possibly the best in all of Bali. With an emphasis on sustainability, this coffee shop’s beans sourced from some of the best farmers in the world, and their menu items are just as good.
Where to stay in Seminyak: Villas, Hotels, & Resorts
There are no shortages of beachfront hotels and accommodations for every budget in Seminyak. Bali in general is great for affordable luxury, and the following are a few of my favorites from splurge-worthy to budget-friendly.
W Bali: W hotels around the world never seem to disappoint. With an insta-worthy forest entrance, lively rooftop Woo Bar, and incredible Sunday brunch, W Seminyak is a great pick. It’s also closely situated to Canggu, making outings to places in both Seminyak and Canggu a breeze. Even if not staying at the W, their famous Sunday brunch should not be missed.
Legian Seminyak: A top luxury choice situated in the center of Seminyak Beach. The adults-only private pool villas are perfect for a Bali honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Equilibria Seminyak: The ultra-modern pool villas of Equilibria are another top choice for honeymooners or those who want a luxurious getaway.
Peppers Seminyak: A hotel / villa hybrid offering 1 – 5 bedroom villas with full service and resort-style facilities.
Tijili Seminyak: An affordable, contemporary luxury option perfectly situated blocks from the beach and Seminyak’s main strip. Tijili is the perfect choice for budget travelers looking for comfortable, clean, and modern accommodations.
Hotel Daun Bali: For another affordable luxury option, consider staying at Daun Bali. This hotel has roof top jacuzzis perfect for watching the sunset.
As mentioned earlier, you can swap staying in Seminyak for Canggu, or split your time up between both. For a full guide to Canggu, you can skip this section and head straight to this post. Otherwise, keep reading for Canggu highlights.
Top things to do in Canggu
Canggu is a bohemian, wellness, hipster beach town, and is like the more refined older sibling to Seminyak. Where Seminyak is loud and lively, Canggu is a bit more chill and laid-back. Popular amongst surfers and digital nomads alike, Canggu has a great vibe and with so many private villa options, it makes for a great area to make home base. The following are all the must-dos when visiting Canggu.
Spend the day at Finn’s Beach Club and Finn’s VIP: Finn’s is one of my all-time favorite beach clubs/pool bars in Bali. It’s chic, but not uptight and the massive venue sits right on the beach to provide epic views all day and night. There are multiple pools and dining options, and at Finn’s VIP you’ll find even more luxury amenities such as a champagne bar and full-service penthouses.
Party at Old Man’s: a laidback surf bar with beer pong, 2-for-1 happy hour specials, and a wild Wednesday night party on “Dirty Ol’ Wednesdays.” Hang out on bean bags or dance among locals and tourists who both frequent this joint.
Sip cocktails during sunset at The Lawn: Set on the black sand beaches of Canggu, the Lawn is a stylish and relaxing beach club perfect for lounging and catching the sunset. The food is just as good as the ambiance with a mix of eastern and western classics.
Do yoga or surf in Canggu: There are plenty of options to get moving in the wellness-centric town of Canggu. Canggu is THE location for surfing in Bali, and yoga is a staple in Bali, too. Whether you want to pick up surfing or practice some yoga, consider enrolling in Canggu’s Chillhouse yoga and surf school.
The Best Canggu Restaurants
Dining in Canggu is all about healthy options with an Instagrammable touch. Vegan and vegetarian options are plenty, with delicious and colorful smoothie bowls as a mainstay on many menus. Among the health cafes are dozens of other eclectic eateries ranging from fine dining to international cuisine. The following are the top restaurants in Canggu, Bali.
La Laguna – A beautiful bohemian-style restaurant with delicious tapas and a great sunset. The gypsy-style caravans and colorfully outfitted decor is extra Insta-worthy and the food is top-notch. La Laguna is Canggu’s most loved and popular eatery.
Ji Terrace by the Sea – A fun Japanese fusion restaurant with a dance floor on the upper levels. Ji is an excellent choice for sushi with a stunning ocean view.
Shady Shack: A veggie-friendly casual eatery and local favorite. Offering views of the rice fields, the Shady Shack is a perfect place for breakfast and lunch.
Tugu Bali Restaurant: Traditional Indonesian cuisine combined with an entertaining Balinese cultural show. It is the perfect restaurant to get acquainted with Balinese culture while having a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Bettlenut: A cute cafe for smoothies, coffee, healthy food, and delicious desserts.
Moana Fish Eatery: As the name suggests, Moana serves up fresh fish menu items of all kinds and some of the best poke bowls on the island of Bali.
Crate Cafe: An ultra-cool, hipster coffee joint with bold murals and industrial chic decor, serves up great food at a reasonable price. Perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Mason: A modern Australian restaurant that makes in-house charcuterie and cheese. Set in a contemporary ambiance, this protein-centric restaurant is perfect for those looking to escape the typical veggie eateries of Canggu.
Loop Pool Bar and Restaurant: Swap the infinity-edge pool along the Canggu beaches for an infinity pool in the rice terraces. Here you can swim, drink, and dine on food that’s fit for both veggie and meat-lovers alike.
Where to stay in Canggu
Canggu has so many different great accommodation options from private villas with or without full-service, to hotels, resorts, and hybrid villa-hotels. Depending on your needs and preferences, choose from one of these top Canggu accommodations.
Hotel Tugu Bali: A 5-star contemporary Balinese-style hotel with exceptional Indonesian and international restaurants. The spa and garden will be an oasis for tranquility away from the bustling city. If luxury is what you’re after and have the budget, Tugu is a top choice.
COMO Uma Canggu: Modern luxury over-looking the ocean. The rooms here have an ultra-sleek design and surrounding a large swimming pool to beat the heat. This hotel is based on wellness and is the perfect place to enjoy a health retreat while still being able to enjoy the fun beach city life.
Canggu Village: A fun new affordable resort-style property in the heart of Canggu offering all the best of Bali and Canggu rolled into one. They offer both private rooms (Canggu Village Accomodation) as well a hostel with shared rooms (Kos One Hostel). Amenities include a large pool bar and day club (Alternative Beach) complete with a slide, swing, and day beds; a spa; fitness studio with yoga; a cafe / restaurant and more. This is the ultimate Canggu accommodation for budget travelers.
Private villas: Canggu is the perfect place to rent a private villa, and villas of all types from simple to ultra-luxurious can be found on Airbnb. Using this link will get you $40 off your first booking, and with villas starting as low as $40 a night means you could get your first night in Canggu free! If you prefer not to use Airbnb to book your villa, another great place to look is by searching for “villa” here.
3 – 4+ Nights in Ubud Itinerary
The next part of your itinerary involves swapping the beaches for the Jungle. Ubud is famous thanks to the movie Eat, Pray, Love and perfectly sums up the zen paradise of this part of the island. Where Seminyak and Canggu are lively and exciting, Ubud will offer you serenity and peace in a beautiful setting.
Top Things to do in Ubud
Activities in Ubud are best enjoyed outside in the natural surroundings. The lush jungles and valley, rice fields, and incredible resort pools all add to the relaxing elements of Ubud. Ubud is also famous for its yoga, meditation, and health retreats. Ubud is Bali’s most famous area, and it is here you will experience the heart and soul of Bali.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace: The most famous rice paddies in all of Bali and one of the most prominent sites in Ubud. At the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, you can hike and climb through the sprawling fields for epic jungle views, swing on famous Bali swings, and take photos in a Bali bird’s nest. Arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds!
Bali Swing: If you tried the swing at Tegalalang and just can’t get enough, consider going to Bali Swing, a swing park heaven! Here you’ll find 12 different swings, a floating bed, birds nests, and plenty of more photo opps. No matter which one you choose, the views will surely be impressive.
Walk through the Sacred Monkey Forest: No trip to Ubud is complete without visiting the Monkey Forest– another one of Ubud’s top highlights. Take a walk through the jungle (wear bug spray!) as you observe, or can even feed the monkeys. Just make sure to hang tight to belongings like sunglasses and phones, as these cheeky monkeys are notorious thieves. 😉
Relax at Wanna Jungle Pool Bar: The most epic pool bar in Ubud, Wanna Jungle Pool Bar at the Kayon Jungle Resort features a 3-level infinity overlooking the sprawling rice terraces. You’ll enjoy some of the best views in Ubud while relaxing in the pools and enjoying cocktails, smoothies, and a menu of Indonesian and international food.
Do yoga at The Yoga Barn: Ubud is especially known for its yoga retreats, and Yoga Barn is one of the most popular studios in all of Bali. Here you’ll enjoy classes of all kinds and for all levels, including a memorable sunset yoga session.
Go shopping at Ubud Art Market: This is the best market to go souvenir shopping as you’ll find tons of handmade arts and crafts and other Balinese gifts including jewelry, paintings, and textiles. Arrive early in the morning to beat the crowd and get the best deals.
Marvel at the Saraswati Temple: A scenic Hindu temple surrounded by a tranquil lotus pond. There is no entrance fee, (a rarity in Bali) and is a great place to relax, have coffee, or take photos.
Visit The Ubud Palace: Officially Puri Saren Agung, this palace is a major landmark to Ubud center. Entrance is free, however there is a ticketed cultural dance show takes place every evening.
Campuhan Ridge Walk at Sunrise: As Ubud’s best and most famous trek, you’ll enjoy the beauty and serenity of Ubud as you surround yourself with rice paddies, rivers, and the lush green hills. This 2km walk is not very challenging, but it is hilly and rather steep at the start. Remember to wear some comfortable shoes.
Visit the holy waters of Tirta Empul Temple: For over a thousand years, the Balinese have visited Tirta Empul to bathe in the sacred waters for healing and spiritual merits. Observe or partake in the Hindu holy ritual cleansing at this temple near Ubud built around the thermal hot spring, where you’ll find a large thermal pool and 12 fountains. For an extra special experience, visit on a full moon day, which has special significance to the local Balinese-Hindu religion.
Have your palms read at Liyer Spirit House: Just like in Eat, Pray, Love, you can have your fortune told by same medicine man’s son (the original medicine man, Kitut Liyer has sadly passed away) as the book and movie.
Where to Eat in Ubud
Ubud is amazing for Indonesian dining with a contemporary twist. There are so many memorable restaurants in Ubud that are unlike any in the world, and are totally worth the splurge. While there are many casual restaurants in Ubud that offer affordable dining, the following are some of the most unique and top restaurants in Ubud, and the price tag may reflect it.
Locavore: One of the best restaurants in Ubud and the most famous restaurant in Bali, or quite possibly all of Indonesia. At Locavore, you’ll enjoy a rotating pre-fixe menu which a choice of 6 or 9 courses made of modern, locally-inspired and sourced dishes. Be sure to add a cocktail pairing for an extra treat. Vegetarians will also be able to enjoy this restaurant with their veggie-friendly option, Herbivore. Tables book up quickly here so be sure to book well in advance to be able to enjoy one of the best meals you’ll have in Bali.
Room4Dessert: A completely unique restaurant experience set in an unforgettable scenery. At Room4Dessert you’ll find a pre-fixe menu of many courses based on variants of desserts, with an Indonesian touch. Many are sweet but some savory, and the entire meal itself (I say meal because with up to 20+ plates this isn’t somewhere you should head to after dinner) is remarkable from start to finish. Perfect for a special occasion or romantic evening out to satisfy your sweet tooth. Reservations are recommended.
Hujan Locale: With the name translating to “rain” the entire menu is based on a “found and foraged” premise. While the venue itself is simple, the food is anything but. Modern Indonesian and lots of great seafood items can be found here, along with great cocktails, too. Reservations are recommended.
Folk Pool and Garden: An affordable place to cool off from the jungle heat while you eat! Cabanas circling this charming garden pool and swim-up bar make for a lovely way to spend a leisurely afternoon. The menu features everything from vegetarian to grilled specialties and is the perfect place to chill out after a trip to the Monkey Forest.
Nusantara by Locavore: A spinoff restaurant by the same people of Locavore, much like the original restaurant the menu at Nusantara focuses on Indonesian food, with this one leaning towards more traditional dishes. A nice place to have a traditional Indonesian meal with an artful twist.
Lazy Cats Cafe: With an ever-so-Insta-worthy interior, this hipster cafe is a great place to chill out with a cup of coffee or a light lunch. The decor is perfectly bali-bohemian with its potted lush plants, vintage decor, and muted tones.
La View: A honeymooners’ delight! Nothing makes you appreciate the beauty of Bali quite like having a romantic, private dinner in a bird’s nest overlooking the valley and jungle of Ubud. For $350 you’ll enjoy a set menu and drinks in an insanely intimate and romantic setting. Just be sure to make your reservation before sunset to fully enjoy the view.
Swept Away: Another incredibly romantic dining experience, this time by the Ayung River! The food is as incredible as the scenery, with a menu of Indo-fusion cotemporary dining complimented by the over-the-top romance of candles, rose petals, and the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Mozaic: A gastronomic, fine-dining restaurant featuring a rotating menu of French cuisine with a local Indonesian flare. The premium wine-pairing takes this already over-the-top dining experience to the next level while the lush jungle setting has you lost in the tranquility of the surroundings.
Where to Stay in Ubud
If there’s one place to splurge on hotels in Bali, it’s Ubud. There is nothing quite like luxury in the jungle, where infinity pools overlook the tropical greenery, rice paddies, and valleys. If you’re able to book one of the following luxury Ubud resorts, you surely won’t regret it.
Kayon Jungle Resort by Pramana: Home to the incredible Wanna Jungle Pool Bar mentioned above, the secluded Kayon Jungle Resort overlooks the Tegalalang rice fields and is an oasis away from the town center. With complimentary shuttles to town, you can enjoy the best of both worlds at this spectacular resort completely engulfed by nature.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan: I’ve never met a Four Seasons hotel I didn’t like, and this one in Ubud takes the cake for a tropical and romantic oasis. Named by Travel+Leisure as the #1 hotel in the world, this ultra-luxurious Ubud hideaway has attention to detail from top to bottom, and is perfect for a honeymoon in Bali or other special occasions. If you have the budget, you should absolutely consider this Four Seasons resort as your top choice of hotels in Ubud.
Hanging Gardens of Bali: Panoramic views, private pools, and sprawling terraces can all be found at this iconic Ubud hotel. Luxury villas come with their own infinity plunge pools and the rooms are outfitted with traditional Balinese designs. Even if not staying at this hotel, it is a beautiful property to book a treatment at the spa and get a day pass to swim in their infinity pool.
Goya Boutique Resort: Ideally-located in a walkable area near the Monkey Forest with views of the lush tropical jungle, with suites complete with hot tubs and balconies with forest views.
Alaya Resort Ubud: An affordable luxury option, conveniently located in downtown Ubud and a 5-minute walk from the Monkey Forest. The tropical-chic rooms are a modern interpretation of Bali villa living, with a tranquil and serene presence throughout.
Kamandalu: Modeled after a traditional Balinese village, this luxury resort will have you feeling the culture of Ubud while enjoying 5-star service. Upgraded villas come with their own private swimming pool perfect for a romantic getaway.
COMO Shambhala: The perfect contemporary luxury wellness retreat. Enjoy the serenity of the jungle from your private villa and relish in the holistic wellness retreat offerings from nutritious dining and Ayurveda, to yoga and other activities to get moving. The perfect Ubud luxury wellness retreat to rejuvenate and restore your mind, body, and spirit.
1 – 2+ Nights in Uluwatu Itinerary
Finish off your trip back on the beach in the south-western tip of Bali, relaxing in one of the famed beach resort towns. Uluwatu is the perfect balance of luxury, relaxation, and contemporary Bali living. Uluwatu is about 30 minutes to 1 hour away from the Seminyak/Canggu area, so even if you choose not to stay in Uluwatu, it is still a great day trip option.
Top things to do in Uluwatu
Spend the day (and night) at OMNIA Bali: OMNIA is easily Bali’s most luxurious beach club and a place to see and be seen. This internationally-found venue offers breath-taking views over the ocean from their massive cliff-side infinity pool. Their pool-side dining menu and separate sushi restaurant will be sure to satisfy cravings all day as you lounge poolside; and at night, the dance floor comes to life with world-famous DJs.
Hang at OneEighty: OneEighty is another luxury beach club with a suspended infinity glass-bottom pool. You’ll really get the VIP treatment at this chic day club with great views, atmosphere, and food.
Explore the best Uluwatu beaches: Pandawa Beach (The Beach Of The Legendary Five Knights) near the Uluwatu Temple is a beautiful and serene beach offering sound pillowy sand and brilliant turquoise waters. Suluban Beach, another stunning beach, is nestled below high coves and famous for its underground caves accessible by stairs and is the perfect place to capture photos. This beach’s cove, known as “Blue Point” is also very popular with surfers. Padang Padang Beach in Uluwatu was shown in and gained popularity from the movie Eat, Pray, Love, and is the perfect beach to hang out (and see some monkeys), or party at every Saturday night. Tegal Wangl Beach located just outside of Uluwatu in Jimbaran, is famous for its “natural jacuzzi” holes where you can sit in and get massaged by the waves. This beach is close to the Rock Bar at Anaya hotel, mentioned right below.
Go for sunset drinks at Rock Bar: The famous Rock Bar at the Ayana hotel is the most popular spot to catch the sunset in Bali with a cool cocktail or small bites. The Rock Bar is built on a cliff overlooking the ocean offering epic panoramic views. Arrive early or be prepared to wait as space is limited, and be sure to adhere to the smart attire dress code.
Visit Uluwatu Temple: Perched on top of a steep cliff about 70 meters above sea level, this sacred site offers incredible views of Bali’s coastline, and a mesmerizing Kecak dance show every day at sunset.
Where to Eat in Uluwatu
Single Fin – a massive cliffside balcony overlooking the waters to enjoy breakfast lunch or dinner any day of the week. On Sundays, check out the “Sunday Sessions” dance party that goes from day to late at night.
El Kabron: A unique restaurant and lounge featuring a menu of Spanish influences. The venue is sophisticated and elegant, centered around an infinity-edge pool overlooking the ocean. The perfect place to eat, drink, and cool off.
Ulu Cliffhouse: Another sip, swim, eat venue perched on the famous Uluwatu cliffs. Creative cocktails and fresh seafood are a staple here at this contemporary restaurant and day club.
Suka Espresso: A fantastic coffee shop and restaurant offering specialty local-roasted coffee and western breakfast and lunch favorites.
Where to Stay in Uluwatu
Uluwatu is a resort beachtown offering many choices for luxury accommodations. To fully enjoy the beauty of Uluwatu, stay in one of these stunning beachfront properties.
The Edge: Built at the edge of a cliff as the name suggests, this modern Balinese accommodation is luxurious, with exceptional service and VIP hospitality.
Six Senses Uluwatu: A luxurious option, this cliffside resort will take your breath away. The hotel is ultra-sleek with 1 – 3 bedroom villas and has a fantastic infinity pool with views of the Indian ocean.
Ayana Resort: Home to the famous Rock Bar, staying here means you’ll have priority entrance and viewing area at the best place to be in Uluwatu to for sunset. A larger resort for Bali standards, Ayana is loved by both honeymooners and families alike, offering standard rooms, villas, and upgraded luxury offerings such as personal butler services.
10 More Awesome Things to Add to Your Bali Bucket List:
- Get massages: spas are everywhere and treatments can range from extremely affordable to novel and splurge-worthy. Here are some of the best spas in Bali.
- Best spas in Seminyak:. Prana Spa, Bali Gift Spa, and Bodyworks
- Best spas in Canggu: Glo Spa, Merapu Svaasthya at Desi Seni, and Body Temple at the Canggu Club
- Best spas in Ubud: FiveElements, Maya Ubud, Tjampuhan Spa, Lembah Spa, and Karsa Spa
- Best spas in Uluwatu: The Spa at the Edge and Spa on the Rocks
2. Take a flower bath: You’ll find these flower petal baths at many villa hotels and spas. An ever-Instagrammable bathtub or pool full of flowers is the picture-perfect way to end a day in Bali.
3. Have a floating breakfast: Many full-service private villas will be able to arrange a floating breakfast in your private pool. Enjoy a lavish spread complete with fresh tropical fruit and dishes of your choice served on a floating tray right inside your refreshing swimming pool.
4. Visit the Gates of Heaven, Lampuyang: Take a day trip to the “Gates of Heaven” in Lampuyang to capture the Instagram-famous photo opp. These gates are found outside the Lampuyang Hindu Temple in East Bali. From the Seminyak/Canggu area, it will take around 2 – 3 hours to reach. From Ubud, around 2 – 2.5 hours. *Note* You’ll want to get here early as people line up (for hours!) to have their photo taken. The scenery also isn’t entirely real. The reflection is made by locals holding up a mirror to your camera and the ground is actually a path.
Another popular “Bali gate” Instagram spot is the Hadara golf course gates. This Gate is similar but slightly less scenic, however it is a little bit more accessible. From the Seminyak/Canggu area it is around 2 hours, and from Ubud, about an hour and a half. The gates lead to a golf resort.
5. Try Kopi Luwak: also known as “cat poop coffee” or “Cat-poo-cino” this local Bali brew is made from cats who sniff out, eat, and digest these superior coffee beans. The coffee is known to be strong, with fruity notes, and smooth. You can find Kopi Luwak at many coffee shops across Bali. I recommend checking out the Munduk Plantation as their Luwak are wild and not caged.
6. Take a day trip to Nusa Penida: The famous Nusa Penida Island identifiable by its t-rex dinosaur shape is one of the most popular day trips from Bali. Beautiful hidden coves and sweeping views are found about this island with insane photo opportunities from a series of steep steps. To get to Nusa Penida, you’ll take a fast boat from Sanur, which is about 30 minutes from Seminyak.
7. Hike Mount Batur Volcano for sunrise: Bali is famous for its magical sunsets, but the sunrises are also equally terrific. The 2-hour hike offers gorgeous views of the sunrise through the clouds and you will be able to wander the crater at the summit, see monkeys, and see areas of hot smoke creeping out the volcano. Hiking with a guide is highly recommended.
8. Visit the Sekumpal Waterfalls: If you need a heavy dose of nature away from the city, the Sekumpal waterfalls located in the mountains of Bali are known as the most beautiful (and tallest) of Bali waterfalls. There are many waterfalls throughout Bali and each are unique in their own right, however if you are going to choose just 1, I recommend this one. If you’re really feeling adventurous, hire a local guide to help you trek the falls. It is about a 2-to-3-hour drive from both the Seminyak area and Ubud (without traffic, so go early.)
9. Visit the abandoned aircraft in Nusa Dua: Nusa Dua is another beach resort town near Uluwatu, and just 5-minutes from Pandawa Beach you’ll find this abandoned plane near the beach. No one knows why this old Boeing 737 has been abandoned here, but it now serves as a major tourist attraction and photo opportunity spot.
10. Visit a Hindu Temple: The island of Bali is full of beautiful and sacred Hindu temples, of which 7 of them are sea temples located offshore. Visiting these temples are not only stunning to see but give an insightful look into the Balinese culture. The top 3 recommended Hindu temples to visit are:
Tanah Lot Temple: Should be visited for sunset. The Tanah Lot Temple is located offshore and offers magical sunset views amidst the Indian Ocean. To get to Tanah Lot it is about a 45-minute to 1-hour drive from the Seminyak area, and about 30-40 minutes from Ubud.
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple: Another one of Bali’s famous sea temples, this one is extremely picturesque. With a strategic positioning on Bratan Lake and the undulating mountains as a backdrop, Ulun Danu is a great place to immerse in both the beauty and serenity of Balinese culture. The temple is located about a 1.5 hour drive from Ubud and 2.5 hours from Seminyak.
Besakih Temple: Besakih is the most important, oldest, largest, and holiest Hindu temple in Bali and is known as “the mother of temples.” Its auspiciously large size set against the natural scenery make it Bali’s most impressive temples. To get the most out of your visit, you’ll want to go with a guide. Besakih Temple is about a 1.5 hour drive from either Ubud or Seminyak.
When visiting temples and other religious sites in Bali, please remember to be mindful and cover your shoulders and knees. If you forget, many temples offer sarong rentals for a small fee.
Tips and Things to Know Before Visiting Bali
- Beware of Bali Belly! The tap water in Bali is not safe to drink, therefore instances of traveler’s illness and traveler’s diarrhea can be common. Following these safety tips and especially taking the supplement recommended in this post can reduce your risk of getting sick by over 90%.
- You’ll need a good DEET-based bug spray to protect against mosquitos, especially in Ubud! I recommend this one.
- The weather is hot and humid year-round. You’ll want to pack light clothing, bathing suits, sandals, and very light outerwear. For ideas and fun clothing options to purchase for your trip, check out my shop here. And for the best travel sandals click here.
- Almost nothing in Bali is free. Expect to pay entry fees at any tourist sites, photo sites, day clubs etc. That said, Bali is an extremely affordable destination for Western travelers and fees are usually only a couple bucks. The beautiful island thrives off tourism and it is with the support of travelers that it has become a world-class destination.
- The currency in Bali is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) but in some cases USD is accepted.
- While Bali is generally safe, beware of common scams.
How to Get Around Bali
The best way to get around Bali is by renting a motor scooter, which can cost as little as a couple of dollars a day. The streets are congested and narrow making traffic terrible, so a small motorbike or scooter is your best bet.
If you don’t want a scooter, hiring a personal driver is really easy and affordable. Most taxi drivers will offer to be your drive for the day/week.
The best way to get a taxi/ride share is through the app Grab or Gojek which operates like Uber and Lyft. With Gojek, you can even order a motor scooter taxi for a fraction of the cost of a car. Gojek also offers delivery for pretty much anything and everything you can think of.
Just keep in mind that when using Grab or Gojek for a ride, some areas, especially if traveling to and in Ubud, Uluwatu, and some parts of Canggu are strongly opposed to these services. In this case, you will want to use an official Taxi.
Whenever you are using a taxi in Bali, make sure to ask the driver to use the meter as to not get ripped off. I recommend using the Blue Bird taxi app to order your taxis so you don’t have to flag one down.
Best Time to Visit Bali, Indonesia
Bali has two seasons: the dry season, which is during the months of May through September; and the wet season, from October to April where frequent rainfall occurs. During the dry, or high season, prices for tours and accommodations are much higher. Christmas and New Year’s is among the busiest time of year for travel in Bali so you may want to avoid the end of December if you’re looking for deals. The most ideal time to visit Bali is during the shoulder season, either in October when rainfall is just beginning, or March/April when it begins to dry out. Even when traveling during the wet season, you may get lucky and experience very little rain.
No matter the time you visit Bali and no matter the length of your visit, you will be sure to have an unforgettable time. It is easy to see why Bali is known as “the island of the gods” and one of the top bucket list destinations for travelers of all ages. Whether you are on a quest to “Eat, Pray, Love,” party all day and night, explore the outdoors, or some combination of these, in as little as one week in Bali you will surely experience the trip of a lifetime.