Bali – One Week Itinerary
Surf paradise, azure seas, serene beaches, active volcanoes, vibrant nightlife, rice paddies, dive fest, delicious food, rich heritage; sounds like a vacation? Say hello to Bali. South-east Asia’s most popular backpacking destination has so much to offer that no matter what kind of tourist or traveler you are, you’d definitely find your sweet spot. No wonder you’d find tourists from all walks of life throughout Bali. Although the tourism ‘product life cycle’ of Bali suggests that it’s already beyond the maturity period but the sheer vastness & some planning ensures you get the best out of Bali. It may look like just another island on the map but just because of its vicinity to the equator, the distances seem much shorter than they actually are, Bali is huuge. Here’s what you should be doing in Bali if you’ve a week.
Where to stay?
Your itinerary will very much depend upon where you want to stay & what you want to cover. Most people do Ubud, Kuta & Seminayak or one of the islands in 7 days but I personally am not a big fan of Kuta & Ubud. I spent around 8 days in Bali with a lot of night-hopping around Sanur, Kuta, Seminayak, Jimbaran and realized the following
– Stay in Kuta if you’re 20, like the all-night party scene, clubbing & want to meet a lot of English teenagers & drunk Australians
– Stay in Canggu if you’re 25, like to drink & want to meet fellow backpackers
– Stay in Sanur if you’re 30, like serene beaches, cocktails, jazz, live music & long walks (my kind of place,’I just turned 27′)
– Stay in Seminayak if you’re rich & with someone
– Stay in Nusa Dua if you’re a celebrity
– Stay in Ungasan if you’re with family or couple on budget & love quiet & have a rented vehicle to go around places (I stayed there for 3 days)
– Stay in Uluwatu if you like the mountains & love surfing
– Stay in Ubud if you want to see the saturation point of tourism in the name of finding oneself & commercialized culture
– Stay in Denpasar if you want to live in Bali
– Stay in Lovina/North coast if you want to stay far away from the crowds & just want to swim & chill.
Start from Kuta as it is the closest to the airport & if you rent a vehicle for a week you can easily return it & save some on taxi costs. Scooters can be rented for around 40-60k Rupiyah per day (3-5$)
Explore the streets & markets of Kuta, Poppies Lane 1 & 2
Visit Poppies Cafe for lunch, one of the oldest restaurants in Bali, food is amazing
Go to the Kuta beach for sunset, reach towards the end of the beach & you’d find the turtle nesting place where you can release your own baby turtle just before sunset
Taste the legendary Indonesian Satay at Sate House, Kuta
Spend the night bar-hopping in Kuta
Explore the streets of Seminayak
Visit Potato Head Beach club
Move to south of Kuta, stay in Ungasan or Uluwatu or Jimbaran
Visit Rock Bar for sunset, one of the best in Asia
Dinner & drinks at one of the numerous candle-lit restaurants at Jimbaran beach
Spend some surf/swim time at Dream beach
Ride the lovely mountainous roads in the south which has some Goa vibes, spend some time at Green bowl beach & Pendawa beach
Reach Uluwatu temple before sunset for some picturesque views, beware of the monkeys though. Don’t miss the Kecak performance, Balinese adaptation of Ramayana
Ride to Sanur for dinner (you can even stay there). Loads of amazing live music places on the main streets & much cheaper than Kuta
If you’re spending the night in Sanur, you’re in for some gorgeous sunrise views from the beach
Ride to Ubud (1-1.5 hour from Sanur)
Do some touristy stuff, like visit Ibu Oka for lunch which serves the famous Babi Guiling (Certified by Antony Bourdain as the best in Bali, but there are more places better than that)
Some more touristy stuff – Visit the monkey temple, feel free to get stuck in the traffic to the rice paddies
Look for secluded hikes around unpopular rice terraces
DO NOT MISS the amazing pork ribs at Naughty Nuri’s
There are plenty of sunrise volcano tours from Ubud. If you’re only doing Bali & wish to see a volcano, the tours cost around 20$ pick, drop & breakfast from your hotel. But it’s always crowded with a lot of tourists
If not, take a long wild ride to the North of Bali, crossing non-touristy rice terraces, mountains, volcanic terrains, hot water springs
Join the locals for fishing at the Batur crater lake. You’d find a cheap place around serving delicious fish from the lake, Balinese style.
Head back to Kuta & move quick to one of the islands nearby
Nusa Lembongan is the nearest island & a pretty good snorkeling & diving place if you’re not going further to Gili’s or Komodo or Flores or Raja Ampat, more magnificent in that order.
Reach there before sunset to enjoy the lovely view
Go for snorkeling or diving in the morning, look out for the giant Manta rays 🙂
Move back to Kuta & fly out.
If you want to do the Gili islands, make sure you’ve at least 3 days if you’re coming back to Bali, because it takes almost a day to reach Gili’s. Ideally start early on Day 5, it takes 3 hours from Kuta to the port & it takes couple of hours easily at the dock. From there, fast boat takes around 1.5-2 hours to reach the Gili islands. Cheaper alternative is the slow boat, it takes around 5 hours to reach Lombok, & from there Gili’s are just a 15 minute ride away. More on Gili’s in another post.
Recommended food places in Bali
Pork chops & ribs at Naughty Nuri’s, Ubud
Satay at Sate House, Kuta
Fish curry & rice, Nasi Goreng at Poppies, Kuta
Local Murtabak places in Ungasan
Revolver Espresso, Seminayak
Babi Guiling at Ibu Oka, Ubud
Babi Guiling at Selingsing Cepaka