This guest post is by Victoria, a travel blogger and writer from Germany.
Bali is a tropical paradise with idyllic beaches, lush hillsides, and plenty of exciting activities, all of which are included in this fun two-week itinerary on and near the Island of the Gods.
Hike through rice terraces, spend your days at white-sand beaches, and swim with green sea turtles on this epic trip through Bali and its neighboring islands, a great mixture of relaxation and fascinating things to do — a little bit of everything.
This is where you will go:
- Canggu: 2 days
- Nusa Lembongan: 2 days
- Nusa Penida: 1 day
- Gili Islands: 3 days
- Ubud: 3 days
- Uluwatu: 3 days
Canggu: 2 days
Start your Bali trip off in Canggu, which is located around 1.5 hours by car from Bali’s airport. It’s a great place to start off your time in Bali, because you’ve got a great selection of places to eat and good nightlife. It’s also the starting point for many organized group tours.
It used to be a small beach town popular among surfers and nature lovers. However, it gained mass popularity in recent years and has now transformed into a busy hub for digital nomads and tourists.
A lot of foreigners in Bali make Canggu their permanent home, and traffic can unfortunately be very heavy, so allow plenty of time to get around. Even a short drive that should normally be 10 minutes can take up to an hour or more in Canggu traffic. Try to avoid the Shortcut and Jalan Raya Canggu, which are some of the busiest streets in the area.
On your first day, you can focus on relaxing and exploring if you’re up for it. Head to Old Man’s or La Brisa at the beach for a sunset drink, then grab dinner at one of the many restaurants in town.
Head to Sa’Mesa, a once-in-a-lifetime Italian dinner experience in which you’ll dance on the tables all night. Then it’s off to Buongiorno, the best bakery in town, to get some fresh pastries and sandwiches for your hangover. Other great restaurants include Mason, Shelter, or for local cuisine, Casa Tua
On your second day, hop into a Grab (a local app that works just like Uber), or rent a scooter to go visit Tanah Lot Temple, around 30 minutes north of Canggu.
(A lot of tourists get around by scooter in Bali, but think carefully before you decide to rent one. The traffic is chaotic and accidents are common, so only experienced drivers should choose this transport method. Always wear a helmet and go slow if you do ride a scooter. When in doubt, a taxi is the better choice.)
Tanah Lot is a beautiful temple on a rocky cliff over the water and is great for taking photos and learning a bit more about the unique Balinese culture.
The area around the temple is also known for its deserted beaches, so if Canggu’s Batu Bolong Beach is starting to feel a bit crowded, definitely head to Pig Stone Beach instead, where you won’t be bothered by other tourists.
In the evening, grab a few drinks and dinner and possibly hit some of Canggu’s busy nightlife spots, like Sand Bar, Luigi’s, X Bar, or La Brisa.
If you’re looking for an affordable and social place to stay, the Tipsy Gypsy Hostel is always the perfect choice. You’ll make friends in no time, and the facilities are clean and comfortable.
Another great option if you’re looking for private rooms is the Aston Hotel, which has a very central location less than five minutes from the beach.
If you’re a solo traveler and are worried about traveling alone, or don’t want to spend all your time alone, you should consider joining a guided group tour around Bali, the members of which will become your new best friends and travel buddies.
Nusa Lembongan: 2 days
In the morning, it’s time to hop on a fast boat and head to the beautiful island of Nusa Lembongan. Make sure to get up early, because you’ll need to drive all the way across southern Bali to Sanur, where the harbor is located.
The ferry terminal was recently renovated and is now modern and efficient, making getting to the island easier than ever. A ticket costs around IDR 150,000 per person, and the ride takes only 30–45 minutes, depending on the weather. You can either buy tickets on arrival at the harbor, or use 12go Asia, which always has the best deals and prices.
In Nusa Lembongan, you’ll get a taste of island life, which can be difficult to find on Bali itself. If you’re confident enough to drive, you should rent a scooter, which makes getting around a lot easier. Otherwise, you can use the local truck taxis, which can take you around the island for around IDR 100,000–200,000.
It’s also possible to walk short distances, although you should keep in mind that Lembongan has a lot of hills and no sidewalks, so it might not be the most comfortable activity.
You definitely need to visit Nusa Ceningan, the tiny island neighboring Lembongan that is connected by a narrow, bright yellow bridge. Ceningan is even smaller than Lembongan and has a variety of oceanfront restaurants and cafés you need to try. The views over the lagoon are absolutely beautiful, especially during sunset.
On the second day, explore Nusa Lembongan and go to Devil’s Tears, a rocky cove where the waves create an impressive spray and the ocean currents are very strong. It’s an impressive place to see and the entrance fee is only IDR 25,000 per person.
You can also stop by the nearby Dream Beach, which is just a 5 minute walk away. This is a perfect spot for lunch and relaxing for a few hours. In the afternoon, you can explore the island’s mangroves, which are completely different to the sandy beaches Lembongan is known for.
Rent a kayak for IDR 150,000 and paddle around the mangroves for an hour or so before heading back to your hotel to freshen up or going for a swim at the main beach.
Chances are you’ll be pretty tired after a day of exploring. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the beach in Nusa Lembongan, or if you still have some energy left, head to the Coconut Hut, which is a restaurant with a mini golf course. Their food and drinks are delicious, and mini golf is the perfect activity on a beautiful island.
If you need a reasonably priced hotel with a great view in Nusa Lembongan, you should stay at Lanussa Hill Villa on the Ceningan side of the island. It is quiet and has beautiful views of the Yellow Bridge.
Nusa Penida: 1 day
You can easily visit either Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan on a day trip from the other. So, in the morning, take a boat from the Yellow Bridge on the Ceningan side to the harbor on Nusa Penida. The ride shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes and only costs around IDR 30,000 per person — you can get boat tickets on the spot, as there are always vessels connecting the two islands. (If you want peace of mind, you can also head there the night before and get your tickets in advance.)
On Nusa Penida, you can either rent a scooter if you’re a very confident driver or hire a local one to take you around the island. The roads are winding and narrow, so it’s definitely not a good idea to drive yourself if you’re a beginner on a scooter.
A driver will take you around the island for up to eight hours, and you’ll pay approximately IDR 600,000–800,000, including petrol. I would highly recommend this, as scooter accidents involving tourists are very common here, and I’ve seen my fair share of people pushing their bikes uphill in the hot sun.
You can find drivers or scooters on arrival at the harbor, or you can check Facebook groups about Bali in advance to find someone who is recommended.
The most popular places on Nusa Penida include Kelingking Beach, with its impressive cliffs and white-sand beach; Angel’s Billabong, a natural pool with ocean views; Broken Beach, with a unique rock formation; and Diamond Beach, which is probably one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
You can also visit nearby Atuh Beach, which is just as pretty and a great spot for lunch, since there are plenty of small huts to choose from. Just a 20-minute drive away is the Thousand Island Viewpoint, which is fantastic for taking pictures; and the Rumah Pohon Treehouses, a collection of little huts with incredible views, which you can even rent for the night if you’re up for an adventure.
Just keep in mind that Nusa Penida is far from a hidden secret anymore, and you’re going to encounter a lot of tourists during your time there. It’s recommended to go as early in the morning as possible to make sure you beat the crowds.
Traffic is also getting worse, so be patient and make sure you have plenty of time to get back to the harbor before the last boat back to Lembongan leaves at sunset.
Gili Islands: 3 days
Rise and shine! It’s time to head to a brand-new island! Catch a fast boat early in the morning to get from Nusa Lembongan to the beautiful Gili Islands. You can buy your tickets at the harbor the day before, and the price should be around IDR 200,000 per person.
The ride can be bumpy, so definitely take some medication if you’re prone to seasickness. Try to sit at the back of the boat, which can be a lot smoother. After around two hours, you’ll reach the Gili Islands, which consist of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.
Everyone has a favorite out of the three; I personally always recommend Gili Trawangan, just because it’s the largest and there are the most activities. It’s known as somewhat of a party island, but there are also plenty of quiet areas, such as the sunset side, where you can escape the loud nightlife if that’s not something you enjoy.
Gili Air is an alternative if you’re not too sure about staying in busy Gili Trawangan with lots of backpackers. It’s just a 20-minute boat ride away, and the beaches are just as beautiful, with crystal-clear blue waters.
Gili Air is a lot quieter, and the selection of bars and restaurants is smaller. If you’re trying to escape the crowds, you might enjoy it more. (You can swim with green sea turtles right at the beach on both islands.)
There are no cars on any of the Gili Islands, but you can get around by bike, on foot, or using horse carts. Unfortunately, the horses are treated very badly, so supporting the carts is not something you should be doing. Instead, rent a bike at the harbor when you arrive, so you can get to your hotel without having to walk.
A snorkeling tour is a must-do when visiting the Gili Islands. You can get a private one for around IDR 1,000,000 per day, or join a group tour, which costs IDR 150,000 per person. It’s easiest to find these tours along the main street, where you can choose among the many tourist stalls and vendors. Make sure to compare a few so you can get the best price.
Most tours head to Gili Meno to snorkel at the untouched reefs and the famous Nest statues, which are extremely popular.
Spend the rest of your days relaxing by the beach, cycling around, and just enjoying yourself. You’re on vacation after all!
Ubud: 3 days
Time to leave the smaller islands and head back to Bali. You’re going to travel quite a bit today, so get plenty of sleep and be prepared for an early start. Catch a fast boat back to Padang Bai, where you’ll hop on a shuttle, which will take you to Ubud. Buy your tickets online from 12Go Asia, or at the harbor the night before. Most fast-boat companies include a transfer in the boat ticket, which should cost around IDR 350,000 in total. Expect the ride to take the whole day; you’ll finally arrive in Ubud in the early evening.
After a good night’s sleep, you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to explore Bali’s cultural center. You shouldn’t miss the Monkey Forest, which has free-ranging monkeys and historic temples, and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Just make sure to keep your belongings close, as the monkeys can be aggressive and steal items such as sunglasses, phones, or water bottles. Keep a safe distance, and don’t take any food into the park, to be safe.
The Campuhan Ridge Walk, which is a beautiful hike best done in the early morning, and the colorful Ubud art markets, where you can shop for souvenirs and artworks, are also must-visit places. Just make sure to haggle to get a reasonable price, as most tourists tend to overpay.
Ubud is also becoming more and more popular among foodies, and there is delicious cuisine you can try. Batu Bara is a really nice steakhouse, and prices are actually quite affordable. If you’re not into meat, you should try Sawo Bali, an all-vegan restaurant with an IDR 50,000-all-you-can-eat buffet.
Then there is Nusantara by Locavore, an upscale Indonesian restaurant offering traditional dishes from all around the country.
Ubud is a great base for exploring more of Bali, so definitely take a day trip or two while you are here. You can head to Mount Batur and do the famous sunrise hike for some of the best views on the island. Then there is the mountain town of Kintamani, with its lakes and strawberry farms; and Sidemen, with plenty of untouched nature and beautiful waterfalls.
Closer to Ubud, you can explore the famous Tegenungan waterfall, with its brand-new glass-bottom bridge. The Tegalalang rice terraces are also located close by and make for the perfect spot to take photos. For around IDR 200,000, you can even go for a ride on one of the famous swings.
In Ubud, Nick’s Homestay is a great, budget-friendly accommodation, with everything you might need nearby. It has a pool, and the houses are built in traditional Balinese style, which gives a bit of local culture and art. If you feel like splurging, here’s a list of the best luxury hotels in Ubud to choose from.
Enjoy your days in nature, and maybe even try a massage or yoga class before moving on to the next stop of your Bali itinerary.
Uluwatu: 3 days
Use the Grab or Gojek apps to go from Ubud to Uluwatu. The drive should cost around IDR 250,000, depending on the time of day, and takes between two and three hours if the traffic is bad. Once you’ve made it to Uluwatu, you can watch the sunset at Single Fin, a clifftop beach club, and have a few drinks before going to bed.
Spend your last days in Bali at some of the best beaches on the island. Melasti, Suluban, Nyang Nyang, and Bingin are highly recommended and have beautiful white sand with blue waters that are perfect for swimming and surfing.
A surf lesson costs around IDR 300,000, which includes board rental and a private teacher. You can also try paragliding or jet-skiing if you’re looking for an extra adrenaline rush.
Uluwatu is known for its stunning beach clubs where you can spend the entire day relaxing, reading a book and enjoying the sun. Sundays Beach Club is one of the best, but you need to come early to get a seat. Tropical Temptations is another fantastic club, although its minimum spend is relatively high for most types of daybeds. If you’re up for a party with world-class DJs, stop by Savaya or Ulu Cliff House, which regularly host large parties.
The Hideaway Residences are a beautiful villa complex with both affordable and higher-end options. Enjoy your last days in Bali from the comfort of your own private pool with a beautiful view over the hills of Uluwatu.
Bali has so much to offer that it’s difficult to limit a stay on this beautiful island to just two weeks. Definitely extend your trip if you can, or come back to Indonesia soon to see and do even more. Next time, you can explore places like Lovina, Sidemen, or Sanur, or go even further to Lombok, which is known for its laid-back atmosphere and empty beaches.
About the author: Victoria is a travel blogger and writer from Germany, who has lived in Bali for several years now. Her blog Guide Your Travel focuses on Southeast Asia and specifically Indonesia, sharing some of the best tips on how to plan your trip to Bali. You can follow Victoria’s life in Bali on Instagram.