Bali, paradise on Earth, is a province of the Indonesian archipelago situated between the islands of Lombok and Java. With its rich heritage and beautiful landscape, it is no surprise that Bali is called the ‘Island of Gods’. Bali is known for its natural beauty of stunning beaches and mountains, historic temples that portray the Balinese cultures and traditions and the hospitality of the locals who make you feel at home.
7 days in Bali: An Itinerary, Things to do & Places to visit
This Bali travel guide by Rhea Manepalli who visited Bali with her family will tell you what to do in Bali, the places you must visit in Bali, and the top things to do in Bali. It’s the ultimate Bali trip planner for families looking to visit this slice of paradise.
Top things to do in Bali
UBUD ART MARKET
The Ubud art market is perfect for all shopaholics or even those who are looking to explore the vibrancy of Bali.
Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital, brings out the colours of Bali. The Ubud art market is home to all things artistic. Located at the heart of Ubud, the market comprises multiple streets where vendors set up stalls and sometimes even buildings to sell their handicrafts.
Vendors from all over the island come together here to sell their handmade souvenirs ranging from accessories like bags, hats, scarves, kaftans to coasters, home decor and much more that will undoubtedly grasp your attention. Nearby, are cozy and aesthetic cafes to have a bite and relax. Make sure to have your best bargaining skills on-lock to get the BEST souvenirs at the BEST prices!
Bali has numerous rooftop bars and restaurants. One of them is the Rock Bar in Ayana Resort and Spa. The restaurant is set on top of a cliff with the Indian ocean just a few metres below. With the waves crashing against the seashore just below, the atmosphere is so comforting. The food is impeccable and the ambiance ties the whole thing together. It is also perfect for an aesthetic Instagram feed!
Uluwatu Temple is a Balinese Hindu sea temple located in Uluwatu. It is a uniquely built temple set on top of a cliff. Legend says that the temple was established 1000 years ago by a monk. You can catch the best view of the Bali sunset here. But be aware of the monkeys! Despite their cuteness they are quite wily and notorious for stealing your belongings.
One of the most popular events that takes place here is the Kecak fire dance. The dance tells us the story of ‘The Epic Ramayana’ (a Hindu classic about Lord Rama written by poet Valmiki) in a unique way. The dancers in their ‘loincloth’ move rhythmically chanting the words “chak ke-chak ke-chak ke-chak” continuously. The colourful attire, the chanting of “ke-chak” and the beautiful scenery is a treat to the eyes and ears. It is truly one of the most magnificent performances the island offers and will certainly get the “ke-chak” sound stuck in your head for at least a week.
The infamous rice terrace of Bali is a must visit. Something about the green like emerald fields is just so refreshing! This iconic spot is perfect for photographers looking to capture the beauty of Bali. The fields are most scenic during sunrise. You can enjoy the view of the Tallalang Rice terrace from nearby cafes that overlook the field.
In fact, the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is recognized by UNESCO as an important cultural landscape.
Mount Batur is an active volcano located in the Bangli Regency. Its last eruption in 2000, the mountain is open to visitors. If you are looking for some adventure, hiking the mountain is a perfect idea. It is 1717 meters above sea level and it takes about 2 hours. Hikers have described the difficulty level as “easy to moderate”. If you are lucky, during sunset or sunrise, you can catch a panoramic view of the neighboring mountain, Mount Agang, and a sea of clouds. It is truly breathtaking.
One of Instagram’s most popular locations – Bali Swing. It is a newly recognized tourist spot and has quickly grabbed all attention. The greenery of the forest, the blue sky, the sea of clouds, the adrenaline rush, and the butterflies in your stomach is an unforgettable experience. The most popular ones are in Ubud, Uma Pakel, Blangsinga Waterfall and Sidemen.
If you love exotic faraway places, like discovering destinations, you will love Bali and all things to do here!
7 Day Bali Itinerary
So, if you have 2 weeks, 10 days(lucky you!) or 7 days in Bali, and wondering what to do in Bali, here is a sample itinerary.
After arriving at Bali’s Denpasar airport, transfer to one of Jimbaran Beach area’s beachfront hotels. This is where most of the luxury hotels in Bali are located – like Four Seasons, Intercontinental Bali resort (where our family stayed), and Ayana among others.
Day 1 to 3 in Seminyak, Sanur or Jimbaran Bay
For a relaxing beach vacation or a base for exploring the rest of Bali on day trips, Sanur and Seminyak are other great choices as well. Many of the hotels in Sanur, Bali have fragrant, tropical gardens, with lily ponds, lush gardens, and glorious swimming pools. You will love wandering along the beachfront lined with traditional jukung fishing boats. Seminyak has many luxury resorts in Bali.
Plan to spend 2 to 3 days to discover all this area of Bali has to offer and checking off the things to do, Instagram spots, and sampling all the smoothie bowls (hello balibowlsandsmoothies!).
Bali is located about 8° south of the Equator, west of Lombok island, and east of Java Island. The 2.4 km-wide Bali Strait separates Bali from Java, and the 60 km-long Lombok Strait separates Lombok from the island of Bali.
Day 4, 5 (or more if you are spending more than 7 days in Bali)
If you have 10 days in Bali, you can cruise to some of the beautiful islands in Indonesia like Lombok, Gili, or Raja Ampat. If you have only 7 days in Bali, you might want to pick just one island.
A must-do tour to do in Bali is to Borobundurtour in Java. Plan a day trip with a flight from Denpasar to Yogyakarta by Lion Air (around 225.00 USD) to see the temples and palace.
While you are there, you might want to add these 50 Popular Temples in Asia to your bucket list (they include ones in Bali as well).
On day 4 head to the airport and take a 20-minute flight over to Lombok. Often described as “the new Bali” – this volcanic island is where you will find boutique hotels, roadside shacks selling corn on the cob, and air-conditioned taxis and mopeds carrying everything from chickens to furniture. While Lombok is not untouched, it is not as touristy and is an unspoilt version of Bali before it was “discovered”.
Base yourself in Senggigi on the west coast – Lombok’s most popular spot with low-rise buildings, swaying palms, sweeping bays, and stunning sunsets. Looking for a challenge? Climbing Mount Rinjani – an active volcano whose highlight is a wonderfully blue crater lake. You will need three days for the climb and our family didn’t make the trip.
After a day or two in Lombok, you can take a boat to one of Lombok’s offshore islands: Gili Meno. You obviously need to have more than 7 days in Bali for this. There is an Oberoi Hotel in Lombok btw if you need a luxe place to stay!
Together with Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, Gili Meno makes up the popular Gili Islands. These islands are rustic, with a bohemian vibe are car-free. The mode of transport is either bicycle or horse-drawn carts called cidomos. Gilis offers a taste of Thailand’s islands from a few years ago and is perfect for spending a few castaway days or going island hopping.
While Gili Meno is the least developed of the three islands but the beaches are much nicer than you will find on Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. Visit Turtle Sanctuary in Gili Meno, where green sea turtle and loggerhead turtle eggs are collected and hatched, and the younglings are safely released into the ocean.
Gili Trawangan (also known as Gili T) is just a short hop over from Gili Meno. It is the liveliest of the Gilis but and diving is a big thing here. You will find the main street filled with many dive schools and restaurants that serve up freshly grilled seafood.
Day 6, 7 in Ubud
Back in Bali, spend a couple of days in Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, which was put on the map by the popular movie Eat Pray Love.
Ubud is absolutely enchanting! You will find rainforest and terraced rice paddies, and lush areas dotted with Hindu temples and shrines. For the best experience stay in one of the many luxury hotels built into the hillside, under a canopy of trees. Many have floating pools, elaborate landscapes, and yoga lessons.
A little further out and you will reach Tegallalang. The village is lined with souvenir shops and many workshops. Stop at the rice terraces and walk on the giant steps of lush green fields.
Places to visit in Bali
Bali is a large island, over 5,000 sq. km and there are many places to see in Bali. Below is a list of the highlights and the best places to visit in Bali and where to stay in Bali – hopefully it will help you decide which area or places you want to spend your time in. These are listed in no particular order.
Ubud is the most famous area in Bali and it’s here that you will recognize many scenes including the rice fields from Eat, Pray Love… Ubud is a town located in the center of the island and is most known for its culture and abundance of yoga retreats and studios in Ubud. Temples hopping, traditional dancing and crafts, and shopping are the things to do here. Just outside of Ubud are the most famous rice terraces.
Canggu is a digital nomad hub with lots of western ex-pats living here permanently or spending a few months on the southern coast. Canggu has a backpacker vibe as there are not many resorts in the area. It has black sand beaches and a party scene. The area’s biggest draw are its easy surfing waves, cheaper accommodation prices, and the many Australian-style cafes.
Seminyak is an area on Bali’s southern coast, next to Canggu which is known for its high-end luxury Bali resorts, villas, and spas. There isn’t much to do in Seminyak other than enjoying a beach holiday. High-end shopping, great restaurants, beach clubs, and bars and it is also popular for Bali nightlife. Surfing and beach sunsets are popular here.
Wondering where to stay in Bali? How about Oberoi Bali in Seminyak for an exquisite stay!
This mountain village in Bali is popular for its trekking through the hills and jungle surroundings. Munduk is a spot in central Bali that often goes unnoticed in traveler’s Bali itinerary but you will want to visit if you want to see waterfalls and visit lakes.
Amed is made up of a long strip of local fishing villages along Bali’s less popular northern coast. Still relatively unknown, Amed is slowly making its spot on travelers’ radar. It is getting to be more developed but still hanging onto its traditions. Stunningly clear waters, a beach, the small town feels, and the beginning of a yoga hub… If snorkeling and diving are your thing then make sure you check out the marine life on the shores of Amed.
Lovina is a very relaxed resort area in northern Bali that is too made up of a string of villages just like Amed. It is less touristy and quiet. You can spot dolphins, relax and soak up the sun on the black sand beaches of Lovina.
Located in central Bali, Kuta was one of Bali’s first main tourist development. It has since turned into a popular spot for partying and beach resorts. Travelers come here to catch the easy waves that are perfect for beginners. While Kuta is touristy, it also has many attractions that families, backpackers, and luxury travelers will appreciate.
Bukit Peninsula (Uluwatu)
The southern tip of Bali, Bukit Peninsula, is often referred to just as Uluwatu. It is where the temple of Uluwatu is located. It’s different from the rest of Bali because of its dramatic cliffs that plunge into the deep blue waters of the island. The area is well-known for its white sand beaches and world-class surfing. There are many higher-end resorts or villas in the area but it’s not hard to find cheaper accommodations.
Nusa Dua is another resort area on Bali’s southern shores close to the Bukit Peninsula and opposite Uluwatu. It has many all-inclusive beach resorts with white sand beaches (like the ultra luxurious Hotel Mulia Bali). There is also an 18-hole golf course in the area. It’s an excellent area for families. You can relax and also enjoy some cultural activities.
Nusa Islands (Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan)
The Nusa Islands are not considered a part of Bali as they are actually three separate islands off of Bali’s southeast coast that makes up the Nusa Penida District. They are extremely popular (thanks to the Trex beach aka Kelingking Secret Point made popular by Instagram) to visit during a Bali trip because it takes only half an hour by speedboat to reach these stunning islands.
Nusa Penida is the largest with dramatic scenery and vibrant blue waters. Nusa Lembongan is the most popular and much smaller in size but is popular for diving and surfing. Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the three but is equally as beautiful.
Denpasar is the island’s capital and often a place skipped by most visitors. Over 1 million locals call it home and it is pretty packed and chaotic. Denpasar is where the airport is located. On the east side, you’ll find Sanur beach and in the center you’ll find a hub of authentic restaurants, shopping and parks.
Popular Bali Tours
Best time to visit Bali
Due to its proximity to the Equator, Bali experiences a considerably even climate with average daily temperatures which typically range between 20 to 33 °C throughout the year. The monsoon season in Bali runs from December to March. The best time to visit Bali is essentially between April and October, the island’s dry season.
How to Get to Bali
There are 3 ways to get to Bali: plane, boat, and bus. The most popular way to get to Bali is by plane, flying into the Ngurah Rai International Airport or Denpasar International Airport. This is the only Bali airport (yes it has two names) and is located in Denpasar.
Getting to Bali by boat is also an option with the most common route being from Java. It is a common way for travelers to travel between the two major islands. Lastly, (but not a great option if you have only 7 days in Bali) you can take the bus from Java’s capital of Jakarta which takes 23 hours.
Traveling Around Bali
Getting around Bali is easy and you have a few options. Unfortunately, there is no public transport in Bali so you will have to rely on private drivers and apps to find cars and drivers or rent a scooter.
The best part about it is that it never takes more than 2 hours to get between destinations in Bali.
To get from the airport to where you are staying it is best to have a transfer booked ahead of time before you get to Bali. Private airport transfers are very affordable and can be booked online. Many hotels and accommodations should offer transfers too.
Blue Bird Taxis are the main and trusted taxi company in Bali. There are some shuttles available, mostly from Ubud that are a cheaper shared option. If you are taking a boat to the Nusa Islands, Lombok or the Gili Islands then transportation is usually organized and included in the price.
Author Bio: Rhea Manepalli
Rhea Manepalli lives in India with her family. She loves to paint, travel, sometimes dabble in poetry, and is on a path to becoming an Investigative Journalist.
I hope this post inspired you to plan a trip to Bali and gave you some ideas for things to do, places to visit and a starting point to plan your itinerary. We can’t wait to visit, a mother daughter yoga retreat in Ubud perhaps?!
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