To make your own Bali itinerary might be overwhelming with all those amazing things to do in Bali. The first time we went to Bali in 2016 we felt so excited to explore the whole island. We made a complete one week Bali itinerary bucket list of all the things we wanted to do and see. But we ended up only seeing 4 spots of that whole Bali itinerary!
We found out it takes some time to get to the different locations, and sometimes a hike from 20 minutes or more is involved to get to your final location, in particular with waterfalls and viewpoints. Since 2018 we live part time in Bali and explored the whole island. We went to every waterfall, viewpoint and beach you can find on the map. Therefore we like to share our knowledge about the island and created this ultimate Bali itinerary with all the best things to do per area. From North, to South, East to West. Here you will find all the best things to do in Bali so you can select the spots to make your own Bali itinerary depending on the time you have.
Bali itinerary examples
Depending on how much time you have to explore Bali, here some examples of how you can plan your days in Bali per area.
Most of the travelers arrive on Ngurah Rai International Airport which means you are close to the Uluwatu, Seminyak and Canggu area. I would suggest to avoid Kuta if you don’t like crowded touristy places. For shopping it’s great, however you will see most of the shops you also can find at home. In Canggu and Seminyak for example you can find beautiful boutique shops with unique clothes. Assuming you don’t want to travel too far on your first day in Bali, the best place to go is either Uluwatu, Seminyak or Canggu.
7 day Bali itinerary
Canggu or Seminyak 2 days – Ubud 3 days – Sidemen 2 days
2 week Bali itinerary
Canggu, Seminyak or Uluwatu 3 days – Ubud 4 days – Munduk 2 days – Kintamani 2 days – Amed 2 days
3 week Bali itinerary
Canggu, Seminyak or Uluwatu 3 days – Nusa Islands 4 days – Ubud 4 days – Munduk 3 days – Kintamani 2 days – Amed 2 days – Sidemen 2 days
Best time to visit Bali
Peak season in Bali is between June until September and December & January around Christmas and New Year. Rainy season in Bali usually starts in November. The rain peak is at its top in January and February and lasts usually until March, April. If you want to avoid the peak tourist crowds and still have good weather, the best period to travel to Bali is March until May and September until December.
How to get around in Bali
The best way to get around Bali is by renting a motorbike. It’s easy and cheap to rent a bike and gives you the freedom to go wherever you want. But, be sure that you have an international drivers license. Some of the rental companies ask for it and won’t rent you a motorbike if you don’t have an international license. Also if you got stopped by the police you need to wear a helmet and have an international drivers license. If you don’t have one, or both of these things you’ll get a fine. Never give your passport to the police!!
What to pack for Bali
You might think that shorts and a singlet is all you need for Bali. But don’t be mistaken by the colder weather in the mountains of Bali and the rainy afternoons that can occur during some months. Besides that, there are plenty of other things you should keep in mind when packing for Bali. From a rain jacket to clothes you can wear when visiting religious sites. But also hiking shoes or at least off trail sneakers if you decide on doing some hikes in Bali or other activities such as waterfall chasing. Also bring a reusable bottle so you don’t pollute the island with single use plastic water bottles. Learn more about zero waste travel so you can travel Bali without leaving a huge impact on the environment.
Other convenient things to pack for Bali are activated charcoal or Imodium in case you get the ‘Bali belly‘, also known as stomach infection. However most of the restaurants in Bali are very hygienic, but if you have a weak stomach you’ll better be prepared. There is no need to bring malaria pills to Bali but mosquito repellent is necessary when you’re walking in the jungle or when you stay close to rice fields.
Find here other travel tips for Bali so you’re well prepared.
Expenses in Bali
The costs of living in Bali are reasonable and actually most of the time a very good price – quality ratio. You can find accommodation as cheap as $10 a night for a hostel, and a private room starts at $15 – $20. Real luxury starts from $60 a night for which you can have a beautiful spacious room in a resort, or even a private villa which you can share with friends! Costs for food depends in Bali if you eat local or at some of the hip and healthy cafes. Local food you can get in a Warung starts at $2, while the smoothie bowls and smashed avo toast mostly are around $5. Transport is cheap if you use GoJek or Grab (the Indonesian Uber). Or if you rent a moped for a few days or weeks. You can hire a simple moped for around 60,000 IDR a day which is about $4.
General travel must haves for Bali
Before we dive into this Bali itinerary with all the best things to do, let’s check a few things to make your travels in Bali easy and safe.
Have you thought about how to get around in Bali? A scooter is the easiest way if you’re comfortable driving one yourself.
- Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Bali. This is the most convenient way to arrange your rental motorbike, especially because it gets delivered and picked up for free to your accommodation within Ubud, Canggu, Kuta, Nusa Dua, Denpasar, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Kerobokan, Jimbaran, Sanur. Requirements: 20 years old; international car (B) drivers license for scooters (or moto (A) license for motorcycles); copies of passport and drivers license.
Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?
Did you already book your accommodation?
Are you insured during your travels?
- Buy your travel insurance here. SafetyWing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalisation.
South Bali is mostly about beaches, beautiful cliff viewpoints and temples. I include in this south Bali part the area from Tanah Lot until Sanur beach and all the way down to the Bukit which is Bali’s most southern tip. Uluwatu, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Seminyak and Canggu are covered in this area as well. This is a perfect place to spend if you are looking for beach days, beach clubs and surf. South Bali isn’t the place where you are going to find jungle, waterfalls and mountains. But southern Bali does have some of the best beaches in Bali. So if you are looking for ocean view resorts, party, shopping, turquoise water and white sandy beaches, then Uluwatu, Canggu or Nusa Dua are the places to go.
Relax and surf in Canggu
Canggu is a great place to start or end your trip in Bali. This trendy and laid back beach town is where many expats live. Full of healthy and trendy cafes and restaurants, surf vibes and digital nomads, you can have the western standards in a Balinese environment. However, Canggu is not the ‘real Bali’. So if you want a more cultural experience and see Bali’s beautiful nature, then you should definitely head up more north towards Ubud and further up in the mountains towards Munduk. Nevertheless, Canggu is a great place to base yourself as expat or to relax for a few days as tourist and learn surfing. You can plan some fun day trips from Canggu to either Ubud or Uluwatu. Visit the Tanah lot temple and of course relax at some of the beautiful beaches around Canggu.
Visit Tanah Lot temple
The Tanah Lot temple is a very popular tourist attraction only 10 km west from Canggu. Built in the 16th century, Tanah Lot is dedicated to the gods of the sea. During the day it can get very busy with tourist buses, so we would recommend to go here with sunset. The view with sunset is breathtaking as the view on Tanah Lot is facing west where the sun goes down. You will also have the chance of seeing bats flying around after sunset which is a fun, natural show to watch!
Getting there: Easily to get there with Google Maps, this famous tourist attraction won’t be hard to reach.
Entrance fee: 60.000 IDR per person and 2.000 IDR per motorbike.
Best time to go: An hour before sunset to have enough time to walk to the spot, explore the site a bit more and get ready to shoot and enjoy the sunset!
Photo tip: When it’s low tide you can see the temple from the beach and get a completely different perspective!
Watch sunrise at Sanur beach
Sanur beach is located on the south east coast of Bali. Because the tide is very low early morning, the water close to the shore remains still and reflects the colorful morning sky beautifully. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Agung on the left side. Because you’re facing east on this beach, the sun will rise from the ocean which is magical to see. Therefore Pantai Karang is a popular spot to watch the sunrise for tourists and locals. It’s also a favorite place for photographers, so make sure to arrive early enough to find your best spot. Absolutely a great spot to watch sunrise in Bali and easy to reach when you are staying in South Bali.
Explore Tegal Wangi cave and beach
Tegal Wangi beach is located in Jimbaran and has a beautiful cave where you can see the sunset from. If you time it well with the tide you can create some stunning images here. The cave is very big so you’ll definitely need a wide angle lens to capture the whole cave in your frame. Wait for a huge wave to crash upon the rocks to create an unique picture with motion. Make sure to use a fast shutter speed to capture the splashing wave. A fun stop when you are exploring South Bali.
Enjoy the beautiful Uluwatu beaches
The beautiful Uluwatu beaches are some of the best beaches in Bali with their white soft sand and crystal clear blue water. Most of the other beaches in Bali have black sand because of the volcanic history. But the south coast of Bali has totally different beaches accompanied by towering limestone cliffs, amazing surf waves, insane viewpoints to watch the sunset, luxury clifftop bars and chill beach clubs. There are plenty of beaches to choose from in Uluwatu. Some of the best Uluwatu beaches are the following.
- Thomas beach
- Padang Padang beach
- Balangan beach
- Nyang Nyang beach
- Nunggalan beach
- Green Bowl beach
- Melasti beach
- Pandawa beach
Visit the Uluwatu temple
Bali has many beautiful temples to visit, but one of the most scenic temples must be the Uluwatu temple, also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu. Built on the 70 metre high cliff and facing west, it’s also a beautiful spot to watch the sunset. Another attraction to experience here is the Kecak Fire Dance which takes place everyday during sunset. The entrance to the Uluwatu temple is 50,000 IDR per person.
Watch the sunset at Karang Boma cliff
The Karang Boma cliff, also known as Uluwatu cliff, is a jaw-dropping 70-meter high limestone cliff which drops straight down into the ocean. With an incredible 180 degrees view on the Indian ocean, this is one of the most impressive Bali viewpoints and some of the best places in Bali to watch sunset. The Karang Boma cliff is located near the Uluwatu Temple so you can easily combine these two during a visit. There is enough space to just sit down and enjoy this wonderful view. Take a towel with you to sit on, eventually some snacks and drinks, and you will have one of the most memorable afternoons in Bali!
Enjoy the Nusa Dua beaches and do water sports
Nusa Dua has some of the best beaches in Bali with soft golden sand and calm turquoise blue waters, perfect for swimming. The Nusa Dua beaches are easy accessible with plenty of facilities around. Because most of Nusa Dua is focussed on 5 star hotels there are some parts that belong to these Bali resorts. But there are also plenty of public beaches where you can relax, rent a sun bed and enjoy the beautiful beach vibes. But if you’re looking for more action, then there are also a few fun water sports activities to do at the Nusa Dua beaches!
Visit GWK Cultural Park
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park is a huge recreational park used for big music events, exhibitions and conferences. You can see the location of the park from far away because of its impressive 121-meters tall bronze statue of Lord Vishnu which was revealed inside the park in September 2018. It took twenty-eight years (due to the global economic crisis) and around $100 million to build the statue!
Book here your tours to explore South Bali
- Uluwatu beaches, GWK Cultural Park and Uluwatu Temple Tour. A combination of the best culture and nature activities that southern Bali has to offer. Explore the most southern region in Bali with a private driver and English speaking guide to learn more about the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park and soak in the sunshine at Uluwatu’s best beaches. You will finish the day with a spectacular sunset at Uluwatu Temple and watch the famous Kecak Balinese Cultural Dance.
- Watersports Fun Package Nusa Dua: Jet Ski, Parasailing and donut boat. Have the best of three watersports activities in Nusa Dua. Soar in the air while parasailing, drive a jetski yourself and have fun on the donut boat.
- Uluwatu private beach club hopping tour. This private tour will take you to the best Uluwatu beach clubs to enjoy a day of relaxing at some of the best infinity pools and beaches that Uluwatu has to offer.
- Jet Ski experience in Nusa Dua. Drive a Yamaha 700cc jet ski for 30 minutes yourself along Nusa Dua’s coastline and feel the adrenaline pumping. Hotel pick up and drop off included.
- Uluwatu white sand beaches tour and sunset at Uluwatu temple. Discover some of the best beaches in Uluwatu during this private tour. While visiting the beautiful white sand beaches you can swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters or rent a jet ski, fly-board or banana boat at your own expense. After the beach fun you will visit Padang Padang beach before watching the sunset at Uluwatu Temple and see the traditional Kecak dance show overlooking the sea.
- Underwater Sea Walking Experience Nusa Dua. Explore Bali’s stunning underwater life while walking on the bottom of the ocean with a professional guide. The sea walker is a soft dive system that is designed specifically for those who are not confident swimmers or do not wish to dive.
- Fly Board experience Nusa Dua. Fly high over the ocean with a Flyboard and get the adrenaline pumping!
Where to stay in South Bali
Super Luxury resorts in Uluwatu
Alila Villas Uluwatu is some of the most luxurious resorts in Uluwatu, and even in whole Bali. The modern Balinese-style villas boast an elevated outdoor pavilion with private swimming pool. The 46 meters wide outdoor swimming pool, two restaurants, Spa and gym will make your stay at Alila Uluwatu complete.
Bulgari Resort features spacious luxurious villas in traditional Balinese design with a private sundeck and plunge pool. It’s 1 km long beach is accessible only through the resort’s inclined elevator. The resort also offers an infinity swimming pool overlooking the ocean, a Spa and gym.
Six Senses Uluwatu is a fantastic 5 star resort perched on the cliff. With incredible views over the Indian Ocean, private villa’s with swimming pool, a gym, Spa, 2 restaurants, sunset views and a huge main swimming pool there is almost no reason to leave the resort.
Central Bali is all about mountains, rice terraces, waterfalls and local life. In Ubud and surroundings you will experience the real Bali, and therefore it is highly recommended to spend at least 3 to 4 days in this area if you want to go exploring. Refresh at the waterfalls, visit the UNESCO Heritage Site Jatiluwih, drive through the local villages and admire the Balinese culture and architecture. The best place to base yourself is Ubud, but there are plenty of other areas around Ubud which are beautiful as well. Go a bit more north of Ubud to Payangan and find some of the most beautiful and exclusive luxury resorts. Perfect for honeymooners or a luxury vacation!
Visit UNESCO World Heritage Jatiluwih rice terraces
The Jatiluwih rice terraces are one of the best rice terraces in Bali with an incredible history. Located in the middle of Bali near Gunung Batukaru, the Jatiluwih green land offers amazing views. With over 600 hectares of rice paddies following the flowing lush hillside of the Batukaru mountain range, the Jatiluwih rice terraces give a new meaning to the word green. The area is very rural with nothing but farming communities which makes a visit to these rice terraces very authentic. It is super worth it to visit the Jatiluwih rice fields for a day trip or to stop for some time if you are traveling up to the North of Bali.
Read everything about Jatiluwih rice terraces in this complete guide
Entrance fee: 40K per person and 5K for the car park.
Best time to go: Make sure to arrive half an hour before sunrise. This will give you the time to pick the right spot for your photo and set up your gear. Are you going to take a shot from the viewing platform? Or maybe you want to hike through the rice fields and find a new spot?
Photo tip: If you have a drone you have to use it here!! The mountains in the backdrop are an amazing perspective to the rice fields and are in particular visible in the morning.
Cool off at Tegenungan waterfall
The many waterfalls in Ubud are beautiful and absolutely worth a visit! If you want to cool off from the hot and busy centre of Ubud, then head over to Tegenungan waterfall. Here you can take a dip and enjoy the fresh nature surroundings. Be aware that it can get busy here as it’s a well known waterfall in Bali. If you want to have the place practically for yourself, then make sure to arrive early.
Read everything about Tegenungan waterfall in our complete guide
Visit the Sacred Ubud monkey forest
In the heart of Ubud is the Monkey Forest sanctuary where you see the Macaque monkeys from up close. This beautiful old rainforest is worth a visit, and of course you’ll see a lot of monkeys here! Important to think about before you enter the Monkey Forest is to have all your valuable and loose stuff like sunglasses and hats stowed in your bag. Because the monkeys are stealing when they have the opportunity, but luckily there is the ‘monkey police’ who will help you to get your stuff back for a small tip.
Hike the Campuhan ridge walk for a great morning workout
This valley, hidden in the center of Ubud, is an ideal place to unwind and take in the jungle nature surroundings that makes Ubud so special. It is a great morning or afternoon stroll of total 4 km. The windy pathway will take you up and downhill providing you with a stunning view of the surrounding scenery. Although the path is situated next to the hustle and bustle of Ubud it almost feels like a different world. So lush, so green and so quiet! The best time to go is in the early morning or late afternoon. During the day it can get very hot and there is little to no shadow along the way.
Getting there: Located in the center of Ubud but still a bit hidden, this place might be tricky to find. If you spot the ‘IBAH luxury villas and spa’ sign, you turn straight into that road and you will find the carpark. There you will find other signs which lead you to the trail.
Entrance fee: No fee.
Best time to go: Sunrise or early morning is the best because it’s not that hot yet. But this walk is also ideal for the afternoon, the only thing is it might be a lot busier in the afternoon.
Photo tip: If you have a drone you have to use it here! Because if you are lucky, you can even see the Mount Agung and Mount Batur on a clear day when flying the drone! You can frame the path as you can see on our pictures below.
Practice yoga at one of the yoga retreats
Ubud is the spiritual centre of Bali and a yogi heaven. There are many yoga schools and retreats, so whether you prefer fast-paced vinyasa or gentle yin, you’ll find a class that suits you. Some of the famous yoga centres in Ubud are Yoga Barn, Radiantly Alive and Ubud Yoga Centre.
Take a shower under Kanto Lampo waterfall
Some of the most special Ubud waterfalls is Kanto Lampo. This multi tier waterfall is situated in a canyon and really gives you the feeling that you’re deep in the jungle of Ubud when standing at the bottom. Kanto Lampo waterfall seeps down the rocks into the river creating several streams of water which are very photogenic. If you can make long exposure photos’s it is a must to try here!
Explore the Tegalalang rice terraces
Exploring the beautiful lush rice paddies can’t be missed on your Bali itinerary! The Tegalalang rice terraces are, just like Jatiluweh rice fields, one of the iconic must-visit locations in Bali. It’s a perfect morning walk through these famous Bali rice fields. The Ubud rice terraces are impressively cut out into walls of the valley with up to 10 tiered levels of rice paddies and cascading water throughout. You will see the local farmers doing their daily routine harvesting the rice and maintaining the valley. This is very enjoyable to watch and makes a great scene for pictures. Visiting the Tegallalang rice terraces and doing a rice fields walk is a must do in Bali. During this activity you can get a great sense of the local culture.
Read everything about Tegalalang rice terraces in our complete guide
Hike to Leke Leke waterfall
Leke Leke waterfall Bali is a beautiful hidden waterfall with a narrow stream of water that flows gently down into a small and shallow pool of water. Surrounded by green and lush forestation, you really have the feeling as if you’ve entered a scene from a jungle film. The waterfall is perfectly coved with lush plants and the large boulder on the bottom makes it the perfect spot to put a model on and pose by the waterfall. You really need a wide angle lens to capture the whole fall. But with a zoomlens you can create other nice close up shots of the bottom of the waterfall.
Visit Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave
The Goa Gajah temple, also known as the Elephant Cave, is a historical archaeological site. The sacred temple dates back to the 11th century and was built to pray and meditate. When you enter the temple through the cavernous mouth of a demon, you will see fragmentary remains of the lingam, the phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva. The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR per person.
Admire the lightrays at Tukad Cepung waterfall
Tukad Cepung waterfall is about 50 minutes outside of Ubud centre located but totally worth the trip. Tucked away in a cave, something magical happens when the sun is shining. In the morning between 9 an 11 AM the sun will peek through the cave creating magical lightrays. Therefore it become some of the most popular instagram spots in Bali. So you can expect other tourists here, therefore make sure to be on time!
Do a purification ritual at Tirta Empul water temple
Tirta Empul is a sacred water temple with holy, fresh drinking water from the ground. Balinese Hindus go here for a purification ceremony in the holy waters. But tourists are welcome as well to experience the healing ritual of a water purification and to understand to magical mysteries of Balinese spirituality. The entrance fee is 50,000 IDR per person.
Admire the powerful Nungnung waterfall
Nungnung waterfall is an incredibly powerful waterfall and one of our favorite Bali waterfalls. But to reach NungNung waterfall you have to put in some effort! More than 500 steps down lead you to the falls, so it is a proper work out the way down and to come back up. But I assure you, it is SO WORTH IT!! This waterfall is one of a kind and one of the best places to visit in Bali. With spectacular power the water gushes down, resulting in a lot of spray. You can dip in the pool, but don’t go too close to the waterfall as the power of the water can injure you seriously. There are several angles to shoot from. With the many rocks near the natural pool and along the two banks of the stream you can stand, sit and walk on the rocks to create a picture you like. Try different angles for example with the bamboo bridge in the foreground, and right in front of the waterfall. But be prepared of the spray around because it can soak your camera lens, so take a lens cloth with you!
Go white water rafting on the Ayung river
The Ayung river in Ubud is considered as the best white water rafting river in Bali. The Ubud stream is the most extended river on the island of Bali. The Ayung whitewater river has a length of approximately 68 kilometers. During the water rafting adventure you can enjoy the Bali rainforests, wildlife and lush green rice fields. These tours are suitable for beginners and available year-round.
Relax at an Ubud spa during a massage
Getting a massage or a spa treatment is one of those super relaxing things to do on vacation. It’s the prefect way to relax after a day of exploring. Or when it’s raining in Ubud, getting a massage is the best way to spend the day. Many hotels and resorts in Ubud have spa facilities, but you can also get good Balinese massages all over town. Just make sure to read the reviews before you make your reservation for a massage in Ubud or do your research on the internet for the best spa in Ubud.
Book here your tours to explore central Bali
- One day wellness retreat with massage, yoga class and lunch in Ubud
- Countryside cycling tour from Ubud
- Hot air balloon flight including floating breakfast in Ubud
- Kanto Lampo waterfall including Monkey forest Ubud, Tanah Lot and more. This 10-hour trip packs a lot in, from visiting the sacred Monkey Forest, temples, a waterfall, and the scenic sunset views of Tanah Lot Temple.
- Tirta Empel, Penglipuran village, Tibumana waterfall and Tegallalang rice terrace
- Couple Spa treatment with Sparkling Wine in Ubud
- Ubud jungle Spa experience with forest swing
- Customized Bali tour. Create your own Bali itinerary and have your private driver for 10-11 hours. Enjoy unlimited mileage and go to all the best waterfalls of Bali you wish to visit.
- Ubud waterfalls tour. Visit some of the best waterfalls in and around Ubud including Tukad Cepung, Tegenungan and Tibumana waterfall.
- ATV Quad Bike & White Water Rafting tour in Ubud
- White Water Rafting and Jungle Buggies tour in Ubud
- Ubud rice terraces, temples and Kintamani volcano tour
- Mount Batur hike and white water rafting tour in Ubud
- Ubud and Canggu tour; visit Tegenungan waterfall, Tegallalang rice fields and watch sunset at Canggu beach
Where to stay in Ubud
If you want to stay in central town, there are many great options for hotels, guesthouses and resorts. Despite it can get very busy in the centre of Ubud, you can still find peace and serenity in most accommodations. And there is accommodation for every budget. From really luxury, high end resorts such Four Seasons and Aman, to the affordable but still comfortable resorts such as Adiwana hotels which has some great options in and around Ubud with jungle or rice field view. Further away from Ubud town there are many amazing luxury jungle resorts to choose from. Perfect for honeymooners and luxury travellers. But for the smaller budget there are also loads of options in guesthouses where you can rent a big room for a small price.
Super Luxury hotels in Ubud
Located in the lush valley of Sayan with views on the Ayung river, Four Seasons Ubud offers her guests an extraordinary experience with top class service. The private villas with pool are very spacious, luxury and besides that the resort offers an outdoor pool, four dining options and a gym.
COMO Shambala is a true wellness sanctuary in the jungle of Ubud. The holistic, Asian-inspired body treatments which can include your stay at COMO Shambala are specifically designed to rejuvenate and restore the body. The private villa’s at COMO Shambala are incredibly big with each their own private pool and butler.
If you love being close to nature with all luxury comforts, then glamping at Capella Ubud is the experience for you. The tented accommodation with salt water pools amidst Ubud’s lush greenery is some of the most unique experiences in Ubud.
Mid Luxury hotels in Ubud
Kamandalu is designed to capture the essence of a real-life Balinese village. The authentic villa’s and style of the 5 star resort really gives you the feeling that you’re in Bali. There are many awesome experiences inside the resort to do. You can book the jungle swing, lunch on a boat and have a romantic jungle dinner.
Alila Ubud is a fantastic getaway for the whole family with an incredible infinity pool overlooking the lush valley. The hotel offers rooms and private villa’s, with and without pool. All rooms have views on the green surroundings. With a Spa, great restaurant and plenty of activities, you can enjoy your time at Alila Ubud all day long!
COMO Uma Ubud is a bit more affordable than COMO Shambala but still offers the hospitality and quality of the COMO brand. With beautiful villa’s with views on the jungle but still close to the centre in Ubud you can have best of both worlds at COMO Uma Ubud.
North Bali is all about the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in Bali, crater lakes, volcanos and breathtaking viewpoints. The Kintamani region is where you will find the volcanos of Bali. This area is more and more in development so you will find quite some good accommodations here to spend a few nights. In North Bali you will see some of the most beautiful landscapes that Bali has to offer. A must visit!
Hike Mt Batur to watch the sunrise
One of the best things to do, and especially one of the best sunrise locations AND best viewpoints in Bali, is from the summit of Mount Batur. Hiking Mount Batur is a must add to your Bali itinerary and will be an unforgettable experience! After a 2 hour hike in the dark under a sky full of stars, you will arrive at the top of Mount Batur which is 1717 meters. The only way to hike Mount Batur is with a guided tour. I highly recommend you to book this Mount Batur tour with great English speaking guides, pick up from your hotel and breakfast on top op Mount Batur.
Once you reach the top, the view is absolutely incredible! Slowly you will see the sky changing colors from red to purple and orange. Low hanging clouds passing by, as finally the sun shows up and spreads her light to warm up the earth. It almost feels as if you’re on top of the world! Doing the Mount Batur sunrise hike is a must add activity to your Bali itinerary!
Book your Mount Bature hike here. You will need a guide to hike to the summit.
Visit Sekumpul waterfall
Sekumpul waterfall will give you the feeling as if you’re in Jurassic Park. The height and speed at which the water gushes down is impressive. Located in North Bali this waterfall is a must add to your Bali bucket list! It’s one of the best Instagram spots in Bali and for sure one of our favorite Bali waterfalls together with NungNung and Tibumana. For a great tour along some of the most epic waterfalls in North Bali, I highly recommend this hidden waterfalls tour with Four Elements adventure. During this tour you will visit 12 different waterfalls at 2 different locations. So if you’re a waterfall lover, then this tour is for you!
Read in our complete Sekumpul waterfall guide more in-depth information
Watch sunrise at Pinggan viewpoint
Pinggan sunrise viewpoint is an impressive spot with amazing views of Mount Batur and Mount Agung. Located in Kintamani, the region of Bali’s volcanos, this spot is often overlooked, but absolutely worth a visit! Especially for your next instagram shot. Or if you don’t have the time (or condition) to hike up the Mount Batur with sunrise, then this viewpoint is a great alternative to still have an amazing view on the impressive mountains of Bali! As the sun rises the sky turns purple, orange and pink as the thick blanket of mist slowly dissolves revealing a little village ready to start the day. This viewpoint is so stunning and impressive, without a doubt some of the awesome instagram spots in Bali. If you have a drone you can also capture some amazing photos here.
Swim in the natural pool of Banyumala Twin waterfall
Some of the beautiful Bali waterfalls is Banyumala waterfall with its perfect veil flowing like twin curtains along the rocks into a natural plunge pool. It feels like a jungle fairytale when entering the bottom of Banyumala Twin waterfall. The natural pool is perfect for a dip, so make sure to bring your swimwear!
Book this amazing North Bali Instagram tour including visiting Lake Bratan, the Handara Gate, Wanagiri Hidden Hills and Banyumala waterfall!
Visit Munduk and Tamblingan lake
Tamblingan lake is a caldera lake on 10 minutes driving from Munduk village. It is very closely located to the two other lakes in Bali, Lake Buyan and Lake Beratan. Tamblingan lake has a very unique panorama with the background on the lush hills and a beautiful Hindu temple along the shore of the water. These ingredients make it a fantastic Bali photo spot and therefore Tamblingan Lake is also known as one of the best Instagram spots Bali. Definitely worth it to plan a trip around sunrise to this lake for a unique photoshoot, or just to enjoy the serene surroundings.
Visit the Ulun Danu Beratan water temple
The iconic and famous Ulun Danu Beratan water temple is seen on many postcards from Bali and is without a doubt some of the most famous Bali temples. The unique complex located at the edge of Beratan lake consists of five various shrines dedicated to several Hindu Gods. Built in 1633, the temple is used for offerings and ceremonies dedicated to the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu. When the Beratan River rises it looks like the temple is floating in the lake. Therefore it is also called the “Bali temple on the Lake”. Make sure to come early as it is such a popular tourist destination to visit. For the best light, make sure to come as early as possible.
Book this amazing North Bali Instagram tour including visiting Lake Beratan, the Handara Gate, Wanagiri Hidden Hills and Banyumala waterfall!
Entrance fee is 50 000 IDR per person.
Do the Munduk waterfalls trek
One of the must things to do in Munduk is doing the Munduk waterfalls trek. This 3 – 4 hour hike takes you along some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. You can either do this trek as a point to point hike, or start and end at the Munduk waterfall, also known as Red Coral waterfall. During this trek you will have to cross a river and there is some incline involved. So be prepared and bring your hiking shoes, enough water and comfortable clothing.
The waterfalls you will see during the Munduk waterfalls trek are Red Coral waterfall (also known as Munduk waterfall), Labuan Kebo waterfall, Melanting waterfall and Golden Valley waterfall which is located next to an Eco cafe. This is a great spot to end the trek so you can have some and drinks with beautiful views on the Golden Valley waterfall. In our opinion this is a must do in Munduk as it is not only a fun activity, but will also show you some of the most beautiful Bali waterfalls.
Take your instagram picture at the Handara gate
The Handara gate is some of the most famous Instagram spots in Bali. This gate belongs to the Handara Golf Court and is the entrance to the resort. However it is open for the public to take pictures at the Handara Gate for a fee of 30.000 IDR per person.
Surrounded by lush mountains, crater lakes and rain forest that create dramatic backdrops, the traditional Hindu gate makes it the perfect location for an Instagram shot. The best time to take your picture here is in the early morning or late afternoon. Reasons are because the light is better in the morning or afternoon and there are less people. When the tourists arrive to this area, it tend to get busier with sometimes even a line of people waiting to take their shot! You can fly the drone here if you like but always respect the rules.
Explore Aling Aling waterfall
Aling Aling waterfall is an epic collection of in total four waterfalls to explore along a short hiking trail. The first three waterfalls you will come across before making your way to Aling Aling have the option for jumping from a platform into the natural pool. So if you’re looking for an adrenaline filled adventure, then definitely hire a guide and dive into the waterfall pools! But, there is also the option to just view the waterfalls, which comes with a cheaper price. Only viewing the waterfalls at Aling Aling costs 20 000 IDR per person and can be done without a guide. Jumping is only allowed with a guide for your own safety and costs 125 000 IDR per person.
Book here your tours to explore North Bali
- Full day waterfalls in Munduk tour. Full day adventure to some of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. Jump and slide from the waterfalls and hike through the jungle during this adventurous day tour.
- Customized Bali tour. Create your own Bali itinerary and have your private driver for 10-11 hours. Enjoy unlimited mileage and go to all the best spots in and around Munduk that you wish to visit.
- Private Sekumpul Waterfall Hiking Tour. Go off the beaten path on a private trek past a series of picturesque waterfalls in Bali. You will see the majestic Sekumpul Waterfall, often claimed as the most beautiful on the island and learn how the world’s most expensive coffee is produced.
- 3 day island tour including Munduk, Ubud, Jatiluwih, Tanah Lot and more. Explore the best and most beautiful nature areas in Bali during this completely organised 3 day tour.
- Munduk tour to Lake Bratan, Handara gate, Wanagiri swing and Banyumala waterfall
Where to stay in North Bali
There are some great options to stay in North Bali. Whether you like to stay in the cooler mountains, near the ocean or have a view on the Bali volcanos, in North Bali you can have it all! But you will have to decide on your base from where you’d like to go exploring. Some great places you have to check out are Lovina, Munduk and Kintamani. Lovina is beach, Munduk is the cooler mountain region of Bali where it can even get below 15 degrees. And Kintamani is where the volcanos are located.
We have stayed at Munduk Cabins which is a beautiful small luxury boutique resort with very stylish cabins and amazing views on the mountains. Highly recommended!
East Bali is the untouched part of Bali with incredible viewpoints, lush mountains, ricefields and beautiful historical buildings and temples. On the east coast you can find some amazing beach resorts and some of the most beautiful beaches in Bali. It is definitely worth it to explore east Bali for a few days. You can either choose to stay in Amed, Candidasa or Manggis along the coast. Or go to the country side and spend a few days in the untouched Sidemen in between the mountains and ricefields.
Go for sunrise to Bukit Cinta for the best view on Mt Agung
For one of the best views on Mount Agung you have to go to Bukit Cinta, the ‘hill of love’. Especially if you stay in Amed the drive to Bukit Cinta is only 30 minutes. On a clear morning, you will have the best view on Mount Agung. And if you’re lucky there will be some fog, in combination with smoke. Those are the best conditions to take your shot! You will be very happy to add this to your Bali itinerary as it’s one of the best things to do in our opinion! Read our complete guide about Bukit Cinta here.
Getting there: Type in Bukit Cinta on your Google Maps. It is an easy drive, especially when you’re located in Amed. The roads are good and can be a bit steep because you have to go up in the mountains. Once you arrive at Bukit Cinta you can park your scooter easily at the side of the road and enter the field where you can take your pictures.
Entrance fee: Free.
Best time to go: Arrive 15 minutes before sunrise to give yourself the time to do your research at the location and set up your gear.
Photo tip: If the grass is high enough you can use it as framing in your shot to create depth, see the picture below. Use your model in this shot to show the perspective of the immense Mount Agung. If you have a drone you can make your shot from the volcano higher, but take into account that the volcano will look a bit smaller because the drone has a wider lens. Although you can adjust this a little bit in Lightroom with distortion.
Visit Tirta Gangga water palace
If you want to explore a former royal palace then you have to go to Tirta Gangga water palace in Karangasem. In 30 minutes driving you’re at Tirta Gangga water palace from Amed, so it’s a great day trip and you can combine it with other spots such as Lahangan Sweet.
Tirta Gangga palace is built in 1946 and is still owned by the royal Karangasem family. It features 1.2 hectare of ponds and fountains surrounded by tropical gardens and stone sculptures of mythical creatures. You can feed the Koi fish in some of the fish ponds and walk around the gardens to admire its beauty and the history.
Relax at Virgin beach
Virgin beach along the East coast is one of the best white sand beaches with crystal clear waters in Bali. So if you’re done with the black sand beaches in Amed, then you can perfectly pay a visit to Virgin beach. You can easily combine a visit to this beach after going to Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung water palace.
Tucked away in a gorgeous bay surrounded by green cliffs and waving palm trees, Virgin beach is pure treasure. The soft white sand and calm turquoise waters make it the perfect beach for swimming and relaxing. With warungs along the shore and enough options to rent sunbeds you can plan a full day of relaxing at Virgin beach.
Watch sunrise or sunset at Lahangan Sweet volcano viewpoint
Some of the most amazing viewpoints on Mount Agung is from Lahangan Sweet. On an hour drive from Sidemen you will get to this viewpoint which will blow you away. You will have an unobstructed view towards the majestic volcano Agung with a beautiful green valley below. There are several bamboo platforms at Lahangan Sweet from which you will have a different view and photo opportunity. The great thing about this viewpoint is that you can either come with sunrise or sunset. Both are great, however the most chance of a clear view on Mount Agung is with sunrise. With sunset the sun disappears behind the volcano resulting in the volcano as silhouette. While with sunrise the volcano gets the first light showing all its details and colours.
Explore Taman Ujung water palace
Another water palace in Karangasem is Taman Ujung. This former palace consists of beautiful historic buildings and various large pools. Built in 1909 and designed by a Dutch and Chinese architect the water palace is a combination of Balinese, Chinese and European architecture. It is one of the largest historical landmarks in Bali and a beautiful place to explore. In our opinion is Taman Ujung water palace even better and more beautiful than it’s sister Tirta Gangga water palace. So if you’re short in time then we recommend Taman Ujung instead of Tirta Gangga.
Read in our complete guide about Taman Ujung water palace
Cool off at Gembleng waterfall
For a refreshing dip in the middle of the jungle you have to go to the hidden waterfall Gembleng. Tucked away in the jungle you will find this multi tier waterfall with natural infinity pools looking out over the Sidemen valley and rice fields. It is only a short hike up to the highest natural pool where you can dip in. There is also a little shack where you can buy a coconut to enjoy after exploring the waterfall. This is truly a place where you can connect with the authentic Bali life and see no, or only a few other tourists.
Read in our complete guide about the best waterfalls in Bali
Visit the famous Lempuyang Temple
The Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple has some of the best views on Mount Agung and is a super photogenic place with the two white gates. Also known as the ‘Gates of Heaven’, this sacred temple is a must visit in Bali. Throughout the years the Lempuyang temple has become a huge Instagram hit which makes it a very popular place to visit. Therefore you should take into account that it can be busy. An early visit to Lempuyang Temple is not only recommended to beat the crowds and be some of the first in line, but also to have the highest chance of having clear views on Mount Agung. During the day the volcano often disappears in the clouds.
Practical information about Lempuyang Luhur temple
Getting there: From Amed it is a 30 minute drive to the temple. But after sunrise you can perfectly combine other spots in this area such as Tirta Gangga, Bukit Cinta, Taman Ujung and Virgin beach.
Entrance fee: The entrance fee for Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple is 100.000 IDR per person.
Best time to go: If you want to have clear views on Mount Agung volcano the best time to visit is early morning. Also considering its popularity you can expect there will be a line of people to take a picture. If you don’t like busy tourist places, then skip this place and go to Lahangan Sweet or Bukit Cinta instead. Also amazing viewpoints on Mount Agung but no temples.
Snorkel and dive to discover the underwater world of Bali
The underwater world is fascinating and interesting to explore. If you like snorkeling there are a lot of opportunities in Bali and the surrounding smaller islands such as the Gili islands and Nusa Penida. At most of these places you can rent snorkeling gear. But if you book a snorkeling tour, for example to the Manta Rays at Nusa Penida, the snorkel gear is included. The best spots to snorkel and dive in Bali are:
– The Japanese shipwreck and the USAT Liberty shipwreck in Amed.
– Coral Garden, also known as the ocean’s garden. This shallow reef in Tulamben (Amed) starts as soon as you step into the water.
– Jemeluk bay in Amed.
– Nusa Penida, to spot the giant Manta Rays.
– Nusa Lembongan, Mangrove Point.
– Menjangan Island is considered the most pristine dive destination in Bali. Only visited by a fraction of Bali’s tourists, it boasts a superb variety of uncrowded reefs. The most spectacular is Pos Dua, famous for having incredible visibility of 40 meter or more at times. Menjangan island is located at the far North West tip off the coast of the beautiful Bali Barat National Park.
– Blue Lagoon, Padangbai.
– Shark island at Serangan.
– Gili islands
There are also plenty of options to go on multi day diving and yoga retreats in Bali which include a combination of wellness, healing, yoga and of course diving. Especially along the North and East coast of Bali you’ll find different accommodations offering packages.
Indonesia in general is a fantastic place to go diving. It even belongs to some of the best places in the world for diving! So if you are looking for not only the best places to go diving in Bali, but also outside of Bali, then here some recommendations.
- Komodo islands diving tours which you can combine with exploring Flores island
- Raja Ampat Papua diving tours
- Manado, Sulawesi
- Wakatobi, Sulawesi
- Pulau Weh, Sumatra
Visit a traditional weaver in Sidemen
A great cultural activity to do in Sidemen Bali is visiting a traditional weaver. This craftsmanship is often passed on from generation to generation within the female side of the family. Besides rice farming, this is one of the main authentic jobs that the locals do. It is impressive to see that it will take a full month of work to weave one sarong. These are very high quality sarongs and will be sold for around 2 million IDR.
Watch the salt farmers at Kusamba beach
Something typically Bali is not only rice farming but also traditional salt harvesting. So if you want to learn more about how the Balinese make salt from sea water, then go the Kusamba Beach and witness the techniques on making salt the Bali way. This traditional salt farm dates back almost 1000 years and are still run by the local villagers who also make their living from fishing.
Salt farming is an interesting process. You can see the salt farmer repetitively fetching seawater in palm leaf buckets on carrying poles, then splashing them out onto the smoothened black sand under the scorching sun. The salt begins to crystallise after several hours of drying. The salt crystals are then scraped off, collected and brought inside huts for the filtration processes. It is absolutely worth a visit from Sidemen Bali to see this interesting process of salt farming in Bali.
Hike to Jagasatru waterfall
Jagasatru waterfall is another hidden gem in Sidemen. This 40 meter high waterfall is flanked by two high cliffs and can be accessed by going down steep stairs for about 5 minutes. Because it isn’t a popular tourist destination you can expect to be here alone. There is even a small purification area where locals pray and purify themselves. There isn’t a possibility to swim at the waterfall as there isn’t a pool which is deep enough. But nevertheless it’s a great opportunity to discover the nature in Sidemen area.
Visit Besakih temple
The Besakih temple is one of the six most holiest places of worship in Bali and also the biggest Hindu temple in Bali. Therefore it is also known as Bali’s mother temple. The complex has more than 86 clan temples and shrines and yearly more than 70 ceremonies take place at Besakih as each shrine has its own anniversary. Located on the slopes of Mount Agung you can have incredible views when visiting the temple. Make sure to arrive early to have the highest chance of clear volcano views. Don’t expect that you can just explore the complete complex of Besakih as some of the temples are more than 3 kilometre apart from each other.
Best tours to explore East Bali
- East Bali 2 day tour. Discover the beauty of East Bali during this 2 day tour including a visit to Lempuyang Luhur temple, Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung water temple, the black sand beaches and a Chocolate Factory visit.
- Snorkeling Trip to the Japanese Shipwreck in Amed. Explore the underwater world and visit the Japanese Shipwreck Point and snorkel in between a variety of reef fish, coral, and other marine life.
- Hike Mount Batur and go diving at WWII shipwreck in Tulamben.
- Lempuyang and Besakih temple tour. Visit some of the best temples that Bali has to offer. Lempuyang temple with the famous view on Mount Agung, the mother temple Besakih, Tirta Gangga water palace and a delicious lunch.
- Beginner’s dive experience in Amed Bali. Learn the basics of scuba diving and take a dive with an instructor in Tulamben Bay on the north-east coast of Bali.
- 3-Day PADI Open Water Diving Course Amed. Get your diving certificate and see the Coral Triangle, an area with the highest biodiversity of marine species near Amed.
- 3 days tour; Hike Mount Batur, explore east Bali, Lempuyang temple, Ubud and Nusa Penida. Get the best of Bali and Nusa Penida during this 3 days tour. Watch the sunrise on Mount Batur, see the best of East Bali, Ubud and visit beautiful Nusa Penida island.
- USAT Liberty Wreck Dive and Tulamben Bay Amed. Explore some of the best dive sites off the north-east coast of Bali and get up close to the USAT Liberty wreck on a dive experience at Tulamben Bay Amed.
- Bali Instagram tour; visit Lempuyang temple, Tirta Gangga, Tukad Cepung waterfall, jungle swimg and rice terraces Ubu
- Sidemen Village Tour, Ujung Water Palace and Candidasa
- Firewood Cooking Class & Organic Farm Tour in Sidemen
Where to stay in East Bali
Some of the best places to stay in East Bali are Amed, Sidemen, Manggis or Candidasa. There are some fantastic luxury hotels and villa’s which you can book in this area. We have personally stayed at quite some beautiful places in this area and can recommend the following ones.
EXPLORE THE NUSA ISLANDS
South east of Bali are the Nusa islands located which are part of the Balinese province. Both Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida are absolutely worth a visit and give that tropical island feel. Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan are more the beach and chill destinations, while Nusa Penida is the adventurous island with epic viewpoints, a rugged coastline and untouched beaches. It is highly recommended to spend a few days on the Nusa islands. However it can be hard to choose if you are short in time. Therefore this easy comparison.
Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan = beach vibes, chill and lightly exploring. 2 days are enough.
Nusa Penida = adventure and a much bigger island than Lembongan to explore. You will need 3 days to see everything, but 2 days could be enough for the highlights.
More Bali travel guides
We hope this blog post will help you to create your own perfect Bali itinerary! If you have any questions about creating your Bali trip, don’t hesitate to ask them!
For more in-depth guides and travel tips about Bali, head over to these blog posts: