Two itineraries for Bali

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

Three times Bali in two years, you can say that we are crazy about this small Indonesian island. In this blog, I will share two different itineraries for Bali and the surrounding islands. The first itinerary is for when you have just two weeks, the other for three weeks on Bali. Below the two itineraries, you will find a short description of the different destinations which makes choosing even easier.

Our first time Bali lasted two weeks, during which we saw the most highlights in a short time. The times after we stayed mainly in Canggu, our favourite spot, and we also made some day trips to places where we had not been. Are you curious about my tips for Bali for where to eat and where to stay? Take a look at my travel guide for Bali.

Itinerary: 2 weeks on Bali

Denpasar Airport – Uluwatu – Canggu – Ubud  – Nusa Lembongan – Jimbaran (at Denpasar airport)

Click on the image to see the schedule of this 2 weeks Bali itinerary. I also included some hotels (with prices), and travel times.

After you have landed at the airport of Denpasar, you will drive in 1 to 2 hours (depending on traffic) towards Uluwatu (3 days). Perfect for acclimatizing and getting rid of your jetlag. You will relax here for 3 days and enjoy the rocky landscape. You will visit the famous Uluwatu temple, you will go to The Rock Bar during sunset, and you will go to Bingin Beach or Nyang Nyang Beach. After three days you are ready to immerse yourself in the surf vibes of the village of Canggu (4 days). Your days consist of surfing, yoga and smoothie bowls! In Canggu, you will be sure to have fun with the many backpackers you meet. Your next destination is Ubud (3 days), where you will experience the culture. This means visiting temples, following a cooking course, seeing rice fields and a lot’s of yoga and perhaps a massage. All zen you go by boat to Nusa Lembongan (3 days), where you can snorkel and go diving. A day before you fly back, you will take the boat to Bali, this is a precaution for when the boats suddenly don’t sail. You spend your last night in Jimbaran (1 day), half an hour away from the airport, where you can eat the most delicious fish.

Itinerary: 3 weeks on Bali

Denpasar Airport – Uluwatu – Canggu – Ubud – Lovina – Gili Air – Nusa Lembongan/Penida – Jimbaran (at Denpasar airport)

Click on the image to see the schedule of this 3 weeks Bali itinerary. Including some hotels (with prices) and travel times.

The first part of your trip is the same as on the two weeks route for Bali. However, you now go from Ubud to Lovina (2 days). Here you can spot dolphins and relax on the beach which is much quieter than in the rest of Bali. It is more than two hours from Ubud to Lovina. If you want less travel time, consider going to Jatiluwih and spending the night at the beautiful Glamping Sang Giri. From Lovina, you go by taxi to Amed (2 hours), where you will sleep for one night, after which you take the boat to Gili Air * (3 days). On Gili Air (or one of the other Gili Islands) you can enjoy the ultimate island feeling for three days: no cars, no clock. Go for some Stand-up Paddling, snorkelling and swimming with turtles. The next stop is Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida (4 days) where it is a lot less touristy than on the Gili’s. Finally, you end here your trip in Jimbaran (1 day).

* Please note that the Gili Islands are currently not accessible due to the earthquakes of August 2018.

The different destinations on Bali

Below an overview of the destinations in Bali. Do you miss a place here? Let me know!

Denpasar: the capital city

Denpasar is the capital and also the largest city of Bali. It’s mainly a very busy hub where you will drive a few times through going back and forth to the airport. There is no real city center, it is a vast region with lots of traffic, shops and residential areas. The airport of Bali is just south of Denpasar.

Jimbaran: fish restaurants

Jimbaran is the region that lies immediately below the airport of Denpasar. It is known for good fish restaurants. From here you are quickly at the airport, therefore it’s a convenient base for when you have just landed, or are about to leave Bali.

Uluwatu: surfing

Uluwatu is the name of a small town in a southern tip of Bali, but also the entire southern area is designated by this name. The landscape here is a lot rougher than the rest of Bali, with beautiful rocks and a hill every now and then. Uluwatu is known for surfing. Mainly by professionals because the waves are dangerously high.

Kuta: backpackers

Kuta is one of the most famous places in Bali. It is a large tourist region on the beach. We have often driven through this and (fortunately) never stopped. It reminded us a bit of an Asian version of Salou. Not recommended.

Seminyak: touristic city

Seminyak is a city in the southwest of Bali, right next to Kuta. It is also very touristy here, but very different from Kuta. In Kuta there are mostly drunken backpackers, Seminyak is a lot more fun and hipper. There are many beautiful restaurants, shops and large beach clubs. Seminyak, however, is very busy and massive, which is why we are less inclined to come here.

Canggu: hip and good food

This is a surfing village close to Seminyak. We have been here more often and this is our favorite spot on Bali. There is a nice surf vibe and it is not too big. There are roughly three main streets where everything takes place. Canggu has changed a lot in the last two years. Before everything was closed at 10 pm, now you can also party here until the early hours. In addition, dozens of hotels and restaurants have joined. It remains a wonderful place, but it is not as quiet as it used to be.

Ubud: spiritual and cultural centre

Ubud is the spiritual and cultural centre of Bali. You will find here hundreds of beautiful temples, palaces, markets and of course the Monkey Forest. In addition, you can certainly relax with the many yoga and meditation studios, spas and massage centres. Fun to do from Ubud is a day trip to the rice fields or coffee plantations. The most famous rice fields are those of Tegallalang. We also did a sunrise hike to Mount Batur from Ubud. We were picked up a little after 2 o’clock at night, after which we got a breakfast of pancakes and then we started a four-hour hike to the top of this active volcano. We arrived just before sunrise and it was magical!

We have reserved both activities directly at our hotel, which went well! We found Ubud very touristy, so keep this in mind.

Lovina: dolphins

Unfortunately, we have not been here yet. Lovina is the place where you go to spot dolphins. We have heard that it can be quite busy in the sea at Lovina during the dolphin watching, dozens of boats are at the same time in the water. The question is to what extent this is still animal-friendly and responsible.

Lovina itself is a quiet beach town, with long, black beaches. Besides dolphin spotting, you can also dive and snorkel here. And finally it is nice to visit the Gitgit waterfall, one of the biggest waterfalls in Bali. You can come here by scooter from Lovina or, you go with a driver. We visited the Gitgit waterfalls, and we made a nice walk around the waterfalls in the same area.

Amed: quietness

Completely done with the busyness of Bali? Then go to the quiet Amed. This is a region in the northeast, where not many tourists come. You can dive and snorkel here, and of course, just relax. Leaving from Amed, you can also easily climb Mount Batur.

Sanur: boat to the islands

Sanur is a somewhat larger town. Not very special, there are nice resorts and the beaches are more beautiful than at Kuta or Seminyak. We only came through this when we made the crossing to Gili Air and when we came back from Nusa Lembongan. For us, Sanur is certainly not a must-see.

The Gili islands: touristic islands

The Gili’s are three tiny islands off the coast of Lombok. The three islands each have their own character: Gili Trawangan is the largest, a large party island full of backpackers. Gili Meno is completely the opposite: it is very quiet here. A real honeymoon destination. And finally, Gili Air is a mix of the first two. It is quiet, but there is still plenty to do. We spent four days on Gili Air. Here we relaxed, saw turtles during a snorkel trip and learned about supping.

The Gili Islands can be reached by boat from Sanur. There are no motorized vehicles on the Gili’s, and that is not necessary because they are tiny. You can cycle around an island in half an hour. The Gili’s are fun, but we thought it was a little disappointing. Maybe we had too high expectations from these paradisiacal islands.

Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida: diving and beautiful beaches

Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Cheningan and Nusa Penida are three islands only half an hour sailing east of Bali. We visited the small Nusa Lembongan and the even smaller Nusa Cheningan. They are lovely islands, relatively quiet where you can dive and snorkel. Again, you transport yourself by scooter, and there are hardly any cars. We toured the island by scooter, relaxed on Mushroom Beach, and paid a visit to Dreambeach. We also spontaneously accompanied an old fisherman, who sailed around the island to snorkel in beautiful places. The sea was so incredibly wild that we feared to capsize several times.

Nusa Penida is the unknown big sister of the other two small islands. Here you hardly find tourism and much of the old Balinese culture is still intact. Ries was here shortly before a diving trip because you can dive here with Manta Rays. We would really like to go to Nusa Penida again to enjoy the empty beaches.

Curious to what our time on Bali looked like?

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Here you will find all my articles about Bali

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