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Bali may be one of the most Instagrammed destinations in the world. 

Many travellers fall in love with the beautiful beaches, Hindu temples and lush green landscapes.

For others, it has become too touristy and lost its authentic charm, especially when compared with the rest of Indonesia.
 

 

 

However, sometimes a place is popular because it is great!

I enjoyed my time in Bali and can confirm that there are many hidden gems to discover if you veer off the tourist trail.

Maybe you are more Eat Eat Eat than Eat Pray Love , or your travel style is more backpacker than luxurious. Despite what you’ve heard Bali has something for everyone.

Short on time? Pin this post for later:

first time in bali

 


How to plan a 10 day itinerary for Bali

10 days is the perfect amount of time to explore Bali for the first time. 

This 10 day Bali itinerary will take you on a journey through this diverse island, through all the best places to visit (and those to avoid)!

You will discover Balinese cuisine, take part in sunrise treks, drive through emerald rice paddies, try your hand at surfing and upgrade your yoga skills.

All that, plus time spent relaxing on Bali’s pristine beaches – of course!


Click here to get a free, downloadable Bali itinerary!


Rice terraces in Bali


The best time to visit Bali is between April and October, as these months experience dry warm weather and fewer mosquitoes. 

June to August, along with Christmas and New Year, are peak times to visit, meaning the island can be more crowded than usual.

If you are travelling during this period, make sure to book your hotels in advance as prices can go up drastically. 
 

 

 

To avoid the influx of tourists and save some money – yet still enjoy pleasant weather – September is a good time to plan your Bali trip.

However, I visited Bali in January and still sunbathed to my heart’s content. 

Many people get “stuck” in Bali (it is very popular with digital nomads) so it would be easy to do this itinerary at a slower pace.

If you’ve got more time available, simply add a few days on to each destination.


Candle on table in Sunset view cafe in Nusa lembongan, Bali

Sunset view in Nusa Lembongan, Bali


10 days in Bali suggested itinerary

Now you’re ready to plan your Bali itinerary, here’s what I would suggest for a first timer with 10 days to spare. 

Of course, feel free to chop and change bits around or reverse this Bali itinerary if you like!

Days 1-2: Find your zen in Ubud 

There is only one airport in Bali. Ngurah Rai International Airport lies just south of the village Kuta.

Kuta is a raucous party town and lacks the culture and beauty of other parts of Bali (think a sleazier Las Vegas). 

Instead, head straight to Ubud for the perfect introduction to this idyllic island.

 

 

 

A taxi from the airport will take 40 minutes and cost around £35, while a public bus will take  1 hour and a half but only set you back £3. 

Tip: Click here to book an airport transfer in advance to save yourself from the chaos!

Once in Ubud, you’ll enjoy the views and vibe in the yoga and wellness capital of Bali.


RELATED READ: What To Wear In Bali


Take a digital detox

There is no better place to unplug your devices and do some soul searching than in Ubud.

Head to the famous yoga barn to find your flow or grab a juice at one Ubud’s quaint cafes. Jodie recommends Cafe Vespa.

You can buy a multi-class pass at most of Ubud’s studios and create your own DIY yoga retreat. 
 

 

 

If you’d like to continue the retreat theme, why not treat yourself to a traditional Balinese massage?

Unlike a Thai massage, you won’t find your body being twisted into odd positions.

This type of treatment is influenced by Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines and is truly relaxing! 


 

Yellow Flower Cafe in Ubud Bali
A healthy Balinese breakfast

Rent a scooter

Once you’re ready for some action, rent a scooter and explore the nearby waterfalls and rice paddies. You know that picture you’ve seen on Instagram

It is way more beautiful in real life.


Make sure your travel insurance covers renting a scooter (lots of them don’t!). Get a FREE 3-second quote from World Nomads here or find out more about why I use them in this post.

Go hiking 

Campuhan Ridge Trek only takes an hour but will reward you with amazing views.

Starting at the confluence of the Wos Rivers, this is the perfect way to enjoy time away from the bustling city. 

This hike is best done early in the morning as there is not much shade on the trail.
 

 

 

Pack sturdy shoes and lots of water as the uphill climb can be quite challenging.

I recommend filling up this HyrdroFlask.  The vacuum insulated stainless steel bottle will keep your water cool throughout the walk.


Mount Batur Bali
Mount Batur is an active volcano.

Another popular option is to get up early to hike Mt. Batur before the sun rises. Although hiking in complete darkness with only a torch to guide the way may not sound like fun, I can assure you the view is worth it.

After all, how often do you get the opportunity to stand on top of an ancient volcano and watch the sunrise over the sea?

Climbing to the top will take between 1.5 and 2 hours, depending on your fitness levels. 
 

 

 

Trainers or hiking shoes are required as there is lots of gravel on the route which can prove slippery! 

Remember to pack removable layers as you will initially feel the cold. 

Visit Saraswati temple

There are many beautiful temples to explore in Ubud but the one that stands out for me is Saraswati. 

Also named the Ubud Water Palace, this Balinese Hindu temple was created in honour of Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, literature and art. 

Spend time admiring the lotus pond with flashes pink spread across the murky water.
 

 

 

One thing to note is there is a Starbucks right next to the temple (yes really).

It may not be authentic but I guess you could grab a latte on the way out? 

Ubud market 

Souvenirs, jewellery and clothes that will make you wish you hadn’t overpacked your suitcase- Bali is an incredible shopping destination.

Hit up the market for local trinkets, flattering swimwear and sustainable fashion. Read more about what to wear in Bali here

 Eat your way around Ubud

You’ll be spoiled for choice on where to eat in Ubud. This place really knows how to do brunch! 
 

 

 

Start your day with traditional Balinese banana pancakes from Yellow Flower Cafe.

For dinner, it has to be Naughty Nuri’s for the barbeque or the best nasi goreng!


RELATED READ: 15 Of The Best Cafes in Bali


Where to stay in Ubud

A great trip to Ubud starts with choosing the right place to stay. Here are some of the best places to stay in Ubud: 

Luxury stay: You can get some truly luxurious accommodation in Ubud without spending too much. Villa Ubud Sunshine is surrounded by lush tropical gardens. It is within walking distance of Ubud market, yet a little out of the city centre to ensure a peaceful stay. 

Budget option: Comfy beds and a shared bar make Ayra Monkey Forest the perfect place to meet other backpackers. 

Best for local experience: Jepun Bali Ubud is a homestay with friendly staff, beautiful gardens and bottomless tea and coffee. What more could you want? 


Day 3-5 Visit Bali’s coolest destination Canggu 

With sandy beaches, lush green surroundings and the hip vibe that comes with being a surfer town – Canggu really is the place to be.

Canggu is a 30-minute drive from Ubud, so rent a driver or take your scooter. Stop off for views on the way! 

Hit the waves, the clubs or just the reset button with a meditation workshop at The Practice.
 

 

 


Surfing

Surfers travel from all over the world to ride the waves of Echo Beach and Batu-Bolong. New to surfing? There are plenty of surf lessons available.

You can even book yourself into surf school! 

Sunsets at Echo Beach

Surfers may dominate the beach by day, but by night enjoy peaceful views and tequila sunsets.

Grab some fresh seafood at one of the many cafes. 

Nightlife

The nightlife in Canggu is pretty great. Lively bars and great music combined with beautiful venues mean you may spend a few days nursing a hangover.

Located at Batu Bolong, Old Man’s is a favourite with surfers.

Enjoy a Bintang beer in the sprawling garden or dance to DJs until the early hours. 
 

 

 

I guarantee you’ll make new friends. 

Alternatively, Pretty Poison has an amazing atmosphere. With a skate park inside the club, you can sip on delicious cocktails and watch skaters do their thing. 

Once these cool bars close, the party heads to Sand Bar.

Unlike the others, this is just a beach hut with a few beanbags and a bar. Within minutes you’ll be dancing barefoot with everyone else.


Sunset at Canggu surfing beach Bali
Sunset at Canggu surfing beach Bali

Hipster cafes and street art

Canggu is the bohemian hideaway of Bali. Discover vegan eats (the Shady Shack) and art galleries.

It is also the unlikely home to street art and wall murals. So grab your camera and explore. 

Tanah Lot Temple

Located 300m offshore on a rock in the Indian ocean,  this Hindu shrine is famed for its unique setting.

You can only access the temple at low tide. Visit just before sunset.

This way you’ll have time to enjoy the gardens before the sun dips below the horizon. 


Where to stay in Canggu

Best stay: Find your home away from home at Nari’s Homestay. Situated near Batu Balong beach, guests will enjoy huge rooms and a welcoming atmosphere. 

Budget option: Close to Echo Beach, The Hideout Hostel is great for meeting people. Hang out with your new friends at the bar, outdoor swimming pool or on the rooftop terrace. 

Treat yourself: Stay in a designer suite, equipped with a private pool and hot tub. The Dharma Villa Suite is perfect for couples. 


Day 6-7- Uluwatu

Uluwatu has the most beautiful beaches in Bali and has a much more chilled out vibe than Canggu.

Take the bus from Canggu and change at Seminyak, drive yourself or take a 30-minute taxi.
 

 

 

Nyang-Nyang Beach

Looking for a beach with fewer visitors where you can while away the hours with a good book? Nyang-Nyang is home to glistening white sands and is one of the cleanest beaches on the island. Underdeveloped and quiet, the best way to reach Nyang-Nyang is by scooter. 

You will have to walk down the cliffside for around 20 minutes so make sure to wear suitable shoes.

Once you arrive, cool off in the ocean and grab a coconut from one of the local vendors. 


Going to Bali? Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. I use World Nomads. 


 

Suluban Beach

Suluban is only accessible through a hole in between the rocks. Head to Blue Point for a surfing hotspot or just admire the shipwreck that lives on the beach. 

Padang-Padang Beach

Yes, it is the beach from Eat Pray Love! This small sandy bay is great for sunbathing. Watch out for monkeys on your walk down. 

Pantai Tegal Wangi caves

From the Pantai Tegal Wangi cliffs follow the small staircase down to this tranquil beach. On this beach, you’ll find a cave that is the perfect place to get a photo of the sun setting. 
 

 

 

Ulu Cliffhouse Beach Club 

World-class food, creative cocktails and epic ocean views – this clifftop playground is definitely worth visiting. 

Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple

On top of a 70-meter high cliff lies Uluwatu Temple. At sunset, you can see a traditional Balinese performance.

The Kecak dance is a Hindu musical drama which involves the participants using their vocals as instruments.

 

 

 

Held in the open air, the story unfolds into the darkness where the only light comes from bamboo torches.

As well as being a cultural experience, the plot had me gripped. In short, a princess was stolen from her husband by a demon but I won’t spoil the ending…
 

 

 


Where to stay in Uluwatu

Something different: These gorgeous bungalows are a unique place to stay. Only a few steps from a stunning cliffside, The Ulus Klumpu guests can enjoy breathtaking sunsets.  

Budget stay: Close to Padang Padang beach Ulus Backpackers hostel features cosy rooms, air conditioning and free WIFI. 

Treat yourself: If you’re looking to stay somewhere memorable, Villa Hari Indah offers luxury rooms and an outdoor pool. 


Long exposure photo of Devil's Tear cliffs of Nusa Lembonan Island, Bali during sunset, exposing vibrant colors


Day 7 -Sanur to Nusa Lembongan

Take the shuttle bus from Uluwatu to Sanur. Alternatively, it is a 30-minute taxi or drive. 

Once in Sanur take the fast boat to Nusa Lembongan. The boat leaves three times a day and costs roughly £15. Check the schedule here.

Book online to get picked up from your hotel. I would recommend doing this as where the ferry leaves can be hard to find. 
 

 

 

Once you arrive visit Devil’s Tear for one of nature’s natural wonders or cross the famous Yellow Bridge. 


Where to stay in Nusa Lembongan

Top choice: Stay steps from the ocean at Double A’ Beach House. 

Budget choice: Close to the beach, Devadev Hostel offers continental breakfast and rooms with a balcony. 

Luxury stay: Nusa Veranda Sunset Villas treat their guests to stunning views and an infinity pool. 


Day 8 – Nusa Lembongan – Day trip to Nusa Penida

Take a day trip to the next island over to discover crystal waters. Find out how to get to Nusa Penida from Nusa Lembongan here

Snorkel with Manta Rays and visit Crystal Bay

Nusa Penida is best explored by water.

Join a group tour and go looking for Manta Rays. Take your go pro to capture their playful nature. 

After all that swimming you’ll relish your visit to Crystal Bay. And yes, it does live up to its name.


 

 

 


Day 9 – Return to Sanur Beach Bali and travel to Seminyak 

Head back on the early the ferry to Sanur and then take a minibus or private car to Seminyak. 

Spend your last night relaxing before you say bye to Bali. There should be time for one more massage! 


Where to stay in Seminyak

Top choice: Only 20 minutes drive from the airport, Blue Karma Oasis is the perfect place to end your trip in Bali. Have one last Indonesian meal at their onsite restaurant. 

Live like a local: Nadialit homestay is close to the beach and has a friendly atmosphere. 

Budget stay: IOOVE Tanjung Seminyak Suites is great value for money and comes with an outdoor pool for you to enjoy. 


How to extend  this 10-day itinerary for Bali

If you have longer then 10 days in Bali there are plenty of ways to extend this itinerary. 

Of course, you could add more days on to each destination. Seminyak is a great place to shop and enjoy beach clubs such as Potatoe Head.

Alternatively, continue your snorkelling adventures after Nusa Penia. Travel to the Gili Islands.
 

 

 

Gili T is a great place to party, while Gili Air has a more chilled vibe and is the place to snorkel or scuba dive with sea turtles!

Lombok is also worth exploring, for an island further off the beaten track. 

Finally, if you have a month at your disposal, the rest of Indonesia has lots to offer.