Bali is a unique, interesting island with a huge amount of things to do. A Bali 1 week traevl itinerary gives you a chance to see many of Bali’s highlights, from incredible cultural and historical sites to a great variety of surf beaches, dive sites, scenic walks and more.
Ubud Bali © eguidetravel
The great thing about Bali is that it truly has something for everyone. If you’re searching for an incredible adventure, you’ll have no trouble finding it. If you feel like relaxing beside the pool in one of the world’s best resorts, you’re also spoilt for choice.
To make planning your holiday easier, we’ve put together a detailed list of things to do in one week in Bali. Before we get into things to do for each day of your Bali holiday, we’ll cover the island’s major areas and destinations to help you find your way around.
If you’re planning more than a week in Bali, see our 2 Week Bali Itinerary.
For the practicalities of what to bring with you, see Travel Happy’s Bali Packing List.
Bali Areas and Destinations
Bali is a surprisingly big island — in total area, it’s about half the size of Jamaica. Because of the island’s infamously bad traffic, particularly around the southern beach areas and tourist hotspots like Ubud, travelling around Bali can be a somewhat slow process.
We recommend that you base yourself in two areas during your stay in Bali. This way, you’ll get to see the best of both sides of the island, from cultural areas like Ubud to popular beaches on the southern coast, or even one of the quiet coastal towns in North or West Bali.
Bukit Peninsula, Bali © stephanstansfield
Most of Bali’s tourist areas are found on the southern part of the island. Here, you’ll find most of the island’s popular beaches, from backpacker hangouts and party spots like Kuta to exclusive, expensive Nusa Dua.
- Kuta is Bali’s most popular beach resort town. Famous for its nightlife, it’s the island’s capital of backpacker life and by far its biggest party area. Alongside the endless supply of bars, Kuta has an extremely popular beach that’s popular with beginner and intermediate surfers.
- Legian is Kuta’s calmer twin — a beach resort located just to the north of Kuta with a far quieter atmosphere. Like Kuta, the beach is popular with surfers, while a good variety of guesthouses, bars and restaurants make Legian a popular tourist hangout.
- Seminyak is Bali’s upscale beach town, located to the north of Legian. Upmarket resorts, great international dining and fashionable boutiques make Seminyak more popular with couples and families than nearby Legian and Kuta.
- Nusa Dua is Bali’s most luxurious tourist area, with a selection of five-star resorts and one of the island’s most exclusive golf clubs. This is Bali’s version of Palm Beach — a quiet getaway with a compound-like atmosphere just a few minutes away from the rest of the island.
- Denpasar is Bali’s capital and main administrative centre. Although it’s the island’s largest city, it’s not of particular interest for tourists and, a few temples aside, doesn’t have much of interest for travellers.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces © mckaysavage
- Ubud is Bali’s most famous cultural centre. A huge range of attractions, from historical sites to cycling trails and rafting tours, and accommodation options make Ubud one of the best areas in Bali for travellers. We recommend spending at least three nights here.
- Quiet and peaceful, East Bali is famous for its relaxing coastal towns. The gigantic Mount Agung — an active volcano that rises more than 3,000 metres above sea level — dominates this part of the island. The towns of Tulamben, Amed and Candidasa are famous for their excellent scuba diving, while David Bowie considered Amlapura so beautiful he wrote a song about it.
- The biggest attraction in West Bali is the West Bali National Park. Bali’s only national park, this 190 square kilometre reserve is famous for its dense rainforest habitat, diverse flora and fauna and numerous walking trails.
- Fishing villages, dive sites and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere make North Bali one of the best areas on the island for relaxation. Pemuteran, a small fishing village in the northwest of Bali, and Tulamben in the northeast, are famous for their world class scuba diving sites.
Where Should You Stay In Bali?
- We recommend choosing two destinations in Bali and splitting your time between them.
- In our itinerary, we’ve spent the first four nights in and around Ubud visiting cultural sites and enjoying the island’s best adventures. The final three nights are spent near the beach. Since Bali has such a huge selection of beaches, it’s up to you where you choose to stay:
- For surf, parties and fun, choose one of the three most popular South Bali resorts — Kuta, Legian and Seminyak
- If you want a luxurious experience and don’t mind missing out on the local culture, try one of the many high-end resorts in Nusa Dua
- For a quiet, laid back experience with great snorkelling and diving, try Pemuteran, Amed, Candidasa or Tulamben.
Bali for Female Solo Travellers
Overall, Bali is a safe destination. People are friendly, violent crime is uncommon and the risk of you facing a dangerous situation is low. However, there are risks involved in travelling to Bali alone, from scammers to petty theft. We’ve listed a few tips to help you stay safe and avoid scams, risks and other annoyances during your holiday in Bali:
- Be careful when you’re carrying a handbag or backpack, especially after dark. Snatch theft is an issue in Bali, especially in the southern beach resorts. Carry your bag away from the road so it’s out of reach and avoid walking alone at night if possible.
- Likewise, theft from hotels is a problem in areas like Kuta and Legian. If your hotel or guesthouse has a safe, store your valuables inside.
- Many of the cheap bars in Bali will use low quality, often homemade liquor. Avoid any ultra-cheap bars and stick to bars that attract large crowds, since they’re less likely to use potentially unsafe ingredients.
- Avoid drinking to excess. Bali is usually a safe destination, but it’s easy to become an easy target for criminals if you’re intoxicated.
- Don’t take taxis waiting at the airport — by and large, they’re an overpriced rip off. Walk into the parking lot and take one of the “Blue Bird” taxis, which charge you by the meter and cost far less. You can book Blue Bird taxis online here.
- Check out our Tips for Female Travelers in Bali. Bali is a safe destination for female solo travellers, and understanding the culture, common hazards and best things to do makes it easier to get the most from your trip.
Bali Itinerary: Day One to Day Four: Ubud
Munduk, Bali © 56218409@N03
- Our Bali itinerary starts in Ubud, the island’s cultural centre and one of its fastest growing tourist destinations, in part thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love (and the subsequent movie starting Julia Roberts).
- Getting into Ubud from Ngurah Rai Airport is simple. Prepaid fares from the airport to Ubud can cost as much as 250,000 Rp (approx. $19 USD). From the airport, walk through the car park to outside the gate and use our Blue Bird taxi trick to get there for about half the standard price.
- Ubud is Bali’s cultural hub, with a huge variety of temples and cultural sites to visit. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular attractions in and around Ubud, all of which are great for visiting during the first few days of your trip.
Accommodation in Ubud
- Ayung Resort is one of Ubud’s top-rated luxury hotels, with a selection of luxurious rooms and villas, many with private swimming pools. Set in the jungle outside Ubud, Ayung Resort’s quiet location and relaxing atmosphere make it a great retreat for couples.
- Komaneka at Rasa Sayang Ubud Hotel is a five star hotel located close to the centre of Ubud. A selection of spacious rooms, an excellent spa and a quiet garden setting make this a wonderful retreat that’s only a short distance from Ubud’s best cafes and restaurants.
- A short distance from the centre of Ubud, Taman Rahasia Tropical Sanctuary and Spa is a three star hotel with large rooms, great facilities and an excellent spa. One of the best hotel choices in Ubud if you like being pampered without the cost of a five star hotel.
- Mahanadewi Villa is a three star hotel located in the north of Ubud. Spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a jungle setting make this a comfortable and relaxing place to stay, all within walking distance of Ubud’s town centre.
- Pondok Kutuh Guest Houses is an affordable three star hotel within walking distance of Ubud Palace. The clean, spacious rooms offer fantastic value for money, while the friendly staff are always on hand to provide advice, recommendations and information on the area.
- Dewa Hostel is one of Ubud’s most popular backpacker hostels. Clean and affordable, Dewa offers bunk beds in mixed dormitories. Friendly, helpful staff and a nice variety of guests make this a fun place to make new friends and meet fellow travellers.
Temples and Cultural Sites
- Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
Built in the ninth century, Goa Gajah (or the “Elephant Cave”) is a historical cave famous for its carved statues and guards. Admission to the complex is 15,000 IRD, which includes the use of a sarong for the duration of your visit.
- Yeh Pulu Temple
Located close to Goa Gajah, Yeh Pulu is a temple famous for its 14th century stone carvings. A short walk through a paved jungle trail separate the temple from the rest of the area, making it a fun site to visit after Goa Gajah.
- Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Palace)
Also known as Ubud Palace, Puri Saren Agung (or Puri Saren Palace) is the official residence of the Royal Family of Ubud. Some descendents of the royal family live here today, and while parts of the palace are off-limits to the public, others are open and worth a short visit.
- Tirta Empul Temple
Located 20 kilometres northeast of Ubud, Tirta Empul is a 10th century temple famous for its hot water springs. The springs, which open into the central courtyard of the temple, are bathed in by locals as part of a cleansing and purification ritual.
If you’d like to join the locals in bathing in the holy water, you can rent a sarong from inside the complex for 10,000 IDR. Lockers are available to store valuables while you bathe in the temple water.
- Saraswati Temple
One of Ubud’s most picturesque temples, Saraswati Temple is famous for its large lotus pond and ancient carvings in honour of Dewi Saraswati. Dance shows begin in the evening. As with other temples around Ubud, sarongs are available for rent outside the temple.
- Kehen Temple
Located 30 minutes northeast of Ubud near the town of Bangli, Kehen Temple (Pura Kehen) is one of the most impressive temples in the area. Built in 1206, Pura Kehen’s location makes it a quiet temple to visit, with few of the crowds of the temples closer to Ubud.
- Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Ubud is famous for its beautiful rice terraces. Located just under 10 kilometres north of Ubud, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces are something of a tourist trap, but are worth a visit for the iconic view of Bali’s interior.
Cooking, Batik and Other Classes
- Paon Bali Cooking Class
Hosted by Puspa and Wayan, Paon Bali Cooking Class teaches authentic Balinese dishes in an Indonesian village home. Hotel pickup and dropoff are available, making this a fun way to spend the morning or afternoon even if you don’t have your own transportation.
- Payuk Bali Cooking Class
Another local cooking class, Payuk Bali Cooking Class is based in Laplapan Village. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes are taught using local cooking methods and organic ingredients, all in a peaceful outdoor setting near local rice fields.
- Chez Monique Silver Smith Class
Learn how to make your own high quality silver jewellery. Chez Monique offers classes hosted by two expert silversmiths. Students learn how to make their own silver jewellery and go home with a custom item made of up to 10 grams of silver.
- Widya’s Batik
Widya’s Batik teaches the Indonesian art of batik — wax-resistant cloth dying. Hosted by master batik artist Widya, this class covers the complex art of batik. By the end of the class, you’ll have prepared your own batik artwork to take home as a souvenir.
- Deking Batik Class
Another batik class, Deking Batik teaches the art of batik is a quiet, relaxing outdoor setting in a rice field just outside Ubud. Ideal for children and adults alike, students go through the steps of creating their own batik piece, which they can take home at the end of the lesson.
Yoga Studios and Retreats
- Ubud Yoga House
One of several yoga studios in Ubud, Ubud Yoga House hosts yoga classes with an incredible view over local rice paddies. The beautiful setting, variety of classes, friendly teachers and calm atmosphere make this one of the best places in Ubud to practice yoga.
- Blooming Lotus Yoga
Blooming Lotus Yoga is a luxurious yoga retreat with a private pool, excellent yoga classes and a calming setting in the south of Ubud. Private villas are available, making this a fantastic retreat for couples and solo travellers looking to “escape” for a few days of yoga and relaxation.
- Taksu Yoga and Movement Arts
Located close to the centre of Ubud, Taksu Yoga and Movement Arts is a popular yoga studio with a great selection of morning and afternoon classes. The open air setting and large variety of classes make this a great option for people staying in the centre of Ubud.
- Ubud Pilates
Located in Penestanan, Ubud Pilates is a boutique pilates studio with a variety of classes aimed at beginners and experts alike. A nice alternative to Ubud’s numerous yoga studios for travellers that like to keep fit while on the road.
Bali Itinerary: Day Five to Day Seven: Bali’s Southern Beaches
Sunset © ashleyt
After four days in Ubud, travel to one of Bali’s numerous great beach resorts for three days of fun, sun and surf. Below, we’ve listed the best beach and water activities in Bali, as well as the ideal destinations to enjoy each activity.
If you feel like relaxing on the beach after exploring Ubud and its surroundings, most of Bali’s southern beaches are sure to satisfy. Avoid Kuta, which is too developed and crowded for a relaxing experience, and head to one of the following:
- Seminyak, which is Bali’s second most popular beach and home to a huge variety of midrange and luxury resorts
- Nusa Dua, which is Bali’s luxury travel hotspot and home to most of the island’s five star resorts and retreats.
Bali is one of Asia’s most acclaimed surfing destinations, with the south coast beaches offering the best waves on the island. Bali Surf Advisor offers a full list of surf points on the island. Our favourites are:
- Kuta Beach is one of the best places in Bali to learn to surf, with a variety of surf shops and schools aimed at beginners and intermediate surfers.
- Legian Beach offers similar surf to Kuta, but usually has smaller crowds. Recommended for intermediate surfers.
- The Bukit Peninsula is where you’ll find the biggest waves on the island. Recommended for advanced, confident surfers.
Snorkelling and Diving
Bali is one of the world’s best snorkelling and diving destinations, with a variety of tropical reefs and shipwrecks within easy reach. Below, we’ve listed three of the island’s best snorkelling and diving destinations, all of which are ideal for a one to two night stay.
- Pemuteran is a remote fishing village in the far northwest of Bali, with great snorkelling available right off the beach.
- Amed is a stretch of coastline in East Bali that contains several quiet, peaceful fishing villages and some of the island’s best snorkelling and diving.
- Tulamben is one of Bali’s most acclaimed diving destinations, famous for the wreck of the USAT Liberty, which was sunk in 1942 by a Japanese submarine.
- Nusa Lembongan is a beautiful island off the southeastern coast of Bali that was once the domain of backpackers and adventurers. Today, it’s home to a variety of boutique hotels and offers some of the best snorkelling and diving in Bali.
- Chartered fishing tours are available from popular beach resort areas like Legian, Seminyak and Kuta. Bali Fishing Boats offers a range of fishing tours and customised trips from Tanjung Beno near Kuta Beach.
Feel like staying for another week?
Bali is a huge island with more than enough to see and do to fill a second week. Our Two Week Bali Travel Itinerary expands on the best things to do in Bali for travellers that plan on spending two weeks or longer on the island.