Bali Itinerary – Plan Your PERFECT 10 Days in Bali
Over the last decade or so, Bali has become a huge backpacking spot out of all the countries in Southeast Asia to visit. And to be honest, I can’t argue with this sentiment. I absolutely adore Bali. There’s so much to see here, it’s easy to miss out on some epic stuff so take some time to plan the perfect Bali Itinerary before you guy. Don’t miss out on anything!
Personally, I’ve visited 4 or 5 times over the last few years, spending a total of more than 2 months on this glorious island. In that time I been to essentially all of the top sites as well as taking time to hire a moped and go discover our own unique spots. And that’s what I love about Bali.
For sure certain areas have become far too touristy, there is still untamed beauty just an hour or two outside the airport. So below I’ll take you through what I consider to be the ideal 10 days in Bali itinerary. It’s perfect for someone wanting to experience it all, including:
- Surfing the beaches
- Discovering rice paddies
- Meeting friendly locals
- Picking up some homemade crafts
- Experiencing sunsets
- Enjoying the nightlife
Let’s get stuck in.
A few quick travel tips for Bali
Here are a few important things you should be aware of to help you plan an epic trip to Bali:
Having your own transport will help.
The itinerary below is much easier (and cheaper) if you have a way to get around on your own. I recommend hiring a moped/scooter for your time here as driving mopeds is an unforgettable experience in itself. If you’re not comfortable with this, then consider renting a car.
Pick up an International Driver’s Permit if you want a car
If you want to go by the book, for driving any vehicle in Bali you will need an International Driver’s Permit. These are pretty easy to get, but varies depending on which country you are from. Generally, they don’t ask for this for scooter rentals though.
As you venture around Bali, the climate changes pretty dramatically. One minute it’s hot and sunny and the next it’s pouring hard. So you really need to prepare for all weather. Check out our friends Bali packing guide for a much more in-depth look at what you should and should not take with you to Bali.
Getting to Bali
Bali is SUPER easy to get to. There is only one airport to fly into, the Ngurah Rai International Airport located in Denpasar in southern Bali, right next to the Kuta area (raucous parties, lots of Australians). You can fly internationally here, and it’s also super cheap to connect from anywhere in Asia. I live in Bangkok, and Air Asia often flies the 4 hours to Bali for about $150.
How Many Days Should You Spend in Bali?
As I said, I’ve been to Bali lots of times. My shortest ever time was just 4 or 5 days. I was a youngster, getting drunk around Kuta. I’ve been back to Bali on a romantic trip with my wife, I’ve been there with my family, and recently I went there with my non-profit NGO where we built a library in Bali. That time we were there for about 2 weeks, then we climbed Rinjani and visited Lombok and check out things to do in the Gili islands after too.
So how long should you stay in Bali? Personally, I’d say 10 days in Bali is perfect. That gives you time to check out all the main things to do, the rice paddies, the waterfalls, the beach, party a little bit, soak up the hippy vibes in Ubud and duck monkeys around the island. Of course, you can squeeze the main things to do in Bali in less time, perhaps 5 days in Bali, but you’ll be rushed. So try to plan 10 days.
NOTE: If you wanted to add Ubud to this Bali itinerary too, then either add on an extra 2 nights. Or sacrifice 2 of your ‘chill nights’ at the end.
Things to do in Bali
Before I crack on with the 10 days in Bali itinerary, and you’re too lazy to read it, here are the main things to do in Bali, and the main things to see in Bali. This Bali itinerary covers most of it, but feel free to pick and choose what you want.
- Visit AT LEAST one the Bali rice paddies
- Visit AT LEAST one of the Bali waterfalls
- Sunrise hike of Mount Batur
- Yoga and hippy vibes in Ubud
- Party in Canggu or Seminyak (or Kuta if you’re under 25)
- Hit the beaches in Bali
- Nusa Penida day-trip
- Visit some Balinese temples, (perhaps sunset at Tanah Lot)
- Check out the monkey forest (and be careful!)
Bali Itinerary; 10 Days in Bali
Days 1 to 6 will see you visiting northern Bali, and 7 to 10 will be in the south. This is the perfect amount of time to experience everything Bali has on offer.
Get off the plane into Denpasar. And don’t be too down-heartened. Bali doesn’t instantly look like a tropical paradise, not yet anyway. So go pick up either a car or moped because it’s time to head north towards Sidemen to find what you’ve been looking for.
Most people expect Bali to be rice terraces and nature, well Sidemen is the best place in Bali we found to experience this tranquillity. Sideman (or ‘Selat) is unreal. It’s the picture you have in your mind about Bali. Lush rice terraces, green hill-sides, and all with Mount Agung starting down at you. Bali’s live volcano.
Days 2 & 3
Get back on your wheels as it’s time to head around the coast to Balai Gili. This is a former palace, located amidst perfectly manicured gardens in the centre of a lake.
If you follow the coastal road around to it, you will find a number of nice beaches to stop off at. Perhaps to enjoy lunch. We can recommend Candidasa Beach for exactly this.
There are two more stops for this day, which are Tirta Gangga and Penataran Lempuyang. The first being a scenic water garden and the second being the famous “Bali Gates of Heaven”. A few years ago these were relatively unknown spots; nowadays there are two of the biggest “Instagram ” locations on the island.
If you want the whole Instagram experience to capture those lovely photos, then you will need to spend the night somewhere nearby and come back at sunrise. Otherwise, you will be queuing for hours at each one. BUT NOTE, the reflection is from a mirror placed near the camera NOT a lake!
If you’re not fussed about having your picture taken, then I still recommend visiting them both. Afterwards, head to the coast and spend the night somewhere near Amed Beach. It’s great for the views and there are loads of nice restaurants and bars to check out in the evening.
On day 4, it’s time to drive the whole way north up to a town called Singaraja. I recommend booking a stay here for the night, and spending the rest of your time exploring nearby waterfalls. There are a bunch of amazing ones in this part of Bali, including …
- Aling Aling
- Git Git
On your second morning in Singaraja, it’s worth booking possibly the greatest experience to be had on Bali. Which is a sunrise hike up Mount Batur.
It starts early and takes a few hours to climb, but the views at sunrise are literally out of this world. You can book tour guides to pick you up from all over Bali, so you could choose to do this on another night if you wish, depending on how you tweak this 10 days in Bali itinerary.
This is a big day of exploring, involving a drive straight through the centre of Bali south back towards Kuta. The journey will take about 3 hours depending on traffic, but you will have plenty of stops on the way. This includes:
- Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
- Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
- Tegallalang Rice Terrace
- Ubud markets
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
It’s crazy how the climate changes so dramatically on this drove south. As you venture into the centre of the island, you get higher up and it can get very cold.
Then, as you get further south the weather heats back up again. Plan ahead by taking warm clothes and a poncho, especially if you’re on a moped.
Days 7-10; Base Yourself in Southern Bali
There’s a reason that I grouped the final 4 days together, and that’s because you should spend the whole time exploring the many wonderful sites that southern Bali has to offer. You’ve already done the majority of your driving by this point, however, having a vehicle still is vital for southern Bali.
I recommend basing yourself in a villa. Bali has the best value pool-villas in the world. Where you choose is up to you really, here are a few of my top recommendations. Personally, I’d say Canggu or Seminyak. 4 days, pool villa. Moped rental. Paradise. Now that’s an end to a trip you can dream about.
NOTE: If you don’t want a base, and instead want to keep moving, and see more. Then check out Ubud for a night or two. Yoga and smoothie bowls. Hippy central but a cool spot.
Known for its nightlife, Kuta is extremely built up but great if you want to spend more time shopping or out partying til late. Personally, I HATE this place. It’s everything bad about bali.
Travelers, expats, good vibes, nice coffees, cool bars
Ideal for younger crowds looking to surf, enjoy sunsets and find other backpackers. A big hub for digital nomads too.
Geared towards families, Nusa Dua is much quieter but has lovely stretches of beaches and lots of shops and restaurants.
This is much more remote, but the place to be if you want to find the biggest waves and spend most of the rest of your time surfing.
Stuff to do in your last few days in the villa?
Here is a big rundown of what I consider to be the best things to do in southern Bali. Feel free to pick and choose here based on your own interests; Bali really does have something for everyone.
- Surf – Bali has dozens of beaches great for surfing. Kuta is a great spot for beginners, as is Canggu, though it gets pretty choppy. If you have more experience and want bigger waves then Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin and Balangan are your best choices. Many of these better spots are dangerous for beginners as there are a lot of coral breaks, or even the need to swim out through a sea arch to reach the breaks.
- Party – There’s great nightlife to be had in Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu. Perhaps the most famous being Sky Garden which, for a fixed amount, you get unlimited food and drink all night, check it out if you want to go crazy. It’s messy, be warned. For a classier evening, check out ‘THE LAWN’ in Canggu, great sunset cocktail spot.
- Experience sunsets – Bali’s sunsets are infamous all around the world. The best spots in the south include many of the beaches, as well as Uluwatu temple and Tanah Lot.
- Watersports – There is a waterpark located on the outskirts of Kuta called Waterbom, where I took my family. It is widely regarded as one of the best waterparks in the world, and I can vouch for that! A little further away you also have Bali Wake Park which is equally as epic. If you head over to Nusa Dua, there are all kinds of watersports on offer including jet-skiing, banana boating and paragliding.
- Relax – This 10 day Bali itinerary is pretty full-on! So take some time to actually unwind and refresh yourself. Pack some food and drinks and head to the beach for the day. You can get really cheap massages on almost any beach for less than $5.
Bali Itinerary Route
Planning the perfect Bali Itinerary; Final Thoughts
TLDR? So rent a scooter, drive around the north for 5 or 6 days. Sunrise hike Mount Batur, check out waterfalls, monkey and rice terraces. Then base yourself in a private pool villa for your last 4 days in Canggu or Seminyak. Done!
Most people who head to Bali spend way too much time in the south around areas like Kuta. This isn’t the real Bali. To discover the real Bali you need to head much further north, that’s what I recommend heading north as soon as you land. Up there you get to discover untamed wilderness, and meet the locals who really do help to make Bali the incredible island that it is. You will see just how kind and friendly they are and how happy they are to welcome you to their island.
After your busy 6 days up north, you have a bit more time to chill out and unwind in the south, and I recommend using this guide as a basis for planning your own ideal 10-day itinerary. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about visiting Bali. I’m happy to help where possible!
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