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There is something irresistibly charming about Bali. Its vibrant culture, warm people, towering volcanic mountains, enchanting temples, and dreamy beaches simply cast a spell on travelers. And with such a diverse geography and rich cultural terrain to navigate, planning a trip might sometimes feel overwhelming.
There’s a lot to see in Bali, so 5 days is the absolute minimum I’d recommend if you plan on visiting the island. This detailed 5-day Bali itinerary is quite jam-packed, but it will allow you to make the most of your visit to this Indonesian paradise.
Bali Itinerary: 5 Days on the Island of Gods
If you’ve never been to Bali before I’d say it’s worth visiting once. It has its pros and cons, which I discuss in my article Is Bali Worth Visiting? but there’s plenty to discover and this itinerary covers all the highlights of the island. You’ll start in my absolute favorite part – Uluwatu – and visit two of my favorite beaches, Bingin and Balangan. Then you’ll work your way up to the trendy area of Seminyak and Canggu, before finishing your trip in Ubud.
Day 1: Uluwatu – Where the Sea Greets the Sky
On your arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport, head towards your chosen abode in Uluwatu.
Ideally for this itinerary you’ll want to either rent a car/scooter from the airport, or hire a private driver for your trip. You can also get around most places by ordering a taxi or car through the Grab app. There’s no Uber in Bali, but this app is Indonesia’s equivalent.
Driving time from Denpasar to Uluwatu is around 30-40 minutes. Try to book a flight that lands in the morning or early afternoon so that you can make the most of your day.
Once you’ve checked into your hotel, you’ll spend the afternoon exploring the beach and Uluwatu temple.
Suluban Beach Cave
Suluban Beach Cave, a hidden gem in Uluwatu, is renowned for its picturesque limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and unique rock formations. Accessible only during low tide through a narrow passageway, this secluded beach offers a serene escape from the crowds. Popular among surfers, the beach provides world-class waves while the cave itself serves as a perfect spot to relax and marvel at the stunning geological features. The natural beauty of Suluban Beach Cave makes it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking offbeat adventures in Bali.
Perched approximately 70 meters above sea level on a clifftop, Uluwatu Temple is one of Bali’s iconic landmarks. Visitors to this sacred site are rewarded with panoramic ocean views and a glimpse into Bali’s spiritual and cultural heritage. The temple is best visited in the evening for the enchanting experience of the traditional Kecak Fire Dance set against a spectacular sunset backdrop. Amidst the harmony of nature and ancient architecture, a visit to Uluwatu Temple offers a deep dive into the spiritual essence of Bali.
Where to Stay in Uluwatu
Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort: This luxurious 5-star resort offers breathtaking ocean views, private pool villas, exceptional dining options, and a world-class spa. The resort’s unique clifftop location provides a serene atmosphere for a memorable stay.
Alila Villas Uluwatu: Set atop Uluwatu’s limestone cliffs, this eco-friendly hotel features contemporary architectural designs, private pools in each villa, and an award-winning spa. The resort also boasts a stunning 50-meter infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Six Senses Uluwatu: This exquisite resort combines luxurious living with sustainability in an extraordinary clifftop setting. Offering private pool villas, multiple dining options, and a holistic wellness center, Six Senses Uluwatu adds a touch of refinement to your Bali vacation.
Banyan Tree Ungasan: Perched on the edge of the Uluwatu cliffs, this stylish resort features luxurious villas with spacious living areas, private pools, and mesmerizing views of the ocean. Their world-class spa, diverse dining options, and outstanding service make it an excellent choice for a high-end holiday experience.
Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa: Nestled in the hilltops of Uluwatu, this 5-star resort offers modern accommodations, two outdoor pools, and a range of dining and entertainment options. Their on-site spa and fitness center, together with their commitment to sustainability, make this hotel perfect for a rejuvenating retreat.
Where to Eat in Uluwatu
Mason Uluwatu: Offers a modern and innovative spin on the traditional grill and bar, featuring fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Single Fin: Known for its excellent location overlooking the surf break, perfect for sunset drinks along with appetizing bites.
Mana Uluwatu: This restaurant at Uluwatu Surf Villas offers a wholesome, varied menu with a fantastic view of Impossibles and Padang Padang surf breaks.
Ours Bali: A charming space that serves contemporary and fresh dishes with an Asian twist.
The Cashew Tree: A favourite amongst locals and visitors for its delicious, health-conscious menu.
El Kabron: Known for its Spanish cuisine and stunning cliff-top views, El Kabron offers a luxury dining experience.
Suka Espresso: A paradise for coffee lovers, serving strong brews, healthy brunches and hearty mains.
Day 2: Bingin & Balangan – For the Beach Aficionados
Your second day should be dedicated to the picturesque beaches of Bingin and Balangan. Known for their famous surf spots, start your day with a thrilling surf lesson at Bingin Beach. Move later towards the serene Balangan Beach for a relaxing afternoon. Let the day melt into a gorgeous sunset at Dreamland Beach.
In the evening, plan on enjoying an amazing seafood dinner on the beach in Jimbaran or a visit to the Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa for sunset cocktail.
Bingin Beach in Bali is a picturesque coastal retreat known for its stunning cliffs and world-class surf break. This hidden gem, with its emerald-green waters and powdery white sand, offers a serene respite from the bustling tourist crowds. It attracts surfers from around the globe due to its perfect barrel waves. Lined with seaside shacks and local warungs, Bingin Beach exemplifies Bali’s laid-back beach culture, making it the perfect destination for those seeking tranquillity and a slice of authentic Balinese lifestyle.
Balangan Beach, located on Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula, is a top choice among surf enthusiasts for its consistent and long right-handed waves. The expansive stretch of golden sand and sweeping views make it an ideal spot for beachgoers and photographers alike. While the beach is relatively unspoiled and devoid of big crowds, it offers several beachside cafés and loungers for guests. Balangan Beach’s laid-back vibe and stunning sunset views make it the go-to place for a tranquil beachside retreat.
Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa
Set atop distinctive rock formations along Jimbaran’s pristine sunset coast, Rock Bar at AYANA Resort is one of Bali’s iconic sunset venues. Enjoy a panoramic view of the vast ocean while sipping on innovative cocktails, a must-try being the Rockito. Accessible via an inclinator that descends the cliff, the journey itself gives a thrilling prelude to the chic and stylish ambiance waiting ahead. With internationally acclaimed DJs cranking out the evening’s tunes, the Rock Bar offers an unmatched setting for a sophisticated seaside soiree.
Jimbaran Seafood Dinner
Imagine wrapping up your day with a delicious seafood feast, right on Jimbaran Beach. As the twilight colors paint the sky, dig into an array of fresh, grilled seafood, including their famous snapper, prawns, and squid. The flavors, the cool sea breeze, and the sound of gentle waves washing up on shore, create a relaxed, idyllic setting that’s hard to beat. It’s a delightful experience, great for sharing with friends or loved ones. Just remember to get there early to catch the best seats for the sunset show!
Day 3: Seminyak & Canggu – Retail Therapy & Gastronomical Delights
Hop over to Seminyak on the morning of Day 3 and check into a new hotel. Explore the Petitenget Temple, shop till you drop in Seminyak Square, then venture over to Canggu to relax on the beach and enjoy some healthy food.
Once you’re done with the beach, snap some stunning photos of Tanah Lot sea temple, then head back to enjoy Seminyak’s vibrant nightlife at Potato Head Beach Club.
Petitenget Temple, a significant landmark in Seminyak, is known for its intricate Balinese architecture. Revered for its centuries-old spiritual aura, the temple hosts colourful ceremonies attracting locals and tourists alike. Its seaside location offers serene ocean views and spectacular sunsets. Within walking distance from Seminyak’s chic dining and shopping spots, Petitenget Temple remains a testimony to Bali’s preserved heritage amidst modernity. A visit here offers a tranquil break and valuable insight into Bali’s unique religious practices.
Shopping in Seminyak
If you want to pick up some Bali souvenirs to take home or just do some shopping, you’ll find plenty of shops in Seminyak. Jalan Raya Seminyak is lined with lots of boutiques, or you can head to Seminyak Square – a shopping mall with various stores, cafes and restaurants.
Relax on the Beach in Canggu
Spending a day lounging on the sandy shores of Canggu Beach is a sublime treat. It’s the perfect place to unwind, with tranquil ocean views, gentle breezes, and a laid-back vibe that soothes the soul. As midday approaches, indulge in a beachside lunch at one of the local warungs or trendy health-food cafes that Canggu is known for. Savor a nourishing Buddha bowl or a fresh seafood platter, all the while basking in the balmy sunshine and letting the rhythmic sound of the waves create a symphony of relaxation. It’s the quintessential Bali beach experience.
Tanah Lot Temple
If time allows, pay a visit to Tanah Lot Temple, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Bali. This iconic sea temple stands majestically on a rocky islet just off the coast. Famous for its breathtaking sunsets, the temple, dedicated to the sea gods, is truly a photographer’s paradise. Energized by ancient legends and important Balinese ceremonies, Tanah Lot captivates visitors with its spellbinding blend of natural beauty and cultural significance. Experience the tidal waves crashing against its base during high tide, or venture onto the islet during low tide for a close encounter with this sacred destination.
Evening at Potato Head Beach Club
If you’re on the hunt for an uber-cool beach club in Seminyak, Potato Head Beach Club is your spot. Known for its uniquely designed venue (think: an amphitheater made of vintage window shutters), this place offers two restaurants serving world-class cuisine, as well as a cocktail bar with an innovative drinks menu. Its laid-back ambiance is complemented by a dazzling infinity pool facing the ocean, making it the perfect place to relax during the day or dance the night away to DJ tunes. Plus, their sunsets are the talk of the town, so it’s the perfect spot for a sundowner or two.
Where to Stay in Seminyak
W Bali – Seminyak: A chic and trendy hotel featuring designer spaces, luxurious amenities, and vibrant nightlife options.
Alila Seminyak: A stunning beachfront property that offers contemporary design, an indulgent spa, and regional-inspired dining experiences.
The Legian Bali: Perfectly poised alongside Seminyak Beach, this iconic resort boasts stunning sunsets, spacious suites, and exemplary service.
Double-Six Luxury Hotel: A stylish retreat with ocean-facing suites, a rooftop bar, and easy access to Seminyak’s shopping and dining hotspots.
Katamama Suites at Desa Potato Head: This boutique hotel combines modern design with traditional craftsmanship, offering curated experiences, a beach club, and an innovative restaurant-bar.
Where to Eat in Seminyak
Metis: This elegant restaurant combines French Mediterranean dining with a lush tropical view. Their Foie Gras dishes are legendary.
Sarong: One of Seminyak’s finest, Sarong offers guests a casual dining experience within an old-world Asian decorative ambiance.
La Lucciola: Located right on the beach, it is known for its Italian flavours, romantic setting, and wonderful sunset views.
Mama San: With a captivating interior design and an equally impressive menu, Mama San serves up street food dishes from all over Asia.
Day 4: Ubud – Cultural Heart of Bali
As you move towards your journey’s end, save the best for the last: Ubud. Immerse yourself in the lush environs of The Hanging Gardens of Bali, known for its stunning infinity pool.
Get a glimpse of Bali’s wildlife at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Experience art and shop at the Ubud Art Market for keepsakes, enjoy a relaxing spa treatment and enjoy the peaceful vibes of Ubud’s cultural center.
The Hanging Gardens of Bali
Nestled within the lush rainforests of Ubud, the Hanging Gardens of Bali offers an unparalleled luxury experience. This iconic hotel is famous for its gravity-defying, two-tiered infinity pool that appears to hover over the treetops, winning numerous awards for its unique design. With cozy, lavish villas featuring their own private pools, an indulgent spa, and world-class dining options, this exclusive destination provides guests with an enchanting, serene sanctuary – an embodiment of Bali’s timeless beauty and tranquility. It’s a must for anyone seeking lavish pampering amidst stunning natural scenes.
Sacred Monkey Forest
Sacred Monkey Forest, located in the heart of Ubud, is a unique conservatory home to hundreds of playful and interactive Balinese long-tailed macaques. Besides watching these fascinating creatures in their natural environment, visitors get to explore picturesque temples and ancient statuaries shrouded in dense, lush forest. Walking this sanctuary’s tranquil paths, visitors experience the spiritual and natural harmony of Ubud, while contributing to the preservation of Balinese traditional sites. Keep an eye out for the forest’s audacious monkey residents who are known for their antics!
Ubud Art Market
Ubud Art Market, locally known as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’, is a vibrant, bustling bazaar in central Bali. A hotspot for traditional and contemporary Balinese handicrafts, you will find everything from woven bags, statues, kites, to silk scarves. Each item is carefully crafted, embodying the island’s rich artistry and cultural heritage. The market has gained further fame as part of the setting for the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. An early morning visit offers a more relaxed browsing experience, perfect for those seeking unique, locally-made souvenirs or gifts.
Where to Stay in Ubud
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan: An oasis hidden in the heart of the jungle with amazing views, luxurious amenities, and world-class service.
Alila Ubud: Lush surroundings, modern architecture, and the heart-stopping infinity pool make it an unforgettable stay.
Viceroy Bali: A boutique luxury resort featuring private pool villas and unparalleled views of the Valley of the Kings.
Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa: Blends traditional Balinese aesthetics with contemporary comfort amidst a lush, tranquil environment.
The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah: A hidden retreat set among rice paddies, offering a quiet, intimate, and authentic Balinese experience.
Where to Eat in Ubud
Locavore: Known for its innovative and eco-friendly approach to traditional and modern cuisines, it’s a true foodie’s haven.
Bridges Bali: Nestled by the Campuhan bridge, this spot is perfect for a romantic dinner with a view.
The Sayan House: A fusion of Japanese-Latin flavors coupled with a stunning view over Sayan ridge.
Moksa Plant-based Cuisine & Permaculture Garden: A must-visit for vegan and health food enthusiasts looking for organic, locally-sourced meals.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka: Famous for serving Babi Guling, the traditional Balinese roast pig, a must-try dish in Bali.
Day 5: Outskirts of Ubud
On your final day in Bali you can spend the day exploring the outskirts of Ubud, including the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Tirta Empul and the Campuhan Ridge Walk.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
Tegalalang Rice Terrace, around 30 minutes north of Ubud, presents a captivating panorama of cascading emerald-green fields. This UNESCO-listed site, where local farmers practice a centuries-old irrigation system, offers a fascinating peek into Balinese agrarian life. To get there from Ubud, either hire a scooter or take a taxi. If you’re feeling adventurous, join a cycling tour which showcases not just Tegalalang, but the enchanting landscapes surrounding Ubud. Don’t forget to snap stunning photos of the lush terraces or enjoy a peaceful walk around this picturesque natural spectacle.
Tirta Empul, meaning ‘holy water spring’ in Balinese, is a sacred water temple located in Tampaksiring, Bali. This revered temple hosts a prominent, age-old spring that is believed to possess healing and purifying properties. A series of bathing pools and elaborate fountains receive their water from this sacred spring. Throughout the year, locals and tourists partake in a purification ritual, immersing themselves under the cascading waters for spiritual cleansing. The unique tradition coupled with the stunning architectural elements makes Tirta Empul a captivating Balinese cultural and spiritual experience.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Campuhan Ridge Walk is an enchanting nature trek in the heart of Ubud. This tranquil trail, stretching around 2km, offers a respite from the hustle-bustle of the city. Starting at Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas, the path meanders along the spine of a majestic ridge, amidst sweeping vistas of verdant hills, palm groves, and the stunning Campuhan river flowing below. Ideal for a refreshing morning or sunset walk, this picturesque trek provides ample opportunities for photography, introspective walks, or even a leisurely jog. It’s an unmissable outdoor experience when in Ubud!
Getting Around Bali
Bali doesn’t really have public transportation to speak of, so you’ll need to get around by bike or car. The roads are pretty chaotic and often there aren’t any lane markings or even traffic lights.
If you’re confident at riding a scooter, then renting a scooter is the cheapest way to get around the island. However, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really know what you’re doing. People have accidents all the time and it’s just not worth it to ruin your trip.
The easiest but most expensive way to get around is to hire a private driver. You can book a private driver on GetYourGuide for about $65 for 10 hours. If you’re traveling in a group this makes total sense, since the car can fit 5 people. Another option is to book with Bali Hire Driver.
A Final Word
With such diverse landscapes and rich experiences, these five days in Bali will undoubtedly create memories that’ll last a lifetime. While this itinerary is just a guideline, go ahead and make it your own. After all, traveling is all about embracing the unexpected. Have a magical time exploring Bali!