After seeing tons of photos of Bali I couldn't resist going myself and last year I finally convinced Jacob that it was totally worth the long flight from Denmark. Bali is a dream destination with a waterfall nearby no mather where you are, palm trees everywhere and amazing food to fill your belly. We spent two weeks on this gorgeous island and one of the amazing things about Bali is, that the size of it makes two weeks just enough for a nice round trip. Of course I wouldn't mind a bit more time each place next time but I love being on the move and this trip was perfect for me!
I'm writing this post to inspire you to visit Bali (and not only South Bali) or maybe even help you plan your next trip so it'll be just as epic as ours - hopefully even better!
This guide will include:
Important tips you should know before travelling to Bali
An itinerary and map of our journey
Costs of our trip
What to know before travelling to Bali
The best months to go is between April and October - the rest of the year is wet season, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. There's still lots of sunshine hours.
May, June and October are the cheapest months in the dry season to visit.
The weather is sunny and warm all year but remember to pack a little extra for cold nights - especially if you're going to the North. When the sun went down, it was pretty cold in Munduk.
Lots of people in Bali speak English so it's really easy to communicate.
If you know how to drive a scooter, I recommend renting! It's the easiest type of transportation on Bali.
If you're not familiar with driving a scooter then DON'T. Traffic is pretty crazy especially in the cities and no mather what: Always wear a helmet!!!
Before going - download the apps "Go Jek" and/or "Grab". They are the Bali version of Uber and it works splendidly. You need WiFi or data of course but that's pretty cheap.
SIM cards with data are easy to purchase at the airport for almost nothing.
You can pay with dollars in the touristy places, however, I recommend exchanging it to Indonesian Rupees to be safe. Furthermore, it's often cheaper in their own currency.
The road conditions are not great and there's a lot of traffic - especially in the cities, which mean that even though your map says 20 minutes... it might take an hour. Be prepared for delays.
Remember mosquito spray!
Our complete itinerary with map!
We landed in Denpasar Airport which is right below Denpasar City. Then we had a taxi take us to stop A. Then B, C, D, etc. until we flew home from Denpasar as well. Below the map is a more detailed description of what we did at each letter.
A. ULUWATU CLIFF/DAY 1
First stop from the airport was Uluwatu in the south. It took about an hour from the airport and we had booked a small homestay next to Uluwatu Cliff or Karan Boma Cliff as it's also called. We wanted our first night in Bali to be nice but not too stressful, so we walked from the homestay to the cliff (maybe a few easy miles), sat and watched the sun go down and sky turn orange and purple from the cliff. It was magical!
B. SEMINYAK/DAY 2-3
Seminyak and Canggu is the trendiest places in all of Bali. This is the place to go for shopping and insta-friendly food! We stayed in Seminyak and rented a scooter from the hotel for the next two weeks.
After a day of shopping and sweating through the streets of Seminyak, we went to the beach bar La Plancha to watch the sunset. It was the most colourful bar with coloured parasols and fat boys to sit in. The next day I had a plan to discover the food scene in Seminyak and probably go into a food coma. Breakfast at Kynd Community, lunch at Bali bola, ice cream at Mad Pops and dinner at Sea Circus. I 10/10 recommend each place. I'm still dreaming of the smoothie bowls and coconuts!
B. CANGGU/DAY 4
We spent day 4 in Canggu looking for even more food. We started the day at Cabina Bali with a floating breakfast in the pool and feeling like royalty, so remember your bathing suit! Then we went to Old Man's to see the beach and their famous wall mural. Lunch was at the amazing GIVE CAFÉ. They use a part of their profit to support Bali or the world through various charities (it changes) and you get to decide what your order will support.
We decided to do a little detour and drive to Pasut Beach for sunset. It takes about an hour from Canggu, however, the beach is really not like the rest. It's a black sand beach which is not really meant for sunbathing. Instead locals and tourists alike drive on scooters on the beach and when the sun sets, you can see it from behind hundreds of palm trees.
C. UBUD/DAY 5-6
After driving an hour and a half on the scooter with a really sore butt, we arrived in Ubud. Ubud is completely different from the south. The city is surrounded by jungle and beautiful nature. We arrived pretty early so we had time to go to the Ubud Art Market. The market opens at 9am and it's open most of the day, however, the first few hours is always cheaper than the rest of the day. They are really eager to get their first customer because it's seen as good luck, which mean they are easier to bargain with. We had preordered a flower bath and massage at the Bali Botanica Spa to relax for a bit and then we ended the day by seeing the sunset at the Campuhan Ridge Walk.
Day 6 started early at the famous Bali Swing about 20 minutes from the city centre. It's a bit expensive but if you like to swing around in the trees and take photos then there's lots to do here! They have multiple swings in different height and lots of photo spots - all of them overlooking the palm tree jungle. We continued the jungle theme and went to Ubud Monkey Forest. Some of the monkeys are itchy-fingered so don't bring a backpack with an easy zipper and watch out for sunglasses and jewellery. We saw a monkey sitting on a guys backpack while he was wearing it, unzip it and run off with his charger without him even knowing.
C. WATERFALL CHASING/DAY 7
The Ubud area is really amazing. I recommend renting a scooter and go exploring! We went early to Tibumana Waterfall and it is probably my favourite waterfall in Bali. The water falls into a little pool of water you can swim in and there's hardly any people around. Next stop was Tegenungan Waterfall. This is really famous, which probably made the disappointment even bigger. It's the most touristy waterfall we visited in all of Bali and it was not worth the trip. Last waterfall of the day was Tukad Cepung Waterfall, which is a little different from the rest. The waterfall is located inside a CAVE and it's pretty cool. Especially if the sun is shining into the cave.
D. TEGALLALANG RICE TERRACE/DAY 8
About 30 minutes from Ubud you'll find Tegallalang Rice Terrace. It's probably the most famous place in Bali and it's free - except they expect a little donation. The rice terraces are beautiful all of the year. In October, when we visited, the rice fields were lush green. The best time to visit is at sunrise or sunset. At these hours the sun hits the fields with the most beautiful light making it even more dreamy!
E. LEKE LEKE WATERFALL/DAY 9
Most people stop going North when they reach Ubud, which mean that the traffic gets lighter and the roads actually improves after Ubud. But the North got lots to offer! On our way to Munduk, we stopped at this little waterfall, Leke Leke Waterfall.
Important note: for every waterfall there's a pretty long steep road/stairs up and down. Bali is really great if you want to improve your fitness haha!
F. MUNDUK/DAY 9-11
First night in Munduk was spent at the luxurious Munduk Moding Plantation. It's def not the cheapest place to stay but the rooms are amazing and the views are mesmerizing. The hotel is famous for the two infinity pools with out-of-this-world sunset and sunrise views! Most of the day it was raining and I wasn't optimistic with the sunset but luckily the sun peeked out right at sunset time and the sky turned purple and orange despite all odds.
On day 10 we checked out of the hotel at 12 noon and moved into something more budget-friendly. Then we went to the Banya Wana Amertha Waterfall which is famous for being 4 waterfalls in 1. For sunset we went to the Hidden Hills Wanagiri. Unfortunately, Munduk is a bit colder and more cloudy because of its location in the mountains so we weren't as lucky with the sunset.
We started the last day in Munduk extremely early. We wanted to see the sunrise from the famous Ulun Danu Berathan Temple and then drive 5 minutes to Handara Gate to get a photo before the crowds starts lining up. It has become a big tourist attraction, however, it's actually just the entrance to a golf resort which is kind of funny I think... Then we went to Red Coral Waterfall, which is also known as Munduk Waterfall. After Tibumana, this is my second favourite waterfall in Bali!!
G. SEKUMPUL WATERFALL/DAY 11
Last stop in Northern Bali was a little detour to Sekumpul Waterfall. If you're going - like us - on a scooter, be prepared for winding roads and lots of up and down the hills. Make sure to test the breaks before leaving Munduk and get ready for a sore butt!
The magnificent waterfall is one of the biggest in Bali and a must-see. You can see it for free from the viewpoint (pictured) or you can hike down to see it from the base of the waterfall. It takes 2-3 hours to hike down, so make sure to go as early as possible.
H. SANUR PORT/DAY 12
Back in the South. Sanur is full of tourists because it's the port to all the nearby islands like Nusa Penida. We arrived the day before our ferry left so we spent the day at the beach, which is a pretty basic beach. The beach is long and you can walk along the beach promenade and find the perfect spot for you. For dinner we found this American inspired diner called Cosmic Diner and I had to (force Jacob to) go!
I. NUSA PENIDA/DAY 12-13
Lots of people order a tour to Nusa Penida, but I'm a big fan of being in charge (for good and for bad) and Jacob is a big fan of saving money, so we decided to do it ourselves. It's possible to see the most important sights in a day, however, you would have to rush a lot. For our first day we ordered a taxi to drive us around the whole day. He drove us to Diamond Beach and Rumah Pohon Treehouse, which is in walking distance from each other.
We decided to take the stairs down to the beach and see it close up. The beach is beautiful but the road down there is not for the faint-hearted and the beach is too dangerous for swimming. The waves are very irregular. We wanted to dip our feet in the water, so we had put our stuff on top of some rocks pretty far from the beach. Suddenly a huge wave came and took all of our things! I was devasted but Jacob was luckily holding some of the more important things. Long story short: Jacob had to go barefoot for the rest of the day and I only had my bikini.
Next stop was Kelingking Beach and the famous T-Rex cliffs. Can you see the dinosaur on the picture below? And only a short drive from Kelingking you'll find Broken Beach. Another famous beach, but it's only possible to see this one from the view points.
Something to bare in mind if you want to visit Nusa Penida is, the roads are crazy! The infrastructure is terrible and you'll spent more time in the car than at the sights. The road looks fine at first when arriving with the ferry, but later it turns into bumpy roads with lots of narrow and unpaved streets. Many people opt for a scooter instead of the more expensive option of a driver. After a day with a driver and holding on the the car with our lives (or at least it felt like that), we decided to opt for the scooter as well. Even after weeks of practice in Bali and other countries, we still had a minor crash and spent the rest of the day at the pool. Lesson here? Pay the extra cash and get a driver to take you. But if you decide not to listen and still chooses the scooter: WEAR A HELMET!!
J. ULUWATU/DAY 14-15
Last stop before going back to Denpasar. After being on our feet for almost two weeks, we thought it would be nice with a day or two of relaxing at the beach. Uluwatu is a great place to do so with lots of beaches. We spent most of our last day at Thomas Beach.
Cost breakdown of our trip
Bali is really affordable - except for the plane tickets. If you ever find cheap tickets then go go go! This is the cost of our trip per person, which mean the prices of thing we've shared liked hotels, taxis, or scooter is divided by two.
Here's what one person spent on...
Flights - $593 return flights from Denmark (4024 DKK)
Hotels - $25 per night (a mix of a bit fancy places and budget friendly homestays) (166 DKK)
Food - $20 per day (we weren't saving on this so you could definitely eat cheaper!) (136 DKK)
Entrances - $30 (temples, beaches, waterfalls and other attractions) (200 DKK)
Taxis - $22 (147 DKK)
Scooter rental - $30 for a shared scooter for two weeks (210 DKK)
Spa - $9 (Bali Botanica Spa in Ubud) (60 DKK)
Bali Swing - $35/$10 (35 if you want to try things/10 if you're just looking) (238/68 DKK)
Petrol - $9 (58 DKK)
Ferry - $20 to/from Nusa Penida (140 DKK)
Tour - $37 (day tour Nusa Penida) (250 DKK)