With beautiful beaches, bustling night-life and food fit for the Queen, Bali really does have it all. Moving around the island will allow you to experience the perfect mix of culture and let-your-hair-down fun, so you’d be blind to stay in one stop for the entirety of your stay.
Millions of tourists land on the shores every year, and they have been doing since long before the island was popularised by the film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Blink and you might just miss out on Bali as we know and love it, so now is the only time to follow House of Coco’s Indonesian Island Itinerary appreciate it for all it is.
Day 1-3: Canggu
You’ll most likely be flying into Denpasar, so take a taxi to your home away from home in Canggu, just under an hour’s drive away. It is the perfect place to spend a few days getting over your (likely) jet lag: a bohemian hideaway nestled just up the coast from splashy Seminyak.
Great gift shops, quirky bars and health food eateries are popping up around every corner, but the surrounding farmland remains quintessentially Indonesian and beaches are a stone’s throw away. There’s plenty to keep you occupied.
Where to Stay in Canggu
Aston Canggu for your yearly dose of luxury, or a trusty Airbnb if you really want to play like a local.
Where to Eat in Canggu
Shady Shack, Nude and Crate for bloomin’ brilliant all-day brunches.
Where to Visit in Canggu
Weave between each of Canggu’s three main beaches via scooter: Echo Beach, Berawa Beach and Batu Bolong. Echo is great at sunset.
Where to Play in Canggu
Finns Beach Club for the perfect way to let the day melt away. You’ll be greeted by spotlight-adorned Finns lettering and the friendliest of staff. Swim in the many pools, enjoy cocktails at the many bars and watch the sunset to a backdrop of great DJs. Divine. The Lawn and La Laguna are also well worth your time.
Days 4-7: Seminyak
Canggu’s chilled out vibes might last long into the night, but no trip is complete without a couple of days soaking in the sights of splashy Seminyak. It sits just North along the coast from the Aussie hangout of Kuta.
Both resorts are tourist traps, but with Seminyak being less so than the latter, you’ve got a better chance of escaping (some of) the crowds. Grab is the best way to get around in Bali. It is basically Asian Uber and the prices are disgustingly cheap, so you’ll get from Canggu to your slice of Seminyak for under £2.
Where to Stay in Seminyak
Akasha Villas would get House of Coco’s stamp of approval over and over again. If you like attentive staff, private pools and alfresco showering then this will be the place for you.
Where to Eat in Seminyak
Cafe Organic goes unrivalled when it comes to brunch spots. The Breakfast Criminal is a #TeamCoco favourite where the sea salted cherry tomatoes have got to be the star of the show. If you’re looking for a vegan fix (and especially if you didn’t realise you were), then Kynd Community is a pink and palm leaf dream come true. For dinner, head to Sea Circus and try their tasty tacos, or Strawberry Fields for cocktails aplenty.
Where to Visit in Seminyak
It isn’t strictly in Seminyak, but WaterBom Bali is a stone’s throw away and one of those guilty-pleasure days of fun. Watch the sunset from underneath a rainbow parasole at La Plancha and make sure explore the many boutiques lining the streets.
Where to Play in Seminyak
Potato Head Beach Club is a no brainer, really. Get there early to secure a day bed then sit back, drink and relax.
READ MORE: Our Trip to Maya Sanur, Bali
Days 8-11: Gili Trawagan
From Seminyak, head to Padang Bai port nice and early to catch a ferry to Gili Trawagan. The ferry port is a sensual overload to say the least: local men loudly trying to sell you the “cheapest crossing tickets” and local women suggesting you sample some of their fresh fruit (don’t, FYI). Try and get the crossing booked by your Seminyak accommodation in advance, to make the experience as smooth as it can be.
The quick ferry will get you across to the tropical playground of Trawagan in just under two hours; stepping foot on the white sands of the South Beach on arrival will make the hectic crossing well worth it. The island is a total escape from reality. You can cycle around the entire diameter (which is littered with more beach-front bars than you could ever dream of needing) in around an hour… depending on how many cocktails you stop for, of course.
One of the biggest things to do on the island is snorkelling, and for good reason. Hire snorkelling gear for next to nothing from one of the beach vendors, then head about three-quarters of the way up the beach on the North East coast of the island. You’ll want to be there early afternoon or when the tide is out to swim right along the ridge (about 100 meters out). This is how you’ll get the best chance of swimming among sea turtles. When you’re not snorkelling you’ll spend your time relaxing, island hopping to Gili Meno and Gili Air, paddle boarding and watching the spectacular sunsets. It’s as much of a dream come true as it sounds.
Where to Stay on Gili T
The Gili Khumba Villas are totally divine. They’re pretty inland, so when you arrive on the island, get there by horse and cart. It’ll take about 15 minutes.
Where to Visit on Gili T
The beach bars along the Western side of the island are the perfect spots for sunset. Most have swings out at sea too, for those all important Instagram snaps.
Where to Eat on Gili T
Egoiste for a beach side BBQ and The Banyan Tree for a beautiful brunch.
Where to Play on Gili T
Head to the South Eastern side of the island after dark, where clubs spill out onto the beach and party-goers dance all night.
READ MORE: 5 Reasons Why Doha is More Than a Stop-Over Destination
Days 12-16: Ubud
On day 12, say a fond farewell to Gili T before hopping on a ferry back to Bali. Fom Padang Bai, hunt down a taxi and embark on an hour’s journey up to Ubud. Ubud is one of those places where a holiday of a few days could easily turn into a stay of a few weeks.
In the heart of the jungle, it is flooded with Balinese culture and boasts sustainable design, culinary excellence and colourful offerings on every corner. It is Team Coco’s favourite spot on the island.
Where to Stay in Ubud
If you really want to push the boat out, then the Hanging Gardens of Bali are nothing but luxurious. If an AirBnb is more your jam, Villa D’Carik sits just outside of Ubud on a working farm, and complete with outdoor jungle showers and a private pool is a total dream.
Where to Visit in Ubud
The list of places to visit in Ubud is almost never-ending. Watch a traditional Balinese dance performance at the open-air Pura Dalem, climb Mount Batu at sunrise (if you can brave the 1am wake-up call), shop the extensive markets and be at one with nature at the town’s Monkey Forest. The Tegalalang rice terraces are also not to be missed.
Where to Eat in Ubud
Almost every corner has somewhere spectacular to take a seat and enjoy a delicious meal, but if you only ate in one place for the entirety of your stay.
Where to Play in Ubud
This is a no-brainer. A day spent at Jungle Fish has got to be at the top of your list of priorities, a jungle club complete with infinity pool, DJs and the best beverage offerings around. Check out the Instagram geo-tag if you don’t believe us.
Days 17-21: Uluwatu or Lovina
This bit is up to you. Fancy a bit more beach and beer-fuelled fun? Uluwatu, sitting pretty on the Southern most part of the Bukit peninsula might be for you.
You’ll find the famous Single Fin cliff-side bar for sunset food and drinks, Uluwatu temple for a touch of culture and the stunning Padang Padang beach. Oh, and don’t miss a trip to Jimbaran beach for seafood restaurants on the sand.
If you loved Gili and want even more peace and quiet, then head North to Lovinia, the island’s most famous fishing town.
READ MORE: The Best (& Most Instagrammable) Beach Bars in Bali
Have you visited Bali before? What are your favourite spots? Share them in the comments section below!