Our guide to Bali, the Indonesian ‘Island of the Gods’!

nusa lembongan bali island indonesia things to do

Bali is a tropical island located in Indonesia that is commonly referred to as ‘the Island of the Gods’. After visiting multiple times, including a 2 week trip in 2023, we can say we think this term is fitting. Bali is filled with beautiful nature, including waterfalls, rice terraces, beaches (if you know where to look), surf, rainforests and more. The island is also home to wonderful villas and accommodation, along with numerous amazing cafes, restaurants and beach bars. Bali is also close to a plethora of other tropical Indonesian islands. While we don’t profess to be ‘Bali experts’, we have visited on a number of occasions. Based upon our experience and what we enjoyed, we have put together a little guide that we think you will love. Feel free to leave any of your recommendations for Bali in the comments below!



Where should you visit in Bali?

This is a broad question, and can’t be answered definitively, as you will likely all want to have different experiences in Bali. However, we have done our best to illustrate some of the great places in Bali and nearby. We have also detailed what are the key attractions at these locations to help you decided if it’s the right place for you to go visit. Read below for a few of the locations we definitely recommend you consider when you visit Bali.

Uluwatu:

Best for: surfing, relaxed atmosphere, couple getaways, co-working spaces, fitness holidays

We visiting the delightful Uluwatu, located on the south of Bali, for 5 days. Uluwatu makes up the rugged peninsula filled with some of the best surf waves on the island. It is also home to many of the best cafe’s on Bali. We found Uluwatu to have a more relaxed atmosphere compared to other parts of Bali. We also loved the ‘health conscious’ nature of Uluwatu, with many popular gyms and yoga studios present, along with healthy food options in the cafes/restaurants. Uluwatu is a great place for those wanting a beachy or fitness getaway with less chaos than locations like Seminyak.

Ubud:

Best for: exploring, adventure activities, waterfalls, rice terraces, shopping boutiques, great villa’s

Ubud is a popular destination to visit in Bali, and for good reason. Despite the tourist popularity, we feel like Ubud still has a lot to offer. Located in the central-northern region of the island, Ubud is near amazing rice terraces, a plethora of waterfalls, and home to some of the best boutiques in Bali. However, the central part of the town can get chaotic, so we urge you to stay on the fringe of Ubud in some of the amazing villas on offer.

The ‘Nusa Islands’:

Best for: amazing beaches, relaxed atmosphere, snorkelling, day trips, surfing

The Nusa Islands, including Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan, are a great option for your visit to Bali and Indonesia. A short 30-45minute ferry ride from the Bali mainland, these islands offer a more relaxed atmosphere, stunning beaches, and great day trip options. Our favourite is the idyllic Nusa Lembongan, but all of the islands offer unique pros/cons. See our guide below on these 3 beautiful islands.

Canggu

Best for: beach bars/clubs, being close to the action, cafes & restaurants

Okay, full confession, we didn’t stay in Canggu, but researched it a lot, spoke to a number of people (locals and tourists), and went through on our visits. For those looking to party or be a little closer to the action, Canggu is a great pick. Home to many of the best beach bars/clubs on the island, it is a great spot for those looking to live it up. Also home to many great cafes and shopping boutiques, Canggu is a decent pick for you Bali visit.

The Gili Islands:

Best for: amazing beaches, snorkeling/scuba diving, sunsets, relaxed atmosphere, less tourists

These three picturesque islands offer beautiful beaches, less crowds, a relaxed atmosphere, and are reported to have some of the best sunsets around. The Gili Islands are also famous for snorkelling/scuba diving. Gili Trawangan is the most popular, best for partying, but also the busiest. Gili Meno is the smallest, most relaxed, and probably best for snorkelling. Gili Air is somewhere in the middle. If you’re looking for an island getaway, definitely consider the Gili Islands.

Sidemen:

Best for: more ‘authentic’ Bali, rice terraces, waterfalls, less tourists

Sidemen is reportedly considered by some to be the ‘new Ubud’. Located around 1-1.5 hours away from Ubud, this region is home to many of the same attractions as Ubud, without as much of the chaos, crowds and ‘touristy overlay’. Close to some picturesque views, rice terraces and waterfalls, Sidemen may be a good option to slow down and experience a little more authentic side of Bali.

Lombok:

Ok, this isn’t Bali, but this neighbouring Indonesian island is rapidly increasing in popularity. We haven’t visited, however we have heard it is incredibly beautiful and far less tourists. Do your research, but it might be one to add to your list.

Maybe don’t bother..

  • Kuta – it’s close to the airport and home to many resorts, but that’s about it. Kuta is chaotic, dirty and we don’t recommend. You can find better.
  • Seminyak – once the popular ‘go to’ destination, Seminyak has now become a little overrun with tourists and people just looking to party. While there are still great villas, restaurants and boutiques, the beaches aren’t amazing and we recommend other locations.
  • Sanur – this harbour town is where the ferries leave for popular islands like the Nusa and Gili’s. However, it’s not really the best place to stay.
  • Nusa Dua – Once a quite popular location on the Bali mainland, it is now waning in interest as other areas crop up. We would urge you to head a little further down to Uluwatu, or catch a short ferry to Nusa Lembongan instead.


A 2 week itinerary for Bali

There’s so many ways to explore Bali, including staying in a variety of locations, a multitude of day trips, or just heading to one location to relax. We loved our 2 week itinerary when we visiting Bali and will detail a proposed plan based upon our stay below. Please note this is just a guide, and there are many ways to do your visit to Bali.

  • Stop 1: Uluwatu or Canggu [3-6 nights]: Head directly from the airport to either the beachy and relaxed Uluwatu or the vibing Canggu. Spend between 3-6 nights in one of these locations relaxing and enjoying mainland Bali.
  • Stop 2: The Islands [3-7 nights]: Next stop should definitely be the islands. Pick either the ‘Nusa Islands’ or ‘Gili Islands’. You can do both but the ferries between take awhile. We recommend basing yourself on Nusa Lembongan and doing day trips to Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida during your stay.
  • Stop 3: Ubud or Sidemen [2-4 nights]: A full Bali experience should involve some of the tropical nature that Ubud or Sidemen can offer. Choose either close to the action with Ubud, or more relaxed and remote with Sidemen.

Did we miss your favourite locations? Comment below!



Our favourite accommodation in Bali!

We stayed in some amazing accommodation in Bali, and recommend you at least check them out when planning your stay. We have also put together a guide of stunning accommodation in Bali for you to check out below.



A few top tips and recommendations for your visit to Bali

  • Relax & enjoy: Bali is a great place to relax, unwind and have a good time. Enjoy your stay, and spend time enjoying the best parts about the island.
  • Stay in an incredible villa! Bali has so many budget friendly accommodation options, including great prices on amazing villas.
  • Respect local customs: Don’t be that tourist that disrespects local customs. While Bali is more liberal than other parts of Indonesia, be wary of local customs, including public intoxication, driving scooters without helmet/license, public indecency, inappropriate actions at religious sites and more.
  • Consider your transport options: Traffic is chaos in Bali. We have reviewed the top transport options in Bali – see here!
  • Don’t drink the water! This is a must! See our guide on tips to stay healthy and safe in Bali!



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Comments (3):

  1. Clara Byrd

    September 14, 2023 at 10:07 am

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    Reply

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