The best and shortest duration to visit Bali would be 7 days. Even then, you will only be able to cover mostly touristy spots. For first timers, we would recommend the ‘One Week Bali’ trip to gave a gist of what Bali can offer. We spent 14 days to tour around Bali and we only managed to cover five main areas in Bali, roughly 3 days to spend each. Just enough to not exhaust ourselves with the traveling times and some for us to spend filming without rushing.
Our trip shot out with a crazy start – one of our passports were 5 months into expiry so we were held at the check-in counter via AirAsia. We had to separate, where I went on the flight and my partner and a friend ran to the nearest immigration office in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur to renew his passport on the spot and took the next flight out with a penalty. I reached at 1pm and waited at the airport until about 8pm when he reached, took our ride straight to Ubud and had late dinner before knocking out for the day.
Our 14-day Schedule comprises of these activities and areas:
Day 1 – Airport > Ubud (Free & Easy)
Day 2 – Ubud > Monkey Forest (Free & Easy)
Day 3 – Ubud> Bedugul> Tegalalang> Tirta Empul/Tampak Siring> Ubud
Day 4 – Ubud> Rest Day
Day 5 – Ubud> Tulamben
Day 6 – Tulamben> USS Shipwreck Dive
Day 7 – Tulamben> Legian
Day 8 – Legian> Kuta
Day 9 – Legian> Uluwatu> Jimbaran
Day 10 – Legian> Lovina
Day 11 – Lovina> Singaraja Dolphin> Mount Batur> Kintamani Hot Springs> Lovina
Day 12 – Lovina> Tanah Lot> Canggu (Free & Easy)
Day 13 – Canggu Surf
Day 14 – Canggu> Kuta> Airport
However if you only have room for the ‘One Week Bali‘ trip, I would recommend for you to follow this schedule instead:
One Week Bali – Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival. Stay around Kuta, Denpasar, Seminyak or Legian.
Day 2 – Kuta/ Legian Road (Free and Easy) to shop for necessities, find restaurants.
Day 3 – Kuta > Uluwatu Beaches > Kecak Dance Show > Jimbaran Dinner > Kuta
Day 4 – Kuta > Ubud (Free & Easy) stay overnight
Day 5 – Ubud > Bedugul > Tirta Empul > Tegalalang > Kuta
Day 6 – Kuta/ Legian Surfing (for beginners)
Day 7 – Departure
One Week Bali – Accommodation
Each hotel was budgeted around RM90-150 per night for two people. There are definitely hostels at lower prices but I would not recommend hostels, especially if you’re staying around Kuta or Legian. There are too many schoolies (Australian or European kids that just finished high school and are celebrating it with tons of boozing nights in town). RM100/$35 a night could get you a decent 3 star hotel with the comfort of air-conditioning, proper beds, hot shower and other facilities such as a swimming pool etc if not the beach. The only thing I found that most of the hotels were lacking, as a girl, was a hairdryer. I ended up air-drying my hair, which was healthier but it made my hair all frizzy.
The rates for accomodation may vary according to season. If you’re on a tight budget, off-peak seasons are the best time (year-end to March). It’s rainy season but the rain does not last for too long and the showers are usually short. Avoid April during Hari Nyepi as everything would be closed and everyone will be staying indoors. Peak season would be the best time to go, around June to end year but flight and hotel would be most expensive. Here are the names of each hotel/resort that we were staying in.
Ubud – Areklo Villa
Lovina – Puri Saron Beach Resort
Tulamben – Puri Wirata Resort & Spa
Legian – Tune Hotels, Double Six
Canggu – Echoland Bed & Breakfast
Rates may also vary according to websites, and I booked all of them through different sites that offered the best prices comparatively. Do NOT book your hotel on the first site that you end up on. Compare with a few sites like Agoda, Bookings and the hotel’s own website and you will find that the rates are different. I would also recommend you to check out Airbnb for beautiful homes or villas at competitive prices, especially if you are going in a group. Also, be aware of the bedbug problems in some accommodations, especially the budget ones. I had a bad case of bedbug bites that stopped me from enjoying my beach days as I was itching non-stop.
One Week Bali – Food
We budgeted food to be around RM50/$15 a day for two people if we opt for local or street food. If we decide to splurge a little bit more on a meal, the most would come up to RM100/$35. Food in Indonesia is relatively cheap and easy to find, including Halal food. However, be prepared for the famous Bali Belly if you’re have a sensitive tummy. Bring charcoal pills or anything that would help if you have diarrhea from dirty street food. If you’re still skeptical, stick to vegetarian food. They have plenty of vegetarian food, especially when you’re in holistic centers like Ubud.
One Week Bali – Transportation
Motorbike – If you plan to stay within one place, best way to get to places (especially if you have a driving license) is to rent a motorbike. The traffic can be crazy at times but most of the time, you’ll be able to ride to anywhere unless you’re hopeless on an automatic bike or you just have no sense of direction at all. Motorbike rentals are roughly around IDR 50, 000 (RM 15/ USD 5) per day, and all you need is your driving license (although it might not actually be legal). Petrol would be around IDR 10, 000 (RM 3.50/ USD 1) for a full tank. Make sure you wear your helmet and avoid any police confrontation.
Drivers in Bali honk a lot, although it may be a rude thing to do in our country, it’s very common there to honk to communicate on the road. It’s sort of like a sign to give way, or to ask for someone to give you way. If all else fails, just use hand gestures and don’t get angry. Tolerance is key as traffic during peak hours may be a pain especially in main town areas.
Car Rental (with drivers) – We opted for car rentals to travel to in between our destinations. The drivers know their roads very well (including back roads) and would be best if you want to catch up on a nap in that 3-4 hours ride. Other than that, if you’re nice enough with your driver, you can ask them about interesting places you can visit in between your journey and they’re usually accommodating enough to stop in between (they could use a break too). You, on the other hand could kill two birds with one stone, as they’re charged for 8 hours (sometimes a full day but tip them some extras, they’ll thank you for it). You pretty much can tell them to stop or detour wherever you want to so if you need to go to a lot of places in one day, this is the best option.
Car rentals with a driver are usually around IDR 350,000 (RM 100/ USD 25) for a full-day and most of them drive a 4WD so you can split the cost up to four – five people.
One Week Bali – Phone & Internet
I’d recommend for you to get a prepaid card for your phone and get internet on it. You may visit any phone stores and ask them for the best plan for the length of your stay. It doesn’t cost much compared to roaming, and you’re definitely going to need internet to google for places to go, or at least use the maps to find your way around town.
If you’re using an iPhone, do let the phone seller know. Microsim phones are not big in Bali, so they will use a cutter to cut the normal sized sim into a microsim. Ask the prepaid seller to also help you with the registration and setting up the activation as it will be in Bahasa Indonesia.
Most hotels would have Wifi, at least in their common area or lobby but having a connection on your phone would save you from the hassle, in case if you encounter Wifi-less places.
One Week Bali – Banks & Money Exchangers
There’s Mandiri ATMs everywhere, please check with your respective banks on the extra charges of withdrawing money. If you’re using Maybank, there are some Maybank ATMs in bigger towns that would not charge you extra but keep in mind that it’s not common to find this ATM. Credit cards are acceptable in most places but cash will be your common trading commodity.
Exchanging money in Bali might seem like an easy thing as you will find money exchangers everywhere. However, based on our experience and other friends, it’s best if you find legit counters or bank approved counters. The independent money exchangers would always have a catch, even when they say “no commission”. I ended up paying more than I expected, and one guy tried to cheat our money when counting the cash on the counter. Luckily, my partner found some discrepancies and the guy eventually gave up on trying to take our money.
Our friends weren’t that lucky, as while they were counting the cash in front of them there were some notes that dropped. It’s like some illusion trick that will make it seems as if they gave you the correct amount when they actually don’t.
One Week Bali – Alcohol, Drugs & Parties
Alcohol can be found everywhere in Bali, but please avoid homemade liquor, or best known as Arak. I’ve heard stories where they put methanol to give it a kick and it might be fatal to the drinkers. Stick to bottled ones if you want to.
There will be tons of people on the streets that will try to sell Shrooms to you. I’m not very sure if this is fully legal, as they advertise publicly but it is up to your discretion. As tempting as it sounds, it’s best to steer clear from these sellers.
Kuta is the best place to party cheap especially on Legian Road, while Seminyak has better upscale nightlife. If you see a lot of kupu-kupu malam (term used to describe local girls who works as an escort) you might be in a bar where it could get a little sleazy. We didn’t go to any nightlife spots on this trip but heard that Rock Bar, Potato Head and a few more are the current ‘in’ places to go. Double Six road in Legian was supposed to be happening but it was dead when we stayed there. I guess everyone moved elsewhere around Seminyak and Kuta area (around Mbargo) for better crowd.
Whatever There Was in Bali
Enjoy Bali, stay clean and safe and take in the culture, the beautiful places and the opportunity to discover. I wish you a safe and amazing journey ahead! If you missed out on it, watch our Bali trip video here.