Where to start when planning a trip to Bali: The Perfect Bali 9-Day Itinerary

Okay so this title is a little mis-leading. There’s no such thing as a perfect Bali vacation itinerary because the reality is there is SO FREAKING MUCH to do on this beautiful paradise island. That being said, I’m a firm believer that there is the perfect Bali itinerary for YOU and your trip.

Whether you’re traveling to Bali on a honeymoon, on a solo trip, or with a group of friends, there is so much to see and do that it can be a little overwhelming thinking about how exactly your vacation is going to flow, and how you’re going to travel from each area of the island to the next, seeing as much as possible while maximizing every second in Bali!

Which is where I come in. I’ve had way too many people tell me how on their first trip to Bali they ended up shuttling around the island most of the time trying to see too much, rather than maximizing their time by understanding the map of the island,  and what’s doable in a short time.  And I don’t want that to happen to you guys!! If there’s one thing I can guarantee you about Bali, it’s that you are always going to want more time here.

So – I wanted to lay out FOUR amazing Bali itineraries that , in my world, are the ideal Bali vacations. These four different itineraries maximize time in different areas of Bali based on the type of trip you’re going for.  And they all are dreamy Bali trips. I’ve based from Bali off and on for over a year now, so I’ve gotten to know the island pretty well, and I love having friends visit to show them all of my favorite parts of the island. These are the different itineraries and recommendations I lay out when my friends visit, to make sure I’m showing them the best of the best of Bali, so I wanted to share them with you all!

I chose 9 days for these itineraries because that basically means you are traveling to Bali with one week off work and two weekends. You can do a ton in 9 days here, so it’s a great amount of time to spend if you can’t take 2 full weeks off work. These itineraries focus on three different types of Jetset Bali vacations: the ‘Vacation Mode’, the ‘Island Hopper’, the ‘Luxe Lovers’ and the ‘Total Disconnect’. Of course, you should tweak these trip layouts to what works with your group and your ideal travel schedule (and check out my Ultimate Bali Guide for all the best places to eat, places to stay, and things to do in each area of Bali!). You can also always message me on Instagram with any specific questions for your trip, as well! I love talking to you guys all about Bali!!!

The Vacation Mode Bali Tour

9 Days in Bali

This is the ideal Bali itinerary for: Groups looking to have a great time on the island while seeing as much as possible. Groups of friends looking to party, and soak up the culture too. Solo travelers looking to meet people in Bali. Anyone traveling to Bali for the first time.  

Day 1 – 3: Canggu

Spend a few days soaking up the hip surfer town of Canggu. Canggu has it all – from a low-key boho beach vibe, to bustling cafes, bougie sunset lounges, a super-trendy foodie scene, and absolutely everything in-between. It’s one of my very favorite areas of Bali, and I’m not alone – Canggu has quickly become the most popular area to visit for expats and tourists alike! I love this chic little beach town so much that it’s where I base from much of the time when I’m not traveling, so if some of these places sound familiar from my instagrams and instagram stories, that’s why! 🙂

Where to eat + drink in Canggu: Crate Cafe for breakfast, Mason for dinner, TYGR Sushi for the best sushi in town, Fish Bone Local for chic fish n’ chips, Gaya Gelato for the most amazing gelato you’ve ever had (I always order the passionfruit and the chocolate), Mai Tai for poke, The Lawn or La Brisa for sunset cocktails, and Old Man’s for casual beers (and a rowdy Wednesday night party) .

Where to stay in Canggu: Villas are always an awesome choice in Canggu. If you’re going the hotel route, I recommend COMO or The Slow.

What to do in Canggu: Surf, get massages, shop, and just hang out. Canggu is laid-back and awesome. It’s mainly ex-pats that live here, which makes for a ton of really cool spots.

On your last day in Canggu, make moves to Uluwatu (about an hour away).

Day 4 – 6: Uluwatu

Where to stay in Uluwatu: The Edge or Anantara if you’re a couple (it’s dreeeamy), Hidden Hills Villas for an awesome villa for a couple or a small group, S Resorts if you want basic-but-nice accommodations and easy access to the best beach clubs like Omnia and Ulu Cliffhouse.

Where to eat + drink in Uluwatu: Sunset and bites at Single Fin (if you’re there on a Sunday night, be sure to stay for their big rowdy Sunday night world-famous dj party), fresh fish dinner on the beach on Bingin Beach (just show up after sunset and there are a ton of casual fresh options right on the beach that will grill up the fish right in front of you!).

What to do in Uluwatu: Uluwatu Temple, Bingin Beach, Thomas Beach, Omnia Day Club, Ulu Cliffhouse Day Club, Sundays Beach Club, Sunsets at Single Fin

Day 6 – 9: Ubud

Spending the end of your trip in zen Ubud will be a welcome break from the more party cultures of Canggu and Uluwatu. Not to mention it’s most people’s favorite area when they come and visit Bali! There is just something about Ubud’s magic that keeps everyone wanting more. And will quickly have you wanting to change your flight to have more time 🙂

What to do in Ubud: Waterfalls, Rice Fields, Monkey Forest, Markets, Campuhan Ridge Trek (short hour-long hike with pretty views, grab a cold coconut at the top of the hike!), Yoga at Yoga Barn, sunrise hike at Mt. Batur

Where to stay in Ubud: Four Seasons or the Viceroy for splurgers or honeymooners, villas for groups, Bambu Indah for eco-luxe at an affordable price, I also love the Como Uma.

Where to eat in Ubud: Naughty Nuri’s for barbecue grilled ribs and tons of nasi goreng!! (Anthony Bourdain’s favorite spot in Bali), Alchemy for vegan bites, smoothie bowls, and great coffee, Sayan House for a beautiful sunset view and upscale vibe.

The Island Hopper Bali Tour

9 Days in Bali

This is the ideal Bali itinerary for: Beach lovers!!! Groups of friends looking to see more than just the main island of Bali. Divers & Snorkelers. Adventurous couples. Anyone who has been to Bali before & is looking to see more.

Days 1 – 3: Canggu or Uluwatu

Uluwatu, Bali via @JetsetChristina on Instagram

The Lawn, Canggu via @JetsetChristina on Instagram

Both of these areas of Bali are about an hour from where you’ll be catching your ferry for the next leg of the trip, and both feature beaches, great restaurants and cafes and a fabulous laid back vibe. When it comes to deciding which of these two destinations you’ll want to go to more, it totally depends on what you’re looking for! Read up on my Uluwatu and Canggu blog posts here, and feel out what sounds most appealing for your first few days on the island (or maybe where you haven’t been yet!).

Where to stay in Canggu: Villas are always an awesome choice in Canggu. If you’re going the hotel route, I recommend COMO or The Slow.

Where to eat + drink in Canggu: Mason, TYGR Sushi, Fish Bone Local, Gaya Gelato, The Lawn or La Brisa for sunset cocktails

Where to stay in Uluwatu: Anantara if you’re a couple (it’s dreeeamy), Hidden Hills Villas for an awesome villa for a couple or a small group, S Resorts if you want basic-but-nice accommodations and easy access to the best beach clubs like Omnia and Ulu Cliffhouse.

Where to eat + drink in Uluwatu: Sunset and bites at Single Fin (if you’re there on a Sunday night, be sure to stay for their big rowdy Sunday night world-famous dj party), fresh fish dinner on the beach on Bingin Beach (just show up after sunset and there are a ton of casual fresh options right on the beach that will grill up the fish right in front of you!).

Day 3-5: Sanur to Nusa Lembongan

Day 3: Travel day & check into Nusa Lembongan

Have a driver to take you from Uluwatu or Canggu to either Sanur or Serangan (They’re both about an hour away, but the departure point depends on the ferry company you’re taking). There are a number of fast boat ferry companies that make the trip from Bali to Nusa Lembongan, and you don’t have to make the arrangements before you get to Bali. Once you’re in Bali, you’ll see tons of tourist agencies on the street, or you can ask your hotel or accommodation for help with planning. All ferries are about a 30 minute trip to Nusa Lembongan, Blue Water Express boats leave from Serangan and Scoot leaves from Sanur. Blue Water Express offer free pick up for Seminyak, Legian, Kuta, Jimbaran, Sanur and Nusa Dua to Serangan, which is awesome. (so you can just cab to the nearest pick up spot from either Uluwatu or Canggu)

Where to stay on Nusa Lembongan: For the dreamiest villa, I love 353 Degrees North. For a more casual beach hotel, I love The Beach Shack.

Where to eat on Nusa Lembongan: check out The Deck, Lembongan Reef Bar, and Blue Corner Dive for casual Mexican food on the beach.

Day 4: Nusa Lembongan – Day trip to Nusa Penida

You can easily get over to Nusa Penida for the day from Nusa Lembongan. Nusa Penida is so unbelievably beautiful (and has become pretty instagram-famous for it’s jagged cliffs and gorgeous beaches). You should be able to organize a day tour through your accommodation (353 Degrees North was so helpful when it came to organizing our fun day on the island!) so that when you get to Nusa Penida, you get picked up by a driver who will take you to all the best spots on the island. This is not an easy ride!! The roads are not very paved and it’s not easy to get from spot to spot, but trust me when I say, it’s worth it. You’ll want to make sure you hit three main spots: Kelingking Beach (also known as the T-Rex beach – pictured above), Broken Beach (pictured above), and Angel’s Billabong (a beautiful natural tide pool swimming hole pictured below!).

Day 5: Nusa Lembongan & Gili Islands

In the morning go snorkeling with manta rays! You can set this up through your villa or hotel, and I highly recommend it. A private boat will take you out to where the (HUGE) manta rays are and you get right in the ocean with them. It’s only a few hours, and you usually go in the morning, so it usually can work out well to do this on a travel day.

Then, make moves to the Gili Islands, there is usually a ferry leaving around 3:30pm from Lembongan to Gili Trawangan or Gili Air.  That night, catch the sunset on the Gilis (so beautiful) and either go out for a big night out on Gili T, or get some rest, depending on how you’re feeling!

Where to stay in the Gili Islands: Ombak Sunset if you’re looking for a good hotel home base on Gili Trawangan (party central, and so beautiful) or Mowies Gili Air for a more laid-back vacation on Gili Air.

Day 6: Gili Islands

During the day in the Gili Islands, I love snorkeling & beaching most of the day! You can rent a private snorkel boat for super cheap (maybe 10-20 bucks a person) to take you out (with snorkel gear) for a full day. You’ll see so many fish and turtles!! After that, grab dinner & drinks on the beach, or head to Mowies Gili Air for an epic sunset sesh.

Day 7: Gili Islands

Explore the other Gili Islands that you’re not staying on for the day, or just soak up the sun and beach.

 

Day 8: Travel from the Gili Islands to Seminyak

I like to plan for (at least) one night in Seminyak after island-hopping before flying home, because you just never know with the ferries and timing what delays can happen and (*just to be on the safe side*) it’s always good to have a buffer of a day so that you don’t risk missing your flight home!

Where to stay in Seminyak: The Legian is one of my favorite hotels in all of Bali – and the perfect relaxing resort to end your vacation at. I also like the W Bali – a young, hip vibe and a great sunset view. The villas at the W are gorgeous!

Where to eat in Seminyak: Da Maria if you’re craving some deliciously gourmet pizza, Motel Mexicola for amazing Mexican food and Cabo-meets-Bali vibes, Boss Man Burger for a casual (and amazing) burger.

Where to go out in Seminyak: Since it’s your last night on the island, make it a good one. Start your night with a sunset at La Plancha, then go to dinner at Motel Mexicola, and watch as it turns from happening hot-spot restaurant into a full-blown dance party as the night goes on. Then, make moves to La Favela, a beautiful multi-story Brazilian-themed club famous for it’s all night parties in Seminyak.

Day 9: Morning in Seminyak, fly home

Spend your morning walking the beach, soaking up your resort or walking and shopping around Seminyak looking for goodies to bring home for all your loved ones, and then make your way to the airport whenever your flight is!

The Total Disconnect Bali Tour

9 Days in Bali

This is the ideal Bali itinerary for: Anyone wanting to come to the island and completely disconnect from the “real world”. Yogis, health-food lovers, jetsetters looking to get away from it all and come out of their vacation with a lot of rest, relaxation, and some Bali magic. 

Days 1-9: Ubud

To get straight into Zen vacation mode, you’re going to want to head to Ubud as soon as possible, and for as long as possible. High up in the jungle, surrounded by rice fields and coconut palms, lies the beautiful heart of Bali: Ubud. Ubud is Bali’s epicenter of culture, from Balinese traditional dance and handicrafts, to a more modern health and yoga scene unlike anywhere else in the world.  Ever since the movie Eat, Pray, Love, it has become one of the most popular areas of Bali to visit, and it’s easy to see why. It’s quiet, serene, breathtakingly beautiful, and the perfect place to detox from the world, and come home completely rejuvenated and renewed.

wearing a reversible leopard onepiece by Watercolorsavailable here.

For the Yogis: Look into some of the Yoga Barn’s detox and yoga retreats, or many resorts in Bali offer their own yoga retreats, like Bambu Indah and Fivelements.

Best things to do in Ubud: Spend your week going from yoga, to chic cafes, to the spa (my favorite is Cantika Spa). You can also just spend your days soaking up the Bali zen at your hotel and meditating with jungle views or writing by the pool. Maybe stroll around the downtown markets or explore around Ubud to the waterfalls and rice fields, or don’t do anything at all. And don’t feel bad for one second about it.

Where to eat in Ubud: Alchemy for vegan eats, coffee, juices and a delicious smoothie bowl bar. Watercress, Milk & Madu, Nostimo. Golden Monkey for dim sum, Bambu Indah for a fresh healthy brunch or lunch in a gorgeous setting, Sayan House for a nicer dinner and an epic sunset view.

Where to stay in Ubud: Bambu Indah for a total disconnecting, nature-loving experience unlike anywhere.

The Luxe Lovers Bali Tour

9 Days in Bali

This is the ideal Bali itinerary for: luxury resort loving couples, families, or groups. This itinerary hits some of the very best hotels in Bali, while exploring a few different areas of the island!

Days 1-3 : Jimbaran/Uluwatu: The Ayana

Located an easy 20 minutes from the airport, The Ayana is one of the most beautiful resorts in all of Bali, and one of the most sought-after for vacationers heading to the island. I love it for its dreamy seaside location, super-instagrammable infinity pools, unreal sunsets at The Rock Bar and amazing food! (Go to the RIMBA Mexican restaurant! So good)

Days 4-5 : Uluwatu: The Edge

Spend a night or two in Uluwatu at The Edge Resort – one of the most beautiful resorts I’ve ever been to! Famous for it’s jaw-dropping glass-bottom infinity pool hanging 150M over the cliffs of Bali, The Edge is a perfect place to soak up the sun with breathtaking views of dreamy Uluwatu.

Days 5-6: Seminyak: The Legian Hotel

Head to Seminyak for a night at the Legian Bali for a totally different feel of Bali. Seminyak is a bustling beach town with so many awesome shops, restaurants, and cafes. The sunsets are beautiful and the resorts are great. You can definitely spend more nights here, but I personally think you can do it in one night to maximize time in Uluwatu/Ubud.

Where to eat in Seminyak: Cafe Organic or Nalu Bowls for smoothie bowls, coffee cartel for coffee, Da Maria if you’re craving some deliciously gourmet pizza, Motel Mexicola for amazing Mexican food and Cabo-meets-Bali vibes, Boss Man Burger for a casual (and amazing) burger or late night.

Where to go out in Seminyak: If you’re feeling a fun night out, Seminyak is your spot. Start your night with a sunset at La Plancha Beach bar, then go to dinner at Motel Mexicola, and watch as it turns from happening hot-spot restaurant into a full-blown dance party as the night goes on. Then, make moves to La Favela, a beautiful multi-story Brazilian-themed club famous for it’s all night parties in Seminyak.

Where to see the sunset in Seminyak: I love the sunsets at the Legian Hotel, or down the road at the W Seminyak, La Plancha, or Potato Head Beach Club.

Days 6-9: Ubud: Four Seasons Sayan

Cure your hangover with some Bali zen. After eating the incredible breakfast buffet at the Legian, hire a driver to take you from Seminyak to the Four Seasons Ubud, about an hour to an hour and a half drive. In Ubud, spend your days relaxing at the resort or out and about exploring rice terraces, waterfalls, monkey forest, or the local markets.

Where to eat in Ubud: Naughty Nuri’s for casual ribs outside (Anthony Bourdain’s favorite martinis in Bali!), Alchemy for vegan eats, coffee, fresh pressed juices and a delicious smoothie bowl bar.  Ibu Oka for Indonesia’s most famous dish – Babi Guling (lunch), Bambu Indah for a fresh healthy brunch or lunch in a gorgeous setting, and Sayan House for a nicer dinner and an epic sunset view. Gaya Gelato for the best ice cream in Ubud.

Whatever your Bali itinerary, you’re going to have the best time! I love it when you guys tag me in your instagram stories (@JetsetChristina) if you use any of these recs! It’s so amazing seeing you guys having the time of your lives in the places I love!

XOXO,
Christina

*Please note that this post contains affiliate links to some hotels! If you choose to book one of the hotels I recommended, I would SO appreciate you using these links to do so!!! An affiliate link basically just means that at no cost to you at all, I get a small kickback from the booking site for bringing them your business! I never, ever recommend any hotels that I haven’t personally stayed at and don’t 100% LOVE & think you will, too! If you have any questions at all, please see my advertiser & affiliate policy page here.

PREV

JetsetChristina's Favorite Bikinis - Updated Summer 2019

NEXT

Where to Stay in Punta Cana for Tropical Romance, All-Inclusive Luxury & Exotic Caribbean Vibes : Excellence El Carmen and Excellence Punta Cana

  • Promod PP
    REPLY

    Amazing Article.. In fact I am visiting Bali on 2nd November and will be there till 8th November. these notes helped me to do proper navigation and also to explore into new avenues.. Thank You Christina

    October 30, 2018
  • PLEASE plan a trip to Morocco!! My bestie and I want to go there for our 30th birthdays

    November 6, 2018
  • Heather Novotny
    REPLY

    Such a great article thank you for putting so much thought into this! We are planning our trip for December and I’ve had the toughest time deciding an itenerary!

    April 25, 2019
  • Lisa Ali
    REPLY

    My daughter and I are planning a mother/daughter trip for 2 weeks in October and are having a tough time deciding an itinerary. This article was very helpful. Thanks for putting it together…Lisa

    May 27, 2019

LEAVE A COMMENT