Thinking of booking a trip to Bali?
Let me help you.
After spending two weeks solo traveling and bopping around Indonesia, I can honestly report back and say that Bali is one of my favorite places I have EVER been.
Friendly and accommodating people.
Beautiful beaches and sunsets.
Crazy affordable hotels and villas (and massages!)
Delicious, healthy food that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg...
Need I say more?
14 nights, 5 cities, 7 hotels... and I am about to recap it all for you.
Note: I am horrendous at making anything concise and to the point, so prepare to read a lot.
If you feel like copying my itinerary (and trust me, I would because I truly think I did it SO right) go ahead and grab a pen and get ready to take some notes.
For more of the stories from my trip and to get more context as to WHY exactly I loved Bali so much... Here is my most recent podcast episode covering all things Bali! (Plus some extra tips on how to successfully solo travel).
Bali tips to know BEFORE you go:
- CASH. You need cash.
- Pack correctly and leave your high heels at home.
- If you are traveling long distances, I recommend hiring a driver for convenience.
- Prepare for Bali Belly (but don't stress too hard) and just be cautious.
- Pay attention to the seasons & weather and book your trip accordingly.
- Download Gojek (like Uber). Gojek is your BFF.
- Tipping is not required or expected.
- Don't be afraid to barter with taxi's, vendors, etc.
- Stay away from the scooters, unless you are a pro driver.
- Give yourself extra time when traveling to new destinations.. traffic can be a real B.
My Bali Itinerary:
Here's a breakdown of where I stayed, what I did/ate and what I recommend you NOT missing out on.
Stop #1 - Seminyak (2 nights)
Stop #2 - Canguu (3 nights)
Stop #3 - Ubud (5 nights)
Stop #4 - Nusa Lembongan (2 nights)
Stop #5 - Uluwatu (3 nights)
Where I stayed:
If you want laidback, beach vibes... Seminyak is a great starting place. I am honestly so happy this is where I chose to kick off my trip because it's relatively close to the airport (probably a 30 minute ride) and very casual. I didn't want to jump right into sight seeing because hello... JET LAG IS REAL.
Hotel Indigo was right on the beach and honestly, a gorgeous property. Full transparency: I did stay here as an influencer, so it was totally comped.. but I would absolutely stay here again on my own dime.
The pools are 10/10 (make sure to check out the hidden one for a more adult only, chill vibes) and the SugarSand bar next door is a great lunch spot or happy hour option. Go for sunset! You will have the best view and be able to enjoy a craft cocktail before taking off your shoes and walking on the beach directly across the street.
What I did + Where I recommend going:
- Spring Spa
Probably one of my favorite spa experiences in Bali and I think I got at least 10 massages during this trip - they are so cheap! It's located at the top of the shopping mall in Seminyak which is a little bizarre, but it's a whole serene oasis on the rooftop and the spa is gorgeous. I had an amazing full body massage and I think it was around 30ish bucks (and this was considered a splurge... wild, I know).
- Shop around!
Honestly, I could have shopped for DAYS in Seminyak. There's so many cute boutiques and unique shops... definitely spend an afternoon walking around and doing some retail therapy.
Food & Drink:
- Coffee Cartel
A great place to grab coffee before a day of shopping around town. It's also just adorable and veryyy instagram worthy (my fav, clearly). Download the app "Ripple" before you go and you will be able to print your own message on your coffee. I mean, how cute?!
- Kynd Community Acai Bowls
A must. Thank me later. It's pink, girly, photo worthy AND the acai bowls are out of this world. Pro tip: pay extra and you can customize your bowl with your own word/message. When in Bali, am I right?
- Sunset Park at Desa Potato Head
A great rooftop spot for cocktails and sunset. The view is out of this world and it's located in a cool area by a ton of vibey restaurants so you can easily for from drinks, to dinner, to a little night out action. Tip: The Sunset Park at Desa Potato Head dress code is "casual chic", so make sure you aren't coming straight from the beach!
- Ku De Ta
Sushi, good drinks and a killer view. I wasn't THAT impressed with my sushi roll but I went super late at night and was deliriously jet legged, so who knows what I was even thinking. The reviews online are 10/10 and it's in a great location for sunset and dinner - or you can opt for a late night and go for drinks, bites and club vibes. I think it's worth checking out!
Where I stayed:
This was the only "AirBNB" or true "Villa" style place that I stayed. I normally am not a huge AirBNB girl (I like a hotel lobby and room service option way too much)... BUT! Villa Vagabond was truly something out of a magazine and might have actually changed my opinion on AirBNBs. It was unreal!
Two bedroom, two bath and complete with a massive living room, balcony, private pool and the most gorgeous, IG worthy aesthetic I have EVER seen. It's secluded so you have plenty of privacy, but it's also close enough to town so you feel super safe. Plus, Jordan (my point of contact) was an absolute gem and so helpful with any of my needs.
If you have a group that is look for a place to stay in Canguu, I couldn't recommend this Villa more.
What I did + Where I recommend going:
- Body Factory - for a gym & chill pool day
If you are a psycho like myself and enjoy hitting up a gym even when on vacation... you will LOVE Body Factory. It's absolutely gorgeous and for around 40 bucks you can get a day pass that allows you to use the gym, the cold plunges, the sauna AND the pool. I was in actual heaven.
If you need a break from sight seeing and a little reset, I recommend spending an afternoon here. Hit the gym (or take a class), grab lunch at their cafe and spend the rest of the day sunbathing on their bean bags. Think of it as Bali's version of Equinox but much more affordable. Ugh, I loved it!
Food & Drink:
- Sa Mesa - Family style Italian
THIS PLACE IS A MUST. I know you don't really think of "Italian" when you think of "Bali" but this restaurant is out of this world good and such a unique concept. The idea is to "come as strangers, leave as friends" - you literally sit at a big table with everyone in the restaurant and you don't leave until you're stuffed (with authentic, homemade Italian food) and friends with everyone around you. It's a great option if you have a large party as well (We went with our wedding group).
From their website: "A total of +/- 18 dishes, served over several courses in a modern shared dining concept. One large table full of people from all over, coming together and taking the time to embrace the slow Italian-style of dining. The food will be served along the center of the table so that everyone has a chance to taste and enjoy each of the dishes presented."
You definitely need a reservation well in advance here because they only seat maybe 30 people a night for this experience.
- The Lawn - sunset drinks & happy hour
Pretty sure this is where I accidentally ate a piece of watermelon that gave me Bali Belly (we THINK...) but it's honestly a vibe and even though I spent 48 hours projectile vomiting, I would go back? The watermelon marg was fire, I can't lie.
Right on the beach and great for a pool day, casual cocktail, golden hour sunset moment. Just... don't eat any fruit that may have been sitting out. That's a good rule of thumb for anywhere in Bali though!
- Milk & Madu Cafe - casual brunch/lunch spot
Great lunch spot. Get the avocado toast. Chefs kiss!
- Cocomo Canguu - cute coffee shop
Another cute and vibey coffee spot that I really liked! One thing I learned... Bali LOVES their coffee shops.
- Shelter - Contemporary Mediterranean dinner spot
The best steak I have ever had. Is that enough to sell you?
A phenomenal dinner spot with great wine, a sultry aesthetic and some amazing food. My girlfriend recommended this place to me after saying it was her FAVORITE restaurant in all of Bali and now... I get the hype.
The avo toast at Milk & Madu
Where I stayed
I spent the most time in Ubud (5 nights), so I decided to split my time between two different locations in the city. I started at Komaneka Monkey Forest and I am SO happy I chose to start here because it's right smack dab in the middle of all the action in Ubud! It's walkable to all the shops and restaurants, plus it's just beautiful.
Breakfast is included (always a perk in my book) and it's tucked away in nature, overlooking fields, flowers and lush greenery. In case you were wondering... yes, there are monkeys there (hence the name) and be mindful to always keep an eye on your stuff and lock your doors... because they will steal your belongings.
I'm not a big monkey fan (they actually terrify me), but I still loved my time here and would come back. The rooms are so spacious and the price point is pretty decent as well.
YOU. NEED. TO. STAY. HERE.
I repeat.... stay here!!!
I always choose to "splurge" on one location for every trip I take. You know... treat yourself? I came across Villa Cella Bella via my Instagram stalking skills and instantly was sold. It's absolutely breathtaking. I already have decided I will be coming back here for my honeymoon (we gotta find a man first but hey... baby steps) because it's so magical.
There's a variety of suites to choose from, all different and equally luxurious. I recommend choosing one that has the balcony net bed because that's where I spent 99% of my time during my stay.
Even better, this hotel has a private butler for each room that will take care of your every need (literally). The property also has its' own swing so you don't have to wait in line for hours with hoards of tourists AND they offer a flower bath / floating breakfast option for an added charge - which you absolutely need to do. When in Bali, folks! I did both options and felt like I was in a literal fairytale.
I think this was the most I spent on a place to stay during my 2 weeks in Bali and it cost me around $400 a night for the Jewel Suite (cannot recommend more).
Instagram heaven at Villa Cella Bella.
What I did + Where I recommend going:
- Yoga Barn
Whether you are a yogi or not... you have to check out this place. I decided to spend a morning here taking a yoga class (you can book online and you don't need to be a pro. I promise) and then enjoyed walking around, grabbing a snack and fresh juice. The property is massive and really cool to explore. Probably one of my favorite spots in Ubud!
- Melya Dewi Spa
This was a spa that I happened to randomly stumble upon after an afternoon of shopping and I glanced online and saw that it had hundreds of great reviews, so I decided to give it a go. My massage was SEVEN dollars (!!!) and I left feeling like a brand new woman. It was unreal. The place isn't the most fancy, but it's so cheap and the massages are sooooo good.
- Ubud ATV tour
I opted out of the SUPER touristy things in Ubud (I don't do well with crowds and lines, I loathe them) and decided to do this ATV tour to see more of the city + satisfy my adrenaline junkie cravings.
So worth it! A driver picks you up from your hotel and drives you to the meeting spot and you spend the afternoon racing through the rice patties, caves, waterfalls and seeing so much of Ubud that you wouldn't see from a car.
Linking the tour I did here.
- Mason Elephant Park
If you want to pet, bathe and cuddle with elephants... look no further.
I had no idea something like this existed in Bali and I am so happy I discovered it. While many think that elephant sanctuaries can be cruel, I did my research (I promise) and found nothing but wonderful information about Mason Elephant Park.
I decided to spend a morning here doing the "wash and bathe" option and y'all... magical. The elephants were so gentle and well cared for and I had the CUTEST tour guide ever who was such a gem & made sure I got all the photos (because we all know if you are petting an elephant, you need a good photo to prove it).
There's a ton of different options on their website and you can pay to just enter the park and walk around, or you can actually interact with the elephants for a higher price point. I highly recommend that option because it's such a once in a lifetime opportunity. Worth every penny!
Food & Drink:
- Moksa - Vegan
Don't sleep on Vegan food, especially in Bali! They do vegan RIGHT. This was one of my favorite meals during my whole entire trip and it was truly divine. Who knew I could be a vegan girly? Not me. But this dinner was fresh, delicious and honestly... really affordable for the price.
Tip: it's a little out of the way and hard to find at night, but just know if you reach a dirt road that looks a little sketchy... you have reached the right place. Just look for the sign and trust the process. You will make it there eventually!
- Watercress cafe - Casual lunch spot
I came here THREE times for lunch while in Ubud. So clearly I was a fan. Get the mushroom burger and the fruit salad... if you want a good people watching view, request a table upstairs.
- Nusantara by Locavore - Traditional Indonesian food
If you want a taste of the local cuisine and want to try more traditional Indonesian cuisine... check out Nusantara! The cocktails are 10/10 (of course that was my favorite part) and the food is definitely different, but so delicious. Everything is made fresh, using local ingredients and it's sharing style... grab a group of friends and go hungry! I am not an experimental eater and I even enjoyed every single bite of this meal.
- Mother - More local, fresh & casual dinner
Another yummy + more local dinner spot that's more low key and casual, but super delicious "farm to table" style food.
- Akar Ubud - Splurge worthy steaks
Want a fancy dinner for a special celebration? Look no further. Akar is truly an experience and the food... OMG. But here's your warning: it does come with a hefty price tag. I got the wagyu steak and while it did melt in my mouth... my jaw dropped when I got my bill (oof). But hey, the rest of the food in Bali is incredibly affordable, so it's okay to splurge every now and then, right?
Beyond the food.. the ambience of Akar is really something else. It's tucked away in the KClub Luxury Villas and after a short golf cart ride, you stumble upon the most insane restaurant you've ever seen. It's sexy, vibey and overlooking a massive forest with a light show that makes you truly wonder if you're in Bali or Ibiza.
Expensive? Yes. But a super cool experience and food that is worthy of the high price tag.
5 stars for Akar
How to get there:
This was an UNPLANNED little excursion (and very unlike me to change my travel plans) and I booked it last minute and decided to go here instead of making the (much longer) trek to the Gili Islands like I had initially planned. Let me tell you... I am SO thankful I chose to do this instead. The ferry is only around 30-40 minutes, it's a breeze to book and get on and the island is breathtaking. Highly recommend doing at least 1 night here!
I ended up taking the D'Camel fast boat from the Sanur Harbor (around an hour or so from Ubud) and it was around 30 bucks round trip. Make sure you get to the harbor in time to check your bag! But it really is such a breeze. If I can do it solo, you can too!
all aboard the oh so glamorous ferry
Where I stayed:
I booked here the day before and there's really not TOO many hotel options on the island because it's pretty small. But I loved Ohana's (very family friendly, hence the name) and it was in a great location! The beach is beautiful, there's a great pool to hang by and it's by a bunch of cute cafes. If you are looking for a party vibe, this is NOT it. In fact, this whole island is not a party vibe, so heads up. But honestly, after nonstop traveling... Nusa Lembongan was exactly what I needed. The beaches, the sunsets, the snorkeling... a true dream.
If you do stay at Ohana's, make sure to ask the front desk about a snorkel tour. I booked mine through them and it was EPIC.
What I did + Where I recommend going:
- Dream Beach
There's no Ubers on the island, so you'll have to grab a taxi to get here (cash!!! you must have cash!) and it's around a 15 minute ride from Ohana's. It's a gorgeous beach and there's plenty of space to layout and you can grab food at the restaurant at the top. If you want a touristy swing photo... this is the place for that too.
- Devil's Tear for sunset
Oh. My. Goodness. This is a must! My suggestion? Spend the day at Dream beach, pack a bottle of wine and then walk over to Devil's Tear for sunset. You need cash to enter and there's no ATMs so prepare ahead of time. Once you walk in, you can watch the waves crashing and pro tip... head to the RIGHT to watch sunset and stay until AFTER the sun sets because that's when the colors of the sky get even more colorful (I made the mistake and walked back a bit too early).
You will be absolutely mesmerized by the ocean here. It's a memory that truly lives rent free in my head to this day.
- Manta Snorkel Tour
I wish I knew the exact company I did this through, but you can easily ask your hotel to help you book something and they all seem pretty similar. I opted to do a private tour and I am so happy I did because I was able to do it on my own schedule, spend more time at locations I liked, didn't have to wait on people, etc. My guide took me to a spot to snorkel with the manta's (epic) and then to two other locations to snorkel in the coral reefs.
Look... I have been to quite a few places and I have snorkeled a ton in my 29 years. This was HANDS down the best snorkeling I have ever experienced and I am not even exaggerating! You will feel like you're in another planet underwater.
Note: for the private tour, I think I paid ~175 USD and a group tour was around 30 bucks. So a bit more of a splurge, but still affordable and I promise it's so much better on a private tour. Just my two cents ;)
Sunset views from Devil's Tear
Food & Drink:
- Ginger and Jamu
I ate here for lunch AND dinner and was a huge fan. It's fresh, casual and the chocolate acai bowl - omg. Please get it. It's also right next door to Ohana's!
- Indiana Kenanga Hotel for drinks and sunset
Right next door to Ohana's is another boutique hotel that is more "adult" vibes and super cute. I ended up coming here for a cocktail and watched sunset on the lounge chairs - big fan. Next time I come, I would probably end up booking a room here instead.
- The Deck
Please come here for dinner and catch the sunset. The food was okay, but you go more for the VIEWS. Truly unreal! Make sure you make a reservation because it does fill up quickly (also it requires a taxi or scooter to get to).
Where I stayed:
So... I may or may not have stayed at a Swingers hotel.
I booked a room here because I needed a place to stay before heading to my last stop and someone had sent me Pink Coco because well.. it's an all pink hotel Hello?! I had to stay here.
Obviously I missed all the signs that it was legitimately a swingers hotel (L O L) but my honest review... I really liked it? Obviously I had no interest in the Sexy Midnight Swim (a real thing) but the place was adorable, affordable and walking distance to a ton of cute shops. Book here at your own risk but if you want something cheap and cute... yolo.
Now THIS place was more of my 'Bali vibes' and truly a dream. It's tucked away off the beaten path a bit and has its own pool and restaurant attached to the 10 or so villas on the property. My room had it's own private balcony + lounge area and hot tub (dreamy), and I highly recommend ending your trip here because you will want to stay by the pool all day long! And by the end of your travels... some relaxation will be much needed.
Every morning, I started my day at Banana Lounge which is the restaurant on property and the breakfast is truly unreal (and included). Make sure you take advantage of your complimentary cocktail and dessert you get every night at sunset on the rooftop too!
What I did + Where I recommend going:
- Ours Spa
More "pricey" but still insanely affordable. My massage was around 35 dollars and that felt like a big splurge to me at the time. Wild! You can also get your nails and hair done here as well, if you need a little TLC while traveling.
- Ours Cafe
Next door to the spa is the CUTEST and yummiest little cafe. I ended up staying here and journaling for a couple hours and loved the relaxed vibe.
- Rock Bar Bali
Whatever you do... if you make your way to Uluwatu... you HAVE to make a reservation at Rock Bar! It fills up quickly so definitely do it well in advance if you want to also include dinner, but if you are me and planned everything last minute (oops), make a reservation for DRINKS at sunset and then ask them if you can stay afterwards for dinner and they should be able to squeeze you in.
Rock Bar is truly one of the most breathtaking bars I have ever been too. Get your camera ready because everything about this place will have you in awe! Make sure to leave with PLENTY of time to get there (traffic can be bad) and also note that it takes around 20 minutes to walk throughout the hotel, check in for your reservation and take the tram down to the bar/restaurant. Apparently, many people don't realize this and end up missing their reservation - which truly is a tragedy.
If you want to make it for sunset, I recommend making at 5 pm reservation for drinks, then a 7 pm dinner reservation so you get the whole experience! Once the sun goes down, the DJ comes on and the whole vibe transforms from peaceful to playful. Very fun.
View of Rock Bar from the top
- Sundays Beach Club
I opted out of the super touristy parts of Uluwatu because by the end of a 14 day adventure, I was WORN OUT. One of the girls I met while traveling who lives in Bali suggested we spend an afternoon at Sundays beach Club and honestly, relaxing by the beach and sipping a cocktail is exactly what I wanted to do.
....Little did I know this is NOT just an ordinary day club.
It is breathtaking!!!
You have to take a tram down a cliff to a little stretch of white sand beach and nestled in the corner by a massive cliff is Sundays Beach Club. Make sure to make a reservation for an umbrella on the beach ahead of time (we didn't) or else you will be laying on your towel in the sand - not the end of the world honestly. We showed up and opted to grab lunch while we waited for a spot to open up and it worked perfectly! But pro tip: it's always just better to make a reservation if you can.
When I die... bury me at Sundays, please.
- Impossibles Beach + Bingin Beach
I didn't get to spend too much time beach hopping because I only had a couple days in Uluwatu (my biggest regret was not spending 2 more nights there) but I did have a chance to go to these 2 beaches. Beware: both require a lengthy walk down many stairs and you will get your workout in! Wear comfy shoes.
- Single Fin for golden hour
Uluwatu is known for their amazing sunsets and if you want to catch an EPIC one while sipping on a margarita at a cliffside bar and watching the surfers catch the last waves of the day... Head to Single Fin. I believe you have to pay cash to enter once your taxi drops you off so again, be prepared so you aren't turned away.
Note: I absolutely LOVED Uluwatu (probably my second favorite behind Ubud) and I wish I would have known that before booking my stay. If I could redo anything, it would be to stay at least 2 more full days here so I could explore more. Uluwatu was a bit more upscale to me and gave strong "Hawaii" vibes. Totally my speed!
Guess I will just have to go back...
Sunset at Single Fin in Uluwatu
MUST DO ACTIVITIES IN BALI (& what I think you should skip out on)
- Hike Mt. Batur - Do it. I promise it is worth the 2 am wake up call.
- Kanto Lampo Waterfall - if you do Mt. Batur, this is an easy one to hit up before heading back to Ubud (or where ever you are staying). It's stunning and you can get the coolest IG photo, just bring cash and ask one of the workers for help. They understand the assignment ;)
- Ferry ride to Nusa Lembongan (day trip or stay a night or two)
- Snorkel tour (Nusa Lembongan/Nusa Pendida)
- ATV tour (Ubud)
- Mason Elephant Park & Lodge (Ubud)
- Sunday's Beach Club (Uluwatu)
- Yoga Barn (Ubud)
- A Flower Bath at Villa Cella Bella (if you choose to stay there)
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
- The Monkey forest - it's crowded and the monkey's are known to bite (just ask my friend, Gabrielle Stone who had to get rabies shots).
- The touristy swings in Ubud - In my opinion, they aren't worth the long lines and the photos don't even turn out that great.
- Gili T - If you want to rage your face off and face a 4 hour ferry ride there and back... head to Gili T. Some people love it, but once I heard about the not so great reviews & heavy party environment - I tapped out. To each their own though!
Are you still reading this short novel... I mean blog post... on Bali? If so, congratulations. You are now well prepared to travel to one of the most magical places I have EVER been to!
Trust the process.
Be open to new adventures.
Connect with yourself.
And lastly... Allow the magic that truly does exist in Bali to do whatever it NEEDS to do in your life. I can almost guarantee you will go home a different and better person... if you want to. :)
That's all for now! If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Instagram or look at my story highlights from each location for more visuals.
Until next time & my next trip...