I never saw the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” until the night before I boarded a flight on my first ever solo trip half-way across the world. When I returned home, I told my friends and family that my experience was WAY BETTER than Julia Roberts (and I meant it!)
A combination of spontaneity and preparedness resulted in an incredible experience I will never forget. After all, isn’t that what life’s about?! The majority of my research came from the advice of personal blogs. I am incredibly grateful to live in a time where we can so easily learn from the experience of others. As a way to give back to the community that helped me so much, I’ve put together my favorite Bali experiences and arranged them in a 2-week itinerary. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment.
P.S. I am not apart of any affiliate programs or partnerships. These recommendations are purely based on my experience and what I’d suggest to any friend/family member. I have provided links to either direct websites or TripAdvisor reviews for more insight during your planning.
» 1 day: Sanur ⇒ pronounced “Sa-nur”
» 5 days: Nusa Lembongan (day trips to Penida & Ceningan) ⇒ “Lem-BONG-gun”
» 4 days: Ubud (with day trips to Mt Batur & Tegallagang) ⇒ “Oo-BOOD”
» 3 days: Uluwatu ⇒ “Ul-oo-WAT-oo”
» Travel day back to the airport
Total: 14 days
While I’m on the pronunciation kick, if you’re new to the Indonesia language try to remember that the H is silent in pairing with CH. So Nusa Ceningan is pronounced “Nusa Cheningan.” On the contrary, if there is no H after a C, pretend there is one. When I verbalized my name Carlie, it was written down every time as “Charly.”
I refer to both Indonesian currency (rupiah) and the US dollar. Here is a converter for other forms of currency:
RELATED POST: How To Do 18 Days in Bali Under $2,000
DAY 1: SANUR
ACCOMMODATION: I stayed at Cafe Locca Homestay (dorms) in Sanur for $10/night.
TRAVEL DAY » Fly into Indonesia’s third busiest airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport, just south of Bali’s capital, Denpasar. Catch a taxi to the quiet beach town of Sanur. (Don’t pay more than 95,000 rupiahs for the taxi! I paid double because I didn’t know better).
» If landing at night, make sure you give yourself enough time to travel to your destination and check in at your hotel/accommodation (i.e., some places will have 10 PM the latest check-in so give yourself enough time to get there).
» It’s important to either have a driver set up ahead of time or if you’re using a blue bird taxi (there are plenty of them at the taxi counter and you WILL be bombarded by them), make sure you know the estimated travel fare to your destination. The worst part of my trip was taxi drivers trying to take advantage of my unknowingness to haggle more money out of me. Here is a list of cities with estimates of what you should be paying. (Think 100,000 rupiah ~ $7 USD)
» You will need local currency. If you’re withdrawing money out of the ATM, don’t forget your card like I did! The ATM machines don’t spit your card out before the money like we’re used to back home. This was one of my “Oh Shit” moments you can read more about here.
» For more travel tips, especially on solo travel, check out:
RELATED POST: “Things I Would Do Differently On A Solo Trip To Bali.”
DAYS 2-6: LEMBONGAN, CENNIGAN, & PENIDA
ACCOMMODATION: I LOVED my stay at Suba Homestay on Nusa Lembongan for $8/night. Maclir will make you feel welcomed, and you can rent out mopeds right there without needing to fill up on gas for return. And if you don’t like dormatory style, Maclir has another Suba property with private rooms.
DAY 2: SANUR TO NUSA LEMBONGAN » Wake up early and get a nice Indonesian breakfast and freshly squeezed fruit juice at any local warung on the streets. If you have time, explore the side streets and beach area. Then, catch a MORNING boat to the island of Nusa Lembongan. Fun fact: Nusa is Indonesian for island. There are multiple boats with prices listed down by the port, but be ready to take off your shoes and tread through some water to board them!
The ferry will take you into Mushroom Bay on Nusa Lembongan. Check into your place of stay and rent a moped. Grab lunch at a local warung (I loved picking a different fresh fruit juice at each warung with my meals).
If you have time, catch a yoga class at Yoga Dunia located close by Suba Homestay, and arrive early to enjoy a dragonfruit smoothie by the pool. If you’re more of a beach person and less of a yogi, head over to Dream Beach, known for its white sand and clear water. There’s a resort there that offers access to its infinity pool, although I just checked out the beach from afar.
Head through the back roads to check out Devil’s Tears for a breathtaking sunset over a rocky inlet that sucks the water out to sea only to have it come crashing back against the rocks, spraying the air with tears from the devil himself. 😉 I was fully impressed by the views at Devil’s Tears, and it was well worth the adventure off the main roads. Finish the day’s exploration with some dinner and live music at LaGood Bar & Grill, right down the street from Suba Homestay.
» The morning time is more likely to have good weather for the ferry over. If it’s not sunny, I’d pass on the trip over until the sun comes out in the afternoon, or wait until the next morning. A rough boat ride was another one of my Oh Shit moments you can read about. Also, be aware that the waters are rougher right around the full moon due to the tides. However, even with the rough ride, seeing the islands were WELL WORTH IT. I promise!
» You can rent a bicycle if you don’t feel comfortable driving a moped. But if you can ride a bicycle, it is definitely worth learning to drive the moped, and there’s no better place on Bali to learn than the semi-vacant roads of Lembongan and Cennigan. The hardest part was learning how to not rev up the gas, but once you get going, it’s a piece of cake and you can see SO MUCH more of the islands!
DAY 3: NUSA LEMBONGAN » Time to exercise those moped skills and explore wanderously! Don’t forget to stock up on gas, but don’t worry, if you run out like I did (oops) there’s plenty of local huts selling patrol.
There is one main road on Lembongan that will basically take you around the entirety of the island. After a day or two (learning how to drive the moped), I knew my way around fairly well. There is pull off to stop at that overlooks the coastal village of Jungubatu. If you continue along the winding road and drive through the village, you will reach Mangrove Beach, with plenty of places to stop and grab lunch or just take in the views. I enjoyed my view and lunch at Agung Beach Club. At the very end of the road, you will have the option to paddle board, kayak, or take a boat tour through Mangrove Forest.
Call ahead to Harumaya Day Spa so you can spend your evening being treated like royalty with a body scrub or massage, or even better, indulge in a spa package. It cost me $40 after tip for a 2.5 hour package that would usually cost me at least $200 back home. After you leave feeling like a new person, walk across the street to grab an impressive sushi dinner at Oshii Bar & Grill.
DAY 4: NUSA CENINGAN » Nusa Lembongan is connected to Nusa Ceningan by a quaint yellow bridge that is both walkable and moped accessible. When you cross the yellow bridge over to Ceningan, take a right to make some stops at Twilight Beach and Mahana Point. Even better, continue to follow the signs for Blue Lagoon, a cliff overlooking an ocean inlet with only the brightest shades of blue.
After Blue Lagoon, you will drive past a place offering ziplining. Or make your way to Secret Beach (you can stop by like I did or actually set up a spot to relax). On opposite side of the island, venture up the rocky roads and pathways to find an amazing spot for lunch called Ceningan Cliffs. You can relax in swings that overlook Nusa Penida on the other side of the water passage. This place is a hidden secret and it’s well worth the rocky roads up there!
If you love Blue Lagoon as much as I did, make your way back over for sunset, where you’ll find side paths that bring you to more cliffs as the sun starts to sink over the ocean. The tides should be different now too, showing a different view of the lagoon. By the time you cross the bridge back to Lembongan, get a good night’s sleep to get an early start on the next day’s adventure.
DAY 5: NUSA PENIDA » Schedule a day trip to Nusa Penida, where the sites are what dreams are made of. The ferry ride is much shorter than from Sanur to Lembongan. You’ll want to have a driver ready to pick you up from the dock. (Or be bombarded by drivers who are unlikely to understand you and more than likely ready to overcharge you).
I didn’t get to see all the views Penida has to offer, but I was able to check out picture-worthy Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach, Kelingking Beach, and Crystal Bay. I did all of these spots in a half-day trip from 9 AM to Noon. You can easily maximize your time here with a full-day tour. Just remember your bathing suit, and more importantly, your sunscreen! You WILL do yourself a disservice if you travel all the way to Bali and don’t get to see the majesty of this island.
» On Nusa Penida, I strongly recommend hiring a local driver who will know the backroads of the island. FYI these roads are less built up and are not recommended for the new moped driver. Not to mention this island is much bigger and there are too many places to get lost.
» If staying at Suba Homestay, Maclir will help set up just about any excursions or activities you desire, so let me him know your interests!
DAY 6: NUSA LEMBONGAN » Schedule a snorkel or dive tour. Grab a healthy breakfast at Sanghyang Bay Restaurant (my favorite breakfast of the trip) right at the point where the ship leaves out of Mushroom Bay. We were taken to three different spots to snorkel, including Manta Bay, Gamat Bay, and Crystal Bay. My favorite parts were swimming above a manta ray and having colorful fish swim around us when the guides threw food in the water.
Get back to Lembongan in time for a nice lunch. Enjoy free time in the evening, exploring something you didn’t get to, or revisiting something you want to see again. Make sure to know what time you have to be at the ferry the next morning.
DAYS 7 – 10: UBUD
ACCOMODATION: There are so many places to stay in Ubud. I truly enjoyed my own room for about $13/night at Uma Belos. Every morning I was brought homemade breakfast and coffee, and I felt close enough to walk to the busier streets for things to do. The owner, Made (pronounced Mad-day) is just the sweetest and her husband is a driver if needed.
DAY 7: LEMBONGAN TO UBUD » Catch a morning boat ride back to the main island of Bali. (My ferry ticket from Mushroom Bay back to Sanur was 175,000 rupiah, or ~$13 USD.) You can check out the beach area of Sanur a little more, with plenty of places to grab breakfast/lunch, or you can head straight up to the village of Ubud.
Get settled at your place in Ubud before you catch a yoga class at world-known Yoga Barn or check out Monkey Forest. Neither of these cost an arm and leg. I paid $38 USD for 5 yoga classes, and entry to Monkey Forest is an easy $3.75 USD. Get to bed early for an early start in the morning!
DAY 8: UBUD/MT. BATUR » If you’re the adventurous type (you’re in Bali so I assume you are), schedule a volcano trek!! They’ll pick you up around 2 AM from your place in Ubud to get you to the base camp. Before you start the trek, you’ll join other hikers for Bali coffee and pancakes. You’ll be guided in small groups up the volcano with plenty of time to reach the summit for sunrise. Each guide has breakfast packed for group members at the summit.
» Watch out for those pesky monkeys, they know how to play the tourists! Although I found them quite hilarious, I wasn’t happy about them stealing my banana sandwich, and I watched one slap a guy in his face (also comical). They stole hand sanitizer from one of my group members so make sure there’s nothing hanging out of your bag. Also, don’t look the monkeys straight in the eye and don’t smile at them… Both are seen as signs of aggression. I mostly admired/laughed at them from afar.
» They give a torch/flashlight per two people (I wish we had another one). Bring a windbreaker/light jacket, and definitely wear proper shoes. If you forget to bring water, there are stands on the way up to buy water or snacks.
When you make it back down the volcano and load up for the ride back, you have the option to stop at a coffee plantation. Everyone in my taxi passed this up. It was time for yet a third breakfast of the morning by 11 AM and a little nap!
Spend the afternoon in Ubud indulging in a massage or spa pedicure, you deserve it! There’s also plenty of unique shopping in Ubud, you won’t have to look hard. Don’t forget dinner at Kebun Bistro, my absolute favorite meal of the trip.
DAY 9: UBUD/TEGALLALANG » Schedule a tour or drive up to Tegallalang Rice Terraces. It is a touristy spot (seen in Eat, Pray, Love), but the views are still worth it. It’s free entry but the locals accept donations. Not far is Tegenungan Waterfall, as well as the Tirta Empul Water Temple. On the way back to Ubud, stop at Satria coffee plantation for an interesting tour and sample the famous Luwak coffee. I was able to visit all four spots in half a day, and all were extremely different.
Back in Ubud, grab dinner at Clear Cafe for some beautiful (and healthy!) entree options. For an after dinner show, check out the culture of the locals by viewing a Kecak Fire & Monkey Dance. The Balinese are full of traditions and there is almost always a dance or ceremony going on.
DAY 10: UBUD » Start the morning by grabbing a ride to the Campuhan Ridge Walk (remember the invisible H when pronouncing it to the locals: “Champ-oo-ahn.”) The earlier you start the walk the better to avoid the crowds as well as the wrath of the sun! Follow this link for clear directions on finding the ridge walk. About 2km in, you’ll come across Karsa Kafe where you can relax, eat lunch, and drink out of a coconut, all while overlooking ponds of lily pads amoungst rice fields.
After lunch, if you continue the walk in the same direction, you’ll soon reach a small sign called JungleFish Resort. Walk down the dirt road until you get to the entranceway of the resort, where still will point you to the infinity pool overlooking the jungle. Bali is known for infinity pools so grab a day pass for less than $10 USD and relax!
Get a taxi back to town to have some free time to check out any spots you wish you got to. You can also schedule a Balinese cooking class or painting class, or indulge in another massage. At night, check out some live music at the popular local bar Laughing Buddha.
DAYS 11 – 13: ULUWATU
ACCOMODATION: I checked into The Gong (~$20USD/night) for a nice stay in your own private room with a balcony overlooking the pool. Another perk is the onsite laundry service in which they deliver your clean clothes right back to your room.
DAY 11: UBUD TO ULUWATU » Travel from Ubud down to Bukit Peninsula, the southernmost part of Bali. Uluwatu is known for its beautiful beaches and surfer vibes. If you’re not a surfer, don’t worry (neither am I) and there’s plenty to do.
Once settled in, venture down to one of the beaches with views to die for. You’ll most likely end up climbing down stairs or cliffs to reach the sandy beaches but you won’t be disappointed. Spend the evening at the popular temple, Pura Luhur Uluwatu. I ran out of time to check this out but it’s supposed to be gorgeous for sunset. Stay and watch the traditional Kecak Fire Dance from the locals if you didn’t catch a dance in Ubud.
DAY 12: ULUWATU » Treat yourself to a fantastic breakfast at Suka Espresso, a cute local restaurant with a large menu to fulfill any kind of appetite. After beakfast, head over to Uluwatu Cliff House for the afternoon where you’ll find stunning views and some great appetizers or cocktails.
If you’re okay with the drive around dinner time, get a taxi over to Jimbaran Beach. You’ll have a plethora of seafood restaurants on the beach to choose from for a sunset dinner. If you’re not up for the drive but still down for dinner + beach + sunset, check out Single Fins, a hot spot for surfers and tourists, and close to Uluwatu Cliff House.
DAY 13: ULUWATU » Start the day off with breakfast at Outside Corner Organic Cafe. There’s an outdoor skate bowl out back you can watch skaters over a cup of coffee. Catch an aerial yoga class at the beautiful retreat & spa, Yoga Bali Searcher, or grab another local massage.
For a last day you won’t regret, venture over to Omnia Day Club for a unique, luxury experience with infinity pools overlooking the ocean. Stay for an incredible sunset to wrap up the trip. From my friends following my trip, Omnia was the place I received the most questions about, it’s stunning!
DAY 14: TRAVEL DAY » The drive back to the airport from Uluwatu is only about 35 minutes (~80,000 rupiahs) but remember to get to the airport early for international flights! Spend your drive reflecting on your trip and giving thanks to the magical island of Bali. Make sure to have a safe trip home, be ready for any jetlag that may settle in, and try not to start planning your next trip there the second you get home 😉