The Perfect One Week in Bali Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Having lived in Bali for more than a year, and having exploring almost every part of the island, I am finally sharing the perfect one-week itinerary for first-time visitors.

My family just came to visit me for one week in Bali from New York. In the run up to our trip, I spent ages trying to squeeze as much as there is to see and do in Bali, into just one week. I wanted it to be the perfect combination of adventure, relaxation, unique sights and trying new things.

Quick Facts About Bali

  • Official Language is Bahasa Indonesian
  • Official Currency is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) – 1 USD is approximately 14,624.00 Indonesian Rupiah as of May 2022
  • The capital of Indonesia is JAKARTA, not Bali 🙂
  • Majority of people on the island practice Hinduism, contrary to the mostly Muslim population found in the rest of Indonesia

Here is exactly how we spent one week in Bali:

Day 1 – Arrive in Bali and go straight to Ubud

Ubud is known for its zen, yoga, meditation, jungle vibes, and what I imagine most tourist think of when they hear Bali. It’s such a unique, magical place, and lands the first spot on this itinerary.

Staying in the center of Ubud is a lot more convenient if you don’t know how to ride a scooter. After checking in and getting settled in, walk around the area where you’ll find lots of shops and places to eat. If you have jetlag and need a pick-me-up, try Luwak coffee native to Bali! It’s made from digested coffee cherries found in the poop of civets 🙂 After a long journey there is no better way to relax and recover than visit to spa, or even just a float in the pool at Plataran Ubud

Where to eat in Ubud:

Monkey Legend Ubud, Watercress, Milk & Madu, Luwak Coffee Bali

Where to stay Ubud:

Plataran Ubud or Maya Resort Hotel & Spa

Rice Terraces

Day 2 – Explore Ubud

One of the best places to have breakfast is at The View Restaurant inside Plataran Ubud. It’s a breakfast buffet with local and international options, but the best part is the insane view overlooking rice terraces and their infinity pool. When you’re done, hire a driver to take you around all the first-timers must-see attractions in Ubud:

✅ Tegallalang rice terraces
✅ Tirta Empul water temple
✅ Kanto Lampo or Tibuneneng waterfall
✅ Ubud Art Market
✅ Monkey Forest
✅ Yoga

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Day 3 – Day trip to Nusa Penida and drop off in Seminyak

On the third day, arrange a day tour to Nusa Penida inclusive of round trip ferry tickets and hotel pick up & drop off. Nusa Penida is a nearby island (1.5 hours by speedboat) with beautiful white sand beaches and iconic landscapes like Dinosaur Head!

Broken Beach Nusa Penida

The tour service will usually pick you up from your hotel and drop you off at the port, where you will take a 1.5 hour speedboat ride to Nusa Penida. Your driver will meet you when you arrive and start your tour of the island! It’s also possible to rent a scooter but the roads are super bumpy so keep that in mind if you’re not completely confident in your abilities.

✅ Kelingking Beach (Dinosaur Head) – There is a steep hike down to a secret beach below. Bring a lot of water if you choose to do so!
✅ Broken Beach
✅ Angel’s Billabong

After a long day of exploring, take the last boat back to Bali where a van will drop you off at your new accommodation in the busy area of Seminyak.

Where to stay in Seminyak:

Rama Residence Petitenget, Montigo Resorts Seminyak, or Alila Seminyak

Day 4 – Surf Lessons in Kuta & Explore Seminyak/Canggu

Seminyak is known for its busy streets, trendy shopping, beach clubs, restaurants, cafes, and nightlife. The complete opposite of Ubud! It’s located between the super touristy area of Kuta and the more hipster Canggu filled with digital nomads, so you can easily get around all three areas!

Private 2-bedroom Pool Villa at Rama Residence

Surf OR CrossFit
On Day 4, I highly recommend surfing or CrossFit. If you’ve never surfed before, Kuta beach is THE best place to learn. I took my parents and younger brother surfing for their first times and everyone was able to stand up! It costs around 300k for a lesson and board rental, and the instructors are all very experienced. For CrossFit, head over to S2S in Canggu for an intense workout (all levels welcome!) and an awesome community. They host weekly dinners and Saturday morning beach workouts too!

Shop/Explore Canggu
If being active is absolutely not your thing, you can walk around Seminyak and go shopping, or check out the nearby Canggu where a lot of digital nomads (including myself) are based. It has a very charming vibe with lots of cute cafes and beach clubs.

Sunset + Party
Also be sure to watch sunset from the beach or at a beach club by the water!

Where to eat in Seminyak and Canggu:

Cafe Organic, Balibola, Mama San, KYND community

Where to party in Seminyak:

Motel Mexicola, La Favela, Jungle, Da Maria on Sundays

Where to party in Canggu:

The Lawn on Fridays, Old Man’s, Vault

Nightlife in Seminyak

Day 5 – Explore Seminyak and Head to Uluwatu

When you’re done shopping and getting massages in Seminyak, it’s time to make your way down to my favorite part of Bali – the bukit! Also known as Uluwatu. Where the beaches have crystal clear water and the vibe is a lot more chilled and relaxed. If you like seafood, ask your driver to stop at the Jimbaran Fish Market where they have fresh catches every single day that can be cooked right in front of you!

Watching the sunset is definitely a Bali thing, and why wouldn’t you when they look so beautiful every single day!

Where to stay in Uluwatu:

Klapa Resort or Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu

Where to eat in Uluwatu:

Casa Asia, Bukit cafe, Nau Tapioca, The Loft, Shaka Riki

Where to party in Uluwatu:

Singlefin on Sundays, Savaya, Ulu Cliffhouse

Day 6 – Full Day in Uluwatu

✅ Surf
✅ Beaches + Beach Clubs
✅ Watch Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple (every night at 6pm – make sure you get there at least 30 minutes before to buy tickets and get seats!)
✅ Watch sunset from a cliff overlooking the ocean

On your last full day, take it easy at one of the beaches (Dreamland, Padang Padang, Bingin), go out for a surf, or check out a beach club (OMNIA or Sundays Beach Club).

Day 7 – Leave to Airport

Depending on the time of your flight, you can check out another beach or beach club if you’d like to end your one week in Bali. My family and I chose to visit the GWK Cultural Park that just opened featuring a giant statue in the middle, but I honestly would not recommend going here as there’s nothing really to do and I found it overpriced. Stay with the beaches and sunshine instead!

Important Tips For Your Trip To Bali :

– Always negotiate prices in markets, taxis, tours (ex. if they quote you 300k for a rattan bag, go down to 150k)
– Don’t drink the tap water
– “Bali belly” is common and can be prevented by avoiding street food, salads, or anything that may have been washed with tap water
– Always keep your purse and valuables under the seat of a scooter, and never have your phone out while driving (especially if you’re on the back, and/or at night)
– Don’t forget to notify your bank of international travel so they don’t block your card

Getting Around Bali :

The easiest way to get around Bali is renting a scooter (daily rate between 50-60k). Download the apps GOJEK and Grab to order taxis/scooter rides on the spot. As we were traveling as a family we hired a driver for most of our days. If you need transportation contacts, or have any other questions about Bali, feel free to DM me on Instagram!

And there you have the perfect one week in Bali itinerary.

It’s packed with things to do and places to see, and really only scratches the surface of this special island. Hopefully, you are able to take this outline and customize it to plan YOUR perfect trip!

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with the accommodations recommended. As always, all opinions, words, and thoughts are completely my own.

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