Bali is one of those dream travel destinations that is on pretty much everybody’s radar. There’s just something about this paradise island that attracts all sorts of travelers. From the partying backpackers like myself to the honeymooners and expats and retirees, Bali does not discriminate against anyone. No matter who you are, a month in Bali is a month well spent.
There is something to do here for whatever your interests may be, which really makes it hard to write a one-size-fits-all itinerary like this. All travelers are different. You don’t have to follow this exact route or stay the exact number of days. You don’t even have to read this to have an amazing time in Bali. Honestly, if you’re in Bali right now, just leave this site and go wing it. You’re going to have a good time no matter what you do.
One might prioritize partying and find themselves staying at Kuta a bit longer, whether by choice or by hangover. One might literally “find themselves” in Ubud and accidentally become a yogi at the Yoga Barn for the rest of their life. Hey, you do you. That’s the beautiful part of Bali. Everyone’s just doing their own thing and everyone else is too blissfully content to judge.
Let me welcome you to the magical world of Bali.
Days 1 – 2: Kuta
Let’s just get Kuta out of the way immediately. It is one of the closest tourist hubs to the airport which makes most people think that it is a good place to start. For one thing, it sets your expectations low and you start seeing Bali as just another overrun tourist destination. However, it is one of the best cities on the island to party in. There are a ton of world-famous bars and clubs in Kuta, including Sky Garden, Pyramid Club, and your fair share of beachside establishments.
There isn’t much to do in Kuta aside from partying but it is a good central hub for seeing the rest of the island. However, the traffic is horrendous and it is easily the most chaotic city in Bali.
A lot of first-timers will go to Kuta and assume that the rest of Bali is just like it. They couldn’t be more wrong. Bali gets a bad reputation sometimes as being overly touristy. Even my first impressions of Bali left a bad taste in my mouth. Most of that could be attributed to the congested drive to Ubud stuck in Kuta’s traffic for an hour, even at nearly midnight. Give Bali a chance and leave Kuta as soon as you can. You don’t need too much time here but it is a good transition point, especially if you’re jet-lagged and just need to chill out and adjust for a few days.
Days 3 – 4: Seminyak
Seminyak is like a toned-down, trendier version of Kuta. It is far less trashy, although that’s not too difficult to accomplish considering Kuta. Although still touristy, Seminyak has a good mix of other travelers that aren’t only drunk Australian teenagers. Seminyak is the place to be if you are looking for hip beachside restaurants, bars, day clubs and nightclubs.
I could list a couple dozen of places to get lit in Seminyak, but one of the most famous is La Favela. It is one of my favorites in Bali, and deservingly so. La Favela is absolutely massive and the vibe was amazing. It’s got several stories, several dance floors, several indoor and outdoor sections, and even a mini Christ the Redeemer statue to really drive home the “favela” theme.
During the day, you can lounge the days away at Double Six Beach from any of the varyingly fancy beachside clubs like Potato Head, Finn’s, or Ku De Ta. The sunsets here are among the best you’ll find in the world. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend much to actually do here aside from enjoy yourself. Fortunately, enjoying yourself in Bali isn’t much of an issue. There are tons of great places to eat, drink, shop, and roam around in Seminyak.
Days 5 – 7: Canggu
Canggu is definitely one of Bali’s up-and-coming tourist spots. I can unfortunately see it going the way of Kuta or Seminyak within the next few years, with rapid development already taking place in this once quaint surfer’s village. Regardless, it is by far my favorite of the Kuta-Seminyak-Canggu trio. You could easily ditch Kuta and Seminyak entirely and just stay in Canggu. Within a couple miles of the beach, you’ll basically be in hippie-ville. Yoga studios, vegan cafes, and boutique shops line the entire main strip of Canggu.
Beachside clubs line the black sand beach where you will see surfers of varying skill try to tame the waves. The Lawn is one of my favorite spots in all of Bali, and it gives you a taste of luxury that you probably didn’t think you could afford as a backpacker. Old Man’s is another popular spot for young travelers to hang out. I also just saw on Instagram a new business open up called The Parachute which looks amazing. They’ve got a giant open-air tepee looking thing and everyone just kind of sits under it.
For actual things to do in Canggu, surf is life. A lot of people try surfing here because it is easygoing and not treacherous at all. Canggu is a good place for first-timers and you can rent boards for less than $5 an hour. Try to get that sunset surf sesh in. You won’t regret it. The Tanah Lot Temple, although very touristy, is also a killer spot for sunsets. You’ll be competing with a lot of other travelers for that iconic shot but block ’em all out, baby. It’s just you and the sun.
At night, the party in Canggu is unreal. Places like La Laguna, Pretty Poison, and The Lawn offer a diverse nightlife experience. Unfortunately, most of the nightlife shuts down pretty early here but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good time. I did go to an amazing open-air African music festival in La Laguna that raged on until early in the morning.
Pretty Poison boasts a skate bowl just outside of the club. The Lawn offers a classier outing with an infinity pool right by the beach, although it does get pretty crazy once the sun sets. La Brisa is a hip, upscale, yet slightly snobby, establishment with a unique design and beautiful views right by the water. A few new places have opened up since I first wrote this, including Lost City which is definitely Canggu’s wildest late-night club right now.
You can’t mention Canggu without mentioning the food. Crate Cafe is about as famous an establishment as you can get among travelers. Copenhagen Cafe is a new, but delicious, restaurant that just opened earlier this year. You can wander around anywhere and find something to suit your appetite. This is like my third time mentioning The Lawn but I was literally addicted to their nachos and coconut mojitos.
Day 8: Mount Batur Sunrise Trek
You done partying? Good, let’s get you back in shape. Doesn’t really matter where you are when you decide to do this but it will definitely take a full day out of you. I recommend leaving from Ubud since it is one of the closer villages, although it doesn’t matter much since there is hardly any traffic when you leave at 3 AM. You’ll be done with the actual trek by morning and depending on if you go to the hot springs after, you’ll be back at your crib by the early afternoon at the latest.
If you can, ask if you can be picked up from one city with all of your stuff and dropped off at a different city. It’ll save you some transportation cost if you can swing it. If not, it’ll be nice to just pass out in your bed once you get back.
The pictures didn’t sell me at first but once you make it to the top, you’ll realize how little justice pictures do an adventure like this. Hiking Mount Batur is something you should definitely do especially if you are more into an adventurous style of travel. I am 100% a hiker and feel most alive when I’m struggling up a mountain and hiking Batur was one of my favorite parts of my entire Bali trip. Don’t get me wrong, lounging around luxury beachside infinity pools is great but it typically isn’t my style, especially if I’m doing it every damn day.
For more on the actual trek, check out my full guide to the Mount Batur Sunrise Trek.
Days 9 – 15: Ubud
Ubud is personally my favorite city on the entire island. You’ll come to find that it is nearly impossible to get away from tourists entirely but Ubud is spread out just enough that you won’t be constantly overwhelmed.
Ubud has a reputation for being the hippie capital of Bali, which is a totally fair assessment. Where Kuta and Seminyak had booming clubs, Ubud has a Yoga Barn as its most extravagant tourist establishment. Hookah lounges are pretty much the only form of nightlife here, although CP Lounge occasionally has some good nights.
Ubud is definitely the place to take it slow and relax. If you like to party, it’s probably a good idea to head to Ubud after the bender you just had in Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu. Get a massage, do some yoga, eat at any of Ubud’s amazing restaurants, and call it a day. Jungle Fish and Folk Pool and Gardens are two of my favorite places to hang out in Ubud. Folk is right in the middle of town on Monkey Forest Road but Jungle Fish is a bit harder to get to. Once you finally make it there, curving through the forests and hills, you will be glad you went. The place is unreal.
For other things to do in Ubud, there’s nothing better than just hopping on your scooter and cruising through the wide open roads. The streets are much emptier here than anywhere in the Nusa Dua region of Bali. It does get crowded occasionally, notoriously around 3 PM for some reason. Drive about 10-15 minutes towards Tegallalang and you can see the iconic rice terraces that you’ve probably seen so many pictures of.
Other spots to hit are the famous Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Water Palace, and the Campuhan Ridge Walk. There are also a lot of beautiful rice fields to explore in the area, many of which aren’t known to tourists. At first, I thought it’d be rude to just wander around while some of the local Balinese farmers were at work but all of them seemed genuinely happy to see us and talk to us. The Balinese people are unbelievably friendly and have such a welcoming culture.
Suggested Day Trips From Ubud
There are a lot of amazing spots in the northern part of the island that are relatively hard to get to. Although you’ve probably seen stunning pictures of these places, they often take several hours roundtrip to get to from the Nusa Dua area. Ubud puts you in a slightly better position and in between the yoga and vegan gelato, you should look into hitting these places up.
Waterfall Tour: Git-Git, Aling-Aling, and Tegenungan
You can knock all three of these out and more with one waterfall tour. It’ll take up your whole day and if you’re like us, you might be too knackered to even go to the third one. Aling-Aling was my favorite and arguably the most beautiful of the three, not that I would know what Tegenungan looks like. Anyway, this is Aling-Aling and I rest my case.
The Git-Git twin waterfalls are also pretty cool and the short hike you have to make to get there is beautiful and full of lush greenery. You can Tarzan swing into the water which looked so refreshing but alas, I think you have to pay. I generally boycott things like that because come on, man, you really tryna to tell me that you own this waterfall?
Pura Lempuyang Luhur and Ulun Danu Temple
Pura Lempuyang Luhur, also known as The Gates of Heaven, are where those iconic gates are that you see everywhere on Instagram. You know, the one where a girl in a flowy dress pretends to walk towards the gates while Mount Agung looms majestically in the background.
Ulun Danu Temple is a small temple in the middle of a lake. You can take a boat towards the temple and it is another iconic shot on Instagram. You know, where the girl in a flowy dress looks longingly towards the temple that she knows nothing about besides the fact that it will get her at least 200 likes.
Screw it, here are 25 other Instagram spots in Bali.
Walk Some Rescue Dogs!
One of the things no one tells you about Bali is the stray dog epidemic. And also that a small portion of the local population eats dogs. There are a lot of dog shelters in Bali, with most of the reputable ones ran by BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association). Take a day out of your month to volunteer with these dogs.
When I went, a lot of the dogs were in heartbreakingly bad physical shape, having been tortured or beaten. Some were missing eyes, legs, or had suffered a lot of emotional trauma. The people at BAWA do a great job and the dogs were in high spirits, despite their rough past. You could really tell that having volunteers come to walk them was the brightest part of their day.
Ubud serves as a perfect home base for travelers who are more into adventure, sightseeing, and culture rather than partying and beach life. Along with Canggu, Ubud is also a digital nomad hotspot. Which brings me to a quick plug about the best travel insurance option for digital nomads. In between scooter adventures and volcano hikes, it’s definitely important to have travel medical insurance provider like SafetyWing. One might not think of Bali as a hazardous destination, but if you haven’t already noticed, this island is packed with crazy adventures.
Days 16 – 20: The Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno)
It’s weird how three islands with the same name can be so wildly different from one another. Gili Trawangan is notorious as the partying traveler’s dream destination. Gili Air is the spot to kick back and relax. Gili Meno is a romantic getaway, frequently referred to as “Honeymoon Island.” Spending up to five days on these islands isn’t hard, considering the variety you can have.
The real appeal to me of the Gili Islands was it’s detachment from the rest of the world. At night, a clear sky made for some of the best stargazing I’ve ever experienced. Maybe it was the assistance of illegal-but-not substances that Gili T is notorious for, but nonetheless, it was one hell of an experience.
I can’t personally speak for Gili Air or Gili Meno but I genuinely enjoyed Gili Trawangan. Even as a non-partier, it was such a perfect spot. It’s hard to ask for anything more than lazy mornings, afternoons by the beach, catching the sunset at a beachside bar, followed by partying the night away.
Days 21 – 26: The Nusas (Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Ceningan)
The Nusas, often referred to by my squad affectionately as Jurassic Park, are as untouched and beautiful of a paradise that you could hope for. Although just a short boat ride away from Bali, it is a far cry from the commercialization and urbanization that you’ve probably grown accustomed to. In the Nusas, you are truly detached from the outside world.
They were what I expected Bali to be like before my expectations were dashed within the first ten minutes of leaving the airport. The roads are treacherous, the transportation is minimal, and the 7-Elevens are non-existent. The waters are pristine, the jungles are dense, and the views are world-famous.
There is a lot to do on each island. Nusa Lembongan is by far the most developed, although that isn’t saying much. Nusa Penida is the largest, but remains mostly untouched, save for the few popular tourist attractions. Nusa Ceningan can be reached by foot or by motorbike by a yellow bridge connecting it to Nusa Lembongan.
For things to do on these islands, read my post on things to do in Nusa Lembongan. Swimming with manta rays and catching some waves are just a few of the popular activities here.
A week here should be enough but you could definitely spend much longer here. Being detached from the rest of the world is a beautiful thing. So is this sunset from Devil’s Tear on Nusa Lembongan.
Days 27 – 30: Uluwatu
Save the best for last. Uluwatu is the most beautiful part on the island. The endless cliffs battered by the powerful waves are those breathtaking views that you expect out of a place like Bali. Whether you go to Uluwatu Temple or Omnia, the cliffs are ubiquitous. Just peep the beginning of my Bali video to get an idea of what I mean.
I was on the fence about whether I really wanted to ride my scooter 2-3 hours through rush hour Nusa Dua traffic to get to Uluwatu but I am so glad I did. My two friends and I rented a villa for like $9 each a night and had an amazing time.
Uluwatu’s also got some of the best nightlife (and day-life) in Bali. In terms of luxury, a club like Omnia can’t be beat. It’s also free and not exclusive at all. When you look at the place, you just have to soak it all in and accept that your life is at its peak. Rock Bar and the notorious Single Fin are two other can’t-miss party spots in Uluwatu.
Nurse your hangovers by the beach, maybe catch a few waves if you’ve got the energy, and then party it up at night all over again. One of my favorite parts of Uluwatu was how spread out it was. You could stay at one of the smaller villages nearby and hardly ever have to deal with tourists.
We went to some of the popular beaches, like Dreamland Beach and saw maybe a couple dozen other tourists at most. There are a lot of options in Uluwatu and if you beach-hop enough, you’ll find the perfect beach with almost no one around. I would tell you its name but then that would spoil the scavenger hunt and also I forgot its name.
Uluwatu is also a shorter journey to the airport than the other cities in Bali, which makes it a good city to close out your epic month in Bali.
Thanks for the read. Let me know below in the comments if I missed out on any cool spots or if you’ve got any other questions about a trip to Bali. As always, party on folks. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram to keep up with my latest rad-ventures across the world.