Bali 8-Day Itinerary – What to See and Do in One Week

  • 02.06.2024 16:49
  • Bruno Arcos

Best things to see and do in Bali in one week. Discover the island’s most famous landmarks and tourist hotspots in our Bali 8-day itinerary!

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This Bali 8-day itinerary is a part of our broader travel guide for the island. We recommend you check it out for the best travel tips and the most accurate information on transportation, hotels, restaurants, beast beaches and safety in Bali.

Bali 8-Day Itinerary – Where to visit in Bali in 1 week

Well, considering the time you will inevitably waste due to heavy traffic and road conditions, 8 days in Bali is far too short for anyone keen on exploring the Island of the Gods. However, if one week is all you have and you’re determined to visit this legendary destination, we’re here to help you make the most of your experience. To do so, you’ll need to keep up the pace, even if you only end up visiting the “essentials”, such as Canggu, including the mandatory day trips to Tanah Lot, Uluwatu and the neighboring island of Nusa Penida; and Ubud, the spiritual and cultural heart of the island, and the perfect base to explore the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, the temples of Lepuyang and Mount Batur.

That being said, if you are looking for more comprehensive itineraries and have some additional time in hands, feel free to have a look at our extended guides to Bali:

So, without further ado, here are the cities, places and tourist attractions you should visit in an 8-day itinerary through Bali:

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 1 – Canggu, Tanah Lot and Seminyak

Ready to begin your adventure in paradise? Upon arriving in Bali, your first few days will be spent exploring the southern part of the Island of the Gods, where most visitors tend to gather. You can choose to base yourself in Canggu, Kuta or Seminyak, all of which are well-equipped with the infrastructure needed for a comfortable stay. Regardless of your choice, renting a scooter or hiring a private driver (more details in the transportation section of the general guide) is essential to navigate the island during your trip. Now that we got the logistics out of the way, your first stop will take place at the famous Tanah Lot Temple (75.000 Rps). One of Bali’s most visited places of worship, the temple is built on a rock in the middle of the sea, meaning you can only visit by boat during high tide. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, Hinduism is the predominant religion in Bali, and this is one of its most sacred and iconic temples.

For the rest of the day, you will explore the three aforementioned towns. Funny enough, there’s not a whole lot to see or do in Canggu, Seminyak and Kuta when it comes to traditional tourist attractions. In fact, most visitors are drawn by the urban atmosphere and the abundance of hotels, restaurants, beach clubs, tourist activities, boutiques, yoga retreats and street markets. While these may not be the most authentic and traditional areas of Bali, they are definitely among the most relaxed and easiest to navigate. Plus, the local beaches – such as Seminyak Beach – are also a major highlight, though these are especially popular among surfers due the strong currents and big waves (pretty great spot if you want to try a surfing lesson). At the end of the day, it’s well worth stopping at Kuta Beach to watch the sunset, when the horizon is painted in deep shades of orange.

First day wrap-up:

  • Tanah Lot Temple
  • Canggu
  • Seminyak
  • Kuta

Where to eat in Bali – Best restaurants in Canggu and Seminyak

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 2 – Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula

Keeping your base in Canggu, Seminyak or Kuta, today you’ll head to the Bukit Peninsula, the southernmost point of Bali. This part of the island is famous for its less-crowded beaches and dramatic cliffs, offering a welcome break from the hordes of tourists of the previous day. To kick off your adventure in a slightly different tone, you’ll visit one of the region’s best kept secrets: the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park (120.000 Rps). Spanning 240 hectares, the park is known for its countless exhibitions and traditional performances, but especially for the gigantic and imposing statue of Lord Vishnu, standing at over 100 meters tall. Although the site is still relatively recent, it is expected to become a major attraction on the peninsula in the coming years. After exploring the park, you can head to some of the region’s most famous beaches, with Uluwatu Beach standing as the most popular. Known as the ultimate surfer’s paradise, this is one of the island’s best spots for those keen on renting a board and catching some waves. Nearby, Padang Padang Beach is another great option.

Along with the beaches, and as mentioned earlier, the peninsula’s rugged topography and rocky terrain resulted in some scaringly (literally) beautiful cliffs. As long as you’re careful, visiting these viewpoints will lead to some of the most extraordinary views in all of Bali, especially around the Balangan Viewpoint and the Karang Boma Cliff. No matter what you choose to visit first, make sure to save the Uluwatu Temple (50.000 Rps) for last. Though the area is mostly famous for its natural splendor, this temple is one of the most beloved cultural landmarks in southern Bali, alongside the already visited Tanah Lot. Built in the 11th century, atop one of the peninsula’s many iconic cliffs, the site is also known for its daily Kecak Fire Dance, a sacred ritual of music, dance and fire. The performance takes place every day at 18h00 in the amphitheater located inside the temple grounds. Tickets cost 150.000 Rps.

Second day wrap-up:

  • Bukit Peninsula
    • Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
    • Balangan Viewpoint
    • Padang Padang Beach
    • Uluwatu Beach
    • Karang Boma Cliff
    • Uluwatu Temple
    • Kecak Fire Dance

Where to eat in Bali – Best restaurants in Uluwatu

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 3 – Day trip to Nusa Penida

Arguably the most famous day trip from Bali, visiting the neighboring island of Nusa Penida has become a must-do for anyone vacationing in the area. However, and before we dive right into what made this island so popular, let’s tackle transportation first. To get to Nusa Penida from Bali, assuming you’re staying in the southern part of the island, you’ll need to catch a ferry from the Port of Sanur. Several companies operate this route, and the 45-minute one-way trip costs between 150.000 and 300.000 Rps. You can purchase your ticket on the day of travel, or online through platforms like Direct Ferries or Bali Ferries (though at a higher price). There are dozens of crossings each way between 07h00 and 17h00. Upon arrival in Nusa Penida, you’ll need to pay an additional access fee of 25.000 Rps. If you’ve rented a scooter, please keep in mind you won’t be able to take it on these ferries (there is only one daily public boat that allows this, but it leaves from Padang Bai). As such, you’ll need to rent another motorized vehicle when you get there.

Now that we’ve sorted out the boring part, let’s explore this enchanting island! Despite the exponential growth in tourism, Nusa Penida remains, for the most part, a tranquil oasis with turquoise waters and lush landscapes – a sort of miniature Bali before the rise of social media. After you’ve disembarked at the Port of Toya Pakeh, head straight to Kelingking Beach, the island’s most famous spot, whose iconic dinosaur-shaped cliffside has become one of Indonesia’s most recognizable postcard pictures. However, the currents are very strong and the path down to the beach pretty demanding and (quite honestly) a bit dangerous. That said, you better stick to the amazing views and head to Diamond Beach and Crystal Bay – the other two most prominent beaches in Nusa Penida – to swim. Other top places for a dip include the Tembeling Natural Pool, hidden away in the dense vegetation, and Angel’s Billabong, an extraordinary and all-natural infinity pool (and probably the second most famous site on the island). For the undisputed best views in Nusa Penida, you can pay a visit to Banah Cliff, located next to the picturesque Atuh Beach; to Peguyangan Waterfall, accessible through its iconic and Instagram-famous blue staircase; and to the Teletubbies Hill, located right in the heart of the island. Before returning to the port, and in order to experience a more cultural side of Nusa Penida, make sure to go see the Goa Giri Putri Temple, spectacularly nestled inside a rocky cave.

NOTE: While there’s not enough time for everything, Nusa Penida is also considered one of the best places to do snorkeling in Indonesia. From vibrant coral reefs to manta rays, there are plenty of memorable underwater experiences that include touring temple ruins and swimming with schools of colorful fishes. That being said, if you’re willing to let go of some of the sites we mentioned before, consider booking a snorkeling tour in advance.

Third day wrap-up:

  • Nusa Penida
    • Crystal Bay
    • Angel’s Billabong
    • Kelingking Beach
    • Banah Cliff Point
    • Tembeling Natural Pool
    • Peguyangan Waterfall
    • Teletubbies Hill
    • Diamond Beach
    • Goa Giri Putri Temple

Where to eat in Bali – Best restaurants in Nusa Penida

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 4 – Ubud

Now that you’ve experienced the most touristy side of Bali, strongly focused on the south of the island, it’s time to go north and have a change of pace, as the sandy beaches give way to rolling hills and dense vegetation, and the dry heat transitions to a cooler, more humid climate. Regarded as the cultural and spiritual heart of Bali, Ubud is the biggest and most popular inland tourist destination on the island. As such, and instead of sandy beaches, waves and dramatic cliffs, Ubud offers temples, palaces, rice terraces, and long, contemplative walks through nature. Don’t get me wrong – this is still a very touristy place… but in a completely different way from the likes of Kuta or Canggu. Without further ado, your first stop will be at Goa Gajah (50.000 Rps), one of Ubud’s many temples. Carved directly into a rock face, this site is also known as the Elephant Cave due to the prominent elephant figure sculpted at the entrance. In addition to the main sanctuary, the complex includes a 1000-year-old archaeological site with thermal areas. From here, you’ll gradually make your way to the city center, stopping along the way at the Ubud Monkey Forest (80.000 Rps / 100.000 Rps on weekends), probably the town’s most celebrated tourist attraction. Home to over 1000 monkeys, these primates roam freely among visitors, who can explore the park’s many trails and peek into the local temples. Just be aware that the monkeys have developed this nagging habit of “stealing” from tourists, happily taking possession of things like phones or sunglasses. If this happens, you should offer a piece of fruit in return, laying it right next to the monkey, who will then will drop the stolen item and take the food. Sounds pretty funny, but it’s actually just an evolutionary habit they’ve developed when they realized this was an easy way to eat!

After you’ve visited the forest and enter the bustling downtown area, you can visit the always-busy Ubud Art Market, particularly popular for bags, clothing, decorative items and souvenirs. As you wander through the numerous stalls, it’s worth taking a detour to visit the Ubud Royal Palace. Still owned by the city’s former royal family (and free to enter), the complex is considered one of the best examples of traditional Balinese architecture on the island. Practically adjacent to the palace, the Taman Saraswati Temple is another must-see spot, featuring several sanctuaries, exotic gardens and ancient statues. To finish your day on a high note, you complete two of Bali’s most pleasant walks. The first – known as the Campuhan Ridge Walk – starts near the beautiful Gunung Lebah Temple and stretches about 2 km along the edge of a hill, passing through palm trees and local plants as you enjoy the views over the surrounding valley. Finally, if you still have the time and the energy, you can also complete the Rice Fields Walk, a 45-minute trail through Ubud’s closest rice paddies.

Fourth day wrap-up:

  • Goa Gajah
  • Ubud Monkey Forest
  • Ubud Art Market
  • Ubud Royal Palace
  • Taman Saraswati Temple
  • Gunung Lebah Temple
  • Campuhan Ridge Walk
  • Rice Fields Walk

Where to eat in Bali – Best restaurants in Ubud

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 5 – Tegalalang and the Water Temple

Now that you’ve visited the center of Ubud, you’ll spend this day visiting some iconic spots just north of the city, beginning with the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, your initial introduction to Bali’s renowned rice paddies. Although the biggest rice terraces on the island can be found a few kilometers to the west, in Jatiluwih, Tegalalang’s are famed for being the most beautiful and photogenic (and, unfortunately, also the most touristy). Inside the area, you can walk along many different trails, enjoy the views, learn more about the ancient “subak” irrigation system, and, if you really have to, take that tacky swing photo. Entry to the rice terraces is free, but be aware that there might be lookout points or specific sections that require a fee. As for the swing photos, those always carry a hefty fee (for the standards of Bali).

Once you’ve soaked in the scenery, you’ll head further north to Pura Gunung Kawi (50.000 Rps), one of Bali’s most important archaeological sites and one of its oldest monuments. Built in the 11th century, this Hindu temple features ten massive stone shrines carved directly into a cliffside. In fact, the structures are so massive that you’ll need to descend a 300-step staircase to be able to fully appreciate them. It’s an impressive and often overlooked site! From a hidden gem to an insanely popular landmark, the final stop of the day will be the famous Tirta Empul Temple (50.000 Rps), aka the Water Temple. If you’ve seen videos of tourists in a pool (of sorts) performing a ritual where they submerge their heads at various fountains, then it’s likely they were filmed here. According to local folklore, the temple was built directly over a divine spring, allowing believers to visit and perform a soul-cleansing ritual by bathing in its waters.

Fifth day wrap-up:

  • Tegalalang Rice Terraces
  • Pura Gunung Kawi
  • Tirta Empul Temple

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 6 – Mount Batur

On your third day based in Ubud, you’ll rise well before dawn to start your journey to the legendary Mount Batur, one of Bali’s two most famous volcanoes, along with Mount Agung. In recent years, Mount Batur has been known as the best spot on the island to witness the sunrise – so we’re going to put that reputation to the test! In order to reach summit in time for sunrise, you’ll need to leave Ubud at around 02h00, as the drive to the volcano base takes about an hour, followed by a hike that can last 2 to 3 hours (one way) depending on your fitness level. Usually, the sun rises at around 06h00.

The hike itself isn’t particularly difficult, but it is naturally fatiguing. Plus, given how popular this activity is, with hundreds of daily visitors, there’s always someone else completing the trail, meaning you won’t be alone for long in case you get lost. Be prepared for the cooler temperatures at the volcano (especially at night), so bringing a good jacket and a flashlight to see where you’re stepping in the dark is a good idea. And of course, don’t forget to pack some water and a few quick snacks (like fruit, energy bars and peanuts). Finally, we want to make clear that hiring a guide for the Mount Batur hike is NOT MANDATORY. It obviously makes the hike easier but it’s not required. Even if you come across a few locals at the base trying to convince you otherwise or even prevent you from starting the hike, you can simply ignore them walk past. On the other hand, if you don’t feel comfortable or confident going solo, you can always join a tour in advance. After spending some time enjoying the magnificent view of the caldera, you should be back in Ubud by late morning, just in time to catch up on some sleep!

NOTE: Although there have been reports of a potential decision to ban tourists from climbing Mount Batur, no legislation has been enforced as of yet. Still, it’s better to take on this activity now before it’s too late!

Sixth day wrap-up:

  • Mount Batur

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 7 – Besakih and Lempuyang

As the time comes to finally pack your bags again and head to a new part of the island, with an overnight stay in the coastal village of Amed, today you’ll take the opportunity to stop at some of the most famous and impressive temples in all of Bali. First stop: Besakih Temple (60.000 Rps)! Though it may not be as popular among tourists as other temples, this complex is actually the largest and most important Hindu worship site on the island, made up of 23 different shrines scattered along the slopes of Mount Agung. While there’s not enough time to visit them all, make sure to see at least the Pura Penataran Agung, the main temple, Pura Basukian Puseh Jagat and Pura Dalem Puri.

Back on the road, you’ll continue your journey east to the Lempuyang Temple Complex (150.000 Rps). Much like your morning stop, this complex also features multiple temples (seven, to be exact) spread across various places of a local mountain, although – unlike Besakih – Lempuyang is extremely popular and touristy. In fact, this is the place where everyone takes the iconic photo posing in front of the Gate of Heaven with the mountain in the background. However, while most photos you’ll find online feature the ground covered in a beautiful pool of water that perfectly reflects the landscape, this “water” is actually an illusion created with a mirror by local photographers – and believe it or not, tourists actually line up for hours just for a pretty, fabricated photo. Tourists traps aside, we still recommend visiting Lempuyang. Not for the photos or the social media gout, but for its architectural beauty and cultural importance. Besides, the stunning natural setting is definitely a big plus! Continuing on to Amed, there’s just enough time for a brief stop at Lahangan Sweet (30.000 Rps), a viewpoint at the top of a tree offering fantastic views of Mount Agung and the Balinese coast.

Seventh day wrap-up:

  • Besakih Temple (Pura Penataran Agung, Pura Basukian Puseh Jagat and Pura Dalem Puri)
  • Lempuyang Temple Complex
  • Lahangan Sweet

Bali 8-Day Itinerary: Day 8 – Back to Denpasar

And so your adventure in Bali has come to an end! Ahead lies a long (and probably pretty depressing) flight back home. However, before that, you’ll need to make your way back to the local airport in Denpasar, meaning you won’t have time for anything else, especially if your flight is scheduled to take off in the morning or early afternoon.

The vacation may be over, but the memories will last forever!

Eighth day wrap-up:

  • Journey back to Denpasar

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