How I spent 10 days in paradise exploring the island of Bali, Indonesia
I don’t know if it’s the same for other couples but picking a honeymoon destination was such a struggle for us. There were so many places we wanted to visit that narrowing it down to one location was almost impossible. We were leaving in January for our honeymoon but did not want a winter destination. So, the one thing we had decided on pretty quickly was that we wanted a warm, beach side destination. My brother-in-law had been to Bali in Indonesia various times by this point and it was always a place that was so interesting to us. I would say his recent trips definitely played a part in influencing us to go here. Bali really is an island that has it all. There are beach clubs that make you feel like you’re in Las Vegas, there are jungles that make you feel like you’re in the Amazon, and there are small remote islands that remind you of Hawaii. On top of all the natural beauty, the people of Bali are extremely welcoming. They are eager to show you their symbolic temples and invite you to immerse in their culture alongside them.
Bali is a pretty sizable island but with at least 10 days you can tackle some of the different and very diverse areas on the island. We visited Canggu, Ubud, Nusa Penida Island, and Uluwatu. You will be flying in and out of Bali’s only international airport the Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS).
- Canggu Airbnb (2 nights)
- Ubud Airbnb (4 nights)
- Nusa Penida Airbnb (2 nights)
- Uluwatu Airbnb (2 nights)
Bali 10-Day Itinerary at a glance:
Day 1 – Canggu
- Land at DPS Airport.
- Pro Tip: Pick a hotel or Airbnb accommodation that has airport pickup. It is extremely difficult to drive in Bali and having someone waiting for you at the airport is a huge perk!
- Check in at your accommodation and relax for the night (Canggu Airbnb).
Day 2 – Canggu
- Breakfast: The Fat Turtle
- Walk around Jalan Laksmana Street (Seminyak area)
- Finns Beach Club
- La Plancha Beach Club at Double Six Beach
- Try to catch the sunset on this beach (sunset is around 6pm in January)
Day 3 – Canggu to Ubud
- Breakfast: The Loft Canggu
- Tanah Lot Temple
- La Brisa Beach Club
- Drive to Ubud to next Airbnb – The Megananda Bali
Day 4 – Ubud
- Breakfast: Watercress
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
- Tirta Empul Temple (water temple)
- Tegallalang Ricefields
- Saraswati Temple (in market)
Day 5 – Ubud
Day 6 – Ubud
Day 7 – Ubud to Nusa Penida
- Boat from Sanur Port to Nusa Penida
- Check in to Airbnb – Nusa Penida Airbnb
- Rent motorbike to get around the island
- Diamond Beach
- Peguyangan Waterfall
- Dinner: Zactie Bar
Day 8 – Nusa Penida
- Crystal Bay Beach Manta Point Excursion
- Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach
- Kelingking Beach
- Dinner: Amok Sunset
Day 9 – Uluwatu
- Ferry back to mainland Bali
- Check in to Airbnb – Uluwatu Airbnb
- The Edge/Omnia Beach Club
- Uluwatu Temple –
- Pro Tip: get there by 4pm to explore and buy tickets for the show by 5pm to get seats (show starts at 6pm)
- Dinner: The View Bali
Day 10 – Uluwatu
- Breakfast and Lunch: The View Bali
- Uluwatu Beaches:
- Padang Padang Beach
- Thomas Beach
- Blue Point Beach
- Senses Spa
- Depart Bali
Details on the above Itinerary:
Day 1 – Canggu
We arrived in Bali after 23 hours total flight time from Miami (2 stops). Since we arrived late afternoon (6pm) and were exhausted, we decided to grab a quick snack at the airport and head straight to the Airbnb for some down time and sleep! Our Airbnb had a driver pick us up from the airport which was a huge plus! It also had motorbikes available upon request to move around the city (this is the #1 method of transportation in Bali). Also, it was the cutest room with private pool, check it out here: Canggu Airbnb.
Day 2 – Canggu
We woke up at like 5am because of jet lag and walked right down to the end of our street right onto beach. The sun was just rising so the beach was basically deserted minus a few locals and some stray dogs. It was a nice walk as we had the beach to ourselves. From there, we headed to breakfast at The Fat Turtle, which was phenomenal and a great way to kick off our Bali meals!
After breakfast, we walked and shopped along the popular Jalan Laksmana Street in Seminyak. Local designers, international boutiques, and restaurants from around the world, line a half-mile stretch of the Jalan Laksmana Street. Everything from food to clothes are all very affordable in Bali, likely because the USD is worth so much in Indonesia ($1 USD is 14,895 Indonesian Rupiah). So leave some space in your luggage to bring back some new clothes!
Next, we rode our motorbike over to the famous Finns Beach Club. Finns has 4 pools, 7 bars (including 2 swim up pool bar), 5 restaurants, along with daily DJs and live vocalists. We pre-booked a daybed (comes with towels) and your spend on the daybeds goes towards food and drinks. Two single daybeds comes out to about $200 USD for the day, you can pre-book here: Finns Booking.
After spending the greater part of the day at Finns, we headed to another beach to catch the sunset. La Plancha Beach Club on Double Six Beach was more of a family/relaxed atmosphere. But truly worth the sunset views even on a cloudy day. The beach bean bags are first come first serve (no minimum spend).
Day 3 – Canggu and Ubud
We again woke up at 5am because of the time change between Bali and Miami. So we strolled over to the beach for our morning walk. Even on this pretty much deserted beach you will find different sculptures of the different Balinese gods.
From there, we drove to breakfast at The Loft Canggu. We LOVED this place! Definitely worth a visit. Keep in mind everywhere you drive in Bali is “remote” there’s barely any paved roads and other than the known restaurants and beach clubs there’s not much else around.
Next, we visited Tanah Lot Temple. The temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. In addition to Balinese mythology, the temple was significantly influenced by Hinduism. At the base of the rocky island, venomous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders.
After some time indulging in the Balinese culture and marveling at their religious temples, we set off for the next Canggu beach club, and my favorite among all the ones we visited. La Brisa Beach Club was the perfect combination between Finns and La Plancha. It was a bohemian paradise!
Once the sun started to set, we were off to our next Airbnb in Bali located in Ubud. This Airbnb also had a driver come and pick us up from Canggu and again, this is a giant perk to have in Bali because driving is so wild here. Our Airbnb in Ubud came with a driver, a chef, and AMAZING staff and service! My husband left his sunglasses on the bed after we checked out and the staff not only contacted us but also drove 1 hour to give him back his sunglasses while we were in Uluwatu (and they would not take any cash for their time or gas), THAT is the level of service you get here. I cannot recommend The Megananda Bali enough, so book it here: Ubud Airbnb and to top it off let the pictures below speak for themselves on the beauty of this location.
Day 4 – Ubud
The amazing driver from The Megananda Bali took us into Ubud’s town center for breakfast at Watercress (recommended by my brother in law). They have the best acai bowls! After breakfast, we walked right over into the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
Pro Tip: Beware of the monkeys, although cute they’re also thieves! They will take your glasses right off your head. We saw this happen while we were there and a local had to bride the monkey with a banana to get the sunglasses back for the tourists.
After some time with the wild monkeys, the driver took us to the Tirta Empul Temple. This famous temple compound consists of a “petirtaan” or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water and is central to the Balinese culture. The Balinese Hindus come here for ritual purification and to bathe in its holy water. This temple was founded around a large water spring in 962 A.D. during the Warmadewa dynasty (10th-14th centuries) and is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu.
Men and women must wear a traditional Balinese sarong to enter the temple and even to enter the bathing structure (they loan you some at the entrance if you did not bring your own). There are many locals here who are eager to teach you about their sacred temple and will even help you make an “offering” for the Gods to take into the bathing structure with you.
After the water temple, we headed to the Tegallalang Ricefields. The amazing rice fields of Bali are a must see when in Ubud. You will see the locals farming the lands throughout the day for hours at a time. With the tourism boom, they have placed swings and different photo ops around the rice fields to bring in the crowds. The rice fields are free to visit and walk through but the swing will cost you a few dollars.
Our last stop of the day was the Saraswati Temple back in the Ubud town center area. This beautiful temple is dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. It was built in 1951 and a beautiful lotus pond was added later in the center entrance.
Pro Tip: If you’re ready for a coffee break there’s a Starbucks located right next to the temple.
From here, our driver took us back to the room for some pool time and dinner.
Day 5 – Ubud
Breakfast delivered and served in our room by the stupendous and caring staff at The Megananda Bali.
After breakfast, our driver took us to the Tukad Cepung Waterfall. He told us it would be best to go here as early as possible since it gets packed with tourists later on in the day (like 8am early). Wear comfortable shoes as it’s a bit of a hike but it is so worth it! Our driver also served as our tour guide here and it was great to have someone guide us here since it’s still very much a “hidden gem” waterfall and therefore not so easily accessible.
Next, is my absolute favorite part of the entire Bali trip… our elephant encounter. I will preface this by saying I had to do A LOT of research to find a place we could visit the elephants but also a place that was not abusive to the elephants (like riding the elephants, etc.). Keep in mind any ‘sanctuary’ that offers elephant riding anywhere in the world should be avoided. We chose the Bali Zoo because we read that the elephants at this location are orphans that are being rehabbed here. You spend an afternoon feeding, mudding, and bathing the elephants. Our elephant was the beautiful 3 year old Terry who absolutely loved the attention we gave her! We did the afternoon session so we were fed lunch right before getting into the water with Terry. You’re in a group of about 8 people which makes the experience feel intimate and the zoo entrance is also included in the price (if you want to explore further). You can book it here: Elephant Mud Fun.
After spending the afternoon with my new best friend Terry, our driver took us back to our room for some in-room massages and dinner!
Day 6 – Ubud
On our last day in Ubud, we got a gorgeous surprise from the staff at The Megananda, they delivered us a floating breakfast! Did I mention how OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD AMAZING the staff is at The Megananda?!
After enjoying our morning in our private pool, we headed back into town to do some more exploring. Our first stop was the Campuhan Ridge Walk. The path takes you along the edge of the river canyon and the scenery is beautiful! It’s up to you how far you want to go into this trek. We hit a small town about 2 miles in where we had some drinks before turning around and heading back to central Ubud for lunch.
We had lunch at Zest Ubud. This vegan restaurant is located on top of hill in Ubud that offered gorgeous views! It came highly recommended by my brother-in-law and was my first all vegan restaurant experience.
After this, we decided to walk down the streets of Ubud and explore more of their temples. I was so captivated by the Balinese culture on our trip. Every single morning we saw the locals making ‘offerings’ to the gods and walking them over to the closest temple (usually a few yards away since there is one in each community). What is also great is how open they are about sharing their culture with tourists. They will happily show you how to make these offerings and let you inside their temples alongside them. It really allows you to feel immersed in their lifestyle while you’re on their island.
Pro Tip: You can get massages just about anywhere in Bali for about $20 for full-body, one hour session. The streets of Ubud are filled with massage parlors. We got multiple massages every day because they were THAT good and so easily accessible!
Day 7 – Nusa Penida
We woke up early and had our driver take us to the Sanur Port where we would catch a ferry over to the island of Nusa Penida off the coast of bali. We decided pretty early on in planning our Bali trip that we wanted to visit this gorgeous and still mostly “untouched” island. The natural beauty here is unlike anywhere else in the world and if you don’t mind roughing it out and hiking a whole lot then this is definitely a place that should be on your bucket list!
Now that I’ve convinced you to see Nusa Penida, here’s how we got there: Arrive at Sanur Port, which operates as a mini cruise port. There are a bunch of different ferry boat operators that will take you over to the surrounding islands around Bali. This is the one we used: Fast Boat to Nusa Penida. If you pre-book it, you just check in at your respective counter on arrival and they will give you a boarding card and take care of your bags (on and off the ferry boat).
After about 45 minutes you will arrive at the port of Nusa Penida. It is BUSY here, so my advice is find the first taxi and head straight out to your accommodations. We did exactly that and within 30 minutes were at our next Airbnb: Check in to Airbnb – Nusa Penida Airbnb.
The location is just a motorbike ride away from all the sights and beaches you will visit in Nusa Penida. The staff also made us breakfast every morning and there are only about 6 villas so it does feel very quaint and personalized. The other big plus is that there’s a great restaurant and bar right next door. This is important because Nusa Penida is a very underdeveloped island. Most tourists come here on day trips from Bali so there’s really no “town” area with restaurants and bars like in mainland Bali.
We hopped on our motorbike and headed out to Diamond Beach, one of Nusa Penida’s famous beaches and for good reason. This place will quite literally take your breath away!
PSA: If you don’t have motorcycle experience maybe hire a driver in Nusa Penida. We thought we had “experience” after having been on the motorbike through Bali mainland the last few days. Well, we did not and we had a pretty bad motorcycle accident while on the way to Diamond Beach. There aren’t many paved roads on the way to these secluded beaches on the island, the dirt roads that do exist are very narrow and meant for 1 motorbike each way (if that). A truck was coming and only the truck fit on the road so we tried to move off to the side but slid on the rocks while trying to break and we took a pretty bad fall. The bike pretty much fell on my husband’s leg and the gravel/rocks burned his left leg and my knees pretty badly. Luckily, there were some locals nearby who saw the accident and they stopped to help us. Lesson learned: Nusa Penida is not a safe place to drive motorbikes. We ended up going to a doctor to treat the burns and wounds (it’s the side of someone’s house, not what you would imagine a doctors office to be). They gave us alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic cream and some bandages. Also, read ahead for my experience at Nusa Penida’s most famous beach…
After Diamond Beach we headed to Peguyangan Waterfall. We got here right before sunset and it made the experience so much more magical. This waterfall is also a very sacred temple to the locals so they will ask you to ear sarong to enter. There are about 800 very steep steps to reach the ‘pools’ where you can recharge before heading back up the 800 steps. Like with Diamond Beach, I do think this was worth the struggle and the hike especially at sunset! Just be prepared for what you’re getting yourself into.
We rode back for dinner at Zactie Bar located right next to our Airbnb. The locals are so nice that even at the restaurant they brought us out a first aid kit to tend to our wounds. The food and drinks were delicious and the live entertainment was perfect!
Day 8 – Nusa Penida
We headed out for an early start to the day at Crystal Bay Beach for our Manta Point excursion. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any manta but it was still a great snorkeling trip around the island.
After a morning on the water, we headed to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong for more ocean adventures. It’s a good idea to explore Broken Beach first, where you can enjoy a view of natural limestone arches over the crystal clear blue waters. A trail (with signposts) will lead you over to Angel’s Billabong from the beach. Angel’s Billabong is a tide pool and therefore you will need to time your visit to when it’s low tide in order to be able to walk on it.
Next, was the most famous beach in al of Nusa Penida/Bali: Kelingking Beach.
Pro Tip: Where the concrete steps end, stop there. Unless you’re in amazing shape and can basically rock climb in 100 degree weather, then it’s not worth it to go beyond this point! There’s a reason most of the photos you see online are from up there and not from the beach itself. You have to remember you’re in a pretty remote and underdeveloped island and it is truly unsafe. This is not like a typical hike or even mountain climb on trails that have carved out climbing paths. I really almost passed out on the way back up from this beach. You’re on the side of a mountain with makeshift steps carved into the side of this mountain and ropes placed by locals to help propel you up. Instagram definitely did not prepare me for this. I was also in a bathing suit and flip flops, hence I was not prepared! I have actually watched youtube videos now where people really show how bad it is and I just wish I had done more research before going just because it looks so pretty on instagram. Things are not always the way people make them seem online, so beware!
It really takes your breath away (pun intended)…
After surviving Kelingking Beach, we headed to Amok Sunset to catch the sunset while having dinner. This place is on a dramatic cliffside and has the most stunning views! It is 100% worth visiting during sunset and the drinks and food were delicious.
Day 9 – Uluwatu
Our Airbnb driver took us back to the port after a yummy breakfast made by the staff to send us off.
To be honest, Nusa Penida is one of the most beautiful natural places I have ever seen. The only thing I wish is that was better equipped for the amount of hiking and the overall conditions of the island. I was ready to be back on mainland Bali, and Uluwatu was definitely the most city-like place in Bali. I do wish I would have had at least 1 more day here. Our Airbnb had more of a boutique hotel feel (Uluwatu Airbnb) but we really enjoyed it as the last leg of our honeymoon trip.
They set us up with motorbikes and we went off to Omnia Beach Club fo lunch and drinks on the stunning cliffside.
PSA: You NEED a helmet to ride a motorbike here. We were actually stopped by police for not wearing helmets which we had not worn since we arrived in Bali (neither did anyone else we saw). But, this city has car traffic unlike the rest of the places we had been to in Bali. The Airbnb who rented us the bikes should have informed us and provided helmets with the bikes. The officer had us turn back to the Airbnb and go get helmets but was actually very mean to us that I called the Airbnb almost in tears (the only bad experience with the Balinese people we had on the entire trip).
After refueling our motorbike with petrol, we headed to the Uluwatu Temple.
The Uluwatu Temple is perched on top of a steep cliff approximately 70 metres above sea level. It is also one of the 6 key temples considered to be Bali’s spiritual pillars. Several archeological remains found here prove the temple dates back to around the 10th century. The Balinese Hindus believe that the powers of the Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, all merge here. That belief results in making Uluwatu Temple a place of worship of Siva Rudra, the Balinese Hindu deity of all elements and aspects of life in the universe.
My tip is to get there by 4pm so that you have time to explore the entire temple and its gardens and then buy tickets for the Kecak dance performance which is held at the amphitheater by 5pm to get good seats (show starts at 6pm).
After the show, we headed back to our Airbnb for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant: The View Bali. Which, lucky for us had superb food and drinks! Even if you’re not staying here, I recommend coming here for a meal or a drink, plus the view is an awesome perk too.
Day 10 – Uluwatu
We loved The View Bali for dinner so we decided to give it a try for breakfast the next morning and it did not disappoint.
We then spent the morning going around some of the most famous beaches in Uluwatu. We visited Padang Padang Beach, Thomas Beach and Blue Point Beach, which all had gorgeous crystal clear waters.
We then headed back to our hotel that also had a private cliffside beach you could walk down to. After the beach, we spent the rest of the day lounging around the hotel and later got massages at their Senses Spa which was AMAZING!
It was time to leave Bali, but not before it stunned us with its beautiful, dramatic cliffside sunsets one more time.
Honestly, after a few days I can understand why Bali is called the island of the Gods. It really is unlike any other place on Earth and it truly was the experience of a lifetime! Even after our motorbike accident and my experience at Kelinkeling Beach, those aren’t the things that come to my mind when I reminisce on my time in Bali. Instead, I only think of the pronounced landscape with so much natural, untouched beauty. If you have the chance to visit, you won’t regret it.