7 days are not enough to visit Bali. We left millions of corners to visit. However, if you don’t have much time, or if you prefer to spend only 7 days in Bali while discovering other islands in Indonesia, I would recommend the tour of the island we propose in this blog.
Starting I will say that Bali was our favorite destination when preparing our trip through Southeast Asia. We dreamed of knowing this island of Indonesia, and especially its artistic and cultural center Ubud. At that time Bali sounded like paradise, adventure, savage … However, we became disenchanted along the way.
Is Bali for Backpackers?
Bali is made for tourists. If you only visit Bali you will love it. But honestly, after exploring the beaches of Penang, seeing orangutans in the wild in Bukit Lawang jungle and trembling with the great temples of Indonesia, Bali wasn’t enough. Or rather, we didn’t think it had much to do with the rest.
And after that, I will tell you that I would not change a single day of the 7 I spent in Bali. The visit is a must on your trip to Indonesia.
At first, we were surprised with the contrast compared to the rest of the country. Bali is the only island with a Hindu majority. In the rest of Indonesia, the majority religion is Islam. In addition, of all the islands in Indonesia, Bali is the most touristy. So these two factors make a substantial difference between Bali and other areas of Indonesia.
Regarding tourism in Bali, all the details were perfectly filed. We found it more artificial than the other islands we visited since everything was thought of and for the tourist. If you are one of those who wants a dreamy pool in the hotel, Bali is your island. That’s why Bali is so popular with newlyweds celebrating their honeymoon.
However, there is also the possibility to visit Bali as backpackers. This is what we did and here is what we are going to tell you: The perfect route for backpackers traveling through Bali in 7 days. Or for couples celebrating their honeymoon in an alternative way.
Things to do in BALI IN 7 DAYS – THE BEST ITINERARY
This is the distribution we chose to make the most of 7 days in Bali:
- We spent two days in Ubud, artistic and cultural capital of the island.
- Other two days in the paradise of the Gili Islands, very accessible from Bali but belonging to Lombok.
- And another three days to tour the rest of the island and visit some must-see temples in your trip to Bali.
Things TO DO IN UBUD
Ubud is known as the artistic and cultural center of the island of Bali. Art galleries, tradition, temples with their own soul and their enclave, surrounded by extensive rice terraces, make Ubud a must for anyone who goes to the island.
Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, see a traditional Balinese dance exhibition, explore the extensive rice fields or live a sunrise from the Batur Volcano are things you have to do if you visit Ubud.
In this post, I tell you all this in detail and much more, so that you do not miss anything in Ubud.
things TO DO IN THE GILI ISLANDS
Basically, spending the day snorkeling in clear water, wait for the sundown to fall in love with a sunset, and dance in the light of some bonfire in which is possibly the best party in all of Southeast Asia.
As I said the Gili Islands don’t really belong to Bali but to Lombok. But if you travel to Bali 7 days you can not miss them, since access is very easy. And best of all, the fact of going to the Gili Islands helps you to move within the island of Bali itself, with a trick that we have in the guide of the Gili Islands – Gili Trawangan.
Also depending on the island that you choose, you will have the all-inclusive resort you need on your honeymoon or the perfect backpacker environment.
TRAVELING THE REST OF BALI
After Ubud and the Gili Islands, we still had endless things that we wanted to do in Bali.
Since the beginning, we knew that the visit to the temples of Pura Ulun Danu and Tanah Lot was imperative. The biggest problem is that between one and the other there are about two hours by car and no public transport. We also wanted to know the party in the south of Bali, although we had already been warned that it is not a very healthy one. A place full of drunken tourists who destroy everything in their path. Seminyak and Kuta stand out in that festive touristic chaos, although they are really so close that they can be considered the same place.
We decided to spend one night in each place and during the next day, we hired a driver (in the post of Ubud I leave the data as it was the same driver who took us to Ubud the first day) to make us a tour through Pura Ulun Danu and Tanah Lot.
We spent that afternoon on the beach, watching the surfers catching waves. If I had had more time I would have taken some surfing lessons as they are much cheaper than Europe.
THE ROYAL BEACH SEMINYAK
Walking along the beach and without notice it, we arrived at some gardens with an amazing pool. This was the resort The Royal Beach Seminyak. There is no separation between the beach and the interior of the hotel so you can get in with no problem.
In addition to the amazing pool, you have lovely gardens with hammocks, ponds and even giant lizards.
The hotel was amazing but evidently, if we had stayed in places like this one, the budget would come out for more than the 1,400 € we spent on the entire 20-day trip through Southeast Asia.
So I’m glad that from time to time they fell asleep and we could enjoy swimming pools like this even for backpackers with low budget.
LA PLANCHA BAR & RESTAURANT
We then went to La Plancha Bar & Restaurant, Seminyak’s most popular spot to enjoy the sunset. The peculiarity of the place is its chill-out atmosphere and the colorful umbrellas and puffs where every afternoon hundreds of young people gather to watch the sunset. Taking a good spot is essential since if you arrive too early the waiters will start putting so many rows of puff in front of you that you will hardly get to see the sea. The problem when you arrive too late is that maybe they stop setting new rows of puffs and you can’t find a spot. We were very lucky and got a front line spot.
La Plancha is a Spanish food bar, although we did not try anything. The price seemed excessive and it didn’t have anything spectacular. Anyway, the ratings we read said that it was very good. Bintang beer was enough for us.
The sunset was very beautiful, not as orange as in Gili Trawangan, but very special too, watching the surfers catching the waves in the dim sunlight.
GO CLUBBING IN SEMINYAK
We were told that Seminyak was one of the best places to find young and local people to hang out with. I cannot say that the place was wonderful, but the spirit of Gili chased us there and I had fun like never before. Going out where you do not know absolutely anyone has infinite advantages.
Although there are different clubs, we went to La Favela, which is the most popular spot in the area. There we met some very nice Basques and a Balinese dancer. The place is very chic. There are a lot of flowerpots inside that give it an exotic touch. You will also find trees and climbing plants everywhere. It is a restaurant where they serve dinners and where they later remove the tables to turn it into the fashionable place. Unlike the party in Gili, there are porters who ask for a certain dress code to enter. It is probably the biggest place you can find in Seminyak and closes late (afternoon for them) at 3:00.
TOUR WITH CHOFER
The next day at 7 in the morning and a bit tired after the previous night we got into our driver’s car and let ourselves go. The price of the tour was 500k IDR (35 €) and for everything we did found it cheap. Apart from visiting Pura Ulun Danu and Tanah Lot we visited two other temples: Taman Ayun and Kedaton Wings, totally expendable both, but that being on the way we didn’t mind visiting them.
After a 40 minute trip we arrived at the temple of Taman Ayun.
This temple is known as the temple of the beautiful garden regarding the gardens that surround it. What stands out from the temple is that it is surrounded by a moat. The entrance to the visitors is prohibited so visit it can only be done surrounding it by the outside wall, although from there, the buildings are well appreciated.
As in almost all temples we saw in Bali, their pagodas of different sizes stand out that harmonize them with the surroundings.
The temple is very small and half an hour is enough to visit it. The entrance fee is 20k IDR ( 1.4 € approx.).
At the exit of the temple, there was a girl who invited us to visit the plantations of the most expensive coffee in the world, the coffee Kopi Luwak. The production of this coffee is made by digestion of the Civets that are fed with the coffee beans. The girl had in her arms a Civet that according to her it didn’t move much because they are nocturnal animals and by day they sleep. I honestly don’t know how true that is. I’m afraid maybe the poor Civet might be drugged to be a tourist attraction. Obviously, we didn’t go to the coffee plantation.
PURA ULUN DANU
After a restful journey, we arrive at Pura Ulun Danu. The entrance fee is 30k IDR per person (approx. 2€) and you can be visiting its interior for a couple of hours without getting bored.
Although the day was cloudy we found it to be a place with much peace. Located on the shores of Lake Batran, the views are spectacular. The fields were extremely manicured and there were lots of flowers in them.
We were surprised by the scant amount of foreign tourists. However, it was still full of locals. There was a concentration of Hindu people so the temple was full. The good thing is that we were able to see the different religious celebrations and enjoy the colorful Balinese dresses.
Less than 5 minutes from there is an all-you-can-eat restaurant where locals usually go after visiting the temple. This was the place our driver recommended us to eat. Although I cannot remember the name, surely if you ask right there they will tell you.
On the way to Tanah Lot -and an hour’s drive from Pura Ulun Danu- the driver told us that if we wanted to get off in the monkey forest. We thought it referred to Ubud, which we had already gone, but we discovered that it was another monkey forest, Alan Kedaton, where apart from the monkeys; you can see flying foxes that are a famous bat for their gigantic size.
Just when you enter, the guides try to convince you to contract their services. Since our driver had warned us that it wasn’t worthy, we ignored them. However, as we read later they sometimes try to fool tourists by saying that hiring a guide is mandatory in order to enter the temple. Honestly, the temple is tiny and unless you want to know the history in depth we weren’t inside for more than 20 minutes.
What I liked the most about the temple was to see the gigantic bats that were there. In spite of their size (1,5m of wingspan), these animals are totally harmless. They are also known as fruit bats since this is their main food.
The bats were with a gentleman who charged you to wake them up, take them and let you take a picture with them. We directly took pictures of them while they slept peacefully. Don’t they look lovely to you?
After the stop, we continue towards Tanah Lot, last destination. The entrance fee is 30k IDR (approx. 2 €). The first thing we discovered upon entering is that in fact, there are two temples, Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple.
The Batu Bolong temple is built on an islet connected by a natural bridge.
Although its silhouette is possibly one of the photos that we had seen more when investigating on Tanah Lot, we had not seen that they really were two independent temples.
The Tanah Lot temple is actually a small temple located on an islet that can be reached only when the tide is low.
Although only the priests enter at the top, tourists can pass under to receive the blessings of the priests. Of course, the economic offering is mandatory.
Although most of the people stay there to watch the sunset we went to a better place. Near the temple, there is a golf course overlooking the temple. The golf course is also surrounded by rice paddies.
The views from here to the temple while the sun sets are unparalleled. And of course much less crowded than if you stay at the foot of the temple.
Before leaving I recommend that you try corn on the cob with a sweet and spicy sauce that they prepare in the street stands. This is delicious but they are very spicy too.
Finally, the driver left us in Kuta, where we would spend our last night. Kuta is possibly the most touristic place in Bali. The biggest nightclubs on the island are here. However, we went out for a while and did not like it. They were all neon lights, very strange people dressed up and all very expensive, so we just turned around and went back to the hotel.
BALI MAP with our tour
Other things to do in bali
As I told you 7 days were not enough for everything that there is to do in Bali. Although honestly to do everything that I wish I had done, maybe I should have stayed 7 months.
LEARN SURF IN CANGGU
If in Seminyak there were already surfers, in Canggu there are the best surf schools on the island. Take classes with the locals and enjoy their pirouettes while the sun goes down must be a delight. In addition, the environment is apparently much healthier than Kuta or Seminyak. The majority of those who decide this area to stay during their visit to Bali are young people who like sports.
Finally, we decided not to go because in 1 day we were not going to significantly improve our surfing skills either. But Dani, who on his trip to Bali spent four days surfing in Canggu, highly recommends the experience.
VISIT PURA LEMPUYANG LUHUR
When I saw this photo I thought it was the door to heaven.
However, it was far removed from everything else we wanted to see. If you have more time I recommend you visit the temple of Pura Lempuyang Luhurg.
SEE DOLPHINS IN LOVINA
In Lovina every morning there are boat routes in which surely you will see dolphins. The problem is that it is too touristy. In the end, there are more boats pestering dolphins than dolphins. In addition, the town is very far from everything else.
This small island near the south of Bali is the perfect place to swim with the Mola Mola fish. Since I hadn’t dived with a bottle before, if I wanted to do it there, I had to take a course first. This took away a lot of time and adding that the chances of finding Mola Mola were very few, in the end, we discarded it.
Another essential thing to do, if you decide to visit Nusa Lembongan, is also underwater. The Underwater Buddha Temple. Here I leave a photo that will make up your mind for a future visit to this tiny island
The island of Nusa Penida is located next to Nusa Lembongan. This is bigger and with more facilities, so most of the tourism is really staying in Nusa Penida and makes the diving excursions starting from here but very close to the coast of Nusa Lembongan.
However, Nusa Penida has appeal in itself. Kelingking Beach has a viewpoint with amazing views. Here you can see them.
Of course, after 7 days in Bali you can visit, discover and enjoy many things in Bali. Luckily we left many things; the perfect excuse to return to this incredible island in Indonesia.