The ultimate Bali itinerary – how to plan your dream Bali vacation

The ultimate Bali itinerary – how to plan your dream Bali vacation

Lush rainforest runs from central mountains to epic clifftops, fine tropical beaches, and attractive rice paddy. In between you’ll find ancient temples, luxurious high-end stays, and awesome nightlife. Spiritual retreat, party capital, and steamy wonderland, our 10 days in Bali bring you the best of the island.

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Photo: Jamie Fenn

Photo: Jamie Fenn

Bali’s LGBT+ life

The Balinese are generally conservative by nature, but you’ll have few issues as a gay visitor on a Bali vacation. Though there are no anti-gay laws, away from the beaches dress modestly and avoid public displays of affection – recommendations that stretch to heterosexuals too. Overall, Bali is pretty gay-friendly, with a whole host of welcoming businesses.

Best time to visit Bali

Lying slap bang in the middle of the tropics, Bali has two main seasons. The dry season runs from May until September. Better-value accommodation and slightly lower humidity can be had outside the peak months of July and August. The other half of the year is the wet season, although in between showers large parts of the day are still perfect for sightseeing and relaxing on the beach.

Photo: Alexa West

Photo: Alexa West

Photo: Eirik Skarstein

Photo: Eirik Skarstein

Safety in Bali

Take the usual travel precautions with your valuables and you’ll find Bali a very safe destination. The biggest risk you’ll likely to face is from road traffic accidents, particularly if you decide to hire a scooter. Drive carefully and have comprehensive travel insurance!

Tips for your Bali trip

Balinese, rather than Bahasa (Indonesian), is the island’s main language. However, a huge number of people on Bali speak good English, ensuring your Bali itinerary can run without a hitch.

Outside of the best restaurants in Ubud, which will accept credit and debit cards, you’re going to want some physical cash. There are plenty of counters changing the main international currencies, and a good number of ATMs for withdrawals.

The best way to stay healthy is to drink only bottled or treated water, which is easy to come by. Also, consider avoiding salads and other food items that may have been washed or prepared using untreated water.

Photo: Iswanto Arif

Photo: Iswanto Arif

Getting around Bali

To make the most of a Bali itinerary 10 days long, you’re going to want to travel about the island. Its traffic is getting ever more notorious, and roads don’t always connect A to B directly. The best advice is to leave plenty of time to get about. If you considering weaving through the traffic on a rental scooter, pay attention to what we’ve already said in the safety section above.

Our ultimate Bali trip plan

Planning a trip to Bali can be complicated by the sheer number of potential destinations and attractions, so we’ve put together a list of top things to do in Bali, alongside the best gay-friendly hotels in Bali.

Ubud is a great introduction to all Bali holidays can offer. From here, we recommend heading south to Jimbaran for a couple of days, then taking a boat crossing to the Gili Islands. End your time in Bali with two days in Seminyak.

Photo Sasin Tipchai

Photo Sasin Tipchai

Days 1 to 3 - Ubud

Set on the edge of Bali’s central mountains, Ubud is the island’s cultural capital, with a fantastic ambience and plenty to explore amid its lush foliage and stunning local architecture.

If you’re wondering what to do in Ubud, a list of things to do in Ubud must include a visit to the seventeenth-century royal palace. Not only is the compound beautiful in its own right, but each evening there’s also an alternating schedule of traditional dances.

Nearby, you’ll find Ubud Art Market, offering a range of handcrafted souvenirs, while the temples in Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary are slightly further along the same road. This small patch of forest in the heart of Ubud is home to more than 1000 long-tailed macaques, who consider the three temples their own personal property.

Before you leave Ubud, be sure to explore the natural wonders slightly further afield. The Tegallalang Rice Terraces combine a fine natural setting with the twenty-first-century addition of a zipline and jungle swings, while Tegenungan Waterfall is the perfect place to cap off your itinerary of Ubud things to do.

Photo: Oliver Sjostrom

Photo: Oliver Sjostrom

Photo: Artem Beliaikin

Photo: Artem Beliaikin

Days 5 and 6 - Jimbaran

A little more laid back than party-centric Kuta, Jimbaran’s tranquil beachside location undoubtedly makes it one of the best places to stay in Bali. Its white sands and calm waters make it ideal for a relaxed beach stop. The natural rock pools of Tegal Wangi Beach make for a romantic place to watch the sunset, as does nearby Uluwatu Hindu Temple, which sits on precipitous cliffs soaring 70 metres above the southern coast.

Photo: Ary Aditya

Photo: Ary Aditya

Days 7 and 8 - the Gili Islands

If you’re up for a few days in quintessential scenes of paradise, the Gili Islands are the places to stay in Bali for you. Located off the coast of neighbouring Lombok, fast boats can make the trip in around two hours, and avoid the hassle of airports. With three days there’s the potential to visit each of the three main islands – Trawangan (or Gili T), Air, and Meno.

Trawangan is the largest and liveliest, making it the place to head for those looking to throw shapes long into the night. Air is a little more muted, but still has plenty to entertain the visitor, while Meno is the top pick to forget about the rest of the world.

Whichever island you end up on, you can’t come to the Gilis without slipping on a snorkel and mask – the corals off the islands are exquisite.

Photo: Guillaume Bolduc

Photo: Guillaume Bolduc

Photo: Marvin Meyer

Photo: Marvin Meyer

Days 9 and 10 - Seminyak

Famed for its sunsets, Seminyak on Bali’s southwest coast is a touch more refined than other destinations on this part of the island. Here you’ll encounter those you enjoy the finer things in life rather than the backpacking crowd. As a result, things to do in Seminyak centre around the mile-long beach and spa scene. Further afield, there’s Tanah Lot, the much-photographed Hindu pilgrimage site just offshore, which is worth the detour before heading to the airport.

Tanah Lot | Photo: Nick Fewings

Tanah Lot | Photo: Nick Fewings

Mr Hudson’s Trip Design Service

We get that the combination of identifying the best hotels in Ubud, the easiest way of getting to the Gilis, and all those other trip necessities can soon become overwhelming. Take the hard work out of your trip to Bali by calling upon Mr Hudson’s Trip Design service. Give our experts a few basic pieces of information and we’ll worry about the detail.

Photo Hakan Nural

Photo Hakan Nural

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