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2 Weeks in Bali Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

Bali is one of those places that makes you just want to stay forever. The sandy beaches, rolling terraced rice paddies, colorful culture, delicious cuisine, and wild nightlife tend to have visitors here echoing a similar phrase – “I’m never leaving!” While it would be great to set up shop and just stay in Bali, that’s not possible for most. For one, you only get a 30-day visa to Indonesia. Secondly, most people can’t afford to take more than two weeks off of work for their holiday. When giving people advice about planning a trip to the Island of the Gods, I usually recommend they try to at least dedicate two weeks. Depending on where you’re coming from, this is going to require 2-4 days of travel, so it’s even better if you can get 16-18 days in total. If you can manage to work it out to where you’ll actually have two full weeks on the ground, you’re going to have an awesome trip and be able to see a lot of the island. Here’s an example of what you can do with two weeks in Bali:

South Bali (2 days)

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple

For most people, you’ll be arriving in Bali via the island’s airport. It’s located in the south of the island, which is also the most developed area in terms of tourism. Here, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations varying from cheap dorm rooms to 5-star resorts and everything in between. Kuta is probably the most popular area, which means it’s also the busiest, most crowded, noisiest place. If that’s not what you’re looking for, try other South Bali locations such as Seminyak, Legian, or Sanur. While you’re down there, take at least a half day off of beach bumming and surfing to go check out Uluwatu, an amazing temple on the southern end of the island with incredible views and naughty monkeys.

Ubud (3 days)

A kecak performance in Ubud.

A kecak performance in Ubud.

Say goodbye to the beach for now and head north a bit to Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali. This town is also very developed for tourism, with plenty of options for places to sleep, eat, drink, and shop. It’s also home to the Monkey Forest, the most popular tourist attraction on the island. Stick around here for a few days to check out the awe-inspiring rice terraces, spend an afternoon in a spa, and take in the multitude of cultural performances that go on here in the evenings. If the hustle and bustle of the town is too much for you, there are plenty of places you can stay just outside the town and still enjoy all the amenities by hiring a motorbike or a driver.

Sidemen (2 days)

Get lost in the rice fields.

Get lost in the rice fields.

About an hour drive away from Ubud, you’ll find the small town of Sidemen. More and more hotels are being built here, but for the moment it’s still a very secluded, quiet, and peaceful place to relax for a few days. The crowds are tiny out here compared to Ubud and the South, so┬áit’s a nice break after the first part of your trip. There’s not a whole lot to do out here, but that’s the point – sit by the pool, go for a walk, and enjoy a nice candlelit dinner. If you’re like me and need a little adventure no matter where you are, you can head out on your bike and visit some of the island’s many temples. The Mother Temple (Pura Besakih) is doable in just a half-day trip, so you might as well check it out while you’re there.

Padang Bai (2 days)

A chill little Balinese beach town.

A chill little Balinese beach town.

This little beach town is located on the eastern part of the island, and is much more laid back than the south. Here you’ll find a handful of dive shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels, but way less touts and party animal backpackers than places like Kuta. It’s a nice place to spend a few nights, do a diving or snorkeling trip, and just sit on the beach/by the pool. Another good thing about this spot is that you can hop on a ferry to some of the other islands from here to easily hit the last spot on your trip.

The Nusa Islands (2 days)

Sit back and relax on Nusa Lembongan.

Sit back and relax on Nusa Lembongan.

Many people don’t realize that the main island of Bali is not all there is to this part of Indonesia – there are also three much smaller islands off the southeast coast. I like to call them the Nusa Islands, as they’re named Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan. These feel worlds apart from the main island, and make for a great way to wind down your busy Bali trip. Nusa Lembongan is the most popular for tourists, but it’s still not even close to as crowded as the more popular spots on the main island. Here, you won’t even find any cars, taxis, or buses – just a few motorbikes and one road going around the island. Enjoy your last days here and get a boat back to catch your flight. At this point, I’m sure you’ll be planning your return visit. There’s a lot more to see in Bali, so keep coming back to explore all that this amazing place has to offer.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.