The beautiful island of Bali has so much to do that it can be tough to know how much you can fit into a week. It's one of the most popular destinations on Instagram at the moment, and it's easy to see why. This island is drop dead gorgeous. You could spend months in Bali and not make it to all the major Instagrammable destinations but we're here to make sure you get the main ones covered!
We love both the natural and cultural side of the island and have created an itinerary that packs a lot in all the main Instagrammable spots in Bali as well as a few temples, cultural shows and even a little time for a traditional massage!
We feel this is the perfect blend of exploring and getting some amazing shots.
7 Day Bali itinerary for Instgrammers
Day 1: Ubud
Today is all about those epic shots and since you only have seven days, may as well make the most of them with a sunrise start. Rice terraces and waterfalls are some of the most photographed spots in Bali, so you're in for a treat.
We did the following itinerary with a driver as it felt like it would ensure we managed to visit all these spots. You could easily hire a motorbike to do this trip. If you're looking for a great driver we can recommend Wayan, (this isn't sponsored, we paid for all our journeys) he was great company and very generous with his time. He's on Instagram: @wayan_driverbali.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
The best place for sunrise near Ubud is Tegalalang Rice Terrace. These beautiful rice terraces are bathed in a golden glow and are relatively quiet (we say relatively as there will be a few instagrammers trying to get the sunrise shot!).
There is also two edge of the world swings and lookouts to give different views and perspectives.
Getting there: Tegalalang is only half an hour from Ubud. You'll need either a driver or a motorbike.
The setting of Tukad Cepung made it one of our favourite waterfalls in Bali. The shafts of light definitely make it the most unique of all the falls. It is not the biggest or most powerful waterfall, but being situated in a cave made it feel very special.
After walking down from the car park, you'll reach a small stream that heads into a cave. From here you'll see openings with the most glorious light that shines through in the early morning.
We'd advise going here straight after Tegalalang as the sun is just in the right place to get the shafts of light you can see in the photo above.
Getting there: Tukad Cepung is about an hour from Tegalalang.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
This is one of the most popular waterfalls in Bali, and it is a beauty. The waterfall cascades over the rocks and there are plenty of opportunities to get an under waterfall shot. It's a good place for a dip although much of the water is a bit shallow for actual swimming.
Getting there: Kanto Lampo waterfall is around 40 minutes from Tukad Cepung waterfall.
The final waterfall of the day is Tibumana, which is a beautiful waterfall set in a lush green valley. There are areas you can't swim here (due to falling rocks and the power of the water), but it has one of the biggest pools, which give you a good amount of space even if it gets busy. As this is the last waterfall of the day you will be unlikely to get it to yourself unfortunately.
Getting there: Tibumana is just under 20 minutes from Kanto Lampo waterfall and only half an hour from Ubud.
Read more - 10 Amazing things to do in Ubud
Day 2: Munduk
Don’t worry, that won’t be the last of Ubud, but for now head further north towards Munduk. The hills here are a lot higher up making the temperature a lot cooler.
If you're after a seriously Instagrammable place to stay in Munduk then you can't go past the Munduk Moding Plantation. That place is amazing, and the infinity pool is definitely one of the most commonly seen on Instgram shots of Bali.
On the journey up, stop off at Nung Nung. This huge waterfall takes a bit of hiking down to (around 500 steps) but it is worth it. The waterfall is hugely powerful and makes for some really good photo ops.
There is also a lovely coffee plantation at the top (entrance is beside the car park) which is a good place to stop and sample the many different teas and coffees they make. Our faves were the coconut coffee and lemon tea.
Getting there: Nung Nung is really easy to reach if you have a driver between Ubud and Munduk. It is inbetween the two towns, so divert on the way. Alternatively you could take a motorbike though the roads are fairly windy.
Hire a motorbike and head to Munduk Falls
By far the most convenient way to get around Munduk is to hire a motorbike. They are really cheap and as there’s not so much traffic, it is a lot easier than riding around Ubud or Kuta.
It is best to start with Munduk Falls, a beautiful waterfall that is conveniently close to the road. It's easy to miss the turning though, instructions are here.
Getting there: Munduk falls is just off the side of the road and can be easily missed.
Day 3: Munduk
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
One of the best sunrise spots on the island, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is a beautiful temple built in the middle of a lake, surrounded by mountains. At sunrise you’re more likely to have clear skies, beautiful light and very few people. In the middle of the day the tour buses come in and it becomes heaving with people.
Getting there: Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is in Bedugul and directly on the main road. Riding a motorbike around here is dead easy as the roads are quiet, so we would recommend getting your own scooter to visit.
Most people don't know this is actually the entrance to a golf course, certainly the most incredible one we've ever seen. At sunset it is super busy so come directly from Pura Ulun Danu Bratan after sunrise for less crowds, or if you're lucky like us, no one at all.
Getting there: Handara Gate is just 8 minutes from Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple by motorbike.
Wanagiri Hidden Hills
The views from Wanagiri of the lakes and mountains below are truly beautiful. The swing also makes for a great photo op. It is a great place to be just after sunrise and appreciate just how beautiful this area of Bali is before the haze and heat begins to make the view less clear.
It's also a cheap alternative if your budget doesn't stretch to the original Bali swing.
Getting there: Wanagiri is only 15 minutes from Bedugul and 10 minutes from Munduk. It is easily reached scooter.
The road down to Banyumala waterfall is bone shattering on a scooter, but the effort is well worth it. It may have only been a few kilometres of dirt track, but it felt like 100km of weaving through broken rubble and mud patches. But once you reach the foot of the falls it is hard not to be blown away. The waterfall has a jungle like feel with huge trees and hanging vines.
There's a great view point of the bamboo bridge whilst walking to the second fall and looking back, which makes the whole place feel like a dream. When we visited we were largely alone with a few points where a couple of people came and left pretty quickly.
Getting there: Banyumala is down a very bumpy road by the road to Wanagiri. You can just about do it by scooter, but be prepared for a rough 20 minutes. Otherwise you can get a driver to take it on!
Read more - 8 amazing things to do around Munduk
Day 4: Head back to Ubud
This waterfall is probably the most Instagrammable in Bali. Sekumpul takes a while to get to and on the way you'll get to see a lot of rural Bali. The road is windy and steep, but well paved and takes you through several villages. Ignore all the "registration for Sekumpul" signs (they're all tours) and head straight to the car park.
Once there, follow the path down to a huge waterfall that looks like something from Jurassic Park. It will take quite a while to get there, but it is well worth it. We've written a blog all about how to get to this waterfall and avoid the scams.
Jatiluwih on the way back to Ubud
Jatiluwih is a Unesco World Heritage site and brings a whole new meaning to the colour green! The rice terraces go on for miles in all directions and have the stunning backdrop of Bratan, the volcano that dominates the skyline.
There are also a few leisurely walking trails that take you through the rice paddies and get you up close to the terraces. it's very different to Tegalalang so it is well worth visiting both.
Getting there: Jatiluwih is a great stop on the way back from Munduk to Ubud. It is about 45 minutes from Bedugul and about an hour from Ubud.
If you haven't had enough of waterfalls yet, then head to Leke Leke. It is unlikely you'll see another soul and you'll have this beautiful spot all to yourself. Just be careful of the bamboo bridges, one broke when we were there and threw me into the river!
Getting there: Leke Leke is another convenient stop between Munduk and Ubud. It is about an hour from Bedugul and 45 minutes from Ubud.
Day 5: Ubud
Could you go to Ubud as an Instagrammer without seeing the Bali Swing?! Make sure you go at opening time as this place gets incredibly busy and you'll feel pretty rushed. It also has that beautiful soft light which is perfect for getting a photo without harsh contrasts and shadows.
Getting there: The Bali Swing is about 20 minutes from Ubud. You can get their free transport from the town centre. However, if you want to get there really early, you'll need to get a taxi or a motorbike. Everything you need to know about the Bali swing can be found in the link above.
Pura Tirta Empul
Today is temple day and one of our favourites is Pura Tirta Empul. It is a little way outside of Ubud, but here you can watch the locals bathe and pray in this unique water temple. It is set in a beautifully rural part of Ubud and if you go in the morning, it is unlikely that you'll have other people with you. Women will need a sarong or covered legs.
Getting there: Pura Tirta Empul is about 45 minutes - 1 hour away from Ubud and is easily accessed by motorbike. You could hire a driver for the day if you fancy a bit more comfort.
Pura Gunung Kawi
The temple of Pura Gunung Kawi is carved into the side of a cliff and surrounded by vast rice terraces, making it a beautiful place to explore. It is not far from Pura Tirta Empul and is another spot fewer people go to, giving you time and space to see some authentic Balinese culture.
Getting there: Pura Gunung Kawi is 5 minutes away from Pura Tirta Empul, so it makes sense to do both together!
The shadow puppets in Ubud are not in English, so you'll be watching a show you can't understand through words. But trust us, you can get the gist of the story and appreciate the art of this traditional show. The shadow puppets are really beautifully crafted with incredible detail and watching the show will feel like you are glimpsing a tradition that goes back centuries.
We watched the performance at Oka Kartini on Jalan Raya which lasted for one hour.
Day 6: Ubud
After all that rushing around it's time to slow it down a notch and spend a day relaxing around Ubud. If you are staying in one of the seriously Instagrammable hotels around Ubud you'll want a chance to actually spend a bit of time there too.
For Instagrammable hotels around Ubud we'd suggest checking out Kamandalu. With forest swings and pool breakfasts it is pretty much Bali goals. Another place to take a look at would be The Udaya, which is also a great place to get a flower bath.
The Sacred Monkey Forest
You can't come to Ubud and miss the monkey forest. Not only is this a small patch of beautiful forest, but it is home to the pesky, but sacred, macaque monkey. There are hundreds of them here, but be careful as they love nothing more than to thieve cameras and grab things off unsuspecting people! If you feel pretty confident around the monkeys you can get some amazing shots with them leaping on your head etc.
Getting there: The monkey forest is really close to the centre of Ubud and you can walk there easily.
Balinese massage/flower bath
Getting a massage in Ubud is a must-do. They're really cheap and a great way to unwind, especially during the heat of the day. There's nothing like a four hand massage, so if you see a parlour offering one, go for it! It will blow your mind.
Of course the true Instagram op here is in a flower bath. We tried to book several of the best ones but they were all booked up. This is something you will probably want to book in advance. We were keen to try Karsa Spa but it was fully booked for 2 weeks. Their flower baths look incredible and we'll be booking ahead next time!
Bali is famous for its cultural dances and the ones in Ubud are worth checking out. We're not normally ones to watch dance shows as they can feel a little touristy, but in Ubud they are set in the grounds of temples and tell interesting Hindu stories. It's a very beautiful experience and a great thing to do in Ubud at night.
Day 7: Chill at the beach
It is time to head back down south for your final day and you'll want to stay relatively close to the airport to avoid the horrific traffic and any flight anxiety (something I am very guilty of). It is also a good excuse to see one of the beautiful Balinese beaches.
Avoid the horrors of Kuta and go to the slightly less touristy part, Jimberan, south of the airport. Just outside of Jimberan is Dreamland beach: a beautiful place to chill before your departure.
When we visited there was hundreds of couples staging wedding photos on the top of the cliff, all queuing up to get that perfect shot. It is such a good people watching spot.
Getting there: Getting the Dreamland is a bit fiddly, so try to cache your google maps before you go! It is about 30 minutes by motorbike from Jimberan, but may be quicker if you hire a taxi.
Where to stay in Ubud
We've spent a fair bit of time in Ubud and stayed in four different hotels, as well as visiting friends in theirs. We were so glad when on our last few days in Ubud we found our favourite little guesthouse. Eden Guesthouseis a small boutique home stay tucked away in the rice paddies, but just a few minutes from the Ubud Palace. For $40 USD per night in Ubud, it is incredible value.
The rooms are really large and spotlessly clean with gorgeous bathrooms with tubs. We loved the local carvings on the doors and the breakfast on the roof terrace overlooking the rice paddies was the best we had in Bali. Banana and coconut pancakes with palm sugar - definitely the way forwards!
If we had a bigger budget, we would have visited Kamandalu. This place is luxurious and very instagrammable, offering pool views and swings over the jungle. Situated in the Balinese countryside, it is very stylish and picturesque, stays in Ubud don't get much better.
On a budget
On our first visit to Ubud we stumbled upon Gusti Kaler, a beautiful homestay that's a stones throw from the centre of town. The bungalows are a really good size, comfortable and quiet at a very decent price. You are served home made breakfasts every morning (a relief from the buffets you can have) by the lovely owners and we found it be to one of the best budget places we stayed in Asia.
Where to stay in Munduk
Budget(ish) - CLV Villas
We chose to stay in Bedugul as this seemed to be fairly central to all the things we wanted to do in Munduk. There aren't too many options here, but we chose to stay at CLV Villas. The accommodation is a set of faded villas that had grand ideas but didn't really follow through.
It is an ok place to stay for a couple of days, but it is rough round the edges and could do with a really thorough clean. However, its location is great and the food is incredibly cheap. It's also less than 1km from the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple and just over 1km from Handara Golf Course, both of which we wanted to visit at sunrise. We weren't overly confident about scootering too far in the dark so the location was key.
Luxury - Munduk Moding Plantation
If we were on a shorter trip (with a bigger budget) we would definitely have chosen too stay in the Munduk Moding Plantationwhich looks absolutely incredible and has an amazing infinity pool. Next time!
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Are you planning a trip to Bali? Do you think we should have added somewhere else to our itinerary? Let us know in the comments below!
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