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Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

Paris, France
Level Contributor
3 posts
6 reviews
Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

Hello !

I would like to ask you for the advise.

It'd be my first time on Bali that is why I am a bit lost when it's coming to planning a trip.

I am going with my boyfriend for 12 days. We already planned to stay in Ubud for 3 days and then I was thinking about going to the north (stay in Lovina for some time), then Amed, maybe some Gili's Islands, then to see a south side of the island and finish in Uluwatu - to be not so far away from airport.

Some of my friends recommend it me also Nusa Lembongan.

We are thinking about finding some driver to help us to get to all the places.

Could you please share with me your experience from Bali - where it is better to stay longer, what to avoid, where to stay longer etc.

Any advise would be appreciated :)

I am skipping Kuta, Seminyak on purpose - I have heard it is really touristic areas, with night life, bars etc. I don't care about parties :) I just want to enjoy nature, Bali, its culture and reeelax :)

Thank you in advance for your help !

9 replies to this topic
Munich, Germany
Destination Expert
for Bali
Level Contributor
15,304 posts
95 reviews
1. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

Hi Paulina,

welcome to TripAdvisor and Bali Forum. Firstly it would be nice to know where you are from. Easiest is to update your profile. Will help on this and other TA forums when you have questions that may be relative to you whether currency exchange, visas, insurance, bookings, flights etc.


Your list of places UBUD - LOVINA -AMED -GILIS -ULUWATU for 12 days is IMO far too much.

" where it is better to stay longer" - bit like asking 3 Rabbis the same question - you'll get 6 different answers. We all have our favourite places


Your decision of where to stay should be based on your interests not anybody elses. One persons "must see/do" is anothers 'why bother'.

e.g. I dive and my wife likes to snorkel so we spend the bulk of our Bali holidays in those areas.

This year we did DPS - transfer straight to Amed - Pemuteran - Ubud - Kuta (last night before flying home). This was 2 weeks.

Next year we are thinking of various options. One of which may be UBUD - AMED - GILIS - 'down south'

or after Gilis perhaps "Kuta Lombok" and then fly back to Bali.


3 days are enough for us but there are lots of things that you could see/do.

Suggest you read up on all the sights and activities that Ubud and its region has to offer.

Some people go to Ubud for cultural stuff. Some for the outdoorsy stuff, some for a mixture of both. Some go for 2 weeks and all they do is Yoga and some go for a month to "find themselves" ... and are still looking.


Always check exact location of any property. Do not believe any blurb about location or time to xxx etc

Ubud is as much a Region as a town centre. Some properties can easily be 5miles or more from Ubud centre with Little to nothing outside of them.

Some properties take the pi$$ calling themselves Ubud when they are over 12miles away and not even in Ubud district.. Very misleading.

Some properties have shuttle Services but These often stop at 5/6pm. There are no Taxis in Ubud so to get back you would Need to contact the Hotel or engage a local Driver.

ULUWATU has similar location issues.

"Uluwatu" can be anywhere from Bingin beach all the way around the Bukit peninsula, past Uluwatu temple around to Ungasan beach in the south.

In addition "Uluwatu" properties can spread a long way inland. Because of the convoluted local road system you can be in a property described as "Uluwatu" and be 4 miles from the beach


Similarly properties described as "Lovina" can actually be closer to Singaraja.


Amed covers 6 miles of coastline. Some properties can be isolated. Jemeluk Bay and Lipah beach popular areas to stay.

Lipah beach sandier but a small area.

Jemeluk Bay has a small main sandy beach area but the bay itself is a good 2miles long. Lots of choices of places to eat/drink.


UBUD - "An Island" - "southern resort" is a popular combo.

If you want to visit an Island then there are various departure points.

For Gilis then departure points are Amed, Padangbai and Serangan

For Lembongan then Sanur (lots of services daily). There are a couple of services from Padangbai but really irrelevant given the free pickup services offered.

In general whether visiting Gilis or Lembongan you will be able to get a fastboat service that will include some sort of free pickup (and dropoff on return) from Ubud and all major "southern resorts" hotels.

If getting a boat from Amed to Gilis (shortest crossing) then generally the free pickup/dropoff service is limited to Amed region only.

Amed is an area not a town or village. It is a string of small villages that covers 10km of coastline.


There are only a couple of services daily.


Once you work out your EXACT overall itinerary then people can better advise the best place to get a driver or recommend one personally.

e.g. We use a driver based in Tulamben for ALL our Amed related tours and transfers.


He comes down to DPS and picks us up to go to Amed. We would then use him to transfer to/from Amed to/from Kuta or Ubud.

This year we used him to transfer from Amed to Pemuteran (we stopped in Lovina for lunch).

To transfer from Pemuteran to Ubud we actually used our Pemuteran Hotel driver. He was cheaper than 2 Ubud based drivers I contacted.

From Ubud to Kuta just found a guy on the street outside of our hotel.

You can hire a private Driver for IDR600k ~ $45 for the day (9am to 6/7pm ish). That is for the whole van to yourself not per Person. You can set your own daily itinerary if you wish. Stop where you want, when you want, eat where and when you want. No fixed "time" itinerary.

Drivers often have itinerary suggestions.

People also use private Drivers for Transfers between destinations.

You should be Aware that traffic can be slow going around Bali. Even on longer distances you won't average much more than 20mph so take this into account when planning.

e.g. we Transfer to Amed on landing. It is not even 60miles but invariably takes 3hrs.

DPS to Ubud is only 25miles but usually take 1h30 during the day.

Please avoid Online Booking/tour agencies with Gimmicks like "lunch and entrance fees included". I've seen These People charging $49 PER PERSON!!!! You can get nice local Food mains for $6. Entrance fees to places like Monkey forest/temples/Waterfall are a couple of $ or free. These organised tours are very fixed itinerary (timewise) and they take you to places they get commission.

Purely a san example In Ubud there is www.ubudtaxi.com They are a Group of local Ubud Drivers who offer tours and Transfers.

Also www.ubudareatours.com is often recommended.


We don't know where you are from but would also advise to be wary of "Travel Agents".

Certainly have noticed that some people (UK, Germany, France) have booked Bali holidays and have had a restricted choice of accommodation.

From a holiday viewpoint avoid any online booking of tours or activities or travel agents 'additions'.

Always book activities at a local tourist booth wherever you are staying. Haggle for best prices.

Can easily book the day before.

Similarly can book Fastboat tickets at a tourist booth. Again can haggle.

Holes in pavements

2. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

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Removed on: 03 August 2018, 16:23
New York
Level Contributor
33 posts
3. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?


I was reading your response to paulina. Im colleen from the usa.

Doing 2 weeks in Indonesia (4 days in Yogyakarta) then rest in bali. Desparately trying to figure out stays and your post helped a bit. Trying to figure out if 4 days of bali should be in east bali with daytrips to the water temples and mt batur and snorkel in amed or those 4 days in south bali to snorkel at nusa dua, see temples down there and traditional dance. We planned 4 days in ubud but see some posts that some of the things we planned on doing in eat bali ( tenganen village was a maybe but it seems so many say that its too commercial so we will likely drop it, do a guided sunrise trek to mount batur, visit tirta ganggu water temple, maybe goa lawan bat cave/temple, snorkel off beaches in amed where we would book a hotel, visit some waterfalls on way down to ubud) are just as far as from ubud and we could add the nights to ubud and be moving hotels less. What are your thoughts? We love AUTHENTIC localtowns/ culture and architechture with a little bit of beach time/snorkeling and some exercise (like trek mt batur)

Paris, France
Level Contributor
3 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?



Profile updated, thanks ! :)

So I am coming from France, but I organise everything by myself (not using any travel agencies). I am going to Bali in September.

That is why I wanted to know personal opinions about some places, even though I know everyone can like different things :)

Since I am organising it by myself, it is hard to decide how to plan it - it is the first time I am organising such a long trip so far away :)

Thank you so much for your recommendations ! They are really useful !

Paris, France
Level Contributor
3 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?


Sorry I forget to precise what I am looking for !

I love discovering new things, new cultures and enjoy beautiful nature :)

This is why I would like to i.e. take a trip to Batur, see Sekumpul Waterfall and Rice Terrace but at the same time I would like to enjoy some architecture - Tanah Lot, Pura Besakih or/and other temples. There is so many beautiful things to see - it is hard to decide how to plan it ! :)

I would like to spend one (max 2) days on some nice beach (not really touristic one) just to reeelax :)

I have heard some many different opinions about Bali - that is really loud, dirty and so on, that is why I am looking for some people who loved this island and they can help me to organise it in the best way :)

Bandung, Indonesia
Destination Expert
for Bandung
Level Contributor
5,506 posts
869 reviews
6. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

That is staying at 6 or 7 different places in only 12 days. It does seem like quite a lot of moving around.

Level Contributor
1,590 posts
39 reviews
7. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

For first timers I recommend only a max of a split stay between say Ubud (day trip to Lovina) and Seminyak or Sanur.

Most places are touristy crowds is the only difference.

When I first went to Ubud I was expecting a rural town, wrong, we got stuck in gridlocked traffic heading into Ubud central.

Edited: 03 August 2018, 18:59
Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
32 posts
66 reviews
8. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

If I were you I would skip the Gilis, it takes a long time to get there and there is not much nature to see there. I would go to Nusa Penida for like 3 days, rent a scooter and you can easily go around (some roads are not so good but still ok) and also snorkel with manta rays. Then if you prefer less touristy places, go to Amed, also good place for snorkeling and with a scooter you can visit Pura Lempuyang , Tirta Gangga , rice fields. They are all just 30 mins far from Amed. I recommend staying 2 days close to the airport before your flight home, we chose Seminyak and it was perfect, not too noisy but with restaurants around, we went a bit around on our last day to see Uluwatu and South Bali beaches.

Level Contributor
112 posts
24 reviews
9. Re: Trip Bali - 12 days - what is the best way to visit Bali ?

I will just comment on getting around. There is no true public transportation in Bali.

Also, the traffic in Bali is congested and can get downright crazy at certain times. So, although it wasn't in your plans listed above, I would advise against renting your own car or bikes for your first trip. Even heading up by the Unesco rice fields, you would think you would escape congestion. But amazingly not by much.

Hiring a driver is the way to go, as long as you do not mind paying the approx. 600,000 Rupiah (about $40 these days) per day. If you have a "destination" in mind, then your driver should be able to make suggestions of things to see on the way. Also keep in mind that they will get a kickback from certain places they take you.

I DO enjoy Bali, and I tell everyone it is one of my favourite places to relax and do nothing, intermingled with excursion days.

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