11 November 2022

How To Spend Two Weeks in Bali

This is the last of my posts about my recent trip to Bali, where I summarise my overall experience: my itinerary and how it panned out, what I did, how I travelled around and some practical tips.

For more detailed information, you can read my other Bali posts: Munduk; Ubud; Ubud speciality coffee; the Nusa Islands; Canggu, Seminyak & Jimbaran; and Canggu and Seminyak speciality coffee. And I've uploaded even more photos onto my Flickr.


Being invited to join a work meeting in Bali is the dream, isn't it? And better still, I had taken almost no annual leave this year and I was able to add ten days of holiday onto the four-day work trip. I consider myself very lucky! I had less than two months to research and plan what I would do. I had a few Bali speciality coffee shops saved in my Google Map but otherwise, I was starting from scratch. Luckily, there was a 2021 Lonely Planet guidebook, which helped a lot.

As soon as I read about Munduk Moding Plantation (whose view is pictured above), the opportunity to stay on a resort that was also a coffee farm was too appealing to pass up. I also knew that I wanted to spend a few days in Ubud and a few days on the beach and that I'd probably need to end up in Canggu or Seminyak for a smooth transfer to Jimbaran for the work part. The toughest choice was whether to go to the Nusa Islands or the Gili Islands. I opted for the former as the journey time is shorter (30 minutes instead of 2-3 hours) and I thought the Nusas would offer a more varied experience. Here's my final itinerary:

Munduk – 2 nights
Travel by car to Ubud

Ubud  – 3 nights
Travel by car and fast ferry to Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan – 3 nights
Travel by fast ferry and car to Canggu

Canggu – 2 nights
Travel by Grab car to Jimbaran

Jimbaran – 4 nights

And it worked well. It included a good mix of urban centres (and coffee shops!), nature and beaches, and because the distances in Bali are relatively short (even if traffic is often an issue), I never felt too rushed. If I'd had the full 14 days of holiday, I would probably have stayed one more night in Canggu and either added a stay on one of the Gili Islands or just added an extra night to the other destinations.


Days 1–2: Munduk
I arrived at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport at noon on a Sunday. It took almost two hours to get out of the airport (COVID vaccine check, visa on arrival payment, immigration and customs) and another two hours to drive up to Munduk in a car organised by my hotel, Munduk Moding Plantation, for a fee of £40. The hotel was beautiful with excellent facilities (I had an amazing facial) and wonderful service. I paid about £410 for two nights in a garden suite, with afternoon tea and an epic breakfast. 

I only had one full day in Munduk, which I spent visiting Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Batukaru Temple — a tour organised by my hotel. The rest of the time, I spent relaxing by the pools, exploring the grounds of the resort and visiting the nearby Banyumala waterfall. On my last morning, I was able to take part in a coffee experience (one of the many free MMP experience programme activities) on Munduk Moding's coffee farm before I checked out.

Days 3–5: Ubud
Munduk Moding organised a car to take me to Ubud — the journey took about two hours and cost about £35. I stayed at Komaneka at Monkey Forest, a boutique resort near the Monkey Forest, on the south side of the town centre and within walking distance of most of central Ubud. I paid about £490 for three nights in a suite, which included afternoon tea and a substantial breakfast. The service was really exceptional here and the resort and its pool were beautiful.

I spent one full day and two half-days exploring Ubud, visiting temples, museums, coffee shops and shops, and checking out the Monkey Forest and the rice fields. On the other day, I took a small-group tour to East Bali with Get Your Guide, which cost about £45. Guste, our guide, was excellent and it was a great way to see a lot of the main sights in East Bali.

Days 6–8: Nusa Lembongan
To get to the island of Nusa Lembongan, I booked a return fast ferry trip with D'Stars. This cost about £40 and included pick up from Ubud and drop off in Canggu on the way back, as well as transfer to and from my Nusa Lembongan hotel. It took about an hour to drive from Ubud to Sanur, the departure point for the boat. It can take a lot longer when traffic is bad, which meant I had a long wait in the baking sun on Sanur Beach.

On Nusa Lembongan, I stayed at Pemedal Beach Resort, where my deluxe room and breakfast cost about £130 for three nights. My cabin was right on the beach and it was lovely falling asleep to the sound of the sea, although less lovely when a bad storm knocked out the electricity on my last night (fortunately, it was back in time for me to brew my morning coffee). The pool was small but nice; there are, however, much better beach options elsewhere on the island. And indeed, I spent most of my time there exploring different beaches and snorkelling. I also had an eventful day trip to Nusa Penida. Don't let my experiences put you off from visiting, but do be very careful of the rip currents that are common around the Nusas.

Days 9–11: Canggu
After checking out of my Nusa hotel, I had an extremely choppy post-storm boat trip back to Sanur (sit at the back of the boat, if you can). Although Canggu isn't far from Sanur, the traffic was very bad and it took almost two hours to reach my hotel, Sedasa Lodge. My deluxe pool access room cost about £100 for two nights — the deluxe room wasn't much more expensive, but if I went again, I would opt for an upper-floor room for a bit more privacy.

I had about 48 hours in Canggu and Seminyak. The weather was pretty bad for most of it, with several extremely heavy storms (which also led to the beaches being littered with rubbish and debris), so I spent most of my time visiting coffee shops and shopping, although I managed some beach time too. I gave up on the idea of walking on account of the absent pavements, flooded roads and heavy traffic, using Grab to get around instead.

Days 12–15: Jimbaran
I took a Grab from Canggu to Jimbaran, which cost about £10 and took an hour. I was staying at the Intercontinental Bali Resort, a beautiful hotel located right on Jimbaran Beach with fantastic facilities, including multiple swimming pools and a spa. I was working pretty much the whole time I was there so I didn't get to see too much outside the resort, but there are definitely worse places to work... On the last morning, I took a Grab to the airport (around £4), which took about 15 minutes.


If you're looking for packing tips for Bali, check out my recommendations of tried-and-tested products for travel.

Getting there. I flew with Malaysia Airlines, from London Heathrow via Kuala Lumpur. The total flying time was about 16 hours (13 hours to KL and 3 to Bali), and although I only had to wait two hours in KL on the way, the return journey had a seven-and-a-half-hour layover from 4 pm until 11:30 pm. I managed to persuade my colleague to travel into KL with me — it was incredibly quick to get out of the airport and took just under an hour to go by Grab into the city. Luckily, I'd been to KL three years earlier and knew where to go to get some food and do some shopping. Alas, the weather hadn't improved in my absence! 

Getting around. To get from one destination to the next, I mostly used cars booked by the hotels I was staying in. This isn't the cheapest way of doing things — and all you have to do is walk down the street in Ubud to find a whole host of would-be drivers — but I appreciated the convenience and peace of mind. I tried to walk around as much as possible, sometimes taking a Grab car in Ubud and Canggu, which was cheap and easy. I'd read that it wasn't always easy to hail taxis on the street in Bali, but I found it was very difficult not to hail a taxi, especially in Canggu! 

Language. Most Balinese people speak Balinese and Bahasa Indonesian, and English is also spoken widely, especially in tourist areas. As usual, I tried to learn a few words and phrases like matur suksma (thank you) and om swastiastu (hello).

Mobile data & wifi. In the UK, my contract with Three allowed me to use my mobile data when roaming in various countries, including Indonesia. Unfortunately, they ended this contract three days before the end of my trip so I also bought an eSIM through Airalo. This allowed me to receive text messages and calls on my existing number but use the eSIM for mobile data needs. I paid about £11 for a 30-day sim with 3Gb of data that can be used in 13 Asian countries (crucially, given my KL layover, including both Indonesia and Malaysia). Between my two sims, I usually got sufficient mobile data coverage to do the usual holiday tasks of looking up information online, planning routes in Google Maps and Instagramming beautiful Bali! The wifi was very good in all of the hotels I stayed in and many restaurants, cafes and tourist attractions offered free wifi too.

Money. Bali uses the Indonesian rupiah (IDR), of which the 100,000 IDR note (about £5.50) is the largest denomination. For ease, I tended to do conversions on the basis of 100,000 IDR being about £5 and then rounding up. I took about £300 of cash with me as I'd read that very few places outside of hotels and high-end restaurants would accept credit cards. In fact, I was able to pay by credit card or Apple Pay in a lot of coffee shops, eateries and shops, especially in Ubud, Canggu and Seminyak. Do make sure you have plenty of cash when you go to the Nusa Islands as cards aren't as widely accepted and ATMs are limited (some only allow withdrawals from local bank accounts).

Power outlets. Bali uses the 'type C' standard European plug and socket system. Several of my hotels had multi-sockets that would accept UK and/or US plugs, but it's best to err on the safe side and take an adapter.

Weather. October is the start of the rainy season in Bali and indeed, I saw plenty of rain during my trip. In the mountains of Munduk it was sunny every morning and would then rain heavily just after lunch. Ubud was grey and rainy for almost my entire stay, although it was lovely and sunny during my tour of East Bali. It was very hot and sunny on the Nusa Islands, until the last morning when there was a torrential downpour. The downpours and greyness continued in Canggu, although I got some nice sunsets in Jimbaran. 

All of this is to say that although the rainy season in Bali probably doesn't mean it will rain all day, every day, you should definitely be prepared for some heavy downpours. I brought a lightweight rain jacket (although when it's 31C, even that felt like too much) and an umbrella but constantly struggled with knowing whether to bring my sunglasses and cap or rain jacket and brolly. Basically, I should have just brought them all every day!

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