Looking for "affordable" luxury? Head on over to Bali.
Bali, Indonesia has always been a bucket-list destination for me. The island’s spirituality and natural beauty is unlike any other place I’ve traveled. Bali is fairly small in size, but offers a ton of diverse attractions for travelers. You can trek around ancient temples and through impressive rice terraces, hike up volcanos, or lay on the beach and do nothing at all. Cultural enthusiast, yogi, beach bum or party girl, Bali offers something for everyone. Why should you consider this 10 day luxury Bali itinerary?
Aside from the fact that Bali is A-MAZING, the island also offers westerners great bang for their buck. This makes Bali popular with backpackers and luxury-lovers alike. If you’re the latter, you can stay in some pretty insane ultra-luxury hotels and private villas for a great price. Sure, you’re still going to shell out a pretty penny for the highest quality resorts, but you’ll likely spend less than you would on comparable accommodation in the Maldives or Hawaii, which makes Bali the perfect destination for that blow out girls trip, romantic getaway or your honeymoon. I chose to explore this bucket-list destination in style, but if your budget doesn’t allow you to do so, fear not, I have suggestions covering everyone’s travel style.
“The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s easy to fall off.” – Anderson Cooper 🌏Those who know me would say that I’m the opposite of graceful… This photo isn’t posed – I’m trying my best to balance on the bobbing wooden boats (in heels) and not fall in! 🛶 But, as clumsy as I am, I’m willing to risk “falling head over heels” for some great travel memories. ❤️ How do venture outside your comfort zone when traveling? 🏔
Bali Bound: 10 Day Luxury Bali Itinerary
Days 1-3: Gili Islands
Okay, the Gili Islands aren’t technically part of Bali, but are often added onto many Bali itineraries due to their close proximity. The Gilis are comprised of three separate tiny islands off the coast of Lombok: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Each of the three islands has its own unique vibe and differs greatly different from the others.
Gili Trawangan is the largest most developed of the islands and may be best known as a party haven for backpackers. It’s also well-known to be one of the cheapest (and safest) places in the world to learn how to dive. Gili Meno is the smallest and most quiet of the three islands – it has beautiful beaches and is perfect if you’re looking for a secluded romantic getaway. For many, Gili Air is the perfect marriage of Trawangan and Meno. Gili Air has more restaurant and beach bar offerings than Gili Meno, but has a more laid back vibe than Gili Trawangan.
Because I traveled to the Gilis in November during low season, I chose to stay on Gili Trawangan (or “Gili T”) for a wide of array of restaurants, beach bars, activities and nightlife. I was nervous whether an island that has become so popular with young backpackers, is known to have a wild nightlife scene and doesn’t have a single five star resort on it (the horror, I know!) would appeal to me, but I adored the natural beauty of the Gilis. The drunken debauchery and party scene of Gili T was easy enough to avoid (at least during low season) by avoiding the main strip. There’s also plenty to do on Gili T aside from lounging at the beach or diving – you can charter a boat to go island hopping, snorkel with sea turtles, go horseback riding, take a cooking class, go kayaking and paddle-boarding, or simply enjoy the island’s epic sunsets at a peaceful beachfront bar.
Where to Stay: The Pearl of Trawangan. I chose this hotel for three main reasons: location, the property’s beach access and the fact that it is one of the nicest resorts on the island. The Pearl is just a five minute walk from the main strip and is situated on a beautiful stretch of sand where you can walk right into the ocean. (Swimming from your hotel’s beachfront property isn’t necessarily a given on Gili T due to large coral formations and the tide levels). I found the resort’s location perfect because I could easily walk into “town” (motorized vehicles are prohibited on the Gilis, so your only mode of transportation is biking or taking a horse and cart), but the resort is also far enough away from the strip’s raucous nightlife to be peaceful and allow for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re on your honeymoon and seeking a secluded retreat on Gili T, I would recommend a resort on the quiet North end of the island, such as Desa Denia Beda Beach Resort. If you’re seeking a mid-range price tag, many travelers’ go-to is the much loved Le Pirate Beach Club (you’ll want to book this hotel ASAP – it’s a very popular spot and almost always books fully) or Wilson’s Retreat. Like anywhere with a thriving backpacker scene, you have your choice of budget-friendly lodging options such as Little Woodstock Homestay and Gili La Boheme. You can find great deals on Gili Island accommodations and book your stay online here.
How to Get There: If you’re coming from Jakarta or another location in Asia, the quickest and easiest way to get to the Gili Islands is to fly into Lombok International Airport. It is approximately a 90 minute drive from the airport to the port, and then a 10 minute speedboat ride to Gili T. I would recommend setting up a private transfer and speedboat through your hotel for the quickest and most comfortable ride. If you’re coming from Bali, you can choose to fly to Lombok or book a boat transfer with one of the many “fast boat” companies that run routes from Bali to the Gilis.
Bali Bound: 10 Day Luxury Bali Itinerary
Days 4-8: Ubud
After a few days of sun and fun it’s time to get your Eat, Pray, Love on. Elizabeth Gilbert’s popular book (and the movie starring Julia Roberts) put Ubud on the map for many western travelers. Ubud is Bali’s cultural center and is situated in the midst of lush tropical jungle and rice fields. I found Ubud and its surrounding area magical! There’s a ton to do and see which could have easily kept me busy for a week or more, but it’s possible to get a good dose of Ubud in about three days if necessary. You can visit the famed Tegallalang rice terraces, explore nearby artisan villages, walk the scenic Campuhan Ridge, splash around the Tegenungan waterfall or hike volcanic Mount Batur at sunrise. Ubud is also a mecca for yoga lovers and is home to a plethora of yoga studios, restaurants serving delicious organic food and great boutique shopping.
Ubud makes a great base to explore other parts of Bali. You can easily hire a driver to take day trips to other parts of the island, but still be back in Ubud each evening to enjoy a delicious dinner and rest your head at your luxury villa. Ask your driver to head north to Lake Bratan to see Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, the famous water temple you see gracing the cover of many Bali guidebooks. I’d also recommend continuing north and visiting the peaceful and less-toured Lake Tamblingan. If you’re wanting to experience more of Bali’s natural beauty and mystical temples, head east to trek up to the beautiful Lempuyang temple.
Where to Stay: Viceroy Bali and Kayumanis Ubud Private Villas & Spa Resort. I spent the most time in Ubud out any of the destinations I visited in Bali. I split my time between two equally perfect (but very different) luxury resorts to see and experience as much of Ubud as possible:
I began my stay just east of Ubud’s center at Viceroy Bali. To sum up this experience in one word: W-O-W. If you’re seeking luxe perfection, look no further. Viceroy Bali consists of 25 private villas that serve as a tropical retreat to the rich and Insta-famous, and if you’ve seen photos of the property, it’s certainly not hard to see why. This exclusive resort is built into the side of a mountain so each villa is graced with uninterrupted views of the valley and river gorge below. The resort’s level of service, spa and fine dining is as flawless as it’s often-photographed infinity pool. You could easily experience a blissful holiday without even stepping foot outside the resort (particularly since Viceroy Bali even has a private helicopter landing pad for guests).
I moved west of the city center to Kayumanis Ubud for the second half of my stay in Ubud. The sprawling property is situated within a tropical forest and overlooking the Ayung River, offering a secluded getaway for guests. The resort showcases Bali’s natural beauty with a unique open air design. Each villa has its own pool and is surrounded by a walled garden for complete privacy. Aside from the enclosed structure which housed the bed, the other parts of my villa were integrated into an outdoor living space. The open-air living room is a stunning setting to read a book or enjoy a meal, and the outdoor bathtub and shower couldn’t have been a better setting to unwind after a long day of sight-seeing. A stay at Kayumanis Ubud is a must if you love nature and want to envelope yourself into Bali’s peaceful terrain.
I’m head over heels for both Viceroy Bali and Kayumanis Ubud. Both of these resorts exceeded my expectations and I would recommend them to my readers.
How to Get There: From the Gili islands take a “fast boat” to Padang Bai and then hire a driver to take you to Ubud. Most fast boat companies will also arrange the land transfer for you. I booked through Bluewater Express and found the boat and transfer to be comfortable and the process fairly seamless.
Bali Bound: 10 Day Luxury Bali Itinerary
Days 9-10: Jimbaran
After you’ve soaked up the beauty and spirituality of Bali’s Ubud area it’s time to head south to explore the Southern Peninsula. If when you think of Bali you see sandy beaches and surf breaks aplenty, this is the part of Bali you’re imagining. Jimbaran is a fishing village on the bustling west coast of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula and has become a popular resort town. Visit Uluwatu Temple and bounce down the rocky coast exploring the impressive coves and beaches while watching surfers catch waves. As daylight dwindles, choose a beachfront seafood grill to enjoy the catch of the day and soak in one of the area’s famed sunsets.
Where to Stay: Jamahal Private Resort & Spa. As my driver turned off the busy main thoroughfare in Jimbaran and into Jamahal’s driveway, the hustle and bustle outside the resort’s gates melted away. Jamahal prides itself on being an intimate boutique resort with only 13 private villas which offer a very different experience than a large chain hotel. Jamahal only allows 28 guests to book the property at once, so each guest is showered with stellar personalized service. The villas are absolutely stunning (splurge for a spa pool villa and you won’t regret it) and service was impeccable. It was immediately evident to me why Jamahal is ranked the #1 hotel in Jimbaran on TripAdvisor.
If a luxury villa isn’t in your price range take a look at The Open House and The Sintesa Jimbaran for mid-range hotels, or MaxOneHotels at Bukit Jimbaran and Hotel Horison Jimbaran if you’re on a tight budget.
Are you Bali bound? Which part of this 10 day trip would you like most to experience?
Although I was a guest of Viceroy Bali, Kayumanis Ubud and Jamahal, all opinions are 100% my own! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean that if you choose to book through it I earn a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support to keep this site up and running! You can read FWTG’s full Disclosure Policy here. Header image: sunset XVII (Bali) by Kai Lehmann CC BY 2.0
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