If you’ve done the regular Seminyak-Ubud Bali beach route and you’re after something still beach-based but different, then look no further. We’ve mapped out your ideal 10-day beach hop itinerary.
Ah, good ol’ Bali. A province comprising one big island and a handful of smaller islands, Bali has long drawn travellers seeking a beach holiday, and there’s no doubt it delivers. From palm-fringed, white-sand coasts and cliff-guarded coves to shimmering, black-sand volcanic beaches and wave-buffeted shores, there’s a beach to suit any traveller. Here’s a new take on a Bali beach holiday.
Day one – Check in to Wyndham Dreamland
From the airport, hail a taxi or book a Go-Jek (the Indonesian equivalent of Uber) and head south to Wyndham Dreamland on the Bukit Peninsula. Steps from Uluwatu’s hotspots, the newly-opened resort will serve as a base for the start of your trip.
After checking in, cool off in the resort’s lagoon pool or catch a wave at one of Bali’s world-famous surf breaks. Dreamland Beach, Bingin Beach and Padang Padang are all within easy reach and promise a thrilling ride regardless of your skill level. For a more relaxed start, stroll on over to one of the many warungs (eateries) for a snack and watch the pros carve waves in front of the setting sun.
For dinner, look no further than Rayunan Restaurant at your resort to sample some truly traditional ‘nusantara’ (meaning archipelago in Old Javanese) fare. Try the Indonesian classic Oxtail soup, Sop Buntut, or the Balinese take on crème brûlée, Nusantara Srikaya.
Day two – Explore the Bukit
After a yoga class and a hearty breakfast at the resort, start your day of exploring the Bukit. If you’re confident on a scooter (and have insurance and an international scooter license), make your way around that way. If you don’t, ask reception to arrange a private driver for the day.
Beach-wise, check out Suluban for its natural formations and rocky enclaves but, for a truly hidden gem, don’t go past Thomas Beach. Located halfway between Padang Padang and Uluwatu, you’ll find it off the main road, down a nondescript gravel driveway.
For lunch with a side of cocktails, visit cliff-side El Kabron or chilled-out Single Fin. Cashew Tree in Bingin is another great pitstop for a healthy veggie lunch. For dinner, you can’t go past a seafood barbecue on the beach at Jimbaran Bay.
Day three – Day trip to Seminyak or Canggu
Pencil in time today to explore Seminyak or, slightly further north, Canggu. It takes roughly one hour to get to Seminyak and 90 minutes to Canggu – but plan ahead for traffic on the day, which could make the trip a little longer.
Day four – Unwind at Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort
Now it’s time to relax in another part of the island. Take a Go-Jek or hire a driver and travel 90 minutes to Klungklung on the south-east coast. Here, your base will be Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort, a luxury accommodation right on black sand Lepang Beach. Choose from suites with plunge pools or villas overlooking rice paddies.
This slice of paradise is known for its much slower pace. After checking in, make a beeline for the ocean-facing pool and order from Jivva Beach Club. Afterwards, trot over to the onsite Tirta Spa for a massage.
In the evening, book a yoga class in the resort’s open-air bamboo yoga room or sweat out all your stresses in the sauna. You’re on holiday, after all.
Day five – Tour Klungklung
Start your day exploring Klungklung’s market. Here, brightly-coloured textiles hanging from shopfronts and locals going about their daily shopping set the scene, while vendors spruiking everything from tropical Bali fruits to silver and homewares, the soundtrack.
When you’re all shopped out, walk mere steps from the market to Klungklung Palace. Dating back to the 17th century, the monuments and landscaped grounds offer a peek into Bali’s fascinating past. While most of it was destroyed during the Dutch colonial conquest in 1908, many structures still remain, including the ‘hall of justice’ complex, Kertha Gosa.
Cap the day off with dinner at open-air resort restaurant Bumbu.
Day six – Ferry to Lombok
Make your way to Padangbai Harbour on mainland Bali, a 30-minute drive from the resort, and catch the 90-minute fast boat to Lombok. One of the many neighbouring islands off the mainland, it’s still relatively untouched and often described as Bali before the crowds. If ferries aren’t your thing, drive to Denpasar Airport and take the 45-minute flight instead.
In Lombok, check into Wyndham Sundancer Resort. Here, you can don your bathers, snag a seat at the resort’s Sundancer Beach Club and spend your afternoon soaking up the Bali beach sun.
Day seven – Dive or snorkel in Lombok
Lombok has some of the most spectacular, not to mention easily accessible, underwater life in the world, so take full advantage with a day of diving or snorkelling.
You won’t need to travel far, with a Dive Centre soon opening right at the resort. Get fitted with your equipment, then learn to dive in the resort pool before letting the team take you out for the real thing. Popular dive sites include Meno Wall, Nipah Slope and The Cathedral, as well as a sunken ship at Wreck Point off Gili Trawangan.
After a day on the water, spruce up for dinner at resort restaurant Bukit. On the second floor, the formal eatery is afforded gorgeous views over the ocean.
Day eight – Day trip to Gili Islands
Organise a day trip to the charming Gili Islands, Meno, Trawangan and Air, a 20-minute boat ride off Lombok. Gili Trawangan is by far the busiest, with the most resorts and nightlife. As you’re just here for the day, rent a bike and roam around its car-free terrain, grab a snorkel and swim with turtles, or hire a see-through kayak and paddle around the island. Or simply flop yourself on a beach lounge chair.
Gili Meno and Gili Air are both known for being honeymoon destinations and are, of course, much quieter. Stroll the beach, relax in a hammock or, on Gili Meno, walk to the saltwater lake and mangrove forest.
Day nine – Drive around Lombok
Use today to explore the countless mountains, waterfalls and beaches around Lombok. The island is surprisingly big, so plan ahead to get the most out of your day.
If you can manage the early start, take a taxi to Selong Belanak Beach, 90 minutes south of the resort but well worth the drive. Otherwise taxi straight to Benang Kelambu Waterfall, two hours inland. Six falls running through trees make the enchanting curtain of water truly a sight to behold. Also worth visiting is Rinjani Mountain, a massive volcano that towers off the island and is the second highest in the country.
Just before sunset, hit busy Senggigi Beach or pink-sand beach Mawun to see the sun sink into the sea.
Day 10 – Head back home
It’s the last day of your trip, and time to head home and back to reality. From Lombok, hop on a fast boat back to mainland Bali where you’ll catch a cab to the airport.
Speeding past rice paddies, greenery all around you and a sense of calm within, you’ll be basking in your new-found Bali glow and hoping it stays with you long enough until your next visit.