Finally after so many business trips to Indonesia, we made it to Bali on a much deserved vacation. Bali is the island which defines tourism in Indonesia and famous for its culture, surf and nice island life. A week is not enough to explore but that is all we have as we head out to the more stunning Flores for a week after this.
Planning for a trip to Bali. Explore in this short guide for your next island vacation.
We curated our trip with 3 nights in Ubud and 3 nights in Kuta. This gives us time to explore the culture and north/east Bali while later immerse in the busy touristy Kuta. Our target was to explore the beautiful temples, waterfalls, beaches and practice some scuba dive. Also eat a lot in the restaurants in the island of ‘Eat, Pray and Love’. This is our ‘A Week In Bali’.
Day 1 (28 May) : Arriving in Ubud – The flight from Delhi to Denpasar (Bali) is now more cheaper,thanks to the Air Asia flights. The connection was smooth and we landed in the paradise island on time. We already booked a taxi for pickup thru our previous acquaintance Pak. Meade. Meade got us connected to Pak. Eco who is a taxi driver from Kuta. He picked us up at the airport and drove straight to Ubud. We stopped just before Denpasar at a warung for lunch which was simply delicious.
With nothing planned for the day and after an overnight flight, we decided to relax at the pool of the hotel. After nightfall, we moved to the Ubud Market and explored around it and finally settling down for a dinner. Ubud is known for amazing restaurants and good food.
Day 2 (29 May) : Tegalalang & Kintamani– If you plan 5 most instagrammed spots in Bali, one has to be Tegalalang Rice Terraces. This beautiful manicured terraces are best visited early at sunrise or late during sunset. Thus you can avoid the crowd from the day trip buses.
We started by visiting the Ubud Palace and Saraswati Temple. The temple is famous for its lotus pond which makes it beautiful. The palace and the temple are located on the centre of Ubud. Expect to spend around an hour here.
We started our journey towards Goa Gajah which is a few miles away from Ubud. The temple built inside a cave is for Lord Brahma , Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The small pond in front provides opportunity to take a holy bath. Gunung Kawi is a beautiful temple dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and located in a gorge and carved our of stones. The huge monoliths are stunning. While climbing down the stairs watch out for the stunning rice terraces on the right side. This provides a great photo opportunity sans the crowd of Tegalalang. We moved on form here to Pura Tirta Empul, the temple of holy waters. Do not miss the opportunity to purify in the holy waters. After the bath, you will feel refreshed to continue on your trip further.
The island of Bali is a volcanic island and it becomes clear when you arrive at Kintamani. The volcano of Batur and Augung are beautiful form here while the caldera lake of Bauer lies below. Stop at one of the many restaurants offering views and have a lunch here. If you are adventurous, plan to start a full day tour to climb Batur and have a stunning sunrise from there.
Finally at end of day we arrived back at Tegalalang Rice Terraces. The place has become super busy with so many tourists and drones flying around. There are several swings offering an adventure over the terraces. A complete walk should take around an hour and its worth. The views from different sides will provide different perspective and some corners you will be alone to take nice pictures.
Day 3 (30 May) : Amed Scuba – Pura Lempuyang– After a week in Bali we are about to head out to the amazing Komodo Islands. So it is a good idea to have a couple of dives in the shores of Amed. As we are staying in Ubud, Padang Bai is probably the closest dive sites for us. But we have already dived in the waters of Tulamben last year, Pak. Meade wanted us to dive in Amed. He was the dive instructor last year also.
We left the hotel early and after almost 3 hours, we reached the coast of Amed. Meade was already waiting for us. In 30 minutes we were on the boat and ready for the dive. Let the pictures tell the rest.
After finishing our dives, we started the journey back towards Ubud via Pura Lempuyang. This temple named after namesake mountain is one of the top and most sacred temples of the land. The iconic split gate of the temple with Gunung Agung in backdrop makes a great photo. The temple architecture itself is stunning. Today being a new year in Bali, the temple is closed for visitors and only locals who come for praying are allowed.
Pura Lempuyang is one of the most beautiful place in Bali. But sadly people do not venture out to this beautiful mountain temple as it is far from the touristy points of Kuta. Make sure you pay visit to the beautiful temple and get yourself clicked in the stunning gates.
Tirta Ganga (The Water Palace) is another beautiful place we visited. After spending some time here, we headed on a long journey thanks to the famous traffic jams which are becoming so common in Bali now a days.
On the way back, we did not have enough time to make a visit to Goa Lawah. There was a huge traffic on the road thanks to the new year celebrations.
Day 4 (31 May) : Nung Nung Waterfall and Pura Ulun Danu Beratan– After a easy day diving and a temple tour, today we are about to embark of a journey to enjoy the beautiful waterfall at the central highlands followed by the stunning lake temple at Beratan.
There are numerous waterfalls in a Bali. But some are stunning due to the shape and sheer drop size. Nung Nung is probably one of the best waterfall, if not the best in the island. The drive from Ubud to the waterfall took us 1hr 30 mins. The location of the fall is approximately at 1000 m above sea level and the weather is not as humid as in Kuta or Ubud. From the car park it takes you to climb down ~500 steps to reach the fall. You can see the fall only when you reach the bottom. The whole area is surrounded in mist. Make sure you are in swim shorts to enjoy the fall to the best.
Thankfully at every 150 steps there are rest stops where you can relax while climbing up. It will take about 15-20 mins to climb up to the parking lot.
We moved on from NungNung towards Beratan. The roads are all nice but single lane, so sometimes we meed some traffic which became a nightmare when we reached 1 km before Beratan. The traffic just crawled there. We decided to stop at a warung and have the lunch. After a lunch of Nasi Goreng, we moved on towards Hendara Golf Course which is about a couple of kms ahead of Beratan. This gate is simply stunning. Thanks to instagram for making this gate famous and we actually came to know from instagram.
We were aware of the traffic while returning too and hence after 30 mins around the gate, we moved towards Beratan. The temple of Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the most beautiful temple in Bali, and you will see it everywhere in the internet of tourist brochure. The setting on the lake with a hill in the backdrop with clouds and mist makes the setting of the temple stunning.
The plan was to see Tanah Lot during sunset, but alas the traffic jam made it impossible for us. We headed back and finally reached Kuta our new home at 8 PM.
Day 5 (1 June) : Kuta Beach– We did nothing but relax on the beach.
Day 6 (2 June) : Tanah Lot and Uluwatu– After relaxing we start again for the temples again and this time we visit the famous Tanah Lot and Uluwatu. The breakfast spread at Grand Inn is with many options and loved it. We started at 10:30 AM form the hotel for the day trip.
We went to Tanah Lot first, but sadly there was high tide and we could not reach the temple. Most of the time the tide will subside at evening and you can walk to the temple. The temple is made on a small rocky outcrop in the sea and the huge waves of indian ocean crashes behind it. The setting is beautiful for a picture. After spending an hour we moved back to head south to Uluwatu.
On the way back, the beautiful rice fields made a nice setting for the restaurants and we stopped in one of them. The food was ok. The drive to Uluwatu will take 2 hrs from Tanah Lot. We planned to visit a few white sand beaches of Nusa Dua before hitting the temple for the sunset and Kecak Dance.
The first stop was Pandawa beach, which is a nice white sand beach with corals in the front. The corals prevent the huge waves from crashing on the beach and makes it nice like a swimming pool. There are options to canoe here. The view from the top of the hill while coming down is particularly beautiful.
The second stop was Melasti beach. this used to be a private beach for Banyan tree Resort till a couple of years back. But now with a road built, slowly its is making its way to the peoples itinerary. The beach is beautiful and long. The views of the beach and corals from top is also stunning.
Finally we reached Uluwatu, a stunning temple set on a high cliff facing the Indian Ocean. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This iconic temple is best during sunsets. Be aware of the monkeys at the view point west of the temple. They will take away caps, mobile phone if you keep them out. Also do not keep any food with you.
Bali is famous for its Kecak dance performances. Most temples have these but the one in Uluwatu, is beautiful for its setting with sunset and temple as backdrop. The gallery fills up fast and you have to be early to get a nice sit on the top. The shows depict the story of Ramayana, and will last for an hour. There can be no better ending to a tour to Bali, but a show of Ramayana in the backdrop of Uluwatu and the setting sun on the Indian Ocean.
Short of holidays and want more adventure. Read this how we spent 3 days in Bali doing scuba and Temples. A 3 Day Bali Trip.
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