Bali is one of the most popular islands in Indonesia. Water sports, surfing or just relaxing at the beach; hiking or sightseeing; gorgeous temples with amazing views; yummylicious food; spa hopping and much more; with a mixture of spirituality, nature and wonderful people this place offers something for everyone’s likes.
Me and my husband were in Bali for 5 days in Jun 2016. We wanted to visit all the important attractions and also take some time off and just relax, doing nothing. If you are planning a trip to Bali, look no further, I have the perfect itinerary for you.
People of Bali
It is important to know a little about the local people before visiting any place. In Bali, about 85% of the people follow Balinese Hinduism. Minority religions include Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. You will find many people worshiping several times in a day. Be careful while walking on the streets as locals put out offerings to god outside their shops, restaurants and houses.
People in Bali are very courteous and warm. They will always welcome you with a smile and a namaste. If you are Indian, they will ask you about Bollywood 🙂 Everybody there is fond of ShahRukh Khan (Indian Actor). I also saw people watching Indian television serials dubbed in Balinese 😛
When to visit
Bali has a typical tropical climate which is hot and humid most of the time. The rainy season lasts from October till March. June to September is considered the driest season, with low humidity and it can be fairly cold in the evenings, the best time for any outdoor activities. Peak tourism time to visit Bali is from September to December.
We were in Bali in June, when it was relatively dry, less humid. However, we did experience rains for 3 days. For us, it was a blessing as the weather got cool and comfortable for us to go around 🙂 🙂
We had booked a travel agent named ‘Bali Tour Guide‘to take us around. They provided us with a personal cab with an English speaking driver/guide who made sure that we had a smooth and comfortable trip.
You can look for local guides on reaching Bali as well. There are local bus services also available in the market area who will charge you per destination. Alternately, if you are too adventurous, you can rent out a bike and ride your way in Bali.
Where to Stay
We stayed at The Kuta Beach Heritage Hotel at Kuta square, which is a prime location at Kuta beach. It is one of the most commercialized places in Bali. Beach, restaurants, local shops and spas, all available at a stone throw away distance.
Personally, I would recommend looking for places at Legian or Seminyak area, as these are a little away from the crazy crowded Kuta Beach while being walking distance from the bustling busy streets. Next time I go to Bali, I will probably look for a place here.
You will find a variety of options to choose from: budget hotels, luxury hotels, villas or bag packers hostels. Based on your travel requirements you can make necessary arrangements. Do make reservations well in advance, as most places get full.
What to do
This is our 5 days itinerary:
Day 01: Kuta
We reached around 11 am to our hotel. As the room was not yet ready, we deposited our bags at the reception and head out to explore Kuta Square and the beach.
Post lunch we checked into our hotel room. This was a day of relaxing for us. So after a nap, we spent the evening at the beach and then we head to the swimming pool at our hotel once it got dark.
Many people go surfing. You can find surfing classes as well if you want to learn a new skill.
Dinner was at the food stall right below the hotel.
Day 02: Nusa dua – Uluwatu tour
We started our day at 9.00 am, post breakfast. Our first stop was Tanjung benoa which is center point for water sports. You will have an array of activities to choose from- snorkeling, diving, parasailing, jet ski, glassbottom boat ride, Turtle island, sea walking and more.
Tip: This turned out to be the most expensive activity in our tour. Do remember to bargain.
We decided to go for glassbottom boat ride + Turtle island and underwater diving. 🙂
We got on the glassbottom boat at the pier and sped off to the middle of the sea where we were given bread to feed the fishes, which gathered below our boat. We could see the beautiful colorful fishes and corals clearly through the glass window at the bottom of our boat.
The boat then took us to the Turtle Island where we met beautiful turtles: big, small, medium sized. A local guide showed us around.
There were some birds as well.
After we were transported back to the pier by the glassbottom boat, we changed into our diving suits. Our instructor explained the dos and don’ts of diving and then took us on a boat to the diving site. I was super scared, nervous and excited as it was my first time. After a very nervous start, I finally dove into the sea. OMG!!! it was a surreal experience. A Must do!! Especially for first timers like me, as its not very very deep and manageable.
Once we got back to the pier, fresh towels and shampoo sachets were provided to us to have bath.
Our next destination was Nusa Dua beach where we had a lovely walk along the beach to the water blow section.
A water blow is created when the waves enter and crash against the narrow area between the rocks, causing the water to splash upwards to great heights. You need to visit during high tide and when the waves are strong, or else the splash would not be very high.
Our last stop for the day was at Uluwatu Temple where we enjoyed the sunset along with the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean followed by the colorful Kecak dance.
At sunset, a troupe of 60 men present the Kecak dance. There are no props or orchestra.These men chant through the show to build the tempo of the play. The story of the play is based on ‘Ramayana’, where different characters enact their roles through Balinese dance moves.
Tip: avoid sunglasses or any other flashy items while walking near the Uluwatu temple. We din’t believe our guide until we saw a little monkey grab a tourists’ sunglasses and trying to eat it 😛
Dinner was at a food stall at the local market.
Day 03: Kintamani volcano tour
We were woken up by thundering clouds which brought along crazy rains cooling off the otherwise hot and humid weather. We started off with a 2 hour ride to Kintamani Volcano site. On the way, we stopped at an Orange farm where we picked up fresh and juicy oranges.
We reached the Kintamani Volcano site by afternoon. Tourist cars are usually taken to a road adjacent to the mountain from where you can see Lake batur and the volcano.
There is also an option to go hiking onto the mountain to see the sunrise. You will need to start early morning, as its advised to reach the top before sunrise.
We had an Indonesian buffet lunch at a restaurant with the mountain view.
Next stop was the spice garden/coffee plantation. We were given a tour of the garden and also saw the production process of Luwak coffee, which is a coffee that is made from part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet.
The garden tour ended with a tea and coffee tasting session with a mesmerizing valley view.
We stopped at Tegallalang rice terrace fields to take some pics on the way to Ubud.
From here we head to Ubud Palace. The beautifully constructed palace is the official residence of the royal family of Ubud. You can see the structure from outside as tourists are not allowed inside the palace.
Right outside the palace is Ubud market where plenty of tourists are seen shopping for souvenirs, clothes and local items. Make sure to bargain heavy and don’t buy anything at the first prize quoted to you.
Last stop for the day was Tegenungan waterfall. It’s quite a walk down uneven stairs to reach the waterfall. In case you do not want to walk down, you can enjoy the view from cafes at the top.
We ended our day dining at a restaurant at Kuta-Legian road. The street comes to life post 9.30pm with colorful lights, tourists flocking the streets, restaurants playing loud music, people all decked up to go to the nightclub.
Day 04: Bedugul – Tanah Lot tour
It was raining again this day, making it a perfect cool weather for sightseeing. This was a day of temples, starting with Taman Ayun temple/ Royal family temple situated in a beautiful park with trees and ponds, near the village of Mengwi. Tourists are not allowed inside the temple. There are platforms around the place from where you can take pictures.
Next we started driving towards Bedugul. The weather gets cooler as you move towards this area.
Important tip: open your car windows and enjoy the cool breeze on your face as you ride through the villages.
On the way, we stopped at a strawberry farm. It was not a full season, hence, we couldn’t find many ripe strawberries but we managed to pick a few. We also bought some strawberries from the local stall along the road.
Next stop was at Ulun Danu Bratan temple, also called as Temple at the lake. A gorgeous temple on the lake surrounded by clouds. You cannot go inside the temple. I just cannot explain how gorgeous this temple is.
Tip: Carry some warm clothes/ jacket, as it gets really chilly up there.
You can also feed some deers kept in the garden.
Our last destination was the famous Tanah Lot temple or the temple at the sea. This place is swarming with tourists. Again here, tourists are not allowed inside the temple. But the view outside is simply awesome. At high tide, waves flood the path making it impossible to cross. At low tide, you may cross to view the rock base.
Day 05: Relaxing and return
After check out from our hotel, we roamed around Kuta square for shopping. Beachwalk is a commercial mall at the beach, where you can shop for branded items. Matahari is another shopping center where you can shop for souvenirs and local artifacts. There are numerous local stalls all around the beach where you get cheap stuff. Make sure to bargain!
To complete our trip, we head to a spa for Balinese massage, foot massage, manicure and pedicure. After a pampering session, we went back to our hotel, got our bags and drove to the Ngurah Rai Airport to return to Singapore.
I hope you got a glimpse of what Bali has to offer, definitely there is much much more you can explore. You can customize your trip according to the time available to you and your interests. Start planning and get going!! 🙂 🙂
Read more about food in Bali in my next post: Top 10 must in Bali