It can be quite difficult to have a plan for Bali when there are tons of articles but nothing really insightful or helpful. Let me quickly solve that problem for you by giving you tips and planning advice. Heres my 5-day itinerary for Bali. You will be able to make all your plans with this information.
The typical things you can enjoy in Bali are
- Culture and Temples.
- Beach life.
- Island life.
- Mountains and Forests.
- Relaxing retreat in a Yoga/ Massage/ Spa resort.
Bali has essentially all the above. Choose what you like among the above before setting out to make a plan. Then you will have a fair idea of what to expect and what you are seeking.
You will land at Denpasar Airport also named as Ngurah Rai International Airport. Most tourists stay in the southern part of Bali near the airport. The most famous place to stay is Kuta for most tourists. But along the same coastline, you can also find other places to stay in Legian, Seminyak, and Canggu. Search google images for “areas in Bali”. This should give you a fair idea of what I am talking about.
Place of stay is important as that will dictate how much you will travel. As all tourist sports are spread out pretty much in all directions. But Kuta is usually termed as the most happening place for regular tourists. Ubud is another good place to stay, however, it is in central Bali surrounded by lush green fields and mountains. You can either visit Ubud for a full day tour or can visit there for a couple of nights. Ubud is more famous for retreats for Yoga and Spa’s.
There are tons of beaches in every direction and you will never be really far away from the sea. But make your choice right as there are too many to choose from. As a tip, I will tell you that there are white as well as black sandy beaches. So do your research before you finalize them.
I have broken down the list of attractions into a logical and do-able day-by-day list so that you do not have to worry about planning the tour. Just book a taxi and go!
DAY 1 =====
Why? One of the best known and scenic locations in Bali. Superb scenery and amazing places for Instagram pictures. Trust me you will be amazed by this beauty. Pictures and videos will not be able to tell you the true story unless you visit it in person. You can choose between Tanah Lot and Uluwatu for a sunset. I prefer Tanah Lot. A lot better and you are on the beach to enjoy the water as well. Spend 2-3 hours in Uluwatu and explore it as its a big complex. Take al the pictures you can.
Visit here once in the morning to just see how high and how dangerous the sea can look if you are not used to them. Morning waves can be easily 2 meters high at least with powerful waves that can suck you in. Therefore only well-trained people will go surfing in these waves. But its a sight to behold and enjoy. You can also visit the beach after Uluwatu temple and relax in one of the beach chairs and sip on a beer or cold drinks and order some snacks under the shade of a tree or beach umbrella. Spend 2-3 hours enjoying and relaxing.
Tanah Lot Temple
The best time to head out to Tanah lot is around 3:30 pm. It will take you an hour through the winding roads. This is another big complex and you will need 2-3 hours till sunset to enjoy this beauty. You will see magnificent cliffs, surging huge 5-6 meter waves and a very refreshing chilled out ambiance. You can enter the temple as well if the tide is not too high in the evening and climb up its stairs. After sunsets, there is nothing to be done here. So plan your time accordingly.
The Kecak dance, or ‘Tari Kecak’, is a beautiful recreation of a storyline from the Hindu Ramayana epic. It’s very beautiful and has its own charm. This is one traditional Balinese art form and is widely recognized. Their use of fire element as a centerpiece prop adds to the beauty and uniqueness. Kecak Dance is performed at various venues, but I will suggest you attend these at either Tanah Lot or Uluwatu temples whichever you visit in the evening. So that you do not have to travel far to enjoy them.
DAY 2 & 3 ===== UBUD
I will suggest you a 2-day itinerary for Ubud. Stay for one night as there is so much to see and do (and everything is exciting) that a one day trip cannot be justified. No point in going to Bali and missing out on it. Ubud is lush green and full of forests and mountains. Its knows as a retreat where you can have a relaxed holiday as well as enjoy sights and sounds. Here goes.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
One of the most beautiful sights and mesmerizing. Reach here early in the morning and enjoy a walk in the rice fields in cooler weather. Take unlimited Instagram pics with all the shades of green. This is uniquely different. Trust me.
Ubud Monkey Forest
This may seem boring, but the monkeys make it all the more fun. Enjoy watching them play and run around playing pranks on visitors. Be careful of your belongings as it’s easy for them to steal and you do not want to mess with a monkey no matter how small. It adds to the short fun.
Ubud Art Market
A paradise for art seekers and shopping enthusiasts. A lot of stuff at cheap rates to stuff in your luggage and carry it back home to be displayed. Not to be missed. Spend some time here and you will not be disappointed. They say if you go early morning, you get the best deals. Find out yourself for how much of a discount you can negotiate!
KOPI LUWAK BALI Coffee
Ubud is not complete without the Luwak Coffee. Available in a lot of places, ask your Hotel or Taxi for the best place and head there. This coffee has a fragrance and taste of its own and is very different indeed. Also, you get free samples of 20 coffee flavors! Don’t instantly compare it with other coffee flavors. This one is good and needs to be appreciated. Especially the smell. You also get a tour where they explain how the coffee is made in reality and meet the Luwaks as they rest in the day time.
Again one more activity that looks and seems childish in pictures, but is totally different when you see it in person. The long angle of the swing and the way the swing takes off in the sky before returning back is superb. Even if you do not take part, you will still stand and be amazed by this unique experience.
Sacred Waters of Tirta Empul
Do take out time and enjoy the bath in the several water streams there. This is one big complex and will take 2 hours to completely explore. Rent a sarong and go into the water just like the others. There will be small queues, but will still be an unbeatable experience.
Another temple and uniquely different. Must do activity in your Ubud visit. This one is a quickie and will take you 30-45 mins to complete. But don’t miss it.
Visit Ubud Palace
This is a historical building complex located in Ubud. Was the official residence of the Royal family. It is said to host evening dance performances, do enquire beforehand if you plan to attend one.
Campuhan Ridge walk
Anyone who appreciates natural beauty will appreciate this. Its a small 2-3 km trek/ walk and is usually not very populated. The best time to visit is in the early morning or evening as the sun is going down. A popular nature trek where you can enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery.
There are tons of waterfalls in and around Ubud. They are a paradise for nature lovers. I will write a separate blog on all the interesting waterfalls in Bali. But this one is easily accessible and also a very nice sight. Water gushes down from a height and so there is a lot of mist in the air near the waterfall. Be ready to be soaked in the mist if you get even 50 meters close. Ensure your electronics are safe. But the water is amazing and feels very relaxing in the Bali heat.
Visit Bali Bird Park
Not too far is the Bali Bird Park and another site not to be missed. A 2-hectare tropical park with a wide variety of birds to see, it gives a peek into the largest and finest collections of Indonesian birds. In addition, you get to see birds from Africa and South America as well. A very good educational attraction for the whole family. It offers Free Flight Bird Show and also has an interactive feeding time feature. There are daily feeding schedules at the park that visitors can actively participate in. Interesting right?
Mount Batur Climb
This one is an early morning trek and you will have to book a tour that starts at 4 am and takes you to see the sunrise. It is a small adventurous 2-hour trek starting in the dark and ending with an amazing sunrise at the summit. Don’t forget to carry enough water and snacks!
Spot the Dolphins in Lovina
Ubud is an easy place to travel from if you want to see the dolphins. Lovina beach is situated slightly towards the North-West and easy access from a central place like Ubud than Kuta. Lovina has a black sandy beach and is known for calm waters and frequent dolphin sightings. This is another early morning tour with boats starting off as early as 6 am into the sea.
Ulun Danu Temple
Along the way to Lovina lies the Ulun Danu Temple. Another mesmerizing beauty, difficult to describe it in words. The way it stands out of the surroundings is amazing. You can cover this one on the way back from Lovina beach after the Dolphin sightings.
Go Snorkeling in Amed
Amed beach is also in the North and like Lovina has easy access from Central Ubud. All along the Amed beach coastline, there are multiple good snorkeling and scuba diving spots. There is also the wreck of a sunken Japanese fishing boat to explore. No wonder, Amed is famous for its snorkeling and coral reefs. This one is regarded as being Bali’s number one dive site. You can climb Mount Agung or also visit the Tirta Gangga Water Palace. Not bad to have so many things to do all in one place. This can easily take up 3-4 hours of your time at least if you do not want to stay back.
If you are more keen on exploring wildlife, you can also consider a visit here for a unique collection of animals. It’s a lot more fun with family especially with kids around.
Agung Rai Museum of Art
For those who enjoy and appreciate Balinese art and culture, this is one place to be. Founded by Agung Rai, who devoted his entire life to the art’s preservation and development.
If you love art and artwork, you can also visit Blanco Renaissance Museum while in Ubud.
DAY 4 ==== Nusa Penida Day Trip
Nusa Penida is another island off the coast of Bali and you will purchase a boat ticket which will also pick you up from the hotel. It’s good to book a package tour for the entire day as it ensures you will cover all the scenic spots without any hassle. There are 3 main spots to be covered in the day visit and you can do only these 3 as there is only sufficient time for them. Trust me you will never forget this experience.
The magnificent beach you see in all Instagram pics. It looks like a T-Rex. The best part is you can trek to the bottom to the beach but will take you close to 2-3 hours to go and return. So good to skip and watch the beauty from above. The beauty is unbelievable.
Around 1hr drive from the first one is the Angel’s Billabong spectacular rock formation. It has unbelievable and dangerous rock cliff faces. So tread only where it’s safe. You will find some of the most beautiful cliffs here. It will take you a long time to soak in this view. It’s so beautiful. I think, during low tide, you can descend into its rock pools, but it was closed when I made the visit. Also, this place has been prone to accidents due to huge waves. So be very very careful.
Not very far from Angel’s Billabong (actually just a short walk) is the Broken Beach. Yes, so you have 2 beautiful attractions in one place.
Sad but true. Yes you can only fit in these 3 spots during your day tour before you return to Sanur. The boat ticket includes drop to your hotel. So you can rest, go for a nice massage followed by dinnner.
DAY 5 ==== Shopping and Recreation.
You can do some recreation of a few of the below activities as per your choice.
- Enjoy beaches and watersports in Nusa Dua and Water Blow.
- Enjoy White Water Rafting on Ayung River
- Surfing in Kuta/ Canggu
- Tour a chocolate factory
- Watersports in Sanur
- Party and enjoy the nightlife in Kuta
No day is complete without a Balinese Spa and or massage session. Cheap and very good at the price you pay, this one is a must do every day. It will take away your tiredness and make you feel relaxed. So affordable that you can practically do this every day.
Bali is filled with a whole lot more things to see and experience. But for a 5-day tour, this should be really sufficient. I will follow up with more blogs to add to this information if you are planning a longer trip, but for now, this information should hold good for 5 days planning even within a long journey.
I feel this has been a good start to the Bali vlog series and with many more to come I am sure it will be an interesting read. Please stay tuned for more and share your feedback/ queries. Don’t feel shy to join in and write a few blogs for us and be featured on our website. Please do share this with your friends and family on Social Media. Cheers and happy travels.