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Seven Days in Bali

Call it serendipity. I received a text message from a friend today whom I haven’t connected with in a while. She mentioned that she was dating this great new guy and going with him to Bali for Christmas this year instead of home for the holidays.

“I love love love Bali!” I texted back. “In fact, I just started writing a post about the island that I may publish tomorrow.”

A recent free-lance assignment jogged the ole noggin, and all the memories of my trip to Indonesia two years ago came flooding back.

I was hired to create a seven day itinerary for someone who wanted to focus on taking it easy beach-side, but she wanted to pepper her stay with a little scenery and culture.

Since I took the time developing this itinerary, I thought to myself, “Hey, self! Maybe your readers would be interested in your Bali itinerary, too?”

So here are a few nuggets for those who might be heading to Bali sometime soon. Or maybe you just want to add some things your bucket list!

Day 1: Beach and Pool

Ease in to that jet lag by spending the day lounging by the pool, drinking fruity drinks at the (or in the) pool bar, and noshing on delicious buffet goodies. I stayed at the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, but there are a plethora of nice hotels in the Kuta area.

Bali

 

Bali

Exotic fruit at the buffet

 

If you want to mix it up a bit, head to the beach in front of the hotel to enjoy that ocean breeze and shoot the breeze with some local vendors. Be forewarned, if you don’t feel like being “sold to” on your first day in Bali, avoid the hotel beaches. The vendors are super-friendly, though, and offer everything from hand woven bracelets to sarongs to foot massages! They are pretty persistent, so if you’re simply looking to nod off and relax, stick to the hotel pool.

To me, Kuta seems like the Cancun of Bali in terms of tourism and traffic. It’s not necessarily the type of place I would normally gravitate to on vacation, but it was a great place to get over initial jet lag before hopping over to Wakatobi for a week of diving. Check out my posts about some of the best SCUBA in the world here and here.

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Day 2: Explore Kuta

Spend the day getting familiar with your surroundings, exploring Kuta town and beach.

Cruise the beach and check out all of the vendors, who offer beverages (local beer, water, and sodas), food, souvenirs, massages, manicures, and pedicures. You’ll see plenty of expats getting their feet and hands done!

Then take some time to relax and soak yourself in the Indian Ocean. If you care to surf, this is an ideal beach with perfect surfing waves. Check out Pro Surf School to get a leg up – and on- that surfboard!

Grab a bite for lunch at the beach or back at the hotel, and then make your way to the streets of Kuta to hit the shopping scene. Need a break from the heat? Step inside Kuta Shopping Mall for some retail therapy with air-con! Still need a shopping fix? Head over to the Beachwalk Mall. If you want more local flavor, barter your way around the shopping stalls on Jalan Legian.

For dinner, indulge in local Indonesian fare at Kafe Batan Waru Kuta. It’s so atmospheric at night with the colorful basket lanterns dangling from the trees. Try the Kare Ayum/Sayur – the Indonesian version of Penang curry!

Bali

Day 3: Get Cultured

Alright. It’s time to venture out a bit today! Not too far, but to the bustling Denpasar. You’re going to get a little cultured today!

First stop on your cultural immersion tour is an authentic Barong dance performance. Barong is a mythological lion-like creature and king of the good spirits in Indonesian culture. During the dance, he battles Rangda, the demon queen mother of all spirit guarders, which represents the eternal battle between good and evil. Bali Barong and Keris Dance Cultural Performance holds shows at their outdoor (covered) theater from 9:30 to 11:30.

Bali

After the show, learn about the unique Indonesian Batik method. It’s an ancient tradition of decorating textiles by applying wax to areas that will remain uncolored and dyeing the rest of the cloth. Check out Batik Popiler 2 for some unique and beautiful Indonesian Batik designs.

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Continue on to Prapen Jewelry and Artifacts to watch the metallurgists at work creating beautiful pieces, and then cross an inner courtyard fish pond to browse the Zen-like store for fine jewelry.

Bali

Bali

Head back to your hotel for a late lunch and some well deserved R&R poolside or beachside! Check the hotel schedule for nightly performances, and you may be able to catch a Legong (Balinese trance) dance show!

Day 4: Tannah Lot

After spending a leisurely morning at your hotel poolside, take an afternoon half-day trip to Pura Tanah Lot, the temple on the sea. Only 12 miles from Denpasar, the temple is most impressive at sunset.

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The sixteenth century temple is one of seven sea temples around Bali’s Southwestern coast. Built on a rock outcrop, this cultural icon remains one of the most photographed temples on the island. Although born of Balinese mythology, the temple has also been heavily influenced by Hinduism.

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To get to the temple, you’ll have to traverse through a market of souvenir shops, so allow time to browse. Take advantage of the fresh coconuts for sale. If you’re dehydrated, the electrolytes will really help, and it’s SO refreshing!

Bali

Spend the afternoon perusing the temple, taking plenty of photos of the waves crashing against Pura Tanah Lot. Make sure to visit the “holy” spring under the rock formation and sip from the “fountain of youth.”

Day 5: Ubud

Today you’ll head to the laid-back and cool cultural hub Ubud. Surrounded by verdant rice paddies and steep ravines, this city almost seems like an oasis in the lush, green hills.

Bali

Did you read Eat, Pray, Love or see the movie? This is where she stayed in Bali.

Cruise down the three main roads, Ji Raya Ubud, Ji Monkey Forest and Ji Hanoman. Spend a leisurely few hours perusing art galleries, crafts stores, cafes, and other shops.

What’s crazy about Ubud is that there are these hip restaurants, coffee shops and modern amenities, but there is also a Sacred Monkey Forest right there in the town! You will literally feel like you’ve stepped on to the set of Tomb Raider when you enter the nature reserve and temple complex.

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As you climb across arched stone bridges draped in vines, watch out for those sneaky monkeys! They will vie for your attention – and your food. Although vendors sell monkey food, be wary of feeding them. Once you get a few admirers, it might be hard to shake them! It’s also common to witness a monkey screaming match fight. Try not to be too startled!

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They look more ferocious than they actually are…

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Leisurely make your way back to your hotel at your own pace, or stay a night in Ubud, if you’re feeling the vibe.

Day 6: Volcanoes and Rice Terraces

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Visit one of the most celebrated and beautiful rice terraces in Bali: the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. After climbing up, down and all around the terraces (be careful, some of the paths are extremely steep!), enjoy a little rest and relaxation at one of the “restaurants” that melt into the side of the valley. Sometimes a picnic table, sometimes a cabana, the seats are angled like theater seating to award you with the pristine and zen-like views of the terraces. If you haven’t purchased any post cards yet, now’s your chance. Lots of kids sell them here.

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After you’ve had your rice paddy fill, head to the base of Mt. Batur, an active volcano. Pull over to one of the small restaurants with stunning views of Batur and the lake it floats in, like Warung Tepi Sawah. The food might be mediocre, but the views are incredible

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Bali

Can’t beat the views at this resto…

Day 7: Royal Temple Time

On your last day in Bali, you’ll have one more temple complex on your agenda. Pura Taman Ayun, a Balinese Hindu temple, is located in the Mengwi Village. Built in 1634 by the King of Mwengi for his family, the complex is an island surrounded by a moat. The tiered pagodas represent quintessential Balinese architecture. This beautiful complex isn’t as popular with tourists, so you can enjoy a relaxing, meditative visit and a few good photo ops.

Bali

Heading to Bali soon? How does this itinerary look to you?

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11 Responses to Seven Days in Bali

  1. Julia November 11, 2014 at 8:28 AM #

    This place looks amazing and so surreal… How was the exotic fruit? Remember to add it to you Besty list Lindsay! 🙂

    • Lindsay April 19, 2016 at 11:29 PM #

      Exotic fruit was pretty exotic! And tasty! 😉

  2. Angelica @BkChickTravels November 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM #

    Like this angle on Bali – not always about the beach as other posts.

    • Lindsay April 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM #

      Thanks Angelica! There’s definitely so much more to Bali than the beaches!

  3. Sara July 8, 2015 at 9:48 AM #

    Hey Lindsay! you know what? I’ll be travelling to Bali in a couple of week…same places…first to Ubud and than Seminyak…thanks a lot for sharing again this post…
    Big hug from the od continent
    Sara

    • Lindsay February 5, 2016 at 11:18 PM #

      Hey Sara!! Oy! I took a break from the blog and am JUST now responding to 3000+ comments! Eek! How did you find Bali? I love it and can NOT WAIT to get back there! Did you enjoy Ubud? I love all the artisans and the overall vibe! Let’s travel somewhere wonderful together soon! Promise?? Miss you!

  4. Aries February 23, 2016 at 10:21 AM #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Next trip to Indonesia, many places to visits beside Bali and Wakatobi.
    You have to go to Lombok, and also papua island for Raja Ampat…
    Both a great place to explore…

    aries

  5. moris schmid March 3, 2016 at 1:29 AM #

    Hi Lindsay,

    I’m going to visit Bali this coming August. I’m so glad that I stumbled on your awesome post on Bali. Me and my fiancee (he’s American) decided to rent a car and self drive around Bali. Since I’m Malaysian and I already get use with left side driving, I guess I’ll be the driver for probably the entire trip..lol.

    I just wanna thank you for this post..it’s extremely useful. =)

    p/s – mind my bad english..lol

    • Lindsay April 19, 2016 at 11:28 PM #

      Right on Moris! I’m glad my post helped you! I’m jealous of your self-drive around Bali! Sounds awesome!

  6. ShivC83 August 22, 2016 at 5:00 AM #

    did you stay at one hotel for this visit or is this multiple hotels near each location?

    • Lindsay August 22, 2016 at 8:59 AM #

      We stayed at one hotel. All of the excursions included in this itinerary were day trips. Many people prefer to stay in Ubud, as it’s more central, and just a really cool spot- to reach more of the island. If I was going back to Bali now, I would probably stay a few nights in Ubud and possibly on the east side of the island as well.

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