Are you thinking about holidays destination? Choose Indonesia! Because this country can offer so many things at once – warm weather, sunny days, beaches, volcanoes, wild nature, rich culture and it’s affordable to travel around.
But usually holidays don’t last long and during it hard to explore a bigger part of Indonesia. If you have only 2 weeks vacation, my suggestion – half of the holidays spend exploring one of the main Indonesian islands – Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi or others and rest of the time – relax in Bali.
First time I stayed in Bali only for 5 days and it was enough to taste a little bit what this island has to offer. Here is where I went, what I did and saw during 5 days in Bali.
Travel itinerary – 5 days in Bali
BALI’S ANCIENT ROCKY TEMPLE – GUNUNG KAWI
This complex is constructed in the 11th century by king Anak Wungsu in honor of his father, the great Balinese ruler Udayana. There are total 10 shrine carved on the stone slope of height ~8 m. The countryside where the complex is located surrounded by beautiful rice paddies where you can enjoy the walk downstairs to the temple.
Location: Banjar Penaka, Tampak Siring, Kec. Gianyar, Bali
- On the way to the temple you will find few souvenir shops. The prices there will be cheaper than in main Bali cities. If you will decide to buy something there – don’t forget to negotiate the price.
HOLY SPRING WATER TEMPLE – TIRTA EMPUL
It’s Hindu temple located between 2 hills with spring water sacred by local residents to purify the soul and mind. People believe that springs were created by God Indra more than 1000 years ago. Because of that, this temple is one of the most important temples in Bali. There are: 3 country yards with 13 holy water fountains for cremation or dead ceremony; 1 pool with 3 fountains for spiritual purification; 1 pool with 5 fountains with holy water for people who come from outside to pray. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Manukaya village, district of Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali
- If you would like to have purification ritual in this temple, please before doing it, ask your guide or local people inside, how to do it in right way. Each fountain has the meaning and should be used in special order. Don’t just go under the fountains and wash yourself.
Also read: Tips for traveling in Asia
LUNCH AT “LAKE VIEW RESTAURANT”
In this restaurant you can have lunch or dinner with spectacular view of still active Mount Batur with it beautiful caldera and lake Batur. If you are not planning to eat there, visit it just for a cup of tea, juice or beer. Food is simple but good (buffet style). Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Raya Panelokan, Kintamani, Bali
TRANQUIL WATER TEMPLE – GUNUNG KAWI SEBATU
It’s a peaceful place with verdant gardens around ponds filled with carp and blooming lotuses. Shrines surrounded by crystal clear pools fed by natural springs. Inside you will find many colorful demons decorations protecting the sacral places. I believe you will enjoy the walk as well. All place reminds cozy park and not so crowded. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Sebatu Village, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali
FAMOUS TEGALALANG RICE TERRACE
This rice terraces are famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving the subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system). Tegalalang is one of three most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud area.
Location: north of Ubud, ~30 min. from Ubud main market
RELAXING CAMPUHAN RIDGE WALK
Just after stop in sometimes crowded Tegalalang rice terrace you can enjoy relaxing walk in “green walk” which is not so crowded. It’s ~1 hour one way walking distance. You can enjoy green surrounding, cool wind and have dinner in one of the restaurants on the way, see the sunset. Also you can see people there ridding bicycle, jogging – it’s like a small escape place from busy city. If I wouldn’t go there, I wouldn’t believe that you can have such walk almost in the heart of Ubud. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali
- Bring a torch with you because the path doesn’t have any lights and after sunset it will be dark.
- As well can be many mosquitoes, take repellent with you.
COLORFUL BALINESE DANCE PERFORMANCE
I believe you have seen Balinese dance performance photos before coming to Indonesia? Now you can enjoy Balinese music, dance and I could call it small piece of theater in live. In Ubud every day you can see different Balinese dance performances in different places. You can check which performance and where will be on your stay time.
- If you want to get better sitting places, come at least 20 min. before the performance starts.
- You can by tickets on the spot or in the streets. You will see many sellers offering tickets.
Officially Monkey forest called Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana (houses three holy temples). In this place lives hundreds of grey-haired and long-tailed Balinese macaque. Walking in this forest you will see not only greedy monkeys but as well some huge trees, old temple and some sculptures. But the most interesting (at least for me) is observing monkeys behavior. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali
If you want more adventure while visiting monkey forest and other Bali areas – take vintage VW tour. Luke from Backstreet Nomad had much fun!
- You can enter forest through 1 of 3 gates: the main one at the Southern end of Jl. Monkey Forest; from 100 m further East, near the car parking; from the Southern side, on the lane from Nyuhkuning.
- Please, don’t feed monkeys, avoid eye contact and showing your teeth, including smiling, which is deemed a sign of aggression.
Also read: Travel resources
ELEPHANT CAVE TEMPLE – GOA GAJAH
Legend says that the name of this temple came from nearby Sungai Peatanu, which was known like Elephant river. It was build in 11th century and discovered by Dutch archaeologists.
The cave is carved into a rock face and you enter through the cavernous mouth of a demon. Inside you can see fragmentary remains of the Hindu god Shiva, a statue of Shiva’s son, the elephant-headed god Ganesha. It’s really small temple but you can have a walk around the area. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud, Bali
VISIT TRADITIONAL BALINESE VILLAGE AND HOUSES
During you trip you will see many Balinese houses but only after visiting them you can see and understand how all buildings inside the house area follows a strict ancient architectural guide, how everything build to bring a harmony for a family. I was visiting Singapadu village. People there was very nice and explained, showed their homes.
LEARN TRADITIONAL BALINESE DANCE, MUSIC IN MEKAR BHUANA GAMELAM MUSIC, DANCE CENTER
You can better understand Balinese culture if you will become a part of it. This center is founded by family. And they not only share the secrets of Balinese culture but as well reconstructs rare or extinct Balinese music instruments, with Balinese musicians, dancers organize performances all around Bali. I really enjoy the time spending in this center, which by the way, is in their home. It was a big pleasure to learn and play gamelan music, as well to remember some moves of Balinese dances (I was studying traditional Indonesian dance before).
Location: Jl. Gandapura 3 No. 501x, Kesiman-Kertalangu, Denpasar
- You don’t need to prepare yourself before visiting this center, you will get everything you need there. So bring your good mood and will to learn something new.
KECAK DANCE IN ULUWATU TEMPLE
Uluwatu is one of the important temples to the spirits of the sea along the South coast of Bali. It’s build on the Indian Ocean cliff. It’s really beautiful to see the sunset there – seeing the temples silhouette in the horizon of the Ocean. But more impressive to see Kecak dance while sun goes down.
Kecak is a form of Balinese dance and music drama that was developed in the 1930s in Bali. Some people call this performance fire dance or Ramayana Monkey Chant as well. Nowadays Kecak dance (in touristic places) contains some flat jokes for pleasing travelers (honestly, I don’t like this part), still the sound and the rhythm of Kecak gives some spiritual energy. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Kawasan Wisata Pura Uluwatu, Pecatu, Bali
- For watching Kecak dance come at least 30 min. before the performance starts to get the best seats.
- If you will decide to sit in the side facing ocean, bring your sun glasses – like sun will shine straight to your face and will be hard to see the dance.
- In the temple lives a lot of monkeys – so take care of your belongings, monkeys can steal it.
I spend my 3 days in Sanur. I just enjoy the time there, had a walk and small shopping around. If you want in Bali just relax, have sunbath, enjoy beaches – rest 3 days stay in one of South Bali beaches. Some of them are famous for soft sand, others for beautiful sunset views from the cliffs.
If to stay 3 days in the beach is too much for you, you prefer to explore more in Bali – you can have half day trips for example to Tanah Lot or Lampuyangan temples, water palace, Taman festival, hidden canyon or one of amazing waterfalls.
If you want to see not only Bali – you can go to Lombok, one of the Gilis or Lembongan islands.
If you love snorkeling or diving – go to Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bay or even plan 1 day trip to the North of Bali.
Also read: My days in Bali beaches
WHERE I STAYED?
- Tjampuhan Ubud & Spa – cozy, beautiful place with a view to a temple and just a couple minute walk from Campuhan Ridge Walk. Breakfast was very delicious.
- Manyi Village Ubud – place surrounded by rice paddies but further from the main streets. It’s not big place, quite, intimate. From the balcony you can see the sunrise, from bathroom window paddies.
- Puri Santrian Resort Sanur – quite big hotel but has access to the beach, several swimming pools. I enjoy breakfast with Gamelan music.
- Sudamala Suites & Villas Sanur – I love this place, it’s like small oasis near main Sanur area (but you even don’t hear the sounds from the street). So many unique details inside, inspiring surrounding.
Mentioned and visited places on the map
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
- Would you like to visit these places?
- If you have been in these places what was our experience?
- Maybe you have other places recommend in Bali to visit?
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