Here is my itinerary followed by the list of must see places in Bali. I booked a local Bali tour package online with a private taxi and a driver for 3 days which cost me around 500,000 rupiah per day excluding various entrance tickets and meals. Then I rented a motorbike for 75,000 rupiah per day to explore rest of the Bali on my own.
Day 0 : Arrive in Bali and transfer to hotel in Kuta
Day 1 : Bedugul – Tanah Lot tour
Taman ayun temple aka Royal family temple – Coffee plantation – Ulun Danu Bratan temple aka Temple at the lake – Candi kuning fruits and flowers market – Tanah lot temple / Temple at the sea ( Sunset )
The first stop we made was the temple of the Royal family at Mengwi. It was a hindu temple but there were no idols of God inside the temple. Sang Hyang Widhi (also known as Acintya or Sang Hyang Tunggal) is the designation for one God in Balinese Hinduism. In the concept of Balinese tradition of Hinduism, Acintya or Sang Hyang Widhi is associated with the concept of Brahman. Balinese Hindu belief in a single God is in line with the first principle of the Indonesian state philosophy Pancasila. The empty chair at the top of the padmasana shrine found outside houses and temples is for Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa.
After that we visited the Luwak coffee plantation. Kopi luwak or civet coffee is a coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. I did not personally liked the idea of tasting coffee beans extracted from the poop of this animal. There were also samples of herbal tea such as lemongrass, rosella, ginger, cocoa, etc. for sale here.
The fruits and flower market didn’t interest me much so I skimmed through it real quick. The last viewpoint for the day was something which could not have been missed. Tanah Lot is one of the important directional temples in Bali. The temple is located on a rock just offshore.
This is an extremely popular tourist destination and the whole area is often very busy indeed, especially in the late afternoons, pre-sunset. The area between the car parking and the beach adjacent to the temple is a maze of souvenir shops selling just about every Balinese trinket imaginable.
The day ended with having indian cuisine dinner at Spice Mantra restaurant near our hotel in Kuta. Bon Apetit!
Day 2 : Kintamani – Ubud tour
Kemenuh Butterfly park – Tegallalang rice terrace field – Kintamani / Mt. Batur view – Tirta empul temple / Holy spring water temple – Ubud monkey forest – Tegenungan waterfall.
Kemenuh butterfly park near Ubud offers a spectacular dream world experience filled with butterflies. The moment I entered the park I was astonished at the sight of numerous butterflies hanging all around the park. Splashing waterfall and fish filled pond enrich the beauty of the park. The park collects some different colorful variety of butterflies. You can see and observe them feeding and flying all around. Occasionally some butterflies are resting on the leaves of the plants and it gives you taking a picture opportunity on them. The entry ticket to the park is 100,000 IDR per adult and is totally worth it. I got the opportunity to capture some of the finest close up clicks of different kind of butterflies.
The second stop we made was at Tegallalang rice terrace fields. These rice fields in Bali uses subak which is the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system. The green rice terrace offered a picturesque background to take photographs. Otherwise there wasn’t much to explore here for a regular tourist.
Bali volcano, also referred to as Kintamani volcano or Mount Batur is an active volcano and a popular sightseeing destination in Bali’s central highlands. The magnificent views of the 13sqkm Batur caldera lake serves as the main attraction, surrounded by the captivating Mount Batur range. The view is offered from a distant area which isn’t so exciting. Adventure seekers may opt for a early morning hiking tour to the volcano separately.
We made the next stop at Tirta empul temple or Holy spring water temple.
Visitors can get sarong at the temple entrance which is the dress code required to enter the temple. The temple compound consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. Entry ticket was 30,000 IDR per person.
Tegenungan waterfall had an entry ticket of 10,000 IDR per person. I did click some pictures here using my 55-300mm telephoto lens and avoided climbing down several stairs to reach the waterfall in the sunny afternoon.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex in Ubud. I reached the place at around 6pm in the evening which I found out was the closing time for this temple. The entrance ticket was 50,000 IDR per person but I couldn’t get it. So I roamed around the premises and was lucky enough to get some pictures of the monkeys sitting outside at sunset.
It was a long day and we covered many sightseeing places with lot of nature clicks.
Day 3 : Nusa dua – Uluwatu tour
Tanjung benoa ( Water sports activities + Turtle island conservation ) – Nusa dua ( Water blow ) – GWK Cultural Park – Padang padang beach – Uluwatu temple / Temple on the cliff ( Kecak and Fire dance + sunset )
Day 4 : Seminyak
Transfer to private pool villa – Seminyak square -Petitenget Beach – Potato head beach club
Day 5 : Bali Hai cruise
Bali Hai Beach Club cruise to Lembongan island was the main highlight of our Bali trip. There are many kinds of day and evening cruises offered by Bali Hai, but my favorite has been the Beach club cruise. It was priced at 100 USD per person and was totally worth it. So what was included in the tickets was an array of day activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, banana boat rides, submarine etc. Scuba diving, parasailing, ocean walker were available at an additional reasonable prices. Snorkeling equipment, life jackets, lockers were provided at the facility. Towels were charged extra. BBQ lunch at the island along with morning tea and cookies were included in the ticket price.
I did Scuba diving at the pontoon and the whole experience was divine. I was awestruck looking at the beautiful marine life underwater.
Day 6 : Day at leisure
Beachwalk Shopping Center – Kuta beach – end of vacation
In case you need to skip some of these places and squeeze your vacation short then here is my list of recommended places that one should absolutely visit while holidaying in Bali.