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Friday, November 25, 2016

Recommended 6 day offbeat itinerary for Bali, Indonesia

While I was planning my Bali trip, I troubled many people for inputs- Mahesh Semwal, Suryanarayana Kedlaya, Dhananjaya Moorthy, Nisha Jha, Lakshmi Sharath and many others. They all happily helped with various inputs and suggestions. I had inputs on where to stay, what to see and so on. I am thankful to them for their inputs but it was still a big task to put these inputs together and draft a day-wise itinerary for my Bali visit. Now that I have first hand experience exploring Bali, I am presenting to you an optimized plan which you can use as a base to plan your visit to Bali, Indonesia. This plan focuses more on exploring places of interest around Bali. If you prefer other things- like relaxation, food, water-sports etc, please tweak it accordingly.
There is more to Bali than the beaches and temples in the south. Majority of the tourists seem to misjudge Bali, arrive with poor plans and return without experiencing best of what Bali has to offer. Thanks to this post, you don't have to do the same mistake and make the most of your visit by exploring lesser known spots in Bali.

Pre-Travel: 
Hotel Booking Locations:
It is recommended to spend half of your time in North Bali, around Ubud area- as Ubud will be an ideal location to explore most attractions in Northern Bali. I made a mistake and stayed in Kuta-had to travel 30 kms one way, 60 kms /2 hours each day traveling north from Kuta. You can avoid this by staying in Ubud area- save on time, taxi fare. Rest of your stay, spend somewhere down south- Nusa Dua or adjacent areas.

Getting around in Bali
There doesn't seem to be any proper public transportation in Bali- you will have to plan your movements using one of these options. Walking is not really an option as Bali is a vast area.
  1. You can book a bike or can on self drive like I did- more details in this post. This will be the cheapest and most convenient option to get around Bali
  2. Many resorts will have free shuttles from resort to key attractions/airport- check if your hotel/resort provides one and make use of it
  3. Packages that include transportation- Most operators sell tour packages that involve hotel pickup and drop. While it is very convenient, it consumes lots of time as dozens of guests need to be picked up from different hotels. Also not very flexible as operators work on a well defined, standard plan.
  4. Bike Taxi and traditional taxies: Will be expensive if you rent them for whole day/100s of kms- your last option if nothing else works out.
  5. You can also book these VW Jeep Safaris

Assuming you have planned your stay and travel as per above, below is the itinerary I would recommend.

Day 0: Arrive, Travel to Ubud and Check-in
  • Arrive at Bali
  • Reach your hotel in Ubud (25-30 kms from Airport)
  • If you have some time explore Ubud market area, Palace etc, else relax
  • Dinner at hotel/Bridges Bali Restaurant in Ubud
Day 1: Git Git waterfalls and Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
  • Leave early and head north to experience Git Git waterfalls, a multi stage, almost zero crowd waterfalls in the deep interiors of Northern Bali
  • On your way back, take a deviation towards Tamblingan Lake to enjoy pristine views and for some local food with a view.
  • Experience Jatiluwih Rice Terrace and its long trail- you can walk/ride in between this beautiful rice terrace or just sip a coffee at a cafe overlooking the rice terrace.
Return to Ubud. This will be about 150 kms round trip.[Google map link here] Depending on what time you started and how much time you've spent, if you have some time and energy left you can explore the below, else back to hotel and relax
Day 2; Mount Batur and Water Palace
You can either avail one of the organized tour for Mount Batur sunrise trek (Prior booking is needed, pick-up from Ubud at about 3.30-4 AM usually, cost around 65 USD per person) or plan to explore Mount Batur and nearby areas on your own. Below plan assumes the later.
  • Leave early and reach Mount Batur. Hire a guide and trek to top or enjoy bath in one of the hot springs.
  • Head to Besakih temple (I skipped it- read my experience here)
  • Visit Tirta Ganga and Water Palace (Taman Ujung), a scenic campus worth exploring
  • Now you will be very close to Virgin Beach and Blue Lagoon beach which can be explored on your way back to Ubud.
  • Subject to time and interest, stop by at Tegenungan Waterfalls
This concludes your Day 2, with about 200 kms in total. Google maps link here

Day 3: Ubud miscellaneous and Check out
You need to check out today- either check out post breakfast and head out, or leave early, come back by Check out time
  • Tegalalang Rice Terrace (beware of donation counters here)
  • Pura Tirta Empul - A popular temple, take a dip here.
  • Sacred Monkey temple (if interested and if not covered previously)
  • Goa Gajah (Can be skipped- not a must visit)
  • Ubud Palace (if not previously explored)
  • Back to hotel (This will be about 40 km ride, should be done in 3-4 hours)
Collect your bag and head to South Bali, let us say Nusa Dua Area. I would recommend Grand Nikko Bali hotel or Grand Whizz in Nusa Dua area- you can book it through www.traveloka.com

Rest of the evening relax at Grand Nikko or explore the Nusa Dua beach

Day 04: Beaches and temples in South Bali
Time to explore Southern most part of Bali.. [Map link here] My detailed post comparing various beaches in Bali could be of further help.
  • Begin with the Pandwa Beach, which has statues of Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva etc carved in the rock.
  • Head to Green Bowl beach next- need to climb down 200+ steps and then climb back up- refresh yourself before heading to the beach
  • Next stop should be the popular Uluwatu Temple
  • Explore the Blue Point beach, famous among surfers
  • Visit Dreamland beach few kms away (optional)
  • If interested, head to Garuda Wishnu Cultural park- it has an entry fee of 100000 IDR per person and open till 10 PM. A good place to relax and refresh
  • Dinner at Indian Dhabha Restaurant, Back to hotel, rest
Day 05: Shopping and Tanha Lot
Return flight tomorrow- Sad thing no? Spend this day exploring Kuta and Sanoor areas and the popular Tanha Lot. You may either shift to your 3rd Hotel say in Kuta area (will be very close to Airport) or continue the stay at Nusa Dua.

Depending on your interest, try shopping in Kuta area, or a massage or try some adventure sports such as surfing or other water sports, try a Safari in VW open top jeeps simply relax by the pool at your hotel. A visit to the national monument and I AM BALI Interactive Art Museum will be a good experience.
Map link here
A visit to Tanha Lot during sunset time is highly recommended.
Spend your night at Hard Rock Cafe in Kuta

Day 06: Buffer Day and Time for return flight
If your flight is in the evening, you will have half a day to explore anything pending in your wishlist. If it is in the morning, then head to airport.

Bali has numerous beaches and temples- only a small portion is covered in this itinerary. But most of the important attractions are covered.. Do your research and customize as deemed necessary.

Hope this itinerary was useful to you. Enjoy your trip.
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2 comments :

Yogi Saraswat said...

Spend your night at Hard Rock Cafe in Kuta. Great picture . perfect itinerary

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Yogi