This itinerary is actually from the email that I wrote to my friend when he told me was going to Bali.
I decided to share this online, and also use it as a personal reference when I go back there again. I spent 14 days in Bali last year for my sketching trip and it was one of the most enjoyable trip I even had. I'm definitely going back there again, and maybe might even organise a group sketching trip. It so relaxing there.
Alright, this 5-day itinerary is actually a condensed version of my 14-day itinerary there.
The target audience for this itinerary is for those who like a more relaxing vacation, those who like to check out the rural side of Bali and still visit the main tourist attractions.
If you need something more detailed, I suggest getting the guide book Bali & Lombok by publisher Insight Guides.
Main areas in Bali
The few main areas in Bali are Kuta, South Kuta, Nusa Dua and Ubud. These are the areas that tourists usually go to.
Kuta is the touristy area with the retail shops and beach.
South Kuta has nothing much going on except the very nice temple Pura Uluwatu.
Nusa Dua has mainly high-end hotels and all the beaches there are blocked off. I personally would avoid Nusa Dua because visiting other tourist spots from here requires a long journey time. And Nusa Dua is also in South Kuta, which I've mentioned above has nothing much going on.
Ubud's the rural area with the rice fields and is near many beautiful temples.
My preference is to stay in Ubud for more days than other places.
- You get better rates when changing money at Bali. Change at the airport.
- Food prices at touristy areas are around Singapore prices. Local food is extremely cheap.
- Go to supermarket first to check prices for the water in case you need to buy them outside.
- Toilet and car parking is around $0.25
- The sarongs required for going inside of temples are provided at all temples except at Pura Besakih.
- Renting a car or motorbike is more worthwhile and cheaper than getting a driver.
- If you do rent a car, pick up the car at the airport and it will save you the initial trip to wherever you're staying
If you have more tips, share with me.
Driving tips in Bali
- Everyone there is driving even kids so slow down at corners because it's likely someone is coming out of the corner
- People there horn when overtaking
- Do not have you car stall on the slope. Only go up a slope if you know you can stop stationary at the top.
- Google Maps is very accurate
- The roads are very busy from 10am onwards, and even more busy at touristy spots
- You can park anywhere where there is no No Parking sign
- Mysterious parking attendants may appear out of nowhere to charge you for parking, usually less than $1.
- When you're lost, ask around. There are always people around.
It's cheaper to book through Airbnb or Agoda.com
My 5-day itinerary
For the itinerary below, you can swap the days around. I suggest checking out Kuta first after you land at the airport, then move on to stay at Ubud.
Day 1 in Kuta
Places to visit include
Jenggala - A shop with really beautiful and modern ceramics such as plates, pottery, etc.
Jimbaran Beach - You can eat there but be sure to ask for the price first. Usually people eat here during dinner time during sun set as it's on the west coast.
- Pura Uluwatu - This is a famous temple that you must go. You can visit at 4pm, have a walk around and then buy tickets for the Kecha dance that starts at 6pm. There will be a huge traffic jam after the show because of all the cars leaving so I suggest you look out for eating places along the road before you reach Uluwatu. You can leave the show and then drive to the eating place to eat while waiting for the traffic jam to clear.
For the day in Kuta, I suggest staying in South Kuta. That way you don't have to drive too far to reach the hotel after the Uluwatu show. Travel to Ubud the next day.
Day 2 in Ubud
So you're still in Kuta, you can spend a few hours checking out the shopping street in the morning and have breakfast there. Check out the beach there too if you have time.
Head for the other famous temple called Tanah Lot, which is the temple by the sea. People like the sunset and that's the time when it's really crowded. Have lunch there, check out the temple and move on to Ubud.
You should reach Ubud in the evening. If you have some time, go to Monkey Forest then have dinner at one of the many restaurants by the main one-way road that connects to Monkey Forest.
For dinner, I suggest eating at Cafe Wayan because the ambiance there is nice and there's parking lots for their customers.
Day 3 in Ubud
Morning - After breakfast, go to Mount Batur, a volcano. Drive down to the crater lake and check out the lava and the villages. There are lots of trucks carrying sand from the crater so drive carefully.
Afternoon - Around lunch time, come back up to the volcano rim (aka Kintamani area) and look for the restaurants around the main road. After lunch, visit Pura Besakih, biggest temple in Bali which is nearby. After that head back to Ubud.
For food, when you're in Ubud, you can just eat at any of the restaurants near the town centre. Prices are affordable.
Day 4 in Ubud
Below are some beautiful temples that are near each other so you can visit them in one day.
Tirta Empul - water temple
Gunung Kawi - A mountainside temple (very near Tirta Empul) - Ask locals for the driving directions
Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu - water temple
Goa Gajah - cave temple
Day 5 in Ubud
When you're driving to the volcano, chances are you will drive by Tegalalang. This is the famous terrace rice padi field that appears on postcards.
You can spend rest of the day checking out the shops at Ubud town centre, the market, museums and Ubud Palace.
The drive back to the airport takes about 1 hour.