Best of Bali in 10 Days
Bali is an Indonesian tropical island with volcanic mountains, iconic rice terraces, beautiful beaches and coral reefs. The island has unique Balinese Hinduism religion, called Agama Hindu Dharma, which is a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism.
Most travelers would arrive to Bali by plane to Ngurah Rai International Airport in regional capital – Denpasar. After that, visitors stay in
thousands of hotels in Kuta and Ubud suited for every budget.
This proven 10 days itinerary would help you to explore different regions of this beautiful island and its wonders. Firstly, you will explore spiritual water temples south of the island from South Kuta region. Then, enjoy amazing coral reefs of Nusa Lembongan. Lastly, Ubud provides access to rice terraces and mountains north of the island.
Day 1 to 3 – South Kuta / Nusa Dua
For your first 3 nights we recommend to stay on Tanjung Benoa peninsula or Nusa Dua in South Kuta. This area provides a good starting point far enough from extremely busy Kuta beach and close to all attractions Kuta has to offer. This area is just next to Nusa Dua beach (one of the best beaches in Bali).
Things to do in Kuta
There are two very interesting water temples in Kuta, which are must to see when you are in the area. Above all, you should enjoy this tropical island and beaches it has to offer.
On your first day visit gorgeous Uluwatu (Land’s End Rock) sea temple. Uluwatu temple is one of cultural wonders of the world and worshiped as one of the 6 pillars of Bali. 70m cliff serves as a base for the temple and has incredible views to the surrounding Indian Ocean.
The best time to visit the temple is around 5pm just before Balinese fire dance called Kecak is performed at the cliff-top. Following sunset provides a beautiful end of the day.
NOTE: Local macaques inhabit this temple and notorious for snatching bags, food and sunglasses.
Tanah Lot Temple
Another great sea temple close to Kuta is Tanah Lot (Land in the Sea). A large offshore rock shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide serves as a base for this temple. The story goes, that Dang Hyang Nirartha (religious 16th century traveler) established this temple. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock, for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.
This water park is one of the best in the Asia and provides a lot of fun for the whole family. The park is well run, extremely clean and has attractions for all ages and levels. You can easily spend half a day here.
There are thousands hotels in Kuta for every budget. Since we recommend to stay in Tanjung Benoa peninsula or Nusa Dua, following are our top picks.
Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa
This 4.5 star family resort is a great value. It has a nice swimming pool, kids club and mini aqua park. In addition, the beach has water activities and plenty of sand!
The St. Regis Bali Resort
Moreover, St. Regis Bali provides luxury you would expect from the chain for the premium. Therefore, the service and hospitality is world class. This 5 star hotel has stunning grounds and rooms with much attention to detail.
Day 4 to 5 – Lembongan Island
The second leg of the trip is Nusa Lembongan. Lembongan island is famous for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, coral reefs and relaxing atmosphere.
Moreover, this island is a paradise for scuba divers, snorkelers and surfers. You can dive or snorkel with Manta rays or rare oceanic sunfish (Mola Mola) during your stay.
The best way to reach the island is by speed boat service, such as Scoot. As it only takes 30 minutes from Sanur port.
In short, after busy Kuta this natural paradise would be a relaxing break.
Things to do in Lembongan Island
Most of the attractions are concentrated on the west side of the island.
There are no cars allows on the island, however you can still hire golf buggy car or a motor bike to explore it.
This is a great place to admire the power of the ocean. There are gigantic waves crashing against the cliffs and majestic views across the ocean. Therefore, have a sit and enjoy sunset here as the spray and the noise booms over you as the devil sheds his tears.
Nusa Lembongan Accommodation
Most of the visitors are staying in numerous huts/villas around the island. We recommend staying on the hills south of Lembongan village, which have outstanding views and close to all the attractions. For example, Lembongan Sanctuary Villas or Lembongan Harmony Villas would satisfy most of the travelers. However, if you would like some luxury Batu Karang Lembongan Resort & Day Spa would suite you better.
Day 6 to 10 – Ubud
Third leg of the trip is a traditional town of Ubud. Ubud is the cultural center of Bali, because of this most of Bali temples and shrines, as well as rice terraces located close to this town. There are constant festivals and a lot to see, therefore you should spend at least 4 nights here to have enough time to enjoy this region.
Things to do in Ubud and North Bali
There are a lot of temples in Ubud area and you might feel overwhelmed by all the choices. Following is the list of the best and most interesting places.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, or Pura Bratan, is considered one of the most important temples in Bali. The temple complex is located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. Built in 1633, this water temple is used for offerings ceremony to the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu, due to the importance of Lake Bratan as a main source of irrigation in central Bali. The 11 stories pagoda like Meru tower dedicated to Shiva featured on 50,000 Indonesian rupiah note and represent Balinese culture. It takes 2 hours to get to the temple from Ubud, because of this it’s worth to take a full day tour including this temple and UNESCO heritage site Jatiluwih Rice Terraces.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Bali was selected as one of 100 Wonders of the World, because of its amazing rice terraces and their water temples. Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is the best example of Balinese rice terraces, which are dated to 9th century!
Gunung Kawi Temple
This ancient (11th century) funeral complex and temple has impressive royal tombs carved directly into cliff face. Moreover, there are lush rice
paddies and crystal clear creeks surrounding this peaceful complex. You can feel a great energy here which would bring you to meditative mood.
Tirta Empul Temple
After Gunung Kawi you should visit nearby Tirta Empul temple. This ancient Hindu water temple was established in 10th century and famous for its holy spring water. Both locals and visitors can perform a ritual of purification in this temple. If you would like to experience this unique ritual you would need to wear traditional Balinese dress (sarong), which is available in the temple for a small fee. Tirta Empul has a spiritual atmosphere and lush tropical surroundings.
Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave
This ancient sanctuary dated to 11th century has stone carvings of both Buddhist and Hindu images. Dutch archaeologists discovered the cave in 1923 and was popular attraction ever since. Elephant face carved to the rock around the cave’s entrance. Also, you can see stone Hindu lord Ganesh (distinguished by an elephant’s head) inside the cave.
Ubud Monkey Forest
Monkey forest inside natural sanctuary of cheeky Balinese long tailed (aka crab-eating) macaques. There are close to 1000 monkeys live in this park and visitors can observe their daily activities. Moreover, there are 3 Hindu temples located inside of the sanctuary.
NOTE: The monkeys generally ignore humans, but can be quite aggressive if they believe you have some food for them. There are daily accidents when they bite tourists, so proceed with caution (bring an umbrella with you to protect yourself if one of macaques attacks you).
There are a lot of cheap accommodation options in Ubud. However, if you would like to experience luxury in tropical surrounding check out 5-star The Kayon Resort. If you are on the budget, you will like the value of Sankara Resort Ubud.
Where to eat in Ubud
Bali is famous for suckling pig (Babi Guling) served in few restaurants (warungs) around the town. There are also local barbecue pork ribs, which usually served with turmeric rice and just delicious.