All the journeys do happen to come to an end, but if there was one which you wish didn’t end – it had to be Bali. A place truly in sync with nature, a place where time truly stands still, a place where people are truly their true selves, Bali is nothing short of magical. With its idyllic beaches, rolling countryside, tropical environs and magical Balinese vibes, it grows on you over time.
Sharing our itinerary which left us wanting for more after having spent close to 16 days in this tropical paradise.
Weather: Tropical climate all through the year with the monsoon season between December and January. We happened to be in Bali in December which is the onset of Monsoons and hence supposed to be rainy. Having said that, we found heavy rain only on 1 of the days and for the rest of the days the weather was perfect with an occasional shower.
Travel Essentials: Sunscreen (lots of it; Banana boat SPF 50 served us just right), Sunglasses, Ocean Pack (to keep your stuff dry; we carried the 20 Ltr pack), generous dose of change of clothes (you are in the tropics after all). 🙂
Currency: The national currency of Bali is the IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). The currency exchange was (1 USD = 14,000 IDR / 1 EUR = 16,000 IDR / 1 INR = 200 IDR). The best way to carry currency for Bali is to carry US Dollar/ EURO bills. And keep converting 100 USD as and when needed from the currency exchange shops spread all across. This is the best way to carry currency as not at all shops in Bali would have a card swipe machine.
Living Cost: This typically would revolve around the type of traveler you are with options ranging from uber-luxurious retreats to a more backpacker friendly hostels/hotels.
Driving Around Bali: The best way to get around in Bali is to rent a scooter or use the GoJek app (cab hailing service akin to Uber).
2 Weeks Travel Itinerary
Day 1-3: Unwind in Uluwatu
If the ocean waves crashing against the towering hillsides are what you have had dreams about, Ulluwatu is just the place to be. With its rugged hilly terrain and surf friendly waves forming the backdrop, this place has much to offer
- Picture perfect beaches: Head out to Dreamland beach & Pandawa beach for some good surf and the perfect sunset. Needs to be careful while swimming at the beaches though as the under-currents in this area can be quite strong
- Uluwatu temple and the famous Cecak dance: If there is one image that is associated with Uluwatu, it is of the cliff side Hindu temple of Uluwatu. Also famous is the Cecak dance which is performed within the Uluwatu temples premises against the backdrop of the gorgeous setting sun.
- Rock bar: A stylish sea side bar in Uluwatu. Its famous for its unique setting over 2 rocks with the only way to reach there being through the cable car. Perfect way to unwind over a drink watching the sun go down.
Stay in Uluwatu: There are many cliff side resorts in Uluwatu and we happened to stay in La Joya resort. Its a perfect hill top property with a private access to the Dreamland beach. The resort with its perfectly manicured gardens and 2 swimming pools is spread across a wide open area. The construction is of individual cottages with thatched roofs and open air showers. And the highlight being the spa.
Day 3-8: Bohemian Ubud
Just a 2 hour drive out of Uluwatu, you reach the tropical paradise that is Ubud. With its lush green rain forests, gushing waterfalls, long undulating paddy fields and Bohemian vibes, it truly is called the land of the Gods. The following things are what are must do when in Ubud, among-st the many others
1) Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek: This is a must do when in Ubud. The tour starts at around 2:30 am in the night from the base of Mt. Batur. Hiking in complete darkness with the path illuminated by nothing more than the flashlights. Climbing your way up the rocky terrain, you summit at Sunrise. The view from the top is nothing short of magical with the clouds below you and the Batur lake and Mt. Agung forming the backdrop against the first rays of the sun.
2) Tegalalang Rice Tarraces: With the tropical climate aplenty, paddy (rice) fields are abound. You can go exploring among the many trails here. This is also the place where you will find the famous Bali swings.
3) Waterfalls (Tegenungan Waterfall and Tukad Cempung Waterfall): Hilly terrains and the lush green rainforests, provide the perfect setting for some scenic waterfalls. Tukad Cempung waterfall specially is a less visited waterfall but is a hidden gem with it being camouflaged behind the green foliage.
4) Campuhan Ridge Walk: A 9km long vast expanse of greens on a ridge. Perfect for an early morning walk/run.
5) Balinese Massage: And who can forget getting the massages when in Bali. From the basic foot massage to the truly indulgent full body massage, the menu has plenty to offer. Do plan on getting one every day to wade of any signs of lethargy after a day out in the wilderness.
Stay in Ubud: There are many options to stay in Ubud from the basic hip backpacking hostels, Airbnb or the luxurious resorts of Kamandalu and Hanging Gardens of Bali.We put up in one of the Airbnb in the heart of Ubud but tucked away for the setting to be surrounded by forests – Villa Nila Design & Luxury. A wonderful tropical abode in the wilderness. A sparkling clean place with all the amenities, veranda with TV, music system and kitchen and an infinity pool all to yourself. Takes you back to the old world.Highly recommended to anybody seeking peace, quiet and in sync with the nature while being stylish at the same time.
Day 8 – 11: Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Penida Islands
2-3 hours away from Ubud lie the 3 islands famous for some of the best corals in the world. Apart from soaking in the sun lazing on the islands, the following activities are what cant be missed here.
1) Go exploring the underwater world: Tie up with one of the diving agencies. We signed up with Bali Hai Adventures for our very first dive and it was bliss. With some of the best corals sheltered by the warm tropical waters, the dive was magical. There are many dive sites to be explored – Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay, Manta Point.
2) Nusa Penida Day Trip: Make a day trip to the largest of the 3 islands. With its rugged terrain, it forms the backdrop for some of the most stunning natural formations – Kelingking Beach, Angels Billabong and Broken Beach.
3) Exploring Lembongan and Ceningan on a scooter: These 2 islands are connected through a small bridge called the “Yellow Bridge” – but its only wide enough for a scooter to pass through. Hence exploring on a scooter is the best option. These islands have some gorgeous natural formations of their own – Devils Tears, Mangrove Forest, Blue Lagoon.
4) Chilling at one of the many beach side cafes: Lembongan and Ceningan is home to some of the most beautiful cafes. Sandys Beach Club is right on the Sandys beach which is one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. With chic decor and a laid back island vibe, this is a perfect spot to catch the radiant hues of the sunset in the evening. On the Ceningan island, Sea Breeze is amazing what with its funky environs, hammocks swaying merrily in the lagoon and infinity pool and bar to complete the setting.
Stay in Nusa: The best place to put up is Nusa Lembongan with it being slightly more developed than the other 2 islands and also having a lot of good stay options. The decision one has to make is whether to put up on the East Coast or the West Coast as it would decide whether you catch the sunrise or the sunset. We decided to put up on the West Coast of Nusa Lembongan at Niti Huts which is right next to Sandys Beach Club which formed our evening hangout to catch the sunset on most days.
Day 11 – 15: The Magical Gilis
The best part of the trip had to be the Gili Islands in the Lombok region. Gili islands are a group of 3 small islands and can be reached from Nusa Lembongan through a 2 hour ferry. The ferry ride is beautiful as you can travel on the deck with good music and drinks also served on board (we were lucky to spot some dolphins also on the way). 🙂
Sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and the most amazing chilled out vibes are what characterize these islands. Of the 3 islands, Gili T is the biggest, most happening and known for its night life and party scene. It is also the most developed. Gili Meno is the smallest of the 3 islands and is the pick for travelers looking to get away from the crowds and truly laze away in the sun. Gili Air is a mix of Gili T and Gili Meno with a good night life while still being secluded enough for anyone wanting to have a quite time
We decided to put up in Gili Air. This tiny island is surrounded by white sandy beaches and blue turquoise waters. The only modes of transportation are bicycles, electric bikes or on foot ( yes, it can be traversed in its entirety on foot in 2.5 hours). Staying on the island for 3 days make you feel a part of the small island community already. 🙂
Well the time really stops as soon as you set afoot on this island giving you ample time to pursue whatever you like. Highlighting some of the things that really work up the magic of this place
1) Go Snorkeling: To explore the hidden sculptors underwater. We couldn’t as the currents were very strong while we were there owing to the monsoons.
2) Eat at many amazing cafes and laze around by the pool
3) Watch the most beautiful sunsets on the west coast of the island
4) Enjoy the magical experience of listening to live music under the starry night by the beach side at Gili Lumbung Beachclub. We had 2 of the most beautiful nights listening to the magical vocals of @abhysummer
Stay at Gili Air: There are not many options to live on Gili Air. We happened to live on the west coast to be able to catch the sunset every evening. We happened to stay at Pink Coco. Its called the Pink Coco as the entire property is done up in a a shade of pink. Its one of the best properties on the island with a beautiful pool and an amazing restaurant (do try the Margherita pizza here). They also rent out bicycles for the day. Highly recommended property.