Best of Bali - 7 days exploring the volcanoes, mountains, rice fields, beaches and much more !!

Tripoto
14th Aug 2015

Bali is an island that offers you all the travel experiences you could ask for - mountains, volcanoes, lakes, rice fields, plantations, handicrafts, ports, seas, sandy beaches, rocky beaches, cliffs, temples, beach clubs, party towns, water activities, dolphin spotting and much more.....all this engulfed with rich culture, tradition and most importantly, delicious, lip-smacking food

We were planning for a UK trip, when suddenly, one of our friends posted about her trip to Bali and that got us hooked on. We quickly researched about the place and the more we got to learn the more interested we were. Finally, flights and resorts were booked and we were excited to travel to this pretty place called Bali.

Few tips before you travel:

1. If you are going to Bali for the first time, I would recommend no less than a week because it has much more to offer than just beaches

2. If you are looking for cheaper stay options and to party - recommend to stay in Seminyak/ Kuta. If you are looking for a serene, calm neighbourhood to relax, recommend to stay in Nusa Dua where you would find all the resorts with their private beaches. However, do find sometime to spend in Ubud irrespective of your schedule, it's the central part of Bali and is extremely green with lush rice fields. Sanur is a more sleepier option with good and reasonable hotels.

3. If you plan to do the Mt. Batur trek, make sure you are fit for trekking

4. Some of the clubs have a dress code and beach wear does not always make the cut. If you are unsure, it's always a good idea to call and check

5. Some religious places require you to cover yourself - please be considerate and follow the rules

6. July-August is the peak season and is the dry season. It's not as warm and definitely does not rain during that time. Be careful during Oct-feb because that's the wet season

Photo of Anulekha Resort and Villa, Jalan A.A. Gede Rai, Lodtunduh, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Anulekha Resort and Villa, Jalan A.A. Gede Rai, Lodtunduh, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Kintamani Volcano Tour, Batubulan, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Kintamani Volcano Tour, Batubulan, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of MAS, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Luwak Coffee, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Anulekha Resort and Villa, Jalan A.A. Gede Rai, Lodtunduh, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Mount Batur, South Batur, Bangli Regency, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Nusa Dua beach, Benoa, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Nusa Dua beach, Benoa, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Anulekha Resort and Villa, Jalan A.A. Gede Rai, Lodtunduh, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Uluwatu Temple, Pecatu, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Anulekha Resort and Villa, Jalan A.A. Gede Rai, Lodtunduh, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Mount Batur, South Batur, Bangli Regency, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Goa Gajah, Bedulu, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Photo of Goa Gajah, Bedulu, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia by tamanna tripathy
Day 1

Day 1: We visited Bali in the month of August. We had booked ourselves in a beautiful resort in Ubud for 3 nights. Anulekha resort and spa was situated in the heart of pretty rice fields in Ubud. The resort had arranged for a pick up from airport and we got a warm welcome. We set out to explore the local streets and food of Ubud in the evening - 20 min shuttle ride to Jalan Raya which is the central area. The streets were lit up with shops and cafes all buzzing with tourists. Fairy lights up and down the cafes made the streets look beautiful. We had some amazing drinks and food and decided to retire to bed early since we had to wake up at 2 am to start for our trek to Mount Batur.

Day 2

We were picked up by our pre-booked tour driver at 2 am and it took us about 2 hours to reach the foothills of the Kintamani volcano. We hired a guide and started our trek in the wee hours of morning. It is apparently an easy trek (for trekkers, mind you) and we found it pretty difficult and exhausting. However, the skies were so dark and clear with thousands of stars shining bright and hundreds of people walking up with their torch lights made up for the exhaustion. We reached the top at about 6 am just as the sun was rising. We found ourself above a bed of clouds and it was heavenly to watch the sunrise, while having our breakfast (bread and eggs that our guide carried for us) and sipping tea. We rested for a while before we started our descent, which was equally tiring. We were dropped to our resort by 10 am after which we decided to get some rest and explore the amazing spa.In the evening we ventured to catch a show of the Kechak dance in Jalan Raya. The show was good, but I have heard that the one put up in Uluwatu during sunset is the best. The streets in jalan Raya offer not only amazing food and drinks, but also pretty little dessert places that have the best of desserts.

I had contacted a local driver before our trip (number sourced from Tripadvisor) and he had agreed to take us around to the major sight-seeing destinations in Bali for an entire day. It's extremely easy to find drivers cum tour guides who can either plan a great itinerary for you or take you to places as per your request. You can either contact them before your trip, via emails or find from the local transport centers.

Day 3

So, the next day morning which was Day 3, we were picked up by Nyoman (one of the four common names in Bali) who was extremely patient and took us around the town. We started off as per our pre-planned itinerary.

Our first destination was the Goa Gajah temple. Located just 10 minutes outside of Ubud in Bali, Goa Gajah is a significant Hindu archaeological site. It is locally known as the Elephant Cave because of its close proximity to the Elephant River. A mysterious cave, relics, and ancient bathing pools set amid green rice paddies makes a perfect set-up for the UNESCO world heritage site. This place has an entrance fee and you need to cover yourself with a sarong before entering.

Next we moved to explore the coffee plantations in Ubud and taste the famous/ infamous Luwak coffee. Although, this was not in our initial plan, we were glad that Nyoman decided to take us there. Bali has several coffee plantations making the famous and costly Kopi Luwak - we went to one of them, where we learned how the famous and expensive “poo” coffee Kopi Luwak is produced. They sat us down for a fun tea and coffee tasting which was pretty cool.

On our way to the coffee plantation, we also stopped at Mas carving village. The place showcases a few instances of carvers actually making the woodwork, but it is majorly a place to sell these artwork to the tourists. In case handmade art and crafts are your thing, there are entire villages just outside of Ubud that specialises in wood carving, paintings, and silver.

Now, our next destination was the vast, beautiful, green Tegalalang rice terraces. This is a popular tourist destination and in case you want to explore a more off-beat rice fields, there are several other lovely walks through the rice paddies and small villages surrounding Ubud. However, during the August afternoon that we visited the Tegalalang terraces, we did not find it too busy and filled with people. The view from the road is beautiful : step irrigation with ample greenery. The coconut and palm trees lining the fields added to the beauty. There was no entry fees. We spent about an hour walking through the terraces before we sat down to have a late lunch at one of the many restaurants on the road with an open view of the fields.

Our last destination for the day was the extremely popular Tanah Lot temple that was a little distance away from Ubud. We started from the Tegalalang rice fields in late afternoon and reached the Tanah Lot temple just as the sun was about to set. This may not be the best time to explore the place (since the water had receded) and one might want to consider early morning. This is a beautiful place - once you work your way through half a mile of incessant market stalls, tourists, and street sellers.

Finally, once the sun had set, we decided to call it a day. Our driver dropped at us at our resort in Ubud and we thanked him for showing us around his beautiful town.

There were a few other things that we did not do/ explore while we were in Ubud, but was probably worth seeing. May be next time. Here's the list:

1. Ubud palace, Legong dance

2. Art gallery - Museum Puri Lukisan,

3. Sacred Monkey Forest (we decided not to go here after reading some horror stories for monkeys biting and harassing tourists)

4. Campuan ridge walk

5. Spa

6. Yoga classes

7. Balinese cooking classes

8. Lunch overlooking the kintamani volcano

Day 4

On Day 4, we proceeded towards Kuta, where we had booked ourselves for another 3 nights, in Kuta Heritage Resort, an Accor property located right across the Kuta beach. While we moved from Ubud to Kuta in our car (Thanks to Nyoman, again) we could see a stark change in the surroundings. My heart was evidently sad for leaving beautiful Ubud behind. Kuta was different. It was busy, full of tourists, surfers, party-goers, and lot more fast-paced in general.

We decided to rest for a while before we went on to explore some of the much talked-about clubs of Seminyak - Potato head and Ku De Ta. Kuta beach was clean, not too wide and did not have a lot of shacks/ shops. As we reached Potato head club, right before sunset, we could see it buzzing with people enjoying the beautiful ambience. The wait time to get a table was way more than we could have waited for. There was a pool where you could just lounge around, there were many sun beds where you could relax and watch the sunset. We decided to go to Ku De Ta instead and it was a pleasure walking from Potato Head to Ku De Ta as the sun set along the Semniyak beach. Seminyak/ Kuta have numerous eateries, lounges, restaurants, clubs, street food - something for everyone.

Day 5

On Day 5, we wanted to explore the southernmost part of the town - Nusa Dua and Uluwatu. After having had a relaxed breakfast, we booked a taxi and headed out to Nusa Dua. Nusa Dua has an incredible collection of world-class, international-chain hotels facing a pristine beachfront. Almost all the resorts had private beaches. So, if you are looking for a relaxed and luxurious vacation, this is the place to be. We spent the day walking around, trying the local food and beer and exploring a couple of the beaches. Later in the afternoon, we headed towards Uluwatu - to explore the popular cliff top temple of South Bali. Although the temple was closed to tourists, the walk upto the top of the cliff, overlooking the Indian Ocean, was spectacular. Great spot for photographers to click beautiful sunset views.

We had also heard that the Kechak performance in Uluwatu was one of the bests, but since we had already witnessed a performance in Ubud, we decided to give it a skip. Later, we got back to Kuta and explored some of the beautiful restaurants along the beach and finished our day with some street-side desserts and gelato.

Day 6

Day 6 was reserved for water activities. We had booked this tour on voyagin for a day-trip to Nusa Lembongan. We were picked up by our tour organizer - Lembongan Water Sport in the morning and as we arrived at the Sanur port, we were transferred in fast boats to Lembongan island. From here, we were taken to 3 spots - in nusa penida and nusa lembongan - for snorkelling. After 2-3 hours of snorkeling, we stopped for lunch (included) and then kayaked in mangrove bay for a while before we were transferred back to the port and then to our hotel. The day was tiring but we were happy and content with all the activities and the beautiful sea-life we explored.

As we concluded our trip, we were overwhelmed and content with our rich experience exploring the island of the Gods, its beaches, volcanic peaks, rice paddies and coral reefs. We are definitely going to come back soon !

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