Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs
Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south, the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Campuhan Ridge Walk
One of the most rewarding free activities in Ubud, Campuhan Ridge Walk doubles as a picturesque and eco-friendly bicycle ride. This paved trail traverses some of Bali's prettiest landscapes and offers nature lovers a chance to get some fresh air, stretch their legs, and escape the more crowded southern sections of the island. The trek starts at an 8th-century shrine in Ubud and snakes across verdant hills for a little over 9 km (5 mi). Suitable for hikers and cyclists of all ages and fitness levels, the trail passes through tiny villages and right next to a cozy guesthouse, where you can rest and recharge before going back or charging onward.
10:00am-10:30am : Elephant Cave
Legend has it that the stunning rock facade at Elephant Cave was created by a giant from Balinese mythology. Historians actually know very little about the ancient cave's origins, except that it probably dates back to the 11th century. Despite its misleading name, no elephants live inside this cavern. A place built for meditation, the cave features a facade depicting a group of frightening creatures and demons--the main figure above the entrance somewhat resembles an elephant, which explains the cave's name. Walk through the menacing mouth of this creature to see a statue representing Ganesha, an elephant-headed god.
11:30am-2:00pm : Lake Batur (Danau Batur)
Take in the fresh mountain air and dramatic landscape of Lake Batur (Danau Batur), a crescent-shaped body of water in the shadow of an active volcano. Mount Batur sits at the center of a vast caldera--a crater-like basin formed by volcanic activity--of which the lake fills the southeastern side. Take a boat out on the lake, trek to the top of the volcano for stunning views, and then go for a dip in the hot springs overlooking the water. Add some culture to your visit with a stop at the onsite museum to learn more about the history of the volcano, and visit Pura Ulun Danu Batur--considered the second most important temple in Bali. The temple sits on the rim of the caldera, having been destroyed by lava flows when it was originally located within the basin itself.
3:00pm-4:30pm : Tegalalang Rice Terrace
Snap a few unforgettable images of Bali's landscapes at Tegalalang Rice Terrace, a favorite stop for nature lovers, painters, and amateur photographers. Irrigated by traditional methods, these terraced rice paddies provide sustenance for the local farming population and draw international visitors interested in soaking up some of the timeless Balinese atmosphere. You can also visit a nearby village to pick up a few souvenir carvings and learn about the area's rich artistic heritage. Remember to reward local farmers with a small tip if you ask them to pose for your pictures.
5:00pm-5:30pm : Saraswati Temple
Visit Saraswati Temple, a religious site dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, literature, and art. Built around a central pool filled with lotus flowers, the temple grounds are pleasing on the eye and ready to be strolled, explored, and photographed. With delicate stone carvings and ornamental features inside and out, the temple complements the nature of the deity with whom it is linked with artistic flourishes and impressive architecture.
10:00am-11:30am : Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Both a protected reserve and a temple complex, Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary shelters several hundred long-tailed Balinese macaques. The monkeys get their nourishment from the forest staff, which feeds them sweet potatoes several times a day. Though you can't give the monkeys peanuts, cookies, or other snacks, you can purchase bananas if you want to feed the little ones yourself--just be prepared for a lot of attention from these cheeky creatures, and stow away valuables and shiny objects. This jungle sanctuary contains three temples, allegedly constructed in the 14th century. Keep in mind you can enter sacred sections of the temples only if you wear traditional praying clothes. Stop by the forest office near the main entrance, which accepts donations and provides detailed information about the sanctuary's history and significance.
12:00pm-4:00pm : Bali Traditional Tours - Day Tours
10:00am-11:00am : Gunung Lebah Temple
Head to the recently renovated Gunung Lebah Temple, which sits between two adjacent rivers in a lush jungle setting. Listen to the sound of rushing waters, which adds to the ambience of the area. The natural scene surrounding the temple also complements the spiritual, mystical air of being in the presence of this 1,000-year-old place of worship. Check out the ornate and intricate carvings that decorate the entrance and the multi-stepped meru (multi-tiered shrine).
1:00pm-2:30pm : Bali Trick Art
Bring your camera and pay a visit to Bali Trick Art, where you'll find yourself in the center of quirky situations. The amusing murals and paintings at this Korean-made interactive museum depict over 100 illusions, parodies of famous paintings, and colorful backgrounds--all designed so you can "enter" the picture. There are tips on where to place your camera or tripod, and where to stand to capture the best angles. Have fun at the luminescence pavilion where UV lights make the underwater paintings glow. Enjoy some bubble tea and snacks, or visit the gift shop and print your best shots on T-shirts.
3:30pm-5:00pm : Tanah Lot Temple
Built onto a giant offshore rock, Tanah Lot Temple remains one of the more venerated Hindu structures with strong ties to Balinese mythology. One of seven significant sea temples spread across Bali's coastline, this shrine is allegedly the work of Dan Hyang Nirartha, a 16th-century religious figure and traveler who founded the island's Shaivite priesthood. Though you can walk to the rock during low tide, keep in mind that non-Balinese visitors cannot enter the temple itself. The site--one of the most photographed in Bali--draws huge crowds at sunset, when soft light bathes the area and creates a nearly magical atmosphere.
10:00am-11:30am : Kuta Square
Browse the stores of Kuta Square, a modern shopping environment. Though occupying a fairly modest space, the square packs in a lot of familiar brand names and flagship stores, primarily related to outdoor sports and leisure. Grab things you've forgotten, or try window shopping. The square also represents a good place to head for some traditionally Western fast-food, with plenty of international chains competing for the primarily foreign crowds.
12:00pm-6:00pm : Waterbom Bali
10:30am-1:30pm : Balangan Beach
Spend a day at Balangan Beach, a secluded spot offering a range of seaside activities. Framed by limestone cliff faces and tucked in to an attractive stretch of coastline, the beach remains something of a secret. One group who may have guarded this secret are the surfers--the beach offers great waves to challenge and excite even the most skilled water-sports enthusiasts. With an attractive mix of black and white sand in places, the palm-lined beach lends well to photographs.
2:00pm-6:00pm : River Rafting & Tubing
11:30am-7:30pm : Dubai