- Explore ancient Hindu temples in spectacular locations
- Enjoy the rhythm and color of Balinese dance performances
- Take a Balinese market visit and cooking class with a local chef
- Hike to the summit of the active volcano of Mount Batur
- Soak in natural hot springs and snorkel in the shallow waters off Sanur
|Arrive in Bali, Transfer to Ubud
|Visit Balinese Temples, Holy Springs & Hindu Cave
|Mount Batur Summit Hike, Barong Dance Performance
|Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Village Visit & Monkey Forest
|Balinese Market Visit & Cooking Class, Sunset at Tanah Lot
|Transfer to Sanur, Bukit Peninsula Beach Time, Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Show
|Free Time in Sanur, Depart
Day 1: Arrive in Bali, Transfer to Ubud
Selamat Datang! Welcome to Indonesia and the island of Bali! Your driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Ubud—the cultural capital. Sit back in air-conditioned comfort and enjoy the scenic views of Bali's lush landscapes and rice terraces while your driver offers insights into the local culture and attractions.
Day 2: Visit Balinese Temples, Holy Springs & Hindu Cave
This morning, you'll discover the spiritual side of Balinese culture with a guided visit to the holy temple of Tirta Empul, renowned for its healing properties and just a 30-minute drive from Ubud. Explore the temple complex, admire the Hindu sculptures, and witness locals performing their spiritual ablutions at 11 of the 13 water spouts in the central courtyard's natural Holy Springs. The last two spouts are reserved for funeral rites.
Then, travel a mile south to discover the rich culture and history of the 11th-century Gunung Kawi temple complex within the lush Pakerisan River Valley. Enjoy a guided tour of this sacred archaeological site and marvel at the 23-foot-high (7 m) candi (shrine reliefs) carved into the sheer rock face and believed to be memorials to King Anak Wungsu and his queens.
After a break for lunch, step bravely through the gaping mouth of the ornately carved entrance to the ninth-century Goa Gajah Cave, a sacred site just 3.5 miles (6 km) southeast of central Ubud. It's believed that Hindu priests dug the small cave by hand, intending its use as a sanctuary. Here, you'll find altars honoring the deities Shiva and Vishnu. Keep a respectful distance from the Hindu worshippers as you soak up the cave's spiritual atmosphere.
Day 3: Mount Batur Summit Hike, Barong Dance Performance
Wake up early for an hour's transfer to the active volcano of Mount Batur (Kintamani), where you'll embark on a guided 1.5-hour trek to the 5,633-foot (1,717 m) summit and be rewarded with panoramic views across the beautiful blue-green Batur Caldera Lake. Afterward, take a winding road to the lakeshore and soothe your muscles in the hot mineral springs of Toya Bungkah, enjoying more spectacular lake and volcano views as you soak.
Next, your driver will take you 30 minutes south to Pura Besakih, the island's largest and most holy Hindu temple that sits on the slopes of volcanic Mount Agung. Get a glimpse of local culture and rituals as pilgrims pray and make offerings at more than 86 shrines, some of which are thought to date back as far as the eighth century.
This afternoon you'll return to Ubud and refresh at your hotel before dinner and a traditional Balinese Barong dance performance. This sacred and spiritual art form involves masked and costumed dancers depicting animals or giants. Watch in awe as Barong (a lion-like mythological creature) battles his enemy, Rangda (the demon queen), in an eternal dance between good and evil.
Day 4: Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Village Visit & Monkey Forest
Today your guide will take you into the heart of Bali, following a scenic, winding road to reach the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the island's most photographed spots, famous for its terraced, green rice paddies spread across hills and valleys. Take a gentle hike along local trails to reach some of the best views and lookout spots, and learn about the region's centuries-old subak irrigation system still in use today.
Then, complete your morning with an immersive and fun-filled visit to the family-run Rumah Desa for an inside look at Balinese rural life. Interact with the villagers, participate in activities as you learn about agricultural techniques, and explore the village and its surrounding plantations with one of the local guides. Finish off this immersive experience with a delicious, traditional-style Balinese lunch.
Your final stop of the day is sure to be a hit as you drop in to say hello to the playful monkeys at Sangeh Monkey Forest. This well-known nature conservation area covers 35 acres (14 ha) and is considered sacred to the local Balinese. You'll find hundreds of macaque monkeys in the forest and the 17th-century Bukit Sari temple, and you can watch them interact and play in their natural setting.
Day 5: Balinese Market Visit & Cooking Class, Sunset at Tanah Lot
Get ready for another day filled with Balinese culture and cuisine! This morning starts as you meet a local chef and head to the market to shop for ingredients ahead of today's Balinese cooking class. Peruse tropical fruits, organic vegetables, and exotic spices while rubbing shoulders with locals doing their daily shopping. Afterward, you'll head to the kitchen and get to work, learning how to prepare some favorite Indonesian dishes using traditional culinary techniques and flavors and sitting down to a memorable lunch of your creations.
Afterward, sit back for the 40-minute drive to the 17th-century water temple of Taman Ayun and stroll among its pavilions, gardens, and lotus-filled fish ponds. Then it's on to the iconic Tanah Lot, a temple perched on a dramatic coastal rock formation and dedicated to the Balinese sea gods. Access the temple via a narrow causeway during low tide, and learn about the rich traditions of Balinese Hinduism from your guide. Keep an eye out for the large population of sacred monkeys believed to protect the temple from evil spirits, then pick a spot and watch the sun dip below the horizon before returning to your hotel.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 6: Transfer to Sanur, Bukit Peninsula Beach Time, Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Show
Say your goodbyes to Ubud this morning and join your driver for the 40-minute transfer to Sanur on the island's scenic southeastern coast. Settle in, then spend the penultimate day of your trip exploring the pristine white-sand beaches of the famed Bukit Peninsula. For snorkeling and swimming, opt for the shallow waters and colorful corals off Melasti Beach or Geger Beach. For a more dramatic setting, head down a flight of stairs through a narrow rock passage to Padang-Padang Beach, known for its rock caves, tidal swimming pools, and international surfing events.
When you've worked up an appetite, grab a fresh seafood lunch from a local warung (kiosk) at the beach, and spend the afternoon relaxing on the sands or getting active with a surfing lesson. Later on, your guide will take you to Pecatu, home to the Hindu Uluwatu Temple—perched on the edge of a 230-foot-high (70 m) ocean cliff. Enjoy the spectacular views while exploring the temple and learning about its history—but keep an eye on your belongings as its monkey residents like to take souvenirs!
As the sun sets over the temple, gather in the amphitheater for a dramatic performance of the traditional Balinese kecak dance, based on the story of the Ramayana from Hindu mythology and performed across Bali since the 1930s. You'll be enthralled as trance-like dancers move and chant to the rhythmic accompaniment of drums and fire, the perfect celebration to end your last night in Bali.