- Learn how to whip up traditional Balinese dishes at a cooking class in Ubud
- Swing over the gorgeous rice terraces of Tegalalang Rice Terrace
- Visit the small Bali Aga community of "Skull Island" on the shores of Lake Batur
- Shop at the Ubud Art Market, the hub for Bali's thriving arts and crafts scene
|Arrive in Bali, Transfer to Ubud
|Rural Balinese Life Tour, Traditional Balinese Cooking Class
|Explore the Terraces & Temples of Ubud
|Witness Traditional Customs in Trunyan Village
|Experience the Traditional Art, Dance & Music of Bali
|Seaweed Farming Tour on Nusa Lembongan
Day 1: Arrive in Bali, Transfer to Ubud
Welcome to Bali, Indonesia! After you arrive at Denpasar International Airport, you'll be assisted through customs until you meet your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel in the charming town of Ubud. Take the remainder of the day to adjust to the local time and rest or explore the area independently.
Surrounded by green rice terraces and tropical forests dotted with ancient Hindu temples, Ubud is considered the cultural capital of Bali. Get the lay of the land this afternoon by hiking along the easy and scenic Campuhan Ridge Walk, interacting with macaques at the Sacred Monkey Forest, or exploring one of the many galleries in Ubud's thriving art scene.
If you'd rather relax and rejuvenate after your long flight, you'll find a plethora of wellness spas, yoga centers, and meditation retreats. Get a traditional Balinese massage, take a yoga class with a view of the jungle, or soak in a flower bath by the river.
Day 2: Rural Balinese Life Tour, Traditional Balinese Cooking Class
Immerse yourself in the rhythms of local Balinese life today as you head to a local village with your guide. Begin with a visit to a local elementary school to meet the students and get a glimpse of the typical Indonesian education system. Next, you'll walk through the village to a nearby rice field, joining a traditional farmer and helping plow the land using the traditional method: a cart pulled by a pair of water buffalo. After some hard work in the fields, stop in at a local home for lunch and witness some typical Balinese activities, such as religious offerings, music, silver making, and even wedding festivities.
In the afternoon, you'll join a hands-on cooking class in Ubud to learn how to make several typical Balinese dishes. Follow your guide at the local market to purchase fresh ingredients and explore traditional spices and flavors. Then it's time to head to the kitchen, where an experienced chef will demonstrate various techniques to create authentic Balinese dishes such as sate lilit (grilled meat skewers), nasi goreng (Balinese fried rice), or laklak (rice pancakes).
Day 3: Explore the Terraces & Temples of Ubud
Today's adventures start with a visit to Ubud's mesmerizing Tegalalang Rice Terrace, a UNESCO-listed landscape of verdant terraces carved into steep hillsides. Hop on the Instagram-famous swing, or get an aerial view of the terraces from a thrilling zipline ride. Continue to the sacred water temple of Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu, caved into a hillside overlooking the valley. Here you can participate in a traditional purification ritual, bathing in the holy springs on-site, reciting mantras, and washing away negative energy and impurities.
Next, you'll see the great "Mother Temple of Bali" at Besakih, the largest and most significant Hindu temple complex on the island. Situated on the slopes of volcanic Mount Agung, it's considered the spiritual center of Bali. Far-reaching views of the mountains and rice paddies surround the complex of over 80 temples and shrines, each dedicated to a different deity. The temple dates back to the eighth century, and despite being located in an active volcanic area, it has survived numerous eruptions and earthquakes over the years.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Witness Traditional Customs in Trunyan Village
Dive deeper into Bali's diverse traditions and culture with today's visit to the small village of Trunyan, located on the eastern shore of Lake Batur. More commonly known as "Skull Island," this community is home to the Bali Aga people, a local Indigenous group known for their distinctive burial practices. Unlike other places in Bali, funerals are based on an ancient custom, mepasah, where bodies are placed under a sacred tree without being buried or cremated, leaving only the skulls and bones as a memorial.
Trunyan is also known for its natural beauty, which is well-preserved thanks to its remote location. Apart from visiting the sacred tree and witnessing the community's burial rituals, you'll take a leisurely boat ride on the lake, with a magnificent view of the ancient Mount Batur caldera. Meet the local villagers, learn about their everyday life, and taste traditional kopi luwak, the world's most expensive and exclusive coffee (made from coffee beans that have passed through the digestive system of an Asian palm civet).
Day 5: Experience the Traditional Art, Dance & Music of Bali
Delve into Ubud's rich artisan culture today, starting with a tour of Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets. This museum holds around 7,000 masks and puppets from Bali, greater Indonesia, and from all over the world, such as Japan, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and a selection from Africa. Appreciate the history and craftsmanship of these culturally significant pieces of art, as well as rotating exhibits that feature regional photography and other artwork.
Next, shop for handmade Balinese crafts and souvenirs at the world-renowned Ubud Art Market, a lively open-air hub next to Ubud Palace. Snap up some gifts, such as traditional textiles, woodcarvings, jewelry, and paintings, for yourself or a loved one. You can also shop in the conventional, everyday section of the market for items like fruits, vegetables, and household goods.
After exploring the market, visit the neighboring palace, with its well-preserved Balinese architecture and lovely gardens, for a traditional legong dance performance, a nightly occurrence. Legong, which likely originated in the 19th century, requires such intense training that most girls begin at the age of five. The complicated hand movements and intricate footwork tell a mesmerizing story, often of mythical origins, accompanied by a soundtrack of traditional gamelan music.
Day 6: Seaweed Farming Tour on Nusa Lembongan
Board a boat this morning and enjoy the ocean views as you set out on a day trip to Nusa Lembongan, a small island off the southeast coast of Bali. Besides its enticing white-sand beaches and dramatic surf, this idyllic island is a center for sustainable seaweed farming, an essential part of the local economy. The ocean around the island, combined with the particular climate, is ideal for growing different types of seaweed for everything from cosmetics to food, animal feed, and fertilizer.
You'll tour one of the island's seaweed farms to learn about their important role as carbon sinks and get hands-on as you help the farmers plant new crops and harvest mature seaweed. Your visit is more than just a fun activity, as you'll be actively helping to support the small island community while promoting sustainable farming practices and ocean conservation. After you've said your goodbyes to Nusa Lembongan, you'll cruise back to Bali to enjoy your final evening on the island at your leisure.
Day 7: Depart Bali
Say a fond farewell to Bali as you're transferred from your hotel in Ubud to Denpasar International Airport in plenty of time to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!
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