Experience tropical island life on this 13-day escape to Bali's ornate temples and lush landscapes. See the famous sea temple of Tanah Lot, then head to Ubud to look out over the Tegallalang rice terraces and learn to cook Balinese dishes with a local. Wind down with plenty of time to relax and snorkel on the car-free Gili Islands, then end your trip with a sunset cruise and barbecue on the golden beaches of Uluwatu.


  • Marvel at Tegallalang's artfully engineered rice terraces
  • Explore a temple on the sea at Tanah Lot
  • Taste Bali's flavors in an Ubud cooking class
  • Watch a mesmerizing Kecak dance performance at Uluwatu

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bali, Transfer to Tanah Lot Tanah Lot
Day 2 Spa Morning, Rice Fields Walk Tanah Lot
Day 3 Transfer to Ubud & Ubud Temples Ubud
Day 4 Ubud VW Tour to Temples & Tegallalang Rice Terraces Ubud
Day 5 Balinese Cooking Class & Balian Healer Visit Ubud
Day 6 Sidemen Arts & Nature Ubud
Day 7 Transfer to Gili Air Gili Air
Day 8 Boat to Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno Gili Air
Day 9 Gili Islands Snorkeling Gili Air
Day 10 Transfer to Uluwatu & Jimbaran Fish Market Uluwatu
Day 11 Jimbaran Sunset Cruise & Barbecue Uluwatu
Day 12 Bukit Beaches, Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Dance Show Uluwatu
Day 13 Farewell Bali   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bali, Transfer to Tanah Lot

Explore Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot seems to float on the sea

Welcome to Bali! Upon arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport (known locally as Denpasar Airport), get your first taste of Balinese hospitality as you're greeted by your driver and taken to your hotel near Tanah Lot.

At Tanah Lot, go to the beach and explore this mystical rock formation with a temple atop it. Or stay at your hotel and relax with a massage or a cocktail by the pool. For dinner, go for a walk in town, and explore the many shops, cafés, warungs (family-run cafés), and fine dining options while getting a feel for island life.

Day 2: Spa Morning, Rice Fields Walk

Walk through the lush landscapes around Tanah Lot

Get a relaxing start to your vacation with a one-hour massage at your hotel before starting the day. Then, it's time to start exploring.

Take a walk amid lush rice fields to reach the Tanah Lot temple on the beach. This sacred landmark is a wonder to behold, especially at high tide, when waves crash around the rocks surrounding the temple built on a high perch. It is said that the area holds a lot of energy, with many ceremonies happening here, including offerings and ritual cleansings. Watch the sunset over the temple and the sea for a memorable evening learning about Balinese Hindu culture.

Day 3: Transfer to Ubud & Ubud Temples

Step inside the Goa Gajah Elephant Cave temple

Explore some of Bali's most treasured temples today as you travel about one hour northeast to Ubud. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to your first stop: the majestic Taman Ayun temple, built by the ruler of the Mengwi Kingdom in 1634. Wander around the temple complex and take note of its traditional architecture, gardens, and courtyards.

From there, visit Taman Mumbul, in the village of Sangeh in Mengwi, which is said to have purifying waters. Learn about water rituals as you see them performed with several different streams of water. As you head for Goa Gajah temple, don't be alarmed by the intimidating Boma that is blocking the entrance of what translates to "Elephant Cave." The statue is said to protect the temple from evil spirits. Then, return to your Ubud hotel after a full day. 

Day 4: Ubud VW Tour to Temples & Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Climb the many steps of the Tegallalang rice terraces

After an early breakfast, take your seat in a vintage Volkswagen convertible. The first stop will be Tibumana waterfall for a swim in its refreshing waters surrounded by lush forests. Get back in the car and then walk down the many steps to 11th-century Gunung Kawi to explore the temple's many caves and see elaborate shrines carved into the cliff face in a deep ravine. Then, at Tirta Empul (meaning "sacred source") in the village of Manukaya, see a water temple with a spring from the Pakerisan River. Learn how Balinese Hindus come to the temple for purification rituals to mark special occasions and lifecycle events.

After experiencing the energy of some of Ubud's temples, travel north to Tegallalang, which is known for its terraced rice fields cut into the hillside forming giant steps. Stop to take some pictures of endless emerald fields, and continue to Ubud's Monkey Forest, where bands of monkeys roam and jump between trees at a nature preserve and the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple. At the end of the day, visit Ubud's Gianyar Market to sample local street food such as satay (grilled meat), lawar (a mixure of meat, vegetables, and coconut), and various rice dishes. 

Day 5: Balinese Cooking Class & Balian Healer Visit

Traditional Balinese food
Learn how to cook traditional Balinese food with your local hosts

Today, bring your appetite as you enter the kitchen of Ubud locals Ayu and Made at their compound (with multiple generations living in one place) for a Balinese cooking class. During the experience, learn about the most used spices and ingredients for traditional recipes, such as lawar (meat mixed with vegetables), nasi goreng (rice), and satay (grilled meat). Chop vegetables and herbs, grind spices, see how to cook on an open fire, and then enjoy your creations for lunch in Ayu and Made's garden.

Plan your trip to Indonesia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After lunch, learn about another aspect of Bali's traditions. A balian is a healer who works with massage and other techniques to remove blocked energy and heal people from illnesses. Balians typically dedicate their entire lives to healing. Spend about half an hour with a balian to ask questions and receive answers. Then, spend the evening at your Ubud hotel.

Day 6: Sidemen Arts & Nature

Learn about weaving and batik techniques in Sidemen

Bali has a strong arts and crafts tradition, and in Sidemen, about one hour north of Ubud, learn from local artists. First, see the creation of fabric for sarongs—clothing worn by men, women, and children of all ages in Bali, both during temple ceremonies and as part of everyday traditional clothing. Then learn how to prepare offerings by weaving together palm leaves and decorating them with flowers and other symbolic items, with an explanation of how the offerings are used for family temples every day and during special ceremonies.

Palm is an important item in many aspects of Bali's culture. In a lontar workshop, learn how dried palm leaves are cut into strips and transformed into rectangular pages to be used for manuscripts filled with mantras, rituals, and astrological texts. Get a lesson in the Aksara Bali alphabet and copy some lines of text to take home with you as a memorable keepsake.

Day 7: Transfer to Gili Air

Catch a boat to the car-free Gili islands

The Gili Islands are three small islands off the northwest coast of Bali's neighboring island of Lombok. With coral reefs, palm trees, sea turtles, and a car-free lifestyle, get ready to enter true paradise. Your private driver will pick you up at your hotel in the morning and take you from Ubud to Padangbai (approximately 1.5 hours). At Padangbai's port, your driver will show you where to check in for a 2.5-hour speedboat ride to Gili Air.

Air is the smallest of the three Gili Islands, and it's ideal for a few days of true relaxation. From the dock, catch a ride to your hotel on foot or by horse cart since there are no cars on the island. Then, take time to rest, go on a snorkeling excursion, or simply watch the sunset with a drink in hand.

Day 8: Boat to Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno

Make your way to tropical paradise on the Gili Islands
The car-free Gili Islands are the ideal place to unplug 
Each of the Gilis has its own character, and today is a chance to explore the other two islands. At the port, buy a ticket for a day trip to either Gili Meno or Gili Trawangan. Some consider Gili Meno to be more relaxed, while on Gili Trawangan, you may find a more lively atmosphere. Once on the island, rent a bike to explore more, and stop off at a beach bar to order a refreshing drink delivered to your beanbag or overwater hammock. Check the timetables and catch a boat back to Gili Air at the end of the day.

Day 9: Gili Islands Snorkeling

Gili Islands Snorkeling
The Gili Islands are a prime snorkeling destination

See the Gili islands from a different perspective with an underwater adventure on a snorkeling excursion. In the morning, meet your guide at your hotel and then board a small wooden boat with your captain.

At snorkeling spots, put on your fins and a mask and then jump in the water to see what wonders you find under the sea. See multicolored fish and coral, and feel the freedom of floating. You may even have a chance to snorkel alongside sea turtles, which are often spotted in the waters here. Take a lunch break on one of the islands, and then get back on the boat to return to Gili Air, where you can relax at your hotel.

Day 10: Transfer to Uluwatu & Jimbaran Fish Market

Eating seafood at Jimbaran fish market
Select your favorite fish to be grilled up at the Jimbaran fish market

In the morning, it's time to say goodbye to the slow pace of the Gili islands and board a fast boat from Gili Air to Padangbai on Bali's mainland, traveling approximately 90 minutes. From there, a driver will take you to Jimbaran and Uluwatu in south Bali, taking approximately one hour and 30 minutes. 

Jimbaran Fish Market is a spot where the fresh catch of the day is on display, ready to be taken home or to a local restaurant to cook. Choose your favorite among the many fishmongers to pick what you'd like to eat for lunch—it might be tuna, trevally, octopus, or jumbo prawns. With your fish in hand, take it to a local restaurant to be grilled and served with rice and vegetables. 

Day 11: Jimbaran Sunset Cruise & Barbecue

A beach in Jimbaran
Spend the afternoon relaxing at a Jimbaran beach

Today is all about enjoying the island lifestyle. Spend a day at one of the area's beaches, such as Melasti or Nyang Nyang, ride a bicycle around the coast, relax by the pool, or eat fish at an outdoor restaurant.  

In the early afternoon, a driver will pick you up to go to Jimbaran Beach for a cruise. During the cruise, see incredible beach views, and have a chance to get out of the boat and go for a swim, float in the water, or relax on deck while watching the sunset. As the sun dips into the sea, smell meat and fish grilling on a barbecue, and enjoy a delicious feast on the beach before returning to your hotel. 

Day 12: Bukit Beaches, Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Dance Show

Watch a Kecak dance performance and see dancers come into a trance-like state

Bukit Peninsula beaches are your first destination today, and your driver will show you some of the most secluded ones. Green Bowl, Pandawa, and Padang Padang are white-sand beaches with limestone cliff backdrops that are known as great surf spots. Grab your board or take some time to relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

In the afternoon, your guide will take you to Uluwatu, perched on a cliff 230 feet (70 m) above the sea. Explore the temple dedicated to the Hindu god Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in his manifestation as Rudra. As the sun sets over Uluwatu, get ready for a spectacular performance of traditional Balinese Kecak dance. The dance is based on the story of the Ramayana from Hindu mythology and is presented at temples and villages across Bali. Watch as a few dozen men dance and chant, accompanied by drums and fire. The rhythm of the performance, pronounced "ket-chak" is said to put dancers in a trance. 

Day 13: Depart Bali 

Farewell Bali, Island of the Gods

It's time to bid your island paradise farewell. Take a private transfer from your hotel to Denpasar airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Balinese Escape: Ubud to the Gili Islands - 13 Days
Map of Balinese Escape: Ubud to the Gili Islands - 13 Days