Experience the world-famous beauty of Indonesia's islands. Begin in the town of Ubud in Bali, where you'll hike through terraced rice fields, learn about local culture and crafts, and visit historic temples. Then, travel by speedboat to Gili Air. You'll snorkel, spot sea turtles, and explore its neighboring islands, with plenty of time for beachside relaxation. Return to Bali and travel to Seminyak to enjoy temple tours, a traditional dance performance, and a surf class.


  • Explore temples and villages around Ubud
  • Relax and go snorkeling on the scenic island of Gili Air
  • See a traditional Kecak dance performance 
  • Enjoy a surf class on one of Bali's beautiful beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bali & Transfer to Ubud, Optional Visit to Mas & Celuk  Ubud
Day 2 Cultural Day in Ubud & Sidemen, Visit Suwat Waterfall Ubud
Day 3 Ubud VW Safari Car Tour Ubud
Day 4 Ubud Temples & Traditional Village Excursion Ubud
Day 5 Transfer to Padangbai, Speedboat to Gili Air Gili Air
Day 6 Free Day in Gili Air Gili Air
Day 7 Snorkeling Trip Around the Gili Islands Gili Air
Day 8 Day Trip to Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno Gili Air
Day 9 Transfer to Seminyak (Bali) via Goa Lawah & Tanah Lot Temple Seminyak
Day 10 Visit Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Traditional Dance Performance Seminyak
Day 11 Enjoy a Surfing Class  Seminyak
Day 12 Depart Bali  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bali & Transfer to Ubud, Optional Visit to Mas & Celuk

The Sacred Monkey Forest is one of Ubud's best-known attractions
The Sacred Monkey Forest is one of Ubud's best-known attractions

Welcome to Bali! Your driver will greet you at Denpasar Airport and drive you to your hotel in Ubud, where you can get settled in after your flight. Sometimes considered the "spiritual heart of Bali," Ubud is a town nestled among terraced rice paddies and rolling hills. On the drive in, you'll get your first impression of this verdant landscape and see farmers working in the fields.

After you've checked in and relaxed a bit after your journey, the rest of the day is free to explore the neighborhood around your hotel. Stop for a drink of fresh coconut, then head to the city center to browse Ubud Market for souvenirs. You can go to dinner at one of the smaller street kitchens, known as warung, to get an authentic taste of Indonesian cuisine (but be prepared: the Balinese like their food spicy!) Or, if you have time, enjoy an optional cultural visit to Mas and Celuk villages, which are famous for their woodworking and silver craftsmanship. 

Day 2: Cultural Day in Ubud & Sidemen, Visit Suwat Waterfall

Go for a leisurely hike through the countryside around Sidemen
Go for a leisurely hike through the countryside around Sidemen

The day begins with a lesson in making sarongs. These garments play an important role in Balinese everyday life. Next, set out on local walking paths to enjoy the landscapes of rice fields and plantations around Sidemen. You'll learn about rice cultivation and the region's famed subak irrigation system on this walk. Then it's on to a cooking class, where you'll discover how to grind and prepare flour and create three Balinese recipes cooked over a wood fire. Continue your glimpse into everyday life in Bali as you prepare offerings and ceremonial cakes, then watch the talents of the locals as they weave palm leaves.

Next is a lontar workshop, where dried palm leaves are cut into strips and transformed into rectangular pages. On these pages, the Balinese engrave texts and Sanskrit manuscripts. Discover the Balinese alphabet, called Aksara Bali, and try your hand at writing on the sheets. Afterward, prepare jamu, a traditional plant-based drink, and create your own soothing heat balm from homegrown ingredients. Enjoy a delicious lunch on the spot, then travel to Suwat Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. Here, you can enjoy a ride on a canoe and a swim in the cool water before heading back to Ubud. 

Day 3: Ubud VW Safari Car Tour

Visit Tibumana Waterfall
Visit Tibumana Waterfall

Discover the highlights around Ubud in style on a vintage VW convertible tour. Start with a short walk to Tibumana Waterfall for a quick swim in the refreshing waters surrounded by forest. Afterward, head to the 11th-century Gunung Kawi temple, where elaborate royal shrines are carved into the cliff face in a deep ravine, giving the site its name of the "Valley of the Kings." Your next stop is the temple of Tirta Empul (its name means "sacred source" in Balinese), located in the village of Manukaya. The waters here come from the Pakerisan River and have the reputation of being purifying. 

It's then on to one of Bali's most photographed views: Tegallalang and its stunning rice terraces, which cut into the hillside like giant green steps. Next, in Ubud's Monkey Forest, meet the troops of monkeys that freely roam the nature reserve and the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple. The curious monkeys are fun to be around and can be particularly mischievous—keep your belongings close! End your adventure with a trip to the lively Gianyar Market. Here, you can awaken your tastebuds with flavorful Indonesian specialties and get insight into local life on the island.

Day 4: Ubud Temples & Traditional Village Excursion

Entrance Way of Besakih on Ceremony Day
The entranceway of Besakih temple on Ceremony Day

Today, your private driver will take you into the lush countryside surrounding Ubud to visit some of the region's most magnificent temples. Your first stop is Pura Besakih, the mother temple of Bali and the largest on the island. This impressive complex consists of 23 small temples, all related to each other, situated at the foot of Mount Agung. Next, head to Bangli regency and Pura Kehen temple, Bali's highest terraced temple. This ancient Hindu temple complex boasts many unique architectural features and sweeping views from its elevated position.

Continue to Penglipuran Village, a beautiful town in the highlands of Bangli, which is known for its layout and well-preserved culture. Here, you can enter a traditional village house and admire the classic setup of a rural Balinese abode. Take the road to the east coast, stopping in Semarapura (better known as Klungkung). You'll find Kerta Gosa, a former courthouse and floating pavilion near this former royal capital. Once you've had the chance to look around and explore, return to Ubud for the evening. 

Day 5: Transfer to Padangbai, Speedboat to Gili Air

Gili Air Beach
Gili Air beach

Indonesia has a beach to suit all moods, and today you'll experience the laid-back vibes of its small islands. Your private driver will pick you up at your hotel in the morning and take you from Ubud to Padangbai (the journey takes about 1.5 hours). When you reach Padangbai's port, your driver will show you where to check in for your 2.5-hour speedboat ride to the island of Gili Air.

Gili Air is the smallest of the three Gili Islands, perfect for a few days of relaxation. The Gilis are charmingly car-free, so you'll reach your hotel on foot or by horse cart. Once you arrive, take time to rest, watch the sunset over the ocean, or seek out sea turtles on a snorkeling excursion.

Day 6: Free Day in Gili Air

Enjoy your time in paradise
Enjoy your time relaxing in the Gili Islands
Plan your trip to Indonesia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Spend today relaxing on Gili Air's white-sand beaches and taking advantage of the island's many snorkeling and diving spots. You can choose to seek out the island's marine wildlife on your own or hop onboard a boat with a local for a cruise around the three Gili Islands (Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan). You may even come across some turtles swimming near the shore if you're lucky.  

If you'd rather stay on land, walk or ride a bike around this tiny island while enjoying the tropical atmosphere (it will take you about an hour of cycling or two hours walking). Afterward, settle on a beanbag chair and enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in your hand and your feet in the sand. Savor the island's beauty as you forget your cares and sink into total relaxation.

Day 7: Snorkeling Trip Around the Gili Islands

Snorkeling Trip Around the Gili Islands
Snorkel and possibly see stellar wildlife like sea turtles around the Gili Islands
Today, underwater adventures await with a snorkeling cruise around the three Gili Islands. You'll be picked up at your hotel and taken to meet your captain in the morning. Then, hop on a small wooden boat to begin your snorkeling cruise. Stop at some of the best snorkeling sites, where you can jump into the water with your fins and mask to admire the multicolored fish and coral. If you're lucky, you might snorkel alongside turtles—they're often spotted in the waters here. Refuel with lunch on one of the islands before returning to your hotel to spend the rest of the day as you see fit.

Day 8: Day Trip to Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno

Make your way to tropical paradise on the Gili Islands
Aerial view of the Gili Islands

Each of the Gilis has its own character, and spending time on more than one of the islands is a great idea. Wander to the port and buy a ticket for a day trip to the neighboring island of Gili Meno or Gili Trawangan. Gili Meno is ultra-relaxed, while Gili Trawangan is more lively, with many restaurants and bars to enjoy.

Once you've arrived at your destination, don't forget to check the speedboat timetable to plan your return to Gili Air. Then head off to enjoy your day. You can rent a bike to explore or stop at a beach bar where you can order a refreshing drink delivered to your beanbag or overwater hammock. 

Day 9: Transfer to Seminyak (Bali) via Goa Lawah & Tanah Lot Temple

Goa Lawah Temple
Goa Lawah temple

In the morning, make your way to the harbor to take the speedboat back to Padangbai. Your driver will welcome you in Padangbai and bring you to Seminyak, in Bali's south. On the way, you'll stop to visit the Goa Lawah, which translates to "Bat Cave," as thousands of bats inhabit it. You'll also discover the famous Tanah Lot temple, perched on a rock by the sea. It is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast.

Once in Seminyak, check in at your hotel and head out to explore the bustling streets. Here, you'll find many street stalls that sell souvenirs. The local beach, Double Six Beach, is also worth a visit. You can take a walk at sunset or relax at one of the beach bars.

Day 10: Visit Uluwatu Temple & Kecak Traditional Dance Performance

A view of Uluwatu Temple
A view of Uluwatu Temple

Spend the morning relaxing at your leisure, then use the afternoon to visit the famed Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, which is perched on a cliff 230 feet (70 m) above the sea. Take time to wander around, admiring the spectacular temple and watching the Indian Ocean waves far below. Keep a hand on your belongings, as the resident monkeys have been known to grab water bottles, sunglasses, and even wallets from distracted visitors!

At sunset, attend a Kecak performance. Pronounced "ket-chak," this is a traditional Balinese dance accompanied by rhythmic chanting. More than 50 men, wearing only loincloths, gather in a circle to perform an elaborate dance that reflects the Ramayana story from Hindu mythology. The performance lasts around an hour.

Day 11: Enjoy a Surfing Class 

Enjoy surfing in Bali
Go surfing in Bali

Meet your driver at your hotel and head out for a fun day of surfing. In a relaxed setting, an English-speaking state-certified instructor will share their knowledge of the waves and the ocean with you. You'll progress quickly as you enjoy some fun, educational exercises in warm water with a temperature of 86°F (30°C). 

Begin with an aquatic warm-up known as body surfing, a fun practice exercise that allows you to experience your first waves. You'll paddle, get up, slide, turn, and sometimes even fall, but always with the desire to try again. After your surfing experience, feel free to lounge on a deck chair, build sandcastles, or go for a swim. 

Day 12: Depart Bali

View of Bali
View of Bali
Bid farewell to Bali this morning. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport for your onward flight. Have a safe journey home or to your next destination!

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Map of Culture & Beaches in Indonesia: Bali & Gili Islands - 12 Days
Map of Culture & Beaches in Indonesia: Bali & Gili Islands - 12 Days