Independent travelers will love this 10-day adventure that will take you through two of Indonesia's most beautiful islands while allowing for plenty of free days. You'll start in Ubud, where you will tour ancient temples, take a Balinese cooking class, climb a volcano, and learn about this island's unique culture. Next, you will enjoy the peace of Sidemen's verdant rural communities before wrapping up your adventure on the island paradise of Gili Air and the beaches of Jimbaran.

Highlights

  • Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest to see many species of playful monkeys
  • Learn about authentic Indonesian cuisine in a cooking class
  • Take a sunrise hike up the Mount Batur volcano
  • Bathe under the Tukad Cepung Waterfall
  • Relax on the tropical beaches of Gili Air Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ubud Ubud
Day 2 Tour of Ubud's Temples Ubud
Day 3 Traditional Balinese Cooking Class  Ubud
Day 4 Sunrise Hike to Mount Batur Ubud
Day 5 Free Day in Ubud Ubud
Day 6 Transfer to Sidemen Sidemen
Day 7 Tour of Sidemen's Temples Sidemen
Day 8 Day-Trip to Sukahet Sari Sidemen
Day 9 Transfer to Gili Air Island Gili Air
Days 10-11 Free Day on Gili Air Gili Air
Day 12 Transfer to Jimbaran Jimbaran
Day 13 Free Day in Jimbaran Jimbaran
Day 14 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ubud

Welcome to Bali
A colorful Balinese floral arrangement

Welcome to Bali! You'll arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), and a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Ubud, about one hour and 30 minutes away. During the drive, you'll see the island's twisting roads, quaint villages, and terraced rice fields. 

Once you arrive in Ubud and check in at your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day and evening free to relax. You can explore the town's boutiques and cafes, take a yoga class, and try some authentic Indonesian food. 

Day 2: Tour of Ubud's Temples

Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud
The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel to explore some of Bali's most beautiful temples and interesting sites. 

You first stop will be the Ubud Monkey Forest, where a tribe of cheeky monkeys roams free among the three temples there, so be sure to secure your belongings.

In the afternoon, you'll travel on to Bedulu and its Goa Gajah temple, also known as the elephant cave. You can walk about the excavated ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage temple complex that was built in the 9th century before continuing on to Pura Gunung Kawi, an 11th-century temple and funerary complex.

Your last stop is one of Bali's most sacred temples, Tirta Empul (Holy Water Temple). Located in the village of Manukaya, this Hindu temple is dedicated to purification and its name means "sacred source" in Balinese. The waters of the pools come from the Pakerisan River, and you can learn about the ritual bathing that takes place here.

In the early evening, your driver will take you back to Ubud through the incredible rice terraces of Tegallalang, where you can stop and walk through the endless verdant green. You'll have the evening free in Ubud to relax and try traditional Balinese cuisine. 

Day 3: Traditional Balinese Cooking Class 

Traditional Balinese food
Traditional Balinese food

Don't eat too much for breakfast, because today's activities will be focused on learning about the flavors and techniques that are unique to Balinese cooking. 

A driver will take you to a village to meet your hosts, Ayu and Made, who will invite you into their home for a cooking class and lunch. You will learn about the spices and unique vegetables that are used in traditional dishes like lawar and nasi jingoo, and you can even take the recipes home with you. When lunch is ready, you'll sit down in a beautiful garden to talk with your hosts and taste what you made in the class.

After lunch, your driver will take you back to Ubud. You'll have the afternoon and evening free to explore, relax, or perhaps try a yoga class. 

Day 4: Sunrise Hike to Mount Batur

Mount Batur in Bali
Sunrise over Mount Batur

A driver will pick you up in the early morning when it's still dark and take you to watch a spectacular sunrise from the active volcano, Mount Batur.  

Your climb up this natural marvel will take you to 5,577 feet (1,700 meters) above sea level. As you reach the summit, you'll see Batur Lake below and the Abang, Agung, and Batukaru volcanos on the east side of Bali.

If you'd like, you will have time to trek around the crater and then down into the volcano before heading back to Ubud. You will be free to spend the afternoon and evening as you'd like. 

Day 5: Free Day in Ubud

The busy street of Jalan Goutama in Ubud
The busy street of Jalan Goutama in Ubud

You'll have the day free to discover the art, culture, and opportunities for relaxation in Ubud. You might go shopping, have an authentic Balinese massage, or go for an easy stroll through the nearby rice fields.

In town, you'll find many cafes in which you can spend the afternoon, or you can take a yoga class, another cooking class, or learn about Batik art. A representative can assist you in booking special activities and excursions.

Day 6: Transfer to Sidemen

Tukad Cepung waterfall
The Tukad Cepung waterfall

A driver will pick you up at your hotel this morning, and you will see more of the Island of the Gods as you head 18 miles (30 km) east to Sidemen. Along the way, you'll have a chance to take in the beautiful scenery of Bali forests and rice paddies.

Your first stop will be the Tukad Cepung waterfall that is hidden between a set of cliffs. This waterfall might be difficult for first-time visitors to find, but your guide will lead the way down a few hundred stairs to the gap. The circular cliffs might give you the feeling of being in a cave, while the open sky above the waterfall allows sunlight to stream in. 

After you finish taking a dip in the waterfall, you will continue on to visit Penglipuran Village. This Balinese village is steeped in tradition and known for its majestic bamboo forest. Here, you might be invited to a local house where you can experience the warm hospitality that the region is known for. 

When you arrive in Sidemen and check in at your hotel, you'll have the evening free to relax and have dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 7: Tour of Sidemen's Temples

Get ready to be amazed by the beauty of Bali
A view of a farmer and his field in Bali

Today, you will discover more of east Bali with your guide and learn about traditional Balinese architecture. 

First, you'll stroll around the garden of Taman Soekasada with its graceful floating palaces. Then you'll stop at the former royal palace of Taman Tirtagangga, named for India's Ganges River because of the temple's religious significance for Balinese Hindus. 

In the afternoon, you'll visit Pura Lempuyang Luhur, a collection of temples that are among the oldest and most sacred on the island. You might want to spend two to four hours here exploring and climbing the stairs to reach the peak of the main temple for breathtaking views of Mount Agung.

You also won't want to miss its Gate to Heaven, a traditional candi bentar (split gateway), which is a classical Balinese architectural style for religious compounds. 

At the end of your tour of these Balinese temples, you'll return to your hotel in Sidemen, where you can spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool. 

Day 8: Day-Trip to Sukahet Sari

Be amazed by Bali's rice fields
Rice fields near Sukahet Sari

This morning, a driver will pick you up and transfer you 6 miles )10 km) to the nearby village of Sukahet Sari to learn about traditional Balinese handicrafts. 

You'll start at a textile cooperative, and then move on to the rice fields where you can learn about the production of this significant crop from farmers who will explain their expertise and process. When it's time for lunch, you'll go to the home of a local family where you will get to cook traditional Balinese food. After lunch, you can take a walk in the rice fields, climb coconut palms, or go for a swim. 

In the evening, you'll be returned to your hotel in Sidemen. 

Day 9: Transfer to Gili Air Island

Gili Islands
Gili Islands

Today, you'll take a one-hour drive out of Bali and then a two-hour boat ride to Gili Air—one of the three Gili Islands near the coast of Lombok.

After you check in at your hotel, you will be able to explore sandy beaches fringed by palm trees and snorkel in majestic coral reefs. You will have all day to experience the delights of this island paradise, so consider asking a representative for help in booking additional activities. 

Days 10-11: Free Day on Gili Air

Beach loungers on a beach in Gili Air
Beach loungers on Gili Air Island

You'll have the next two days on Gili Air free to enjoy the perfect snorkeling and diving spots off the beaches where you can see colorful fish and sea turtles.

You can ask a representative for help in booking a boat ride to the other two islands of Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno. There are also scenic walking or bike trails around the main island. After your full day of activities, don't miss a chance to see the island's spectacular sunset. 

Day 12: Transfer to Jimbaran

Balangan beach
A beach in Jimbaran

Today, you'll say goodbye to the Gili Islands and head back to the mainland of Bali and to the village of Jimbaran. You'll travel two hours by boat and then another two hours by car to reach your final destination.

When you check in at your accommodation in the fishing village of Jimbaran, you'll have the rest of the day to spend as you'd like.

Day 13: Free Day in Jimbaran

Restaurants on a beach in Jimbaran
Restaurants on a beach in Jimbaran

As today is your last day in Bali, you'll be free to grab some last-minute souvenirs, pamper yourself at a local spa, or book an excursion to the temples in nearby Uluwatu.

In the evening, you can enjoy one last Balinese meal, perhaps in a restaurant on the beach. 

Day 14: Departure

A rice field in Bali
View of a rice field in Bali

It's time to say goodbye to Bali! After a final breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you back to Ngurah Rai International Airport where you can catch a flight home or on to your next destination.

Map

Map of Magical Indonesia: Ubud, Sidemen, Gili Air, & Jimbaran  - 14 Days
Map of Magical Indonesia: Ubud, Sidemen, Gili Air, & Jimbaran - 14 Days