3 Day Guide to Bali
“The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It’s more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind.” – Lonely Planet
Bali has beaches, temples, surfing, diving and resorts. Its inhabitants are warm people, and the food is great. Bali never disappoints as a place to have a good time. Here’s our take on how to enjoy the captivating island of Bali.
=Getting there and getting around=
Bali Airport (Ngurah Rai), also known as Denpasar International Airport, is Indonesia’s third busiest airport and can be reached via multiple airlines.
Taxis are available from the airport to the city center. It is advisable to engage your own driver before arriving Bali. Engaging with a private driver is highly recommended, as it is extremely convenient throughout your entire trip and you would be able to fix on a price to pay beforehand.
If you do not wish to hire a private driver, there are many airport taxis available on your arrival. As an informative gauge, it costs Rp 100,000 to get to Denpasar city, and Rp 300,000 to get to Ubud. You could also get your hotel to hire a taxi for you throughout the day.
If you prefer to have more independence, you could rent a scooter. A scooter costs Rp 30,000 – 50,000 a day. In any tourist zone in Bali, people are renting out scooters. In our opinion, the best thing to do is to arrange for your hotel to book one for you.
=Day 1: Beaching=
Dedicate a day to soak up in Bali’s beaches. There are many types of beaches in Bali, from those with big rocks created by corals or lava to those covered wholly with white or black sand. So depending what you look to do at the beach, there are a number of beaches for you to choose from. Whether you are a swimmer or not and if you are with kids, you may well choose from these beautiful beaches below. Look out for the high tide when swimming.
The best Beaches are generally located in the South of Bali, including the stretches of Kuta and Legian. North Bali’s beaches are mostly black volcanic sand, cool and very quiet. East Bali’s beaches are small, calm, tend to have fine sand and great snorkeling spots. West Bali is little developed and offers few beach destinations.
Visit Kuta Beach for low-cost convenience, great sun, sand and wild nightlife. Kuta beach experiences more traffic, crowds, concrete, and less tranquility. Certainly for hard-core party people on a budget, who like to slump in the sun during the day on the sand, struggle into the surf for a splash and buy trinkets from endless vendors. Kuta beach is great for beginners to do water sports.
Kuta is also a famous surfing destination. Surfboards can be rented nearby and surfing courses are also available. The following are surfing schools you could enroll in if you want to surf:
Pro Surf School
Jl. Raya Pantai, Kuta 80032, Indonesia
Price: Rp 675,000
Odysseys Surf School
Address: Jl. Pantai Kuta | Mercure Kuta Hotel, Kuta 80361, Indonesia
Price: Rp 466,000
Dekom Bali Surf School
Price: half day lesson – Rp 786,600
For upmarket family/romantic beach holidays, Jimbaran beach is home to several 5-star resorts. Jimbaran sand is soft and almost white, the waters generally calm and protected by the bay. Watersports facilities are limited to what is provided by hotels, which also run excellent spas loaded with body-upgrade treatments.
Jimbaran Beach is located in the south of Bali, the southern direction of Kuta beach.
Nearby Jimbaran beach is Nusa Dua. Nusa Dua sports some of Bali’s best beach resort hotels, best beaches, and a wide range of water sports facilities, though local culture is mostly missing. Uluwatu temple is just 20 minutes drive away.
Nusa Dua is located on the southern tip of Bali, close to Jimbaran Beach. Head eastward from Jimbaran beach to get to Nusa Dua.
Entrance fee: Rp 25,000, Sarongs are available for rent.
Open: 9am – 6pm
Uluwatu Temple is perched on a large rugged limestone cliff, giving off a dramatic grandeur. If you go on even higher grounds nearby, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view.
Uluwatu temple is located at the southern tip of Bali, very close to the 3 beaches mentioned.
Near the temple is a mystical cave you cannot miss. The cave makes a great backdrop for photoshoots!
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Entrance fee: Rp 30,000
Open: 6am – 6pm
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is a famous temple by the lake in Bali, where unlike the rest perching on cliff rocks, this one is serenely resting at the edge of Lake Bratan. The iconic temple is also depicted on the 50,000Rp note.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is located at the central region of Bali. It is a 1-1.5h-car ride from the South of Bali.
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm
Besakih Temple is the largest and holiest temple in Bali. It is located in the volcanic Mount Agung, the holiest mountain on the island of Bali. If not traveling as part of a tour, try to arrive at the temple before 9am, when it gets crowded. The best way to get here is without a tour is by hiring a private driver.
Besakih Temple is located at the Eastern region of Bali, and is a 1-1.5h-car ride from the south of Bali.
Permtueran Underwater Temple
Just below the surface of those azure waves, where the shallow reef stretches, lies Permtueran’s underwater temple. Deliberately constructed as part of an environmental conservation programme, 10 statues and a temple were sunk into the sea.
Permtueran Underwater Temple is located in the northwestern region of Bali, and is a 2h car ride from the Southern region of Bali.
Day 2: Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is an island southeast of Bali. There are a handful of places worth seeing, there are miles upon mils of beautiful coastline, and and a generally “unspoilt” vibe about the place. Nusa Penida can be reached by boat taxis at Rp 200,000. These boat taxis can be found at various harbours around Bali – Sanur and Padang Bai. Nusa Penida is a small island and can be explored by renting a motorcycle is the most practical option. A bike costs Rp 60,000 a day.
Soak yourself in this natural infinity pool, located at Nusa Penida! With its emerald hues and crystal waters, the Angel’s Billabong is the epitome of stunning.
Located at Nusa Penida, the Peguyangan Waterfall is a series of short, cascading spring fountains that will eventually fmake their way over a steep ravine and into the sea.
Not the usual sandy beach you will see, Yel Leh is a shore filled with boulders and little sea creatures caught in the rock pools.
Day 3: Lombok and/or the Gili Islands
Lombok and the Gili islands are just a short boat trip away from Bali. Travellers are increasingly travelling to Bali, Lombok and Gili together.
There are 3 habours that have boats that take you to the Gili islands – Amed, Padang Bai, Sanur. Tickets to the Gili Islands can be bought either online or directly at the harbor. The fast boat trip (1h) costs Rp 250,000 while the slower public ferry trip (3-4h) costs Rp 40,000.
Visit Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Experience all 3 Gili Islands on the same day with a snorkeling trip that costs Rp 100,000. You’ll be pampered with sights of corals, fish and turtles in the clear waters. Watch the sunset at Gili Trawangan, and end off your day with barbecued seafood, which costs rp 100,000.
Lombok is a 30min (Rp 100,000) boat ride from Gili Trawangan and 1.5h(Rp 350,000) boat ride from Bali.
If you’ve got a few more days to spare, take on the challenge to climb Mount Rinjani, the second highest peak in Indonesia. The trek is not for the faint hearted, and you would take 2-3 days to climb it.
If you don’t have the luxury of time, Senggigi would be a great place! Many hotels are located over here. It’s also great for going out at night or eating. One of the most popular surf spots for locals and tourists alike is Senggigi Beach.
1. Suckling Pig (Babi Guling)
Babi Guling is the local dish that you have to sample in Bali. A whole pig is spiced and spit roasted for hours over a coal fire. Babi Guling used to be served for ceremonies and special occasions, but nowadays most restaurants serve it too. Try the Babi Guling here:
Address: Jalan Desa Cepaka No.33, Kediri, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 80351, Indonesia.
Opening hours: 2am – 9am
Another delicacy that is central to Indonesian culinary culture is Satay. Satay are marinated, skewered and grilled meats, served with spicy sauce, and may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, or minced blends. Here’s where you can eat satay:
Gourmet Sate House
Address: Jl. Dewi Sri No. 101, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361 Indonesia
Opening hours: 11am – 11pm
3. Bebek Betutu
Bebek Betutu is slow roasted whole duck marinated in spices and wrapped in banana leaves. The result is a crispy skin with juicy, tender meat. If duck isn’t for you, then try Chicken Betutu. You can try Bebek Betutu here:
Warung Padang Kecag
Address: Jl. Mendira, Candidasa, Karangasem Regency, Bali 80871, Indonesia
Opening hours: 8am – 10pm
4. Nasi Campur (Mixed Rice)
Nasi Campur is the national dish of Indonesia. Almost every eating house serves it and everyone who has been to Bali would try it. What’s not to like about rice with meat, vegetables, eggs, peanuts and shrimp? You can try Nasi Campur here:
Address: Jl. Yudistira No. 2 Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Opening hours: 8am – 4pm
Other Restaurants and Bars
Seafood Restaurants at Jimbaran Beach
Jimbaran beach in Bali is famous for its long stretch of endless eateries serving up freshly grilled local seafood, while you face the ocean, feet in the cool sand, enjoy the breeze and watch the setting sun. The majority of the eateries are incredibly affordable.
Pick your seafood ala carte by weight which will come with accompaniments for a complete meal.
Expect your seafood to arrive cooked just right, super fresh, juicy and covered in a bright red marinate which actually isn’t spicy at all but savory and sweet.
Jimbaran Bay Seafood Club (location includes more than 30 cafes/restaurants): Jalan Pantai Kedonganan, South Kuta,80361 (Daily 11:00-23:00) | Tel: +62 851 0172 5367
Address: Jalan Poppies II No. 8, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
Open: 7am – 12am
The ultimate eatery and bar offers a deliciously unique cuisine that combines Asian flavors with delicate European influences.
Gabah Restaurant and Bar
Address: Ramayana Resort & Spa, Jl. Bakung Sari, Kabupaten Badung, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Open: Balinese Buffet Tuesday and Saturday, 7.30pm -12am; Buffet lunch Friday and Sunday, 11am -3pm
Gabah Restaurant serves traditional, Balinese buffet for the art and culture lovers.
Copper Kitchen and Bar
Address: Jalan Bisma No.24, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Open: 7am – 11pm
In Copper Kitchen & Bar, Asian cuisine is done with contemporary interpretations. Copper Kitchen and Bar has a farm-to-table concept. Many of its ingredients are sourced from local farms.
Where to stay:
Address: Jalan Raya Kedewatan, Banjar Kedewatan, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
(Luxury) One Eleven
Address: Jl. Pangkung Sari No.3, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
(Iconic) Hanging Gardens of Bali
Address: Banjar Susut, Desa Buahan, Payangan, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
(Beachfront hotels – Kuta Beach) Citadines Kuta Beach Bali Aparthotel
Address: Jl. Pantai Kuta, Legian, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
(Beachfront hotels – Kuta Beach) Kutabex Hotel
Address: Jalan Pantai Kuta, Banjar Pande Mas, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
(Nightlife Hotels) Bounty Hotel Kuta
Address: Jl. Segara Batu Bolong (Poppies II ) No. 18, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia
(Nightlife Hotels) The ONE Legian
Address: Jalan Legian No. 117, Legian, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia