Bali Indonesia: Travel Guide with 5 Day Suggested Itinerary

Bali is perhaps Indonesia’s most famous holiday destination and is known as the Island of Gods. Located east of Java, it is rich in culture and history, full of natural wonders and blessed with diverse secular heritage of arts and crafts. This comprehensive guide helps you get the most from your 5 day visit to Bali, Indonesia. It provides basic practical information, suggested 5-day itinerary, sights of interests and tips on everything from transport to safety.

Note: This suggested itinerary is also based on our actual itinerary. So, you’ll see some comments if I liked it or not. Haha. Also, if you would like to see how much this trip costs, then check out my expense tracker right here.

Project Gora’s suggested itinerary 🙂
First time in Bali? Here are some of the things to consider before traveling:

  1. Food safety – Traveling to a foreign country is always exciting and going on a gastronomic adventure is always a must. However, sudden change of food, temperature and hygienic codes have an impact on your health so make sure to remember some rules to avoid hassles. First, if you want to avoid contracting Bali Belly, make sure to purchase bottled water from shops and supermarkets and do not drink water from the taps. Remember that it’s hot in Indonesia so stay well-hydrated. Second, be mindful of what you eat. Eating street food is part of the travel experience but make sure to select the right street vendor. Eat street food from a vendor who is selling to a large number of locals. Always use your sense of smell and sight to check the condition of food. 
  2. Medical Emergencies – The hospitals and medical services in Bali  are extremely advanced, with air ambulances and a team of multilingual health professionals who are all top notch in their respective fields. Most facilities in Bali honor foreign travel insurance policies but make sure to check with your insurance provider which one they are affiliated. Take note of these emergency numbers: 118 for ambulance services and 112 for operator assisted general emergency services. 
  3. Religion – The majority of Balinese are Hindu and ancient practices/beliefs are still visible today. It is reflected in architecture, temple structures, festivals, weddings, funerals and coming of age ceremonies. My mother and I noticed as soon as we arrived that religion plays a big role in Bali. There’s always some kind of ceremonies going on and it is imperative to follow simple temple rules. To get into the temple during its ceremony days, temple costumes should be strictly put on, while for other days one should wear polite dress with temple sash circled around waist. Women during her period are not allowed to enter the temple as it is considered impurity. It all means to show respectfulness to God and to local tradition which ensure a memorable experience.
  4. Avoiding monkey attacks – Macaques are one of the most common species you are likely to encounter in Bali. No matter how accustomed they may seem to tourists, they should be approached with caution. Avoid smiling as they perceive this as a sign of aggression. Do not grab something they are holding as you will end up being bitten. And lastly, avoid showing fear. 
  5. Foreign Exchange – Most major currency can be exchanged in banks and authorized money changers in main tourist areas such as Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Just an FYI, US bills issued before 2006 will receive a lower rate than the newer ones. Sometimes old or folded notes are not accepted. Double check your money before leaving the counter are there have been many reports of money changing scams in the past. If you are like me, who’s super lazy when it comes to money exchange, just use the ATMs which can be found at the airport and in major tourist areas. Do not forget to call your bank (I have a BPI and Security Bank debit cards) to activate your international access.
Now that you already know some basic information about Bali, you can now draft your own itinerary based on the suggested itinerary below:

Day 1
Take a flight that will arrive early at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. Cebu Pacific is the only low-cost airline I know that offers early morning flights to Bali from the Philippines. From the airport, you can hire an airport taxi or rental car with private driver to get to Ubud. A metered taxi to the Ubud area would likely costs IDR 300,000 and travel time is around 1 – 2 hours depending on traffic situation. All hotels in Ubud, including small guesthouses, offer airport transfer. For budget conscious travellers, unfortunately, there are no shuttle buses from the airport to the Ubud area. 
Day 1
After check in at the hotel, find a local restaurant for lunch along Jalan Raya. Then, explore Ubud on foot, bicycle or motorcycle. Don’t miss the chance to visit some of the finest art galleries in Bali. These include Museum Puri Lukisan, Neka Art Museum and Don Antonio Blanco Museum. After your museum tour, head to Jalan Raya and Dewi Sita for some souvenir shopping. After your early dinner, head to the Puri Salen Royal Palace, located just opposite of the tourist centre in Jalan Raya, for the evening Legong Dance performance. Or, you can experience a rejuvenating spa treatment.

Where to Stay in Ubud?

Villa Saraswati
Jl. Rsi Markandya, Jl. Mpu Beradah, Banjar Payogan, Ubud 80571, Indonesia
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Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa
Jl. Raya Campuhan, Ubud 80571, Indonesia
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The Purist Villas and Spa
Jl. Tirta Tawar | Banjar Kutuh Kaja, Ubud 80571, Indonesia
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Day 2
Today you will have the services of a private driver and tour guide which you arranged the day prior (either through your hotel or a travel agency in Ubud). This will be a fantastic introduction to the other parts of Bali and take this opportunity to ask your guide any questions you may have about life in Indonesia. You may of course do this tour on your own especially if you can drive or operate a motorcycle. 
Day 2
Start the tour early by watching the Barong and Keris Dance performance or Trance dance. Honestly, I did not enjoy this performance, so you might want to skip this. It was a tourist trap, in my opinion. Head to Tegalalang Rice Terrace, an icon of agriculture tourism for Bali. Although it’s nothing compared to the Philippines’ Banaue Rice Terraces, it still offers a stunning view. In the afternoon, continue the tour at Tirta Empul Temple or the Holy Spring Temple at Tampak Siring. This was probably my favourite attraction in Bali. Lastly, visit the Monkey Sacred Forest and meet the macaques that live around the temple complex. It is advisable not to feed the monkeys as they can become aggressive. 
Day 3
Today you can leave Ubud early and travel to your next destination. Like airport transfers, most hotels and guesthouses in Ubud can arrange hotel transfers. Shopping, exploring, surfing or going on a gastronomic adventure, there so many things to experience in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. It all depends on which you would like to prioritize. If you would like to stay near the beaches and nightlife, then you can choose among the many hotels and guesthouses in Kuta, Legian or Seminyak. In the afternoon, go on a surfing lesson. The southern Bukit Peninsula is famous among world surfers because of the long and perfect reef waves. Uluwatu, Padang-Padang and Bigin are also places that have amazing waves.
Day 4

Where to Stay in Kuta?

Amnaya Resort Kuta
Jalan Kartika Plaza Gang Puspa Ayu No. 99, Kuta 80361, Indonesia
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The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali
Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta 80361, Indonesia
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Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel
Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta 80361, Indonesia
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Day 4
Start the tour early at Pura Ulun Danu Temple, which was built on a small island and dedicated to the goddess of Lake Dewi Danu. This attraction features a small stupa-shaped shrine for Buddhists worshippers and an 11-tiered mere located on a shore across a wooden bridge. Next is the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces set in the heart of Tabanan Regency to the east of Pura Luhur Batukau. It was recognised as a UNESCO Cultural Landscape and has been well known as a tourist destination. Not only it is a photographer’s paradise, this is also a great place to observe the agricultural side of Bali. The area is very rural with nothing but agricultural and farming communities and some high-end mountain resorts. 
After lunch, head to the Temple of Taman Ayun in Bali’s Mengwi district. It is considered as one of the most beautiful temples in Bali. The temple is surrounded by water stream which makes it really beautiful. The garden is very well maintained and the “Meru” towers are beautifull preserved. In Indonesia, Meru symbolizes Mt. Meru of Hindu Mythology which is considered to be the center of all spirutual, physical and metaphysical universes. Finally, just in time for sunset, Tanah Lot is one of the most important temples in Bali. Set on a rock just offshore, it is said to be the work of a 15th century priest and plays an important role in Balinese Mythology. Tanah lot is an extremely famous tourist destination that is why it is often packed with tourists especially in the late afternoon for sunset. I did not have any sunset photos though because it was cloudy when we got there. T_T

Day 5 
On your last day, do some souvenir shopping in Kuta. For a shopaholic, Bali can be one of the best shopping destinations in the planet. Knowing that Bali is famous for its arts and crafts, travelers have more choices of goods from the most casual fashion, high end fashion and traditional Balinese clothing. Handicrafts such as wooden carvings, stone carvings, paintings, silverware, gems and high-end class jewelry are also available. Take a cab to Ngurah Rai International Airport to catch your late afternoon flight. It is only 15 minutes away from Kuta and the cab fare is around IDR 50,000 – 70,000. If you are travelling on Cebu Pacific flights, they only have one schedule going to/from Bali, which is around 8 in the morning.

There you have it my dear readers! This is a classic 5-day Bali Itinerary, and within each location you can fine tune it to suit your preferences. Enjoy Bali! Got any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Let’s chat down below! 🙂

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