Welcome to Bali, the Indonesian island that has sparked the minds of travelers for generations and is a treasure trove of experiences. With its unique culture, arts, and the warmth of its people, Bali still retains its special allure. On this 8-day tour, travel through the highlands and visit the historical temples of Ubud: Besakih, Gunung Agung and Tirta Empul. Take a morning walk through Ubud's maket and surrounding rice terraces before making your way to Sidemen to see the local villages and way of life. Along your easy hike around the rice fields you may have the opportunity to see the towering mountain of Gunung Agung, sacred to the culture. Spend the rest of your travels seaside in the beach town of Sanur as you take in the lasting beauty of Bali.
Welcome to Bali! Your guide meets you upon arrival at the airport and takes you to your hotel in Ubud.
Ubud is Bali's cultural and artistic heart. It was the place of choice for artists, such as Walter Spies and Miguel Covaruvias, the artists who presented Bali to the world. Today Ubud is a small town with an emphasis on wellness, small local shops, and great cuisine.
This morning, meet your guide and depart on a historic and cultural exploration of East and North Bali. Start the day with a drive to the mysterious Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, a fantastically-carved cave. Then drive up to Kintamani, a cooler small town on the edge of the caldera of Gunung Batur, where you can get some great vistas of the area; there is also a temple and a local market.
Continue to the Mother Temple at Besakih which sits on the slopes of the majestic Gunung Agung. The Besakih temple and Gunung Agung are among the most sacred places on the island.
On the way back to Ubud stop at Tirta Empul, a water temple where locals go to take purifying baths on the waters that rush down from the river. The special water or "Tirta" in Balinese is supposed to have healing properties. If you want to partake in the purification ritual bring a bathing suit and a sarong as well.
Just before transferring to your hotel, there is one more magical place to see. Down a flight of 274 steps lies the archaeological site of Gunung Kawi. Legend has it that the giant Kebo Iwa carved the immense shrines on the caves using just his fingernails. What we know for sure is that this is one of the oldest temples in Bali, possibly dating from the 11th century.
Join a favorite morning walk, which starts at 7:30am and takes you through the Ubud market, village lanes, fields and forest. After witnessing herons taking flight at sunrise, have a small picnic in a farmer's hut high up in the rice fields north of Ubud where you can sit and soak in the morning ambience.
Descending through the rice fields back into the growing "town" of Ubud, pass by the Monkey Forest, a natura and Hindu temple in downtown Ubud.
After the walk, you will be taken back to your hotel and the remainder of the day is free to do as you wish.
This morning drive to the eastern part of Bali and visit the most fascinating market — the Pasar Gianyar. With its stands of local food ranging from babi guling to bakso soup, this is a great place to see and meet Balinese people going about their daily lives.
Afterwards continue for a visit to Klungkung and tour the KertaGosa (Hall of Justice). The Klungkung kingdom was considered to be the highest and most important of the nine kingdoms from the late 17th century to 1908. The KertaGosa exemplifies the architecture and painting of that time.
The last stop of the day is Goa Lawah. Goa Lawah is one of Bali's most important temples that is built around a cave opening inhabited by hundreds of bats. Discovered by a Hindu priest, this is one of the most famous temples in all of Bali.
Reach your hotel in Sidemen and rest in the afternoon at leisure. Sideman is like Ubud was 45 years ago - tranquil, rural, with little commercialization. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the majestic views of Agung Volcano.
Spend the morning walking along the countryside and rice terraces. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Balinese landscape. On a clear day you might see in the backdrop the mighty Gunung Agung, Bali's highest and holiest mountain, watching over Bali."
Trekking along the rice terraces can be done in the morning (recommended) or afternoon - whichever time works best for you!
Today's optional excursion is hiking Mount Agung. Mount Agung, or Gunung Agung, is Bali’s highest and holiest mountain, as it is believed to be the home of the God. Standing at 3,142 meters above sea level, it can be summited by physically fit hikers about 3 to 4 hours from the Pasar Agung Temple starting point and 5 to 7 hours from the Besakih Temple starting point. After enjoing the sunrise at Mount Agung, you will visit the royal Pura Besakih - The Mother Temple - perched high on the slopes of Gunung Agung and the axis of the Balinese cosmos. Pura Besakih is the most important temple on the island and is a fitting start for exploring the island’s unique culture, religion and spirituality.
Return to your hotel and enjoy your free time at leisure.
Enjoy a leisurely morning until check out in mid-morning and then transfer to Sanur. This seaside beach town is the first one to be established on the island. The beach is quiet and good for walks; on the distance you can see the Lembongan Island and on a clear morning if you look due North you might spot the mighty Agung Volcano.
Spend the day relaxing on the beach or strolling around Sanur.
Tonight at 6.00pm be prepared for a unique experience. Have the chance to dine in a Balinese home with Malaika, a member of the Balinese Royal Family in Tabanan. Be welcomed into her home in Sanur for a delectable dinner.
Today is your free day at leisure. Sanur is a laid back beach area perfect for walks and there is also a bit of shopping as well as good restaurants and little local warungs (a small, family owned business).
Day 8: Fly Home
Meet a guide for a transfer to the airport in time for your flight.
Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.