For our 3rd wedding anniversary, my hubby and I decided to visit Paradise island – 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 Before I begin, I wanted to share my youtube vlog on Bali:
The first thing we noticed when planning our itinerary in Bali is that the island is really not one destination, but really many destinations in one. From the glorious beaches in Kuta through the hustle of Jimbaran – Legian – Seminyak to the northern jungles of Ubud and the Nusa Pedia islands in the east, we were torn as to how we would spend our few days in Bali.
While you can spend over a month exploring the several waterfalls and hundreds of temples, we had to carve a itinerary for 5 days in Bali:
Day 1 & 2- Beaches of Legian, Seminyak, Canggu
Day 3 – Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Bali Gate, Twin Lakes, Ubud Art Market, Saraswati Temple
Day 4 – Tegenungan Waterfalls, Tegellalang Rice Terrace, Luwak Coffee, , Pura Tirta Empul
Day 5 – Bali Swing, Jimbaran beach
Before you do anything, make sure to book your taxi ! While getting a Blue Bird taxi or Uber is quite easy in the Kuta region, going north into Ubud you’re on your own. So I recommend booking a taxi before hand so your navigation through the busy traffic of Bali is handled by the experts.We booked our Awesome driver & guide with Safe Driver Bali and highly recommend their services! From making reservations to airport pickups, we had the sweetest driver Boli assigned to us who completely took care of our entire trip! I had my itinerary laid out and he would tell us centuries of history that makes each of the destinations so special.Feel free to reach out to Safe Driver Bali for your taxi needs!
Day 1: LegianAfter our pickup from the airport at Denpasar, we checked in to our spectacular private villa at Abia Villas in Legian. We were invited to stay here with Asia Collective.
Completely blown away by the lavish property we decided to cool off in our private pool and spend the rest of the day relaxing in our villa, experience the authentic Mei Goreng and more Balinese cuisine 🙂
Legian is south of the more busy area of Seminyak, Legian is great for the private beaches and the local street stores lined with handicrafts – bamboo bags, straw hats and more.
Read more about my stay at the Abia Villa on my blog!
Day 2: Seminyak
“Fabulous Seminyak is the centre of life for hordes of the island’s expats, many of whom own boutiques, design clothes, surf, or do seemingly nothing at all. It may be immediately north of Kuta and Legian, but in many respects, not the least of which is its intangible sense of style, Seminyak feels almost like it’s on another island.” – Lonely Planet
Seminyak is all about the dynamic life – scores of restaurants, bars, shopping and beach life!We stayed at The Colony Hotel – literally in the heart of Seminyak, right by the Sea Circus, The W and tons of shopping! Only seconds from the beach, this iconic hotel is a fantastic place to park yourself for easy access to all around Seminyak. We were starving after the long jet lag, we were dying to check out some of the amazing restaurants in Bali. First up, we went to the famous Cafe Organic to get the day started with smoothies, stunning coffee art and acai bowls!
Soon after we spent all afternoon walking through Seminyak, checked out the numerous shops, bought me a hat and a beach mat, coz we were gonna go over soon! I got to check out the entrance way to the W laiden with bamboo trees too! We popped in to Potato Head beach club for a bit too, super pretty view of the beach but a tad crowded.
For lunch we went to get some yum sea food at the amazing Sea Circus, next door to The Colony Hotel – Highly recommend it! I had the best fish & chips, acai bowl and smoothies! Bali is totally Acai Bowl heave – you can tell why I loved it so much haha
Later in the evening, my hubby and I decided to check out the famous Double Six beach to catch the sunset! The whole experience was surreal! Tons of shacks, multi colored umbrellas and bean bags and live music! We got an umbrella at the super popular La Plancha, spent all evening through sunset all the way till midnight ordering the yummiest fritters and margheritas as we watched the sun disappear into the purple ocean!
If you have another day, take the time to go up to Canggu for the beaches, and Bali Bowls!
Day 3: Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Bali GateUbud – Saraswati Temple, Ubud Art Market
The next day we decided to travel north and spend the next couple of days in and around Ubud. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple: The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is both a famous picturesque landmark and a significant temple complex located on the western side of the Beratan Lake in Bedugul, central Bali.
Ulun Danu Beratan, literally ‘the source temple of Lake Beratan’, is easily the island’s most iconic sanctuary sharing the scenic qualities with the seaside temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot.
The smooth reflective surface of the lake surrounding most of the temple’s base creates a unique floating impression, while the mountain range of the Bedugul region encircling the lake provides the temple with a scenic backdrop.
Bali Gate: The Instagram famous Bali Gate was on my bucketlist! Only 30 mins from the temple, the Bali Gate is really the entrance to the Handara Golf resort. is located in the highlands of Bedugul. It was a little cooler here and we could see clouds rolling in over the mountains in the backdrop.
There’s not much to see except to get spectacular pictures, and was worth it for us, but be sure to know that its really about the picture and nothing else here. And there’s an entrance fee 😀 Our drone failed to work unfortunately, else this would’ve been SO epic!
After a long day navigating through thick traffic we decided to make our way back to Ubud.
Ubud: “Ubud is culture, yes. It’s also home to good restaurants, cafes and streets of shops, many selling goods from the region’s artisans. There’s somewhere to stay for every budget, and no matter what the price you can enjoy lodgings that reflect the local Zeitgeist: artful, creative and serene.” – Lonely Planet
Saraswati Temple: A central landmark, the Pura Taman Saraswati is a beautiful water temple in the heart of Ubud. Entry into Pura Taman Saraswati is free but, as with any temple visit in Bali, a sash and sarong around the waist is compulsory. Ubud Art Market: The Ubud Art Market, locally referred to as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’ is located opposite the the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace and is open daily. Here you can find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, handmade woven bags, baskets or hats; statues, kites and many other hand-crafted goods.I spent couple of hours and bought me a cute Balinese Batik printed dress and a few of the famous Rattan Bags!
Kayumanis: Later that evening we checked into our magnificent private villa at Kayumanis. Winner of Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice awards for consecutive years, Kayumanis is a discrete intimate hideaway in the heart of Bali’s mystical Ubud. Kayumanis Ubud Private Villas & Spa lays on the edge of Ayung River valley.
Overlooking the surrounding nature, we were offered a spectacularly spacious traditional-style villa along with a 24-hour butler service, a private pool and an open air garden bath. Read more about my luxurious getaway at Kayumanis on the blog.We were invited to stay at Kayumanis Ubud Private Resort & Spa by The Asia Collective.
Day 4: Tegenungan Waterfalls, Tegellalang Rice Terrace, Luwak Coffee, , Pura Tirta Empul
Waking up to the sounds of a thousand jungle creatures and the river beside us, we hobbled our way to a huge Balinese breakfast at Kayumanis’ restaurant on property. The view is to die for and the Mei Goreng was legit – perfect start to a very long day ahead!
Tegenungan Waterfall is one for nature lovers. The falls are conveniently located halfway between Ubud and Bali’s provincial capital of Denpasar, and is considered the closest natural attraction of its kind that you can reach from Ubud town. Getting to the falls is a pleasant drive down paved village roads lined with stretches of green rice fields on both sides.
The falls are only several minutes’ walk down the trail beyond the shops, where you’ll enjoy the impressively green valley panorama with cascading water as a centrepiece. Dense foliage frames the falls, and the water volume is impressive at almost any time of year, but normally at its strongest during the wet season.
My hubby and I ventured down to the vast pebbly base and enjoyed a thorough dip in the plunge pool, right by the base of the incredibly powerful waterfall. The whole experience was unreal – there weren’t a lot of people trying to get close to the force of the falls so we got to navigate all the way to the base! On the way up, we found another little waterfall trickling down from the main waterfall, and decided to get up to its base too. This was even more fun coz there was no one here, just us and our guide 🙂
I recommend taking your bathing suit. I of course didn’t go prepared, so I got drenched and had to bathe at the facilities there and change into a local Batik dress I picked up at the shops around the waterfalls.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace: Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud is famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving the subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system). Tegallalang forms the three most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud’s shared region, with the others being in the villages of Pejeng and Campuhan.
The Tegallalang rice terraces alone offers a scenic outlook that spreads down before you and away to the rice paddies on the slopes across the valley.
Tegallalang rice terraces offer a perfect Bali photo opportunity with its dramatic views. The vista sprawls down and away to the rice terraces on the slopes across the valley.
This ancient valley has a timeless quality whether there are tourists there or not. We spent the afternoon hiking through the fields. The view is unreal! every direction you look is breathtaking! I even ended up soaking my feet in slush by accident coz I was so mesmerized and wasn’t looking where I was walking!
Kopi Luwak: We then continued on to sample some famous ‘Kopi Luwak’ coffee at a local plantation. Leaving the rice terraces, we headed to a nearby coffee plantation where we got an introduction to the island’s local blends. We sampled some Bali beans including the island’s famous “Kopi Luwak” made from coffee fruit that has been eaten and passed by the civet cat.After collecting and cleaning the beans, they’re then processed into a gourmet brew that is highly prized among coffee aficionados.
Pura Tirta Empul: Last stop for the day, even though we were fighting day light we really wanted to see the Tirta Empul, an important temple complex and holy mountain spring, located in the village of Manukaya in central Bali. The site serves as a legendary setting of a traditional tale about good versus evil. It is also a national cultural heritage site. Tirta Empul, meaning ‘holy water spring’ is actually the name of a water source located within the temple. The spring feeds various purification baths, pools and fish ponds surrounding the outer perimeter, which all flow to the Tukad Pakerisan River.
Our guide Boli narrated the mythological tales about Mayadenawa, his wrath and the battle againt the Gods leading to him fleeing Indra’s troops as we made our way to the holy landmark. I didn’t get to take good pictures since we were almost close to 5pm when the temple is closed to tourists.
Day 5 – Bali Swing, Jimbaran beach
Bali Swing: This was on my bucketlist and even though I’m by no means an adrenaline junkie and actually suffer from a severe fear of heights, I wasn’t going to leave Bali without swinging over the Abyss!
Like their website says “Have you ever swung over the abyss…? Only with us you can get thrilling feelings, adrenaline rush, unforgettable experiences and unique pictures.
“Truly worth the entire experience, I think this was one of the most unforgettable moments for me in Bali. We signed the waivers, paid the fees, and were encouraged to work our way up from the “not so scary” swings to the “that’s crazy” swings. The “easy” swings had huge lines so my hubby said – “lets start from the hardest of them all”. There was no one there, and I swallowed my fear and intense hesitation ad hopped on it!
Once in the air, I just let it all go… and started to enjoy the unreal scenery before my eyes! There’s nothing more surreal than swinging high above tree tops, the river gushing fiercely way below us, only the sky above.We get to swing as many times as you like, so this was totally worth everything we paid for!
We even got to check out their cute love nests and grabbed a quick lunch before heading back south to Jimbaran.
Four Seasons Jimbaran beach: We made our way to the utterly upscale Sundara beach club of the Four Seasons in Jimbaran on our last day in Bali. Lauded as the best beach-club in Bali, Sundara is a lifestyle destination that brings the best of relaxed beach-club vibes, stylish dining and live music to Bali’s beautiful shores. We were invited to stay at the Four Seasons Sundara by The Asia Collective.
After a scrumptious lunch at the restaurant overlooking the infinity pool onto the ocean, we spent the afternoon sunbathing in the luxury of their chic and spacious double daybeds overlooking Jimbaran Beach.
Lazing in the sun, enjoy the view, and dipping in and out of the 57-meter Infinity Edge Pool while the incredibly friendly staff brought us chilled cocktails right to the poolside, we stayed there all the way till we watched the sun set over the horizon.The ocean was just steps away, inviting us to stroll barefoot along the curve of Jimbaran Bay…!
Now that we’re back in our humble California home, the whole experience feels like a dream! Bali is achingly beautiful. As Lonely Planet puts it: Bali is more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind.
Resort & Hotel stays : on invitation from The Asia Collective – Kayumanis Private Resort (Ubud), Abia Villa (Legian), Four Seasons Sundara (Jimbaran) and The Colony Hotel (Seminyak).
All thoughts are my own.