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5 Day Itinerary in Bali Indonesia

5 Day Itinerary in Bali Indonesia

What to do in Bali for 5 days

Out of my entire trip to Asia in 2012, Bali was probably one of the most special and magical places I went to.   With this simple itinerary layout I hope you’ll be able to have as much of a blast as I did.

Overview

I totally wished we spent more time in Bali but for 5 days I thought this itinerary was a great introduction to island that surely gave me a lasting impression.  The way I structured was I first hired a local driver to take around the island for 2 days.  This was probably the best way to explore a lot of key sights of the island without being too rushed or stressed.  Our driver, Putu was fantastic in create a custom itinerary based on my research and talking to an Indonesian friend.  We were able to go at our own pace with Putu and got to make a lot of unexpected stops along the way.  I wrote a guest post with The Planet D here about my experiences with Putu so make sure you check it out.  After two days of sightseeing, I slotted a rest day at the resort which we fully took advantage of.  On day 4 we didn’t have anything concrete planned but thought a day exploring the main city area of Kuta would be nice.  We got a super awesome and cheap massage with Cozy which topped it all off.  For the last day, we mixed a little snorkelling with Jimbaran to see the local fish market which was a fun experience.

This trip ended up being an excellent balance of exploring, adventure, activities, cheap eats, luxury and beaching.

Calendar

Click the links on the dates to take you to the associated blog entries.  Note: this may look a little off in mobile

 Date Day 1 – Bali – Barong, Monkeys, Babi Guling, Rice Paddies and Temples Day 2 – Putu Round 2! Day 3 – R&R Day 4 – Cozy Crazy Kuta Day 5 – From Swimming with Fishes to Cooking Some
Breakfast
  •  Breakfast @ the Conrad
  • Breakfast @ the Conrad
  • Breakfast @ the Conrad
  • Breakfast @ the Conrad
  • Breakfast @ the Conrad
Morning
  • Pickup by our driver Putu Arnawa
  • Pickup by our driver Putu Arnawa
  • Taman Ayun Temple
  • Random unknown pond temple
  • Local cock fight tournament
  • Sleep in
  •  Wake up at 5:30 for sunrise
  • Sunrise shooting @ the Conrad
  • Lounge around a beach hut
  • Snorkelling in Nusa Dua with Bali Scuba Masters
Lunch
  • Babi Guling Ibu Oka
  • Red Rice in Jatiluwih
  • Really full from late breakfast
  • Really full from late breakfast
  • Jimbaran seafood restaurant
Afternoon
  • Ubud Palace Temple
  • Ubud market
  • Drop by a village temple celebration (Ganung Raung)
  • Long ride up to get a view of Ganung Batur
  • Ganung Kawi temple
  • Putu drops us off at hotel
  • Cab out to Kuta to meet friends
  • Chillin’ with the local rice harvesters
  • Tanah Lot for sunset
  • Putu drops us off at hotel
  • Get a beach hut
  • Sun tanning
  • Flying Fish
  • Pool time
  • Cab to Cozy 2 for massage
  • Cab to Kuta and walk around
  • Kuta Beach for sunset
  • Walk around Kuta
  • Cab to Seminyak to find the SOS Rooftop Lounge and Bar
  • Explore fish market in Jimbaran
  • Lounge around the Conrad one last time
Dinner
  • Made Warung
  • Rin @ Conrad
  • Bumbu Bali in Nusa Dua
  • Dinner at the Anantara Hotel instead
  • Musashi
Evening
  • Hang around the Conrad and rest
  • Hang around the Conrad and rest
  • Hang around the Conrad and rest
  • Hang around the Conrad and rest
  • Hang around the Conrad and rest
Stay
  • Conrad Bali
  • Conrad Bali
  • Conrad Bali
  • Conrad Bali
  • Conrad Bali

 

What we missed

There were a few things that I couldn’t fit into the itinerary and would love to do next time around.  If you’re planning a Bali trip, definitely consider these places:

  • Uluwatu for sunset
  • Surfing
  • Diving – My trip wasn’t really a surfing/diving type of trip but there are a ton of amazing places for this
    • There’s supposed to be some really awesome spots on the North West part of Bali
  • Hiking one of the mountains for sunrise
  • Spending more time in the north of the island which is less trafficked by tourists.  Would totally love to rent a place out there and just kick back
  • There were some other smaller temples that would’ve been cool to check out…but you know you can only do so many temples on a trip

Things to know before you go

These are tips and tricks I learned along the way and things I wish I knew before I went to Bali

  1. Currency Exchange in Indonesia
    • When changing money make sure you double check all the bills even after they count it in front of you.  Bring USD.  The rates for CAD are always bad.
    • Another quick note about currency exchange.  Currency changers are VERY specific about what series bills $50′s and $100′s are.  They only accept bills that are 2006 and higher.  Chantelle had a few $100′s that she just couldn’t exchange because they were before that time.  The reason for this is that there are a lot of counterfeit bills from the older era so to be safe these places don’t take it at all.
  2. Coming in May seems to be an awesome time to come because it is low-season and the local kids are still in school and it’s no longer wet season.  It was great not having to deal with hoards of tourists everywhere we went.
  3. Stamps are ACTUALLY called “perango” and not “meterai”.  Also it’s not exactly easy to find out how much it costs to send a postcard back to Canada but it’s 10,000 IDR.
  4. Airport fees in Indonesia
    • Make sure you have IDR stashed away for the departure fees.  35,000 for domestic and 150,000 for international departures.  They will not take anything but IDR.
  5. When going through customs in Indonesia make sure you pay for your Visa on Arrival FIRST (make sure you have the exact amount in USD) and then go to the customs guy.
  6. Get a private driver to take you around Bali.
    • I highly recommend Putu Arnawa.  He was one of the reasons why our trip was so awesome.   You can contact him at www.balifriend.net
  7. Despite the Conrad being a pretty awesome hotel, the Nusa Dua/Tengoban Benoa area is just too far from the main attractions on the island.  Ubud is a good base for all the country side/temple sights and sad to say Kuta/Legian/Seminyak are good bases for the southern part of Bali.  Travelling from our area always added about 1.5 hours each way because of insane chaotic traffic and this one main round-about clog right by the airport.
  8. Highly recommended to check out some off-the-beaten path local activities like the semi-annual celebrations or cock fights – talk to your driver
  9. Never pay for asking price at local markets.  Start at 40% and go up from there.
  10. Tanah Lot and Uluwatu are great for sunsets
  11. Most local restaurants have free shuttles that will take you from your hotel to the restaurant so check first before grabbing a cab.
  12. Bumbu Bali is great if you’re in the Nusa Dua area.  The set menus are good for first timers but I will have to say that the satay is their best item.
  13. Cozy 1 or 2 is definitely recommended.  I couldn’t believe that their prices were actually cheaper than China.  Professional throughout and nice facilities.
  14. Kuta looks like it’d be great for surfing as anyone wanting to go to Bali probably already knows.  The surf isn’t too huge and is close to the beach.  However it is very crowded and when we went during sunset filled with hawkers, tourists and local kids.
  15. Jimbaran is a cool area if you have the time.  You can combine this with Uluwatu for sunset if you’d like.  Lia Café was recommended to us but we ended up at JBS instead so don’t get conned by “free shuttles”.

Photo highlights

Feast your eyes!

 

Enjoying beach time at the Conrad.

Enjoying beach time at the Conrad.

Local temple festival - one of many unexpected stops with Putu.

Local temple festival – one of many unexpected stops with Putu.

Traditional Barong dance.

Traditional Barong dance.

Ganung Batur in the background.

Ganung Batur in the background.

The delicious Babi Guling in Ubud

The delicious Babi Guling in Ubud

One of the many shopping drags in Kuta

One of the many shopping drags in Kuta

A Kuta sunset

A Kuta sunset

Monkey forest experience

Monkey forest experience

Fresh seafood eats in Jimbaran

Fresh seafood eats in Jimbaran

Bali

Cock fight

Lots of jumping opportunities in the rice fields of Bali

Lots of jumping opportunities in the rice fields of Bali

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

Meeting local rice farmers during their harvest

Meeting local rice farmers during their harvest

Snorkelling excursion with Bali Scuba Masters

Snorkelling excursion with Bali Scuba Masters

Amazing sunrise at our resort

Amazing sunrise at our resort

Ubud market

Ubud market

About Will Tang

Will is a travel blogger writing for Going Awesome Places. Since quitting his consulting job in 2012 he's been travelling the world and along the way writing about his epic adventures and taking amazing photos. His true passion lies in telling stories, inspiring others to travel, writing detailed trip itineraries for others to follow and providing helpful tips and tricks to travel better.

41 comments

  1. What a great itinerary in Bali!! But I personally think 5 days on this beautiful island is waaaaay too short! :) We are actually on Bali right now, in the beautiful and laid back city Sanur on the South East coast of Bali. Sanur is not so crowded and “party-busy” as Kuta, with great Kite Surfing conditions for beginners like us! :) We also took our diving licenses here, with the Crystal Divers, highly recommended! We are really enjoying it here! We are planning on renting a car with a driver to go sightseeing around the island, so thanks for these great tips!

    • Thanks for your comments Maria! Ah so jealous that you’re in Bali right now and totally agree that our 5 days there weren’t enough. I’d totally spend 7 or more days if I could go back. Sounds like you’re having lots of fun. Can’t wait to see your blog post on Bali!

  2. OMG! I totally do spreadsheets too! Must be the ECON MA in me! Love those terraces.

  3. Bali sounds absolutely amazing – it’s on my bucket list!

  4. Should get in your itinirery is definetly east Bali. From diving in Tulamben and Amed, going hike to Agung or Lempuyang Temple and nice palace in Ujung and Tirta Gangga was great

    Check out my latest blog about bali :D

  5. This is a very helpful list! I really would want to go every places you have suggested. However, I only have a very limited time to stay in Bali. Maybe for a long weekend, I would just go to the most famous places first – probably the ones that does not require longer travel time (I’d choose those ones that are easily accessible by any transport).

    I am planning to go on September 5-8 since it is a holiday. Do you think it would be a good timing? I hope it would be a rainy weekend that time.

    • Hey Clariza! Thanks for leaving a comment :)
      Checking the September weather averages, there should only be 4 days of rain so I think you’re pretty safe!

      Destination wise, it looks like you have about 3 days there. I would split it up into a few parts: 1) 2 days using a local driver like Putu (see my Guest Post on The Planet D) to really get you around to see all those famous places like Ubud, Tanah Lot, rice fields, local temples etc. and 2) A relaxing day hanging out at the beach, getting a massage and exploring the streets of Kuta/Legian and Seminyak.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Ketut Agus Widiada

    Hai Mr.Will Tang

    I am Ketut Agus From Lovina (North Bali)and Iam Driver
    Thank you for promoting Bali with very good
    but as the information in bali north is also very beautiful
    we have beaches, old buddha temple, temple beji (first temple in north)
    Various waterfalls, several lakes, and see dolphins in the ocean, and the best dive sites

    pick up rares from the airport to hotels in Lovina just IDR 450,000
    3 hour long journey, but like doing the tour as it will be presented a very nice scenery

    Lovina tour only IDR 400,000 (10 hours) you can choose wherever you go

    For COntack Me
    Please at [email protected]

  7. I am going to Bali in July for 5 days. We have got Green Village and Mount Batur sunrise trek included in our itinerary. Wanted to ask if Jimberan is must-visit? We are not much into seafood and from what I read, surely looks overpriced. Can it be excluded and opt for some better beach restaurent in Seminyak?

    • Hey Vicky,

      If you’re not a big fan of seafood and fish markets then you can probably cut out Jimbaran. You got quite a few place covered already. Are you doing any of the temple areas? Uluwatu or Tanah Lot?

      • Yes, I got Kintamani Volcano Tour, Besakih Mother Temple, Uluwatu half day tour and Bedugul tour covered. Additionally, I got Green Village and Batur Sunrise trek included based on my research. Both Uluwatu and Tanah Lot are covered.

        • I think you got it pretty much all covered! Have a good time out there :) Is there anything else you wanted to ask?

        • Hi Will,

          I got your reply in email notification, but cannot see here. Still posting a reply.

          Thanks for response. Just wanted to make sure we won’t miss much by excluding Jimbaran. Looks like a tourist trap to me to be honest. We will be based in Legian and just want to make sure we cover everything. Not sure whether we will return :)

          • No worries.

            Yeah I think with all the things you guys are going to cover, you’re not going to be missing all that much with Jimbaran. For us it was really the seafood experience out there and being able to see local fishermen doing their thing at the market and on the beach heading out into the water. Nothing super special. Spending the afternoon/evening in your area of Legian/Seminyak is just as good and should be relaxing especially with all the activities you have!

  8. Thanks so much for a quick reply. We have decided to stay a couple of night in Kuta and then a couple in Ubud. My research suggests that both these places offer a very different view of Bali and we want to enjoy both. Does that sound like a good idea?

  9. Hi..we are planning to travel in later aug and early september for a 4 days stay. We will be travelling from KL. Is it ok if we take ringgits for currency exchange? Also, can u suggest where shud we book the hotel. We are not into surfing. Just want beautiful lanscapes and probably a day at the beach. Also, how much does it cost to hire a car and driver for 4 days?

    • Hi there! Exchanging Ringgits shouldn’t be a problem. They do take all currencies.

      Hotel wise, if you want to stay more central, I’d still recommend something closer to the Kuta, Legian, Seminyak not so much because of surfing or partying but because it’s just more central and easier to access various parts of the island. If you’re wanting to do something different for a few days, I would also recommend finding accommodation in Ubud to be able to truly spend more time taking in the beautiful landscapes and rice paddies in the area.

      My only experience hiring a driver comes from me using Putu but as an example, his price was IDR 500.000 per car per day + admissions to places.

      Cheers!

  10. Do they exchange only USD? How about other currencies like peso? Cause I’m from the Philippines. Thank you!

    • Hi Athena!
      From what I remember I’m pretty sure you’d be able to exchange any currency although I feel like USD will get you better exchange rates.

  11. Hello there. I will be visiting bali early June for one week with my family. My kids are 11 and 5 and we are having a tough time deciding on the hotel. We do want to stay in kuta area and was thinking between hard rock and discovery. Do want a family friendly hotel with stuff for the kids. Will appreciate if you guide on the hotel. Much appreciate your help. Thank you.

    • Hi Adnan,

      I never actually got to stay in Kuta or Seminyak so unfortunately I don’t have any good hotel recommendations in the specific area you’re looking for…BUT I have heard a lot of great things about a few more off the beaten path options that most tourists don’t know about that you might find useful.

      Check out: Villa Chamade and Villa Bugis in Seminyak. They seem super private and both offer beautiful villas at the fraction of the cost of one of the high end hotels.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks! Just called putu
        He is coming to pick me up tomorrow. Great tips otherwise I didn’t know what to do since I m traveling alone and just arrived without any plan.;)

  12. thank you so much for your post – i’m heading there in june and excited to check out all these sights! i’m going from canada as well and was curious about the VISA, did you have to get it beforehand in Canada, or do you get that at the airport when you arrive? Thanks!

  13. Hi! I’m planning to go to Bali in these upcoming few month. Mind to share your full board expenses / total money you spent through this trip? It would help me a lot. Tq :)

    • Hey!

      I wish I could detail that out for you but at the time I didn’t keep track of things like total costs. I’m definitely aware of this oversight now and for future trips like these I will try to keep track of it.

  14. Thanks for sharing – tips are especially useful!

  15. I’ve been to Bali twice and did many of the same things that you did (except the cock fighting–I don’t like to support those types of activities). The Northwestern part of Bali is quite nice, and the sunset at Uluwatu is amazing, so I would recommend those if you go back. Nice job giving people an example itinerary!

  16. wow, that looks like an exceptional vacation…love Bali, thanks for sharing!

  17. We are going to Bali next month and this post just made my day. That’s exactly what I have been looking for!!! THANKS!

  18. Great post!
    I don’t remember paying any airport fee when I travelled to Bali. But I guess it’s a good thing to have a little extra cash just incase.

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