Bali is a paradise in terms of natural beauty. Green hills, exotic flowers, fine sand beach, crystal clear sea, volcano and rice terraced hills, and not only. In fact, Bali, despite being one of the most touristic places in the world, has managed to maintain its identity, traditions, culture, art and spirituality even today.
For me, visiting the island is a unique experience that offers a thousand emotions, a journey that anyone should do, because only by living it can it be understood.
February 22 – 28, 2018
We went in February and, even it was out of season, it was quite sunny, very hot and it only rained once (heavy but short-lived rain). The only flaw is the humidity, which is very high.
Bali was one of the stops on a 19-day trip that included: Singapore, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Doha. From Pisa we flew to Singapore (with Air Qatar with a stopover in Doha) and then to Bali, returning to Singapore.
VISA FOR BALI
Even if you visit the island out of season, Bali is still a very popular destination. In fact, it will be quite normal to find very long queues at the immigration desk to receive a visa.
Indonesia issues the Free Entry Visa, a stamp affixed to the passport, only for travel for tourist purposes of less than 30 days, with the presence of a return ticket and with departure from the same airport of arrival.
If for some reason you do not respect the 30-day deadline, or you want to travel in the country for a longer period from the beginning, i suggest you to inform firt because the sanctions in Indonesia are very severe and it may be appropriate to request a seen different.
We have taken out travel insurance with Axa Assistance for 19 days. Company chosen both for its excellent prices and for its name which is always a guarantee. 10% discount with code MAX10 if you click on the link.
TRIP: Singapore-Bali by plane; Ngurah-Rai Denpasar-Ubud Airport km 37.5 / NIGHT: Ubud
From the airport we got picked up by the driver we hired, who took us to Ubud where we rest for 5 nights.
Once you go out from the airport, you will find an invasion of taxi drivers willing to follow you all over in order to find a customer. Since there are a lot of unofficial taxis, and there are few official ones, I recommend that you get picked up either by your previously booked driver, or by the shuttle service offered by the accommodation where you will be staying; this to avoid being scammed. Otherwise it is better to book, before arrival, a taxi (Blue Bird Group which is the official company) or Uber known here as Grab. However, make sure that they can enter in the airport, because the rules imposed by the unofficial taxi prevent them from accessing some areas. Try to avoid mentioning them in front of unofficial taxi drivers, in bars or hotels if you don’t want everything to end up in a brawl.
Ubud beating heart of Bali
TRIP: Ubud / NIGHT: Ubud
We are dedicated tthe day visiting Ubud, which is not only one of the most important cities in Bali, but also one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island.
Tegallalang and Bali Temples: Tirta Empul, Penglipuran, Pura Kehen, Gunung Kawi, Goa Gajah
TRIP: Ubud-Tegallalang km 10.6; Tegallalang-Tirta Empul km 6.9; Tirta Empul-Penglipuran km 15,5; Penglipuran-Pura Kehen km 3.7; Pura Kehen-Gunung Kawi / NIGHT: Ubud
This was the day of the tour around Ubud, with our driver, to see: Tegallalang, Tirta Empul, Penglipuran Village, Pura Kehen, Gunung Kawi, Goa Gajah.
Rice fields of Tegallalang, Bali
Tegallalang is a small village that has become famous for its beautiful rice fields. The terraces are located along the main road, with access from a hidden staircase, next to a bar. The ticket office is located a few meters before on the opposite side. Rice fields are very touristy, so it is best to visit them early in the morning. Rice cultivation is done on very high terraced hills and to visit them there are several paths inside the valley (better to stay on them because the ground is muddy around). Along the way you may come across some peasant who will ask you for a toll to pass (it cost us 20.00 RP). There are also a few bars in the valley.
Be careful here when taking photos, because some places that are advertised on the web, such as the words “I love Bali” at the Tegallalang terraces, are subject to charges. Even if at first glance they seem free, when you least expect it, you will find yourself with somebody who will ask you for money.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces / daily 07: 00-18: 00 / Price: IDR 15,000 / pers .; 5,000 IDR / parking; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
Tirta Empul important temple in Bali
Tirta Empul dates back to 963 AD. and it is one of the most important temples in Bali, thanks to its water sources which are considered sacred. You must enter wearing the sarong. It is particular to see the Hindu people, and sometimes also of tourists, to carry out the rite of purification in the pool. Anyone who wants to bathe in the sacred pool must enter dressed.
Penglipuran Village, Bali
Penglipuran has remained far from modernization and is still considered today as one of the places on the island that best preserves its traditions and culture. Impeccable for cleanliness and beauty. Particular is the main street, with the houses (some used as shops) arranged on its sides. Near the village there is a sacred bamboo forest. The sarong is only mandatory if you go to the village temple.
- Tirta Empul / daily 09: 00-17: 00, closed for Nyepi day (national holiday) / Price: 50,000 IDR / adult; 25,000 IDR; no credit / child cards; 5,000 IDR / parking; 10,000 IDR / Locker / Toilet: Available / Location: See Google Maps
- Penglipuran Village / daily 08: 00-17: 00 / Price: 30,000 IDR; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
Pura Kehen Temple
To access at the temple you have to climb the 43 steps. The site is small, but its peculiarity lies in the presence of the banyan tree (fig) which is more than 400 years old and is considered sacred.
Pura Gunung Kawi Temple
Gunung Kawi is an ancient archaeological site, a complex of memorial funeral monuments carved directly into the rock. To access you have to follow the staircase which offers a beautiful view of the surrounding nature. Sarong is mandatory.
Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave is a complex of ancient Hindu temples dating back to the 9th century AD. The main one is a cave characterized by an entrance in the shape of a demonic mouth with protruding eyes, the interior is very small and houses the statue of Ganesh (God with an elephant head). The gardens of the temple, which can be reached by the steps, are really beauty. Sarong is mandatory.
- Pura Kehen / daily 09: 00-17: 00, closed for Nyepi day (national holiday) / Price: 15,000 IDR / adult; children free; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
- Gunung Kawi / daily 08: 00-18: 00, closed for Nyepi day (national holiday) / Price: 15,000 IDR; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
- Goa Gajah / daily 08: 00-17: 00 / Price: IDR 15,000 / adult; 7,500 IDR / child; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
Temples of Bali: Besakih, Tirta Ganga, Lempuyang, Batu Caves
TRIP: Ubud / NIGHT: Ubud
We spent the day visiting with our driver the most distant attractions such as: Besakih, Tirta Ganga, Lempuyang Pura Door, Batu Caves.
Besakih temple, Most important in Bali
Besakih Temple or the Mother Temple, is the most important, holiest and largest on the island. It is located on the slopes of Mount Agung at approx. 1000 m high and made up of 23 temples arranged on 6 levels. The temple is worth a visit for its beauty and its history. For our driver it was a surprise that we wanted to visit it because it is not chosen much by tourists, both for a position speech, and because it has become famous in the past for the scams made by the guide against tourists. In fact, the temples are visited together with a guide who is assigned free of charge at the ticket office. At the end of the visit, the tip is of your choice and should not be an obligation. It is mandatory to wear a sarong.
Besakih / daily 08: 00-17: 00 / Price: IDR 60,000 / adult; 30,000 IDR / child; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
Tirta Gangga royal palace in Bali
Tirta Ganga means “water of the Ganges” the sacred Indian river. The temple, actually a former royal residence, is nothing more than a Water Temple famous for its beautiful gardens, fountains, statues and basins. There are several fish ponds. The feed can be bought at the entrance.
- Tirta Gangga / every day 08: 00-18: 00, closed for Nyepi day (national holiday) / Price: 30,000 IDR; 5,000 IDR / fish food; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps
Lempuyang Luhur temple the oldest in Bali
The temple is one of the oldest in Bali. It is located on Mount Lempuyang at 1175m high and, thanks to its famous gate (called Heaven’s Gate), offers a fabulous view of Mount Agung. To get there it is necessary to walk an uphill road for approx. 5 min. or shortening it with some moto-taxis. The site is small and can be visited quickly; the only problems that could be encountered are the large crowd of tourists or the bad weather that will not allow you to see the view. It is mandatory to wear a sarong.
Goa Lawah Temple
It is not just any temple, but it is the temple of bats. A cave carved into the rock, home to thousands of bats that are revered. Here, too, the sarong is mandatory.
Compared to the rest of Indonesia which is Muslim, Bali is Hindu. On the island there are no particular restrictions, except inside the temples where you have to enter covered from the waist down with a sarong. My advice is to buy one and use it every time you visit a temple. Theoretically, every temple provides it for free at the entrance after paying the ticket, but some try to cheat you by charging you for the rental (going around with our driver, we never had this problem). You must to pay the ticket if you want to visit the temples.
TRIP: Ubud / NIGHT: Ubud
The Balinese people are very attached to their religion, spiritual rites, processions and temples. Fot these reason the island is called The Island of the Gods. It is very common to come across a ceremony or procession on the street.
Pura Ulun Danu, Jatiluwih rice fields, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Padang beach, Denpasar
TRIP: Ubud / NIGHT: Denpasar
Our driver took us to see: Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Pura Luhur, Ulu Watu, Pura Tanah Lot, Padang Padang Beach
At the end of the tour our driver dropped us off in Denpasar. The last night we preferred to spend it in a hotel next to the airport, since the next day we would have a flight at 7 a.m. and the traffic in the capital of the island, Denpasar, is usually very chaotic.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
It is a very important temple for the Hindu religion, also known as the Floating Temple as it overlooks Lake Bratan. Despite its small size, its beauty lies above all in its particular position, surrounded by mountains. The area surrounding Lake Bratan is renowned for the production of strawberries.
Jatiluwih rice fields
The terraces are part of UNESCO and are located at 700 m a.s.l. surrounded by mountains, in a location that is considered one of the wonders of this island. An entire valley of terraced fields dedicated to rice cultivation, where one of the best irrigation systems in the world stands out, called subak. You can walk at will or follow one of the 4 routes proposed at the beginning (of 1.47 km, 1, 7 km, 3.8 km, 5.5 km) that pass through the rice fields and offer authentic glimpses of everyday life . It is a must, as a souvenir, to buy the rice produced there, one of the best ever tasted.
The particularity of this temple lies precisely in its position, on top of a rock formation and surrounded by the sea. It can only be reached on foot at low tide. On the shore in front of the temple there is a cave where you can admire the snakes that the monks keep there as protectors. The surrounding area is very touristy and often very crowded.
As you wander around the island, you will often see the symbol of a swastika drawn on the walls. Do not think of Bali as a Nazi place, because the symbol, apart from the fact that it is not only found there but also in other parts of Asia, is a symbol of ancient origins that brings luck, peace and well-being. In the Hindu religion it is seen as a powerful religious symbol.
- Tanah Lot / daily 07: 00-19: 00 / Price: IDR 60,000 / adult; 30,000 IDR / child / Location: See Google Maps
Luhur Uluwatu Temple
The temple is located on top of a rocky cliff overlooking the sea. To reach it you have to go up a staircase that runs along the cliff. The view is incredible, and at sunset or sunrise the landscape gives its best. To reach it you have to look after the thieving monkeys, who are at home here. Uluwatu is also a favorite destination for surfers, while in the evening, for a fee, you have the opportunity to see some typical Balinese dance show.
Padang Padang beach
Padang Padang Beach (Labuan Sait Beach) is famous thanks to the movie “Eat Pray Love”. It can be reached by staircase that passes through the rocks. It is a fairly small white sand beach with turquoise waters, surrounded by rocks.
- Uluwatu Temple / every day 07: 00-18: 00; / Price: IDR 30,000 / adult; 20,000 IDR / child; 5,000 IDR / car park; no credit cards / Location: See Google Maps / Website
Kecak Fire Dance 17: 00-18: 00 (ticket counter hours), 18:00 start of the show / Price: 100,000
- Padang Padang beach / Price: 15,000 IDR; 10,000 IDR / car parking / Location: See Google Maps
DAY 7 - Denpasar, the capital of Bali
ATMs are found in petrol stations, in banks (here the commissions are high), along the streets of tourist places and often also inside large supermarkets (Coco Supermarket). When you withdraw, you will be asked if you want pieces of 50,000 or 100,000, always choose 50,000. Often happens, when you pay, to hear that they do not have the change to give you.
Always be very careful when you have to change money or pay for something because, in general, they are intentionally wrong to give you the change. So it’s best to always recount the money in front of them when they give it to you.
How to get around Bali
If you don’t have too many days available, the best way, and also the most comfortable, is to rent a car with a driver.
There are no trains in Bali. There are few public buses and don’t expect to be able to get around the island in a short time. It is possible to travel on Bemo, minibuses used mainly by local people, making a unique experience among vegetables and chickens, but be careful because they have improvised timetables. Traveling by bicycle yes, but better in areas where there are not too many cars or motobikes.
Scooters and rental cars are for the brave only. Given the reckless driving of the Balinese, I advise you, before renting a vehicle, to take a ride on their roads to understand if you are able to drive or not. Obviously, if you decide to do this, get yourself a good insurance that will cover you in case of damage or accident. The roads are very chaotic, they drive on the left and often the highway code is invented on the spot. The roads pass through towns and villages that are often very crowded, making you waste a lot of time.
Where to stay in Bali
Gerhana Sari 2 Bungalows / 5 night
It is an excellent, inexpensive base for visiting Ubud as it is located just a few minutes from the center and the Monkey Forest. The place is very quiet, surrounded by vegetation. The host offers accommodations with private balconies and terraces. Ours was equipped with a large room with a large bathroom, fan, free WI-FI, breakfast included.
Harris Hotel Tuban / 1 night
Excellent for its proximity to the airport but not for the area around it. The hotel offers well-equipped rooms: air conditioning, TV, fridge, hairdryer, WI-FI (scarce in the room). In addition there is a swimming pool, bar, restaurant, airport shuttle (free 24h / 24h). Expensive accommodation compared to standards, a bit old and a bit dirty. The food at the restaurant is not exactly great.
How much does it cost 7 days in Bali
The cost for 2 people in Bali, for 7 days and 6 nights was 9,250,837 RP (approx. € 550). To this must be added the flight of € 896/2 pers. (AirQatar, Italy-Singapore-Italy), the flight of € 116.35 (Air Asia, Singapore-Bali-Singapore), and travel insurance of € 100.04 / 2 pers. (which actually covered us for the entire trip from February 19 to March 09).
transfer Denpasar Airport – Ubud – 350,000 RP
Tour from Ubud to Tegallalang, Tirta Empul, Penglipuran, Pura Kehen, Gunung Kawi, Goa Gajah – 600,000 RP
Tour from Ubud to Besakih, Tirta Ganga, Lempuyang Pura Door, Batu Caves – 700,000 RP
Tour from Ubud to Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Pura Luhur, Ulu Watu, Pura Tanah Lot, Padang Padang Beach – 700,000 RP
5 nights in Ubud – 1,000,000
1 night in Denpasar – 504.00
Food – 3,121,837
Attractions – 1,095,000
Massage – 337.500
Souvenirs – 560,000
Laundry, sunscreen, etc. – 282.500
Last updated: the prices and times found in “Useful Info” are all updated in February, 2022