With only five total days to explore an area that could easily keep travelers entertained for weeks, or months at a time, it was of the utmost importance to be decisive about what places to visit and what experiences were the most important for me to be a part of.
My priority was to learn as much about the culture, history, people and FOOD during my visit as possible.
Here is a breakdown of the entire itinerary for 5 days in Bali:
Day One: Landing in Denpasar at 10pm local time. Taxi to Sanur, to check into hotel and go to bed.
Day Two: Up early, took a taxi to Sanur’s center and bought a ticket to Nusa Lembongan. Spent the day on the island and was back in Sanur by 8pm.
Day Four: Wake up in the Gilis, walk/bike around the island, have lunch on the beach, take an afternoon boat to Padang Bai. Have dinner in Pandang Bai, take van to Ubud, check into my villa.
Day Five: Up early for yoga, an Ubud hike to the Monkey Forest, shopping at the market, lunch in town, then take a van to Denpasar airport.
You should note that this is an extremely busy itinerary due to all of the travel involved. Relying on so many boats, vans, and taxis created lots of uncertainty in the schedule; but the travel was absolutely necessary to visit all of the planned stops on the bucket list.
A traveler that is more interested in the beach and party lifestyle would have been perfectly happy staying in Denpasar, more specifically Kuta Beach or the surrounding areas for the entire 5 days. Those towns on the Southwestern coast of the island are the known party and nightclub hotspots, and the area is packed with like minded travelers.
Here is a breakdown of visitors to Bali, which can be divided into three categories; defined by the purpose of their trip.
Group one, the partygoers
This vast majority of twenty and thirty somethings from mostly Western nations like nearby Australia. This group helped fund the first wave of Bali tourism in the 1970’s and 80’s. Before then, enchanting Bali was mostly a backpackers destination.
Group Two: Backpackers on the Banana Pancake Trail
Known for inexpensive accommodations along easily accessible land and sea routes, Indonesia has long been a favorite destination for Western travelers; but growing Asian economies are producing a large class of international travelers from the region as well.
The Banana Pancake Trail is a nickname for the common backpacker routes in Southeast Asia.
Group Three: Wellness and Holistic Tourists
Get far outside of Denpasar to experience a different Bali. The landscape of volcanos, rice terraces, and beaches, make this a popular health-lifestyle retreat destination. Also, the many unique Hindu temples scattered across the island attract visitors for religious and non-religious reasons.
Irony has its way of working itself into your life whether you travel tens of thousands of miles per year, or none at all. When doing long term international travel, some limitations on Visas and great deals on off-season flights can often lead an adventurous traveler to places that they never imagined going before. Creative travelers can turn long layovers into short trips, and expiring visas into new opportunities. That’s why articles like this one exists: to help people prioritize and discover the adventures that most appeal to their own tastes. Sometimes, hearing another travelers’ itinerary and experience is all you need to put together the ultimate escape of your own. Happy travels!