There are more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia but none is quite as special or beautiful as Bali. The warm and friendly people of this paradisiacal island are mainly Hindu, which marks them out from other Indonesians, who are overwhelmingly Muslim. This cultural difference defines Bali’s uniqueness from all the other islands. As you travel through Bali over eight magical days, from Denpasar in the south, through the cultural capital of Ubud in the heart of the island to Lovina in the north and Candidasa in the east, you will discover a lush and verdant land. The generous and spiritual Balinese people will ensure you will always hold a special place in your heart for them and their home.
Ubud: Many places put on traditional Balinese dance shows in Ubud but none is better than the Legong Dance and Ramayana at Puri Saren Palace
Lovina: Every morning, hundreds of dolphins can be seen frolicking about 1km offshore. Many local fishermen offer an outrigger service to see them
Candidasa: Savour the local variant of fish satay or babi kecap (stir-fried pork) on offer in the many warungs (food stalls) down by the seafront
Ubud: Check out the many galleries in this artists’ colony and visit the nearby monkey forest
Batubulan: Witness a colourful and exciting barong and kris dance performance
Tampaksiring: Cleanse the soul in the holy waters of the Tirta Empul temple’s hot springs
Candi Kuning: Experience the sights, sounds and scents of Bali with a visit to the town’s bustling fruit market
Bedugul: Set your eyes upon the picturesque Ulun Danu temple on the shores of lovely Lake Beratan
Lovina: Enjoy two days of utter bliss relaxing by the black lava beach of this enchanting resort
Heaven on hell: Behold the smouldering beauty of the Batur and Agung volcanos, with the latter lurking menacingly over the magnificent Mother Temple of Besakih
Candidasa: Visit the wonderful Water Palace of Tirta Gangga and enjoy a reinvigorating manipura treatment
Upon arrival in Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, your guide will be ready to meet you. You will be taken to your hotel to relax and rest after your trip. During the transfer, your guide will brief you on the programme and pick up time the following morning.
After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will pick you up from the lobby at a pre-arranged time. Head straight to the village of Batubulan to watch the colourful and exciting barong and kris dance, performed by locals dressed in impressive costumes. This traditional Balinese dance tells the story of the eternal fight between good and evil. It is based on a Hindu epic from the Mahabrata story where Barong (a mythological animal) represents a good spirit and Rangda (a mythological monster) represents an evil one. In Balinese culture, it is all about the balance between good and evil. After the performance, return to Ubud to explore it and its surrounding area. Ubud is without doubt Bali’s pre-eminent cultural centre and has been a colony for artists from all over the world for more than half a century. Visit the galleries of prominent Balinese, Indonesian and European artists. There will also be ample time to browse around the local art market and shops. Just north of Ubud is Tampaksiring, which is famous for the Tirta Empul temple, whose hot springs of holy water have attracted pilgrims for centuries. On the way back to Ubud, stop at the village of Batuan to visit one of the traditional houses. The last stop of the day is at the Ubud Monkey Forest, a nature reserve that is also home to the Hindu Padangtegal Great Temple of Death.
Breakfast at the hotel with the rest of the day free for you to indulge yourself in one of the many spas in the Ubud area, or perhaps avail of one of our optional activities such as an elephant safari, a 4WD trek into the island’s interior and a folkloric performance in the evening.
Check out after breakfast before driving to the north coast; enjoy a full day exploring some of the most enchanting landscapes and attractions in the island. During this drive, you will be able to appreciate Bali’s diverse scenery. From the lowland and relatively flat rice fields of Tabanan to the mountainous region of Bedugul, with the vegetation changing as we climb to the highlands. There are scheduled stops at Pacung, which is set amid beautiful rice terraces, and the colourful fruit market of Candi Kuning, where you can find a variety of flowers and tropical vegetables. Continue to the attractive mountain resort of Bedugul and Lake Beratan, where the Ulun Danu temple is located. The temple is set on a small promontory the shores of the Lake Beratan, which is home to Danu, the goddess of waters. Danu is believed to control the island’s irrigation system, and thus plays a vital role in the wellbeing of Balinese. Take to the road again, continuing the drive north on the winding road, which leads to the Gitgit waterfalls. This magnificent natural spectacle is reached after a short and exhilarating trek through the jungle. The final leg of the journey takes us through clove and coffee plantations as we descend along the stretch of the lowlands of Singaraja towards Lovina and its black lava beaches.
Savour a relaxing breakfast at the hotel with the rest of the day free at your own leisure to enjoy the hotel’s facilities or down at the lava beaches, or maybe to avail of one of our many optional tours. Among the selection of programmes to choose from are visits to hot springs, a Buddhist monastery or a boat cruise to observe dolphins in the Bali Sea.
Depart after breakfast and check-out at the hotel, heading to the centre of the island to Kintamani to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Batur volcano and the crater lake below. The unspoiled natural scenery is spellbinding and has a rather alpine appearance. Mount Batur is without doubt one of Bali’s most impressive attractions. Continue your journey in a southwesterly direction towards the slopes of the Agung volcano, where the Pura Besakih temple, the largest and holiest Hindu temple in Bali, is located. It is popularly known as the Mother Temple, and you will be able to appreciate just why when you stand in its shadow of this eight-century-old complex. There are 22 different temples on layered ridges, with each ascension offering ever-more magnificent views of the valley below. This is a truly majestic spiritual experience. There is one final stop at Tirta Gangga, to visit the Water Palace, before arriving at Candidasa on the eastern coast. The royal bathing pools of Tirta Gangga Water Palace are believed to be pure and sacred, and to stroll among the beautifully landscaped ponds and gardens is a soothing experience. The name means ‘water from the Ganges’, which is the holiest river in Hinduism, thus giving an indication of the palace’s importance to the locals.
Your last full day in paradise begins as always with a delicious breakfast overlooking the sea. Today is a free day during which you can either relax at the beach or by the infinity pool, or venture beyond to explore the island. In the afternoon, soothe your body and mind even further with the 90-minute manipura treatment. Meaning ‘beautiful, shining jewel’ in Sanskrit, manipura refers to the solar plexus (navel) chakra – the inner core of fire and sun energy that ignites our health and vitality. This treatment uses marma massage and lymphatic drainage alongside healing poultices of pure sea salt, ‘buah pelage’, ‘bunga chengkih’ and ‘kayu manis’ to stimulate and balance the body’s inner energies.
Savour one last breakfast in the resort before being transferred to the Denpasar Airport for your onward flight. Breakfast included.