Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Disclaimer: there was no planning to this trip. We didn’t know we were going until the night before. Had plans to go to Egypt and the day before is when the riots/deaths started, cancelled last minute.
Got into Jakarta after a long route from the US. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a flight to Bali the same day, so we had to get an expensive hotel in traffic-clogged Jakarta. Kind of a waste of a day.
Day 2: Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Got first flight to Bali and took a cab to Ubud (1.5 hours). Checked into our hostel, walked to the Monkey Forest and around town. The Monkey Forest was interesting with lots of neat stone structures and carvings, and as you’d expect, monkeys. Ubud is a popular destination with lots of arts, crafts, and culture, but we didn’t find it to be anything that great.
Day 3: best day on Bali
- Pura Ulun Danu Beratan
- Sekumpul waterfall
- Mount Batur
- Tegallalang Rice Terraces
We hired a driver to take us to to Pura Ulun Danu Beratan (the picturesque temple on a lake), Sekumpul waterfall, drive around Mount Batur, and finally Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Very full day, but enjoyed each of the sights – Sekumpul was hard to find even for our native driver, but finally made it. Probably our favorite day of the trip. Stayed in Ubud again.
Day 4: Uluwatu
- Pedang Pedang Beach
- Uluwatu Temple
Third day in Bali, got a driver to take us to Legian Beach. Checked into our hotel (Sing Ken Ken – loved it), and got a driver to take us to Padang Padang and Uluwatu. Quite a language barrier, but the hotel staff translated for us. Took us to the first beach, which he said was Padang Padang. After walking around for a while, we realized he lied and took us to a nice beach, but not at Padang Padang.
When we went back to the vehicle and I angrily told him “not padang padang”, it was obvious he knew he’d been caught. Found out later that he didn’t want to drive in the traffic to get to padang padang. By the time we actually did make it there, the tide was out, clouds had moved in, and it wasn’t even worth the stop. We went down the stairs, hung out for about 30 minutes and it started to rain a little. I don’t even know if it’s worth a stop when it’s beautiful to be honest. Then went to Uluwatu, which was pretty cool. Refused to give the driver the full fare that we agreed upon and he did admit to the hotel that he didn’t take us to the right place on purpose.
Day 5: our least favorite Bali beaches
- Legian Beach
- Kuta Beach
Went to the beaches, rented surfboards and walked around Kuta. It wasn’t really for us – super touristy, seemed kind of cheesy. It’s definitely not what you imagine when you think of Bali.
Day 6: temples in Yogyakarta
- Prambanan Temple
- Sewu Temple
- Plaosan Temple
Took an early flight to Yogyakarta, back on the island of Java. Wasn’t sure if we should do Borobudur and Prambanan in the same day or split it up, decided to split it up. Dropped off bags at hotel and went to Prambanan, which was awesome.
Make sure to go to Sewu Temple while you’re there, it’s a little further than the main temples but a must-see.
Also stopped by Plaosan, another temple in the area.
Bought tickets to the Balinese ballet at Prambanan at night, and would recommend skipping that. Felt like it was a complete waste of money, only cool thing was seeing the temples lit up at night.
Day 6: Borobudur
Day trip to Borobudur. Very neat temple, but I actually liked Prambanan better. Got back to Yogyakarta with plenty of time to walk around the city, not a whole lot to do/see. Next day started the long trip back home.
To be honest, both my wife and I were pretty disappointed in Bali. Maybe we’re spoiled (having been to Tahiti), but we both thought of Bali as being a paradise destination and found it congested and too touristy. I know part of that is the lack of research, and that there are some amazing spots on the island, but I can only speak to our experience. We have some beautiful, amazing pictures from Bali, but neither of us would really recommend it to other people. If I had time to plan this trip, there would have been a few big things we would have done differently: fit Borobudur and Prambanan into one day, probably Lombok instead of Bali (or only 1-2 days there), and/or stayed at a different beach. Liked the hotel in Legian, but I had a real tough time picking a place to stay on one day’s notice. Would have probably stayed closer to Uluwatu or the other side of the island, still not sure.