Travel Tuesday With Quilt: A 36-Hour Virtual Visit to Bali
Bali seems to be on everyone’s mind. Ever since the world reopened for travel, there has been a consistent growth in search interest for Bali, especially popular tourist attractions like the Ceningan cliff (+963%), Mount Batur (+697%), Tanah Lot temple (+470%), Sukawati market (+384%), Keramas beach (+323%), and Menjangan island (+312%) between the first and second quarter of 2022. Given its stunning blue seas, historical temples, vibrant underwater life, rich culture, and mouth-water cuisine, we’re not surprised.
A favorite destination among digital nomads, spiritual seekers, party lovers, temple hoppers, scuba divers, and adventurists alike, our Culture AI tells us that the most popular travel experiences in Bali (based on travelers’ Instagram posts) are adventure, unique food and culinary experiences, impeccable hospitality, a celebration of everyday life, vibrant festivals and cultural events, and an escape into nature. The color palette of the posts mirrors this, with shades of blue, brown, and sienna being the dominant colors.
Drawing from travel blogs, YouTube videos, and Instagram posts, we curated a 36-hour itinerary for Bali (format inspired by the New York Times) — with a mix of popular and lesser-known experiences the island has to offer. While two weeks — and not two days — is what’s ideal to get a taste of the place, here’s how we suggest spending 36 hours:
36 Hours in Bali
10 AM: Penglipuran Village
Make the most of your limited time in Bali by exploring the lesser-known Penglipuran village. Appreciate traditional Balinese architecture at this gem of a village complete with cobbled streets and old Balinese houses. The village has four temples — Pura Bale Agung, Pura Puseh, Pura Dalem, and Pura Dukuh — and the intricate stone carvings are a sight to behold.
1.30 PM: De Jukung
Stopver for a quick lunch enroute Tanah Lot at De Jukung. Known for its seafood and fantastic views, it makes for an excellent transit restaurant.
3 PM: A temple guarded by sea snakes
A Hindu temple atop Tanah Lot, believed to be guarded by sea snakes, is an ancient shrine and one of seven ocean temples. There are numerous sea caves at the foot of the temple and the stunning rock carvings of sea snakes are sure to leave you in awe!
6 PM: Sunset at SKOOL
Head to the SKOOL Kitchen located right on the beach, making it the perfect place for sundowners with a view. Particularly known for their non-vegetarian dishes, their cocktails and desserts also come highly recommended on TripAdvisor.
5 AM: Hike a volcano
Start the day on an active note by hiking up the mighty Mount Batur to catch the first rays of the sun from above the clouds. The hike is about two hours and guarantees the best views of Bali. You can also witness the volcanic landscapes of Lombok island from here and visit a Luwak coffee plantation on your way back! A morning well spent, we promise.
Near Mount Batur is also the Kuburan Trunyan Cemetery, a unique burial site with skulls under a Banyan Tree.
12 PM: Terrace Lunch
Enjoy lunch at Sawah Terrace at Mandapa. Vegetarian and vegan friendly with a lot of gluten-free options as well, the restaurant is known for its impeccable service and generous serving sizes. It is located in a gorgeous property true to Ubud’s vibe and offers beautiful views of the Ayung river. Make sure to try the Nasi Goreng!
2 PM: Monkey Forest
Post-lunch, head to the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. Known as Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, it’s a Hindu temple of the dead that also happens to attract hundreds of macaques. The temple dates back to the 13th century and contains the Lingga Yoni, a Hindu representation of the phallus and womb, considered a sacred inner sanctum. Buy some bananas at the entrance and enjoy your afternoon with friendly monkeys and ancient structures.
4 PM: Tegenungan Waterfall
One of Bali’s most famous waterfalls located 30 minutes south of Ubud, the 25-meter high Tegenungan waterfall flows into a plunge pool. You can enjoy breathtaking views of the fall from various locations — and while it’s best visited in the morning to avoid the crowds — it also makes for a great afternoon trip!
8 PM: Indonesian Dinner
Call it a night with traditional Indonesian fare at Embers. They also serve Mediterranean and Asian grills with fresh produce sourced from their in-house vegetable farm. An intimate yet casual dining experience, it’s the perfect place to end your day and trip.
Bali has PLENTY of interesting, offbeat experiences on offer if you have more time. The car temple and tunnel cliffs of Nusa Penida, the Kecak Fire Show in Uluwatu, and the underwater temple garden at Nusa Lembongan are just some of them.
How to get there
Denpasar International Airport is located in South Kuta district and is just 13 kilometers from Denpasar, the capital of Bali. There are direct flights from most international airports in South Asia. If you’re traveling from the United States, you can fly via Singapore or Hong Kong.
Places to stay
Bali has some of the best villas, hotels, and hostels in South East Asia and caters to all budgets and kinds of travelers. Check out Amabalama Villa for a luxury stay in Canggu or Bisma Eight located near Ubud’s city center. Sofitel Nusa Dua Resort is a great mid-range option in Nusa Dua, while budget travelers can opt for Ubud Rice Field House or Indraprastha Homestay.
When to go
April to October is the best time to visit Bali as it’s the dry season on the island. December to February is considered off-season due to the monsoons. October is ideal for cheap deals as it’s the fag end of the peak season.
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