Essential Bali & Gili Islands
From the patchouli-infused spiritual digs of Ubud and Seminyak’s beach clubs to traipsing up a volcano in Mt Batur and island life on Gili Trawangan, see the best bits of Bali by bus, boat, bike and, errr, foot. Cycle through rice paddies, snorkel over reefs, snap a few sunsets, hike some mountains then throw down some beers.
Travel Dates: From 21/09/2019 to 03/01/2022
Duration: 10 days
Company: Intrepid Travel 18 to 29
- Float in the ocean, bake on the beach, and conquer a volcano: the island landscapes of Bali and Gili are epic
Make like a sponge and soak up every drop of Ubud's relaxed atmosphere
- A walk among the bright green rice fields is as Bali as it gets
There's nothing like waking up at three in the morning to climb a mountain, eh? The active volcano of Mt Batur is worth every minute of sleep you lose
Swing life away on Gili Trawangan, an island paradise that incorporates the best of both its neighbours with superb snorkelling and a social scene to match
Breakfasts Included: 9
Guesthouse (1 nights),Hotel (8 nights)
Age: min 18, max 29
Group Size: 1 - 16
Ubud - Tirta Empul Water Temple
Tegalalang - rice terraces
Mt Batur - Sunrise volcano climb
Seminyak - Beach club visit
Day 1: Ubud
Welcome to Ubud, Bali. You're free to arrive whenever you like today as there's nothing planned until your meeting this evening. If you do arrive early, feel free to stroll around town, soak up the vibe and prepare yourself to go full Eat Pray Love – there’s a reason Bali is such a popular destination. Meet your leader and crew at 6 pm, then go out for an optional group dinner or find a feed on your own.
Day 2: Ubud
Today is free to explore the temples, wander through the paddy fields or visit the famous art and craft markets in the centre of town. The Tegallalang rice terraces are a really cool experience and Ubud Palace is a sight you just have to see. Use your free time to join in some optional activities like a cycling tour, white-water rafting or a cooking class. If you'd prefer to freewheel it, then just hire a bike and ride around Ubud's lush countryside. The evening is yours to do what you'd like.
Day 3: Mt Batur
Depart Ubud for Batur (90 minutes), visiting the Tirta Empul Water Temple en route. Tirta Empul, translating as holy water spring, was built in the 10th century as a place of ritual purification for Balinese Hindus and is still very much in use. This is the real deal, and you’ll see the local Balinese come here to bathe in the pools and purify themselves under the water spouts. Next, head to the stunning rice terraces at Tegalalang to take a stroll through the rice terraces and take that perfect photo of beautiful Bali. Continue to Batur and aim for an early night (tomorrow is fairly hectic).
Day 4: Candidasa
Rise and shine early birds (3 am!), it's time for a good ol' fashioned crater hike. On your included walk, you'll be just in time to witness the sunrise over the valleys of Bali. At 1717 metres high, Mount Batur sits inside a spectacular caldera along with Lake Batur, which is an awesome sight to see. The lake supports the local fishing industry, while many of the villagers work as guides for the volcano climb. It's important to note that this climb takes around one and a half to two hours, but it's all uphill so a decent level of fitness is required. On a clear morning, it's possible to see all the way across the Lombok Strait to the peaks of Mt Rinjani. The weather can be unpredictable, so the view is up to mother nature. After descending the volcano, there may be an option to soak in hot springs with great views over the lake and caldera. Later in the afternoon, head southwest to beachside Candidasa. You're gonna love having a free evening after today's climb to get super chilled by the beach.
Day 5: Gili Trawangan
Drive 25 minutes to Padang Bai this morning and jump on a speedboat to Gili Trawangan at approximately 9 am. Gili Trawangan, or Gili T as it's referred to, is essentially the Goldilocks of the three Gili islands, striking the perfect balance between Gili Air's hippie vibe and Gili Meno’s low-key honeymoon atmosphere. Bare feet are the bare minimum when it comes to dress code here, and while there’s plenty of snorkelling and swimming, there’s also enough nightlife to keep you socialites entertained all evening.
Day 6: Gili Trawangan
Enjoy a free day on Gili Trawangan to do, well, absolutely nothing. If that’s what you want. Otherwise, why not take an optional cooking or yoga class, or go snorkelling in the ridiculously clear waters. Head out on a motorised wooden boat around the Gili Islands, jumping straight off the boat and coming face-to-face with marine life including colourful fish, coral reefs and, of course, sea turtles. The Gili Islands are a famous snorkelling destination and probably the best spot in SE Asia, so if we have one piece of advice it’s this: get wet.
Day 7: Gili Trawangan
Just another day in paradise and it’s your choice how you’ll spend it. Perhaps jump on another boat for more snorkelling, or maybe take it super easy and post up on the beach with a book, a coconut or a cocktail. You could also grab a bike and circumnavigate the island on two wheels. All three of the Gili Islands are tiny, but it’ll still sound pretty hardcore when you tell your friends back home you circumnavigated an island. While out on your, ahem, ‘epic’ circumnavigation, why not join a yoga class to truly Zen out.
Day 8: Seminyak
Have a leisurely breakfast and one last swim on Gili T before walking back to the port (approx 1.8 kms) and then jumping on the midday speedboat to Serangan on Bali, arriving at approximately 4.30 pm. From here, drive an hour to upmarket Seminyak where the sunsets are legendary, the beaches are plentiful, the nightlife is lively and there are more spas, massages and treatments than you can poke a stick at. The evening is yours to watch that famous sunset, hit a restaurant and frequent one, two, three or more of the beachside bars dotting the several sandy strips.
Day 9: Seminyak
Give today a real Semin-crack with a range of optional activities to get involved in. Ride dirty in a VW Kombi to get clean on a Spa Safari or, if spas ain’t your thing, swap the bathrobe for a glass and take a Cocktail Safari instead, visiting some of Bali’s best beaches and bars while cruising down the coast. Get active and take a surf lesson. Whatever your decision, you can’t hit Seminyak without soaking up the sun (and booze, if you so choose) at a beach club in the afternoon. Ever heard of Potato Head? Cocoon? Ku de Ta? Your leader will take you to a baller beach club this afternoon to enjoy some beats, some eats and some…seats? Seriously, sit back, listen to the tunes, splash around in the pool and watch the beautiful people do their thing. You can even try talking to them.
Day 10: Seminyak
Your Bali adventure comes to an end today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to Eat, Pray, Love, Swim, Snorkel, Sleep and Tan in the future, be it in Bali or back home.
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