Day 1 – Ubud & Tegallalang
Where did I stay: Desak Putu Putera Cottages
Total driving time: from Ubud to Tegallalang takes about 20 minutes
Stops: Saraswati Temple – Campuhan Ridge Walk – Uma Pakel Swing – Tegallalang
After a good night sleep it is time to start the first day of the Bali road trip and explore Ubud! Make sure to arrive early at your first stop; the Saraswati (water) temple. It is known for its lotus pond and is dedicated to Saraswati, (river) goddess of knowledge, art, music, literature and wisdom. You can walk freely here and don’t need to wear a sarong.
Entrance fee: free
Campuhan Ridge walk
After visiting Saraswati temple head to the start of the Campuhan Ridge walk, which you can find near the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa. Just take the narrow path left from the hotel. First you will pass the Gunung Lebah temple on your left and then you will find yourself on a higher path surrounded by jungle with amazing views. In the morning temperatures are still manageable. But it gets very hot here during the day since there is little shade. You can have a few drinks before returning back to Ubud center.
Lunch at Ubud
Time to have lunch at the center of Ubud. There are lots of lunch options in the town center. But I loved the interior and the food at Milk & Madu. The food is fresh and very tasty.
Uma Pakel Swing
After lunch you deserve some time to relax at the hotel. Bali has some amazing hotels. So it would be a pitty not to enjoy them. After that put on some nice floaty dress (I don’t know about men though, a superhero cape?) because it is time to go swinging! Before enjoying sunset at Tegallalang you will pass the Uma Pakel Agro Tourism & Swing. Here you can try the luwak coffee and go on swings, bird’s nests etc.
I prefered this swing park because its entry is only 200 000 IDR and it is way less crowded than the famous Bali Swing (500 000 IDR).
Tegallalang rice terraces
I visited Tegallalang twice and the first time it really disappointed me. You need to pay an entrance fee and then you enter the rice field area along with the crowds. I found it very hard to find beautiful areas to take some nice photos and it didn’t feel peaceful or authentic at all.
But the second time I came from the North and I discovered a nicer more quiet area a little further from the main entrance. So I asked my driver if it was possible to get there. Luckily he said yes. He just informed with some local people and then he took me to a quiet rice field area. You still need to pay an entrance fee and of course donations are asked, because you enter people’s personal rice fields, but I was the only tourist in this area and it was way more beautiful. Here I could explore at my own pace with no one else there.
So I strongly recommend to not enter Tegallalang at the “official entrance” but to look for other entries a little further.
Entrance fee: 20.000 IDR (parking included)
I had dinner that night at Mama’s Warung. A very small local restaurant across the street of my hotel. It looked very basic, but the food was so good!
Day 2 – Tukad Cepung & Besakih Temple
Where did I stay: Desak Putu Putera Cottages (book here)
Total driving time: 3 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 90 km
Stops: Tukad Cepung – Teras Agro Wisata – Besakih Temple – Mahagiri Panoramic Resort & Restaurant
After a 50 minute drive from Ubud, you will reach Tukad Cepung. This waterfall in a cave is one of the most special waterfalls in Bali. Make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds, because this waterfall is no longer a hidden gem. The hike down is pretty impressive. Especially when you arrive at the river canyon. Jungle and Jurassic Park vibes are guaranteed! To the left you will find the waterfall. To the right there is a beautiful small stream of water with a lot of lush vegetation.
Entrance fee: 15.000 IDR
Teras Agro Wisata
This was just a short stop on the way to the Besakih temple. You can try luwak coffee and tea here with a magnificent view of a valley covered in rice fields and palm trees. They also have a giant swing here. I bought the ginger tea and the mangosteen tea. (I don’t drink coffee)
The Besakih temple is the mother temple of Bali. It is the largest and most important temple complex on the island. It consists of about 86 temples. The temple was built more than 1000 years ago on the slopes of Mount Agung. When I was there I couldn’t see the volcano, because of the clouds, but the ground was covered with its ashes from a small explosion a few days before.
I was really impressed by all the different temples and the local guide explained a lot about Hinduism. I also saw some massive spiders over there. When you visit the temple be aware. You can buy a sarong at the nearby parking lot or rent one at the temple. A lot of people will try to sell you offerings, but it is not obliged to buy those.
Entrance fee: 60.000 IDR
Mahagiri Panoramic Resort & Restaurant
“Do you like to have lunch with a fantastic view?”, my driver asked. “Of course!”, was my answer! And he took me to the Mahagiri Resort to have lunch there. The view didn’t disappoint. It was definitely one of the most amazing views of my whole Bali road trip! The food was also delicious, so the perfect lunch break after a long morning of exploring!
The rest of the day I relaxed at the pool and I had dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 – From Ubud to the Buleleng region
Where did I stay: Desak Putu Putera Cottages / Shanti Natural Panorama View Hotel
Total driving time: 3.5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 104 km
Stops: Leke Leke Waterfall – (Beratan Temple) – Wanagiri Hidden Hills Swing Park – Banyumala Twin Waterfalls – Twin Lake view – Munduk Waterfall
Leke Leke Waterfall
It takes about 70 minutes to reach Leke Leke waterfall from Ubud. I arrived there around 6.30 before opening time and I had the whole place to myself. The hike down is rather easy but muddy and slippery at times. Once you cross the bamboo bridge you will hear the roaring sound of Leke Leke and it will not take long until you can admire the giant waterfall surrounded by a canyon covered with jungle plants.
Entrance fee: 30.000 IDR
(Pura Ulun Danu Beratan)
I wasn’t able to visit this famous water temple because everytime I passed it, it was too foggy or it poured with rain. But it is on the route. So if you are more lucky with the weather, make sure to visit the temple!
Wanagiri Hidden Hills Selfie Park
My driver wasn’t allowed to drive the road to the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, so he took me to this selfie park to book a guided tour to the waterfall. I was able to take photos at the selfie park because it was included in the tour price. From here you have amazing views on the Buyan lake.
Banyumala Twin Waterfalls
The North of Bali is famous for its many waterfalls and this one is probably its most famous. After a bumpy ride to the parking lot it takes a short hike down to the waterfall. Only the last part is a little heavy on the knees with its steep stairs. The waterfall is huge and if you are lucky you can see rainbows. I also recommend to walk a little further to find a river canyon surrounded by waterfalls and overgrown by ferns and other tropical vegetation. You can wade through the river to find a pool with narrow canyons. But you can’t go too far because the water is too deep to continue.
Entrance fee: 300.000 IDR (Wanagiri Hidden Hills / transport / guide to the Banyumala Twin Waterfalls)
Twin Lake View
This is another stop on the road to Munduk. Here you have a fantastic view on both lakes.
This waterfall isn’t very famous, but my driver told me it looks very similar to the more popular Nung Nung waterfall. It only takes a short hike to reach the waterfall.
Entrance fee: 20.000 IDR
I had a late lunch at my hotel and spent the afternoon at the pool. It had the most amazing views and great drinks and food!
Day 4 – The Secret Gardens of Sambangan & Banyu Wana Amertha
Where did I stay: Shanti Natural Panorama View Hotel (book here) / Sugi Gede Homestay
Total driving time: 2 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 50 km
Stops: Secret Gardens of Sambangan – Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall
Secret Gardens of Sambangan
Again this is a waterfall stop, only a few hundred meters away from the Shanti Natural Panorama View Hotel. But this one is a little more adventurous than the others, since you can jump from the cliffs or slide down the waterfalls that you can find here!
The first waterfall the local guide will take you to is Aling Aling. I absolutely loved this waterfall. You can only admire it though, no swimming is allowed here, due to the strong currents.
The second one is Kroya. Here you can jump into the water or slide down like I did. I thought it was very exciting to do this, but make sure to close your nose! You’ll get a life jacket, because otherwise you would never be able to reach the surface. The waterfall stream is very strong.
The other waterfall you can jump down from is called Kadek.
Entrance fee: 125.000 IDR
Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall
This is still one of those hidden gems in Bali and I am probably guilty now for giving it more exposure in this Bali road trip guide. You can not find one waterfall at this place, but four! This is the ultimate waterfall heaven!
The first waterfall looked more like a spray falling straight down in a pool with koi fish. This waterfall is bigger during the raining season.
Bhuana Sari is the second waterfall and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It consists of several streams coming down in different levels decorated with flowers and plants. This waterfall looked so magical!
After returning to the main path you will encounter the roaring of a big waterfall on the other side. You will first see it peeking through the trees and once you follow the muddy, slippery, steep path down you will encounter a huge waterfall: Banyu Wana Amerta. You can swim here.
The last waterfall are two waterfalls next to each other. They don’t look that impressive anymore after visiting the previous three, but the combination of the waterfalls and the tropical plants and trees is just dreamy.
Prepare for a though hike back up to the parking lot! Even my guide was gasping for air and your calf muscles will seriously hurt!
Entrance fee: 20.000 IDR
After visiting all those waterfalls it took a very winding road through the mountains to reach my next stay; Sugi Gede Homestay. I had a very late lunch/early dinner there and just relaxed.
Day 5 – Sekumpul & Pura Taman Ayun
Where did I stay: Sugi Gede Homestay (book here) / Calma Ubud Suites & Spa
Total driving time: 2.5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 77 km
Stops: Sekumpul & Fiji Waterfall – Taman Ayun Temple
Sekumpul & Fiji Waterfall
If you stay at Sugi Gede Homestay you can just walk from there to the Sekumpul waterfall. It will take about 20 minutes to get down. It is very steep but the views are so worth it! You will first encounter a magnificent view of both the Sekumpul and Fiji waterfall from the top. Then the hike continues down to the foot of Sekumpul waterfall. Which is one of the most impressive waterfalls of Bali.
I recommend water shoes since you often have to cross rivers to reach both waterfalls. The hike made me feel like Indiana Jones. I was the only one there for a long time. (Only around 12.00 I came across other people on my way back.)
Fiji waterfall seems to be one waterfall from a distance, but once you arrive, you will discover it are three waterfalls next to each other. The two outside waterfalls are hidden in a canyon, only visible when you stand right in front of the waterfall.
Entrance fee: 30 000 IDR if you stay at Sugi Gede Homestay,
otherwise 125 000 IDR
Taman Ayun Temple
Since it started to rain as soon as I returned from Sekumpul, I wasn’t able to do many stops on the way back to Ubud. I thought I could try to visit the Ulun Danu Beratan temple again and maybe the Jatiluwih rice terraces, but it was pouring with rain! So if you are more lucky with the weather I suggest these stops!
So while driving my driver suggested we could go to the Taman Ayun temple. He said it was also a water temple and that it could be a good alternative. So I agreed and hoped it would stop raining once we arrived there.
It did stop raining so I visited this temple that isn’t very “Insta famous”, but very beautiful. There weren’t that many tourists and I had the chance to explore it at ease. This wonderful temple is surrounded by an elegant canal. It is one of the six royal temples in Bali. So if you are looking for something less touristic this is definitely a good alternative!
Entrance fee: 20 000 IDR
After visiting the temple it started to rain again, so I went to the hotel to have lunch and enjoy a massage. After all it is important to leave some time to relax during a Bali road trip right?
Day 6 – Bali Road Trip Pause in Ubud
Where did I stay: Calma Ubud Suites & Spa
Total driving time: none
Total kilometers to drive: none
Stops: Rice field walk – Ubud Palace – Ubud Market
Rice field walk
This walk isn’t as known as the Campuhan Ridge walk so it is way less crowded. It is a nice walk on a narrow path, which gets used for bicycle tours. You will need to stand aside a few time to let motorcycles and bikes pass, but that is all. There are not too many people here, except for local farmers. This walk takes you along rice fields, cute little bars and restaurants and local farmer’s houses. You can probably walk for as long as you want, but I decided to cross a bridge after about 2 kilometers. There is another path along rice fields and it ends at some cute streets with local shops.
Ubud Palace ( Puri Saren Agung)
After the rice field walk you can visit the Ubud Palace. Its entrance is free and visiting palaces is always fun isn’t it? It used to be the home to the royal family of Ubud. In the evening you can watch traditional dance performances here.
After lunch it is time to go shopping! At the Ubud market you can find everything from sarongs, rattan bags, dream catchers, jewellery to decoration items. I loved wandering through the narrow streets and stalls.
Ubud center itself also has a lot of shops with the most pretty stuff! I loved the jewellery at Blink by Kapal-Laut and the accessories and decorations at Ubudahh.
Day 7 – Bali Road Trip Pause in Ubud
Where did I stay: Calma Ubud Suites & Spa
Total driving time: depending on activities
Total kilometers to drive: depending on activities
Stops: see options below
I include this extra day in the middle of this Bali road trip to give you the chance to explore more of Ubud and its surroundings or to just take a day off and relax. I took the time to relax so I ordered a floating breakfast and a massage/flower bath arrangement!
These are some more places you could visit if you don’t need a day off from exploring (I didn’t do them, but will do them next time):
Ubud Monkey Forest
Tirta Empul Temple
Goa Gajah Temple
Rafting (I booked this, but cancelled it, because I needed some rest
Day 8 – From Ubud to Candidasa
Where did I stay: Calma Ubud Suites & Spa (book here) – Villa Rama
Total driving time: about 3 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 86 km
Stops: Tibumana waterfall – Sidemen rice fields – Goa Lawah temple
It takes about forty minutes to drive from Ubud to the Tibumana waterfall. After a short but very beautiful hike through a lush rain forest with pretty flowers, you will arrive at the waterfall. Tibumana waterfall itself is just a one drop waterfall, but it is its surroundings that make it so special. The water drops into a pool surrounded by a rock wall covered with jungle vegetation.
Entrance fee: 10.000 IDR
Sidemen rice fields
This Bali area is still very authentic because not many tourists explore this area. That is why I loved it so much! I was looking for a path to start a hike through the rice fields, but I didn’t find one and neither did my driver. So we were parked at the side of the road, when a local farmer approached us. He started talking to us and he offered me a tour through the rice fields of his town. I thought this was so nice!
I spent about 1.5 hours with him. He showed me what they grew on the rice fields, after the rice was already harvested (chili peppers were very popular). Of course I did a massive fall at one point, where I didn’t see the irrigation canal and fell flat on my belly in the rice field! Me and the local kids playing in the fields were laughing so hard, while the farmer was so worried for me! But besides a few scratches I was fine.
This rice field walk was definitely one of my favorite Bali road trip moments, because I got to meet the locals and explore an area where no one else was.
Goa Lawah temple
I still had lots of time so before driving to my villa, I visited the Goa Lawah temple. The temple is built around a cave opening inhabited by bats. I only saw locals here. They were praying and offering flowers. It is a small but beautiful temple. I loved watching the praying ritual, at a distance, because I couldn’t help but feeling a little like an intruder. But everyone was smiling at me, so I guess it was OK.
Goa Lawah is better known as the bat cave (no Batman though). There is a legend that says a prince hid away in the cave from enemies and that he followed the cave until he emerged at the Besakih temple on the foot of Mount Agung. No one has ever checked if this story is true. But according to the locals the cave leads to Mount Agung (Besakih), Talibeng and Tangkid Bangbang. It is also said that when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, ash emerged from Goa Lawah.
Entrance fee: 6.000 IDR
The rest of the day I enjoyed my villa and pool and I had dinner at Vincent’s. This restaurant had the most romantic terrace with lights in the palm trees. The drinks and food were delicious!
Day 9 – Karangasem
Where did I stay: Villa Rama
Total driving time: about 1.5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 40 km
Stops: Taman Tirta Gangga – Bukit Cinta – Taman Ujung
Taman Tirta Gangga
About half an hour from Candidasa you will find Taman Tirta Gangga, the royal water garden. I arrived there at opening time and I was the first to get in. If you want the iconic photo, you better be fast, because after a while there is a line forming to get that photo!
I loved how clear the water was. You can jump from one tile to the other to walk over the water, while you see the koi fish swim. This water garden is so beautiful and peaceful! The fountains and statues are just dreamy. Make sure to go early in the morning, because during the day it gets way too crowded and you won’t get the same peaceful experience as I did.
Entrance fee: 35.000 IDR
My driver took me to this place, because I wanted to have a good view of the volcano. It was the first time that the sky was so clear. I was so happy when we arrived here! I waded through the tall grass to find a great photo spot. If you walk a little further you will get a fantastic view of the volcano and the surrounding rice fields!
I arrived at the Taman Ujung water palace around noon, thinking it would be crowded and that it would be impossible to take a decent photo. But the truth is that it was almost empty! Apparently not many people visit this place, even though it is absolutely beautiful!
The complex consists of several pools connected with the most magnificent bridges, pavilions, statues,… I actually visited the site twice because I loved its vibe and I wanted to see it the next day in the morning light as well.
Make sure to climb the stairs so you get the view from up above!
Entrance fee: 35.000 IDR
Day 10 – From Candidasa to Sanur
Where did I stay: Villa Rama (book here) – Parigata hotel
Total driving time: about 2.5 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 90 km
Stops: (Lempuyang temple) – Penglipuran
If you are interested in the famous Lempuyang gate reflection picture a local makes with a mirror (the famous Instagram shot), I suggest to visit Lempuyang temple early in the morning. It takes about 45 minutes to get there by car. (I didn’t go)
Penglipuran is a cute traditional village you can visit. The locals living there still preserve their traditional culture in their daily lives. You can visit their homes and see how they live. They are very welcoming and you can also buy some cute souvenirs there!
Day 11 – Bali Road Trip: touring Nusa Penida
Where did I stay: Parigata hotel
Total driving time: about 3 hours 20 minutes
Total kilometers to drive: 80 km
Stops: Atuh Beach – Thousands Islands view point – Rumah Pohon tree house – Kelingking – Crystal Bay Beach
On a Bali road trip a boat trip to Nusa Penida musn’t be left out! To get to Nusa Penida it is best to book a tour in advance. That way you don’t have to worry anymore about buying a ticket and you can get on the first fast boat at 7.00 am. Be prepared: to get on the boat, you will have to walk through the water!
After a small hour you will arrive at the harbour of Nusa Penida where you will see a lot of drivers waving with nameplates. It can be a little chaotic with everyone trying to get on land and looking for their driver.
Tour companies offer various day trip packages. Mine included Atuh / Diamond Beach, the Thousand Islands view point, the Rumah Pohon tree house, Kelingking and Crystal Bay Beach.
My favorite stops were definitely Diamond Beach, which is an amazing white beach with the bluest water and massive white cliffs, and of course Kelingking. Which is famous for its famous dinosaur shaped cliffs. I was very disappointed with Crystal Bay Beach, which is basically a beach packed with lounge chairs and sun umbrellas. If I had known in advance I would’ve asked to visit Broken Beach instead, which is also a very popular stop at Nusa Penida.
For this Bali road trip I normally had planned to stay at Nusa Penida for two nights so that I could just rent a driver and visit Kelingking early in the morning and at sunset and explore the whole island at my own pace. But because my flights from Komodo had changed, I wasn’t able to get a fast boat anymore in the evening so I had to change my plans. That is why I just did a day trip from Sanur. Honestly, I also wonder how you would get a 20 kilo suitcase on the fast boat without it getting wet?
Day 12 – From Sanur to Uluwatu via Seminyak
Where did I stay: Parigata hotel (book here) – Dreamsea Bali
Total driving time: without traffic 1.5 hours, in reality 3 to 4 hours
Total kilometers to drive: 43 km
I didn’t stay at Seminyak during my Bali road trip, but it is a nice place to go shopping or have lunch. Take into account that this place doesn’t have a Bali feeling at all. It is a modern busy town packed with hipster restaurants and bars and trendy interior shops. The traffic is crazy there and the air pollution is no joke. So I just spent two hours there and I literally fled the place. Why people love to stay in this area, I can not understand. Especially if you know you can find more authentic and quiet places in Bali.
It could be a nice area if you like to party and hang out at the beach all day. There are a lot of cool beach bars. I wouldn’t recommend Seminyak if you would like to explore the rest of Bali, simply because it takes hours to leave the town due to traffic and it is just quiet far from all the sights.
Uluwatu – Padang Padang
For the first night I decided to stay at a beachfront accommodation in Uluwatu. My beach hut was hanging above the cliffs and had the most amazing view on the ocean, beach and the sunset. If you are a surfer this place is definitely a must! The only thing I had to get used to is that, because the huts were all made of bamboo, the sound of the ocean was so loud, I thought a tsunami was coming during the night :-D.
Day 13 – Uluwatu Temple
Where did I stay: Dreamsea Bali (book here) – Sal Secret Spot
Total driving time: 30 minutes
Total kilometers to drive: 12 km
Stops: Uluwatu temple – Single Fin
This Bali road trip is almost coming to an end! You still have the opportunity though to visit the Uluwatu temple! The temple itself isn’t very spectacular because it is very small, but the walk along the cliffs certainly is! The ocean waves here are breathtaking! They have so much power! I could stare hours at them.
After doing all the stairs at the cliffs, you can go and relax at Single Fin. It is a nice bar/restaurant where you can also have a swim! I had my coconuts and lunch there. It is also a place where you can meet new people easily. I had some nice chats!
Dinner at Lucky Fish
In the afternoon I went to my next hotel to relax at the pool. In the evening I had dinner at the beach at Lucky Fish. There you can choose your own fish, fresh from the ocean. They will grill it on the barbecue and then serve it with some rice, vegetables and sauce. I thought this was a very cool experience! Just make sure your table isn’t too close to the sea, unless you want your feet to get wet!
Day 14 – Relax at Uluwatu
Where did I stay: Sal Secret Spot
Total driving time: none
Total kilometers to drive: 0 km
On the last day of this Bali road trip I decided to just stay in the hotel. I needed some time to rest at the pool and do nothing. There are quite some beach clubs, where you can have drinks and lie at some great pools if you prefer to do that.