East Bali Highlights in 5 Days
Bali is known for its volcanoes, forested mountain scenery, stunning Hindu architecture, amazing coral reefs, and iconic beaches that would make most people yearn for more than a week’s stay. If you only have time for a shorter trip, check out these highlights of eastern Bali on this 5-day itinerary. Bali opened my eyes to the world’s beauty, caught me off guard and swept me off my feet. To be honest, it was the best vacation I have ever taken.
To get the most time possible, I suggest you schedule a morning arrival into Ngurah Rai Airport on day 1.
- 245.7 km
- 7.5 h
Day 1: The edge
The edge is a top luxury resort in Bali and just one look at the pictures will convince you it’s a must-do. After arriving at Ngurah Rai Airport, charter a private car to take you to the famed resort. Even though the edge was supposed to be just 30 minutes away, Bali traffic caused us a bit of a delay.
This is an relatively expensive hotel resort to book an overnight room, but luckily, they open their amenities to the public during the day for an admission fee. So, you can still have the experience, then spend the night in cheaper accommodations. Upon arriving, I paid 50,000 IDR (4 USD) for admission and another 550,000 IDR (55 USD) to gain access to their VIP Lounge. For me, the VIP lounge was great deal because you get access to the best spot in the resort and the admission fee is consumable—meaning you can spend the amount that you paid on items from their menu.
The view of the Indian Ocean is breathtaking and it only gets even better when you dive into the infinity pool. The pool has a clear glass bottom allowing you to see the cliff below. Talk about luxury at an affordable price! This is a place that is truly mesmerizing and captivating, and worth every penny spent.
If you don’t want to spend the whole day at the resort, there are also nearby beaches and shopping centers.
Day 2: Uluwatu Temple
On the second day, visit the famous the Uluwatu Temple, a well-known historical and religious site in Bali. Just 11 minutes away from The edge, the temple is built on a cliff-side.
As a place of worship, visitors must wear sarongs or shoulder covers to show respect for the temple’s holiness and rules. The monkeys in the temple are believed to be its guardians. Be cautious—these swift and agile animals can take your belongings in an instant if you are not alert and careful enough. I ended up in a high-speed chase after losing my sunglasses to these cute, furry creatures. Nevertheless, a solemn and peaceful place, Uluwatu Temple calmed my soul and restarted my energy.
Late in the afternoon, head to Sunset Point Bar just near the temple. This bar offers a place where you can have a drink and relax while watching the sunset sitting in a beanie bag!
In the evening, go back to the temple to watch the Kecak Fire Dance, a wonderful show famous for its dance techniques and costumes. Tickets for the show are 150,000 IDR (10 USD) and are usually sold out by 5 pm; I recommend you buy your ticket in the morning before heading into the temple.
Day 3: Padang Padang Beach
Spend the third day relaxing on the beach. This beach is famous for being one of the best sunset viewing spots in all of Bali. Locals call it Padang Padang. Surfing is a popular activity here and what’s awesome is that you can rent a surfboard for just 100,000 IDR (6.67 USD) and try riding the waves. Never in my life have I thought about surfing, but being the adventurer that I am, I stepped up, went out the ocean, faced the beach front, waited for a good wave, and rode like a pro… for 2 seconds!
If you are here on a weekend, you can catch one of the night beach parties.
Day 4: Lempuyang Temple
Today head to Lempuyang Temple, another well-known religious tourist place in Bali. The temple is about two and a half hours from Padang Padang beach, so it is best to leave early morning (around 5 am).
The Lempuyang Temple is considered one of the six holiest places in Bali and is perfect for sightseeing, pictures and meditation. Admission costs 30,000 IDR (2 USD). This complex actually consists of seven temples, so seeing everything involves a lot of walking. Here you can see the famous Bali “gateway to heaven” where you can catch a perfect scene of a mountain between the archways. Though it is considered a tourist spot, the temple has rules like no kissing, no showing of shoulders and no drone photography.
Day 5: Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud
On your last day, visit the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud. Again, it is best to leave early in the morning as it is a two hour ride from the Lempuyang Temple. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its exemplary beauty. The rice terraces are built in layers up the hillside giving the image of a staircase, thus the name “stairways to heaven”.
When I got there, I quickly took my phone out of pocket went crazy with the capture button. I couldn’t help but think of the hours, days, and months the people responsible put into sculpting this mountain, making it possible to plant rice and feed their families.
Although they do have a path to the top, climbing the stairways was no easy feat for me because I am not fond of heights. It was all worth it though to get to the zipline. Speeding through the air you get a bird’s eye view of the rice terraces. It was like being a drone!
Note: There are still lot of other places that you can check out if you have more time, but I recommend avoiding Kuta Beach because it’s polluted. Also, only visit waterfall areas during the rainy seasons otherwise it will just be mud.