The Land of Gods, this is Bali. With beautiful beaches, lush terraced rice fields, and a culture that dates back to the 1st century. This Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights takes you on a journey across temples, lakes, and some offbeat destinations.
The highlights of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights are:
- Uluwatu Temple
- Tirtha Empul
- Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
- Pura Danau Tamblingan
- Pura Besakih
- Tanah Lot
If you are looking for answers to these questions, you have landed on the right page.
- Where is Bali?
- Are 5 days in Bali enough?
- Where should I stay in Bali?
- What is the main language of Bali?
- Is Bali worth visiting?
Disclaimer: Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA COST to you. Please read my Disclaimer Policy for more information. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
Where is Bali?
Bali is a province in Indonesia that is located on the East of Java, West of Lombok, and is the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Bali is also Indonesia’s only Hindu-majority province with at least 87% of the population practicing Balinese Hinduism.
Bali is within the Coral Triangle which is a triangular area around Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. This area is home to 500 species of reef-building corals and sits between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans.
Bali and Java share a history that dates back to the Paleolithic era. The discovery of the Java Man is one of the earliest specimens of Homo Erectus, the ancestor of modern man. However, ancient written historical records mention the reign of Sri Kesari, a Balinese King.
The ancient text was written in the Indian Sanskrit language and the Old Balinese language and dates back to 914 CE. The records mention that Bali was an independent nation, with a distinct dialect where Buddhism is practiced simultaneously with Shaivism.
The Subak Irrigation System which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site was developed during the 9th century and is still practiced today.
A Balinese colony was founded by the Majapahit Empire during its Golden Age. During the Majapahit rule, architecture, dance, and theatre experienced a strong influx of Javanese culture.
The empire fell when Islam arose in the Indonesian archipelago. There was resistance towards Islam in Bali when Dang Hyang Nirartha led a Hindu reformation movement. He introduced the Padmasana shrine to honor the Supreme God “Acintya”. One of the temples that were established by Nirartha is the Uluwatu Cliff Temple.
The first European contact in Bali was made in 1512 during a Portuguese expedition led by Antonia Abreu. It was Cornelis de Houtman, a Dutch who arrived in 1597.
Did you know that the Imperial Japanese army occupied Bali during World War 2?
Although Bali was not their original target, the army occupied the island as their airfields in Borneo were inoperative due to heavy rains. They landed in a town near Sanur on 19th February 1942.
It was during this occupation that a Balinese military officer, I Gusti Ngurah Rai formed a “freedom army”. Just two days after the Japanese surrender, President Sukarno proclaimed independence from the Netherlands. The Netherlands recognized Indonesia’s independence in 1949.
The Balinese are known to be resilient as the province has survived two terrorist bombings, one in 2002 and the other in 2005. According to Statista, Bali recorded its highest tourist arrivals of 6.28 million people in 2019.
BBC Travel named the island as “one of the world’s best” together with Santorini in Greece, and Boracay in the Philippines. According to TripAdvisor’s Best of the Best 2021, Bali is described as a living postcard, a paradise that seems like a fantasy.
The official website to apply for a visa to Indonesia is the website of the Director-General of Immigration that is under the purview of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. The specific visa policy of Indonesia is shown in the image below.Numberguy6, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikipedia Commons
Based on the above, 169 nations can enter Indonesia, visa-free. These nations are shown as green color. The nations include the United States, India, and the United Arab Emirates. Citizens that enter Bali via the visa-free option can not extend their visa further.
Currently, Indonesia requires visitors to have Health Declaration before entering the country. Get your Health Card Declaration Online through iVisa in three simple steps.
What documents do you need to travel to Bali?
To travel to Bali, your passport must have two blank pages with at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival. The currency restrictions for both entry and exit are at Rp 100,000,000.00 ($7,092).
You would need to show a return ticket or connecting ticket to another country and two colored photographs.
Are 5 days in Bali enough?
A Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights gives a glimpse of the island, its culture, history, and key highlights that would complete your short and memorable trip to the island.
Day 1: Arrival and Sunset at Uluwatu Temple
We start Day 1 by arriving at the I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport. This airport was named after the Balinese freedom fighter who fought to death against the Dutch during the Indonesian Revolution in 1946.
As your plane makes a slow descent, you will see the Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue. This statue stands at 120 meters and is the second tallest statue in the world after the Spring Temple Buddha statue in Hainan, China.
As you make your way towards the immigration, customs, and baggage areas, you will notice the Balinese architectural theme throughout the airport. The arrival hall is located at Level 1 of the International Terminal.
On your way out, look out for the Satria Gatotkaca or the statue of the Flying Knight. Gatotkaca is a character from the Mahabharat. Gatotkaca in Sanskrit means “bald head”. The statue depicts the battle between Gatotkaca and Prince Karna. The statue brings security and protection to all flights and those visiting Bali.
The first of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Uluwatu Temple or Pura Luhur Uluwatu. This temple is one of the six Sad Kahyangan Jagad or “six sanctuaries of the world” which are the holiest temples in Bali.
Do you know what the other 5 holiest temples in Bali are?
The Sad Kahyangan Jagad are the five pivotal points on the island that provide a spiritual balance to Bali. The other 5 temples are:-
- Pura Besakih which is the “mother temple” of Bali in Karangsem
- Pura Luhur Lempuyang in Karangsem
- Pura Goa Lawah in Klungkung
- Pura Luhur Uluwatu in Badung
- Pura Pusering Jagat in Gianyar
Other than these, Bali has several “sea temples” which are believed to be visible from the next temple. These sea temples form a “chain of spiritual protection” around the island.
How much does the Uluwatu Temple cost?
The entrance fee is divided into two categories, which are for domestic tourists and foreign tourists. Adult domestic tourists pay Rp 20,000 ($1.50) while children pay Rp 10,000 ($0.70¢). Foreign adults pay Rp 30,000 ($2.12) while children pay Rp 20,000 ($1.50).
What should I wear to Uluwatu Temple?
As Uluwatu Temple is one of the most sacred temples in Bali, it is best to avoid tank tops, sleeveless tops, skirts, and shorts. A sarong and shawl (returnable) are provided to those that do not meet these requirements.
What is the best time to visit Uluwatu Temple?
Although the temple is open from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm, the best time to visit this temple is between 4.30 pm to 7.00 pm. You can view one of Bali’s most stunning sunsets here.
How long is the Kecak dance at Uluwatu?
The Kecak dance performance lasts one hour, from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm. You would have to arrive early to book your tickets at the ticket counter. Tickets are priced at Rp 100,000 ($7.10) per person.
What is the Kecak Dance?
The term “Kecak” is from the “cak, cak” chants that are sung by the dancers throughout the performance. This dance is an adaptation from the Ramayana, a Hindu epic where a princess is kidnapped by a demon king and is rescued by a monkey god. This dance is a must-see when in Bali.
Day 2: Ubud
Campuhan Ridge Walk
The second of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is a hike on Campuhan Ridge Walk. The best time to walk is before sunrise. This can be between 6.00 am to 8.00 am. This is because the ridge walk is exposed to the elements.
How long does the Campuhan Ridge Walk take?
The path is 1.2 miles long and passes through paddy fields, two jungle valleys, and ends at the village of Bangkiag Sidem. You can end your walk with a meal at Karsa Cafe. The walk can take between 1 to 2 hours, depending upon your fitness level.
Is the Campuhan Ridge Walk free?
Yes, Campuhan Ridge Walk is FREE and is a must-do when in Ubud. It is best to carry a water bottle with you as there are no stalls or restaurants along the path. You would also need a compact umbrella to protect you from the sun by the time you end the walk.
Ubud Monkey Forest
The third of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is the Ubud Monkey Forest or Mandala Suci Wenara Wana as it is locally known. This forest is a 7-minute drive or a 30-minute walk from Campuhan Ridge Walk.
Ubud Monkey Forest is within Padangtegal village and owns the forest. The villagers view the forest as a place of spirituality, education, and a conservation center. The area is sacred as three temples were built during the 14th century.
The temples were built based on the traditional Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Kirana or “three causes of well-being”. The main temple here is Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal while the other two are Pura Beji and Pura Prajapati. These temples are off-limits to tourists.
Is Ubud Monkey Forest free?
No, Ubud Monkey Forest is not free. There is an entrance fee of Rp 80,000 ($5.70) for adults and Rp 60,000 ($4.30) for children.
How long does it take to visit Monkey Forest Ubud?
Facts About Ubud Monkey Forest
- The statues on the west side of the lobby area are that of Goddess Sri Devi accompanied by Apsaras. Goddess Sri Devi is holding a stalk of paddy which signifies an abundant harvest.
- Just after the lobby, you will see a cave known as Durgama Cave. The name comes from Durga Mataji. The lingga inside the cave represents Lord Shiva.
- There are at least 1,049 monkeys with the majority of them being the Balinese Long-Tailed Macaque.
- The forest is home to Pura Dalem, the Temple of the Dead for the local Padangtegal villagers.
- The forest is 27 acres and is home to over 80 species of trees. Other than monkeys, there are deers, squirrels, and lizards within the forest.
NOTE: Visitors are NOT ALLOWED to feed to monkeys. The staff of the forest feeds the monkeys three times a day.
Pura Gunung Kawi
The fourth of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Pura Gunung Kawi. This funerary complex is a 30-minute drive from the Ubud Monkey Forest. This is one of the oldest sites in Bali and dates back to the 11th century.
There are 10 candi’s that spread across the Pekerisan River. To get to the temple, you would need to walk down a pathway of about 100 steps that are lined with souvenir shops. There are 4 candi’s on the eastern side of the river, 5 on the western side, and 1 hidden among the valley on the south side.
Legend has it that these candi’s are dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana Dynasty for his wife, concubines, and family.
The fifth of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights and the last on our day is a visit to Tirta Empul. This Balinese water temple is located in Tampaksiring is a 30-minute drive from Pura Gunung Kawi.
This temple is famous for its holy spring water that the Balinese use for ritual purification. “Tirta Empul” in Balinese means “holy springs”.
When was Tirta Empul built?
This temple was founded in 962 AD with the name being derived from the groundwater source. The holy springs are the source of the Pekerisan River that passes through Pura Gunung Kawi.
How much is the entrance fee to Tirta Empul?
The entrance fee is Rp 50,000 ($3.55) for an adult. For those who want to bathe in the pools, you can keep your belongings at the locker. The locker fees are Rp 15,000 ($1.10) while parking for cars is Rp 5,000 ($0.35¢).
What should I wear to the Tirtha Empul temple?
As this is a temple complex, it is appropriate to dress decently. Visitors are required to rent a sarong, regardless of whether you are bathing or not. If you are bathing and only have one set of clothes, you can rent a green bathing dress and red scarf for Rp 10,000 ($0.71¢).
Day 3: Lakes of Bali
On Day 3 of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights, we explore the three lakes of Bali. Our base would be from Kuta and Ubud as these are the two popular areas to stay when in Bali.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
The sixth of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. This temple is a 2-hour drive from Kuta and a 1-hour drive from Ubud. There are several temples within the complex with the most photographed being the “Pura Lingga Petak”.
The Pura Lingga Petak is a temple on Lake Bratan. The temple has 4 doors that face the four cardinal directions. The oldest temple in the complex was built in 1634 and is dedicated to the Shiva and is known as Penataran Agung.
How much is the entrance fee to Ulun Danu Temple?
The entrance fee for foreign adults is Rp 75,000 ($5.30) and children are Rp 50,000 ($3.55). Parking fees of Rp 5,000 ($0.35¢) are charged for cars and Rp 3,000 ($0.21) for motorbikes.
Read A History of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan in 60 Seconds to know more.
Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan
The seventh of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan. This temple is about a 30-minutes drive from Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. This lake is one of three lakes formed on an ancient caldera. The other two lakes are Lake Buyan and Lake Bratan.
There is an ancient temple located on the southern shore of the lake where only one village exists, the village of Gobleg that was mentioned in copper inscriptions dating back to 900CE. During the monsoon season, the temple is inundated and boats are needed to get to the temple.
The other temples are Pura Endek, Pura Pengukiran, Pura Telaga Maya, Pura Pande Tamblingan, and Pura Embang.
Pura Ulun Danu Batur
The eighth of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Pura Ulun Danu Batur. This temple is a 30-minute drive from Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan. This is the second most beautiful temple after Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
The temple dates back to the 17th century and is dedicated to Dewi Batari, the Goddess of Lakes and Waterways in Balinese Hinduism. The temple is located at the foot of the caldera of Mount Batur and was once submerged in lava during the Mount Batur volcanic eruption of 1926.
Day 4: Pura Besakih & Tirta Gangga
On Day 4 of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights, we explore two major landmarks which are the “Mother Temple” Pura Besakih, and Tirta Gangga. We begin our day at Pura Besakih as the journey to this temple from Kuta would take at least two hours.
The ninth of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Pura Besakih. This temple is also known as the Mother Temple of Besakih is about a 2-hour drive from Kuta. Hence, it is best to leave early to avoid the crowds that come later in the day.
Pura Besakih is located on the western slopes of Mount Agung and has 23 separate temples within its complex. These temples lead to the main spire, which is a representation of Mount Meru.
When was Besakih built?
No one knows exactly when this temple was built. The first recorded mention of this temple dates back to 1,000 AD. By the time the first Javanese conquerors arrived in Bali, Pura Besakih was already a powerful temple of the Gelgel Dynasty.
Why is Pura Besakih spiritually significant?
Mount Agung is spiritually significant as local legends mention that the name Besakih is from the word “Besuki” which refers to the Dragon God named “Naga Besukian” who resides at Mount Agung.
Its spiritual significance rose after the 1963 Mount Agung eruption. This eruption killed about 1,700 people and threatened Pura Besakih’s existence. Miraculously, the lava flow stopped a few meters from the temple.
How much is the entrance fee to Pura Besakih?
The entrance fee is Rp 60,000 ($4.30) for adults and Rp 30,000 ($2.15) for children. However, additional donations are expected. Fees are also charged for parking, video cameras, and cameras.
Many scams around Pura Besakih might ruin your experience. These are:-
- Unlicensed and Aggressive Tour Guides. The moment you exit your vehicle, you would be swarmed by touts who say that you “must” have a guide to visit the temple. Ignore them. You only need to purchase your ticket and can explore without a guide.
- Exorbitant donation. There is a “compulsory donation” which you must pay to enter the temple. They would expect you to pay above the highest donation. We only paid what we could afford, nothing more, nothing less.
- Bring your sarong. If not, you can rent a sarong from the ticket office. Sellers would hassle you to buy sarongs are exorbitant prices if you do not have one.
The eleventh of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Tirta Gangga. This former royal palace is an hour’s drive from Pura Besakih. The literal translation of Tirta Gangga is “water from the Ganges”.
This is based on the Balinese Hinduism belief that the waters of the Ganges River in India are sacred as they are used for irrigation, agricultural abundance, and economic activities.
Similarly with Tirta Gangga whose waters are sacred and used for irrigation as the area surrounding this water palace is lush green paddy fields, for a postcard-perfect photo.
How much is the entrance fee to Tirta Gangga?
The entrance fee to Tirta Gangga is Rp 50,000 ($3.50) for adults and Rp 15,000 ($1.05) for children. The swimming pool fees are Rp 20,000 ($1.40) for adults in Pool A, Rp 10,000 ($0.70¢) in Pool B, and Rp 5,000 ($0.35¢) for the children’s pool.
Day 5: Beach, Temple, and Kuta
Last on our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is visiting the famous Tanah Lot temple and relaxing by the beach watching the sunset at Kuta Beach.
The twelfth of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is Pura Tanah Lot. This temple is not only a popular tourist and cultural icon, it is also home to the Balinese Hindu pilgrimage temple.
Tanah Lot means “lands at sea” as it sits on an offshore rock that has been shaped by the ocean tide. This temple is one of the seven sea temples that protect Balinese coasts. The deity worshipped here is Dewa Baruna who is the Balinese sea god.
According to local belief, Dang Hyang Nirartha spent the night on the island, and he later to fishermen to build a shrine at this place as he felt it was a holy place of worship. Nirartha is known as a Balinese traveler and was a religious figure in Bali during the 16th century. His statue is also worshipped here.
What is the best time to visit the Tanah Lot temple?
The best time to visit Tanah Lot is between 5.00 pm to 6.30 pm or just before sunset.
Can you go into Tanah Lot temple?
No, you can’t enter the main temple area as it is closed to tourists. However, you can walk around the area. Some tips to note are:-
- Obey all warnings as the waves here are high and during high tide, the rock becomes an island.
- Be careful when standing on the rocks as they are slippery from moss and algae.
- Wear decent clothing as this is an active temple site for the Balinese.
How much is the entrance fee to the Tanah Lot temple?
The entrance fee is Rp 60,000 ($4.30) for adults and Rp 30,000 ($2.10) for children. The parking fee for motorcycles (two-wheelers) is Rp 3,000 ($0.21¢) and for cars (four-wheelers) is Rp 5,000 ($0.35¢).
There are additional fees for drones which is Rp 500,000 ($35) and if you are shooting a video, the fee is Rp 2,000,000 ($140).
Sunset at Kuta Beach
The thirteenth and last of our Bali itinerary 5 days 4 nights is relaxing and watching the sunset at Kuta Beach. Kuta beach is also known as Sunset Beach while Sanur Beach is known as Sunrise Beach.
Don’t forget your Banana Boat SPF 100 Sunscreen Lotion when you are here. This lotion is non-greasy, is water and sweat-resistant, and comes with a banana scent. These 4-ounce bottles come in a pack of two because one is never enough.
Another must-have item is these Joopin Polarized Semi-Rimless Sunglasses. These sunglasses come with 9 layers of lenses and have a comfortable silicone nose pad. You can wear these glasses for the beach, driving, fishing, and outdoor activities.
What does Kuta beach look like?
This beach is a 2.5 kilometer stretch of cream-colored sand that borders Legian on its north and Tuban on its south. The best time to visit Kuta beach is during the dry months between April to August.
Read The Beach of Kuta: Everything You Need To Know to know more.
What is Kuta famous for?
Kuta is known as an area that never sleeps. This lively beach town has a vibrant nightlife, bars, clubs, shopping, and hotels that suit every budget.
Where should I stay in Bali for the first time?
If you are planning a trip to Bali for the first time, knowing the best place to stay is a challenge itself. However, each area has its vibe, and at the end of the day, the choice is yours.
Kuta for First-Timers, Surfers & Nightlife
This former fishing village is also the first town to see substantial tourist development. Kuta is our first choice as it is the closest to Ngurah Rai International Airport. The area is also known for its nightlife, bars, restaurants, and affordable shopping.
The risk here is pickpocketing and credit card theft which is why we recommend the Travelon Anti-Theft Shoulder Bag that has lockdown straps to prevent grab-and-go thefts. The bag also comes with slash-resistant straps and locked compartments to prevent pickpocketing.
Seminyak for Relaxing Vibes
Seminyak is located north of Kuta and Legian and is a mixed residential and tourist area. The crowd here is more upmarket as this area is popular with resident expatriates. You can expect to pay more for accommodation.
Ubud for Arts, Crafts & Spirituality
This town is set amidst paddy fields, farms, and agroforestry plantations is also the cultural hub for art and dance. Art museums such as the Blanco Renaissance Museum, Neka Art Museum, and Agung Rai Museum of Art are some of the galleries you can find here.
What is the main language of Bali?
There are two main languages in Bali. The first is Bahasa Indonesia which is spoken by the citizens of Indonesia.
The second language is the local Balinese that is spoken by about 3.3 million people on the island of Bali, Northern Nusa Penida, Lombok, Eastern Java, Southern Sumatra, and Sulawesi. The Balinese script or Aksara Bali is derived from the Brahmi script of India.
How do you say hello in Bali?
The two ways to say hello in Bali is selamat pagi or selamat siang in Bahasa Indonesia. The Balinese version of hello is om swastyastu.
How do you say thank you in Balinese?
In Bahasa Indonesia, thank you is terima kasih, and in Balinese, it is suksma while you’re welcome is suksma mawali. If you want to ask, how are you in Balinese, it is punapi gatra or engken kabare.
Is Bali worth visiting?
Yes! Bali is an absolute must-visit destination, at least once in your lifetime. Why?
Well, it has stunning beaches, artistic vibes, plenty of shopping and dining options, and most importantly, the warmth and hospitality of its people that would make you want to return to the island of the gods.
From temples to beaches, lush rice terraces, and hidden waterfalls, Bali has something for everyone.