Bali in 5 Days: everything you need to know

In 5 days you can visit the paradise island of the gods, which stands out for its sacred temples, traditional villages, rice terraces, dream beaches and animal sanctuaries. Here are all the plans you can't miss!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

Bali in 5 Days: everything you need to know

Vista de pared rocosa |©Paul

Bali is a very large island of Indonesia, so the best way to take advantage of a 5-day itinerary is to take advantage of its strategic division. Coincidentally, it is composed of five main zones comprised of north, east, west, south and center. Of course, there are other districts to explore, but these are the ones to check out if you're short on time. You will have the opportunity to see emblems such as the Royal Palace of Ubud, the Gates of Heaven, the Monkey Forest and the Jatiluwih Rice Fields.

If you prefer to rest and choose less crowded destinations, then do not hesitate to stop by the Beji Guwang Canyon, the Aloha Ubud Swing theme park (where you can see the famous aerial swings) or the curious Temple of the Bats. The traditional villages are another indisputable destination, where centennial rituals are made. I leave you an itinerary of 5 days, so that you enjoy the best things to do in Bali.

Day 1: Knows the center of Bali

Ubud Royal Palace, Puri Saren Agung|©Batsuze
Ubud Royal Palace, Puri Saren Agung|©Batsuze

The first day I recommend you to begin strong touring the center of Bali, better known as Ubud. It is one of the favorite zones, since it has emblematic attractions like the Royal Palace. Here also the Forest of the Monkeys is, a reserve replete with amusing macaques accustomed to live with the tourists. If you still have energy left, you can spend the afternoon at the Aloha Ubud Swing theme park and end your day in its coffee plantations.

Ubud Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Ubud is one of the best things to make of Bali and an emblematic place that belong to the royal family. It was constructed around the year 1800 and at the present time they reside members of the clans of the island, that is to say, who share ancestors and a patrilineal lineage. Traditional dance shows are performed here, as well as tours of its halls, gardens and more photographable spaces.

The traditional dances are worth seeing, as they use complicated choreography, traditional costumes and tell a story of the 19th century. Access is free, but the dance show starts at 10 euros. In addition, it is open daily from 8:00 to 19:00 hrs. To enter it is important to cover your legs and shoulders, as well as to maintain a respectful attitude.

Buy tickets for a Legong dance show

Monkey Forest

From the palace you can take a cab, which will take you to the Monkey Forest in less than five minutes. At the bus stop in front of Coco Supermarket you can also opt for the route that connects to the forest, from 1 euro per trip. This is a reserve open every day, where about 600 monkeys of four different species live.

The monkeys guard the temples and the cemetery, hidden among the trails. Specifically here you can see Pura Dalem Agung, dedicated to the god Shiva, Pura Beji in honor of the goddess Gangga and Pura Prajapati built for the god Prajapati. It also has waterfalls, fountains and bridges that interconnect the reserve. You can combine the visit with a tour of local temples such as Tanah Lot and Kanto Lampo to get the most out of your itinerary. As general recommendations:

  • Avoid touching or feeding the monkeys.
  • Be careful with your things, monkeys are curious and mischievous, so they may try to snatch your cell phone, earrings or any object that may attract their attention.
  • Staycalm if they try to approach you. In case they become aggressive, move away slowly and ask the rangers for help.
  • Never make eye contact with monkeys.

Book a tour to Tanah Lot, Kanto Lampo and Monkey Forest

Aloha Ubud Swing Theme Park

Aloha Ubud Swing is a thematic park in Bali, considered one of the most photographable enclaves of the island. It is to only eight minutes in cab from the Forest of the Monkeys. It is worth dedicating a couple of hours to him to him to swing in its aerial swings, to explore nests of birds and to taste traditional tea. In the background, you will have the wonderful jungle of Bali and spectacular views of the rice fields.

Also it emphasizes by its park of butterflies, as well as by the activities outdoors and the tours by the plantations of Luwak coffee. It is one of the rarest and most expensive coffee grains in the world, since it is extracted from the waste of the civets, a mammal that lives in the jungles of Bali. You can find tickets from 28 euros to enjoy an experience where you will be suspended about 60 meters above the ground.

Buy tickets for Aloha Ubud Swing

Day 2: Visit the south of Bali

Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon|©Jitterbugsss
Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon|©Jitterbugsss

For the second day I invite you to get to know the south of the island, a beach destination that also offers impressive canyons and cultural stops. In general, I recommend you to slow down and start with a daring hiking route through Beji Guwang Canyon, which is only advised for people in good health. It's a bit strenuous, but well worth it. Later, you can explore the contrasting sounds, smells, tastes and colors of the Sukawati Market. Finally, take a well-deserved break at Padang Padang Beach, where you can lie on the sun loungers or take a surfing lesson.

Beji Guwang Canyon

You can start your day early in the morning to climb the magnificent Beji Guwang Canyon. This is an exotic tourist attraction, hidden in Sukawati. It is recommended for people in good physical condition and without health problems, as it has steep slopes and in some sections it is necessary to swim. It is an uncrowded area, so it is ideal if you want to enjoy a quiet vacation.

I recommend you to take this tour between April and October, because in the dry season the river flow remains manageable, which facilitates the route to the top. It is quite a journey, but I promise you that the panoramic views are worth it. If it is your first time in Bali, it is preferable to opt for a pick-up service, since the direction of this natural monument is somewhat complicated.

Market of Sukawati

The Sukawati market is one of the so many contrasts of Bali, since it is noisy, colorful and with variety of smells in the air, everything the opposite to the deafening silence of the canyon. To arrive you can walk half an hour or drive for about three minutes until this picturesque corner. It is the ideal place to shop for souvenirs because you will find handicrafts, sarongs for the beach and local clothing such as sarongs, which is a long Balinese piece.

Of course, you must be prepared to bargain, the vendors set overprices to reach agreements with tourists and even find the dynamics amusing. The best time to go is in the morning, just after coming down from the canyon, when there are less people. Keep in mind that the market also is surrounded by more economic informal positions, but it deserves to live the experience properly since it is one of the best things that to make in Bali.

Padang Padang Beach

After touring the flea market, you will surely be exhausted and eager for a break. It is hour to enjoy the best beaches of Bali, for it you will have to drive for at least thirty minutes until the beach Padang Padang. It is a beautiful bay surrounded by hills and crystalline waters, where you can enjoy a relaxing bath or sign up for surfing lessons, a very famous experience in this and other paradisiacal beaches, like Canggu Beach.

If you enjoy the adventures in Padang Padang you can explore the steep cliffs, to look for a secret and calm cove. It is one of the best things to do in Bali, especially if you look for a relaxing beach where to spend the afternoon. At lunchtime you can take advantage of the seafood offered by the plentiful vendors, or look for a beachfront beach bar.

Reserve a class of surf in Canggu

Day 3: Stroll by the north of Bali

Bali tour twin lake|©Bali Charter
Bali tour twin lake|©Bali Charter

The north hides some of the best activities of Bali and is a calmer zone with less traffic, tourists and a fresher climate. It is known by its lakes, oasis, wooded areas and rice fields. Most people visit it to know the twin lakes, which offer an image of dream. In addition, they are very near the famous rice fields of Jatiluwih, where you can walk until the tiredness by its exotic plantations.

Bali Twin Lakes

The vegetation of the north is a beauty that you must appreciate, since it offers a landscape taken out postcard. In special, I recommend you to begin the day in the twin lakes or Bali Twin Lakes, two natural aquatic formations located side by side. Specifically, they are known as Tamblingan and Buyan and are between the volcanic mountains of the exotic local jungle. In May and September the water is more pleasant, so these are the ideal months to take a swim.

Bathing is allowed free of charge, but without making too much noise as it is considered an offense. Anyway, I recommend you to consult with the local guides who usually take care of the reservoir. In the surroundings it is possible to see giant ferns and wild orchids. It is also surrounded by viewpoints, aerial swings and trekking areas. You can know them on your own, or join the best tours of Bali to only dedicate to enjoy.

Fields of rice of Jatiluwih

The following stop you can take it in the rice fields of Jatiluwih, to which it is worthwhile to dedicate a while to him, since they have around 600 hectares. It is located half an hour by cab from the twin lakes, its kilometer-long green slopes offer a visual spectacle and you can follow the meandering paths on foot, or rent an electric bicycle. This way, you can optimize your time and have the opportunity to pass through local villages and stop in the bamboo forests.

The tour can take up to five hours and you can find options from 71 euros, ideal for exploring ancient traditions. If you are looking for things to do in Bali in October, you can take advantage of the closing of the harvest that offers special events, tours by the plantations and tastings of dishes. This is your chance to try Nasi Goreng (fried rice with meat, fish or vegetables) and other delicacies.

Book an electric bike tour of Jatiluwih

Day 4: It crosses the zone west of Bali

Bali Tenganan|©koka888
Bali Tenganan|©koka888

Bali is a visual spectacle, probably it is difficult to find similar landscapes in other destinations of the world. For that reason, I recommend you to take advantage of each second of your itinerary. The western zone is a mountainous wonder, a little more distant of the hustle and bustle of Ubad. However, here it is worth exploring ancient villages like Tenganan, whose traditions will leave you in awe. Further on, marvel at the lotus flowers above Lotus Lake and explore the Temple of the Bats.


Start the day in the best way, exploring the ancestral secrets of the Tenganan people. It is an enchanting village where some of the best tours of Bali are condensed. In addition, here lives the tribe Bali Aga who live in houses of brick and wood, with Balinese roofs of straw. The inhabitants are very kind and always they are willing to receive visitors, to take them to a route by their traditions.

Among the outstanding activities it is possible to be appreciated closely the process of elaboration of fabrics with the fabric Geringsing. A curious fact is that a substance is added to the fabric, which according to the locals, keeps diseases away. Occasionally, a ritual is performed in the rice fields to symbolize the transformation from childhood to adulthood, as well as anniversary celebrations in June. Keep in mind it is located to one hour of Bali, you can venture by your account or take a tour by the traditional towns that usually include stops in Ubad and the village Kintamani.

It hires an excursion by the traditional towns

Lotus Lake

After leaving the village I recommend heading to Lotus Lake, a beautiful lagoon located eight minutes away by car. It is named after the large number of pink and fuchsia lotus flowers that sprout among the leaves of the pond. It is a free natural attraction, and a curious fact is that it has a spring that connects to the sea. The best thing is that it will not take you a lot of time, since it can be crossed in around ten minutes.

If you prefer to stay more time, you can take the routes of trekking or visit the sanctuary of the fertility, considered one of the best temples of Bali.

Temple of the Bats

Before returning to your lodging, make sure to take a detour to the Temple of the Bats or Goa Lawah Temple. It was built in the 11th century, when the foundations of Hinduism were just being laid. To get there from the lake you can drive or take a cab, the journey takes about twenty minutes. It is a place of pilgrimage, so every day you can see people approaching with their offerings.

It gets its name because it is next to a cave of bats, whose gurgling can be heard as you walk through the temple. The noise does not interrupt the meditations and prayers, but rather adds a different touch. It is completely worth it, especially if you want to explore the best local temples.

Day 5: Explores the East of Bali

Sidemen, Bali|©Tatsuhiro Iida
Sidemen, Bali|©Tatsuhiro Iida

Before ending your tour of the Island of the Gods, be sure to schedule an itinerary through the east, where some of the best things to do in Bali are hidden. Here they are located the terraces of Sidemen, a picturesque location surrounded by relaxing natural spaces. Also you can visit the aquatic palace Taman Tirta Gangga.


Sidemen is a peaceful place where you can enjoy motorcycle rides, as it is quite small and easy to travel around. It has rice terraces as well as paradisiacal swimming pools. This trip is perfect to camouflage yourself with the locals and observe their lifestyle without filters. Their rice fields seem labyrinths, so I recommend you to join the best tours of Bali and to take a trekking adventure with a local guide.

If what you want is to relax, in the village you will find areas that offer massages with Balinese techniques. The most prized attraction is the Gates of Heaven that lead to the Besakih and Lempuyang temples. Here you definitely need a photo, to immortalize the moment. These are sacred monuments shrouded in history, folklore and great symbolism.

Book a tour of the Heaven's Gate Besakih and Lempuyang temples

Taman Tirta Gangga

If you like architectural antiquities you can't miss Taman Tirta Gangga, an ancient water palace located a thirty-minute drive from Sidemen. It was built in 1947 and offers a tour dominated by stone statues, sacred springs and labyrinths with beautiful gardens. It is allowed to bathe in the pool, in fact the locals claim that it is holy water with healing powers for the soul.

It is open daily from 6:00 to 19:00, both the entrance and parking costs approximately less than 1 euro. Therefore, it should not be missing in your itinerary, especially if you want to take advantage of photographable areas, have fun in its water attractions and end the trip in a dream location.

Comparison between the different things to see and do in Bali in 5 days

Jatiluwih|©Paul Greenway
Jatiluwih|©Paul Greenway
  • Day 1: Know the center of Bali
  • Dare to enjoy a traditional dance show at the Royal Palace of Ubud, interact with the mischievous monkeys in the Monkey Forest and delight in the views of the rice paddies from the swings of the Aloha Ubud Swing Theme Park.
  • Day 2: It visits the south of Bali
  • Climb to the top of Beji Guwang Canyon, indulge in the sensory experience at Sukawati Flea Market and surf at Padang Padang Beach.
  • Day 3: Stroll by the north of Bali
  • See the stunning twin lakes and get lost in the vastness of the Jatiluwih rice fields.
  • Day 4: It crosses the zone west of Bali
  • Discover the ancestral secrets of Bali in the village Tenganan, knows the surroundings of the Lotus Lake and lives an incomparable experience in the peculiar Temple of the Bats.
  • Day 5: Explores the East of Bali
  • Enjoy a relaxing motorcycle ride in and around Sidemen, then visit the ancient water palace Taman Tirta Gangga.

Without a doubt, a stay of 5 days in Bali offers you a perfect window of time to enjoy a complete visit by the rice fields, paradisiac beaches, sacred temples, palaces and other attractions that make the city special. If you still want to enjoy other experiences like escaping to the Gili Islands, I recommend you to stay a little more.