With all my travels, Bali is one of my favorite places to visit in the world. Whether you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, looking to vacation in Bali, or looking to schedule a long layover on your way to Australia; this 36-hour itinerary will have you exploring the island of Bali in no time.
The spiritual culture is displayed all over Bali. The island is estimated to have over 10,000 temples, with some built into the hillsides and up on top of mountains. The architecture of these beautiful temples is unbelievable.
We had arranged to have a private driver from Made Dodi pick us up at the airport and chauffeur us around the island for the next two days. When traveling with Made Dodi Private Drivers, you can pick from different types of tours, depending on your interests. We cannot recommend Made Dodi and their team enough.
Bali Day One
Tegenungan Water Fall
Teganungan Water Fall was the perfect choice for our first stop in Bali. After sleeping in the Singapore airport and catching an early flight to Bali, we were ready for a great nature walk with a beautiful waterfall at the end.
Our guide told us that the water is flowing year-round but at its strongest in the wet season (October to April). We went during March, and the water was breathtaking.
Side note for women—if it’s that time of the month, you can’t enter the holy waters.
Wood Carving Village
Our next stop was the wood carving village. Eric and I love the craftsmanship displayed in wood carvings, so we knew this would be a delightful stop on our tour. We learned from our guide that you either become a wood carver, a rice field worker, or you go to school to learn English to work in tourism. In most cases, wood carvers also work in rice fields on day’s that they aren’t feeling creative.
Bali wood carving began as a spiritual practice until the 20th century. Sculptures were used in temples and palaces, while carved deities and masks were for ceremonial use. In the 1920s and 30s, European artists that came to Bali had an overpowering influence on the future of wood carvings in Bali. The Balinese artists began creating wood carvings for artistic and commercial purposes.
Your driver will drive you around, and you’ll just let him know when you’re hungry. We ate lunch a little early because we flew in and got picked up straight from the airport. I didn’t get the name of the place, but we sat looking out on a beautiful rice field where we watched women and men work. Such a neat experience.
Monkey Village in Ubud
The Monkey Village was by far the scariest and coolest experiences we had in Bali. We paid a few dollars to enter a public park where wild monkeys were running around, hanging from tourists, grooming each other, and just lounging their day away. Our guide told us to keep our arms down and palms flat, or the monkeys would think that we were hiding food and would begin crawling all over us to get the food. Eric and I didn’t have any wanted or unwanted monkey’s crawl on us, I was too big of a chicken, but other visitors to the forest looked like monkey jungle gym’s. A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Monkey Forest in Ubud.
A small open-air market with local artists selling: clothes, handcrafted wood (see above), paintings, etc. I was on a desperate hunt for souvenirs and especially the elephant pants that every tourist female was wearing. Don’t settle at the first stand and get your negotiating skills ready!
Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud
The stunning lush green landscape that rests on the hillside of the Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud, Bali will leave you speechless. The rice terraces in Bali are excellent photog spots to capture the real beauty of Bali. Take time to walk all throughout the hillside, stop and take in the landscape, and watch the rice farmers work. You can even enjoy a meal or drinks while overlooking this beautiful rice terrace.
Mount Batur Volcano
You’ll head northeast of the island to Kintamani. Once you arrive, you’ll be able to and make your way toward the viewpoint. Here you will see stunning views of the active volcano Mount Batur. At the base of Mount Batur, you’ll find Lake Batur.
Hotel in Northern Bali
When it comes to picking a hotel to stay in, your driver will drive you around and show you different hotels in your price range. You can view the rooms and negotiate prices on the spot. After driving around and checking different hotels for our one night stay, we came across Puri Mangga Sea View Boutique Resort and Spa. We walked straight into paradise. We were both greeted with a welcome drink. Indulged in an exquisite four-course dinner that overlooked spectacular rice fields. Ended our night with a sunset dip in the infinity pool and enjoyed drinks poolside.
Bali Day Two
Our two-day tour included early morning dolphin watching in Lovina, Bali. After we stepped into a dream at Puri Mangga, we decided to forgo the dolphin watching and sleep in and enjoy the time we had at Puri Mangga before we needed to check out. During breakfast, the staff convinced us to hang around and get a couple’s massage. We stepped out of our bungalow and walked down a path into the jungle that led to a small open-air hut equipped with two massage tables and a rose petal bath. The hut overlooked rice fields and the jungle, just an unbelievable setting. The couples massage was the perfect ending to a beautiful stay at Puri Mangga.
I plan to share about our experience and time at Puri Mangga in a future post. Stay on the lookout for a full review of Puri Mangga Sea View Boutique Resort and Spa.
Brahmavihara-Arama is a Buddhist Temple Monastery up in the mountains near Lovina. Being that Bali is mainly a Hindu island—this temple has a lot of Hindu influences in the architecture and grounds. With the numerous meditation rooms and lavish, beautiful gardens, this is a peaceful place to enjoy the scenery.
Banjar Holy Hot Springs
In the middle of the jungle, you’ll find Banjar Holy Hot Springs surrounded by lavish tropical gardens. The sulphuric water comes from volcanic sources with warm water, ideal for people with joint issues.
The water from the springs runs through the mouth of stone carved naga (mythical, dragon-like creatures) into the pools. The grounds include a restaurant that overlooks the pools and makes for a perfect lunch spot.
Lunch on the Beach
We asked our driver to take us somewhere on the Lovina beach. Once again, I didn’t catch the name of the place, but I recommend asking your driver to take you close to the beach.
Such an astonishing waterfall. The pictures just don’t do this place justice.
The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
After the Ulum Danu Beratan Temple, we were out of time, and our short layover was coming to an end. After spending so much time at the Puri Mangga; we weren’t able to see the other tour stops. We can’t share our experiences on the remaining tour stops, but we can say, Made Dodi Private Driver made our short stay in Bali worth every single minute.
Additional Stops on the Tour:
If it’s strawberry season in Bali, you will have the option to stop and pick strawberries in Baturi.
Taman Ayun Temple
Taman Ayun Temple is known as the Royal Temple of Mengwi and is one of the most important religious building in Bali. Once on the grounds, you’ll find a park, garden area and lots of tiered shrines that are each dedicated to a god.
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is one place I wish we would have had time to visit. It just means that we’ll be planning a trip back to Bali! Tanah Lot Temple is the most visited temple in Bali. Tanah Lot Temple is considered a sea temple for the local Balinese people. The temple is a must-see for me on our next trip to Bali.
Whether you have a short stopover planned in Bali or coming to Bali for an extended vacation, we highly recommend Made Dodi Private Driver and the Tours they offer. Everything about the experience was perfect. From being greeted at the airport by our private driver to him being so accommodating with our changing plans and the tour schedule. Also, did I mention that the driver costs about 1.200.00 IDR (about 88 USD)? The price did not include our meals or hotel stay, but it did include our fees to get into the different tour stops and parking fees. This company is very affordable. We will be using Made Dodi when we plan our next trip!