Bali & Gili: a relaxed 2-week itinerary

Back in 2014 we went to Indonesia. We only had two weeks time but managed to visit a lot of sights and still have time to relax by the pool or on the beach. Oh, and to eat, because we still dream about the amaaaazing food in Bali… Read on for our itinerary and tips!

Sanur
This town, close to Denpasar, is skipped by the party crowds and more suitable for couples. It was perfect for us. A nice beach, safe, quiet at night and offering plenty of places to have a bite or drink.

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Sanur beach around sunset

Speaking of eating, one of the restaurants on the beach had the best nasi campur EVER. We recently booked a trip to Australia and seriously considered doing a stopover in Bali for a few hours just to be able to taste it again. Not joking.
From Sanur, we did a day trip to Kerta Gosa, Pura Besakih and Pura Tirta Empul with a private driver whom we knew through an Indonesian friend.

 

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Kerta Gosa

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Pura Besakih

Tanah Lot
Most people plan a day trip or half day trip to Tanah Lot, but we found good (and affordable!) accommodation nearby and decided to spend a few days in the area. Turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. Our ‘room’ was a free standing house and we had our own rooftop terrace, offering views on the ricefields and ocean. It was so quiet! Add a nice pool and a small restaurant that serves tasty nasi, and you’ll understand why we loved it here.

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Our rooftop terrace
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View over the ricefields from our terrace

On our second day, we visited the temple complex. The main temple is a shrine on top of an offshore rock, with waves crashing into it. Since it was the temple anniversary, we were surrounded by local families – all dressed in white and yellow – bringing baskets to offer.img_4922img_4921

 

Ubud
On our first day in Ubud, we went to a traditional dance and music performance (beautiful but SO LOUD!). The next day we took a walk in the morning and did a cooking class in the afternoon. That same night, we both came down with food poisoning. A harsh lesson that you shouldn’t trust fish to be fresh if you’re not near the ocean… My husband recovered after 2 days but I didn’t. However, after 3 days of laying in bed I insisted to see some places on our last day.

In the morning we went to Monkey Forest. Super touristy and to be honest I didn’t like the monkeys that much, but the forest and carved feautures were amazing.

The afternoon we visited Gunung Kawi: a temple consisting of ancient shrines carved into a rock wall. There was just one other couple here and it felt like a world away from busy Ubud. The landscape around the temple was wonderful too. Even though I felt miserable the whole day (see how pale I look?) I am glad we went ☺️
img_4924Gili
We then took a fast boat to Gili Trawangan. I cursed myself for having booked the fast boat as soon as I found out there was a slow boat too. Our boat bumped over the water, not very pleasant if your stomach wasn’t great to start with. After an agonizing two hours, I couldn’t have been happier to see the white beach of Gili Trawangan appear in sight. Since Gili has no motorized traffic, we took a horse cart to ‘The Exile’, our accommodation on the other side of the island, far away from the party area.
We hired bikes and spent the next days laying on the beach, snorkeling and cycling around the island. Usually that’s not my kind of holiday, but I found it relaxing for just a few days. We were both shocked though by the massive amounts of trash on the island and the dead coral on the beaches. If only people took care of this beautiful place.
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View on Lombok

After our Gili trip, we returned to Sanur on the fast boat (terrible once again) where we had one more night before our departure.

So that’s it! If we were to go again, I probably would see Lombok or one of the less crowded Gili islands instead of Gili Trawangan. But overall we are happy with the things we were able to see in just two weeks time. Have you been, and what were your thoughts?


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