Cultural Immersive Bali Vacation for Active Travelers

A 9 day trip to Bali / Indonesia 
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Embrace adventurous spirit and indulge in luxurious comfort as you discover rice terraces and golden shores in Bali. Your customizable tour offers a blend of heart-pounding excitement and captivating culture, the splendors of nature and the pleasures of cuisine. Let the motions of traditional Balinese dance enrapture you, as it tells of enticing legend. Dig your toes into the hot black sand on a northern beach and learn how to ride a surfboard across rolling waves. From thunderous waterfalls hidden in the jungle to a sunrise over a smoldering caldera, you will find rare beauty and unparalleled enchantment in Bali. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nusa Dua, Lovina, Ubud, Taman Ayun, Tanah Lot, Seminyak, Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Desa Taro, Geger Beach, Desa Seni Village, Mount Batur, Gigit Waterfalls Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Danang, Saigon, Ben Tre

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Nusa Dua – The Balinese Trail

Before your flight lands in Bali, the images of jade tropical canopies and sapphire waters fill your head. As the plane descends into Ngurah Rai International Airport, what you have imagined the landscape to be becomes a reality. The lush hues of the rainforest trees glow against the light waves splashing against gold sand shores. Your private transfer meets you at the airport upon your arrival and escorts you to the entry gate of Nusa Dua. The tiered edifice was modeled after the multi-layered Hindu shrines located around the island, offering a unique introduction to the traditional Balinese architecture.

You easily settle into the beauty and charm of your villa style resort overlooking the gold-sand shores of the island. The open-air lobby contains hints of coconut, and the fresh sea breeze carries a sweet aroma of blossoming hibiscus. Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby in the afternoon, eager to lead you south on your first exploration of Bali’s shores. You make your way to Uluwatu Temple, one of six temples celebrated as a spiritual pillar. The temple stands atop a precipitous cliff at nearly 230 feet above sea level. The walls of an existing temple were expanded in the 11th century under the reign of Empu Kuturan.

You can hear the waves below splashing against layers of rock. You witness the stunning tiers of the temple shrine, finding the similarities in its traditional features and the gates at Nusa Dua. Long-tailed macaques linger in the treetops and on the pathways watching visitors while snacking on dangling fruit. Beachgoers enjoy the soft sands of Uluwatu beach below, basking in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. At sunset, the cliff-top temple turns into a silhouette framed by the layering orange and reds of the fading light. It is the perfect introduction to the mystical and majestic beauty of Bali.

What’s Included: airport transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 2: Nusa Dua – Culture Beyond the Shore 

In the morning, the golden sand fills with casual beachgoers eager to take to the water, learning the ways of the ocean on the back of a surfboard for the first time. In the spreading light of sunrise, you can see the picturesque view of a small line of people popping up onto the boards on the sand, while seasoned surfers carve the morning waves. After breakfast, you step beyond the beaches of Bali for an immersive introduction into the captivating culture of island life situated in the hillside town of Ubud.

You pass villages decorated with wild magnolias and blossoming orchids. The aroma of jasmine fills the air. The streets meander around the hills at an average of 820 feet above sea level. The trees continue to glisten with the verdant hues similar to an emerald. The artist market contains stalls filled with bamboo crafts and hand-carved furniture, stone statues and vibrant paintings. The aroma of coconut and freshly brewed coffee drifts out of the cafes lining the main streets.

You stroll along the vibrant walkways of the Sacred Monkey Forest bordering the town center. A stunning waringin tree greets you, beneath which stands a monkey carved out of stone. Hundreds of long-tailed macaques amble around the various walkways between the stone statues and ponds. You come across the covered gate of Candi Korung, and the bell-tower of Kulkul set between remarkable base reliefs depicting gods, demons, and legends. In the afternoon, you enrich your experience in Ubud by visiting a silversmith for a private jewelry making class.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Nusa Dua – The Diverse Waters of Bali

In the morning, you find the decadent aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans fill the hotel dining room and blending with the fragrant scent of the Indian Ocean. Tropical fruits, such as rambutan and mangosteen decorate the tables with lavish colors. Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you into the hills to reach the shores of the Ayung River, a body of water stretching more than 45 miles across the mountains and feeding into the Badung Strait. You board the raft and enjoy the scenic ride as you drift town the river. The shores rise into bordering cliffs adorned with dangling trees. You pass a trickling waterfall feeding into the river. You can hear the thundering sound of the whitewater in the distance. A cool mist splashes upwards from the rapids.

You start to paddle, splashing extra water into the air. The whitewater pours over boulders and slaps against the cliff wall. Your heart thumps in your ears. The raft dips and bobs against the surrounding rocks. Then the river calms; the remarkable rainforest scenery appears brighter. After lunch, you venture to the Elephant Safari Park to visit with Asia’s largest land mammals that call the eight-acre expanse of protected land home. More than 27 elephants graze in the trees and bask in the shade of the rainforest canopy. The elephants wander into the waterhole to bathe, sucking up the liquid into their trunks before spraying it over their backs.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Nusa Dua – A Quiet Luxury

In the morning, you find bougainvillea wrapping around the façade of the hotel and bringing a touch of the jungle beauty to the coastline. At breakfast, you find more enticing tropical fruit in the form of juicy star fruit and citrusy pineapples. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel and leads you to the shores of Seminyak, located on western shores of the southern peninsula. A refreshing breeze sweeps across the beach. Boutique shops selling designer clothing and surf stands overlooking the coastline embody the expatriate lifestyle that has drawn many people from across the Western world.

Restaurants have open windows spreading a wealth of succulent aromas across the walkways. Gold sand beaches fade beneath the lapping indigo waters of the Indian Ocean. The day is yours to luxuriate as you desire, from basking in the tropical sun on a comfortable lounge chair to strolling through the beachside temple of Petitenget, the foundations of which were laid in the 16th century. For an unforgettable visit, you head to Seminyak Beach to indulge in a private surf lesson.

The adventure brings you first to the shore to learn how to properly pop to your feet from the laying position. After you feel comfortable landing on your feet, you head to the water under the guidance of your instructor, focusing on balance rather than speed. As the spray reaches your board, you paddle, feeling your heart race, and pop up. You ride the board back to the beach to celebrate the thrill of catching your first wave.    

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Nusa Dua – Vegetables of the Sea

In the morning, you set out early with your guide, passing villages decorated with blossoming oleanders and frangipani. Lizards trail across bordering walls and the scent of luscious coconut lingers in the air. You travel across the water on a speedboat to reach the island of Lembongan. The sea breeze rushes across your cheeks and carries sporadic mist. The northern shores contain protected mangrove forest and reefs encircle the edges of the sand before pristine surf breaks. You reach the southeast shores, where you can see the stunning spread of seaweed farms growing in the water. The plant is a widely sought ingredient for cosmetic products across the world, and especially in the Asian cosmetics industry.

Farmers wade knee-deep in the water. They wear spherical woven hats to protect their upper body from the sunlight. Boats wade in the water near the shore. The farmer cultivates the seaweed beside white-sand beaches and opulent waters glistening with sapphire and indigo hues. One farmer carries a large box onto the beach after harvest. You can even taste the greens, snacking on the raw seaweed with the farmers as they continue to process their crop against the backdrop of the sea. The seaweed has a unique flavor naturally salted from the seawater. Upon returning to the shores of Nusa Dua, you board a hot air balloon and ascend into the sky for a captivating bird’s eye view of the land and sea.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Nusa Dua – Endless Majesty of Sunrise

Today you wake up far before dawn to meet your private guide in the hotel lobby. Under the cover of the flickering starry sky, you make your way towards Mount Batur, a summit reaching a height of more than 5,630 feet above sea level. The peak is one of the sacred mountains according to the island’s Hindu traditions. You stop at Toya Bungkah Village to begin the trek up the slopes. In the darkness, the moving flashlights help guide you along the trail. The crisp air blends with the aroma of mineral-rich soil. You reach the lookout for a view of the crater lake glistening beneath the remnants of the night sky.

The dawn light stretches across the horizon, showcasing the towering peaks of the nearby mountains rising above a bed of passing clouds. By the time the sun reaches above the vista, the clouds have dissipated, leaving behind surrounding greenery and curious long-tailed macaques. You continue your exploration along the crater rim and into the caldera to view the puffs of smoldering fumaroles. Your journey back to Toya Bungkah Village is remarkably different in the light of day. What felt like a steep rocky trail in the night is an easy descent along the mountain slope scented with hibiscus. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Lovina – On the Trail to the North

Today you leave behind the shores of Nusa Dua for the northern beaches of Lovina. Frangipanis fringe the neighboring villages outside of peninsula as you make your way towards the Taman Ayun Temple. The landmark was erected in the 17th century during the Mengwi kingdom. A series of shrines in the complex’s center embody the reverence to a deified ancestry. The complex is divided into four sections with the outer division of Jaba the first accessible area. The stone walkway leads over lily pad covered ponds to a single entrance adorned with guardians. The lily pads blossom with white petals, contrasting the greenery.

The various sections of the grounds personify the three cosmological levels of Balinese Hinduism: the world of man, the realm of the gods, and the final divine level. You continue north to Lovina and make an additional stop to see the marvels of the Gitgit Waterfall in the Central Highlands. You can hear the rhythmic tapping of the falls as it splashes against the waiting pool. The narrow stream of water flows between the emerald hues of the rainforest and cascades downward from a height of more than 130 feet. The cool water pours over the lower rocks into the river, decorated with carved images of protective spirits.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Ubud – Black Sand Sunrise and Dance Steps

Before dawn, you make your way to the black sand shores of Lovina. The calm waves brush against the granular texture of the beach. The cool air carries the aroma of the briny sea. You board a traditional boat before sunrise and head onto the water in a traditional fishing boat bound for the open sea. It isn’t long before the sun begins to rise along the eastern horizon. The layers of light shine golden orange and crimson red above the sapphire water.

Your skipper points to a nearby splash where a dolphin pod has appeared. The most frequently spotted species in the area are dark-skinned spinner dolphins that can grow to a length of nearly eight feet long. Their tripartite color patterns combine different shades of gray and white in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. The dolphins take turns leaping out of the water as if trying to best one another in a jumping competition. You return to the shore for breakfast and bask in the luxurious view of the coastline.

Your scenic drive to Ubud passes the majestic textured hills of the rice paddy terraces. The landscape shines emerald against the bright blue sky. In the afternoon, you meet your private dance instructor in a celebrated studio to learn the basics of traditional Balinese movements. Each gesture has a meaning, connecting the dance to the story in which it tells. Agem is the basic posture and Tangkep determines the soul of the dance. You combine each step with hand motions, careful to add as much Tangkep as you can to pay your respects to tradition and the story itself. 

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 9: Ubud – The Art of Discovery

In the morning, the cafes on the main streets of Ubud open their doors to the enriching aroma of roasted coffee beans harvested from plantations on Bali. The art market opens with artists showcasing their handmade works across stalls and on the cobblestone walkways. Balinese items, such as pans and spices, adorn the vendors at Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace at the heart of the city. Silk scarves and hand-woven bags hang next to bohemian-style skirts and traditional kites. The eastern edges of the market fill with the aroma of sweet fruits and hardy vegetables. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel when you are ready and escorts you to Ngurah Rai International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$1,795
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.