Three days in Kuta is sufficient to give you a good overview of Bali as a whole. Not only can you experience the ocean, have an outdoor adventure, watch the sun rise from an active volcano, and enjoy a Balinese massage, but you’ll still have enough time left over to explore less-visited areas, from Lempuyang Temple to Sekumpul Waterfall. Here’s how.
Day 1: Beach Sports and Outdoor Adventure
No trip to Bali would be complete without a morning on the beach. Start the day close to home with a surfing lesson on Kuta Beach, or travel south for a range of water sports. Pick from activities such as banana boats, Jet Skis, and parasailing; brave fly boarding on a water-powered jet board; or don a Seawalker helmet to explore the ocean floor. After lunch on the beach, head inland for a classic Bali adventure: white-water rafting down the Ayung River gorge or roaring through forest, jungle, villages, and fields on an ATV. Return to the coast in good time for one of Bali’s famous sunsets. Kuta Beach offers stunning ocean colors, but the island’s waterfront temples are majestic. Head north to Tanah Lot Temple, surrounded by rolling waves, or south to clifftop Uluwatu Temple, where you can watch a traditional kecak performance and dramatic fire dance.
Day 2: Volcanoes, Massage, and Coffee
Leave Kuta long before dawn to scale Mt. Batur, an active volcano, in time for a spectacular sunrise from the viewpoint. On a clear morning, you can see all the way to Mt. Rinjani on the neighboring island of Lombok. Cook eggs and bananas in volcanic steam for breakfast, surrounded by cheeky macaques. Shed the dust and soothe tired muscles in the hot springs that nestle beside Lake Batur, or return to south Bali for a classic Balinese massage in an indulgent spa. Be sure to stop at a coffee plantation along the way back to taste coffee, cacao, and spices as you discover the plant’s journey from bush to brew. Wrap up the day with a sunset dinner, either on an ocean cruise, on Jimbaran Beach, or closer to home on the beachfront in Kuta.
Day 3: Watery Wonders
Use your last day in Bali to get off the beaten track with a trip to less-visited north or east Bali. The seven stunning cascades that form Sekumpul Waterfall make for a dramatic hike, and trips often stop at Bedugul, home to sprawling botanic gardens and the lakeside temple Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Even if you’ve never scuba dived before, you can experience the underwater world on a discovery dive to the USS Liberty shipwreck, a World War II transport ship that’s now home to a wealth of marine life. Alternatively, head to Bali’s most memorable Instagram spot, the “Gates of Heaven” at Lempuyang Temple, by way of tranquil Tirta Gangga Water Palace. Spend your last night discovering Bali’s nightlife scene. Pop up the road to Seminyak for glitzy beach clubs or party hard on a classic Kuta pub crawl.