Bali is perhaps Indonesia’s most famous holiday destination and is known as the Island of Gods. Located east of Java, it is rich in culture and history, full of natural wonders and blessed with diverse secular heritage of arts and crafts. Lombok on the other hand, lies east of Bali and is considered as the next top destination in Indonesia. It also boasts majestic old structures, which are still in used, ancient festivals and practices as well as natural wonders.
This comprehensive guide helps you get the most from your 7 day visit to Bali and Lombok. It provides basic practical information, sample 7-day itinerary, sites of interests and tips on everything from transport to safety.
How to get there:
The main airport for both islands is Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar in Bali. Bali is more developed than Lombok that is why transportation is tourist friendly. To get to Lombok from Bali, you can travel via domestic flight (a round-trip ticket costs about 130 USD and the flight duration is between 40 and 45 minutes), public ferry and fast boat from Padang Bai, Benoa Harbor or Sanur Beach (the trip duration is between an hour and 30 minutes up to three hours, depending where you catch the ferry from, and the cost is between 45 USD and 53 USD). Since you only have 7 days to explore both islands, consider hiring a driver and a car to take you around. Bali and Lombok are quite huge and would take a bit of time to get from one place to another.
Religion and Traditional beliefs
The majority of Balinese are Hindu. Most of the indigenous people of Lombok, known as Sasaks, practice Orthodox Islam. Ancient practices and beliefs are still visible today in modern Hindu Bali and rural Lombok. It is reflected in architecture, temple structures, festivals, weddings, funerals and coming of age ceremonies.
In Bali and Lombok, religion plays a big role. There’s always some kind of ceremonies going on and it is imperative to follow simple temple rules. To get into the temple during its ceremony days, temple costumes should be strictly put on, while for other days one should wear polite dress with temple sash circled around waist. Women during her period are not allowed to enter the temple as it is considered impurity. It all means to show restfulness to God and to local tradition which ensure a memorable experience.
Things to consider before traveling to Bali and Lombok:
Food safety – Traveling to a foreign country is always exciting and going on a gastronomic adventure is almost always a must. However, sudden change of food, temperature and hygienic codes has an impact on your health so make sure to remember some rules to avoid hassles. First, to avoid contracting Traveler’s diarrhea or Bali Belly, make sure to purchase bottled water from shops and supermarkets and do not drink water from the taps. Remember that it’s hot in Indonesia so stay well-hydrated. Second, be mindful of what you eat. Eating street food is part of the travel experience but make sure to select the right street vendor. Eat street food from a vendor who is selling to a large number of locals. Always use your sense of smell and sight to check the condition of food.
Medical Emergencies – The hospitals and medical services in Bali are extremely advanced, with air ambulances and a team of multilingual health professionals who are all top-notch in their respective fields. Most facilities in Bali honor foreign travel insurance policies but make sure to check with your insurance provider which one they are affiliated. Take note of these emergency numbers: 118 for ambulance services and 112 for operator assisted general emergency services.
Embassies and Consulates – Unfortunately, there are no consular services available in Lombok. The nearest consular services are located at Denpasar and Kuta in Bali. Some foreign countries with representatives in Bali are as follows: USA, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Thailand, India, Japan and United Kingdom.
Avoiding monkey attacks Macaques are one of the most common species you are likely to encounter in Bali and Lombok. No matter how accustomed they may seem to tourists, they should be approached with caution. Avoid smiling as they perceive this as a sign of aggression. Do not grab something they are holding as you will end up being bitten. And lastly, avoid showing fear.
Foreign Exchange – Most major currency can be exchanged in banks and authorized money changers in the main tourist areas such as Kuta. Just an FYI, US bills issued before 2006 will receive a lower rate than the newer ones. Sometimes old or folded notes are not accepted. Double check your money before leaving the counter are there have been many reports of money changing scams in the past.
Detailed day by day itinerary Seven days in Bali and Lombok – your guide to the wonders of Bali and Lombok, Indonesia
Day 1: Ubud
From Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, you can hire an airport taxi or rental car with private driver to get to Ubud. A metered taxi to the Ubud area would likely costs IDR 300,000 (21 USD) and travel time is around 1 – 2 hours depending on traffic situation. All hotels in Ubud, including small guesthouses, offer airport transfers, so don’t be shy and ask your hotel! For budget conscious travelers, unfortunately, there are no shuttle buses from the airport to the Ubud area.
Where to stay in Ubud:
Komaneka at Bisma (Jalan Bisma, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia)
Komaneka at Monkey Forest (Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia)
Komaneka at Rasa Sayang (Jl Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia)
Aria Villas Ubud (Jalan Tirta Tawar, Banjar Butuk Kelod | Br. Kutuh Kelod, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia)
KajaNe Mua Private Villa & Mansion (Monkey Forest Road, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia)
Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa (Jln Raya Campuhan, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia)
Ubud is said to be Bali’s cultural and spiritual heart. It is a traditional Balinese Hindu village surrounded with lush forests and rice terraces. Either you are after rejuvenating spa treatments or aiming to explore the thriving art scene of Bali, Ubud has so many things to offer. The village can be explored on foot, bicycles or motorbikes. It is certainly easy to explore on your own because locals are very friendly and they will point out the directions in case you are lost. After check in at the hotel, find a local restaurant for lunch along Jalan Raya.
Don’t miss the chance to visit some of the finest art galleries in Bali. These include Neka Art Museum and Don Antonio Blanco Museum. After your museum tour, head to Jalan Raya and Dewi Sita for some souvenir shopping. After your early dinner, head to the Puri Saren Royal Palace, located just opposite of the tourist centre in Jalan Raya, for the evening Legang Dance performance.
Day 2: Monkey Business
Today you will have the services of a private driver and tour guide which you can arrange the day prior (either through your hotel or a travel agency in Ubud). This will be a fantastic introduction to the other parts of Bali and take this opportunity to ask your guide any questions you may have about life in Indonesia.
Start the tour early at the Monkey Sacred Forest and meet the macaques that live around the temple complex. It is advisable not to feed the monkeys as they can become aggressive. Your next destination is the temple of Taman Ayun in Bali’s Mengwi district. Built on a moated setting, the Meru towers are the highlight of this impressive destination. Meru symbolizes Mt. Meru in Hindu Mythology which represents the residence of the gods.
Next is the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces set in the heart of Tabanan Regency to the east of Pura Luhur Batukau. It was recognised as a UNESCO Cultural Landscape and has been well known as a tourist destination. Not only Jatiluwih is a photographer’s paradise, it also a great place to observe the agricultural side of Bali.
Your second to the last destination is Pura Ulun Danu Temple which was built on a small island and dedicated to the goddess of lake Dewi Danu. This attraction features a small stupa-shaped shrine for Buddhists worshippers and an 11-tiered mere located on a shore across a wooden bridge.
Finally, just in time for sunset, Tanah Lot is one of the most important temples in Bali. Set on a rock just offshore, it is said to be the work of a 15th century priest and plays an important role in Balinese Mythology. Tanah lot is an extremely famous tourist destination that is why it is often packed with tourists especially in the late afternoon for sunset.
Day 3: Kuta
Today you can leave Ubud early and travel to your next destination. Like airport transfers, most hotels and guesthouses in Ubud can arrange hotel transfers. If you would like to stay near the beaches and nightlife, then you can choose among the many hotels and guesthouses in Kuta, Legian or Seminyak.
Where to stay in Kuta:
Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel (Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia)
Kuta Seaview Boutique Resort & Spa (Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Bali 80225, Indonesia)
The Vira Bali Hotel (Jalan Kartika Plaza No 127, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia)
Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort (Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia)
Ramayana Resort & Spa (Jalan Bakung Sari, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia)
Satriya Cottages (Poppies Lane II | Kuta Beach, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia)
The Kuta-Legian-Seminyak conurbation is an extended urban area located 10 km (6.2 miles) Southwest of Denpasar. As Bali’s main tourist hub, Kuta is considered as a good base for further explorations and relaxation. It is a favorite among young backpackers and party-going travelers. Legian, on the other hand, is a popular choice for families and couples. While the outer suburbs of Seminyak offers more peaceful atmosphere and is a favorite among tourists with style and/or money.
Go on a gastronomic adventure in Kuta. This area offers lots of excellent international and local restaurants, countless bars and cafes with each of their unique services along with some friendliness of the locals.
In the afternoon, go on a surfing lesson. The southern Bukit Peninsula is famous among world surfers because of the long and perfect reef waves. Uluwatu, Padang Padang and Bigin are also places that have amazing waves.
Day 4: tour of Kintamani Village and Mount Batur Volcano
For this day, avail a full day tour of Kintamani Village and Mount Batur Volcano. Aside from the village and volcano views, full day tours can include visits to other interesting tourist destinations. In the morning, watch the Barong and Keris Dance performance or Trance dance. These are traditional Balinese dance performances with story that revolves Good and Evil. Then the tour continues at Celuk Village, where tourists are given opportunity to witness the process of making traditional gold and silver crafting.
After lunch, explore the Kintamani Village with views of the majestic Mount Batur Volcano and Lake Batur. Continue the tour at Tirta Empul Temple or the Holy Spring Temple at Tampak Siring. Then make a short stop at Gunung Kawi Temple also known as the Bali Ancient Royal Tombs. If time permits, you can go to Goa Gajah Temple for your last stop.
Day 5: Lombok
A neighbor in the east of Bali is Lombok, said to be exactly like Bali 20 years ago. Green fields, majestic land-forms and long stretches of fine white sand beaches make up the landscape of Lombok. The island’s varied topography provides ideal venue for trekking, wave surfing and wind surfing. In Gilis Islands, divers of all levels will have great opportunity to find rich variety of reef fish and other marine creatures. The majority of Lombok population are Sasaks, an ethnocultural group that combines Javanese and Sumbawa cultures.
Getting to Lombok from Bali is relatively easy. The fastest but definitely not the cheapest option is to take a domestic flight which would only take 40 minutes. In Lombok, all inbound and outbound flights are at Lombok International Airport. For solo travelers, it is recommended to rent your own vehicle or hire a private car with driver. There is little transport away from the main road of Lombok and remoter roads are steep, narrow or badly surfaced. There are buses and bemo services but don’t rely too much on public transport while in Lombok.
Where to stay in Lombok:
The Lombok Lodge (Jl. Oberoi | Desa Medana – Tanjung, Tanjung, Lombok 83001, Indonesia)
Qunci Villas Hotel (Jl. Raya Mangsit, Mangsit, Senggigi, Lombok 83355, Indonesia)
Hotel Tugu Lombok (Sigar Pejalin, Tanjung, Sire Beach, Lombok 83352, Indonesia)
Jeeva Klui Resort (Jl. Klui Raya no. 1, Mangsit, Senggigi, Lombok 83350, Indonesia)
The Oberoi, Lombok (Medana Beach, Tanjung, Lombok 83352, Indonesia)
Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi (Jl. Raya Mangsit, Mangsit, Senggigi, Lombok 83355, Indonesia)
For lunch, eat at one of the local restaurants in Endut Traditional Market. You can also buy fresh fruits and local produce before you head to your next destination, the Sade Village, which is a traditional Sasak village and it is really worth seeing it!
Day 6: Beach time!!!
Spend a full day lounging on the beaches of Gili Islands or test the power of the Indian Ocean on the surfing center of west coast and south coast Kuta. Unlike Kuta in Bali, Kuta in Lombok retains its character of a sleepy fishing village. The coastline around it is beautiful and the ocean swells form perfects waves for surfing.
Day 7: Back to Bali
Travel back to Bali in the morning and do some souvenir shopping in Kuta. For a shopaholic, Bali can be one of the best shopping destinations in the planet. Knowing that Bali is famous for its arts and crafts, travelers have more choices of enchanting goods from the most casual fashion, high-end fashion and traditional Balinese clothing. Handicrafts such as wooden carvings, stone carvings, paintings, silverware, gems and high-end class jewelry are also available.
Take a cab to Ngurah Rai International Airport to catch your late afternoon flight. It is only 15 minutes away from Kuta and the cab fare is around IDR 50,000 – 70,000 (3-5 USD).
Have you been to Bali, Lombok or anywhere else in Indonesia? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.