How to Spend 48 Hours in Bali, Indonesia
Monkeys of the Monkey Forest Ubud, Bali | © D.Meutia / Flickr
Even a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to discover and experience the rich culture, spirituality, and natural beauty of Bali. But if you have 48 hours in Bali, you can make the best out of it. Our guide will show you how.
Wash the hours of plane off you immediately and head to the world-famous Kuta Beach, just minutes from the airport. While it’s a crowded and energetic place at night, Kuta is more laid-back in the mornings, with only a few people jogging or relaxing on the white sand. You can also stroll towards other beaches, Legian and Seminyak. There will be no problem finding the perfect first breakfast along Kuta Road, from authentic Balinese cuisine to Western menus.
Within walking distance from Kuta, Seminyak and Petitenget are its upscale neighbors, beaming with world-class restaurants and boutiques. Indulge in a little shopping for unique designer products, and enjoy the stunning restaurant exteriors before treating your tummy with the best food in the area. For beach-side Balinese-style dining, try La Lucciola in Petitenget. For fresh seafood with delicate recipes, head to Sardine.
With a happy tummy, head over to the island’s best spot for water sports in Nusa Dua. Banana boat, donut boat, waterski, jet ski, flying fish, parasailing… you name it, they have it. Daring tourists may also be interested in sea walking, which is exactly as the name suggests — walking on the seabed without the annoyance of big oxygen tanks. You don’t even have to be a swimmer or diver to enjoy it. For tourists who’d prefer a relaxed afternoon with a magnificent beach view, Nusa Dua is also lined with luxurious hotels and resorts. It’s possible to purchase a day pass or drinks from the restaurant to enjoy lavish facilities like day beds, umbrellas, infinity pools, and more.
Uluwatu is arguably the best spot to enjoy a sunset in Bali, so don’t miss that. The Uluwatu Temple is popular among tourists, not only because of the unrestricted ocean view from the sea temple, but also for its cultural value. Traditional dance performances are often held late in the afternoon.
Slide over to the nearby Jimbaran Bay to find some great food, especially at the oceanfront restaurants offering the freshest of seafood. With outdoor seating on the sand, tourists can soak their feet in the sand while enjoying fresh seafood at candle-lit tables. And as a bonus, traditional dance and live music performances are performed in the area.
From there, you can indulge in Bali’s nightlife, especially the bustling scene in Kuta or Seminyak, or head over to Ubud to spend the night there.
Either travel to Ubud early the next day or wake up in your new surroundings in Ubud. Enjoy a walk or cycle in nature through villages and rice fields, especially the world-famous rice terraces that embellish Ubud’s landscape.
Ubud is Bali’s cultural and educational hub, so make the best of it. Many classes or workshops are offered to tourists, from art to cooking classes. Some popular choices are ceramics classes from Sari Api Ceramics Studio and Casa Luna cooking classes.
It’s not hard to find a great place to eat in Bali. If you’re into fresh healthy eating and want splendid views of the rice fields, try the Sari Organik restaurant. Everything is freshly-picked from the nearby farms, and the good food comes with a soothing village view.
Sari Organik, Jalan Subak Sok Wayah, Tjampuhan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali, +62 (0361) 972087
Bali’s best art is showcased in Ubud’s many great museums. For traditional yet contemporary fine art and events, visit the Agung Rai Museum of Art and Neka Art Museum. These showcase the works of Indonesian and European artists in a lovely museum with a Balinese interior and gardens. For a more European-Baroque twist to traditional Balinese style, head over to The Blanco Museum, which shows the works of the late artist Antonio Blanco in his mansion.
Late afternoon and early evening are a magical time in the Ubud Monkey Forest. Serving both as a natural reserve and sacred temple, this place serves culture and nature all at once. Many tourists find the hundreds of monkeys to be this place’s best feature, while others argue that it’s the Hindu temple or the more than 100 tree species that make this a must-visit spot. Regardless, it’s a place of spiritual, cultural, and educational enrichment.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali
Do not leave Ubud without seeing at least one traditional dance or music performance. The Ubud Royal Palace is arguably the area’s most important landmark, a place where tourists gather in the evenings to watch the best cultural performances, with gamelan orchestra and traditional dance against a beautiful backdrop. The place gets crowded quickly, so be sure to arrive before time to get the best spot.