Romance in Bali and Lombok
Spend just over two weeks revelling in romance in Indonesia. Explore by bike and foot the verdant hills and rice paddies of Ubud; feel utterly remote in unexplored East Bali, diving straight from the coastline before heading to Lombok's laid-back beaches, pristine Gili Islands and thriving marine life.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Cycle across Ubud's rice terraces, dropping into local villages, finding hidden temples and spotting macaque monkeys along the way
- Hike East Bali's towering Mount Agung for spectacular sunrise views
- Dive the famous 'Liberty' wreck and 'Tulamben Drop Off' sites in East Bali
- Revel in doing very little at all on the white beaches of Lombok
- Dive the pristine reefs off the Gili Islands, looking out for turtles and rays amongst soft coral reefs
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
Several airlines fly from London to Bali, and the flights are overnight, connecting either in the Middle East or Southeast Asia. The combined flights tend to take between 17 and 19 hours, with your luggage checked straight through to Bali.
Day 2: Bali Bound
Your flight lands in Denpasar, and once you clear customs you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Ubud. The journey should take around 90 minutes, passing through a lush tropical landscape dotted with small villages and ancient temples.
Once you have checked into your hotel, relaxation is the order of the day. Depending on what time you arrive, take a leisurely walk in the surrounding countryside or read a book while lounging by the pool.
Day 3: Ubud
This morning rise and shine with a sunrise yoga class or have an indulgent lie in. After breakfast, borrow a bike and cycle along the rolling rice terraces that characterise the rural countryside. About a mile outside Ubud you will find Goa Gajah, a hidden temple carved into a cave containing fascinating architectural carvings and relics (insider tip: get there before 10am to avoid the crowds).
Loop back towards the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary to wander through dense jungle in search of macaque monkeys before heading into central Ubud for a local lunch (try Warung Ibu Oka at least once for its divine babi gulung - or roast suckling pig).
In the late afternoon head back to your hotel and sample cocktails and sunset views before enjoying a private candlelit dinner at a secluded spot of your choice.
- Not for the faint-hearted, try white water rafting along the 45 miles long Ayung River, the longest river in Bali.
- Learn to cook the Balinese way with a traditional cooking lesson. Begin the day wandering the local markets, sourcing fresh produce before making delicious dishes that will go down a storm back home.
Day 4: Ubud
It's an early start this morning as you embark on a sunrise volcano trek to the summit of Mount Batur, but trust us, it's worth it for the unforgettable sunrise views from the active volcano. Dine on eggs cooked in the volcanic stream before walking around the entire crater.
Once you have descended you can stop at the Bakur Natural Hot Springs to soothe any aches and pains before visiting the Luwuk coffee plantation. Dine on a fresh lunch back at the hotel, or head into the centre for a local dish. In the afternoon, you can cycle around the local landscape or simply relax by the pool.
End your afternoon with a relaxing spa treatment or even partake in a sunset yoga session - Ubud is the spiritual heart of Bali, after all.
Day 5: East Bali
This morning it's time to leave Ubud for the next part of your journey. After a leisurely breakfast you will be privately transferred to Eastern Bali. The scenic journey should take around two and a half hours.
One of the less explored regions, East Bali might not feature white sand beaches (the volcanic sand coastline varies from biscuit brown to black) but it more than makes up for it with towering volcanic peaks, lush river valleys and wonderful diving. Once you have checked into your hotel, stretch your legs while wandering, stopping at hidden rivers and picturesque viewpoints along the way.
Take a sunset stroll along the beach before heading back to the hotel for a private dinner.
Day 6: East Bali
This morning it's time to head out diving. There are numerous great dive sites within easy access of the coastline, including the famous Liberty wreck (a 390ft long US supply ship sunk in World War Two) and the famous Tulamben Drop Off site. Wildlife-wise, you can spot anything from black tip sharks to leaf scorpionfish and nudibranch (there are some superb local muck diving spots).
Depending on where you choose to stay, you may have access to dive spots on a house reef straight from the shores, or travel to a dive centre a short trip away. In the afternoon, you can opt to head back out diving or stay on land, cycling the local countryside to find hidden beaches or relaxing back at the hotel. In the evening learn about arak (traditional Balinese firewater) at a tasting workshop before tucking into a supper back at the resort.
Days 7-11: East Bali
Spend the next few days diving the surrounding reefs and exploring the local countryside. You can spend lazy days ambling the verdant landscapes and sunbathing on deserted beaches, or for the active, a sunrise hike up the 10,300ft Mount Agung is worth the (very) early start.
Up the romance with a traditional Balinese spa day or immerse yourselves into the local culture by visiting a local village or taking a workshop.
Day 12: Lombok
Today, you will be transferred from your hotel to Lombok. You will be driven to Padang Bai Pier, about an hour and a half drive, to catch your boat to Lombok, via the Gili Islands. On arrival you will be transported to your resort of choice.
Located to the East of Bali, Lombok offers a different flavour of Indonesia from its Balinese counterpart. Life is slower, the beaches are whiter and tourism is less prominent. Once you have settled into your hotel, embrace island life with a stroll along the beach, stopping for fresh seafood plucked straight from the local fisherman's boat. In the afternoon, you can surf the local breaks or relax in a hammock.
Day 13: Lombok
This morning head to the Gili Islands for a day of snorkelling and diving. The islands are blessed with warm waters, great visibility and healthy reefs that are ideal for both beginner and advanced divers. Look out for eagle and mobula rays, turtles, trevally, cuttlefish and much, much more.
In the afternoon head back to the hotel in time for sundowners by the pool followed by supper, whether at your resort or at another worthy contender.
Day 14: Lombok
This morning you can choose to dive Lombok's local sites or head out to explore the island. Rent a bike or a moped and meander along vast rice paddies, finding hidden waterfalls across the island (Tiu Kelep, to the north, is rightly the most famous - expect misty waterfalls billowing out of thick vegetation).
Head East to Seger Beach and watch the surfers or rent a board and hit the waves yourself before climbing Bukit Merese hill to see orange-hued sunset panoramas across the coastline. In the evening, indulge in a romantic dinner at a secluded beach spot at your resort. If you feel like eating out, Square has a beautiful alfresco deck to enjoy Asian fusion fine dining.
Day 15: Lombok
This morning, enjoy a guided hike around the picturesque countryside to visit the charming Sasak villages (there are some beautiful local handicrafts if you're searching for souvenirs) or simply doze on the beach.
In the afternoon, set sail on a sunset boat charter before enjoying a final private dinner along the beach.
Day 16: Homeward Bound
Sadly today spells the end of your time in Indonesia. You will be collected from your hotel and driven back to Teluk Kode Pier to board your boat back to Bali. From Pedangbai Pier you will be driven the hour or so journey back to Denpasar Airport in plenty of time for your flight home.
As on the way out, you will be connecting somewhere in Southeast Asia or the Middle East, and the return leg should take something like 17 or 18 hours in total, with your luggage checked through all the way to London.
Day 17: Arrive Home
Your flight lands back in to London in the early morning.
Louisa and India are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.