Cultural Bali and Diving East Sumbawa
On this two-week itinerary immerse yourself in Balinese culture in Bali's spiritual hub, Ubud; dine on delicious Indonesian cuisine and watch fiery sunsets from a beachside setting in Seminyak and dive unexplored reefs teeming with friendly fish and vivid macro critters in West Komodo.
Itinerary at a glance:
- Immerse yourself in Balinese culture in and around Ubud
- Dive in Komodo's most remote, and undiscovered, dive sites - located in the heart of the Coral Triangle - spending surface intervals relaxing in your villa or lounging by the pool
- Sip on sundowners beachside in Bali's trendiest bars in Seminyak
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
There are several airlines that fly to Bali from London, all flying overnight, and connecting through either Southeast Asia or the Middle East en route. The combined flights will take roughly 17 hours, with your bags checked straight through.
Day 2: Ubud
After passing through customs you will be met by your private driver and transferred to your hotel in Ubud.
The scenic journey should take 90 minutes, passing through emerald green rice paddies and small villages. Once you have checked in to your hotel, spend the remainder of the day shaking off your jet lag, whether it be with a relaxing spa treatment or a dip in the pool.
Day 3 – 6 : Ubud
You will be spending the next three nights in Ubud. Renowned as Bali's cultural heart, Ubud is a vibrant blend of lush green rice terraces, historic temples and hidden villages with thriving artist markets located in a cool mountainside setting.
Spend the next few days exploring the area, whether by foot, bicycle or vintage car, picking up a souvenir or two along the way and devouring delicious Balinese delicacies - you can even learn how to make them yourselves with a private cookery lesson (which we highly recommend).
Day 7: East Sumbawa
After a leisurely breakfast, you will depart to the airport for a domestic one-hour flight to Bima, springboard to East Sumbawa. On arrival in Bima, you will be met and transferred to Kalimaya Dive Resort. The journey should take around 90 minutes. You will be spending the next six nights here.
Located to the east of Bali, East Sumbawa Island is home to some of the world's most exciting diving as nutrient-rich waters have allowed for a plethora of fascinating marine life to flourish on pristine reefs. With endless views of the Jurassic Park-style islands, pink sand beaches and the famous Komodo dragon, you have the ingredients for a truly unforgettable holiday adventure.
Days 8: West Komodo Island
Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, there are a wealth of world class dive sites within a short boat ride from Kalimaya that few others can access, meaning the diving really is exclusive. There are also an array of different dives on offer, including muck and macro diving, current diving and coral diving.
Take a morning boat to West Komodo to dive with over 1000 species of fish and an abundance of soft and hard corals - all in superb visibility. If you fancy something closer to home, take a guided orientation of the house reef and then enjoy unlimited un-guided house reef dives (day or night). The reef is a haven for macro critters so look out for vibrant nudibranch, frogfish, bobtail squid… the list goes on.
Watch superb sunsets during supper then watch the starry sky from your villa - the sheer remoteness of this destination means there is little light pollution.
Day 9: Gili Banta
Today set out on the early morning boat to dive the thrilling reefs of Gili Banta.
Located a 40-minute boat ride from the resort, Gili Banta is famous for its drift dives. The meeting of the Pacific and Indian Oceans brings in a whirlpool of marine life, including the big pelagics from oceanic and reef manta rays to several species of shark to huge schools of tuna. Watch this fascinating marine life while drifting in the current or on a pinnacle dive (holding on to one spot of the reef).
Back at the resort, refuel at the restaurant then spend the afternoon paddle boarding, diving the house reef or simply relaxing on the beach.
Day 10: Sangean Volcano
Today, set out on the morning boat to dive Sangean Volcano.
Located a 45-minute boat ride away, the diving here is characterised by a black sand volcanic reef that constantly bubbles, supporting a wonderful array of wacky macro life, including pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs and frogfish. Although all the sites are pretty spectacular, a few of our favourites include Lighthouse Reef and Lava Flow.
Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool, hiking trails in the local area or taking a tour to discover the famous Komodo dragon (away from the crowds and in a private location, naturally).
Day 11: East Sumbawa Island
Spend your last day either snorkelling on the house reef spotting its residents, or, if you're dived out, relax by the pool or paddle board to a secluded spot.
Days 12 – 14: Seminyak
After breakfast you will be transported back to the airport for your roughly hour-long flight back to Bali. Once you have cleared customs you will be transferred to your hotel in Seminyak where you will be spending the next three nights. The journey should take around 30 minutes.
Where Ubud is Bali's cultural soul, Seminyak is Bali's fashionable heart. Located in southern Bali, expect miles of sandy beaches, rolling waves, idyllic sunsets and some seriously stylish boutique shops.
After checking into your hotel, hit the beach to work on your tan or stroll along the seafront in search of a secluded spot. Search for souvenirs at the various fashion and interior boutiques or rent a surf board and hit the waves. The beach is lined with a string of trendy restaurants and bars, so come sunset pull up a seat and sip sundowners as you watch the sky turn into a vibrant shade of orange. Stay for supper or head back to your hotel for a more private setting.
Day 15: Home Time
Sadly, it's time to return home, but only after one last day soaking up Seminyak's laidback vibes. Enjoy a beach stroll and leisurely lunch before you are transferred to the airport in plenty of time for your departing flight this evening. As on the way out, you will fly back with a connection in Southeast Asia or the Middle East and your bags checked straight through. The flights should take around 18 hours in total.
Day 16: Home
Land back in London, most likely 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.