One Day in Bali: What To Do?

Monday, February 19, 2018

other parts of ulun danu temple

Bali deserves more than just a day, I know, but what if, by some circumstance, you find yourself having just a single day to spend in this place?

This was exactly what happened during Dennis' and my #CDHoneymoonAdventure SEA Trip. Bali was literally just a pitstop before our trip to Bromo and Ijen. Just like our quick foray in Melaka, we had just one whole day for Bali.

From KL, we arrived in Denpasar at around 7PM. We made prior arrangements with Java Adventure Trail to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hostel. We paid 200,000 rupiah or about Php730 for the car service. It took us about an hour to get to our place, Bedplus Hostel Seminyak.

I'd write a separate review of the place but we didn't get to take pictures because everything was a whirlwind. Regardless, we had a comfortable stay despite sharing the room with six other people, and getting the top bunk. The communal restroom was decent, and there was free water refills. The next day, we were told to grab the bread from the fridge and choose from the tray of spreads for our breakfast.

Related Adventure: Where to Eat in Bali

To clarify, here was our schedule in Bali:
Day 0 - Arrived in the evening
Day 1 - Whole day Tour
Day 2 - Leave early morning for East Java

Wanting to make the most of our time in Bali, we decided to just hire a car and driver instead of renting a motorcycle. We paid 680,000 rupiah, about Php2,400 for the whole day car service.

So, here are the places we visited during our brief stay:

First Stop: Ulun Danu Temple
Located on the banks of Lake Bratan, near the mountains of Bedugul, the Ulun Danu Temple was built in 1633 to host offering ceremonies for the Balinese goddess of water Dewi Danu. The lake on which the temple sits is significant as it serves as the main source of irrigation in Central Bali.
Day 4 of our 18-day honeymoon around South East Asia, @celineism and I headed to Bali for a quick tour with @javaadventuretrail . After almost 2 hrs of driving from our hostel, we reached our first stop: the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple or the water temple in Bratan Lake. • I first imagined this scene with dramatic lighting coming from the sunset but in reality, we don’t have that much time to wait for the light so I have to work with what the universe offered. • First thing that came to my mind was to look for a foreground to avoid the usual photograph of the temple, so we walked around to find some foreground interest then I found these red flowers that I thought were perfect for the composition. With my D7200 set on tripod, CPL on my Tokina 11-16mm to cut the reflection on the leaves, Exposure Delay turned on to 2sec. and timer set to 2sec. to further reduce the chance of vibration, I took the shot with the vision on my mind for post-processing. • Thanks to my lovely wife, @celineism for the BTS photo. *swipe ⬅️ to see the photo* • Uploaded via @Flytpack while on the train going to Yogyakarta. • #CDHoneymoonAdventure #nikonph #officialnikonph #flytpackhelps
A post shared by Dennis Murillo (@thedennismurillo) on

The main feature of the water temple is the 11-storey Meru tower dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvathi. A statue of Buddha is also enshrined in the temple.

The temple is about an hour and a half from Denpasar. It's open daily from 8AM to 6PM. Entrance fee is 50,000 rupiah. And restrooms charge a 2,000 rupiah fee.

Related Adventure: DIY Guide to Melaka

Second Stop: Handara Gate
They say you haven't really been to Bali if you haven't had a picture with the iconic Handara Gate. The famous landmark is actually the entrance to the Handara Golf and Resort.
top tourist spots in bali

If you don't intend to go to the resort (we didn't), there's nothing else to do here aside from taking pictures.

The good news is there are no fees to pay. It's free! And it's very near the Ulun Danu Temple.

For Lunch: De Danau Lakeview Restaurant
After taking photos at the Handara Gate, we drove back to the Ulun Danu Temple and dined in the restaurant right across from it.
de danau restaurant bali menu
The food is, as expected, more expensive than Umi's. That's all I'm saying. Read my full review here.

Next and Final Stop: Uluwatu Temple
So from Northern Bali, we drove back to the south to visit the Uluwatu Temple. It was almost a three-hour ride. The traffic started to thicken on the way back. But we were left with enough time to catch the sunset.

The Uluwatu Temple is one of the sad kahyangan, the six sanctuaries of the world – the holiest places for worship in Bali. Its name is based on its location: ulu meaning "edge", watu meaning "cliff or rock". The 70-feet cliff on where it stands faces the ocean. And the view from here is just spectacular.

Be wary of the monkeys here, though. While they are accustomed to the presence of humans, they can be aggressive, grabbing bags and eyeglasses. Make sure to also cover your legs when you visit the temple as a sign of respect, and wear the provided cloth in the entrance before venturing in.
You could also watch the performance of Kecak. It's a fire dance also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant performed every sunset at the temple. We decided to just wander off as we didn't want to pay the additional admission fee (it was another 30k, if I remember correctly).

Even without a glorious sunset, and even on a stormy day, the temple managed to amaze. It was my favorite of all our stops. There was a kind of ancient elegance to it. A raw beauty, it being exposed to the elements and all. Perhaps it was the rain and the sea spray, but the Uluwatu Temple felt like it was shrouded in mystique I'd definitely come back here again to see how it looks on a clear day.

The temple is open daily from 8AM to 6PM. Entrance fee is at 30,000 rupiah per person.


What we did was basically a temple run. We skipped Ubud because I thought, hey, we also have rice terraces in the Philippines. But now I kinda regret not seeing it. Well, we could always come back, yes?

Have you been to Bali? What's your favorite spot?

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