East Bali Adventure – My Recommended 10-Day Itinerary
Bali is a paradise on Earth and I truly believe that everyone NEEDS to visit it at least once in their lifetime! And although South Bali is all the rave, I think East Bali is THE place to be for people who want to explore Bali’s unique beauty… and don’t want to be in the middle of huge crowds of tourists. If you’ve been to all the hotspots in South Bali before (Uluwatu, Kuta, Seminyak, Bukit etc) or if you’re looking for a laid-back vacation, please – take East Bali into consideration!
If you decide to do so, first of all, YAY! And second of all – let’s get to business, we got quite some planning to do! And this 10-day East Bali itinerary is here to help. I have gathered all the best things to do in East of Bali in this post, as well as some awesome places to stay during your adventure, plus some pretty useful tips at the end. My itinerary includes everything you could wish for: adventure, culture, relaxation, tradition, exciting activities, towns, nature and more!
Let’s get started!
My recommended 10-day East Bali itinerary
Yes, I’m recommending a 10-day trip to East Bali in order to do everything there is to do here! It may sound like too much for such a small area (it is, really?) but trust me, with all there is to see, it isn’t too much at all. 10 days are just enough. East Bali is no place where you can get bored, so you will always have something to do and a new place to explore without overcrowding your days or ending up feeling exhausted. Balance is key here! That’s why I picked a mix of different activities – some require more effort, while others are all about relaxation and picture-taking.
Here’s my recommended 10-day itinerary:
SIDEMEN – 3 days
KARANGASEM – 3 days
AMED – 3 days
CANDIDASA – 1 days
And here’s an East Bali map with all the places I am recommending below:
11 Top things to do in East Bali
I know I’ve said it before, but I just can’t help it: there are SO many amazing East Bali attractions! If you decided to explore this part of the world on my recommended 10-day itinerary (or more! Or less – it’s up to you), here are some UNMISSABLE things to add to your bucket list.
Pssst, I also have a bonus list with extra stuff if you scroll down – no time to get bored here!
1 - Tukad Cepung Waterfall
The most beautiful waterfall in Bali? Yes, sir, count me in! I know I will probably say this time and time again, but Tukad Cepung Waterfall is a really special place. It simply looks like Heaven on Earth! And this is not just a metaphor – what makes this place special is the way the sun falls on the waterfall at sunrise, oftentimes creating beautiful rainbows and countless photo opportunities.
The water is clear, the sound of the water falling is soothing and the light is just SO amazing! I can try to put it into words if you want, but I feel like this doesn’t do it justice. So I recommend looking at the pictures instead.
ENTRANCE FEE: 10.000 IDR/person (0.70 US$). Free parking.
2 - Sidemen Rice Terrace
Before you ask: No, Sidemen Rice Terrace is not as big and popular as Tegalalang Rice Terrace. But the views more than compare – they really are wonderful! But what makes Sidemen a must-visit during your trip is a small little detail that no other rice terraces have: the view of Mount Agung looming in the background, also known as the highest mountain in Bali and an active volcano.
So if you’re interested in some lush greenery and a relaxing walk, this is the place to go! Doing a trek in Sidemen is very recommended and it’s a pretty popular activity. On your way, you will walk in the rice fields, through the charming Sidemen village and over the river. Lovely!
ENTRANCE FEE: Free
3 - Mount Agung
Mount Agung (also known as Gunung Agung) is the highest mountain in Bali at 3.031 meters tall. You will see beautiful views of it from many places in East Bali such as Amed or Tukad Cepung Waterfall, for example. Ah, by the way, Mt Agung is not just a mountain, it’s actually an active volcano! It’s really grand and impressive and, if I come to think about it, in a way, I can compare it to Mt. Fuji in Japan – a.k.a you can feel its presence everywhere.
Feeling adventurous? You can even climb Mount Agung! But this is not for the feint hearted – you’ll need a good level of fitness for this one. I’m talking about professional-level-mountain-climber here. No, I’m not kidding! A lot of people are saying that climbing Mt. Agung was the hardest climb they ever did in Indonesia because the way there is very steep and dangerous. So I really do not recommend doing this one alone – please, hire a guide to go with you. Safety first!
TREKKING PRICE: around 80 US$/person. You can find more details here.
4 - Bukit Cinta Pangi Viewpoint
In case you don’t get to climb Mt. Agung to admire the gorgeous view from up there (don’t worry, most of us won’t), here’s a second option for you: Bukit Cinta Pangi Viewpoint. The view from up here is stunning and it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful sunrise points in Bali. You can see Mt. Agung and the rice terraces from there, so make sure you don’t forget your camera!
ENTRANCE FEE: Free
TIP: If you can, come here very early in the morning in order to avoid the big crowds of tourists. What a spot to have as your starting point for the day!
5 - Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Tirta Gangga is one of those unmissable Balinese temples because it’s just so beautiful! It’s unlike any other temple you will encounter here – it has numerous gardens, pools, fountains and fish ponds (with huge Koi fish!), as well as gorgeous stepping stones. This Water Palace is actually a former Royal Palace and its aristocratic feel is well preserved – you’ll feel right when you arrive!
ENTRANCE FEE: 30.000 IDR/person (2.10 US$). 10.000 IDR (0.70 US$) if you want to swim in the pool as well.
TIP: A visit to Tirta Gangga Water Palace is included in this Two Day East Island Tour of Bali – recommended if you’re short on time but still want to visit the highlights of East Bali.
6 - Besakih Temple
Besakih (Pura Besakih) is also known as Bali’s “Mother Temple” and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it’s the biggest (and some people even say the “holiest”) temple in Bali. And no, it’s not just one temple, but a beautiful complex with 3 main temples and more than 85 smaller temples and shrines! Each of them with its own particularities and celebrations. Each of them, worth at least a short little walk.
By the way, another great thing about this temple complex is its location – high up on a hill, providing an unparalleled view of the landscape surrounding it – hills, rice fields, mountains and more.
7 - Lempuyang Temple
Heh, Lempuyang Temple (also known as “The Gates of Heaven”) is truly one of the most famous spots in Bali overall! So it has to be HIGH up on your list of things to do in East Bali if you ask me. The top of the temple is where you want to arrive – a superb setting for pictures, where Mt. Agung can be seen between the two gates. By the way, this temple is the highest temple in Bali!
Now I’m sure you’ve seen countless pictures of this place, especially on Instagram. Because of this, I recommend going there at sunset – the mornings have become crazy busy with tourists trying to get the perfect picture.
And while we’re on the subject… you may have seen that most of the pictures of this temple online make it seem like there’s a big pool or a lake in front of the gates. That’s, in fact, just not true. Spoiler alert – there is no lake. Just some locals, holding a little mirror for the pictures, elevating your gram game and hoping to earn a tip. Although it’s a bit misleading and it brings up the bigger topic into discussion, related to the impact that social media has on travelling, there is no denying it’s a pretty impressive photo.
8 - Amed
Amed is a gorgeous fishing village in East Bali and THE perfect destination for world-class snorkelling, diving and freediving as well. This place is actually one of the most famous diving destinations in the world. There are underwater shipwrecks, statues and lots of coral reefs to explore.
Except for the water activities, there are many other interesting things to do in Amed – that’s exactly why I’m recommending you to spend 3 days in this town. I’m talking about all of the activities you can do here (together with some hotel and restaurant recommendations as well) in this article: Complete Guide: 7 Things to Do in Amed, Bali and Why You Should Visit It
TIP: In case you don’t have a lot of time on your hands but you still want to do some snorkelling here as a day trip, I recommend this tour: East Bali: Snorkeling Day Trip to Amed!
9 - Ujung Water Palace
Ujung Water Palace, also known as Taman Sukasada Ujung is a bit larger than Tirta Gangga Water Palace – and with a different charm that earns it a visit! You’ll find beautiful pools there, photo-worthy architecture and, of course, the unmissable backdrop of Mt. Agung that you may already be familiar with. After all, I’ve been talking about it all through this guide!
I highly recommend you stop and pay a visit to this water palace for a bit of relaxation and a dose of history, as this spot will show you how the Royal family of Karangasem used to live and unwind. The fish ponds are unmissable as well!
10 - Candidasa
Next in line is East Bali’s super popular beach resort town! So if you’re all about laying on the beach away from the tourist crowds in the south, this is the place for you. And whenever you’re bored of the beach and soft sand, you can explore the village and its well-preserved temples. Candidasa will often feel like a bit of local Paradise that you can have all to yourself!
11 - Virgin Beach
Swimming, sunbathing and relaxing on a secluded white sand beach. If you’re still not bored with beaches yet (and how can you be, this is Bali after all!), I have another recommendation for you – Virgin Beach, a laid-back beach where you will find almost no tourists and incredible, beautiful blue water. No, really, this place is so off-the-beaten-track that many people still don’t know about it. And you can easily get here from Candidasa, as they’re so close to each other!
A typical day on Virgin Beach looks a little bit like this: laying in the sun, or under an umbrella (they’re cheap to rent – 50.000 IDR/person which is around 3.8 US$), applying lots of SPF (safety first people!), grabbing a bite to eat at one of the nearby warungs, coming back to the beach for a splash… If this doesn’t sound perfect to you, I don’t know what does!
ENTRANCE FEE: The beach has a parking fee of 10.000 IDR (0.70 US$) per bike/car.
TIP: Want to try your hand at spearfishing? Or even line fishing? You’re in luck, as Virgin Beach is just the place to try these activities and this tour is the perfect choice for an organised experience.
BONUS: 8 Extra things to do in East Bali
Now that you know all about my list of 10 awesome things to do in East Bali, I have another list for you! Yes, extra stuff to double the fun! In case you feel like your days are not full enough or if you have already visited some of the spots above and need something new, you can pick from the activities recommended below. I told you you’ll never get bored in East Bali!
1 - Bukit Lemped canopy experience
Bukit Lemped Pedaling Tree House is among the most popular East Bali tourist attractions. Many people flock here not just for the beautiful treehouse, but also for the canopy experience. Expect an adventurous experience with ladders, ropes, paths and bridges among tall trees. The kid in you will be SO happy! But if you have a fear of heights… you might be better skipping on this one.
2 - Goa Lawah Temple
Gao Lawah Temple, literally translating to the “Bat Cave”, is an important temple in Bali (actually one of their 9 directional temples) and a popular tourist stop. It’s actually one of the biggest temples around and it dates from the 11th century. From then until now, the temple has remained a place of worship for locals. And yes, there are real bats living there!
TIP: You can stop at Gao Laway Temple on your way from Denpasar to East Bali. This can easily be one of your first stops if you want to!
3 - Candidasa Lotus Lagoon
You know, I suggested a stop in Candidasa in my itinerary. Well, one of the highlights of this place is the Lotus Lagoon. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re expecting it to be – a beautiful (artificial) pond with numerous pink lotuses, as well as some intricate Balinese statues. No entrance fee!
TIP: If you want to get a unique view of the Lotus Lagoon, I recommend crossing the road from it to the shrines. This spot is a little more elevated and it provides an unobstructed view of the flowery pond with the sea as a backdrop.
4 - Kerta Gosa
Kerta Gosa, also known as Taman Gili Kerta Gosa is located in Semarapura and it’s part of a historic royal palace complex. There are two main buildings to be visited here: Bale Kerta Gosa (grand hall) and Bale Kambang (floating pavilion) – two halls/pavilions, both of them filled with beautiful paintings and lots of history.
This is a National Heritage Site, but the entrance is free. Bonus points!
5 - Tenganan Traditional Village
Tenganan Village, also known as Tenganan Pegringsingan, is a traditional village located close to Candidasa. And yes, this is another place that’s RICH in history! I recommend going here if you want to see how local village communities used to live in the past – and trust me, their cultural and social life is different from anything you’d expect in Bali!
6 - Telaga Waja white water rafting
White water rafting? Yes, sir, it was high time for some proper adventure in Bali! Doing some white water rafting on Tegala Waja River is a popular activity – and a pocket-friendly one, too! Except for a little bit of adrenaline, you’re also signing up for some incredible views of hills, waterfalls, valleys and more.
7 - Tihingan Village
Tihingan Village is a traditional Balinese craftsmen village known for its production of gamelan instruments – anything from drums to gongs. Most of these instruments are traditionally used in holy prayers and rituals. The village is a wonderful place to explore as you’ll find lots of workshops there (with blacksmiths at work!), as well as cute galleries with instruments on display. If you’re enthusiastic about it, you can even go home with some pretty bells for around 25 US$.
In case you want to explore more of Bali, here are some other awesome destinations to add to your trip:
- Nusa Islands
- Gili Islands
- Komodo Island
I have detailed articles about each of them, all you need to do is click on the titles above!
BONUS #2: Best organised tours for East Bali
MY RECOMMENDATION: I think the best idea would be to book a private car charter for your itinerary. This is especially great if you’re travelling in a group. It’s flexible (they have multiple types of cars and the drivers can speak different languages), it’s budget-friendly (as you will share the entire price with your fellow travellers) and it’s very convenient (you can make your itinerary as you please)! I recommend this option.
However, here are some other good tour alternatives, especially if you’re short on time and can’t do a longer East Bali tour:
- 3-Day Private Bali Tour: The Best of Bali – my top pick! You can customise this tour as you wish and you can let your guide know all the places you want to go;
- East Bali Exploration Private Trip – they have 4 different itineraries to choose from;
- Best of East Bali Tour – 8 to 10 hours. Departure from several cities/towns in Bali;
- Lempuyang Gate of Heaven and East Bali Tour – 10 to 12 hours. Pick-up from 20 different towns in Bali, depending on where you’re located;
- East Bali Trekking Adventure – 5 hours. Good if you’re looking for a walk through rice fields;
- East Bali Tour – 10 hours. Lunch included!
Where to stay during each day of your itinerary
I hope I convinced you by now that all your days in East Bali will be filled with relaxation, adventure and lots of fun, but there’s still one thing left uncovered – where will you sleep? I’m one step ahead of you! Here’s a list of hand-picked accommodations for each of the 4 base cities I recommend:
WHERE TO STAY IN SIDEMEN
WHERE TO STAY IN KARANGASEM
WHERE TO STAY IN AMED
WHERE TO STAY IN CANDIDASA
Useful tips for your trip
Last but not least, here are some very useful tips and things to take with you on your trip to East Bali:
SET UP YOUR ITINERARY BEFOREHAND.
You can use this article as a base for your East Bali itinerary, but I strongly advise you make a day-by-day plan so you can ensure you’re making the best out of your time in this wonderful destination. You don’t want to go home with the regret of not visiting that beautiful waterfall you dreamed about just because you didn’t plan properly!
Making sure you get a local SIM card with data once you arrive at the airport. You can also order it online beforehand and pick it up once you arrive.
It’s always best to have some cash with you when you’re travelling around Indonesia. You might not encounter as many ATMs here as you’d wish, especially if you’re visiting remote locations. Plus, not all places (only a very few, actually) offer the possibility of paying with your card.
This is especially important when you’re visiting sacred/prayer places such as temples. Make sure your shoulders and knees are covered, even if it’s just with a scarf.
And I cannot stress this enough! This is, of course, something I advise you to be careful about anywhere in the world. A good tip to help with this: I recommend bringing your favourite filter refillable water bottle with you and avoiding buying endless bottled water.
THINK TWICE ABOUT VISITING DURING LOW SEASON.
The low season in Bali is equal to the rainy season (January, February, March, April, October, November) and, although the prices drop drastically during these times, it’s best to think twice about it. The rainy days in Bali usually mean light sessions of rain in the afternoon... or full on tropic thunder storms! - This could limit your sightseeing opportunities at times!
LASTLY, DON’T FORGET TO BARGAIN.
Almost all prices in Indonesia are inflated, so at least some bargaining is expected. Don’t be embarrassed to do it!
That was my complete itinerary and list of things to do in East Bali! From visiting the world-famous Tirta Gangga Water Palace to snorkelling in Amed, there are countless exciting things to do in this part of the world. I hope my guide will help you create your ideal vacation filled with exciting days exploring East Bali!
And if you want to find out more about other cool destinations in the country such as Nusa Islands, Ubud or Uluwatu, I recommend clicking here to read all about my adventures in Indonesia.