If I had only a day on Bali, in Indonesia I would immediately hire a driver upon my arrival in Denpasar. They can be very reasonable and take you around without any troubles. Get a Bali kopi (delicious coffee) maybe a snack of pork satay and start your day by skipping past Nusa Dua, the over priced and tourist spot that isn't the best of Bali.
Head toward Ubud but stop along the way at Sanur and other spots to enjoying wonderful shopping, photography and foods. There are incredible hard carved masks made from teak and other types of wood, beautiful hand dyed batik fabric and wonderful opportunities for stunning photos. The beautiful people giving offerings several times a day around the island, the majestic temples, the tiered rice fields, with oxen or the dancing! The island of Bali probably has more traditional dances per square mile than any other real estate in the world. What was amazing from our trip was that the dance performance we caught was a shopping mall. And it was great! The best part was watching the kids sitting on the ground following the performance get caught up and pull back in fear when the demon or other scary character moved towards them during the dance....
My top five choices for a day on Bali:
- Dance performance, at a temple or shopping mall
- Pura Tanah Lot, mystical sea temple
- Bali Hai beer and a nice fresh fish dinner in Jimbaran
Pura Tanah Lot temple, a sea temple which is perched upon a rocky outcrop surrounding by crashing surf at high tide, is one of Bali's six most important temples. You definitely want to go when the sun is lower on the horizon because then the light is truly magical and gives you chills. The parking lot usually has a few vendors along the way to the temple but the people are very friendly and if you don't want to buy anything you won't feel pressured.
One of our best shopping experiences on Bali was here, when they vendor we were in front of said "please, I give you good price. For good luck. I need to give you good price." I loved that. This island and its people do personify the desire to balance good and evil in the world. The offerings the make daily to the gods, is an example of their desire to keep peace on Bali.