By Chloe Mulliner, on September 10, 2015

Bali in 24 hours or less

A long Bali layover doesn’t have to be a drag. Avoid succumbing to boredom in the airport terminal, and instead spend those precious hours before your next flight exploring Indonesia’s island oasis. Cruise through the rice fields, search for seashells on the shores, or find peace at the inviting temples. 

Arriving in the city

Your flight to Bali will arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). For the quickest way to start your adventure in “The Island of the Gods,” hop in a cab or rent a car in Bali at the airport counter. If you choose to ride in a taxi, head outside the arrivals hall and hang a right to find the counter, where you can request and pay for the cab on the spot.

A day in Bali

Bali is Indonesia’s gem, where clear water laps at shores lined with lush forests and rice fields. Monkeys swing from the treetops, and locals seek guidance at the nearby temples.

If you don’t mind trailing a little sand onto your next flight, spend your layover on the shores of the Bali beaches. For a stretch of sand just minutes from the airport, head north to Kuta Beach. A sweet spot to catch the sunset, Kuta offers surf-ready waves paired with an energetic vibe. Jump on a banana boat ride, or party at the al fresco restaurants and bars. Prefer clear, calm waters and a beach with palm trees bordering the coast? Slap on a snorkel mask and fins and slip into the sea at Nusa Dua Beach. For a quieter, more secluded oasis, relish the sea views from Balangan Beach, or make the trek through the forest down to the heavenly shores of Nyang Nyang Beach on the southern coast. 

Bali has more than just sand and sea, though. For a cultural excursion, make your way to Tanah Lot, one of Bali’s seven sea temples. It sits on a rock formation offshore, which was originally shaped by the tide and then later reconstructed. The temple is magnificent and certainly worth a visit, but be forewarned, swarms of vendors and souvenir shops surround the sacred spot. To discover another divine destination, head east to reach the Taman Ayun Temple of Mengwi. Built in 1634, the temple is surrounded by a moat. Inside the complex, you’ll come across perfectly manicured gardens, multi-tiered shrines, and courtyards.

If you’re lucky enough to have longer than a 24-hour layover, book a hotel in Bali, and pack in even more adventures. With time to spare, embark on one of the many day trips from Bali. Sail over to nearby Lembongan Island and scuba dive around the barrier reef, or head east to Lombok, where you can hike through rice and tobacco fields.

Whether you spend your down time moseying around the temples or reveling at the seaside, we guarantee the view will be better than the one at the airport. So what are you waiting for? Get out and explore Bali before boarding your next flight.

What are you favorite beaches and temples to visit in Bali?

Viewfinder Tip: Many temples offer sarongs for you to wear to ensure that you’re respectfully dressed.