Walking around Kuta, you will see hundreds of places offering day trips. Virtually every hotel has a tour counter, offering the same thing. If you want to get out for the day, its okay I suppose, but you will not experience what East Bali has to offer on a day trip.
Here’s a short schedule that you could do on your own with transport, or with a hired driver.
Drive from Kuta to Candi Dasa (driving time 2 hours). Stay at one of the places on Forest Rd, at the far end of the main strip (keep going straight). Two of the accommodation options here would be:
Puri Pudak – (hot water, fan, simple, cheap) (0363)41978
Puri Bagus Candi Dasa – two bedroom villas, restaurant, pool, great quality, white sand beach.
While enjoying Candi Dasa, you can check out the Bali Aga village at Tenganan, a 20 minute drive. You can also go on an adventure, and see if you can find the perfect white sand beach at Pasir Putih in Perasi.
Head along the SE coast to Jasri, and stay at Kangkung Cottages for 100,000rp (double room, cold water, fan ,simple), or carry on past Ujung water palace and stay at Seraya Shores (lovely cottages, hot water, tranquilty, for $50 per person).
Drive arouund the quiet, unpoilt eastern coast of Bali, saying hi to local kids and enjoying the views of sweeping bays. Have lunch at Komang John’s, located at Blue Moon Villas in Selang (hot water, AC, pool ), or hop down the cliffs to Good Karma (bamboo cottages, cold water, simple).
Go for a snorkel / dive at Tulamben and check out the wreck of the USS Liberty.
Two options here, keep heading north and stay at the lovely Poicianna Resort south of Tejakula (lovely bungalows, all double bed, hot water, pool, restaurant), or come back towards Amlapura, don’t miss the waterpalace at Tirtaganga. A heavenly place to swim in the raja’s fresh water pool.
Take the road to Sideman and stay at Pondok Wisata Lihat Sawah (hot and cold water simple, clean rooms) (0363)24183, or Sacred Mountain Sanctuary (bamboo / thatch bunglaows, high quality, hot water, AC) (0363)24330
In my opinion, anyone taking 10 days to cover that route, would be well happy and relaxed. You are seeing volcanoes, rice fields, sweeping bays, crashing waves, Balinese vallages, waterpalaces and have the choice of great, Bali style accommodation.