When planning my visit to Bali, I wanted to ensure that I could visit different sites and get a general overview of the Indonesian island. Upon doing some research, I found out many companies provide tailored half and full day tours of Bali. This allowed me to browse locations around Bali and figure out what spots I wanted to visit.
The booking process
Whilst staying in Ubud, the Uber driver that took me to my hotel did offer me his tour services. However, when I tried contacting him during the evening to book a tour for the following day, he did not reply. Therefore, I quickly had to search for alternative tour companies based in Ubud that could provide a full day tour on such short notice.
I came across Be Balinese and checked the tours they offered on their website. Upon checking the reviews of the company on Tripadvisor, I decided to give them a go. I immediately sent a message via WhatsApp. Wayan Juli replied within a few minutes and was able to offer me a full day customised tour, where I specified the places I wanted to visit. I haggled the price a little bit and my booking was complete.
My itinerary for the full day tour was as follows:
- Tegenungan Waterfall
- Taman Ayun
- Ulun Danu Beratan
- Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
- Tanah Lot
After completing the booking with Wayan Juli, he informed me that I had to be ready by 8.30am the following day so the tour could start on time and avoid any delays. I went to bed with some excitement to check out some great Bali sites.
The day tour
Ulun Danu Beratan
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Early in the morning, my driver Made Aryana was ready and waiting for me in the hotel lobby. He briefed me accordingly on the sites I planned to visit and the time duration for the tour. He was informative and gave me some details on the Balinese culture and history whilst driving me around, which was beneficial.
Firstly, we went to Tegunengan Waterfall in Gianyar. I was so glad we came here in the morning, as the sun was shining through and there was a small amount of visitors. The natural waterfall and its jungle surroundings looked stunning. I was lucky enough to get close to the waterfall on the upper levels and take a brief ride on the swing. Walking back up the 200 and something steps was excruciating in the morning heat but a good exercise nevertheless.
Made Aryana took me to Mengwi in Badung to visit Taman Ayun. The temple has expansive gardens and surrounded by lovely fish ponds filled with water lilies and lotus flowers. The well-kept pagodas within the site has significant importance to the Hindu locals as a holy site of worship. Only those who wish to pray can enter the main areas. Made Aryana provided me with a brief history lesson on Taman Ayun and its worth to the Mengwi people.
On the way to Ulun Danu Beratan, Made Aryana mentioned a coffee plantation was on our route if I wished to make a short stopover, which I agreed to do. The women waiting at the entrance for visitors all greeted me and one of them took me around the coffee plantation. She mentioned that they also grow ginger, pineapples, peppers, cocoa and cinnamon. The famous Kopi Luwak coffee is produced onsite and the woman showed me the sleeping luwaks in their cages. I’m not a coffee drinker, however I did sample all the teas and coffees provided. I really liked the taste of the coconut coffee, mangosteen and lemon grass tea (trying the Kopi Luwak coffee is an extra charge).
By the time we reached Bedugul to visit Ulun Danu Beratan in North Bali, the dark clouds shrouded the skies and heavy rainfall followed suit. The downpour was crazy and sadly dimmed the landscape of the temple on the lake. We stayed put under the temple shelters before heading out with our umbrellas to take a quick stroll around the complex. I can imagine how picturesque the temple would look like if the weather was favourable. Whilst leaving, Made mentioned a lot of locals arriving to the complex, highlighting that a religious ceremony would be taking place.
As we travelled back down south, the rainfall persisted whilst coming up to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. Despite the harsh weather conditions, I was in awe of the natural and expansive rice settings. It looked unreal to me. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces truly provide a traditional and exotic scenery as a clear feature of Bali’s culture and curation of its landscapes. If the weather permitted, I would’ve opted for a bike ride around the rice fields as they stretch for over 600 hectares. For lunch, I ate at the local Gong Jatiluwih restaurant. However the meal was mediocre and way overpriced.
Our last site visit of the day was Tanah Lot just above North Bali. As we arrived to see the famous island temple, the rain finally halted and the sky was starting to clear as the sun began to set in the background. Huge crowds were already in the area to visit the ancient site. As a significant Balinese temple with its iconic structure and sea backdrop, it was clear to see why this is a highly recommended landmark to visit on the entire island. Visitors and locals opted to walk across the water to get a closer look into the temple.
Overall, I was so glad to have gone on this full day tour. Even though I was on my own, I felt so safe and comfortable during the entire day. Made Aryana was educational in speaking to me about Bali as a whole, its religious values to the locals and helpful information on every site we visited. He was kind enough to take all my photos and patiently waited for me to go around every landmark in my own time until I was ready to go. The entire tour lasted over 9 hours and I was truly exhausted when I returned to the hotel. I paid 600,000 IDR which was roughly £35 at the exchange rate I used. I also gave Made Aryana a tip for the excellent service he provided throughout.
I’d say to anyone visiting Bali in the future if you don’t have much time on the island and wish to see several popular sites in one day, I highly recommend booking a full day tour with Be Balinese who can cater to your options in order to see some amazing locations.