Day 10. A day tour of Bali’s top attractions

It was just as well that we had set our alarm for 7.00 a.m. as we once again received a knock on the door with our morning newspaper.  After enjoying a large breakfast we returned to our room for our cameras, sunglasses and bottles of water then went down to the foyer to wait for our driver to collect us.  It was a good sign as he arrived promptly at 9.00 a.m. and before setting off we sat down with him for a few minutes discussing our plans for the day which he was happy with.

We had looked into the possibility of taking a coach or mini-bus tour around the island as public transport is virtually non-existent.  Astonishingly, it was actually cheaper to hire a car and driver as day tours cost IDR 750,000 (£42.30) each whilst our private driver booked through the hotel was only IDR 800,000 (£45) for up to three passengers.

Batuan Hindu temple, Ubud, Bali
Collecting our sarongs at the Batuan Hindu temple entrance

I suggest researching places you wish to visit in advance and coming up with a suggested itinerary of things you would like to see and do.  We mentioned to him that if there was any spare time we would be open to his suggestions and explained that we weren’t interested in themed activities such as the Bird Park, Monkey Forest or Dance Show.  Our taxi was large, comfortable with air-conditioning and spotlessly clean and as we settled into our back seats we were soon on our way to the first port of call, the Batuan Hindu Temple, entrance fee IDR 15,000 (85p) which is located along the road between Denpasar and Ubud.

Batuan Hindu Temple, Ubud, Bali
Batuan Hindu Temple

After we both put on a sarong from the kiosk in the car park we crossed the road to view the 1,000 year old temple.  The grounds are filled with Balinese sculptures and ornate stone ornaments so we enjoyed wandering around under the shade of some large trees exploring the main building which has a wonderful pitched roof constructed from palm tree fibre.

Batuan Hindu Temple, Ubud, Bali
The Batuan Hindu Temple

Our next stop was nearby and this was to visit Tegenungan Waterfall.  Our driver managed to find a parking place above the waterfall and we then purchased entrance tickets IDR 20,000 (£1.13) each.

Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud, Bali
Entrance to the Tegenungan Waterfall

The steep path down to the waterfall was well maintained with flights of steps in places.  Along the way we came across numerous viewpoints where we paused to take photographs and upon reaching the foot of the waterfall we could see numerous people swimming in the pool beneath it.

Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud, Bali
Tegenungan Waterfall

The waterfall cascades 20 metres (66 feet) over stone cliffs and is definitely worth visiting.

Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud, Bali
The foot of the cascading waterfall

Returning to the car park we passed numerous stalls offering snacks and souvenirs but as we didn’t need anything we got back into the taxi and headed to our next destination, the Satria coffee plantation.

Coffee Plantation, Ubud, Bali
Coffee Plantation

Parking was just outside and although we needed to wear wristbands, entrance was free of charge including a short guided tour where we were shown arabica trees, cinnamon and cocoa growing in the plantation.

Coffee Plantation, Ubud, Bali
Coffee Plantation near Ubud, Bali

There were splendid views across the lush green coffee terraces and a pleasant cafe where sample trays of coffee varieties could be purchased.

Coffee Plantation, Ubud, Bali
The attractive cafe terrace at the Coffee Plantation

Although tempting, we were already feeling quite hot so we resisted the temptation and just stuck to our water which we sipped as we strolled along the paths of the terraced hillside.  Do take care as the paths are in a poor condition but passable with care.  Huge jungle swings seem to be gaining popularity and we could hear terrified screams in the distance as the ropes swayed high above the coffee terraces.

Coffee Plantation, Ubud, Bali
The glass concrete viewing deck overlooking the coffee plantation

Back in the taxi, our next stop was also close at hand, this time to view the Tegallalang Rice Terraces.  It seemed much busier here and we had to walk from a car park further up the road.  Entrance to the Rice Terraces is IDR 10,000 (56p) and a visit here was one of the highlights of the day.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces near Ubud, Bali
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces

There were some very steep steps leading down and footpaths treacherous in places with loose gravel and uneven stones even though it was dry.  Sensible footwear is definitely required and my trusty walking sandals held me firm and prevented me toppling over.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces near Ubud, Bali
Enjoying a walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

It was midday and as the temperature had risen to 35 degrees we needed to stop a few times on the way back up.  Along the busy main road near the car parks were numerous stalls, shops and cafes so we bought some more chilled water to keep us going awhile.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces near Ubud, Bali
The steep sided slopes of the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Bali
Tegallalang Rice Terraces near Ubud, Bali
Enjoying a few minutes rest after walking through the Rice Terraces

It was then a much longer drive to Mt. Batur, a volcano in the highlands of Kintamani.  It’s one of the region’s most active volcanos rising 1,717 m (5,633 ft) above sea level.  Like everything else in Bali there is a fee and for anyone who isn’t local one has to pay IDR 30,000 (£1.69) per person and IDR 5,000 (28p) for the car to be able to access the viewpoint road so ensure you have plenty of cash to cover all these unexpected little extras.

Mt. Batur active volcano, Bali
The Mt. Batur active volcano, Bali

The views were stunning and it was well worth our £3.66 outlay.  Our driver parked in front of a lovely buffet restaurant which had a rooftop terrace with the most stunning of views.

Mt. Batur active volcano, Bali
Stunning views from the roof terrace of the restaurant overlooking the volcano

The air was slightly cooler here and we enjoyed a pleasant stroll along the ridge overlooking the north side of the volcano and the large caldera lake to its east.

Mt. Batur active volcano, Bali
The volcano with the caldera lake in the foreground

After leaving there, we made our way back towards Ubud, taking a break at the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).  Entrance to the temple is IDR 5,000 (85p).  This temple is characterised by menacing faces that have been carved out of stone.  The main figure was once thought to be an elephant, hence the nickname for the cave.

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) near Ubud, Bali
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) near Ubud, Bali

Touring the complex, is unusual as it contains both Hindu and Buddhist imagery.  It was rediscovered by Dutch archaeologists in 1923 although it was not until 1954 that its fountains and bathing pool were unearthed.

Elephant Cave, near Ubud, Bali
Stone ornaments at Elephant Cave, near Ubud, Bali

Surrounding the temple were a few vendors huts selling sarongs, souvenirs and snacks but just outside the gates we found a gorgeous small cafe in a tranquil setting where we enjoyed some delicious rice pancakes topped with coconut brown sugar.  These were very reasonably priced and preferable to anything on offer in the actual temple complex.

Cafe near Elephant Cave Ubud Bali
The lovely little restaurant next to Elephant Cave where we enjoyed some delicious pancakes

What an interesting day we were having and it wasn’t quite over yet as there was still time for us to visit the centre of Ubud.  Our driver dropped us off outside the Royal Palace and arranged a later time to pick us up from the same place as it was impossible for him to find somewhere nearby to park.

Ubud Royal Palace, Bali
The entrance to Ubud Royal Palace, Bali

We were pleasantly surprised that there was no charge to walk through the charming garden setting of the Ubud Royal Palace and it was a joy to view the well preserved Balinese architecture.  Each evening traditional dance performances take place in this beautiful setting.

Ubud Royal Palace, Bali
Ubud Royal Palace, Bali

Our stroll continued through the very busy streets and into the vast market which we’d read about.  The narrow passageways between the stalls were crowded with people and it was difficult to move along.  Eventually, we worked our way through several parts of the market but there was nothing that caught our attention and we were glad to return outside and explore other parts of the town centre.

Ubud Market, Bali
Ubud Market, Bali

I quite liked Ubud and felt that it had a more sophisticated feel to it than the resorts stretching along the coast but it was equally busy.  At 5.00 p.m. prompt, our driver Tom, pulled up and returned us to our hotel at 6.30 p.m.

Ubud, Bali
Street scene, Ubud, Bali

It would have been impossible to have seen so much of the island in one day by ourselves and I would recommend a private driver over a guided tour as we were able to customise our itinerary and spend as long as we wished in each location.  Tom didn’t speak much but was always polite, confirming the next place to visit before setting off and he even enquired if we wished to be taken anywhere near the hotel at the end of the day as we had booked his services until 7.00 p.m.  We didn’t want to go anywhere else but it was thoughtful of him to ask.

Our driver in Bali
Tom, our driver for the day arranged through our hotel

After such a hectic day we were quite tired by the time we got back so we didn’t go out to eat until late, having just a short walk and finding a small, inviting restaurant not very far away.

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65 thoughts on “Day 10. A day tour of Bali’s top attractions

  1. jasonlikestotravel

    Really interesting to hear that it works out cheaper to hire your own driver and do your own self-made tour. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Bali, the Royal Palace looks stunning. Surprising it’s free!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to believe that having your own chauffeur for the day is cheaper than going on an organised tour but we weren’t going to complain! The Royal Palace in Ubud was about the only place we went to that was free. Bali is nice but I don’t think it’s the idyllic tropical island it’s made out to be but still worth a visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ThingsHelenLoves

    What an amazing day. I must confess despite drinking coffee every day, I don’t know a lot about how it gets from the origins to my cup, so the coffee plantation is fascinating! A great day that makes a great read, a very enjoyable post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your welcome thoughts Helen. Our day touring the island was the highlight of our stay and I’m a great lover of freshly brewed coffee too. Luckily I’ve got an electric milk frother so I’ve been able to make my favourite cappuccinos though I still look forward to the day when we can return to coffee shops!


  3. Reena Deshmukh

    Beautiful pictures and I guess I can take good tips from your travel. However, not planning anything soon, due to pandemic, but will definitely try a trip, especially to Tegenungan Waterfall and coffee plantation after tourism resumes

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reena Deshmukh

    Beautiful pictures and I guess I can take good tips from your travel. However, not planning anything soon, due to pandemic, but will definitely try a trip, especially to Tegenungan Waterfall and coffee plantation after tourism resumes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we have all been prevented from travelling very far at present Reena but when things get back to normal I’m certain you would enjoy a visit to both the waterfall and coffee plantation. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it’s much appreciated.


  5. I have never been interested in visiting Bali even though it is so close to us and loads of Aussies viist there because it is an inexpensive holiday. But your post just might tempt me to think about it in time. The Balinese rely so much on the tourist dollar – they must be suffering financially.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bali was interesting but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back there any time soon. The tour around the island was pleasant but I wasn’t all that impressed with the coastal resorts. There were quite a number of Australians staying in our hotel as well as cabin crews for Jetstar who were all very friendly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Australians do flock to Bali – and many youngsters behave badly, I am sad to say. I suppose it was a shock to hear all those Australian accents. I always find it grating when I return from overseas as I am so accumstomed to European accents, yet when I am living here I don’t notice them at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve so enjoyed touring with you. I have a feeling I’m going to like Ubud a lot. On my bucket list along with a visit to Cambodia.
    We travel in similar ways, pre-plan, pre-book and research. We’ve sometimes booked a private driver and car to some places in Europe as we get to walk around at our pace. Although in Asia, the prices are much more reasonable.

    Liked by 3 people

          1. Sounds great. If you could make road trips, then it offers very much to see and experience. We have made three road trips, using different roads. If you are interested in, then I could give you roads which we travelled. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  7. I enjoyed reading your post, and was interested to read your comments. I love Bali, and return often. We stay at a clifftop resort, Temple lodge, owned and run by a family, on the Bukit Peninsula, well away from the crowds. They offer yoga, massages and cook the freshest most divine food. As you did, we hire cars and drivers for sightseeing and getting about. Surfing and snorkelling are available on the beach below the resort. We generally stay for a week, but never wish to leave. I love the culture, and the gentle lovely people.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Hi LMT. Thanks for taking us with you on your tour of Bali. I’ve been curious about Bali for a while and now I have some idea of what to see and how to see it. Keep the stories coming. Best wishes. tom

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Tom, Thank you for taking the time to comment on this series of posts. Bail s pleasant for a few days but I wouldn’t recommend spending too long there as much of the island suffers from over tourism and we didn’t feel that it was quite the paradise stand it’s made out to be. Hope you are both getting along well. After three months not leaving our home town we’ve now been allowed to venture further which has been exciting after so long!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Helleren Gregory

    My son & I did a Batik class in Ubud, it took all day but it was so fun & I made a quilt out of mine. He had a scooter accident with a few stitches, $100 for the SOS clinic including antibiotics. After that we heard scooter horror stories of people air ambulances to Japan.
    Thanks for bringing up some great memories!! Of course, I surfed. Only at Padang Padang on the party wave, Uluwatu was way too big & I’m not a reef surfer.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A lot of places packed in one day. I agree with you, you have to do some research in advance and get the list of sites to visit, most tourist drivers just drive to what is the most known, not necessarily the most interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

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