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Written by Savi, 10 Comments

 

We’ve spent over 6 months in Bali in the past 3 years or so. Over the time we’ve grown to love the island to bits. The daily rhythm of life in Bali is seductive but if you want to head out for a few day trips and excursions around the island, here are a few of our favourites.

 

Getting Around in Bali and planning your day trips

Renting a car and driving it yourself isn’t ideal in Bali as rental cars are expensive, roads can frequently be narrow, and the traffic manic. However if you’re confident driving a scooter, we’d definitely recommend getting one in Bali. A rental scooter costs anything between $3 – $5 per day, so it’s extremely cost effective. If you’re quoted a higher price, just bargain. Scooters are ideal for outings in your immediate vicinity or slightly further afield.

However if you are planning to visit a place which is over 30 minutes away from your hotel, we’d suggest booking either a guided tour or renting a car with a driver. We have booked a few of our excursions and day trips in Bali with Bali Bliss Tours – We first booked a sunrise trek with them in 2015 after reading glowing reviews online. Truth be told, we were apprehensive about a cab picking us up at in the dead of the night (at 2 am). But everything went seamlessly and we’ve just stuck to booking all our tours or renting a car with a driver with them ever since.

Now that the logistics are out of the way, let us tell you about some of our favourite day trips and excursions in Bali

 

  • I) Tegalalang rice terraces

A number of panoramic balconies and cafés close to Tegalalang village offer panoramic views of Ubud’s iconic rice terraces. You could stare at the terraces and marvel at the unique irrigation system as you sip on a coffee or you could get down and dirty and go for a walk on the terraces and prance amidst paddies. You know which one we opted for don’t you? 😉 The walk is free but locals request a donation.   The drive to Tegalalang village is dotted with numerous shops full of tie & dye goodies, tribal jewellery, and ethereal dreamcatchers (of course I bought a few, you know my love for dreamcatchers!).

Beautiful sight at the rice terrace!
Beautiful sight at the rice terrace!

 

Couple in rice terraces bali
We went for a walk through the terraces and came out with soiled shoes 🙂

 

  • II) Mount Batur

Let’s be honest – how many times do you get to hike an active volcano in the dead of the night, reach the summit and stare at one of the prettiest sunrises in the world, examine black lava rocks lining the slopes after the last eruption, and boil an egg using the steam from the volcano?   Those are just a couple of reasons why you might want to head to Mt. Batur when you’re in Bali.

We booked our excursion with Bali Bliss Tours as I said above. We were picked up at our villa at 2:30 a.m. and driven to the starting point of the hike. We started the hike at 4 am. A 2 hour hike through rock and rubble led us to the summit just in time for sunrise. Mt. Batur is said to be one of the best sunrise spots in the world and it’s true – we couldn’t get enough of the clouds suspended over the lake.   We coupled this with a visit to a coffee plantation where we sampled 9 types of Indonesia tea and coffee, including the (in)famous Civet Coffee. The entire excursion (cab, hike, guide, and breakfast) cost USD55/£37 per person. Of course you need to be fit to tackle the hike because it gets quite steep and rough in parts. Other than that, it’s highly recommended!

Mt. Batur in all its glory
Mt. Batur in all its glory

 

The perfect sunrise? We think so :)
The perfect sunrise? We think so 🙂

 

Coffee plantation bali Kintamani
A visit to one of the coffee plantations is a must when in Bali!

 

  • III) Danu Bratan and North Bali

Bali has temples by the dozen. But few are more scenic than Danu Bratan, situated in the middle of a lake. It is even possible to take a boat ride in the lake surrounding the temple. Danu Bratan is gorgeous to catch sunrise but do keep in mind that it’s covered with clouds more often than not. Go early and you’ll be the only one – it gets SUPER crowded after 8 am.

Combine a trip to Danu Bratan with a quick stop at one of the famous gates in Bali – the entrance gate of Handara Golf Club and Resort. It’s so popular now that you’ll have to pay a fees of IDR 30,000 per person to take a photograph. Well, all thanks to social media 😉

You should also drive further up to Lake Tamblingan and check out the floating temple there. It’s really gorgeous and in all probability you’ll have the place to yourself. There is an entrance fees but there was a lot of confusion regarding how much it was – they asked for  IDR per person 100,000 but Gede (our driver) told them we didn’t want to go for a hike and they then asked for IDR 50,000 for both of us.

And to end this trip, we suggest visiting a playground for adults – when you drive back from Tamblingan, you’ll see many hoardings with swings, nests, and what not in an area called Wanagiri Hill – all claiming to have that perfect selfie spot. Just enter whichever looks good to you, pay the entrance fees (IDR 50,000 per person) and shoot away. They even provide reflectors to make sure that the lighting for the photographs is ideal – talk about providing a good service 🙂

We booked this day trip with Nyoman from Bali Bliss Tours and were picked up from our guest house in Ubud at 4:30 a.m. and dropped off at noon. Gede, our driver, spoke good english and was knowledgeable about the area 🙂

Sunrise at Ulu Danu Bratan in North Bali day trip from Ubud
Beautiful morning light at Ulu Danu Bratan

 

Handara golf club and resort gates in Bali
Beautiful gates – love the clouds in the backdrop

 

Drone shot of Tamblingan temple in the north of bali
An aerial shot of Ulu Danu Tamblingan

 

Bali swing at wanagiri hill near Danu Bratan
One of the many “selfie” spots in Wanagiri Hill area

 

  • IV) Lempuyang Temple

The sacred Lempuyang temple is one of the most spiritual sites for Balinese locals. But the gates of the temple also make for a gorgeous photograph with the Mt Agung standing tall in the backdrop. We suggest combining this outing with a stop at the surrounding villages when you can see Mt Agung stretching out beyond the paddies in all it’s glory. You could also visit the Jemaluk Viewpoint, a scenic point overlooking Jemeluk Bay, on that day itself. This is a gorgeous spot for sunset.  Do consult the weather forecast before planning this trip as it makes sense to plan this road trip only on a clear day when Mt Agung is not covered with clouds and the sea at Jemeluk is sparkling blue.

It will take you a good couple of hours to get to this area from Ubud. We suggest starting from your hotel at around 4 a.m. to reach the temple at the crack of dawn. We went with Bali Bliss Tours as always and Nyoman was accommodating to send a driver at that odd time to pick us up.

 

Couple standing at Heaven's gate at Lempuyang Temple in East Bali
“Heaven’s Gate” at Lempuyang Temple

 

  • V) Taman Ayun

The temple of Taman Ayun is a pleasant 30 minute drive away from Ubud. It’s a small temple, worth visiting if you’re there for a longer time in Bali.   Let me warn you. You’ll spot this sign outside Taman Ayun and many other temples in Bali. We’re all for respecting cultural idiosyncrasies and despite being atheists, we love visiting religious sites when we travel (purely out of anthropological curiosity!). But this kind of stigmatisation of bodily fluids in the name of religion really annoys us. It reinforces sexist mores and gender inequality, something both of us oppose strongly. If you look past that, Taman Ayun offers a pleasant enough walk around the temple complex.   Entry is USD 1/£0.70 per person. Expect to spend 30-40 minutes looking around the temple – it’s a pleasant enough walk but not unmissable

Taman Ayun temple
Taman Ayun temple

 

Not impressed!
Not impressed!

 

  • VI) Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is an hour’s drive away from Ubud. It’s famous for the gorgeous sunsets. The temple, perched atop a cliff makes for a pretty sight. But it can get very crowded. We didn’t enjoy it as much as we thought we would but we’d recommend giving it a go if you are in Bali for a week or more. Entry is USD 3/£2 per person.

Holidays are for relaxation and staring at sunsets :)
Holidays are for staring at sunsets and Bali has plenty of them 🙂

 

  • VII) Tegenungan waterfall

A 30 minute drive from Ubud will bring you to one of the area’s beautiful waterfalls: The Tegenungan waterfall is a bit of a local secret and locals love dropping by for a relaxing swim. Try going early in the morning – it’s absolutely spectacular in the magic morning sun. Entry is 1.5 USD/£1 and there is ample parking available on site.

The Tegenungan waterfall Ubud Bali
Morning walks at The Tegenungan waterfall in Ubud

 

  • VIII) Small waterfalls surrounding Ubud

Ubud is home to lots of other cascading waterfalls as well. If you are staying in Bali for longer, try visiting the little known Pengempul Waterfall, Nung nung waterfall, Tibumana Waterfall, Kanto Lampo Waterfall, or Tukad Cepung Waterfall. They’re all little gems in their own right. But do beware – they’re at their best during monsoon months and thin down considerably during summer months. Also, always try to visit these waterfalls first thing in the morning as they tend to get crowded after 9 a.m.

 

Couple standing at Tibumana waterfall near Ubud in BAli
Us at Tibumana Waterfall

 

Pengempul waterfall near Ubud in BAli
Savi at Pengempul waterfall near Ubud

Watch out for more updates from us in the coming weeks and months – we are always on a mission to find the best excursions in Bali 🙂

10 thoughts on “Best Day Trips and Excursions in Bali

  1. Hey Savi and Vid!

    I absolutely adore your posts and love how beautifully poetic the descriptions are!
    Your words and pictures truly send me into a dreamland 🙂 Thank you 🙂

    How long are you guys in Bali this time? I am visiting with my husband in a month and would love to bring you goodies from Japan if you want any 🙂

    Keep exploring and spreading joy!

    Loads of love,
    Dipti

    P.S: When is your next trip to Japan?

    1. Hey Dipti – that’s so sweet 🙂 We’re leaving in 2 weeks or so, but hope our paths cross sometime in Japan. Have the best time here

  2. I love reading all your posts – here or on Insta! Your pics are so stunning!
    I am planning to visit Bali in September. Do you recommend any home stays?

  3. Hello Savi and Vid,

    I absolutely love your travel blog and love following you on Instagram and you two are are such inspiration for myself and my family who loves travel to atleast 1 new country every year.
    Next week, my husband and I are travelling to Bali for our 10 years anniversary and vow renewal ceremony that will take place at Nung Nung Waterfall. We always travel with our two daughters (7 and 2) and we are very excited to show them the place we had come for our honeymoon.
    I was wondering if you would like share some of your favorite place to eat or get fresh smoothies from. It’s been 10 years since we visited Bali so a lot has changed.
    Hope you and Vid are having an awesome time! Such a lovely couple!

  4. Hello Savi and Vid 🙂

    I absolutely love your Instagram page <3 Your pictures are so good. Your recent Bali pictures are just gorgeous.

    Need a small favor, I am planning to visit Bali in October for 8 days, but not able to decide what all places to cover 🙁 I would like to explore Ubud for sure 🙂 Confused if we should stay somewhere in Seminyak or Gili Islands. Could you pls suggest?

    Thanks much,
    Ritika

  5. Hi Savi and Vid,

    It’s evident you get this a lot, but I’ll go ahead and say it nevertheless.. Love your travel blog..every bit of it. An absolute visual treat and super helpful for planning vacations.
    My husband and I are planning a 5-day trip to Bali in August with both of our parents.. a total of 6 of us. I guess it makes sense to book a villa on AirBnB, but worried that it might not feel as ‘holiday-ee’ as a resort probably would. Also, looking to stay somewhere closer to the airport. Would really appreciate your suggestions for AirBnB stays/ resorts/ hotels.

    Thanks! Best wishes 🙂

    1. Hey Sanyukta – just a warning, there isn’t much to explore in the area around the airport. That’s a valid worry you have there – you should just book a hotel in that case 🙂 You’ll find plenty of nice ones, whichever area you choose

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