Probably the best and the most usual way how to explore Bali is to hire an experienced driver. He knows the roads and can answer your questions regarding the history and the life on the island in general. There are plenty of companies offering this service so it might be difficult to choose the best one but reviews on TripAdvisor can help you. We did it this way and will share with you our experience and advices on how to do things differently.
Where to book
If you can´t be bothered about doing any research on this, then just ask at the reception of your hotel/hostel and they will arrange you someone. Otherwise go on Google and type in the search engine day trip Bali and it will spit out number of travel companies. As mentioned above, to check out their quality and reviews go on TripAdvisor. We have used company called Bali Golden Tour who apart from private tours offers also activity tours, half day tours and much more. The driver was fine but we could probably get a bit more for what we have paid.
how does it work
Get in touch with the company you chose and make clear with them what places you wanna visit. They will tell you if it is all doable within 10 hours because the tour starts at around 8:30 am and finish between 5 – 6 pm.
The cost is per car so the more you are the cheaper. We paid 60 USD and it´s an approximate price you pay anywhere else. You pay at the end of the tour in cash.
what did we visit
Our tour started in Seminyak in the south of Bali and we managed to see:
Batuan Temple – Balinese Hindu temple which is looked after by the local residents of Batuan area. The temple was stunning and felt like being in the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
Monkey Forest – you can find this famous place in central Ubud. Monkeys are running everywhere around but you should never touch them. You can also buy bunch of bananas and feed them under the supervision of the staff.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace – this place was simply stunning! Located few minutes drive from Ubud.
Kintamani – is a highland area in the north of East Bali. In this sense we visited the village and its viewpoint which gives you an amazing view on Mount Batur and Lake Batur. The only annoying thing about this were the street vendors who were very persistent.
Tegenungan Waterfall – you can watch the waterfall from a viewpoint or to go straight under it. To get there is a bit tricky but absolutely worth it!
Of course there is much more things to see but just can´t stuff it all in one day.
Our driver was really only a driver. He told us few facts about Bali while driving but that was it. When we arrived to the spot, he stayed in the car and we wandered around by ourselves. Then we noticed that other people were actually walking around with the driver who was also guide at the same time. Depends what you prefer but this is just for you to know that you can actually have 2 in 1.
Watch out when the driver wants to take you for lunch. We were in Kintamani in a later afternoon, quite hungry so he asked us if we want to go for lunch somewhere, so we said yes as we thought he knows the best where to go. That was a mistake as obviously he took us to a place where he had some deal with the restaurant. It was actually full of tourists who hired a car for a day. The restaurant was huge but the food was very poor quality. First they tried to sell us a buffet for 200000 IDR per person, then we asked if can have only some noodles for which we still paid ridiculous amount of money. The only great thing about this was the view. So my advice is not to go to eat to the place recommended by the driver!