Bali Guide- What to do and see, and HOW to go about it

Pacung Rice Terrace Fields

There are lots of travel blogs and websites that tell you what to do and see in Bali, but not HOW to go about it. So I'm going to do both, in this post.

Where to stay?
Bali is a very big island and everything depends on where you plan on staying- North, South, Central, East, etc. I stayed in Kuta, 5 minutes away from Kuta Beach, as I wanted to relax on the beach and I knew that the other places I wanted to see were not too far by road. Depending on what you want to do and see, choose where you want to stay. Ubud is central, but there's no nightlife. Seminyak is hip and happening, but it's not family-oriented. Research the areas. This post has a great breakdown and comparison of different areas of Bali and what you can expect. 

Holy Monkey Forest, Alas Kedaton

Bali is a big, BIG island with LOADS of temples. They're dotted all over, and most have breathtaking architecture. You can't possibly see ALL of them, unless you're staying for a few months. So choose the ones you want to see. Google 'Bali temples' and note down the ones you like best. I prefer to look at their images when deciding, because that's what captures the eye- how they look.

Sculpture in the Royal Family Temple, Taman Ayun
Once you're in Bali
Decide what you want to see and do before your trip, then stop worrying about it. Because once you reach Bali, there are lots of tour kiosks that arrange day tours for you for where you want to visit. There are many different tours, for different areas of Bali, grouping together the sights in and around that area. They give you a tour leaflet like this below:

You can hire one car/ van, with a driver, who will take you around the sights. The best part is that you can customize the tours. I wanted to go to Ubud to see a few sights but I didn't want to see the Batik Centre, the dances, Gold & Silversmith Village, etc. The person at the tour kiosk was very helpful and suggested I see the monkey forest, Tegallalang Rice Fields, and Ubud market. That was just what I wanted. I did two tours, both summarized with photos, below. 

The price for each tour package was USD 50. Remember to bargain for the price! I highly recommend MBA Tours. They're one of the largest travel agencies in Bali, with lots of kiosks dotted all over. and they have many drivers and vehicles available. Plus their service was very professional. 

Tour 1- Ubud:
My driver took me to a Batik shop first where they also had a small demo of how batik textile art is done. That wasn't interesting to me and I knew the clothes were overpriced so I didn't buy anything. 

Next was Batuan Temple. This is a beautiful, big temple ground with many smaller temples and shrines inside. Entrance is free but I was expected to make a small donation. The teples here had gorgeous intricate architecture.

Teba Sari Plantation
Next we went to an agro-tourism plantation where I was taken around the plantation, with my gudie Wayan pointing out different tress and plants to me. I was shown how kopi luwak is made, and I had a go at roasting and pounding the beans. Then I got to sample different tea, coffee and chocolate before being taken to their gift shop.

Cocoa pods

Luwak, or the Asian palm civet.
Roasting the coffee beans.
Pounding the beans.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces. 
I was eagerly looking forward to these famous rice fields and they didn't disappoint. These are vast rice terraces and fields in Ubud, owned by several farmers, with rice, banana, coconut and other crops. Entrance fee is very less, and you can trek right through the terraces. Make sure you're wearing sneakers!

Ubud Market
The main marketplace in Ubud. The roads are narrow and filled with souvenir shops. Bargain with the sellers!

Teba Sari Restaurant
I had lunch {at sunset!} at a restaurant overlooking a rice field. This was lovely- having delicious food in a beautiful restaurant with a great view.

Ubud Monkey Forest 
I was really, REALLY looking forward to this but unfortunately because the sun had set, most of the monkeys had gone back inside the forest. The forest itself was about to close so I didn't get to spend as much time here as I would have liked. Make sure you don't try and fit too many things in one tour or do your favorite visit earlier so you have plenty of time. Monkeys are considered sacred in Bali, and there are huge forests maintained for them. There are monkeys everywhere in this forest, just hanging out, eating, playing, doing their thing. You can pay to have a monkey sit on your shoulder and be fed from your hand, but you can't touch them as they may bite. The forest itself is beautiful. Look out for week-old baby monkeys. Supercute!

Tour 2: Bedugul "Green" Tour
Other than skipping the "Bali Natural Spice: Balinese plantation" visit in this tour, I did everything as said in the leaflet. My driver skipped the plantation as he had taken me to Teba Sari Agro-Tourism  in the previous tour.

The Royal Family Temple at Taman Ayun
Everything about this temple was clean, enormous and beautiful. The temple is in a massive compound, with beautifully manicured green lawns flanking it as you make your way inside. Inside are many more temples and shrines. 

Ulun Danu Lake Temple
Again, I was really looking forward to spending some time at this temple that's up on a mountain inside a lake, but by the time I reached it was pouring down. Still, it was beautiful and the heavy clouds touching the mountaintops, the lake, and the beauty of the temple were altogether a magnificent sight to see.

Pacung Rice Terraces
You don't actually get to go into these rice fields, unlike Tegallalang, but you can admire their beauty from the restaurant that overlooks this insanely beautiful scene. I was supposed to have lunch here but I wish I had had it in any restaurant near the last stop, because the food was despicable. It was a very limited buffet with stale, soggy, tasteless food. My advice is to either carry a lot of snacks or have lunch before you get to this stop.

Holy Monkeys & Natural Bat Reserve- Alas Kedaton
This monkey reserve is much smaller than the Ubud Monkey Forest, but it's still fun. You can watch the monkeys, spot lots of adorable babies, and feed the adults. I got stuck with a huge grandfather monkey on my shoulder when I wanted to feed one!

Tanah Lot- the Rocky Temple on the Sea
Last stop- Tanah Lot Temple. You can explore this beautifully built temple and then you can watch the glorious sunset on the sea. But there were so many people that it marred the experience. I was lucky to have caught a wedding photoshoot near the sea! 

That's it! These were the two tours I did in my short time in Bali. The rest of the time was spent exploring the area around Kuta Beach. Legian and Seminyak. 

I hope this post was useful to you for planning your next trip to this Indonesian island!

 Until next time



Follow me on instagram @TheSilverKickDiaries for more Bali photos, and don't forget to follow me on  to never miss a post!

Shabana Feroze

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