Guided Tour of Bali

We booked a guided tour of Bali for the day.
Well, around the area of Ubud and the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, due to the state of the island’s roads you couldn’t get very far around Bali in a day.

We booked this tour through Begonia and the Kupu-Kupu Foundation, a charity organisation in Ubud.

Our guide spoke excellent Spanish (a welcome break from English for the three Spanish people that I was travelling with) and it set us back 50€ for the whole day.

At just 12.50€ per person for a full day guided tour with a knowledgable local including transport in an air-conditioned people-carrier and a tailor-made tour just for us, this was a bargain for us. But by Indonesian standards it was pretty expensive and was the first time we had been quoted for anything in euros; a sure-fire way to know you’re paying a lot.

It was well worth it though; we had a brilliant time and saw more and learnt more than we had on any other outing during our stay in Ubud…

What we visited on our full day tour of Bali:

We were picked up from just near our accommodation at around 8:30am and we headed away from the busy town and into the countryside.

Our first stop was at a popular (though not at that time in the morning) viewpoint where we were surrounded by the wonderful panoramas of the typical green rice paddies that conjure up the image of the essence of Bali…

bali tour

InMyShoes at Gunung Kawi Temple, Bali

Gunung Kawi Temple

Our next visit was to Gunung Kawi Temple, a Hindu Temple, and one of the oldest and largest of Bali’s ancient monuments, where there are 10 candis (shrines) cut into the living rock, spread throughout the complex. The visitor has a fair trek to visit each one and has to climb a total of 270 steps…

That’s what we were braced for anyway – actually the steps were spread out throughout the large complex and were hardly noticeable.
And this is one of Bali’s most visited monuments. Though again, when we were there we barely saw a soul.

bali tour - gunung kawi

Gungung Kawi Temple, Bali

Join me here on my photo tour of Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali…

Tirta Empul Temple

Our next stop was at Tirta Empul Temple, another Balinese Hindu temple. This place was very popular, but more with worshippers than with tourists.

Tirta Empul Temple on bali tour 01

Worshipping in the water at Tirta Empul Temple in Bali

Tirta Empul Temple is what’s known as a Balinese water temple and worshippers actually get into the water every day to cleanse and purify themselves.

It actually looked like most were having great fun!

Tirta Empul Temple on bali tour 01

We learnt a lot at this temple with our guide and there was a lot to see in the whole complex, with shrines and monuments all over the place and the odd ceremony happening as well.

There were a few pretty interesting statues around too!

Statue at Tirta Empul Temple

Statue at Tirta Empul Temple… Notice anything else in this photo?

Bali Village

We made a little stop to see a typical well-preserved Bali village, with its typical houses and with just one main thoroughfare running through the centre, not big enough to take anything larger than a moped or a bicycle.

typical balinese village

To be fair, this village looked traditional but it was more a tourist attraction than anything. Yes, real people did live there but they were so used to visitors coming to look at their traditional village that most houses were dedicated to a trade and were open to visit. In fact, people would pester us to step inside their houses.

It was still nice though.

Bali Countryside

full day guided tour bali

Spectacular views of the Balinese countryside on our full day guided tour

Driving from temple to temple on our full day guided tour in Bali, we also saw some of the spectacular Bali countryside as well as some of the more typical Balinese moments that you couldn’t possibly plan, such as a Hindu procession where brightly-dressed people flooded the streets as they made their way to some ceremony or other. All were carrying offerings, some of which were quite elaborate.

Our guide told us that every day in Bali is a holiday somewhere and that every day someone somewhere will be celebrating. This is a place where birthdays constitute a day off work and every Hindu god or event has its own special celebration.

You notice that the women in the photo on the right are wearing a sash around the middle. This, or a sarong, is the typical dress of any Balinese Hindu and you might have noticed in some of the photos above of our own motley crew that we were also wearing something similar. This is expected whenever you enter a Hindu temple or sacred place, so when you visit Bali always make sure you have a sarong with you.

Our guide told us that the reason for this garment tied around the waist is to separate the pure parts of the body from the impure. Feet and anything close to the feet are considered dirty and impure. The head and anything close to the head is considered pure or clean.

Pura Besakih

The last stop on our full day guided tour of Bali was at Pura Besakih, one of Bali’s most emblematic temples.

Our guide had saved the best for last, as this temple is known as the Mother Temple of Bali and is the most important on the whole island.
Personally, while there was no denying that it was spectacular, I enjoyed the visits in the morning to Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul more. I’m not sure if this is because I was a bit tired and templed-out by this time or if it’s simply because the first two temples, though undeniably grand, seemed to be more places of worship and less tourist attractions.

pura besakih bali

Pura Besakih

We were extremely lucky as we managed to make a quick visit of Pura Besakih temple just before the heavens opened.

We all know about the rain in Indonesia, right? It comes out of nowhere, it monsoons for an hour and a half and there’s nothing you can do but wait it out. That means it’s time to find a warung for a much welcomed curry and a beer.

Even the view from the warung was spectacular

Even the view from the warung was spectacular

And that’s what we did: we drove for a while, found a local warung on the side of the road and sat down for refreshments.

Then we had a two-hour drive back to the centre of Ubud where we said goodbye to our Spanish-speaking guide and driver and quickly went to get ready for that evening’s Bali dances

Read more about Bali here.

And please don’t forget to leave your comments below about places you have visited in Bali or your favourite temples.

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

Filed Under: asiaBalifeaturedIndonesiaReligion and CultureUbud

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. susan sykes says:

    Nice to see you back posting, I really enjoyed reading this post, could you have gone into the water with the other bathers if you had wanted to?

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you 🙂
      Yeah, I guess so, like any place of worship it’s normally okay if you join in. Though you have to get in fully clothed and I’m not sure I’d fancy it!

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