LE DESTINAZIONI

Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.

I VIAGGI

I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.

IL CLIMA

Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.

LA SALUTE IN VIAGGIO

La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.

I TUOI RACCONTI DI VIAGGIO

I TUOI RACCONTI DI VIAGGIO

Sei un viaggiatore? Ti piace scrivere? Vuoi pubblicare il tuo racconto di viaggio su questo blog? Mandaci il tuo resoconto di viaggio, lo pubblicheremo volentieri, potrà essere utile a tutti i lettori.

PASSAPORTI E VISTI

Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The Best Guided Tours in Bali

The Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips in Bali

What are the best guided tours in Bali? Your complete guide to the very best guided tours and day-trips in Bali with my reviews and all pros and cons of each tour. A comparison and detailed description of the 6 best tours and day trips, almost all by private car with driver and personal guide, you can book in Bali. Guided tours of Bali include Ubud, the Monkey Forest, the many intriguing temples, the volcanoes, Batur and Bratan lakes, Tegalalang and Jatiluwih rice terraces. With some considerations, my suggestions, the important things you need to know before choosing your tour and direct links to book online by credit card.

Guided Tour to Pura Ulun Danu Temple, Bedegul, Lake Bratan, Bali

Guided Tour to Pura Ulun Danu Temple, Bedegul, Lake Bratan, Bali

Photo Credit: Robert Montgomery

What are the Best Bali Guided Tours and Day-Trips?

Would you like to visit Bali? Do you want to explore the interior of Bali Island on a guided tour? Would you like to see charming Ubud, the Monkey Forest, Kintamani, the photogenic Tegalalang and Jatiluwih rice terraces? Or do you want to arrange a guided day-trip to admire the volcanoes, Lake Bratan and Pura Ulun Danu Temple, visit the mother temple of Besakih, iconic Tanah Lot and the UNESCO listed Pura Taman Ayun Temple? Are you wondering what the stellar attractions in Bali are? Are you looking for a private car with driver and a personal guide?

  • I have selected tens (maybe hundreds) of guided tours and day-trips in Bali organised by locally based travel suppliers and sold online, and have chosen 6 different tours. These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day tours available on the market.
  • All tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with full descriptions, my considerations, some suggestions, all the pros and all the cons and all the important things you need to know before choosing.  Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through Get Your Guide, Withlocals and Viator, for the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
  • If you go to Bali and want to see the best of the island and are looking for a guided tour with a private car and personal guide, in my opinion these tours are a great solution at an attractive price. Please read the descriptions, carefully checking what is included and what is not, and see if there is a tour you like and if there something that inspires you.
Guided Tour to Lake and Mount Batur, Kintamani, Bali

Guided Tour to Lake and Mount Batur, Kintamani, Bali

Photo Credit: Gaie Launder

Bali All Inclusive: Ubud Rice Terraces, Temples & Volcano

This is the first tour I’ll describe, even if it’s not my favorite. It’s a classical guided excursion of Bali for people who have limited time at their disposal and want to get a general idea of the interior of the island, seeing as much as possible and settling for a quick visit. Yes, of course, there is the magnificent Gunung Kawi temple complex with the rock graves. Lunch is in Kintamani with a great view of the lake and Mount Batur Volcano and there are the Tegalalang rice fields too. But first there’s commerce; shopping at Batubulan for batik, gold and silver at Celuk, wood carvings at Mas and Batuan villages. Adding to this there are stops for coffee and tea tasting, a walk inside the Monkey Forest and a visit to the market and the Royal Palace in Ubud. Well, in the end, the result is a very interesting day, but at the same time may be a little too full of things to do and places to see. Anyway, if you have limited time this tour is certainly a valid option. The reviews are pretty good and the price is super.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at your hotel in Bali.
  • Duration: about 8/9 hours, departure is around 8:30am.
  • Guide: English, Chinese, Dutch, Indonesian, Arabic and Russian speaking.
  • Features: very often this tour is conducted on a private basis, with a car and a driver/guide exclusively for you and your party.
  • Price: the value you see first is not (probably) the price you will pay, insert the date and number of people to get the correct price, anyway the cost is very resonable even if you are alone; in addition to transportation and a guide it includes all entrance tickets and buffet lunch.
  • Pros: you get a general overview of the interior of Bali island in one single day.
  • Cons: there are a little too many things to do, expect to proceed very quickly spending limited time at each attraction.
  • Recommended: if you are staying at a beachside hotel for all your stay in Bali and wish to do only one single tour into the interior of the island on an excursion that includes a little bit of everything including shopping.
Guided Tour to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali

Guided Tour to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Bali

Photo Credit: Jumilla

The Heart of Bali: Pura Ulun Danu and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

An interesting tour to discover the Tabanan region in central Bali with its famous Pura Ulun Danu Temple on the shores of Lake Bratan, one of the postcards of Bali, and the Jatiluwih rice terraces, by far less visited than Tegalalang and the highlight of the day. But that’s not all: in addition to Pura Ulun Danu and the rice terraces you visit another of the stellar attractions in Bali, the UNESCO listed Pura Taman Ayun Temple and before going back to your hotel you take an easy walk into the forest to reach Gilgit Waterfall making a pleasant stop at a coconut, tea and coffee plantation. An itinerary with lots of variety.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at your hotel in Bali.
  • Duration: approx 10 hours and half, departure is usually at 8am.
  • Guide: English speaking driver/guide.
  • Features: private tour with car and guide on an exclusive basis.
  • Price: insert the date and number of people to get the correct price, the cost is attractive starting from 2 people booking together, in addition to transportation and driver/guide it includes all entrance fees.
  • Pros: a complete, although not short, itinerary to get to know the central region of Bali in detail; in one single tour you see two very photogenic temples, the magnificent Jatiluwih rice terraces and do an easy hike into the middle of a forest.
  • Cons: perhaps a bit long; if you start from the beachside resorts the first and last hours are not so exciting, but this is true for any tour of the interior of Bali that leaves from the beach areas.
  • Recommended: the perfect tour to discover the countryside of Bali when combined with another day of excursions that takes you to Lake/Mount Batur, Gunung Kawi/Tirta Empul and Tegalalang rice terraces, in this way the two day trips allow you to visit the very best of the interior of the island in full.
  • The option with Luhur Batukaru Temple: this is a similar tour that, in addition to Pura Taman Ayun, the temple of Ulun Danu and Jatiluwih rice terraces, includes the unusual visit to Pura Luhur Batukaru, an important temple off the beaten track located in the middle of a forest; here is the link to investigate Viator | Private Full-Day Bedugul Village and Jatiluwih Rice Fields Tour from Bali, included are transportation by private car with the assistance of a guide, however, entrance fees and lunch are not included and are at your charge.
  • Trekking through the rice terraces: if you would like not only to see the rice terraces but also enter and take a long, easy walk through the paddy fields, the following two tours offered by Withlocals are both a good option; this is an unusual but fascinating experience, your guide will personally take you for a short trek across the Jatiluwih rice terraces, here are the two links to investigate: Withlocals | Trekking Jatiluwih Rice Terrace is guided by Andres, and Withlocals | Jatiluwih Paddy Fields & Rain Forest with Local Farmers, the latter gives instant confirmation and is guided by Wayan, get ready to dirty your shoes!
  • Video: the countryside and the rolling hills around Jatiluwih rice terraces with images by Beautiful Indonesia:

Monkey Forest, Taman Ayun & Iconic Tanah Lot Temple

An afternoon tour leaving from all the hotels in the beach area to visit two of the most famous temples in all of Bali. Firstly you go to Pura Taman Ayun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the countryside near Mengwi Village. The multi-story meru that screams up into the sky is really magnificent. Then you take a short hike into the paddy fields to see the irrigation system and stopping at the Monkey Forest to see the primates. The grand finale is sunset at Tanah Lot, located on a tiny island in front of the Bali coast and battered by impressive ocean waves. This is the temple appearing on half of the postcards sold on the island. Back at your hotel in time for dinner.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: included for all hotels in the Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua beach area.
  • Duration: a little under 6 hours, departure is usually at 1pm and back at the hotel around 7pm.
  • Guide: English.
  • Features: this is a shared small group tour conducted in a minivan with few other participants. Sometimes you may get lucky and have a car and guide only for yourself.
  • Price: is per person, includes transportation, guide, all tickets and entrance fees, snacks and mineral water.
  • Pros: soft itinerary with relatively short driving times (however expect some traffic getting through Kuta and Denpasar) and not too many miles to cover; in one go you visit the Monkey Forest, magnificent Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot Temples, the latter being one of the icons of Bali.
  • Cons: the whole world is in Tanah Lot at sunset, the place is completely crowded and the atmosphere is 100% touristic.
  • Recommended: if you want to spend the morning on the beach and take an easy tour in the afternoon to see two of Bali’s most popular temples.
  • Do you want a private car? It’s only slightly more expensive but the excursion Viator | Bali Water Temples Tour: Tanah Lot, Ulun Danu and Taman Ayun looks definitely very interesting. Why? Firstly, the tour is conducted at a slower pace, you leave in the morning and the tour lasts all day. Secondly, you travel by private car with a driver and a personal guide all to yourself. Thirdly, you can book this tour departing from all the hotels in Ubud area in addition to the beachside hotels. Note that this tour takes you to see the further and photogenic Ulun Danu Temple on the shores of Lake Bratan instead of the Monkey Forest. This means that in only one single tour you see three of the most stunning temples in Bali.
  • A shorter option: if you appreciate the comfort of a private car but would like a shorter tour, a good solution is Viator | Bali Temples Sunset Tour: Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot, departure from your hotel is around 2:30pm, the tour last 5 hours only and includes a visit to Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot and is less expensive than the previous excursion.
Guided Tour to Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Guided Tour to Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Photo Credit: Juan Antonio F. Segal

Kintamani, Gunung Kawi and Tegalalang Rice Terraces

This is one of my favourite itineraries. A tour visiting one of Bali’s largest ancient temple complexes, the Gunung Kawi, plus the holy springs of Tirta Empul, the spectacular panorama of Lake and Batur Volcano from Kintamani village and a stop to admire Tegalalang rice terraces. But that’s not all. Your guide takes you to a local primary school where you get to know more about local education system, walk around the local village and visit a traditional Balinese house. He will also try and get you to experience a local ceremony. This program has perfect timing. It’s a very relaxing day, without getting up too early and without exertion.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at your hotel in Bali.
  • Duration: approx 8 hours, I suggest you to start at 8am in order to end at around 4pm, this leaves you the second half of the afternoon free to relax by the swimming pool in your resort or to do other things.
  • Guide: your very personal guide is Ketut, authentic Balinese guide, born in 1982 and a tourist guide since 2004, English speaking.
  • Features: 100% private tour with car or minivan on an exclusive basis.
  • Price: is per person, in addition to transportation and guide the cost includes entrance fees, coffee tasting at a plantation and lunch with one non-alcoholic drink. You get instant confirmation at time of booking.
  • Pros: an itinerary which is a little off the beaten track and combines some of the island’s most interesting attractions with an indepth look at Balinese life, art and customs.
  • Cons: none in my opinion; the tour takes place in a rather limited area of Bali, especially if you depart from Ubud, this means reduced driving time and ample time for sightseeing.
  • Good to know: this private tour can be fully personalized for you. After booking, you immediate receive your guide’s personal contacts, so you can write to him about what you want to see and what you are mainly interested in.
  • Recommended: if you would like a more in-depth visit to see the Balinese way of life and traditions compared to more traditional tours.
  • Video: Gunung Kawi shrine reliefs carved directly into the face of a rock cliff at the bottom of a lush river valley in these images by Florenz Kittel:

Ubud, Monkey Forest & Tegalalang Rice Terraces

An interesting, cheap and easy tour that focuses on the Ubud area and the Balinese culture. In addition to the Monkey Forest, central Ubud and Tegalalang rice terraces it includes a Barong dance show or Kecak (the Fire Dance) performance. First you visit the villages of Celuk, Batuan and the Mas village to see how the locals make their craft and products. Then you and your guide drive to Ubud, the main village in the interior of the island. You visit the Monkey Forest to see the macaques, then you take a walk in central Ubud, wandering through the market, the Ubud Palace and Pura Taman Saraswati. These are the most interesting attractions in this small well-known town in the countryside of Bali. The grand finale are the steep Tegalalang rice terraces, also known as Cekingan, among the most evocative in Bali, and the nicest near Ubud. You can take a short stroll along the paddy fields before your guide takes you back to your hotel. The tour ends mid-afternoon.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at your hotel in Bali.
  • Duration: approx 8 to 9 hours, I suggest you to leave earlier, because the earlier you leave from the hotel the earlier you come back; that means that if you return for mid afternoon you will have a few hours to relax or take a swim before going out for dinner.
  • Guide: your very personal Balinese guide is Didi. He speaks English.
  • Features: 100% private tour with car or minivan and a personal guide at full disposal.
  • Price: select the date and insert the number of participants to get the correct price, in addition to transportation and a guide, the cost includes entrance fees and a cup of exclusive coffee luwak. Lunch is not included.
  • Pros: a very softly timed tour, among all the excursions described in this post, this is the tour where you spend the least time in your vehicle.
  • Cons: you only visit Ubud and its surroundings; to see the volcanoes, the lakes and most of the famous temples in Bali you have to organise one or two other tours.
  • Good to know: this private tour can be fully personalized for you, after booking you receive the contacts of your guide, immediately write to him about your own interests and what you want to do.
  • Recommended: if for your whole stay in Bali you stay in one of the hotels on the beach, without staying overnight in Ubud; but at the same time you do not want to miss a visit to the most famous and pleasant little town on the island. This is a tour I particularly recommend to families travelling with children: walking through the monkey forest is usually enjoyed by children. It’s recommended if you want to do some shopping too.
  • Video: the enchanted narrow valley where Tegalalang rice terraces are located in this video by Fair Future Foundation:

A Day Exploring Bali’s Best Sights

A very long, busy day to discover the most famous temples and the best sights in all Bali. After leaving your hotel you start by visiting the photogenic Tanah Lot Temple on the ocean shore, an icon of Bali. Then you drive to the interior of the island to Ulun Danu Temple and Bratan Lake, on the way you stop off to see the picturesque terraced rice fields of Jatiluwih, a good time to take some nice pictures. You will also visit a typical Balinese house before going on to Kintamani for a breathtaking view of the big caldera of Batur, with Batur Lake and active Batur Volcano inside. Finally you reach the Besakih Mother Temple on the slopes of impressive Agung Volcano, the highest in Bali. Located on the eastern side of the island Besakih is the most imposing and sacred of all Bali temples, a place that is always better to be visited with a guide rather than on your own.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: at any hotel in the areas of Kuta/Jimbaran, if you are staying in Nusa Dua, Sanur or Ubud your guide can probably confirm the pick-up time but you have to let him know the name and address of your hotel at the time of booking; anyway the deposit on your credit card will be debited only when the guide sees your hotel location and accepts to confirm your booking.
  • Duration: about 12 hours, leaving from your hotel around 6am.
  • Guide: your very personal guide is Andres, born in Bali on 1969, he has travelled all across the Indonesia Archipelago and has a law degree, speaks English and a bit of Spanish, Italian, Malay and Portuguese.
  • Features: 100% private tour with car or minivan and a personal guide at full disposal.
  • Price: usually you pay a small deposit online by credit card as soon as your guide effectively confirms his availability within 48 hours of your booking; the balance is to be paid on the spot in cash directly to the guide; in addition to transportation and a guide the cost includes entrance fees, lunch with non alcoholic drinks and the use of sarongs at temples.
  • Pros: well, there is everything in this tour. Starting from Tanah Lot and Ulun Danu Temple on the shores of Bratan, to the Mount and Lake Batur, and Tegalalang rice terraces, it’s hard to ask for more. In addition, you visit the large complex of Besakih Temple, located outside the central area of Bali to the east of the island, a particular temple that is better to be visited with a guide rather than on your own, in order not to be bothered by shifty guys hanging about outside and inside the temple.
  • Cons: a very long tour, distances between places are considerable, this means a lot of driving time and long hours in your car; even if the continually changing panorama keep your interest alive.
  • Good to know: this private tour can be fully personalized for you. After booking you receive the contacts of your guide, write to him explaining what you want to see; with a small supplement you can include the Kecak dance at Batubulan in the tour, write to Andres in advance.
  • Recommended: if during your holiday in Bali you have only one day at your disposal to explore the interior of the island; and you want to see as much as possible.
  • Video: the great, imposing Besakih temple complex with active Agung Volcano in the background in these nice images courtesy of Bali Go Live:

Important!

  • I am not the organizer of these tours, I do not arrange any of the excursions and day trips you can read about in this blog. And I have never even taken part in them. To write all the guides published in the blog I travel independently arranging all transfers and all visits on my own.
  • But not everybody likes or has the time to study and prepare where to go, what to visit, how to organise things and transportation in advance. So, I have researched and compared tens of guided tours in Bali sold by the main online travel companies and have described the tours which I think are the best and the most complete. The results are the tours presented in this article.  
  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator, Withlocals and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator, Withlocals or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • And, most importantly, the day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email of local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking. Maybe your hotel can help.  
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.

Last Update: May 17th 2019

Creative Commons 2.0 GenericFront cover photo credit: Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Bali, courtesy Sean Hamlin. Photos come from Flickr: Creative Commons Attribution Licensed Photos. Please read here the Summary of the Legal Code. Terms of license are valid at the time of publishing this post.