My initial plan was for my driver Gobby who you met in my 48 hours in Seminyak post to drive me around for a day to visit all the cool temples, rice fields and other attractions which are located outside in various parts of ubud and best reached by car. Unfortunately Goby wasn't available that day so I decided to book a group tour with the help of the owners of my Homestay.
The tour started in the morning and finished at 7pm, it included 6 stops and cost me the equivalent of $28 AUD + entry fee costs of the various temples (average of $2-$3 AUD per temple).
Below are the stops included in the tour.
SACRED MONKEY FOREST
Another day, another monkey encounter. The monkeys here were as cheeky as the ones at the Monkey Forest in Ubud...but they were also just as cute. Many of them had babies and I spent the entire time trying to capture them with my camera. I also managed to have my picture taken with one of them on my shoulder!
Me trying my hardest to look cool and relaxed with a monkey on my shoulder. Safe to say I won't be winning an Oscar for that performance in this lifetime.
TAMAN AYUN TEMPLE
This temple is located near the village of Mengzi. Surrounded by gardens and ponds it has a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. The buildings, with what I can only describe as a 'Christmas Tree' like appearance are unique in their architecture and provide you with a good reminder that you are indeed in Bali!
One of the most popular and visited Temples in Bali, Tanah Lot is located on the shore and is famous for it's stunning backdrop, especially at sunset.
TEGAL SARI - COFFEE PLANTATION
The stop at the coffee plantation was really insightful. They walked us through the coffee farm and explained how these little guys (picture below) are used to produce some of the most luxurious and expensive coffee in the world. The animals will eat the coffee bean but only digest the outer layer, the farmers will then harvest the centre of the coffee beans once they have been pooped out.
Above shows one of the workers hand roasting the beans.
The tour included a sit down tasting session of the different coffees and teas produced on the farm. My favourite was the coconut flavoured coffee, it was so delicious that I went ahead and bought some from the shop at the end of the tour ($6 AUD)
ULUN DANU BRATAN TEMPLE
This temple is set on she shores of Lake Bratan and is probably the most picturesque of the temples we visited during the tour. The smooth lake water surrounding the temple creates the illusion that the temple is floating, making it a photographer's dream....unfortunately the temple was extremely busy when I went, this made it difficult to get a shot of the temple that didn't include tourists, let alone one that was perfectly positioned to show the reflection.
UMA LUANG SARI
Our lunch stop was a special one..not for the food - which although edible was nothing special, but for the views from the venue.
The restaurant was called Uma Luang Sari and the only lunchtime option available was a buffet lunch. The food wasn't very well presented nor very tasty, but the culinary disappointment was outweighed by the gorgeous views of the surrounding rice terraces.
In all honesty I didn't particularly like our driver or his driving skills, which is why I will not recommend the tour company I used, however, if you are a solo traveller I would recommend doing a group tour. It gives you a chance to make friends and makes it easier to have your picture taken as your fellow group members will be keen to take your picture in exchange for you taking theirs - Fair deal! It is also cheaper than paying for a private driver (almost half the price) and will give you the chance to see a lot of the main attractions in a short period of time.
Have you visited or are planning to visit any of the places I mentioned? Let me know in the comments below!