Curious as how to spend one of our open days, my travel buddy and I decided to book a private day trip exploring around Ubud, Bali. We ended up booking our trip with Bali Special Tours; our awesome tour guide was named Agus. A wonderful young fella that was a joy to travel around with.
Agus showed us local temples, secret waterfalls, popular rice terraces, and more. And the best part? Split between the two of us, it was only around $23 per person (not including the entrance fees, which were around $10 – I don’t even think that much).
So, at 8:30 in the morning, Agus picked us up from our homestay; we hopped in his comfortable – and perfectly air conditioned – SUV and headed off to our first destination.
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Stop #1: The Tegenungan Waterfall.
The entrance fee into the waterfall was IDR 10,000 (about $.75 USD) and we arrived there at around 9 in the morning, which was seriously the perfect time. When we got there, hardly any visitors were wandering around but when we were leaving, a large group of people were walking to the waterfall.
Stop #2: The Goa Gajah Temple (or the Elephant Cave Temple).
This temple is a combined Hindu and Buddhist temple that is pretty cool, although I didn’t find it as amazing as I thought it would be. The best part is by far the area near the Buddhist temple (in my opinion).
The temple is called the Elephant Cave temple because there’s a large cave engraved with what seems to be an elephant around the entrance, which is said to be dedicated to the elephant headed Hindu God Lord Ganesh.
The area heading down to the Buddhist part of the temple is amazingly green and beautiful. Nature has taken over part of the place and has transformed it into something magical. In this area, there’s a large tree wrapped in cloth that has consumed part of the pathway; it’s over a thousand years old and is worshipped as a holy tree.
Stop #3: Tegalalang Rice Terraces.
Which are super duper popular so make sure to come early (we didn’t and there were an abundance of people, despite what it may look like in the photos below). I’ve seen the rice terraces in a multitude of pictures while researching what to do in Bali and I must say, they are beautiful but not as beautiful as they are portrayed (but that’s my own fault – my expectations were too high).
And you have to pay to get into the area, as well as pay the family to get into the rice terraces. So you have to pay twice while there, unless you decide to go further down the road, where it looks as though you don’t have to pay at all. Hmph.
Read more: My First 36 Hours in Bali, Indonesia
At this point, we were having the best time exploring around Ubud with Agus. He’s in his mid-20s and knows everything about the area! Seriously an awesome tour guide.
Our fourth stop was at another temple nearby… but alas, fate didn’t want me to go to anymore temples this day. When we arrived, there was a sign that said, “woman who are menstruating are strictly forbidden from entering the temple.”
Literally, the word ‘strictly’ was underlined. Lol.
And as life would have it, I was on my period. And I didn’t want to offend their religion or have bad karma for the rest of my life, so I was honest and told Agus the situation. We ended up getting our entrance fee money back and heading to our next destination: a Luwak Coffee Plantation.
Stop #4: Luwak Coffee Plantation.
Which was our actual fourth stop; probably my favorite out of all the places we visited.
We ended up visiting the Ubud Sari Luwak Plantation and it was awesome. A nice lady met us at the entrance and showed us around, explaining what plants were what, how the beans are processed, and how the Luwaks had a part in making the coffee.
So, what I learned from my time there is that the Luwak is a small animal that sort of looks like a cat (it’s pretty cute), which eats the natural coffee bean and then poops it out. The poo coffee bean is then cleaned and roasted into high quality coffee – which actually isn’t that tasty, just slightly less bitter than regular coffee. Although it isn’t that great, Luwak coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world.
In addition to learning about the coffee process, my travel buddy and I also got to test an array of different teas and coffee blends. We tried ginger, lemongrass, and red ginger tea; coconut, vanilla, and Bali coffee; coffee with raw cacao powder, and more. It was awesome. The only thing we had to pay for was the special cup of Luwak coffee, which was IDR 50,000 (about $3.25 USD).
While we were there, I fell in love with the Bali coffee that had powdered coconut and soy milk in it with sugar; I ended up buying a bag of it for my travels for IDR 240,000. Kind of expensive but it’s absolutely delicious.
Stop #5: A secret waterfall named the Tibumana waterfall.
It’s couple hours away from the center of Ubud. To get into the waterfall area, we had to pay IDR 10,000 ($.75 USD) but was absolutely worth it. It was gorgeous and another favorite destination whilst exploring around Ubud!
But that’s not even the best part! There were only four people there when we arrived and only about four more people visited while we were there. So awesome. At one point, we had the entire waterfall to ourselves. We spent about an hour there, swimming around and taking sweet pics.
The Tibumana waterfall was our last stop of the day and to be honest, we were exhausted! It was a pretty event-filled day. All in all, we literally spent the entire day with Agus; about 8 hours of traveling around, from 8:30 am to 5 pm. It was one of the best days I’ve had in Indonesia so far! So much fun and all for a reasonable price. Can’t get any better than that!
So, if you happen to be in Ubud and are looking to do a private day trip, I’d 100% recommend Bali Special Tours with Agus. I’m *pretty* sure he manages the company himself and takes everyone on the tours, which is great because it gives the tour that special touch. He really is an amazing person who just wants all of his customers to have the best day ever.
We had the best time exploring around Ubud with him. Thanks Agus!
P.S. If you’re traveling around Bali with the kids in tow and have another free day, why not check out the amazing waterpark on the island, Waterbom Bali? One of the best waterparks in all of Asia and no doubt will be an awesome memory!
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