This was our first day trip with our wonderful host, Ayu (when we met her and asked her name, she said “Ayu— like ‘how ah you?”). We had told her we wanted to hike Mt. Batur (after some research it seemed doable and Abe really wanted to do it). Some miscommunication happened (or our host just knew better) and she drove us to see sunrise views of Mt. Batur, Mt. Agung, and one other mountain that isn’t a volcano and is just a mountain but I can’t find the name. When we saw these amazing views I started to think “wow wouldn’t it be great if we could just sit in the car and see this rather than hiking it.” And a few minutes later Abe typed on his phone saying “I’m not 100% sure she is taking us to the trailhead but I’m totally fine just going with it.” YES. What a good decision. Thank you miscommunication and thank you Ayu. The views are unreal and absolutely breathtaking.
We stopped at a small restaurant that didn’t really look like it was open but Ayu talked to the owner and they brought us some fresh mango juice (which was very very syrup-y) and some fried banana. The views and the drive were so worth it that it didn’t even matter we didn’t get breakfast. After that Ayu took us down to the lake at the base of Mt. Batur. We pulled off the side of the road and walked to the beginning of the lake. What was interesting was that there were plants planted all the way up to the lake water. Again the views, incredible.
After this she took us to a temple on the lake. This temple on the lake in the morning has to be my favorite thing we’ve done in Bali so far. It was so peaceful and so magical. Ayu brought sarongs for us to wear to be able to walk around. She took some pictures for us. Really this entire morning day trip was simply magical. I would 10/10 recommend going to the temple on the lake in the early morning. It already isn’t very touristy, but the mist coming off of the lake and the mountains in the background… so amazing.
Once we finished at the temple Ayu dropped us off at the hot spring. I was thinking it was going to be a natural hot spring that we had to hike to. But not at all. There was a huge resort built around this natural hot spring! It felt pretty odd and I kept thinking the whole time “this place is so weird!” but the hot springs were fun to swim in and they made one of the pools go right up to the edge of the lake. So infinity pool status. Which was way cool. Unfortunately Stella started getting tired and we were pretty hungry (lack of breakfast hitting us hard), so we decided to leave. Abe says he would have liked to stay longer and I think I agree as long as we weren’t hungry and Stella didn’t need a nap. There was a fee to get into this resort, but it wasn’t much. A lot of the things we have done in Bali there is some sort of entrance fee since so much of the island relies on tourism, but the cost is so affordable.
The day doesn’t end there! Ayu then drove us to the Tegallalang Rice Terraces and Stella fell asleep in the car. Ayu drove us to a restaurant overlooking the rice terraces and offered to hold Stella while we ate/she napped. We successfully transferred her to Ayu’s arms and she held her the entire time we ate lunch! We ordered Stella some food for take away and enjoyed a pretty normal lunch but with great views. I’ll write more about the rice terraces in Bali in a separate post.
And that was the end of day tour day ONE. An amazing day.
A lot of people in Bali do what Ayu does, day tours like the one I just described. The cost was 600,000 rupiah which is $42 USD. Which includes everything we did that day, gas, air conditioned car, stress free navigation,etc. The only thing it doesn’t cover is the fees to get into the hot springs, or a donation for a temple. This is definitely the way to see Bali. Believe me you do not want to try to drive on these roads. Maybe a scooter, but even then the car/driver situation is so affordable and so stress-free. The roads here are INSANE. They aren’t big enough for two cars to fit going either direction, people are constantly pulling over or parked in the middle of the road. Scooters going around you, no traffic signs, people passing each other constantly. Dogs laying in the middle of the street all the time. Really it is absolutely insane. Thankful for Ayu and her driving skills! Another plus of having a local Balinese driver is they tell you all about the culture as you drive. Answering any questions you have and bringing up interesting things you see as you drive. Let me know if you go to Bali and want to hire Ayu, I know she would be more than grateful for your business and to share her culture with more people!
Thanks for reading!