Bali tours are the best solution for those who are short on time and want to visit the island’s essential destinations or for those who don’t want to rent (or are afraid of renting) a motorbike in Bali.
In this article, you will learn about the day-trip tours in Bali that allow you to experience the main places to visit in Bali in only 4 days. In addition, I’ll recommend the order to take these top-rated Bali tours in order to get the most out of the pickup service that most of these excursions include and the best areas to stay in Bali to save time between tours.
Apart from those 4 main excursions in Bali, I will recommend other tours you can add later to visit some of the most important attractions in Bali.
Most of them are Private Bali tours, but I’ll also recommend some small group Bali tours powered by top tour operators & local travel companies.
Best Bali Tours for those who are short on time
If you’re traveling to Bali for a short period of time and want to see the main attractions, check out these four recommended Bali day tours. I’ve ordered them by relevance according to my personal opinion. If you’re doing a 3-day Bali itinerary, you can do the first three Bali activities mentioned below.
Ubud and Central Bali Tour
Places visited: Ubud + Tegalalang + Tirta Empul + Goa Gajah
Language: English-speaking tour guide
Price: $84.50 per group of up to 5 people (Check availability)
Itinerary: On the way to Ubud, you will stop in Batubulan to witness a traditional Barong dance and in Batuan to see a traditional Balinese house.
Once in Ubud, you’ll visit the famous Ubud Palace, where the royal family still lives, the Ubud Traditional Art Market, the best place to buy local art, and Pura Taman Saraswati. Additionally, you’ll visit the Monkey Forest where you can meet the funny monkeys that live there.
After lunch, you’ll visit the Tegalalang rice fields, where you can take a photo of one of the best-known postcards of Bali, the rice terraces, and visit the Tirta Empul temple, a very sacred place. The Balinese go to this temple to purify themselves with the sacred water that comes out of 12 pipes located on a stone pool.
Finally, you will visit the Goa Gajah temple, known as the Cave of the Elephant, which is renowned for its entrance that simulates the jaws of an evil monster.
Tips: Take this tour as soon as you arrive in Bali. It includes pickup, so if you’re in the south area where the Denpasar airport is, you will be transferred to the island’s center, saving the price of the transfer to Ubud.
If you’re doing a Bali 7-day itinerary, I recommend you ask at the end of the tour if they can drop you off in Ubud instead of returning to Denpasar, which will leave you the next day to enjoy other things to do in Ubud before hiring the next tour.
In the event that you don’t have enough time to spend a day off, I also recommend that you stay at one of the wonderful hotels of Ubud at the end of the previous tour, since you’ll be closer to the places you’ll visit on the next Bali day tour.
EASTERN BALI EXCURSION
For the second day Bali excursions, there are two options. The first one is a Bali small group tour that will take you to three of the most important temples on the island, while the second option, a private Bali Tour, will take you to only one of those temples as well as a waterfall and a traditional village.
Personally, I prefer the first tour, considering that the visit to the two temples, which is missing from the second Bali excursion, seems like something very interesting to do in Bali. Furthermore, you can still visit the most popular waterfall on the island during the Bali tour that I suggest for the third day.
Bali Tour 1st option
Places visited: Lempuyang Temple + Tirta Gangga + Besakih Temple
Price: $73.19 per person (Check availability)
Itinerary: Your guide will pick you up at the hotel to start your trip to Bali’s eastern area. The first stop on this Bali excursion is the Lempuyang temple. Good physical condition is required, as the tour involves walking and hiking up steps at this temple. Its most famous feature is the “Gate of Heaven,” from which you can see incredible views of Mount Agung.
The next visit will be to the Tirta Gangga palace, which stands out for its gardens full of fountains, pools and stone statues. The landmark of this garden is a pond where you can walk on small platforms as if you were walking over the water.
After lunch, you will go to the Mother Temple, Pura Besakih, the largest and most sacred temple of the island, which is one of the essential places to visit in Bali. The complex comprises 22 different temples and is one of the highlights of this Bali tour.
Bali Tour 2nd option
Places visited: Gianyar market + Penglipuran village + Besakih + Tukad Cepung
Price: $84.50 per group of up to 5 people (Check availability)
Itinerary: You will be picked up at your hotel to visit the Gianyar market first, where you can taste the local cuisine. After that, you’ll go to the traditional village of Penglipuran, where vehicles are not allowed, as they try to preserve the ancestral traditions. There, you’ll visit a bamboo forest, one of the most important Balinese resources, used for the construction of Balinese houses and buildings.
To end the morning you will visit some of the 22 temples of Besakih and have lunch at the village of Redang.
In the afternoon, you can refresh yourself at a hidden waterfall inside a cave in Tukad Cepung.
Tips: Regardless of the Bali tour option you choose, in order to make the most of your time, I recommend you stay in Ubud that night, so ask your Bali private driver to take you back to this city.
Bali Tours with Local Private Tour Guides to the main highlights
Places visited: NungNung Waterfalls + Ulun Danu Beratan + Jatiluwih Rice Fields + Tanah Lot
Language: Good English Speaking Tour Guide in Bali
Price: $90.20 per group of up to 5 people (check availability)
Itinerary: Once the driver picks you up at the hotel, the first stop will be Nungnung waterfall, one of the most spectacular spots on the island, with a 230-foot drop. Additionally, it’s perfect for taking a bath because there’s a deep pool at the base of the waterfall.
Later, you’ll visit one of the icons you can’t miss on your trip to Bali, the Ulun Danu Beratan temple, floating on Lake Batran. This is, with no doubt, one of the most photographed images of the island.
Next, you will visit the Jatiluwih rice fields, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and where you can appreciate the beauty of the rice terraces. If you are doing this Bali activity during the best time to go to Bali, these fields will be a very intense green color.
Finally, you’ll head south to see one of the most awe-inspiring Bali temples, Tanah Lot. Located on an islet a few feet from the sea, it is only accessible at low tide at dusk. From here, you can see an amazing sunset that I encourage you to enjoy with a corncob roasted with hot sauce. You can find this delicacy in the many food stalls around the temple.
Tips: At the end of this Bali tour, I recommend you stay in one of the amazing Bali hotels that are in Canggu or Seminyak to reduce travel time the next day.
Also, the activity that I suggest for the fourth day is a Bali half-day tour, leaving the morning free to visit Canggu beach ( a popular surfers’ destination with a very interesting atmosphere) or to visit Seminyak beach (where you can relax in one of its popular Beach Clubs).
South of Bali Excursions
Places visited: Padang Padang Beach + Luhur Uluwatu Temple+ Kecak dance + Jimbaran Beach
Price: $62 per group of up to 5 people (check availability)
Itinerary: The first stop on this tour is the Pedang Pedang beach, which was popularized by the movie “Eat Pray Love”.
Afterwards, you’ll visit the Luhur Uluwatu temple, located on a cliff 230 feet above the sea; it is one of the most curious temples in Bali. From here, you can enjoy an incredible sunset, since the temple is located east of the Bukit Badung peninsula, so you can see how the sun sets over the horizon on the sea.
At dusk, you will enjoy a Kecak show, Bali’s most famous traditional dance where men seem to go into trance as they sing by the fire together, which accompanies the rhythmical movement of the Balinese dancers.
Finally, you will visit the Jimbaran cliffs and have dinner in one of the best places to have seafood and fresh fish in Bali.
Tips: The other Bali Tours you can do the next day mainly start from Seminyak and Kuta, so I would advise staying in this area.
The Best Day Trips To Go on From Bali
If you are spending 10 days in Bali or more, most people choose to visit some of the Indonesian islands accessible from Bali by ferry. These are the best excursions from Bali to other popular islands:
Nusa Islands from Bali Excursions
These three islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida, belong to Bali and are very close to the main island. The NUSA islands stand out for their incredible seabeds, mangroves, and idyllic beaches, so this is one of the best day excursions from Bali.
Self Guided Nusa Penida tour from Bali
If you want to take a self-guided tour from Bali, you can take a Ferry to Nusa Lembongan, which is connected to Ceningan by bridge, and from there, take a local boat to Nusa Penida or take ferry to Nusa Penida directly.
2-Day Nusa Penida & Lembongan Tour FROM BALI
However, if you want to go with a guide and have the advantages of a small group Bali tour, I recommend this 2-day Nusa tour from Bali.
During the first day of the tour, you will snorkel in three different areas of the island, with the possibility of seeing manta rays, turtles, and many colorful fish. After lunch, there is a tour around the mangroves to visit the most iconic places in Nusa Lembongan: Panorama Point, Devil’s Tears Cliff, and Dream Beach.
In the afternoon, they’ll provide you with a scooter so that you can travel the rest of the island at your own pace and go, if you wish, to visit the island of Nusa Ceningan by crossing the Yellow Bridge.
On the second day, you’ll be picked up from the hotel to visit Nusa Penida, where you’ll visit the famous Kelingking beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Bali.
After that, you will go to Pasih Uug and Angel’s Billabong natural pool before heading to Bali. This is, without questions, one of the best activities in Bali.
1-day Nusa Islands tours from Bali
If you can’t spend two days on the Nusa Islands, I recommend that you take a day trip to swim with manta rays.
Tours from Bali to the Gili Islands
Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan and Gili Air, known as the Gili Islands, are three tiny islands that lie off the coast of Lombok. Although these islands do not belong to Bali, the short distance from the Gili Islands to Bali makes the visit one of the most popular excursions from Bali.
Self-guided Gili islands tour from Bali
Take a ferry to Gili Trawangan or Gili Air and explore them on your own.
In terms of which Gili Island to visit, consider that Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular for its nightlife and vibrant atmosphere, while Gili Air is smaller and quieter. The latter is where couples often spend their honeymoons, since you can find some of the best villas in Bali here; however, the prices of accommodation are higher than in the rest of the Gili Islands.
For snorkeling, all the islands are a great option.
3-day Gili Island Tour from Bali
If you prefer to take a small group Bali tour to the Gili Islands, this is the best excursion.
After being picked up at your Bali hotel, you will be taken by ferry to Gili Trawangan. Once there, you’ll stay at a beachfront resort and have the day off to explore the island by bike or to snorkel, with high chances of seeing sea turtles if you do it in the location shown in our Gili Trawangan guide. At dusk, head to the west of the island to enjoy an amazing sunset.
The next day, you’ll go by boat to snorkel at three different points on Gili Air and swim with giant tortoises. In the afternoon, you’ll be taken to a resort on Gili Air and you’ll have the rest of the day free to explore the island on your own.
On the last day, you can get up early to enjoy the incredible sunrise from Gili Air and take one last bath before saying goodbye to the Gili Islands.
Excursion from Bali to Lombok
There are many activities to do in Lombok, such as the popular trekking to Rinjani volcano in two days. However, these tours are not organized by Bali tour operators, so you must take a ferry from Bali to Lombok.
Bali tours for the most adventurous travelers
If you’re an adrenaline junkie and want to make the most of your trip to Bali, these are the best Bali excursions you should go on. If you do, make sure to buy good travel insurance to Bali before you go.
Sunrise tour at Batur Volcano
If you like adventure and natural landscapes, you cannot miss this tour. They’ll pick you up at your hotel to take you to the slopes of the Batur volcano, where you’ll start your way up. Although it’s not a strenuous hike, it’s necessary to be in good physical condition. Before the sun rises, you should be at the top, where you’ll see the beginning of a new day while eating banana pancakes and eggs cooked with volcanic steam.
Rafting on the Ayung River
The Ayung River is perfect for rafting throughout the year, with a class IV rating during monsoon season and a class II rating during the rest of the year. During the tour, which takes approximately two hours, you can see the natural scenery, wildlife, and exotic plants of Bali.
Diving in Tulamben Bay
On this Bali tour, you can marvel at the seabed of Bali while diving. One of the most incredible places to dive on the island is Tulamben Bay, where you can see blue manta rays, along with octopuses, scorpion fish, tiger fish and moray eels.
You can also see the remains of the USAT Liberty, a shipwreck, close by.
If you do not have previous experience with diving, you should start with this tour, which is valid as a credit for the PADI diver course in the open sea. If you are already a certified diver, then this is your tour.
Whether you’re going to do extreme sports or not, I recommend you buy travel insurance for Indonesia. I had to use it when some monkeys bit me in the Monkey Forest of Ubud. Here you can find a 5% discount to get the cheapest travel insurance.
Other guided tours in Bali
These other guided tours in Bali can be interesting if you have more time there and want to learn a little more about the culture of the island.
Denpasar guided tour
During this guided tour around the capital of Bali, your
guide will take you to the Bali Museum, where you’ll learn more about the history of the island and can find a collection of impressive prehistoric art.
The next stop will be the Badung market, which operates 24 hours a day, where you will find all kinds of local food.
Finally, you’ll visit the artistic center of Bajra Sandhi, where you’ll find wood carvings and Balinese works of art.
Guided visit to the traditional village of Penglipuran
If you choose the first option for the tour on the second day, you’ll miss the guided tour to the Penglipuan traditional village and to the Tukad Cepung waterfall; you can take this tour afterward that also includes a visit to the Bali Swing, a swing hanging by a 98-foot rope in the dense Balinese jungle.
Other activities in Bali
Finally, these are other Bali activities that you might find interesting:
- Biking tour to Tegalalang rice fields from Ubud
- Balinese cooking class
- Balinese Wedding – Get married in Bali
- Bali Waterfalls Tour
- Floating breakfast in Ubud and balloon ride
I hope that these Bali tours save you time and money. Don’t forget to come back here to tell us how your experience was.
Bali Tours Video
Before you go, I’ll leave you with some of the essentials for your trip to Bali: