Listen. I've visited beautiful places today and I definitely recommend you check them out. WITH ANOTHER TOUR COMPANY!
My driver didn't even introduce himself. He gave me one bottle of water and started chatting away. Instead of telling me something new about Bali or the places I went to today, he kept asking questions about my life in London. Even when I explicitly told him I don't live in London and corrected him everytime (about 10 times) he kept saying London like that is the whole of UK and no other city matters. Now listen, I am a narcissist so I will happily chat away about my life, but the least he could do was tell me something new about this gorgeous island or beautiful temples!
We arrived at Tanah Lot early in the morning and there weren't a lot of tourists thankfully. However the driver dropped me there and told me to meet him in the car park in an hour. Oh, I also had to pay for the parking, which it clearly states in the tour description that it is included in the price I paid online. Ummmm okay. I don't mind alone time so I enjoyed walking around. I would have preferred to have someone take pictures of me instead of balancing my phone on wet rocks. But I still enjoyed it. Tanah lot is a stunning temple and has a beautiful view, especially with the waves crashing in the background.
Next up was Jatiluwih rice terrace. Again, absolutely gorgeous place. But again, I had to pay for the parking! My driver just parked and said I have an hour but it would be better if I am quicker because we still have a long day ahead of us. He did mention he used to be a taxi driver, so clearly he is still in that 'take clients from A to B' state of mind. It would have been nice if he actually acted as a guide. Anyway. I rushed my way around Jatiluwih. I was gonna follow all the other tourists down the track, but I didn't know how long the hike would take so I just returned to the car after around 45mins (I was supposed to have an hour).
When I started asking questions about why I am the one paying the parking fees, when they should be included in the tour, the driver said something like "oh just here, next I pay". And then 5 mins later he said he will give me the money as he doesn't want me to complain to the company. Cool story bro.
We made our way to Wanagiri Hidden Hills and the panorama from the top is so beautiful. Plus there are lots of fun photo opportunities. Again, I was just dropped there and was told I have half an hour. Thankfully there are a couple employees at Wanagiri who help tourists take photos. It was weird though, seeing all other people with their guides and me being all by myself trying to find someone to take a picture of me!
We arrived at Handara gate just after 1pm. There was a queue and my driver suggested I just take pictures from outside and skip the line. Yeah, not gonna happen buddy. I waited in the queue for an hour, in the sun, while he was chilling in the car. Whatever. But when it was my turn I asked him to come help me take the photos and I told him exactly what my vision for the pictures is. I also asked him to just keep taking pictures without doing all the "one two three snap" thing. So here is where 2/5* go out the window. He took a whole 7 pictures of me even though I was posing for a long time. And they are so BAD!!! He really doesn't know how to angle a phone to take pictures. He only managed to capture about 2/3 of Handara Gate. Yep. He didn't get the whole thing up to the top. Instead half of the pictures real estate is taken by the ROAD. If I wanted a picture of a road, I would have stayed in my own country!!!! I felt and still feel so disappointed about this!!! All the other guides I had on previous days from other tour companies took amazing pictures of me. This guy was just taxi-ing me around. What a shame. I should have been smart and go sit in the queue again and make him take the pictures again. But I didn't want to wait in the sun for another hour. And yes, I say this guy cause at this point I still had no ides what his name was! And yup, i totally am the kind of person who will leave a negative review because of a few unsuccessful photos. Before this happened I was debating whether I should or not, but when I saw that all of my pictures from Handara Gate are ABSOLUTELY RUBBISH, I realized that I better give people a heads up. I have 7 pictures of me standing in the middle of a road, instead of having 7 pictures standing in the middle of Handara Gate!
Last stop was the ulun danu bratan temple. When we got there I was already feeling iffy so I just asked him how much time I've got as soon as he entered the car park. He said 40 minutes (it should have been 1hour according to the itinerary so bye bye another star rating for rushing me around). This is also a beautiful temple with a lake and mountains in the background. I would have liked to chill out a bit more there.
And another star rating is going out the window because this tour is overpriced for what it is. I knew from the beginning that entrances fees or a meal are not included (I do read the fine prints) and I still went ahead and booked it. I figured it wouldn't be too bad. But considering how my previous day trips included everything for a lot cheaper, I feel like for £56 I should at least have had lunch included. Or forget lunch and include the attraction tickets in the price. Greedy lil tour operator, heh?
Ohhh, lets not forget. The tour name explicitly says "free WiFi". So when I finished at the Ulun Danu Bratan temple and we started heading back towards my hotel, I asked my driver (still didn't know his name at this point) if I can connect to WiFi. I felt like I was rushed around and the tour finished earlier than it should have so I wanted to check online, as my paper voucher doesn't mention how many hours it is supposed to last. The guy started driving and just handed me his phone saying he doesn't know how to set it up. Which in normal circumstances that would be fine by me. Except his phone is in Indonesian, which I don't speak, and for the life of me I couldn't find anything that said "hot spot" or that had the hot spot sign. I told him I can't understand the language and he was trying to figure it out... while driving. I told him that I will just use Wifi when I get back to the hotel and that he should focus on driving.
When I got back to my room I checked online and it says it's a 10hour tour. Yet I arrived back after 9hours15minutes. Because this dude kept rushing me around!
So to sum this up... the places I've visited today are gorgeous. But the trip is overpriced and the driver I had should have stuck to being a taxi driver. I don't think he quite grasps what being a tour guide means. Plus the rushing around and trying to make me pay for parking!!! (He did eventually give me the money back for the parking fees at Tanah Lot and Jatiluwih). Because I had a rubbish driver, this tour only deserves 1*. There are so many drivers and tour operators in Bali that this one is just not worth recommending! When I arrived back at the hotel I had to ask the to whatsapp me his name just to know who I am reviewing. His name is Alex apparently.
Alex matie boy, go back to driving taxis. Being a tour guide is not for you dear.