Disclaimer: I was a guest of Urban Adventures on their Total Bali Food Tour. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Lush green rice terraces, hipster cafes, Instagram swings, and great spas… that’s what you think of when you think of Bali, right? I did, too, until I actually got there. Bali is so much more than what you see on Instagram, and the Total Bali Food Tour that I took with Urban Adventures really showed me that.
Yes, there are rice terraces, cafes, and the rest. But there’s also a vibrant local life that continues on right under our noses. People actually harvesting the rice from those terraces. Rich religious celebrations. Tiny warungs (local restaurants) tucked away on busy tourist streets. And we got a peek of it all.
What is the Total Bali Food Tour?
In the Hidden Rice Terraces tour, you’re brought first to a local market for a short tour (with the opportunity to try a few fruits), and then take a leisurely hike through the rice fields of Kerobokan with your local guide, learning all about how rice is harvested and the local farmers’ lives.
The Eat Street tour is even more food based, and involves hopping around different restaurants in the Seminyak area to try a bunch of Balinese food, including the famous Babi Guling (suckling pig).
You can take either tour on their own and have a great time, but the Total Bali Food Tour combines them for the ultimate Bali food extravaganza. So you know that it was calling my name 😉
Getting to the Meeting Point
The meeting point for the Total Bali Food Tour is at the Bali Urban Adventures’ office, about a 15-minute scooter ride from Canggu. If you’re not in possession of your own scooter, or are a bit farther away, then I suggest using Grab (basically Uber) to book a car to take you to the office.
I made my way there on my scooter from Canggu, and got there about 5 minutes before the tour was supposed to start. And… could hardly find the office. I actually had to call them through WhatsApp to figure out where it was (find all the VW Kombis and go up the stairs).
And when I did finally find the office… there was no one there. So I had to call again.
Turned out that my booking had somehow not made it all the way through to the local office, so they thought that there were only 2 guests and simply took off when they got there! Oops.
So I waited patiently while they finished up their short tour of the local market and came back to get me for the rest. I was pretty upset about this, but obviously it was a technical failure that wasn’t really their fault (this wasn’t even the only time this happened to me in Bali), and they were kind enough to return to the local market for another walk-through with me, so I didn’t actually miss out on anything!
Trekking Through Rice Fields
Once my guide and tour mates (a lovely Australian couple) rolled back up to the Urban Adventures offices in their sick VW Kombi (the transportation of choice for all Bali Urban Adventures tours), we donned our hats and bamboo hiking sticks and set off for a short trek through the rice fields of Kerobokan.
Our first stop was at Pura Pagulin Subak, the community’s subak agricultural temple and a gathering place for the farmers.
From there, we stepped into the rice fields, where we walked in between the rice paddies as our guide told us all about the lives of the farmers in the area and how the subak irrigation system works. He pointed out the small structures in the fields where the farmers rest during the middle of the day, and we waved at farmers as they finished up their work for the day.
It was a super easy walk through the rice fields, about 2kms. Our feet definitely got wet though, so be sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty & wet!
Visiting a Local Market
At the end of our walk through the rice fields, we were met by our driver in a classic VW Kombi. Thankfully, no one minded heading back to the market for a quick stop, since I had missed this beforehand, so this is where we went next!
The local market was tucked away in & around an old warehouse. Piles of fruit, offerings, and other wares made up the majority of the stalls, and kids and street dogs ran around playing.
We picked out a few fun fruits that you don’t see often in the US, including snake fruit, to try, which made for interesting but delicious experiences!
Our guide explained so much about how the market worked and about Balinese culture in general, and I felt so grateful that we were able to go back to the market. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to miss this!
Eat Street Local Food Tour
After the market, it was on to the next part of our Total Bali Food Tour: the Eat Street Local Food Tour! This tour (like all Urban Adventures tours) is all about getting off-the-beaten-path and trying local food in the places where only locals go to eat – and it definitely delivered!
First up on our Bali food tour was a stop at a roadside ‘cafe’ that specializes in what is perhaps Bali’s most famous dish: babi guling. This rotisserie-cooked suckling pig is a very popular dish during holidays in Bali.
Our guide went up to the counter while we settled in and came back with platters full of different parts of the pig, including the absolutely delicious pork crackling.
Every little bit was so totally delicious that I felt like I was in heaven – and I definitely didn’t want to leave! Unfortunately, it was soon time to head on to our next stop. But thankfully the next stop had deliciousness in store as well.
We hopped back into the VW Kombi to head down to the largest local ‘Eat Street’ in Bali for our second stop: a secret warung tucked behind a major tourist area in a car park.
Here we sampled soto ayam (chicken noodle soup) and grilled chicken, and were left feeling far too stuffed to eat anything more. Our guide also grabbed a menu and explained all of the different kinds of food that people usually eat in Bali, including nasi goreng and satay.
For our last stop of the tour, we walked a ways down the street to grab dessert. And you can trust that even though we were all stuffed, our dessert stomachs still had room!
Martabak Manis are basically like super thick pancakes cooked over hot coals in an earthenware pot. We ordered our toppings from a huge list of options, and I went with banana and Toblerone – yum! It was so cool being able to watch our desserts get cooked right in front of us as well.
After we finished up our final dish of the night, it was time to head home. Our guide pointed the Australian couple in the direction of their hotel, which turned out to be only a short walk away from where the tour ended, and I jumped back in the Kombi for a ride back to their office, where my scooter was.
Total Bali Food Tour FAQ
How much does the Total Bali Food Tour Cost?
The Total Bali Food Tour costs $62/person. You can book your tickets through Urban Adventures’ website. Don’t forget to use code ADDIE for 10% off!
What does the tour include?
The tour includes babi guling, soto ayam, and martabak manis, as well as an English-speaking local guide for your entire tour and transport in a restored VW Kombi.
What does the tour not include?
The tour does not include any other food you wish to buy, souvenirs, and tips/gratuities for your guide.
Where does the Total Bali Food Tour meet?
The tour meets at the Bali Urban Adventures office in Kerobokan. Their address is Kampoeng Peti Kemas, Jl Raya Kedampang, Kerobokan in the only shipping container on the road.
You’ll see a sign for Urban Adventures on the side of the road. From there, walk down the side of the shipping container building to where a bunch of VW Kombis are parked. Then, head up the stairs and you’ll find the Urban Adventures office!
How do I get to the meeting point?
If you have a scooter and are located nearby (e.g. in Canggu or Seminyak), then it’s a really easy drive to the Urban Adventures office. Otherwise, you can easily get a metered taxi with Blue Bird taxis or use Grab or Gojek to book an Uber-style scooter ride.
Final Thoughts on the Total Bali Food Tour with Urban Adventures
Despite a few bumps in the road at the start, I really loved my experience on the Total Bali Food Tour and would highly recommend it! Unlike a lot of tours in Bali which just tick of the major Instagram spots, this tour is all about getting off-the-beaten-path, experiencing local life, and tasting great food! If those are the sorts of things you like to do when you travel, this this tour should be a no-brainer.
Don’t forget to use code ADDIE for 10% off your tour when you book through the Urban Adventures’ website! (Note: you can use this code on any Urban Adventures tour around the world.)