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Bali -- I think it's changed a lot since 2007, hasn't it?

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marmot, you may remember my first post from Bali in 2007 -- it was *so* deserted -- very few tourists. A lot of building starting but the tourists had not started to come back, really. It was hard to find a recent guide book. I have a funny feeling that it is going to be very very different now.
so, a few questions. we are by necessity staying a few too many nights in Jimbaran -- so I'm assuming I'll be doing extra car/drive days to really see what Seminyak has become if I feel like doing that kind of shopping/eating/maybe one night night clubbing.
other thoughts for day trips are:
east bali -- do I really want to deal with the mother temple, or rather spend the day driving to Sidemen and some of the other areas -- this was on my list: Iseh, Sidemen, Tirtanganga, Taman Ujung, Taman Gili
do I want to do a day trip snorkeling to Padang Bai? can do from Jimbaran as a day trip too I've found
do I want to head north and west for a day?
we went to the lake temple -- went to the one above the volcano -- did not go to the bali aga village or out on that lake (the idea of anywhere with a lot of touts just makes me cringe)
I found a day tour into an area of east bali with an organization that is doing water reclamation work with villagers -- perhaps that would be more interesting? I would give my eye teeth to do another drawing class with kids somewhere ...
shopping -- I have no need for more kitsch or home decoration objects -- I do enjoy seeing unique local designers -- seems some of those shops are seminyak/kerbokan
we bailed on the John Hardy tour last time and from the photos of the complex, this was something we should have done -- but there is also a new sustainable cocoa farm and the green school near ubud -- so much to possibly see. had thought on our transfer from Jimbaran to Sayan day to possibly go to Prapen in Celuk, do John Hardy for lunch and buy something, go to the green school tour in the afternoon?
I'm rambling -- but I do need to flesh this out some and for some reason, am a bit at sea -- so advice welcomed. we have putu for 3 days -- so will need to fill in around that at the beginning -- am wondering if I should just ask putu to recommend someone? My experience, btw in many places with "just going with the flow" and getting someone locally has been disastrous -- spent most of those days trying to get to go where I wanted and not to some relative's shop
dinners out -- is the one at the old Ritz now renamed (fusion food) any good? and with things not being slow like they were on 2007 -- should I be asking the concierge to make some reservations already? (mozaic this time for sure ...)
thank you !!

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    jen, I'm afraid I've become even more provincial and can only provide reliable advice on my Seminyak neighborhood. I just don't do much touring in Bali anymore. I'm like the New Yorker who's never been to the statue of liberty. :)

    In my opinion the best restaurants are Sardine and Sarong, followed closely by Metis. La Lucciola and KuDeTa are spectacular for atmosphere (the first elegant and relaxed, the second jazzy and high energy) but not so much for the food. Definitely make reservations.

    I haven't been to the fancy restaurant at the Ayana (old Ritz). There are also some new resorts in Jimbaran and the Ulu Watu area that sound good for meals, Kayumanis, Alila, Banyan Tree, Karma. I haven't been to any of them, so can't comment.

    In Ubud, I like Mosaic and also the restaurant at Uma Ubud resort. Definitely visit Como Shambhala if you haven't been there yet.

    I haven't snorkled at Pandang Bai. I think Menjangnan Island in the far Northwest has the best marine life. You could do that in a long day-trip from Ubud, very long from Jimbaran. Otherwise, I don't know that I'd recommend north Bali.

    Bali will be busy in December/January and traffic snarl ups are unfortunately going to get worse before they get better. Getting from Jimbaran to anywhere will be tiresome. If you want to spend a night in Seminyak I'd recommend The Colony. It's not on the beach but it's charming and well situated and a good value.

    Besakih Temple is impressive but can be a stressful and aggravating experience. If you go, go with a guide who can "protect" you from the hawkers.

    I'd recommend both the Green School tour and John Hardy.You might want to get in touch with Danu Enterprises and/or the Alam Sari to see if you could join any of their ongoing events. They are very sincere and offer a lot of arts/culture focused excursions. Also ARMA for art-y activitities.

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    Thank you so much marmot !! Have been googling the restaurants you particularly liked near Seminyak and they look just like what we like. It definitely sounds like the traffic has picked up since our trip -- will have to factor that in. Back then, they would say 1/2 hour to get to Seminyak from Jimbaran.
    I had Kayumanis on my list of possibles -- as that is I think Sanur and would be a bit closer.
    All things considered, if we were paying for our rooms I would stay in Seminyak a few nights as it would be nice to be closer for some shopping and dinner.
    Will book the Green School tour and John Hardy.
    Conpletely understand the New Yorker feeling. We just recently started going into the city more for dinner/museums after years of avoiding it -- easy to do that with what you know.
    Thank you for the suggestion of ARMA and Alam Sari -- I am still remembering that some of the most wonderful moments of our first trip were unplanned -- stumbling on a girl's dance lesson in Ubud -- 5 year olds doing all those amazingly graceful moves. The ever present ceremonies that seem to pop up everywhere. I think I need another trip towards the rice fields and perhaps another view of the volcano near Kitamani (sp), and definitely a trip out to East Bali. May give the snorkeling a miss as that involves optical goggles for both of us.

    If someone else has thoughts on any of this please do share.

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    I was thinking of the Kayumanis in Jimbaran. I don't mean to rant about the traffic but South Bali's going trough a particularly bad period of what they call here, macet (machette). From Jimbaran, you should figure 45-60 minutes to Seminyak and longer to Sanur.

    I'd also add the mask and puppet museum outside of Ubud to your list. It's a little hard to find but worth the trouble. This article gives instructions to the Setia Dharma House of Masks and Puppets and some others that I haven't made it to yet.

    http://www.baliadvertiser.biz/articles/feature/2011/lesser.html

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