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Bali question: Ubud / Seminyak

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hi,

i am going to be in bali / lombok for the better part of two weeks with my girlfriend at the beginning of october. i arrive on sunday evening (sadly, after sunset) and leave two saturdays later at night. the second week will be on lombok, 4 days hiking gunung rinjani and 3.5 days on the gili islands.

so here's my question: when i arrive, i can either spend sunday night and monday/monday night in seminyak or jimbaran, and then go to ubud early tuesday and spend tuesday, wed, thurs and much of friday in ubud (i have a flight to lombok at 7pm on friday). or i can just spend sunday evening in seminyak and go to ubud on monday in the late morning / early afternoon. ordinarily i'd be inclined to stay in seminyak or jimbaran and view it essentially as a day trip to a place outside of ubud, where i can get some beach time, relax and recover from my flight. but i've read so much about all there is to do in ubud that i sort of worry about not having enough time there. any suggestions?

for reference, i don't really care that much about dance performances or shopping for tourist knicknacks. and i can eat at high end italian restaurants nearer to home (i'd prefer to eat balinese food in bali). but that said, it's still hard to tell exactly how much there is to do in ubud and how much (if anything) there is to do in jimbaran or seminyak.

also, does anyone happen to know how convenient / inconvenient it is to get from the four seasons sayan in ubud to the town itself? i'd heard such good things about it that i'm thinking of staying there. but i generally don't like to go on vacation just to stay on my hotel grounds, so if that's the main point then i'd probably avoid it.

thanks so much in advance!

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    not sure if the 4 seasons has a bus to town or not, but a taxi would be quite easy.... the hotel is what i would call remote somewhat....i would much prefer to be in town or just on the outskirts...

    seminyak is for nice beach and good eating and shopping, but not much else.... jim. is also remote with little to do other than ulwaltu not that far off... and good fish on the beach of course... its a kick back place full of lux resorts and villas...

    personally i would stay 2 days in either place and then move on to ubud for the rest....

    most of the beauty of bali is to be found in the countryside however.... you will need a driver/car to take you around in those areas...

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    We like UBUD. We have gone 4 of the last 5 years spent time in Nusa Dua, Sanur, Candidasa and the bulk of the trip in UBUD. We hire a driver (mertagct@telkom.net) and have done so all 4 years. Same driver, he is also a certified guide, which is much better than getting a driver from the hotel or the street who just takes you to a place and drops you off and may not even speak very good English. He has picked us up at the airport, takes us to our next place and then we usually go on a couple of tours with him. RHKKMK has the right idea.

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    You have five nights on Bali and you're trying to decide how to split them up. 1/4, 2/3, 0/5? It sounds to me that you're ambivalent on the Bali beach experience and other than be on the beach (duh!) there doesn't seem to be much appeal for you. So, my conclusion would be to head directly to Ubud and do your jet lag recovery there.

    Personally, I like the beach in Bali and Seminyak is my favorite, but you'll get a fair amount of sand and sea in the Gilis.

    What do people do on the beach? Swim, walk, surf, watch the waves, have drinks at sunset. It's fairly standard. Seminyak has a lot of shops and restaurants. Jimbaran has the beach barbeques. Seminyak is a long beach with an aggressive surf. Jimbaran is a cove with a good swimming beach.

    To answer your question, Jimbaran to Ubud is about 1.5 hours. Transport is readily available. Or your resorts (on either end) will arrange it for you.

    The Four Seasons Sayan will have a shuttle bus/car to Ubud. The resort is situated in a very pretty area (along with several others)and although it's about 20 minutes to the town of Ubud you'll be going to other places that are not in the town that it's closer to.

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    Some random thoughts and suggestions:

    1. Personally, I would go to Ubud first right from the airport. The main reason is that as you have a 7 pm departure at the end of the trip, IMO it is easy to be closer to Bali airport, which you will be in Jimbaran and in Seminyak. From Ubud you would have to leave earlier and that would eat into sightseeing time in Ubud. (Conversely, with a nighttime arrival you may as well just go up to Ubud directly from the airport and have dinner. You can then get started on your holiday the next morning. It’s about an hour drive from the airport. You don’t drive yourself, take a hotel car or taxi.) Just on a personal note, I am not sure it is “worth” going to either Jimbaran or Seminyak for just one night, but that is sort of up to you. I really don’t think it would be worth it for just Sunday night, as it will be dark when you arrive and you won’t see the beach, and then plan to leave for Ubud the next day. But if you do it at the end of the trip for 1 night, you will get basically two full days there as you have a 7 pm departure.

    2. It is very easy to get from the Four Seasons Ubud into town. As noted above, the hotel has a car which will take you. That being said, it is a marvelous bike ride into town, and that would be my preferred way of going. It takes about 20-25 minutes. There are several ways of going, one a bit longer but which passes through more villages, one includes a bit more of a hill. The hotel has bikes or you can rent them in town for a cheap price. You could also walk, although this will take you quite a bit longer.

    3. Ubud offers a lot of walking/hiking, so I would say to consider that if your interests are not music or art (of which there is a lot in Ubud). You can walk through rice fields and small villages with mountains in the distance. It’s very, very lovely. Get a copy of the Bali Pathfinder, which is a trail map of the Ubud area. It will be quite helpful. The area is also quite good for biking, and you can also whitewater rafting (the hotel can help you arrange through Soebeck, a good operator). The hotel also offers free walks and bike tours, they last about an hour each and are worth it as the guide can give you some insight in Balinese life. The hotel generally has evening dance performances a few nights a week, so even if you are interested, you can easily see just one (it may change your mind).

    4. Day trips from Ubud are possible, like to lake Batur and its volcano and to temples in the area. There are walking/hiking opportunities in Batur.

    5. I would not do a day trip TO Ubud. It’s jammed with tourists on day trips from the beach areas. You won’t really get a feel for it or be able to get out into the countryside. The town of Ubud is far better at night (for restaurants and dance performances) than the day, esp as you are not interested in art or knickknacks, which fill the place. During the day, stick to the outside environs (the Four Seasons is well-located for this reason.)

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    Ubud is not just shopping and scheduled dance performances although yes there are plenty of those. There are a few good italian restaurants, but are way outnumbered by the local cafes and even warung makan that are everywhere. If you are staying at the Four Seasons I don't think you are the type to be eating at local warung maken (small eating shops) anyway...Dishes are limited to certain kinds of food, and sanitation is Balinese style. (my family has one of these so I know first hand) usually fried rice, fried noodles, chicken and rice, fried veggies with rice, ok for daily food for me but if you are in Bali for just a few days it might be better to go to nice local restaurants rather than the small stalls. Nomad is one of my favorites, they have an item on the menu called "Balinese tapas" which is a selection of small servings of different Balinese foods which are more special occasion foods. You can also try the Babi Guling, which is sucklig pig with cracklings, a bit spicy but delicious. The famous one is Ibu Oka but there are many small stalls along the roads that sell it, and at local markets. Cafe Wayan has a Sunday Balinese buffet that is great as well.

    You might not be interested in dances but if you do a search on YouTube you might catch a glimpse and decide if you want to check these out in per4son when you are here. Search words...legong, kecak, calonarang, barong, and more. Of course, if timing is right you will be able to experience temple ceremonies, processions on the roads, cremations, etc. Your hotel or guide or the tourist information center will be able to advise you what is going on when and where. These are not staged for tourists but part of the actual Balinese Hindu religion.

    Sometimes I wonder if the tourist machine sells the upmarket part of Ubud so much that people think Ubud is all luxury. Of course, once you get here you will see it's not. It's an area of Bali that is famous for it's culture,traditional life, and friendly people. With only 4 days you probably won't see much more than a glimpse, but it will be a start. Have a great trip.

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