9 days in Bali

Old May 1st, 2016, 10:50 PM
  #1  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
9 days in Bali

I have a bit of a plan for my upcoming 9 nights / 9 days in Bali. This plan is more unstructured than those I usually put together – I have the feeling that some extra flexibility makes sense for this part of my trip. I appreciated the information that many of your provided on Bali in my earlier threads (linked below), and am grateful for any further advice.
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-bali-plus.cfm
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...and-hakone.cfm

Once again, for context, I am a solo female traveler who is not looking for relaxation (although I'm sure I'll have some wonderfully relaxing moments) -- instead I am hoping to take full advantage of every moment I have in this enticing part of the world. My overall plan is to spend a few days in Singapore, followed by 2 weeks in central and eastern Java, and then ending my trip in Bali. In what follows, I've outlined my current priorities and a few specific questions.

Day 1: Arrive in Denpasar and leave immediately for Ubud (the Alam Jiwa – thanks to all who recommended it!), arriving early evening – 1st of 7 nights there

Days 2 to 7 – Ubud plus
My priorities in / near Ubud include (in no particular order):
o Evening performance(s) of traditional dances, perhaps at the Ubud Palace, but I’ll check to see what other performances I might be able to see while in the area
o Textile shopping (and not just browsing -- time to buy some gifts! I’ve flagged Threads of Life and Tradisi for particular attention)
o The Ubud Food Festival (which ends the day after I arrive)
o Ubud Palace & the gate to Pura Marajan Agung
o Museums – especially the Puri Lukisan, but also the Rudana and Neka Art Museuma, and perhaps the Agung Rai Museum of Art (especially if I can time it to include a dance performance)
o Pura Taman Saraswati, perhaps during the day for the gardens AND during an evening for a dance performance
o Depending on which puppet performances I see in Java, perhaps Oka Kartini for a shadow puppet show
o Perhaps the Museum Purbakala in Bedulu?
o And, of course, markets and interesting nooks and crannies….
I plan two full-day trips from Ubud:
(a) Day trip to the Pura Luhur Batukaru, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, and Taman Ayun Temple. Are there other parts of the Subak Water system that I can / should include as part of this day trip – or that I should make a point to visit, even if not as part of this trip? Perhaps Pura Ulun Danu Batur or Pura Gunung Kawi?
(b) Day trip to Tampaksiring and Pura Besakih.
I also plan a few half-day or less trips in/around/from Ubud:
o Campuhan Ridge Walk
o Pura Tanah Lot for sunset
o Bali Bird Park

Day 7 – Leave Ubud in the morning, and travel through Semarapura to Bunutan on the Amed coast, staying 1 night at the Bali Dream House

Day 8 – After snorkeling briefly, travel through Taman Tirta Gangga to Jimbaran in time for sunset there, staying 1 night at the Keraton Jimbaran Beach Resort.

Day 9 – A last day in Bali
- My flight isn’t until 19:05, so I think I might have time to visit the Museum Negiri Propinsi Bali in Denpasar this day – does that make sense? I’m hoping that I could visit Jimbaran’s fish market and take a short walk along the beach, and I think that if I leave for Denpasar by 11 a.m. at the latest, I should have time to visit the museum, return for my luggage, and reach the airport in plenty of time to buy chocolate before flying home. If not, I will switch my visit to this museum to be a day trip from Ubud. If I visit Denpasar from Ubud, any specific recommendations for this day?

I have a few questions beyond those about the itinerary, including some that are similar to my questions about Java:

(1) While in Bali, I hope to take advantage of the opportunity to sample local cuisine. Any recommendations for restaurants or dishes will be appreciated!

(2) I also hope to take advantage of a spa or two, as it is my understanding that Bali is known for its unique massages and other treatments – and that they are different from those of Java. I already have a turmeric scrub on my wish list; any specific recommendations for spas or other treatments are welcome.

(3) Shall I assume that, as for Java, arranging cars and drivers though my hotels, with an early tip to the concierge, would be the best way to ensure reliable service? Is the same range of tips to concierges applicable?

(4) My understanding is that there are offering days at most temples, and that it is possible that I might be able to catch one of these special events – but the dates don’t seem readily accessible. I’ll be in Bali from the very end of May and into June; if any of you know of such events, I’d welcome the information.

(5) I’ve only recently learned of Bali’s amazing kites, but I haven’t found any information about where I would be most likely to see them while I am on the island. (Just to see them, not to fly them.) Suggestions?

(6) I’m a bit of a sucker for waterfalls, but most of those that came up in my research seem to involve a fair number of potentially slippery and lengthy sets of stairs. I’m no longer the sure-footed mountain goat of my youth, nor do my joints allow being taken for granted, so I’m a bit reluctant to include any of these waterfalls. Any spectacular, easy-to-reach waterfalls that I should consider?

(7) I’ve always wanted to parasail – the kind that involves a “flight” starting and ending in a boat, not a beach. From what I can tell, Surya Water Sports in Sanur seems a reasonably reputable option, but the views don’t look all that impressive, and the views are part of what I have always enjoyed about air sports. As a result, I’m inclined to skip the option, particularly because I already have a fairly full plate. Do any of you want to offer arguments for me to rethink?

MANY thanks in advance for your replies.
kja is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 12:35 AM
  #2  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OMG – I just learned that I have the option of reserving the Mozaic Chef’s Table Degustation with Chris Salans on the last night of the Ubud Food Festival – WOW! Pricey, though – even more, I think, than dining at the restaurant would otherwise be…. Mozaic was on my list of possibilities for my ONE splurge meal for this trip (and yes, it would be quite a splurge!), and I would think that the Chef’s Table experience would be especially memorable.... Any comments?
kja is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 04:52 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,222
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi kja! I hope you like Alam Jiwa as much as we did. I did not want to leave.

We arranged airport pick-up through Alam Jiwa and then ended up using the same driver three more times (two day trips and then a drive back toward the airport on our last day) during our stay. His name was Dewa, and we thought he did a great job with explanations, adapting to our interests, etc. Aside from the initial airport pick up, we booked these either the night before or morning of. I'm not sure if that's always possible, but you could email the hotel in advance to check.

I don't recall that we tipped up front to arrange this--Alam Jiwa doesn't really have a concierge per se but rather a few people who rotate at the front desk. My recollection is that we left a tip for the staff at the end of our visit.

Re local cuisine, I'm not sure if you're interested in cooking schools, but Alam Jiwa's affiliated restaurant just up the road offers cooking classes. Mr_go and our daughter did that and enjoyed it. I was sick, so I didn't go but did walk up there afterward to sample the output (although I couldn't really taste much at the time). It was a 2-3 hour thing, so not a huge time commitment.
ms_go is online now  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 05:08 PM
  #4  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ ms_go -- thanks so much for these comments! It is very helpful to me to know how the timing with drivers works out. And again, thanks for recommending the Alam Jiwa and Tradisi.
kja is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 07:51 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ubud Palace dance performances are reliably good. Get there a bit early to get a good seat. I would also try to see a kecak dance, at Arma or another venue. Junjungan village is particularly good.

Ikat Batik on Monkey Forest Road has a great collection of Balinese and Indonesian textiles. I haven't been to Tradisi -- good tip.

The Setia Dharma House of Masks and Puppets my favorite museum in Bali. I'd give that priority. Shadow puppet theater isn't really a Balinese artform. Hope you can find a performance in Java.

The subak water management / irrigation system operates all over Bali. If you take a rice paddy walk (highly recommended) your guide will explain the system to you. Village / rice paddy / market walks are generally easy going on flat ground and are a really good way to get out of the car and experience Balinese life.

There will be a lot of temple ceremonies around the full moon on May 22. There's no fixed schedule, but guides and drivers usually know what's going on. As you drive around Bali you will constantly pass temples at which ceremonies are in progress. If you wear a sarong and sash you will be welcome to observe. You can also ask your driver and resort if there will be cremations in the area.

I don't have any particular Balinese food recommendations, but it's readily available and usually good. Balinese and Javanese foods are very similar, though Balinese uses pork and Javanese doesn't. The Food Festival is a great place to get an overview.

For a collection of Southeast Asian tastes (but in Western settings) I especially like Hujan Locale (sit upstairs) and Spice, Chris Salens' gastropub (sit at the bar). Moksa is a relatively new place that has become very popular. I haven't been there yet. http://moksaubud.com/restaurant/

I'd second the idea of attending a cooking class. It's a fun and hands-on way to learn about Balinese ingredients and cooking methods and have a wonderful lunch afterwards. The one I've attended was through Alam Sari resort in Keliki, but the format is much the same everywhere.

The Ubud Food Festival cooking demonstrations at the Kitchen Stage will be very good. You can buy tickets to the individual events and don't have to attend the whole day's line up. The programs listed under "Think Talk Taste" are free.

Any of the Special Event lunches and dinners at the Ubud Food Festival would be worthwhile. Chris Salens is a charismatic and entertaining presenter, but I agree the price is steep (and it's not clear if it includes wine). I was going to recommend that you try the Festival events at Locavore, but I see they're sold out already. If you want a splurge lunch or dinner (separate from the Festival) Locavore would be my top choice.

Don't spend your last day in Bali driving from Jimbaran to Denpasar and back. If you really want to see the Denpasar museum maybe you could stop on your way to Jimbaran? Denpasar is just a very unpleasant part of Bali, and traffic on Friday and weekends can be overwhelming.
marmot is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 08:18 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,289
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Head marmot's advice: "Don't spend your last day in Bali driving from Jimbaran to Denpasar and back. If you really want to see the Denpasar museum maybe you could stop on your way to Jimbaran? Denpasar is just a very unpleasant part of Bali, and traffic on Friday and weekends can be overwhelming."

I remember visiting that museum many years ago and I found it underwhelming. (And I'm someone who loves museums)

I think you have a fine plan - enjoy!
Kathie is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 11:16 PM
  #7  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ marmot – Once again, you have provided a wealth of invaluable information! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to provide such helpful and detailed feedback, and I know that my trip – which would have been amazing under any circumstance – is going to be SO much better because of your suggestions.

I’m glad to know that the Ubud Palace dance performances are generally good and how to time my arrivals. (BTW, jumping back to Java for a moment: I had somehow formed the impression that the daily 10 a.m. to noon performances at Jogja’s kraton are come-and-go-as-one-pleases. Do you know if that’s correct?) Junjungan village hadn’t made it onto my radar screen, so I am particularly grateful that you mentioned it – I would love to see a kecak dance, and that one sounds especially enjoyable! (BTW, I think I should be able to see a shadow puppet performance while in Jogja – it is the puppet variant called Wayang Kulit, isn’t it? It is a special interest of mine, though, and so I kept it on my list just in case. I’ve seen it at both ends of the Silk Road, in Xi’an and Bursa, and have seen the puppets themselves in museums around the world. I would hate to miss seeing how the Indonesian version compares!) Which reminds me – the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets is now firmly on my list of priorities – I hadn’t realized that Mas was so close to my hotel!

Ikat Batik has been added to my list of places to seek textiles. Shopping for textiles is going to be a challenge – I will undoubtedly want one of each! I’ve been reading/admiring John Gillow’s Traditional Indonesian Textiles, and know that I’m going to find seeing some of these fabrics in person to be a true delight.

Am I correct in thinking that the Campuhan Ridge Walk will take me in / through some ricefields? It sounds like a very pleasant and manageable route, and I can also make sure my driver for the day I spend visiting the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces knows to let me out for a walk somewhere suitable.

And I will also make sure that my drivers and those who help me find them know that I’m interested in festivals. I must admit that I hadn’t thought about cremations -- again, thanks for the word to the wise! I have thought about how to make sure I could actually see temples on the spur of the moment -- I have a sarong and sash (well, actually, it’s a long black silk scarf that I can tie at my waist – will that work?) that I am ready to wear with a high-tech Tshirt that breathes, wicks, and basically does everything but walk and a long-sleeved 50 UPF vented overblouse…. (I do, seriously, overplan -- even if not always well!)

As for food – you sold me on the Ubud Food Festival in my earliest planning stages! Sounds like a great opportunity! Interesting that you mentioned Spice – I had wondered whether it would be a better option for me that Salens’ kitchen table. The email I received about that event made it clear that the quoted price is for food only, so once one counts a flight of wine (and I’ll guess that the prices for that are in line with those for his restaurant) and other costs, it would TRULY be a splurge. Locavore looks awesome – maybe I’ll make that my splurge instead. Going back through the Festival events for that day, the Balinese Duck option is calling, and maybe the Arang Sate Bar….

But OMG, my dance card for Ubud is getting incredibly full! Any suggestions for what to SKIP are becoming increasingly welcome. (I currently doubt that I’ll try to visit the Museum Purbakala, but am otherwise looking forward to a slew of delightful options.)


@ marmot & Kathie – good point about the museum in Denpasar and “last impressions.” Because I have an interest in prehistory, I do want to see it, but I’ll do so from Ubud instead. Maybe I could plan on a 3rd full-day trip, starting in Ubud, stopping at the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets, going on to the Bali Bird Park, visiting the Museum Bali in Denpasar, and then back to Ubud?

And I should probably give up on the idea of seeing Tanah Lot at sunset, and simply visit it from Jimbaran during that last day … which would save me from fighting the crowds that gather there at sunset. ;-)

Maybe I should stay somewhere other than Jimbaran that last night? My goals were to be (a) close to the airport at (b) a place with a bit of a surf – not for surfing, but just for the delight of walking along a beach with waves at sunset. My booking can be cancelled, so feel free to suggest other options that might make better use of my time!


And @ Kathie – thanks for your encouraging words! I'm sure it will be a fantastic trip, but I do hope to optimize it, and as my time runs out, I admit that I am losing focus (as I usually do just before a trip). (And I choose to believe that marmot, too, thinks I have a decent plan – no sense in giving lots of info about details if the whole plan is in trouble!)

Once again, terima kasih banyak!
kja is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 03:13 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I haven't been to the performances at the Yogya Kraton for some time. When I was there it was come and go as you please.

Junjungan village is about half an hour from Ubud Palace. The village used to offer to pick you up at your hotel and send you back after the performance. The folks at Alam Jiwa could probably provide more information. If not, check the Ubud Tourist Information Center. The Arma Kecak is quite impressive too.

Wayan Kulit (which means leather puppet) is the same thing as a shadow puppet -- as opposed to the Wayan Golek, the carved, wooden puppets. You can watch the performance on either side of the screen, the shadow side or the puppet side. [Have you read "The Year of Living Dangerously"]

Bali is best known for variants of ikat; Java for batik. You will be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of choice! A lot of the ikat hand weaving is done in the Sideman valley which would make a nice stop on the way to Amed.

Campuhan Ridge is just that, a ridge along the side of a river valley. It's a lovely, easy walk with spectacular views, but isn't quite the same as walking through village rice fields.

I would suggest that you try to arrange a guided village walk. Just to give you an idea, this is the description of Alam Sari's walk.
"Join one of our Alam Sari guides to learn about the crops, groves of trees and garden herbs that surround you throughout and around the village of Keliki. The walk will take you through local gardens to see the produce grown and used in Balinese kitchens. Learn about annual harvest cycles and how villagers practice worship for the local deity of rice, Dewi Sri. Take a journey through the local ingredients used by households and the medicinal remedies prescribed by local healers on a daily basis. Experience all this on a hike through the natural surroundings of Keliki and stunning panoramas that surround this special place in the hills."https://www.ticketbase.com/events/alam-sari-tours

Most likely Alam Jiwa can put together something similar.

For temple ceremonies any sash will do. You can wrap your sarong over your clothes if you don't want to wear it all the time. If there's a major cremation happening in Ubud, everyone will know about it. This one is scheduled for this Sunday:
https://scontent-sin1-1.xx.fbcdn.net...b6&oe=57E4EC95

Imported wine is expensive everywhere in Indonesia. The local wineries aren't quite there yet. If you're thinking about lunch or dinner at Locavore book now. Reservations will be impossible during the Festival and tight at all other times. The UFF attracts the very best chefs; if you're interested in food culture, you will enjoy the experience.

(Long answer, see next post for continuation)
marmot is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 03:32 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
think you'll want to edit some of the temple and garden visits. They are all beautiful but get a bit redundant. Long drives, even with wonderful scenery, are still long drives, so limit them as much as you can. After two weeks in Java you'll want some down time.

Besakih is inspiring spiritually and architecturally, but the aggravation of getting in and out through the scrum of hawkers is discouraging. I'm not that keen on Tanah Lot either because it's overrun at sunset.

Setia Darma to the Bird Park to Denpasar and back to Ubud would be, for me at least, too much. You might also want to consider one of Victor Mason's Bali Bird Walks.

Whichever beach you choose, it's difficult to fill up the time between breakfast and your departure for the airport with anything other than meals and beach-y activities.

You could conceivably spend the night on the Tabanan coast near Tanah Lot and make your way to the airport the next day. Maybe have a late lunch in Seminyak. Your driver could wait for you with your bags.

Someplace like Waka Gangga would make a nice ending to a great trip.
marmot is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 06:48 PM
  #10  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
An update on my plans for the Ubud Food Festival: I’ve declined the option of joining the Salens’ kitchen table, but have reserved a seat for a lunch of Balinese Duck. I love duck!

@ marmot: Once again, I am so grateful for your input! You are clarifying many things for me, and helping me refine my plan in all sorts of ways.

The Keliki village walk sounds delightful, and helps me understand how it differs from the Campuhan Ridge walk. I will definitely consider taking that tour, or one like it.

Thanks for your comments on timing and options for paring back my plans to fit my time. I’ve been aware of concerns like yours about Besakih and Tanah Lot, and am still struggling with whether I’ll find the sites worth seeing despite the crowds and hawkers. Having survived any number of aggressive vendors in China and Turkey, I’m inclined to trust my ability to proceed with minimal disruptions; crowds are bit less to my liking….

Waka Gangga looks stunning! That said, the ONLY time I want on a beach is for a sunset walk, I don’t normally like to eat lunch, and the idea of trying to enjoy sitting and relaxing on a day that preceeds a flight that will ultimately mean about 24 hours in an economy-class seat is really not something that pulls me in. Actually, lol, it makes a drive through unpleasant Denpasar to reach a poorly signed and underwhelming museum sound to me like a perfect option! ;-) (Not really, and admittedly, these are just my quirks, which I admit are apparently not that common.)

But I do want to make use of that last precious day on Bali, so I’m re-thinking that day to see if I can identify other options.

Thanks so much!
kja is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 06:56 PM
  #11  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ marmot -- and thanks, too, for the info on Victor Mason's Bird Walks!
kja is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 07:49 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What day of the week is your departure? I would expect heavy traffic between Denpasar, all of the southern beaches and the airport on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

To me Petitenget/Seminyak beach is the best option for long walks morning or late afternoon. The whole length of the beach is about 15KM and, except during exceptionally high tides, it's unobstructed. I find the powerful ocean and big sky energizing. There are usually beach ceremonies at Petitenget Temple, but they're difficult to predict.

I think Besakih is an important destination as long as you're prepared for the aggravation. This is a place where you need a good driver/guide to run interference for you.
marmot is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 08:42 PM
  #13  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I depart Bali on a Monday evening.

By a "long" sunset walk along a beach, I meant about 1 hour. ;-)

I'll look into Pura Petitenget -- thanks! And I will keep pondering Besakih...

You ROCK, marmot! Thanks so much for your patience and your incredibly informative replies.
kja is offline  
Old May 4th, 2016, 01:37 AM
  #14  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Since there is SO much that I want to see in / from Ubud, maybe I should just return there for my last night...?
kja is offline  
Old May 4th, 2016, 03:14 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sure you could do that, or extend your stay in Amed to 2 nights. There's a lot to see and do in East Bali and you could shift some of your Ubud excursions to Amed excursions. Just make sure your resort can arrange transport for you.

Amed to the airport is about 3 hours. I wouldn't expect unusual congestion on Monday afternoon, but I'm conservative on international flights so I'd figure on leaving Amed around 2 PM for a 7 PM flight. From Nyuh Kuning around 3-3:30 PM.

If you'd like to stop enroute to the airport, just negotiate a flat fee with your driver including stops and wait time.
marmot is offline  
Old May 4th, 2016, 06:41 PM
  #16  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ marmot -- thanks so much for your patient and informative replies! I'm looking into my options, and feel much more confident that I will make a good decision because of the input that you (and others!) have provided.
kja is offline  
Old May 5th, 2016, 12:42 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,104
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well thought out. I can enthusiastically recommend Dean of Drivers of Distinction for those days you want a value added Driver/Guide.

http://driverswithdistinctiontours.blogspot.com/

http://distinctiontours.blogspot.com/

http://baliwithdean.blogspot.com/p/testimonial_14.html

http://baliwithdean.blogspot.com/
dugi_otok is offline  
Old May 5th, 2016, 06:17 PM
  #18  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,018
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ dugi_otok -- thanks for the recommendation, and for your favorable comment on my plans!
kja is offline  
Old May 7th, 2016, 04:19 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bali is great i like Bali so much
Meight is offline  
Old May 7th, 2016, 05:22 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,782
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, kja - you've put together what sounds like a fabulous trip to Bali and Java! I'm envious -- had hoped to get there this year, but alas, it will have to wait till some future time. But I'm so thrilled to be able to follow in your footsteps and take advantage of your experiences when I finally do go!

Enjoy! I truly look forward to reading your report!

best,
Paule
progol is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -