Bali help!?

Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:46 PM
  #1  
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Bali help!?

Hello,
I have been reading all of your wonderful suggestions and forgive me if this is a repeat question! My Husband and I are going to be traveling to Bali at the end of Sept. for 12 days. We are nature lovers, love hikes, scuba diving etc. Thought we would break up our trip by spending 6 nights in Pemuteran and 6 nights in Ubud? Which place would you recommend going to first? We aren't fans of huge touristy crowds so Pemuteran sounds like heaven. Ubud also sounds intriguing with the many cultural sights. How far from the airport are both places? Lastly, is there a mosquito problem in either area at this time of year? My Husband is a mosquito magnet and we have read about Dengue fever being common in Bali so want to prepare ourselves with the right repellent. Thanks so much in advance!
JOrtt is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 03:50 PM
  #2  
 
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When we went to Bali last June, we stayed in Ubud and then in Amed. We thought Ubud first was great because we did a lot of sightseeing and wandering around, then went to Amed where we basically hung out on the beach for a few days (we chose Amed for the same reason you are choosing Pemuteran - away from the crowds). If we had done it the other way around, I think we would have been anxious for more sightseeing, temples, etc. and not enjoyed our beach relaxation as much.

Airport to Ubud took about an hour or so - for convinience we arranged transport through our hotel, which was great.

We were in Ubud in June and there were definitely mosquitos. We used repellent and at our hotel, they put these incense smokers in the bathroom and on our patio and then there were plug in mosquito repellent things in the room. At restaurants they would put the incense smoker things under the tables. Still, I got bit - probably 20-30 bites over 4 days - so nothing horrible, but not nice either. I took anti-malarial meds, but I was still mildly concerned about Dengue.

On the otherhand, once we got to Amed - no mosquitos. We stayed in a thatched roof bungalow with no A/C - just open windows and a ceiling fan - and we sat outside at all hours without repellent and I didn't get any more bites. Hopefully the whole of the north coast is like that.
november_moon is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:03 PM
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An important question is what time you arrive, and what time is your departure. Ubud is about one hour from the airport, while Pemuteran is three to four hours away. If you're arriving late at night, you may want to go to the closer location first.

If either your arrival or departing times make a long commute to the airport undesirable, you may wish to get a hotel near the airport (Tuban or Kuta) for one night.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:52 PM
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J, I wouldn't devote a full 6 days to Northern Bali. It's a ruggedly scenic area and the diving is good (though NOT worldclass), but it's arid and it lacks the cultural charisma that is so appealing in the rest of Bali. If you're serious divers you may want to include another area of Bali -- or even another area of Indonesia. If you're just looking for a beach holiday with some diving on the side, then Pemuteran would be fine but maybe for 3 days maximum. I'd also consider Lombok for the same.

In addition to Ubud, which is exactly what you want, you might consider tacking on a visit to Central Java -- Yogyakarta and Borobudur -- for art, architecture, culture and nature.

As Michael said, north Bali is a long haul from the airport so whether you can go directly there depends on your arrival time. Getting to Ubud is not a problem, day or night.

Mosquitoes are ubiquitous, especially at dusk. Use repellent day and night. Reserve the option to sleep with aircon, even if your bed has netting. You may not want it, but you should have the choice. End September is the start of the rainy season and a transitional period. When it rains, you get more bugs.
marmot is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Found this article while i am looking for a natural repellent.

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/WBL02132...Than-DEET.html

I am still researching which product to get.
mohan is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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mohan, as best I can tell from the article you cite, there is not a product that uses the named ingredient yet. Also, the article notes that the results are preliminary. If you are going somewhere you are concerned about mosquito-bourne illnesses, you want something with a proven track record. Deet repellants with 25%-50% deets are very effective, and despite the comment in the article that deet is toxic, in those concentrations is it not toxic to humans or animals. The other option is picardin. The cdc website has info about repellants at wwwn.cdc.gov/travel
Kathie is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:18 PM
  #7  
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Thank you everyone for your resonses and your great advice!
JOrtt is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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OOps, pushed the button too fast! As I was saying, I had a few questions: First where is a good departure place to go to Yogyakarta? We will be arriving at 3P in the afternoon and leaving around the same time. I've actually read that malaria meds aren't necessary in Bali?

Regarding Ubud, would you recommend staying in town or outside? Is Ubud crowded and touristy? Sounds as though the south of Bali is so we are going to avoid that area but am not sure about Ubud. Found a place outside of Ubud that looks nice and a good price but they say it takes 20 mins to drive to town.

You mentioned Amen? Would you recommend this area over Pemuteran for diving? They both look great. Our last 3 vacations have involved moving around every 3 days so I've promised my Husband that we will only stay in 2 areas while in Bali. Will have to think about the amount of days then regarding going to Pemuteran. Were thinking it would be nice to just chill in a beautiful area for a while but maybe we should shorten our time in the north to only 4 nights?

Thanks again!
JOrtt is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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J, You can fly to Yogyakarta from Denpasar or if you want to go there first you can connect through Jakarta.

I've never taken malaria medication in Indonesia. In the time I've lived here (14 years) I've known several people who have contracted dengue but only one who had malaria -- and that may have been from a Singapore mosquito.

Ubud isn't much of a town. Once in a while, usually on holidays, you may get a traffic jam, but I wouldn't call it crowded. Touristy? Well, yes, I guess that's the point: it's full of shops and restaurants that cater to tourists. Many of the attractions in the Ubud area are not actually in Ubud so wherever you are -- in town or outside of town -- you end up driving to the next place. I like the close-to-nature aspects of staying outside of Ubud, but one isn't necessarily more convenient than the other.

I'd say Menjangan is the best diving in Bali. I haven't been to Amed for some time so I can't compare the accommodations. I like East Bali more than North Bali for culture and for nature, but neither has a particularly impressive beach. If your goal is diving then I'd go to North Bali. If it's chilling on the beach then I'd choose Seminyak or Lombok.
marmot is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Not sure what you mean about a departure place to go to Yogya, you mean airport? Bali has only one, and there are direct flights from there to Yogya.

Ubud town is a great place to walk around in. Quite charming, really. It can be full of tourists, but generally isn't a zoo like the beaches to the south. There are, as you say, many nice hotels in the countryside around Ubud. These are fantastic places to get away from it all, but generally they're quite isolated, so you either end up eating a lot of your meals there (which I don't like) or you have to spend a lot of time 'commuting' into town. It's all a matter of taste.

I haven't been to Pemuteran, but I know it's close to Menjagan, which is supposed to be some of the best diving on Bali. The other area is Amed/Tulamben, which is almost the other end of the island. I've dived in Tulamben and loved it (well, except for the exit). I could easily imagine diving both the Liberty wreck and the wall there 3 or 4 times and not get tired of them. Amed and Candi Dasa are supposed to have some good sites of their own. The area is probably a tiny bit more developed than Pemuteran, but nowhere near as much as south Bali. I'm sure you'd be happy in either place, as far as the diving goes. You might look at the resorts available and pick the one that most appeals to you.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 09:36 AM
  #11  
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Marmot and Michael: Thanks so much for your thoughts on everything! This really helps. We aren't really beach people, more into the diving thing so sounds like Pemuteran will work well for us. We found a great little place there that seems just right. Think it sounds like we might prefer to stay outside of Ubud. That is good to know about the Dengue. We went to the Amazon last year and used Deet with no problem. For anyone reading this, it is way more effective than picardin. Read about a mosquito patch that seems to work minimally as well. Deet can make you feel a little ill when you have used it consistantly for multiple days. At least it did with us. So will make sure we have some of the same when we go to Bali. Thanks again everyone!
JOrtt is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 09:40 AM
  #12  
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Forgot to ask: Is it really not a good idea to drive there yourself? We were thinking it would be nice at least for a few days. Noticed someone did do it and had no problem. But others seem to think it is defintely not something you want to try. Thanks!
JOrtt is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 11:19 AM
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Driving in Indonesia is certainly not for the timid. Rules of the road are merely suggestions. There are many reckless motorbike drivers, some very young and a good dose of intoxicated tourists on motorbikes as well. Insurance is a luxury and most vehicles are uninsured. In the event of an accident, regardless of fault, as a visitor in Indonesia, legally the deck is stacked against you. Visitors are seen as having deep pockets.

Even when you hire a driver in Indonesia you still can be legally responsible for damages and liability during the period of the hire unless the vehicle has a current tourism license. A square metal tag showing the valid dates are affixed to the license plate of all properly licensed tourist vehicles (even rental vehicles). This license provides liability insurance to protect tourists who hire that vehicle.

A popular driver/guide recommended by several of us on this forum is Putu Arnawa ([email protected] - www.balifriend.net).
Both of his vehicles are properly licensed as tourist vehicles.

The vast majority of tourists in Bali roll the dice and have no problems as the chances of a serious accident are low. An unfortunate few have been faced with very dire outcomes. I have and do drive myself in many countries. Call me chicken but once I did my due diligence - Indonesia is not one of them.

A final item to investigate is if your travel insurance policy will cover your medical bills resulting from being in an uninsured vehicle.
Becalm is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 12:17 PM
  #14  
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Thanks for the information! That is great advice about looking for the tourist vehicle tag. Thanks again everyone for your comments and advice. Much appreciated!
JOrtt is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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When we were in Ubud, we stayed at the Bali Spirit Hotel, just south of town. We really enjoyed our stay there - nice people, comfortable rooms, and a pretty good restaurant onsite. The hotel has vans that they use to take guests into town and pick them back up - if you go on a scheduled run, it is free, otherwise it costs a couple dollars, so pretty convinient and cheap. There are also plenty of taxis for hire to get back to the hotel. We did walk back to the hotel from town once, which was a nice walk, maybe 15 minutes.

Traffic patterns in Bali are quite interesting as mentioned by others - there is a method to the madness, like a complex, correographed dance, but you just don't know the steps. Also, signage is terrible and at night things are really poorly lit. Hiring a driver is really inexpensive though.

Regarding the risk of malaria - I did a bunch of research and pretty much everything I saw said that malaria wasn't a risk in the tourist areas of Bali, however Java and Lombok are listed as having a risk. I couldn't find anything in my research about why there wasn't any signifigant risk in Bali but there was on its neighbors. I figured that perhaps the truth was being stretched so as not to scare the tourist from Bali and the risk was understated. So to be on the safe side, we took the anti-malarials.
november_moon is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 09:15 PM
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We went to Bali last September and loved it so very much! It was the best vacation ever. We are nature lovers also and like to snorkle. We stayed at the Villa Amertha in Permuteran for 3 nights and it was fantastic!.Could of stayed there a week. We were there during a full moon and were able to go to many local events. We hired a driver like most people do so there was no stress. We stopped in Mundook(sp?) for one night in the highlands between Ubud and Permuteran.Many cloves are grown in that area and the hiking is good.Hire a local guide for a few bucks. We did not have any issues with mosquitoes, however, we did bring several small bottles of Cutters that I do not recall using. You will have a great time!. We loved it so much we are thinking of going back this September.
utahlover is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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I forgot to mention that we spent about 12 days in Bali and 4 days on Gilli Meno, an island close to Lombok. We wished we would of spent the whole time in Bali instead of going other places. Ubud is nice but the center has a lot of tourists. One of the best parts of our trip was the Sayan Terrace outside Ubud and hiking the trails to a village of Bonkasa with a local guide. We were the only 2 tourists in a village ceremony of about 1,000 people. They dressed up us in sarongs and lace and it was ....incredible the culture they wanted to share with us. The Hindus we found to be very friendly, in contrast to our contact with Muslim culture that seemed more focused on money and Ramadan. If you are going in September to Muslim areas they will be fasting. I know if I don't eat all day I get cranky. Have a wonderful trip!
utahlover is offline  
Mar 30th, 2009, 11:52 PM
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JOrtt, utahlover has a good point. Ramadhan this year is roughly from August 21 to September 21, followed by 10 days of holidays. Not a good time to visit Java or Lombok. Bali isn't directly affected though the flights can get very busy around the holiday period.

utahlover, what was your impression of Gili Meno?
marmot is offline  
Apr 4th, 2009, 09:58 PM
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Gili Meno was very laid back which was good. The island is very peaceful but I thought we might die getting to it as the waves rose 10 feet over the boat on that particular day. (Not the usual I was told). I actually even tied my ID around my neck because we had rough ocean water from the short 30 minute boat ride from Lombok to Gili. It is always good to experience another culture. I saw and felt poverty in Gili Meno, unhappy faces, some desperate looking folks trying to make money. We did not feel this in Bali. Despite the poverty in Bali we felt warmth, compassion, acceptance, and over whelming beauty and art. Gili Meno's waters were warm and beautiful the snorkeling was fair, the food very good but it was no comparison to islands we visited in Fiji. I would still, however, advise a visit to Meno.You can island hop to Air which was also nice. I would spend only 2 nights on Gili Meno if I were to advise.
utahlover is offline  
Apr 5th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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I get the sense that Lombok has never really recovered from the religious warfare between Muslim and Christians a few years ago which badly hit the tourist trade .
JohnFitz is offline  
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