Bali -- hmmmm

Old Mar 6th, 2011, 08:41 AM
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If we recommended particular villages, they would become ON the tourist track. Hire a driver, ask him to take you to villages having ceremonies, places of interest off the tourist track.
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Old Mar 6th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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On my recent trip to Sri Lanka I had the recurring thought that I had found what I had been looking for in Bali. I will probably not return to Bali or Lombok. Why dig for hidden nuggets when you can have treasures laid out before you?
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Old Mar 6th, 2011, 08:19 PM
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We just recently returned from Bali after 14 years..at first we were in shock of how much Bali changed...Nothing looked the same....We stayed the first part in Ubud at the Komenaka at Money Forest..When we first arrived in Ubud, we did not recognize barely anything..the cheap bars with plastic white chairs are now cushy lounges with comfy chairs...the cheap sovenier shops are now expensive shops..but when we arrived at the Komenaka at Monkey Forest at our pool villa with a rice paddy view, everything changed..It was the most beautiful view and room that we had ever stayed in..The whole resort is just amazing. I could not recommend this place enough..And so laid back...Just loved it...

Anyways to stick with the topic...ONe of the days we did the Happy Bike Tour...a 24 km bike ride through the lush Balinese countryside..it was just fantastic..Most of it was downhill thankfully..but just being out in the country and seeing all the beautiful rice fields and riding through the villages was the exact Bali we had remembered At the end of the bike tour, we went to the owner's lovely Balinese home for the most scrumptious Balinese lunch we had on the whole trip...

The next day we did the Paon Cooking School just a few km outside of Ubud..Again, the most amazing day started out with the owner's wife meeting us at the market to buy fresh ingredients and tour the market...from there we met the owner in a rice field where he went through the process of how rice was planted and harvested, and from there to their home where spent a lovely day cooking, laughing, eating, with the kindest Balinese people u could ask for with amazing lush scenery in a beautiful setting, just loved it!

We also did a day with a driver i booked before we arrived (Sila) and did the rice terraces, temples, bird park, silver factory, etc, and did some really cheap shopping at some really local shops.

So we definately found the Balinese charm in Ubud, eventhough it changed, it was simply lovely..And i will not get into the restaurants we ate at, but they were all scrumptious, loved Balinese food.

Okay so from Ubud, we hired a driver, visited Tanah Lot (which we also enjoyed) and off to our next destination...Seminyak...Okay..so we did notlike Seminyak at all...but we stayed at Dusun Villas and again, it was absolutely beautiful, with an open air kitchen and living room and our own pool..and lovely lovely staff that would do absolutely anything for u..On our last night we had a BBQ at our Villa..they came and decorated the whole villa, brought Balinese entertainment and cooked up a beautiful seafood feast.

During our stay in Seminyak, we also went to Kuta and Legian, which is even busier than what we remembered but sooooo commercialized, didn't even feel like we in Bali...However, another day i had a session with Yanto, a Balinese Healer in a really cool more authentic area of Legian..It was a wonderful Balinese experience. Highly recommend that too..

A few days we looked around at some shops in Seminyak, walked the beach, and returned back to our gorgeous Villa to get our money's worth.

So all in all..we found the charm in Bali, and came home wanting to go back again one day..But would def avoid Seminyak, and head straight back to Ubud and surrounding area..and maybe another visit to Lombok (we did not have time this visit).

It all boils down to what u make of it...We made Bali the dream we were looking for and therefore received it..
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Old Mar 10th, 2011, 11:29 PM
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Now that is interesting that you thought Yanto was an "authentic" experience, as he is not a Balinese balian at all, and his place is smack dab in the most touristy part of Legion, amidst tourist shops and across from Hotel Kumara. I have been to him, but let's just say it wasn't satisfactory, so I don't have to go into details. I do visit traditional Balinese healers here in Ubud and they charge less than 10% of what Yanto charged, with much better results!

I am not trying to diss your own experience, just to say that what is good for one person may not be good for another...and what appears "authentic" may not be at all!
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 07:55 AM
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Sorry kuluk, I had a wonderful experience and felt the location was way less touristy than alot of other areas we visited, and have chatted with many people that also felt the same!!! Too bad u didn't have a good experience, but to each their own!! I certainly revommend Yanto no matter what u say and liked that area way better than Seminyak
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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For those who are interested Yanto's bio is below. I don't have any opinion on him one way or the other, but agree that traditional Balinese healer he's not. I'd say he's a good example of the international melting pot that Bali has become. To me, "authentic" is what works!

YANTO IRJANTO grew up in a family who practiced traditional eastern medicine in Borneo. From the age of 10 he practised acupressure on his friends and started working professionally in 1979. In 1991 a client sponsored him to learn new techniques and about nutrition in Berkely, California. He received further training and certification as an acupuncturist from Beijing, China in 1997. He has travelled and worked in 16 different countries and treated model Cindy Crawford, painter of the American flag Jasper John and world champion surfer Cheyne Horan. His clients have nicknamed him ‘Dr Feelgood’, ‘Walking painkiller’ and ‘X-ray fingers’ for his ability to relieve and end their pain.
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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Yes i read this even before i went..but he did do wonders, whether he is authentic or not, he does his job well..and in the end that is what matters..
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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Does everyone have to be so picky?? Don't u just travel and enjoy things without trying to find something wrong with everything?? geesh!!
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 12:25 AM
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Tracy, I didn't mean to offend or even judge. I think Yanto's CV is actually pretty amazing. From Borneo to Cindy Crawford!

I was just pointing out that Bali has become such a melting pot of cultures and influences that it's difficult to define what's authentically Balinese. I agree, the point of a holiday is to enjoy yourself. As I said above, what's authentic is what works, and Bali definitely offers a range of experiences.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Thanks marmot!! Maybe I worded my post wrong, but the experience was so cool I just wanted to share it and I rarely post anything on Fodors. I know several other traveller's that enjoyed their experience also, that is why I went! And everyone likes different things when they travel so not sure why others want to bash just because they don't like it, as that's what travel forums are for, to share your experiences!! And I liked that area of Bali, as I said it felt more authentic to me than Seminyak!! Okay off to start planning another adventure somewhere, maybe Turkey this time!!
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 03:30 AM
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We are visiting Ubud, Bali,Indonesia for the 1st time for a month. We were told this was a beautify country to visit. We will NEVER come here again. It may have been wonderful once but not now. Accommodation is American priced, food and junk souvenirs are cheap. The streets are broken, walking you must be careful, Vehicles are not inspected - so fumes are terrible even if going in the country - do NOT come here if you have ASMATHA. People are poor and you are constantly hounded walking on the streets to buy, buy, taxi, taxi. Our next trip will be in a first world country - we came here for the beauty not because it was cheap. It is no longer beautiful - there is also garbage strewn everywhere on the streets - everyone just tosses and no one cleans up. Soon this will be a desolate country as tourists with any cash will not come to stay in a pig sty. Also since this is a 3rd world country be prepared to pay your courtesy fees - read bribes - my Canadian passport was not acceptable because it was issued in London - I live in the UK. Our entry documents were switched by the customs on entry and we will now have to pay another fee to sort my husband UK passport and my Canadian passport out to exit the country.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 05:24 AM
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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness........ ” Mark Twain
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 06:18 AM
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Apparently not always, mohan.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 05:50 PM
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I have no prejudice or bigotry towards anyone - race, creed, color, sexual orientation - I am not narrow minded. My husband and I have travelled quite a bit. We tend to stay a month or longer in one place - eat the food of the land, learn a new language. We do like to be in surroundings that are not filthy, where people throw garbage on the streets and do not clean up.
We order food, we eat it - we do not leave half of it on the plate. We are careful with what we say and our money recognizing that we are often in areas where people are living on less money.
Bali might have been beaultiful once but it is not now unless you buy a pretty postcard. Travelling in the ..country..you still are breathing fumes from vehicles - cars, trucks, motorscooters that have exhaust coming from them - as I said before it is not good when you believe you will end up somewhere needing oxygen because you are having problems breathing. The people are nice here, they smile a lot, they are poor and basically uneducated. Tourism is what they live by but they do not recognize the word cleanliness. This small town is overrun with trourist items in every 2nd shop - shops are not selling enough to make a go of it. Restaurants are also begging for business. Perhaps if you are young and want to go to the beaches and party harty this may be for you but if you are seriosuly looking for a quiet pretty spot to stay this is NOT it.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 07:05 PM
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I think you went to a different country than the rest of us.

And the other posters are right...if you don't want to see poor people than I guess live in a bubble and never leave home. There's so much offensive about (both of) your posts that I won't even both dissecting them.
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Old Apr 1st, 2011, 07:53 PM
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Kumiko:

I agree that there is some truth in your posts. Balinese do not understand about the rubbish problems, as they are still used to the biodegradability of banana leaf packaging and don't understand that trash has to be thrown away. It is an ongoing process to deal with that problem. Traffic is bad, because the streets were not built to deal with so many cars and motorbikes. The sidewalks in downtown Ubud were built by the central government, not Ubud, so we have no control over that. Ubud downtown area is not a great place for tourists, but they insist on congregating there, mistaking downtown for the famous Ubud area. It's not. Ubud is the district of Ubud which is deservedly famous for it's art, culture, lovely people and ancient Hindu religion and ritual arts. Why do you choose to nitpick some of the lesser aspects of a place? If souvenir shops offend you, don't look at them. Talk a walk along the river gorges or in rice fields. Attend some ceremonies or dance and music performances. Perhaps you have a driver that is taking you to the most touristic places and not travelling independently, therefore captive to his desire for commissions? It's easy to get taken in by the outer shell of tourism, but please open your eyes to see the inner beauty of Bali.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 10:06 AM
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I was recently in Bali for my first time and had a totally different experience fortunately. I'm in my mid 50's, from Canada and have also traveled quite a bit. I didn't have any expectations coming to Bali but I would have to say it was probably one of my most memorable vacations ever. Yes, I did see the garbage, which made me sad, and yes, the traffic in places was horrible but I also had such amazing experiences that it far outweighed those two things. We stayed in Ubud and Legian but we also traveled to Bedugal, Jatiluwuh and Kintamini and found it breathtaking. We took a bike tour riding past rice fields and small villages of rural Bali, which was probably the highlight of our whole trip. We hired an excellent local guide who took us to amazing places I had never heard of before. The things I didn’t like, I just avoided (such as the many souvenir shops). I found the people one of the kindest, friendliest and spiritual people I have ever met. We stayed in beautiful accommodations (Komaneka Monkey Forest in Ubud and Padma Resort in Legian), which was not cheap for sure but certainly good value for us. We loved the food and the many choices of restaurants. Where else can you get crème brule for $3? Overall, we had an incredible holiday and it was also a very positive cultural experience. If I wanted to go somewhere clean and predictable, I would have booked a condo in Hawaii (which I have done as well).
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 01:36 PM
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bali will welcome each of you back regardless...
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 01:47 AM
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There are lots of places in Bali where there are not a lot of tourists. The majority of tourists tend to hang out in pretty much the same places... just do your research and go somewhere else... I agree with merckxxx, Bali is at risk...
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Old Apr 16th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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Ghisl I had a similar experience in Bali and loved reading ur post! Although after Bali we went to Goa for 2 weeks!! Bali seemed clean compared to Goa!! Eventhough we love Goa and the rest of India!
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