Bali next year --- help!

Old Jul 9th, 2002, 11:52 AM
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Bali next year --- help!

I am considering a trip to Bali with my husband for our 10th anniversary. I am curious about a few things before we make the decision whether Bali, Fiji, Bora-Bora or Australia...

How big is Bali? Could somebody compare the size of the island with a state in the U.S. to give me a sense of size? I am asking because if we decide to stay, let's say in Kuta or Nusa Dua, would it be far to travel to the mountains like Ubud?

Is it safe to rent a car or would it be better to get a tour guide or ride the public transportation?

What is the best overall spot? We are looking for white sand beach, near the temples and not too crowded of a place...

Please advice...Thank you!
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 12:01 PM
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Don't know if my reply would help at all. I am going to Bali in Sep. for the first time. I have done a lot of readings about it - not as good as having been there - I know.
I have not been to any US islands. But I compare Bali with Jamaica for the size.
About your 4 destinations, I would choose Bali definitely. I have been to Australia. Among all the countries I have been to, Australia is the most similar to the states (not saying it is not lovely). Depends on what you are looking for. I like to see differences. Fiji and Bora-Bora sound good, but more expensive than Bali. I chose Bali because I can have a lot of fun (both culture and food) for little money.
Kuta or Nusa Dua? You can read other travelers' opinions. Some love Nusa Dua, some hate it.
It seems like that driving by yourself is not recommended in Bali. I can imagine that Balinese drive like crazy comparing to Americans. All major hotels have guided tours, or even free shuttles.
Temples are all over the island. Beaches too. You will have fun there!
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 12:08 PM
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Kuta vs. Nusa Dua! Well, they couldn't be more different.

I've stayed in Sanur, twice, and that is where I would go back, if that ever happens...

Maria, you'll find a lot of information here, just type "Bali" into the search box, click "find" and threads will pop up.

Allow yourself one overnight stay in Ubud.

One last word, Bali's beaches are quite nice, but to be compared to some in the Caribbeans. No way! Besides that, the sea can be quite dangerous in some parts of the island.
Good luck.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 12:10 PM
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sorry, this should be re. the beaches

"but cannot be compared...."
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 10:14 AM
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Thank you for all the advice...they were very helpful. I'm glad you mentioned about the beaches...I wondered about that myself (in comparison to the Carribean, that is).

Question for Cathy: Where is Sanur and the difference bet. Nusa Dua, Kuta and Sanur? If Nusa is quieter than Kuta, why do people don't like Nusa Dua?
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 10:57 AM
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Maria, I would sum it up like this. But please keep in mind, this is my opinion based on personal experiences. Others might not agree.

Kuta is Bali's party place. A lot of young folks, surfers mainly who love to party at night.

Nusa Dua is in the very south of Bali, almost a detached island with only high-end resorts. To me, it seemed sort of sterile, you don't get even aware your in Bali, even less in Indonesia.
I would compare it to sort of a small "Disneyworld", everything neat and clean.

I cannot answer your question why people like Nusa Dua. Most I know, are not that fond of it. But then, I am European and we seem to prefer places with more charm. Get my point.

Sanur has been a lovely spot some 20 years ago (when I first visited) with very few tourists and I still consider it a nice place, but there more resorts now a well. But you can still find typical Indonesion painters and handycraft items, etc.
In Sanur, I like the Hyatt. Don't mix it with the Grand Hyatt in Nusa Dua.

As a matter of fact, Bali is small. You can go to Nusa Dua for a couple of hours, there is a nice air-conditioned shopping mall!
You can also go to Kuta one evening, just to see what it's like. After a couple of hours, you'll be happy to get back to your hotel.

I would not want to drive myself. Hire a tour guide with a car. Won't cost a fortune and he will take you just anywhere and give you tons of information about the island. Balinese people are very friendly.

By the way, Bora-Bora and Fidji would be my dream. But then, both places are soo far and seems to be very expensive. (
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 03:39 PM
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Thank you Cathy! Super duper helpful insight...I totally get the picture now.
It's going to be between Kuta and Sanur with an overnight in Ubud, I'd say...and definitely Bali for the price!
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 03:55 PM
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If you are going to Ubud you might want to consider a private villa rather than a hotel. This is a totally unique experience. I have stayed at a place call Puri Bayu (you can find it with a search on the Net) and loved it. The owner is (or used to be) a very nice Canadian lady living in Bali.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 04:25 PM
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Kuta is trashy, plain and simple! If you like drinking and partying and a honky-tonk atmosphere, go for it!
I personally like Nusa Dua - it's peaceful and beautiful, but, as Cathy said, it doesn't represent Balinese culture. On the other hand, also as Cathy said, Bali is small, and you can spend your days seeing as much of it as you choose, the same as you could no matter which location you return to to sleep. But you WILL return somewhere to sleep, and the amenities of Nusa Dua are nice to return to. I don't think you'll have to miss any of the wonders of Bali if you choose Nusa Dua.
Old Jul 11th, 2002, 07:45 PM
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Just a response to the traffic question. Although distances are not too far, perhaps 30 kilos between Sanur and Ubud, for instance, the actual time is up to an hour or so. Between Ubud and Nusa Dua is one and a half hours one way. Not because the Balinese drive crazily as has been suggested, but because the roads are very narrow and you have to forever wait for cars to pass or whatever.

Do definitely hire a private car and driver. The usual cost per 8 hour day is US 30 including gasoline but not including meals for the driver. This is per car for usually up to 4 people per car. You can easily find a driver by asking at at the front desk of your hotel, but do check the condition of the car and the language skills of the driver before you commit.

You will love Bali. And I do think you should spend at least a few days in Ubud (not downtown Ubud but the countryside) if you are interested in seeing Balinese Hindu culture. Take a drive up to see the rice fields, perhaps do some trekkinig, see the Ayung River Valley, visit some local temples and watch the ceremonies, etc.

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