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MaLloyd Jan 20th, 2017 08:50 PM

Bali - What to do?

My wife and I are looking to go to Bali in the middle of May. It looks like we'd probably fly into Denpasar. From there - what should we do? We're looking for more of a relaxing beach vacation but we love hiking and seeing the outdoors too. We're just looking to go somewhere different and we've heard great things about Bali. Is it easy to get around or should we just plan on sticking to 1 or 2 places?

Any recommendations would be great. We'll probably have anywhere from 8-10 days there.


LancasterLad Jan 20th, 2017 10:53 PM

Sanur for the beach. Ubud for the culture and a thousand shades of green.

kja Jan 20th, 2017 11:36 PM

You might find some ideas in my trip report. Use the search function (or just scroll through) to find the section on Bali.

And consult a good guidebook or two.


Guenmai Jan 21st, 2017 05:34 AM

I had no problem getting around Bali as there are lots of private drivers and that was back in the late 1990s. I stayed in the heart of Ubud.

Happy Travels!

rhkkmk Jan 21st, 2017 07:13 AM

we always hire a driver/guide named Putu. he takes you all over the island visiting as many significant places as you have time for.

he is based outside Ubud but travels to anywhere where you might be staying. he will design tours for you or you can design them for him.

he is very reasonable, he has a nice SUV and his English is perfect, plus he is fun.

[email protected]

we prefer to base ourselves in ubud, but there is no beach there. Sanur is a decent beach area with lots of hotels, so are the areas on the upper west coast.

our favorite hotel is alam shanti in ubud.

taxis are available in most areas. some hotels have shuttle buses.

rhkkmk Jan 21st, 2017 07:14 AM

you will not wont for things to do. the countryside is beautiful

marmot Jan 21st, 2017 04:24 PM

Mid-May is a great time for Bali. Good weather and well before the tourist crunch.

I would suggest that you split your time between the southern beaches and the Ubud area. Bali is a relatively small island, and it's easy to take day excursions from wherever you are staying. Transportation is readily available.

In South Bali the simplest way to get around is by metered taxi. Some neighborhoods offer community sponsored transport for pick ups. For longer trips you'll want to hire a car and driver which your resort will arrange for you.

In other parts of Bali, including the Ubud area, metered taxis are not available, but local transport, that you can flag down on the road or arrange through your resort, is everywhere. You negotiate a set rate with your driver for your destination.

Drivers, both private cars and taxis, will wait while you have a meal or shop or whatever you want to do when you're not in the car. Just include the wait time in your negotiation.

There are several main beaches in southern Bali and each has its own pluses and minuses. There are a lot of choices in accommodation at all different price ranges. I'd suggest you pick the location first, then choose the resort.

On the east coast are Sanur and Nusa Dua. The east coast ocean is mostly calm water, good for swimming. Sanur is a quiet community with a lot of expat retirees and a fair number of walkable restaurants, spas and shops.

Nusa Dua is a purpose built enclave with many upscale resorts. It's kind of cut off from the rest of Bali but it has a nice swimming beach, though it can be very rocky at low tide.

On the west coast are Jimbaran, Kuta/Legian and Seminyak/Petitenget. This is a big wave surfer ocean. Good for swimming if you like waves.

Jimbaran has a so-so beach in protected cove and some nice resorts. The resorts are built on the cliffside some distance from the beach.

Kuta/Legian/Seminyak/Petitenget is one long beach. Kuta/Legian attract a heavy party crowd. Seminyak/Petitenget is more sophisticated.

My favorite would be Petitenget because of the wide sandy beach, spectacular sunsets and the array of shops, spas, clubs and some of Bali's best restaurants. Most will be within walking distance or a short taxi from where you stay.

In Ubud you can either stay in the town itself or in the countryside outside of town. Both have advantages, though personally I like to be out in the rice paddies and river valleys. Ubud is the center of nature and culture. Depending on your interests you'll find plenty of activities.

I would note that May 12-14 is the Ubud Food Festival. This is a wonderful event that showcases chefs and food experts from Indonesia and all over Asia/Australia. If that sounds interesting, take a look at their website for more information. If it doesn't, it might be better to avoid Ubud on those days.

LancasterLad Jan 21st, 2017 11:53 PM

Someone recommends a driver to you, and you e-mail or phone him to book him.

If he's already committed on the dates that you want will he tell you that? It's likely he'll sublet your booking to a colleague or friend, but will he inform you of that beforehand or at all? And in any case you've never met him before, so you won't know him from Adam.

My thoughts are, for a first time booking with a driver, is to only book him for one day. If he proves to be a good knowledgeable drive who speaks your language, who follows your requests, who doesn't take you to his brothers so-so expensive restaurant, or an expensive tat souvenir shop, then great, book him again.

mareeS55 Jan 22nd, 2017 03:08 AM

Canggu is really nice, about 45 mins from the airport heading west, 10mins from Seminyak, where all the good restaurants and shopping are located. Good waves there for competent surfers. We usually stay at Hotel Tugu, lovely traditional-style hotel not far from where our son and his wife live.

Sanur is also nice in the other direction from the airport, much more relaxed than Kuta, and Candidasa is low on development a bit further north.

Ubud is yoga and vegetarian central, but really beautiful and more Hindu populated than the south coast. Lovina on the north coast is old Bali, much like Kuta and Legian were until the 1970s.

Lots of Australians love to hate Bali, but the Balinese are lovely people and you can find lots of places outside the main drags that are slices of paradise.

mareeS55 Jan 22nd, 2017 03:15 AM

PS, it's easy to hire drivers, about AU$50 for the better part of a day. IMHO better than hiring a motor scooter, as traffic is fairly chaotic and lots of western visitors get injured. If you come to grief in that way there is a good international hospital at Kuta/Legian funded by Australia after the 2002/2005 bombings. Our son and his wife vouch for it.

MaLloyd Jan 22nd, 2017 09:28 PM

Thanks for the insights everyone! We got our trip booked for May 16-26 and we're definitely excited.

@RHKKMK thanks for the recommendation for a driver. I'll reach out to him and see what it looks like. Do you typically book him for the week and just use him on the days of travel? Also, would you be willing to share roughly what the cost typically is to use a driver like that?

@marmot thanks for the write-up and all of the recommendations! We're definitely thinking 2-3 days in Ubud than going to 1 or 2 other places and just doing short travel from each of those. I'll take a look at all those other places you've recommended and see what looks good.

In general, is it easy to just get there and find a driver, or best to find one early? Also, for anyone else - So 2-3 days in Ubud and then where else should we spend the rest?

Thanks everyone!

marmot Jan 22nd, 2017 10:57 PM

I'd say 3 or 4 days in the Ubud area, 3 or 4 days at one of the the southern beaches and either split the balance between those two or add a third destination. It really depends on how much you like moving around. If you do choose a third place, I'd suggest the area around Amed or the area around Munduk.

There are zillions of drivers in Bali so no need to pre-book; however, if find someone you like, why not make arrangements in advance? It's easier on both you and the driver.

kja Jan 22nd, 2017 11:00 PM

As noted in my trip report, I was happy to spend 8 days in Ubud and 1 day elsewhere on Bali. To each his / her own!

And as noted in that report, I can't praise my driver enough. His name is Amik Bagoes and you can reach him through the Alam Group. He charged me about $50 US per day; less for a part day. (Of course, that could change.) Our arrangements were for specific days, and he recommended an alternative for a day when he had a pre-existing arrangement.
<[email protected]>
If you can't reach him through this address, let me know -- I'll be sure to find a way to put you in touch.

IME, drivers are not fungible and their schedules are not infinitely malleable. If you find a driver who is recommended and who sounds -- from what you can learn -- suitable, I'd say: Book!

kja Jan 22nd, 2017 11:10 PM

[email protected]

MaLloyd Jan 25th, 2017 09:56 PM

Is the 16-21 (Tuesday night to Sunday) too long to stay in Ubud? Is there a lot to do up that way? After that we're going to head down south and trying to figure out the best place for that..

kja Jan 25th, 2017 10:10 PM

To repeat, I spent 8 full days in Ubud. I was on the move each and every from breakfast until dinner and beyond. Whether my interests are anything like yours is another question, but you should be able to get a sense if you look at my trip report, which I linked in upthread.

marmot Jan 25th, 2017 10:47 PM

Ubud refers to both the town of Ubud and the surrounding countryside. The town has many shops and restaurants, a few museums and a few performance venues for Balinese music and dance.

When you get out of town, you'll have: walking, biking, raftng, mountain trekking, golfing, birding; religious ceremonies and processions, temples old and new; village markets; all kinds of arts and crafts workshops: jewelry, bamboo, stone and wood carving, masks, textiles; classes in cooking, Balinese crafts, yoga.

When you go further afield which you can easily do from wherever you stay in the Ubud: snorkeling, mountain sunrise, trice terraces and waterfalls, textile weaving.

rhkkmk Jan 26th, 2017 06:57 AM

btw, marmot lives in bali and offers A-1 advice.

I would not have him every day, maybe 3 or 4 days out of 7. maybe more if you like him, and I am sure you will, just add days when you are there---if his days are open.

cost I don't remember exactly but in the range of $40-50 for a FULL day... no extra costs added on either like some guides do--only admissions if that applies.

ask putu for suggested routes and then read up on them. work with him to alter things to your desires. click on my name and read some of my bali reports.

I could stay my whole time in ubud as it is so central. Fab restaurants in ubud too

you will have a blast..

MaLloyd Jan 27th, 2017 07:35 PM

Thank's everyone.

@kja thanks for the insights. I've started reading through your trip report, it sounds amazing! I imagine I'll have some follow-up questions for you as I get through it all. I'll reach out to the driver you recommended and see it looks like to use him along with @rhkkmk's driver.

@marmot Also, thank you for all of the insights, I am sure I'll have some more questions for you too.

So I think I've decided on the 16 till the 21 or 22 in Ubud than the rest of the week, till the 26th, in Sanur to get more of the beach in. How does that sound for a high-level schedule?

In Ubud we're definitely going to do the Canyoneering, though I think that's a couple hours away, and do a cooking class. It sounds like there are some great shows to see in the area and some great restaurants (love good food!). I am going to be looking through @kja's report and see what else we should be doing.

We want a mix of relaxation and activities/exploring in both areas. My wife isn't a huge fan of museums or shows, but I know there are some we need to go too and see. Are there some specific day trips out of Ubud we must do? Same thing while we're down in Sanur?

When it comes to eating in restaurants or along the beaches - is it safe? Particularly when it comes to the water. Any food recommendations, I am open to anything!

Thanks everyone!

kja Jan 27th, 2017 07:46 PM

I'm glad you are finding some insights in my trip report -- thanks for saying so! :-) And yes, it was an amazing trip. I'll do my best to answer your questions. You can post them on my trip report or here; I'll see them either way.

FWIW, I was stunned by the amount of traffic around Samur -- and the amount of time it took to get through it. If day trips to the north of Samur interest you, then you might want to plan them for days when you are basing in Ubud. I trust that marmot (or others) will weigh in if they think my experience was unusual or this advice misguided.

marmot Jan 27th, 2017 10:48 PM

I would suggest that you try to see a Balinese dance performance. The ones at Ubud Palace are very good and there are others at village temples outside of town.

I've never done canyoning in Bali. You'll have to tell us about it.

I'd also recommend river rafting along the Ayung River in Ubud (I like Sobek's trips) and biking on the back roads. The whole area is quite scenic and your guide will take you through the rice paddies to little villages and tell you about village life and the edibles that are grown in the area.

If you're interested in culture you might want to visit Besakih Temple, called the Mother Temple in Bali.

Most people who come to Bali try to see the Sea Temples of Tanah Lot and Ulu Watu. They're very photogenic, but to me less interesting than the everyday temples, especially when there's a ceremony going on (which there is most everyday, somewhere). There's a new moon on May 21 and there will be lots of temple events on that day.

A cooking class that's based in a Balinese village is a wonderful experience. You chop and grind and stir and learn about local ingredients then you get to enjoy what you cooked for lunch.

There are quite a few good restaurants in Ubud, both Asian and Western.
Many of Bali's best restaurants are in Seminyak and further north along the west coast, again, both Asian and Western and combinations of both. If this interests you then I'd suggest that you stay in Seminyak as it doesn't make sense to commute from Sanur. Sanur has a few good eating choices, but nothing in range or level of sophistication as the northern parts of Seminyak (Petitenget/Batu Belig/Brawa).

Food is generally safe, both in Everywhere in Bali you'll want to only drink bottled water.

I would agree with kja: wherever you are in South Bali, stay there. Time spent driving from place to place is the worst part of Bali.

LancasterLad Jan 28th, 2017 12:03 AM

Is Monkey Forest on yout things to do in Ubud...

It's worth a visit, just be careful of your belongings. Easy to find at the south end of town.

MaLloyd Jan 28th, 2017 07:59 AM

Thanks @marmot. So I head read that the beaches in Sanur were significantly cleaner than that side where Seminyak is and that it was quite a bit slower on the Sanur side also. We just want to make sure we've got a few good beach days. But also some flexibility if we want to head out for a day trip since we'll have 4-5 days there.

I'll definitely keep you posted on the canyoneering and the river rafting sounds like a lot of fun also

LancasterLad Jan 28th, 2017 01:24 PM

There's a breakwater protecting the full length of the beach at Sanur. Also a boardwalk running the full length of it, about 6 km. We had an enjoyable week there before moving on to Ubud.

marmot Jan 28th, 2017 04:36 PM

During the wet season the west coast gets on shore winds that bring trash to the beaches. During the dry season the east coast gets the same treatment. So in May you won't have a trash problem on the west coast but Sanur may be impacted.

Sanur is definitely quieter, both the community and the ocean. It attracts families with young children and older expats. Because of the reef, the water is calm and good for swimming. The beachfront walk which Lancaster mentions stretches along the beach and is great for walks and bike rides. Pretty, pink sunrises.

On the west coast, the Kuta/Legian areas can be quite raucous. Further north toward Seminyak/Petitenget the crowd is more sophisticated. As I mentioned, many of Bali's best restaurants and beach clubs are in the Seminyak/Petitenget/Batu Belig/Brawa neighborhoods

There are also extensive shopping areas, mostly for clothing and accessories, but also for handicrafts and homewares. The beach is long, wide and unobstructed, great for long walks/runs. Waves just right for surfing lessons and body boarding. Spectacular sunsets.

For day trips, it really depends where you're going. Tanah Lot is on the west coast about 1.5 hours from Seminyak. Ulu Watu is on the southern tip is about the same from Sanur or Seminyak. Waterbom, which is a wild and well-loved water amusement park, is in Kuta. Golf is everywhere.

From Sanur you can catch boats to the outlying islands of Lembognan and Nusa Penida. The island boats offer snorkeling, but it's heavily trafficked, and no where near the experience of north Bali.

Other than that, I would do day-tripping from your Ubud beach and concentrate on ocean, eating, shopping etc. in the South.

marmot Jan 28th, 2017 04:37 PM

Sorry, meant to write from your Ubud BASE.

MaLloyd Jan 31st, 2017 08:21 AM

@marmot thanks for those insights. I think you've sold me on Seminyak! I think I've got our places to stay down to a few and going to finalize how many days in Saminyak and how many in Ubud. Mostly trying to decide if we should take an extra day in Ubud or just split our time evenly with 5 days in both.

I'd love to hear your top 5 must do's for either or both areas - any specific day trips. Right now on the list is Canyoneering, a cooking class, visit the Monkey Forest, I believe there is an elephant place also to visit, & Tanah Lot. I am still looking through @kja's list of places.

The potential list of places to visit or do are: Besakih Temple, maybe a night or two in Amed (worth it?), shopping (any must go to places?), river rafting, eat good food (any must eat places? Open to anything), Pura Taman Saraswati, Kecak performance at Junjungan Village, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Tampaksiring (pulling a lot from @kja and probably others here), Gianyar night market, massages (where? When I was in Thailand several years ago, I regret only getting 1) and there are several more. Just working my way down the list. Thanks everyone!

marmot Jan 31st, 2017 07:55 PM

As I said, each beach has positives and negatives. If you'd like to share the hotels that you are considering, I can probably give you more information on them. This is one that I'd recommend in Seminyak/Petitenget:

I'm not so keen on the Monkey Forest, but it seems to be on everyone's list. Elephants are not native to Bali but again people seem to like the experience. Your potential list will keep you busy. I think most importantly in Bali you should leave time for impromptu walks and ceremonies. Balinese culture is everywhere and sometimes you just have to let it come to you.

Spas and massage places are also everywhere. You will have no problem find many, many choices.

It's hard to keep up with the good food explosion in Bali. Here are some places that I like, but there are plenty of others. You can read about them on their websites and Facebook pages. If you're interested make a reservation before you arrive. There are also zillions of lowkey informal places serving sate, nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Balinese duck and barbeque, and other local favorites. They are very cheap and generally quite good.

Seminyak/Batu Belig/Brawa:
Sardine, Sarong, La Lucciola, Mamasan for dinner
Biku for dessert
Kudeta for drinks
Finn's Beach Club for hanging out on the beach
Watercress, Milk & Madu for breakfast and lunch

Ubud: Hujan Locale, Locavore, Moksa (vegetarian)

MaLloyd Jan 31st, 2017 10:07 PM

@marmot that does look nice! Thank you for the food recommendations. Is it bet to reserve a spot early or are most places pretty easy to walk into?

Here is my final list of places I am looking to decide upon (sorry, there is still quite a few):

For Seminyak, here are a few places I am looking at: The Wolas Villas & Spa, Nyuh Bali Villas, Daluman Villas, & Uma Sapna.

For Ubud: Sankara Resort, KajaNe Mua Private Villa & Mansion, Villa Sonia, Komaneka at Bisma, KajaNe Mua Private Villa & Mansion, Pandawas Villas, Wapa di Ume Resort and Spa, & finally Swarapadi Villa.

There are so many amazing looking places to stay - it's been hard to say 'this is the one.' But there is my list of places I am looking to finalize with soon!

Thanks again.

marmot Feb 1st, 2017 12:39 AM

For popular Bali restaurants, you'd be better off making dinner reservations in advance and cancelling if you change your mind. The concierge at whichever resort you choose will do this for you. For Locavore you absolutely need a reservation. There are zillions of others that don't require pre-booking.

The only villa on your Seminyak list that I've been to is Uma Sapna, which has a pretty good location and a very good reputation. It's within walking distance to Double 6 beach, which is a lively area, but rather crowded and, in my opinion, not as nice as Petitenget beach.

The Wolas wouldn't be my first choice for location because it's on the far side of Sunset Road. The others are in the southern part of Seminyak, which is a bit congested. You probably don't need any more choices, but I'd suggest you also look toward the north end of Seminyak in Petitenget, Batu Belig or Brawa. These areas are more newly developed and offer quite a few of the best restaurants -- both pricey and inexpensive.

The only one of your choices that I've been to in Ubud is Komeneka Bisma, which is a lovely, well run resort in a developed Ubud neighborhood. The others I can only comment on for location, not the villa itself. They all look nice.
The Sankara is in Mas south of Ubud center. Mas is a charming village with a lot of artisan workshops.
KajaNe Mua is right in center of Ubud town, on highly traveled street, close to the monkey forest.
Villa Sonia is just south of the monkey forest in Nyuh Kuning which is a pleasant suburb of Ubud, walkable to Ubud center if you go through the Monkey Forest.
Pandawas Villas and Swarapadi Villas are north of Ubud center in a more rural area.
Wapa di Ume is also to the north but closer to Ubud center.

You're right it's hard to differentiate from a distance, but my observation has been that wherever they end up, most people like their choice of villa/resort.

pinitbali Feb 1st, 2017 11:11 PM

Insider's review on Bali:

Most people only know Bali for the beaches and rice paddies (Ubud, yes) and ceremony. Myself, I like Bali more about the relaxing way of life here. See if that article helps.

In other way, Ubud is a must-visit! Sometimes I go to Ubud just for a one or two days getaway and it's always worth the trip.

pinitbali Feb 1st, 2017 11:16 PM

Just for fun video since it's raining hard here now:


MaLloyd Feb 2nd, 2017 12:10 PM

@marmot Great insights. Actually ended up booking Luwak Ubud Villas for Ubud and I am thinking of this place, Bali Yubi Villa, for Seminyak as I think it's closer to where you recommended!

@kja I heard back from Amik, he sent over some great ideas. It sounds like you enjoyed having him drive you around and he said he's free. So I'll see if I can get something worked out. Thanks!

kja Feb 2nd, 2017 01:09 PM

Glad to hear it! I was very pleased with Amik's services and hope you are, too.

marmot Feb 2nd, 2017 06:46 PM

I don't know Yubi Villas, but it's good location if you want to be within walking distance from both restaurants and the beach. From comments on Trip Advisor it sounds like you might get loud music from the nearby clubs unless you're at the back of the property.

MaLloyd Feb 7th, 2017 08:16 PM

Hey all!

Back again. So I got some good recommendations from Putu (Thanks @marmot) and I was just curious what you'd change or wouldn't:

From ubud
Day 1
Join our bebaliday cooking class . Start 8 am finish 2 pm . Price idr 350.000 per person include transport from /to hotel in ubud area. This include visit to local morning market, balinese house, rice field and vegetable garden,cooking in balinese way and kitchen, lunch .

Day 2:
Full day central bali
Hoin holly bathing in sudamala holly spring
Secluded tukad cepung waterfall and canyon
Lunch in floating restaurant of lake batur
Temple on lake batur
Panglipuran tranditional village and bamboo forest
Kehen temple

Day 3 - (We'll actually do canyoneering this day)
Price idr 350.000 per person . Include transport and lunch. 8am to 2 pm.

Day 4
East Bali full day
Snorkelling in bloo lagoon . Proce for snokelling gear and boat is idr 200.000 per person
Ujung water palace
Salt maker
Bat cave

Day 5
Nature day
Jungle hiking and canoing in lake tamblingan. Price for guide and boat is idr 280.000 per boat.
Refresh in secluded waterfall of Banyumala
Twin lake
Famous temple of lake bratan
Botanical garden

From Seminyak

Day 6
Full day beach hoping in South Bali
We can visit and enjoy beaching in gunung payung beach, ungasan beach , nyang nyang beach, suluban beach.
Uluwatu cliff temple
Jimbaran fish market

Day 7
Full day
Butterfly park
Jungle temple of batukaru
Hiking in jatuluwih rice field
Angseri hot spring
Taman atun royal temple
Tanah lot sunset.

It's a pretty full schedule - should we be doing day trips every day while in Ubud or should we hang out there for a day or so?

Thanks again!

kja Feb 7th, 2017 08:24 PM

Your call! With few exceptions, these were not my priorities for Bali -- but maybe they are yours? I don't think there are right or wrong answers here -- just personal preferences. I trust marmot will have a more informed assessment....

marmot Feb 7th, 2017 10:34 PM

I'm glad you liked Putu, but you have to thank rhkkmk, not me. :) Several Fodorites have used Putu in Bali and really liked him, but I've never met him.

As for you schedule, Wow! My personal preference would be to whittle it down to about half and allow for time to just hang out.

Bebaliday sounds great. Someone else on this site did that with Putu and loved it.

I would pick one, Day 2 or 5.

I would probably skip the snorkeling unless you planned to spend the night on the east coast (e.g., Amed).

You could do most of Day 7 on your way to Seminyak.

You'll want to set aside free time just to hang out at your villa and stroll around Ubud town. I would also include more time walking through the country side with or without a guide (and less time in the car).

You don't need a driver for rafting. The rafting operator (I like Sobek) will pick you up at your resort and take you back after lunch. Actually, I usually skip lunch the free lunch as there are so many better choices.

Day 6 just sounds like a lot of driving. If you want to see Ulu Watu temple and beaches I'd suggest you combine an afternoon beach trip with a Kecak dance performance at the temple.

My preference would be just rent some chairs and an umbrella and enjoy your time in Seminyak. It's a nice, laid back beach area. You'll want to have lunches, walk on the beach, have spa treatments, do some shopping, take a nap, have sunset drinks.

You can rent chairs all up and down Seminyak beach. The area around Double 6 has the surf schools and a good swimming area, but it's also the most crowded. The area in front of KuDeTa restaurant is the most lively. I like the quiet little pockets around The Legian and The Oberoi resorts.

The tide range in Bali is variable, on some days extreme. Low tide is great for walking, high tide can be difficult for walking but it's a great time for wave watching at a place like KuDeTa, Potato Head or Alila. A tide chart will help.

YanaTravelArt Feb 25th, 2017 08:27 PM

Hey! You seem to plan everything out really well, but maybe you will find my respond useful too, especially because you like hiking :)
I spent 1 month in Bali and that was not enough for me to explore everything lol But there is something I would 100% recommend to do if you are there even for a short time = hike up the VOLCANO! :)

I climbed up the active volcano Batur in Bali and it was just amazing! Such a powerful moment, connection with the earth and hiking during the night under the sky full of stars..kinda romantic :) But nothing could be more impressive than a sunrise over the volcano. So many colors and so much inspiration!

I lived in Thailand more than 2 years and love hiking. This hike was not difficult, there are more difficult trips. But the fact that you ARE on top of the VOLCANO was kinda giving me goosebumps!

You can climb yourself but it is not always obvious what the path is (especially at night) and also you can face lots of troubles like local "guides" won't let you go up the volcano if you arrive by yourself without a tour guide, this is not what you want when you arrive to the mountain at 3 am hehehe

I would recommend you to go with a professional guide who knows the route and will protect you from local "guides" and also actually tell you something interesting about the volcano otherwise it's just a walk-up-some-rocky-mountain kinda night experience ;)
I can definitely recommend Pierrick - an awesome smiling guide with 15 years of experience climbing the volcanoes. He is in love with it and a great organizer. Even when it gets hard he can make you smile and the rest of the trip easier. Plus he provides masks, gloves, extra warm cloths and food for the trip so you don't need to worry about it. Like if you get cold on the top (and it IS super cold and windy) - there is someone to help you out!
This guy is a real treasure and knows everything about volcanoes. I mean 15 years climbing's a LOT.

This company Indotravelteam organizes trips in small groups to different volcanoes: Kawah Ijen, Bromo, Batur etc.
But if you are in Bali for not that long I would suggest you to go for 24 hours trip to Kawah Ijen or 6 hours trip to Batur.
And also they are very flexible, like if their dates don't fit your schedule you can book a private tour no problem.

You can ask for more details on their Instagram:

Hope it was useful for you. Enjoy Indonesia, it's magical!

julies Feb 25th, 2017 10:58 PM

We are just ending a stay of 2+ weeks in Bali. Some things we did that may interest you as far as the nature part. We spent 6 nights in the very low-key Amed area at Puri Wirata resort. This was the least expensive place we stayed during our six week trip, and we'd recommend it. Snorkeling from shore is quite good here, and, weather permitting, we went out twice each day. Nearly all of the rooms have very nice views to the ocean and terraces or balconies.

We spent two nights in Sideman (a truly lovely valley in the rice terrace area) and did some walking there. Walking can be as gentle or as strenuous as you want it to be.

During our stay in Ubud we did a downhill cycling trip with Jejeg. The cycling part was actually super easy and not that long, but we liked the trip anyway. Guides were great, and we got a lot of insights into Bali. The trip ended with a fabulous spread of a lunch (about six different dishes) that were home cooked in the family's compound. We'd definitely recommend this company.

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