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Calling all Bali experts - advice and input needed for summer trip

Calling all Bali experts - advice and input needed for summer trip

Oct 7th, 2007, 03:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 452
Calling all Bali experts - advice and input needed for summer trip

Middle aged, well traveled US couple needs advice for summer trip. Had heart set on Vietnam, but it will be so steamy and hot end of June/early July. Europe is out due to dollar tanking. Want to use FF tix and thought of Bali since the weather is good in summer. AFter researching on this board and others, it appears that there are some adventuresome things to do in Bali - we don't want to just sit on the beach. I realize there is no Hanoi or Hulang Bay or Sapa, but are the trekking, native villages, rice paddies, etc. really interesting? there seem to be some great hikes and cultural experiences at a great price.

I have traveled extensively in Asia (China, Lao, Thailand) but this would be significant other's first trip to Asia.

Seems like Ubud would be main base and can do day trips, but also intrigued by Munduk (Puri Lumburg?), Tirtagangga (Tirta Ayu looks fabulous to stay!) and Jataluwih areas (Prana Dewi looks nice).

For R&R, find Lembongan Island intriguing.

All input appreciated about Bali as a destination as well as these particular places to visit in addition to Ubud.

Thanks so much.....I can't imagine even trying to plan a trip without the input of the many generous Fodorites.
alison is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,764
alison, from what you've described I think Bali, and Indonesia in general, will have a lot of appeal. You do have to understand, however, that Bali is just one small island in a country of 17,000 islands so for a good comparison to Viet Nam you should consider adding other locations in Indonesia as well.

I would suggest that you think about spending a few days in Central Java in the Yogyakarta area. You can see Borobudur and the other ancient sites and experience the mystical side of Islam.

Tanah Toraja in Central Sulawesi is also a profoundly fascinating culture in breathtakingly beautiful natural surroundings. Further north in Sulawesi the coral reefs are among the best on the planet.

I think the places you have identified in Bali are good, though, really, the culture is so pervasive that you don't really have to move around too much to experience it. Art, dance, theater, religion, pageantry are so much a part of everyday life on Bali that if you just stay put in Ubud it will come to you.

Personally, I find that the Balinese culture is bottomless -- the more I learn about it more I want to know. But as I said, Bali is a small populated touristed island. Art and religion permeate everyday life, so I wouldn't say it's commercialized; but interaction with the modern world is a part of the culture as well.

This is a wonderful group for specialized tours in Bali.

If you really want to get off the beaten track you should think about some of the other islands: Java, Sulawesi as mentioned above, or if you're really adventurous Sumba, Banda, Papua. Flights are reasonably convenient from Denpasar to the rest of the country.

Trvel in Indonesia takes some planning but is highly rewarding. Many of the expats in Jakarta have taken trips organized by Leks Santoso of Remote Destinations. I haven't done it myself but many of my friends are repeat travelers with Leks' group.

Indonesia is fairly hot and steamy all year round. I haven't been to VN in June/July but I can't imagine that Bali would be much different climate-wise.

Finally, you can peruse this website for some more ideas for Bali and beyond.
marmot is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,844
I agree there's lots to do on Bali, and it is the 'best' summer destination in SE Asia. However, you didn't mention how much time you have on the ground. If it's more than 10 days, you might consider a side trip to another part of Indonesia - Yogyakarta/Borobodur; Malang/Mt. Bromo; a Komodo cruise - the possibilities are almost endless.

Ubud is a great place to base yourself for some adventure and 'real' cultural experiences. I love the white-water rafting there and have done it several times.

I only recently visited the north side of the island for the first time, and would definitely be interested in spending more time there myself. It seems like a completely different place.

I've yet to visit Lembongan. It's not high on my list as I have the impression it's a day-tripping party place.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 09:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 202
I concur with all of the above posts. Indonesia, and particularly Bali, Sulawesi, Komodo, Java all the islands in between remain the most facsinating trips I have ever taken.. GO!!! You can't go wrong. You may be a long time going back to Europe, no matter what the US dollar does.
cmenoni is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 03:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 677
Ubud is an excellent place to have on your list. But not "to be based in". Bali is not large - touring is the thing.

Don't miss getting yourselves from Ubud to Gunung Batur. For the journey and for the spectacular caldera.

I enjoyed Candidasa too.

I only had a week. f I'd had more time I'd have thought about heading off to Lombok.
chimani is offline  
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