Into Indonesia 2010: The Plan Begins!

Mar 25th, 2009, 07:01 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Garuda flights are quirky and seasonal (whatever the season may be)so it's possible that that flight isn't flying when you need it. You could also do Mataram Jakarta or Jakarta Mataram, making Lombok your first or last stop. Getting from Bali to Lombok isn't really onerous. It's just an waste of vacation time.

North Bali is ruggedly beautiful, but not lush and green like the central area. Culturally, it's greatly influenced by Java and is in fact more like Lombok than it is like the rest of Bali. I'd recommend it for diving/snorkling and other sea life excursions, but not for nature or culture.

I haven't been to Amed for ages, so I can't give a contemporary opinion. The whole eastcoast other than the Amankila bubble is a bit down on its heels. The beaches are somewhat eroded and tourism is stalled. That's the coast, per se. Eastern Bali inland (Klungkung regency) is vibrant in every way -- arts and crafts, nature and culture. Actually the Amankila would be another contender for the big splurge.
The Alila in Manggis is also very nice.

I like Seminyak because I LIKE a dose of beach resort life (sunset cocktails and all that), but I agree that Yogya-Ubud-Lombok would offer a good balance.
marmot is online now  
Mar 25th, 2009, 10:58 PM
  #22  
 
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Garuda just announced they were flying Bali - Lombok starting in June, but who knows how long that will last. The flights are late in the day, to service the Australian flights.

I was in Tulamben, next to Amed, about six months ago. That area is a real desert, and at Tulamben the beach is large stones. It's good for snorkeling, but not really a nice beach. There is really not much to that area except a few resorts, and a lot of dive shops (would be a good place to learn to dive, hint-hint).

There's a bit more to Lovina - nicer beach, more restaurants, a few sights - so I would go with your gut and go there (plus, I really want to hear about the Damai).
MichaelBKK is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 01:14 AM
  #23  
 
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You're right, the Damai looks very appealing, especially the food!
marmot is online now  
Mar 26th, 2009, 04:56 AM
  #24  
 
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I see Will is featured in this week's newsletter. That's what you get for kissing up to Katie.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 06:13 AM
  #25  
 
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We stayed at Damai in 2004. For those that want to hear about it, here goes: It is quite small, beautifully laid out and in a fairly stunning setting overlooking the Bali Sea. The resort is far from any beach but the pool is nice with some shady areas and big enough for the occupants of the 8 villas. We stayed in a deluxe (rather than a superior) villa. The deluxe villas have an outdoor shower and Jacuzzi - they are well worth the extra cost. The villas are quite close to each other and the path between them so there could be some privacy issues.

As for activities - there is a small spa on site. The hotel can arrange snorkeling trips to Menjangan Island (about an hour and a half away), a boat trip to see the dolphins at sunrise and shopping excursions. The snorkeling was quite good. Dophins are hit or miss.

Meals can be had by the pool or in a small pavillion that serves as the hotel restaurant. There is also room service. While the food is quite good, the dinners are extremely expensive for Bali and the pace is deliberately slow - way too slow for our taste (it took 1-1/4 hours one night before we received our first course), expecially if you plan on getting up early the following morning for snorkeling or dolphins. There is entertainment on some evenings.

The actual footprint of the resort is quite small and, although there are rice paddies everywhere, there are also many homes. Thus, we were kept awake for a good part of one night while the locals engaged in a LOUD cremation ceremony with gamelan music, lots of shouting, and many roosters crowing.
Craig is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 08:06 AM
  #26  
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Newsletter? Is there something I'm missing out on?
filmwill is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 08:13 AM
  #27  
 
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http://www.fodors.com/newsletter/

Scroll to the bottom....
cruisinred is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 09:35 AM
  #28  
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Ha! How neat...I never even knew about that section.

Bob, Andy, just stick with me and one of these days you might be in the Fodor's inner circle.
filmwill is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 11:49 AM
  #29  
 
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Pandas do not fit well in circles, inner or otherwize. We're more trapezoidal. Plus, now that the LA GTG is over, we can stop pretending to be nice to you and return to our usual sarcastic selves. No more Mr. Nice Panda!
Gpanda is offline  
Mar 26th, 2009, 02:37 PM
  #30  
 
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For a nice hotel just outside of Ubud, but a more budget-friendly option, check out the Bali Spirit Hotel. It is about a 15 minute walk from Ubud, and the hotel also has a shuttle service. I think our room was about $75/night. The hotel has a nice pool, spa services, a restaurant, room service (anything on the restaurant menu for the same price as eating in the restaurant), and some nice common areas. The people are great too.
november_moon is online now  
Mar 29th, 2009, 07:38 PM
  #31  
 
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I too liked the Damai Lovina and agree with Craig's comments. The owner ( in '05) was a lovely guy who arranged for us to see some local cultural events. Winik at Quinci Villas just referred me to the travel agency they use. Their email is [email protected].
Lion Air has direct flights from Central Java to Lombok but the agency, like many people, do not recommend Lion Air. I'm going to follow up on Marmot's suggestion of flying Surabaya to Lombok. That route does not show up on Garuda's website but I'll call them. Once before they told me by phone of a flight I never saw listed on any website.
Also in your planning, check out if there will be a full moon day while you are in Indonesia. At least on Bali, there are special temple ceremonies on full moon days (Lunar calendar).
Robbietravels is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 01:29 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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I have lots of answers for you.
Are you spending too much time in Ubud? My Indonesian friends actually suggested spending more time there rather than Seminyak. They were right. BUT do not spend all of your time around Ubud. There is not much to see there. Find a local driver (upon local recommendation only--not one in the center of Ubud) and have them take you around. If you do that, then it can be terrific. I was only going to spend three or four days there in 2006. I spend two weeks. Find out where there are ceremonies: cremations, weddings, "tooth-filings," for trees, for monkeys, for elephants. Try especially to go to the smaller villages, such as in Kaliki. Go to a batik factory. Visit the temple at Gunung Kawi (don't go to the big one on the water near Seminyak...too many tourists.

In Ubud, you have a range of hotels. On the other side of the monkey forest are Alam Indah and Alam Jiwah, both a 15 minute walk through the monkey forest into Ubud. In 2006, I paid $65 a night. The price of the hotels in Ubud says nothing about the quality. Both of the ones I stayed in were beautiful, quiet, serene. Often they are two stories. If you want a high ceiling and a fan, stay on the top. Air conditioning, stay on the bottom.

If you want to go on the high end, the Four Seasons is about 20 minutes from Ubud. (There is a second one on the coast.) it is magnificent, although you do not get the warmth of the local hotels. Even if you do not stay there, go for a drink at sunset.

At the outskirts of Ubud is a beautiful walk along a River Gorge. If you keep going, instead of turning back, you will enter one of the small villages with a lot of artists. Definitely worth a visit.

As for Seminyak/Kuta, look at the Oberoi. I did not see the rooms, but it is on an uncrowded, beautiful beach.

One more thing--if you are a photographer (which I am), the Balinese are very open about it. Go to the markets (such as the one in the center of Ubud--but go early), go to the ceremonies. If you do go to the temples, both men and women need to be clothed property as a sign of respect. I actually had one of the high priests come up and talk to me during a ceremony. The one in Gunung Kawi is probably the most beautiful religious ceremony I have ever seen.

If you are there during the rice harvest, go late in the day and watch the beauty.

You will also find that many Balinese are artists and if you find people who know the small villages, go visit some. I shipped home 19 paintings-- some traditional Balinese and some remarkably original.

Now to Yogja...go to the batik markets, go to the palace at night where the locals where share a mystical experience.

The temple at Borobudur is magnificent. Go early or late in the day. It gets crowded and hot otherwise.

Consider going to Solo instead of going back to Yogja. Solo is the artistic heart of Java. Go to the small batik factories and artists' stores. There are also temples near there. I do not remember the names, but one is very sexual in nature; the other is a series of archways going down a hill.

On the carriers--I had ok experiences with Garuda. Sometimes there are delays, but where aren't there delays?

So those are my thoughts. Bring lots of compact flash cards and a spare hard drive if you will be taking photos. Enjoy!
madisonman39 is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 02:30 AM
  #33  
 
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I see this got topped again, so I'll take it as a sign to chime in and note that the Sheraton in Yogya has reopened. It's a really fabulous hotel, but far from the center of town. If you're only going to be there one night, that's maybe not such a big deal - and it's really close to Prabanan.
MichaelBKK is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 03:15 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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I also agree with Kathie. Seminyak you could give a miss, great if you want to shop and walk around, beach is ok and there are lots of trendy restaurants near The Legian and Oberoi such as Ku De Ta. Sanur has a great walking path along the beach front and we often hire bikes and ride from one end to the other stopping here and there to look at art markets and other little stalls, have a cool drink or just watch the sunrise. The Bali Hyatt [ though considered old by many ] has some lovely ocean front rooms and suites which are quite cheap.Close enough to the village yet peaceful amongst the gardens.

I have flown with Garuda many times in the past 12 months and never had a problem, staff excellent and always helpful. Have had more problems with Air Asia,Qantas and in the past month even Thai Airways who I fly with every 3 months ! Komaneka is a delight, located in Monkey Forest Rd and close to everything be it walks, dining, hiking around the artist paths at the back, visiting ceremonies or even having a massage 5 mins walk away at Milanos where the prices are very cheap and the service excellent. Rooms upstairs are best, lovely views of the rice fields, window lounges to rest on and spacious.Downstairs I found lots of mosquitoes and rooms were small. They also serve afternoon tea by the pool every day at no cost. Alam Shanti is out of the way, rooms when I checked in were full of flies and mosquitoes and every window was wide open thus it was very hot and took almost the whole day to cool down inside .As there were only two other guests saying there we did expect better service and would not return. There are many places in Ubud and so much to see and visit I do think you will love it.
Singapore is expensive and having just returned from there I would suggest you fly back through KL.We stayed at the ShangriLa, found their prices very competitive, location excellent and for the short time you are planning an ideal location. Hope this helps.Will mail again soon and keep planning, it is all sounding great!
bkklover is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 03:50 PM
  #35  
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thanks madison, michael and bkklover! you've reinvigorated my obsession about our trip next year (been so busy at work that I haven't been able to obsess as much as usual.)

we book our tickets in just about 4 weeks from now, so I'm REALLY excited to sink my teeth into the specifics once we have our in and out dates confirmed.

interesting to hear a different perspective on alam shanti (where we were planning on spending some time)...I've always heard nothing but rave reviews. makes it more human, if you ask me. I get worried when people have nothing but good things to say about a place.
filmwill is offline  

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