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Thailand / Bali trip planning questions for family of 4

Thailand / Bali trip planning questions for family of 4

Aug 3rd, 2008, 12:10 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Baan Orapin is definitely relaxed enough to stay at with kids - we stayed with a 2 year old and didn't feel at all uncomfortable. There were families there with older kids too. The larger suite rooms would have room to put up extra beds for your kids. I think upstairs there are suites that have a separate bedroom and living room also which you might like. There were other families with children staying at the place when we were there - we saw them at breakfast.
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Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #22  
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Got my international tickets booked. We arrive in BKK at 6:40am on June 6th and depart Bali on June 29th. So, I have more time than I thought.

How much time should we plan on spending in Bali? I probably have 7-9 nights. Is there any reason to not spend the entire time in Ubud?

Also, I like the sound of Alam Sari, but am really concerned about it being too far away from things (I'm assuming we will eat in Ubud every night). I am looking at Alam Jiwa as well. Any other places in the Ubud area that will not require the 4 of us to pile into one room?

PS - still not received a reply from Baan Orapin. Disappointing.
Statefan is offline  
Aug 6th, 2008, 03:18 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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We found the food at Alam Sari very good and very cheap as well. We spent 9 nights there, and went out a few times and ate in a few nights. To go out, it is cheap and easy to have someone drive you the 10 minutes to Ubud restaurants...in our experience, the driver waited for us most times, and once we just called when we were through. Easy.


The best part of being at Alam Sari was the various activities they arranged for us that I told you about. We also felt very at home there. But, if you are looking for just a place to stay and don't care to do any classes and activities through Alam Sari, then maybe you would in fact be better off in town. Not that it is a hassle to get there from Alam Sari, but that there are so many nice places you certainly have the luxury of choosing the one that suits you perfectly.
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Aug 6th, 2008, 05:58 PM
  #24  
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Kim - apparently you can book the same activities thru the Alam Sari owners without staying there (cruiseinred posted the link above) - we are definitely going to do that. What kind of food do they serve?

My first inclination was to try to split the time between Alam Sari and Alam Jiwa.
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Aug 6th, 2008, 06:59 PM
  #25  
 
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When we were there, they served just about anything you might want. Fruit, Salad, Fried rice and noodles, chicken, tofu, grilled sandwiches, spaghetti, the best vanilla milkshakes ever...something for everyone, really. Special orders were never a problem once they understood clearly what you wanted.
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Aug 8th, 2008, 06:53 AM
  #26  
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ttt - still looking for input from other Bali experts re: how long, can we stay in Ubud the entire time and do all the kid-friendly stuff, where to stay, etc.

Key points to consider - piling into a single room is not an option; we're not the type to lounge around much other than a swim; access to lots of food variety, esp. Western.

Thanks!
Statefan is offline  
Aug 8th, 2008, 06:23 PM
  #27  
 
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Sf, 7-9 nights in Ubud and the surrounding area would give you an opportunity to really get upclose and personal with Balinese culture. When my son was your kids' ages we could have filled up that amount of time in the area easily. As family we're equally interested in art/culture and nature/adventure travel both of which are readily available in central Bali.

We also really like the beach in Bali. We like surfing, snorkling, swimming, shell collecting, walking on the beach and watching the sunset into the ocean. Kids that age have a lot of energy and beach life provides a wonderful outlet.

If as you say you get enough beach at home and you want to avoid beach culture this trip, then I'd suggest you do one of two approaches:

Rent a villa in the Ubud area. Make it your base for all excursions. Many villas come with dedicated drivers and cooks. That way you can control your meals and control your itinerary.

Or, you could stay at 2 or 3 different places in the Ubud area and in that way experience a little more variety.

I don't know that you've ever given us an idea of your budget for Bali. Whether you rent a villa or stay at a resort there's no reason why the four of you would need to share a room. Most resorts have suites or adjoining rooms.

I like the Alam Sari (and I can vouch for the quality of the food: a good uncomplicated Kiwi-friendly menu.)

I also like the Alila for a lively atmosphere with plenty of room to roam (though many people find the architecture is not what they envision for Bali.) the kids can ride bikes on the access road, walk in the rice paddies, spend the day at the pool, watch the resident monkey troupe. The food is VERY good, but a little pricy compared to many of the independent restaurants in Ubud.

The Alila has excellent nature guides who will tailor treks to accommodate the little ones. Sang Putu, the main guide, has been taking my son on treks for 15 years, many time literally carrying him up the mountain. We've seen waterfalls, caves, midnight temple ceremonies and have learned everything you could possibly imagine about what it's like to grow up Balinese.

In the town of Ubud I especially like Ketut's Place. Ketut's whole family is wonderful for activity planning. Like the staff at Alam Sari they really take the time to learn what YOU want to do and figure out how to make it happen.

Simple Western food is available all over Bali. My son was also a selective eater. Some trips he'd eat nothing but plain pasta. Some trips just toast and honey. I would force feed him broccoli. Balinese want to please. All Western food is weird to them so a special request is not a problem.
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Aug 9th, 2008, 05:59 AM
  #28  
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marmot - thanks for replying. I was hoping to get your feedback.

What would be the arrangements at Ketut's Place? I don't see a reference to connecting rooms or a suite there. Otherwise, it sounds nice.

Do you know much about Alam Jiwa? I showed my wife the pics of their suite and she loved it. How does it compare to Alam Sari? Maybe split our time between the two?

Regarding budget, I don't see a need to go nicer than $150-200 (for 2 rooms or a suite) as I've run across a number of places that sound great in that price range or lower.
Statefan is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 01:00 PM
  #29  
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One more question that some folks might be able to answer. I just noticed Alam Shanti has a Garden House (rooms called Saraswati and Laksmi) that share a kitchen. I'm assuming that means a setup sort of like connecting rooms. Has anyone seen these? Any comments?
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Aug 9th, 2008, 02:09 PM
  #30  
 
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While I didn't see the other rooms at the Alam Shanti, it appears that each buliding of four has one room upstairs and one room downstairs. We stayed in the same building as the hateful RhkKmk. We had breakfast brought to the porch of one of the rooms each morning. You will really like the AS.
Gpanda is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 03:23 PM
  #31  
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Gpanda - is it possible to get from the upstairs to the downstairs without going outside? Trying to figure out if the arrangement would work with our kids.

Also, how would Putu be with kids? I've seen some comments that he is a little shy. We are looking for someone that is fun and loves kids. Shy won't work too well for us.
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Aug 9th, 2008, 04:42 PM
  #32  
 
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No, they are separate units. However, both units I saw had two large beds in each room. You can probably work something out.

I imagine Putu will be great with kids. He's very bright and perceptive. I'm sure your kids will love him. Hopefully, Putu will take you to his family home, so you and your kids can see how the Balinese live.
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Aug 9th, 2008, 05:21 PM
  #33  
 
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Sf, Iíve not visited Alam Shanti or Alam Jiwa so I canít compare. The good news is that most people who post on this board report really good experiences wherever they stay. The overarching Bali ambience is simply positive: the hospitality is warm and the aesthetic charming.

I wouldn't put Alam Sari high on the design scale. It's in a very scenic location and the management is in control, but it's fairly basic in ambience. Same for Ketut's Place. The bonus is that it's very well run. Both are widely patronized by area expats who are seeking "authentic" cultural experiences and from what I understand they are not disappointed.

I havenít met Putu, but he sounds typical to me: friendly, conscientious, eager to share his culture with visitors. I think you'd have to really try to find an Indonesian who WASN'T fond of children. They just don't have that concept in their cultural vocabulary.

Bottom line itís not a popularity contest. There are lots of options. The guide I usually use is Sang Putu.
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Heís especially good at nature and adventure trekking. For example as part of a walk along a village path Sang Putu would point out cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coffee, chocolate, tumeric growing in the wild encourage us to smell and taste and tell us how they are processed. He's a natural teacher and all of us benefited from the time spent with him.

Sang Putu has also taken my son (whoís now a young adult) on photography excursions and architecture focused outings.

The important point is that you need to express what you want, to take control Ė whether itís the menu or the itinerary. The Balinese will want to please but they will also defer to you. I think that's where the "shyness" comes in. They'll be looking to you for clues that they're heading in the right direction.

Similarly you have to also listen for clues as the conversation can be maddingly indirect. You sometimes have to circle around an issue for a while before you get to a resolution.
marmot is offline  
Aug 9th, 2008, 07:43 PM
  #34  
 
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other fodorites with kids have really enjoyed putu and some of the kids reported that he was their favorite part of the trip....whenever we stopped and there were kids there, like in shops, he did speak to them, and i have one pic of him sitting with them watching them play games...

he's very nice...

alam shanti is simply the most beautiful place i have stayed....the grounds are loaded with tranquil gardens, streams, water, trees and a private swimming pool....lot of statues around in the gardens....the rooms are filled with bali decor....we had gannga room, which is the very best room...try for that....one king bed, one double bed in a huge bedroom....twice the size of many hotel rooms...plus there is the porch and the dressing room and the biggest bath/toilet area i have ever seen outside...
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Aug 9th, 2008, 08:26 PM
  #35  
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The only problem I've got is Alam Shanti only has single rooms. I'm not sure we're comfortable putting our kids into a room with no direct access.

I did confirm the suite at Alam Jiwa is available for our dates. I wonder how similar it is to Alam Shanti?
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Aug 12th, 2008, 05:50 AM
  #36  
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Our return flight out of DPS is at 9:15am. What time would we need to leave Ubud to make that flight? What is DPS like in terms of check-in and security (i.e. a breeze, average, Heathrow, etc.)?

I've now sent emails to 3 different email accounts at Baan Orapin in Chiang Mai without receiving any response. I am ready to give up on them which leaves me without a place to stay there.

Has anyone stayed at Green Tulip House? I realize it is nothing fancy, but the reports on TA are very good and the pics on the website look great, especially for the price. Any other options with family friendly rooms? I've put YCV on the very back burner b/c I think they are gouging.

I sent emails to Alam Sari and Putu a few days ago and have not received replies yet. Contrast that with very prompt replies from the owners of the Alam Indah/Jiwa/Shanti and Dean (another popular driver). I have about talked myself into spending a few days at Alam Indah in the Gardenia Suite and the balance in the suite at Alam Jiwa. This gives us two different settings while also keeping the cost for Bali lodging down.
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Aug 12th, 2008, 07:24 AM
  #37  
 
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Keep trying with putu. He's great. He even responded to my E-mails.
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Aug 12th, 2008, 08:19 AM
  #38  
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Since I plan to use a driver almost every day in Bali, I was going to try to use both Putu and Dean. They both sound interesting so why not meet both?

Any advice on getting out of DPS?
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Aug 12th, 2008, 08:31 AM
  #39  
 
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its a small airport...some shops with high prices....food is so so..

easy access..
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Aug 12th, 2008, 10:15 AM
  #40  
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Thanks Bob. So when would you leave Ubud for a 9:15am international flight? I am trying to decide if I need to spend our last night closer to DPS. I really don't want to...
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