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Bali Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Bali vacation


capie
Climbing Gunung Agung (Mount Agung) 5 stars
Gunung Agung is located above the town of Besakih in Karangasem. The Balinese called it the "navel of the world". Gunung Agung ( Mount Agung) , Bali's highest mountain (3,148 m) a volcano with last eruptions in 1963. We hired a guide to go up the volcano ,( guides are easy to hire and you will find them around the Puka Besakih temple). The 2000 meters climb started very early, before dawn. Hiking uphill through dark rainforest was not surprisingly cold, the route was straightforward but steep in parts and brushy in others. The upper areas of the mountain had a volcanic landscape. We enjoyed impressive views of the neighbor Gunungs from this mountain. Gunung Agung is not for beginners and low level hikers. Magnificent trip!


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JamesH
Surfing the southern peninsula 5 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The surf in Kuta is really crowded when its working but the beach is so long that you can walk along it to find less crowded peaks.

From Kuta you can rent a scooter (with surfboard racks if needed) or rent a car or take a bemo and explore the beaches on the southern peninsula. It takes about twenty minutes to drive to Dreamland Beach and Uluwatu is another ten minutes from there. If you rent a scooter I would advise you top check the tires before you rent it, if they look old then I would look for another bike, as tires bursting can be dangerous. I had it happen and thankfully it was the back one that went and I didn’t lose control. However it cost a fair bit to get the tire replaced. You are meant to where a helmet and have an International Driving Permit also, which I got pulled over for a couple of times. I found the police can be persuaded to turn a blind eye for the right price…

I stayed with some friends at Balangan instead of Dreamland, as Dreamland was pretty busy. We rented two rooms in a beach hut on Balangan for 20000 per night and woke up each morning on the beachfront with a left-hander peeling off over the reef. Dreamland was just next-door, which is a beach break with a nice left and shorter right when working; it is usually crowded in the peak season and I would recommend Balangan at these times.

Uluwatu is a beautiful place to surf being as cliffs surround it, and your route to the surf is down the cliff side and out through a cave into the water. I went in on a really big day and just got in a total mess. There was a monster current sweeping round the cliffs and as I paddled out a couple of sets came through and I got pushed round away from the break towards the rocks. I decided to turn back and caught the white water in, which left me attempting to clamber onto the rocks around the base of the cliffs. My board took a bit of a bashing but thankfully I wasn’t hurt.

I think, when Ulu’s is big you really need to time your paddle out well, and you are gone need to put in a few crucial duck-dives. I surfed it when it was working but about head-high and then the paddle out was no problem, it was just really crowded in the line-up. There is a restaurant at the top of the Cliff where you can sit and have great views of the break.


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JamesH
Avoiding the crowds 3 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
There is a lot of talk about Bali being a ‘sell-out’ and ‘Westernised’ and in certain places I would agree that this would seem true. However this is a country in the heart of Indonesia and the key is to get out of the mass-tourist areas, and explore. Bali itself can be a wonderful place to visit especially if you travel away from the main tourist areas. And it is a relatively safe and easy place to travel. By this I mean: there is no malaria, it is cheap to get around, there is cheap food, clothes, markets, and there are loads of places to stay. There is also amazing surfing to be done, which can be crowded but there are so many quality breaks in Bali that you can usually find somewhere to avoid the crowds.

I found Ubud to be a good place to stay and a pleasant alternative to Kuta, which can be a bit too much if you don’t enjoy walking around in a vest drinking Bintang in the streets and acting like you’re in an Australian or American nightclub. Ubud has an ‘arty’ vibe with several galleries and artists located there. I took a class in batik (an art practice where wax is used to form designs on material, the material is then dyed and patterns form where the wax resists the dye), which is something I had done before in the UK but it was really rewarding to spend a day with a Balinese teacher. There are also some good art galleries worth checking out.

There are loads of great surf spots along the southern peninsula and are all worth trying out. However the most annoying behaviour I encountered in Indonesia occured here. I found there were people who were paying locals to come in the water with them and paddle for waves deep on the inside, and then the local would pull off the wave letting the surfer who payed them take off... that's just so wrong!


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Marc888
The Sentosa Private Villas, Bali 5 stars
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
During a recent visit to Bali I was able to stay at the Sentosa Private Villas Hotel which was located midway along the main Seminyak Beach front area. This truly was a delightful place as the villas were certainly private and very quiet. My room was elegantly designed and gave me the feeling that I was in a home from home, but yet maybe my true home should be upgraded to this standard! I was able make good use of all of the facilities on site which included a good sized pool and a very well fitted out gym with a range of modern exercise machines. Poolside dining was on offer along with a fine range of gourmet dishes and wines. This was certainly one of the finer hotels on Seminyak Beach and it definitely lived up to expectations.

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Marc888
The Royal Pita Maha A Tjampuhan Relaxation Resort 5 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The Royal Pita Maha A Tjampuhan Relaxation Resort Hotel was my very memorable home for a day and a night whilst in Ubud, the main town that is located in the central area of Bali. It was very fitting that the word relaxation appeared as an integral part of the resort’s name since it was certainly a place that I could relax in. The thatched villas were all located to give the best views of the breathtaking scenery that surrounded the resort. The wide circular pool also matched the greenery that seemed to be responsible for such a relaxing atmosphere. This was a five star resort and as such service was perfect, as were the rooms. I was able to enjoy a fantastic stay here and it was truly a shame to leave!

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Marc888
The Westin Nusa Dua Hotel and Resort 5 stars
I have spent time before in a number of the Westin Hotels across Asia but their beautiful establishment in Nusa Dua in Bali is undoubtedly one of their best. Not restricted to a cityscape plot, the Westin Nusa Dua Hotel and Resort is most certainly spacious, covering a large beachfront area. The rooms were also of a good size, and I was able to enjoy a stay there that truly did give me a feeling of freedom. The private beach was pristine as were the poolside area and gardens. Beautifully cut lawns hugged the coastline and outside dining was truly a treat. The resort itself sports over 300 rooms, but in true Westin style the service was very attentive and overall impeccable.

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Marc888
The Pelangi Bali Hotel 4 stars
Situated along Seminyak Beach on Bali is the Pelangi Bali Hotel which truly did live up to expectations. I found that this place had a traditional and warm feel to it but was also modern, a combination that seems to be ever harder to attain. The rooms almost felt European in their rustic nature, even though traditional Balinese furniture and accessories were certainly evident as the main theme. Outside, the pool looked just as inviting at night as by day, this due to the very thoughtful lighting that made the entire pool glow. The on site restaurants were also very good, and the hotel’s location very close to the beach made this an all round gem of a place to stay at.

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Marc888
The Mimpi Resort, Bali 4 stars
Just close to the wreck of the USS Liberty off the coast of East Bali, lies the Mimpi Resort which caters for travelers and divers alike. The resort boasts some very elegant rooms which all have outdoor but still very private showers, which makes them perfect for use after coming directly from the beach. This resort was very dive-friendly as it offered dive equipment rental on site and had on hand scuba diving instructors. I was actually there just to enjoy a quiet and peaceful stay, which I certainly was able to do. The Mimpi Resort is located in Tulamben and is one of the few high class resorts in the immediate area.

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Marc888
The Watergarden Resort Hotel, Bali 4 stars
During my trip to Bali’s Eastern Coast I was able to stay at the Watergarden Resort Hotel in Candidasa which lived up to its namesake very well since it was located in lush tropical gardens which had many water features. The decking around the pool and the use of tiered walkways made for a very pleasant view wherever I happened to be and the greenery was certainly a welcome sight. My room was set in a thatched cottage and was one of only a dozen or so that made up the resort. Safe to say I had a very quiet stay in fantastic surroundings and this made for a great break away form some of the busier tourist areas on the island.

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Marc888
The Coconut Grove Village 4 stars
The Coconut Grove Village in Bali’s Sanur resort area provided me with a perfect stay. The hotel was indeed in the style of a traditional Balinese village, and although most resorts on the island conform to Balinese traditions, the Coconut Grove really felt that like an authentic Balinese experience. Stone walls separated the rooms which were laid our around a traditional courtyard. The pool was nicely located and of a good size and the location of the entire place was very tranquil. So much so that I had a very quiet stay. The polite and attentive staff were on hand too ensure that my time there was perfect and they did an excellent job in ensuring that it was.

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Marc888
The Cendana 4 stars
The Cendana Restaurant was my choice for lunch on this day. It was actually the only place around as it was set in the centre of a large golf resort on Bali’s Western Coast near to the Tabanan area. This large airy indoor restaurant provided a choice of indoor and outdoor seating, either choice of which came with fantastic views over the golf course and the sea all in one. I opted for a spot on the terrace and ordered a club sandwich and some fried rice. My order arrived very quickly and was thoughtfully presented. My club sandwich came out complete with French fries and good sized side salad, neither of which I expected. With a soft drink and some quality time to sit and relax, this made for a lunch to remember.

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Marc888
Arma Resort, Bali 4 stars
Whilst traveling through Bali’s central city of Ubud I was on the lookout for a place to stay and did happen to take a look at the Arma Resort which is actually situated within the grounds of the Agung Rai Museum of Art, (hence the name). The rooms were very spacious and the surroundings beautiful as the entire resort was located in landscaped gardens that have been very well tended. A true Balinese theme was evident, from the furnishings in the rooms to the outside stage where traditional Balinese dancing was performed. Certainly for anyone looking to spend time at the museum proper, the resort offers not only a convenient place to stay but a very comfortable one too.

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Marc888
The Bali Shangrila Beach Club 4 stars
The Bali Shangrila Beach club was certainly well located, right on the main beach of Candi Dasa, a small resort area that is situated on the eastern coast of the island. This fairly small but very well fitted out place boasted 25 or so rooms, a large pool and a great range of sea-sport services including snorkeling and diving tours. I was able to relax at the poolside and enjoyed the great food on offer at the resort’s Rathbones Restaurant. The small size of the place meant that the service was very good, and I found the staff attentive and helpful at all times during my stay there.

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Marc888
The Taman Suci Hotel, Bali 4 stars
The Taman Suci Hotel in Bali’s central and busy city of Denpassar was well placed for my recent trip to the island, as I was there on business and didn’t have time to go to the resort areas. The hotel was within easy reach of the airport and they even provided a shuttle bus to get me to and from the terminal. This was a pleasant mid sized hotel which was just in the right place at the right time. The 24 hour restaurant also made for a nice touch as I arrived late, however it was the good service that I will remember. It seemed the staff were used to dealing with people on a tight time schedule and were very efficient and courteous too.

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hosuli
Perama Travel (Bali and Lombok) 4 stars
Perama Travel is top agency if you're are not into organising absolutely everything by yourself and you're travelling in Bali and Lombok. I think with Perama Travels the prices were almost the same if we would have arranged everything ourselves. I felt that generally in Indonesia as a tourist you often ended up paying lot extra for all the transport and sometimes you are just too tired to bargains 15 minutes for every ride you take. We travelled with Perama Travel three times, from Bali to Lombok, once to the airport and once I booked flights through them and everything worked out perfectly and was on time. Even when our ferry from Lombok to to Bali was broken and frustrating five hours late their bus still waited us until midnight and took us to our destination. You can check them out at peramatour.com

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Marc888
Returning to Kuta! 5 stars
My return trip was just as thrilling as my outgoing trip, however I was more intent on getting the bike back since my early morning flight would not allow me to return it the following day! I most certainly did throw caution to the wind and at times drove too fast, however I maintained a good look out and managed to avoid any accidents on this day. Going back seemed to take forever. Maybe it was because I was finally back onto a tight time schedule, but I think, more so, I had just gone a long way that day and had lost track of the true distance! In the end I found myself on the approach road to Kuta once again, and managed to return the bike back to the rental shop just in time. My motorbike trip across Bali was undoubtedly risky, but it paid off with truly stunning scenery at every turn. This has become one of my most memorable trips to date.

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Marc888
Ritz Carlton Bali Resort and Spa 4 stars
I met a friend at the Ritz Carlton Bali Resort and Spa at Bali’s Jimbaran beach and it truly did look like a place that belonged in a high class movie. The landscaped gardens overlooked the Indian Ocean in a picture perfect manner and included fountains and even a waterfall. I was able to check out the rooms at this resort and they were well appointed and spacious, though undoubtedly the draw of the place was the outside gardens. Since most of the large resorts in Bali are based in Nusa Dua it was nice to see that the Ritz Carlton was on the opposite side of the southern tip of the island, which gave me the advantage of being able to enjoy Bali’s famous sunset during my brief time there.

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Marc888
The Hard Rock Hotel, Bali 4 stars
The Hard Rock Hotel at Bali's Kuta Beach is as bold as a hotel can get. The building is adorned with colourful lights, and the pool seems to be larger than a football field, complete with islands, man made beaches, a wave machine and plenty of extras. I didn’t stay at the hotel but did check out one of the rooms, which were large and well fitted out. The hotel had a restaurant on site which of course was the Hard Rock Café and this provided the kind of high class, fast food that is synonymous with its name. All in all this is quite an expansive place to stay but perfect for families, or for anyone else who just needs a huge swimming pool on their doorstep.

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Marc888
Puri Bambu 4 stars
I stayed at the Puri Bambu in Bali’s Jimbaran beach recently, and this hotel, whilst providing a budget stay, did impress me. It was actually located in a small village just near to Jimbaran beach called Kedonganan and thus was very quiet. The room was nicely fitted out and had some traditional furniture in it, but the real gem of the place was the dining area which was decked out in exquisite Balinese style. The hotel is quite a good size and had rooms surroundings a pool complete with pool bar. It made for a nice place to stay near to Jimbaran Beach and had modest room rates too.

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Marc888
Amalpura to Ujung 5 stars
The road from Amalpura to Ujung Palace was stunning, cutting through green fields on either side. It headed to the coast and poked out near to a beach just south of the Ujung Palace. However there was no palace there, just ruins, as this place had been destroyed by 1963 Eruption. It was however a pleasant and strange place to find myself in at the end of the day. And then it dawned on me … I only had 2 and a half hours left with which to return the bike! With a few minutes to spare at the Ujung site and with just one last bend that I simply had to explore, which incedently lead to a dirt track, I left, satisfied that I had truly reached the end of the road!

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