Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Your Bali "Must Do" Topside Recommendations?


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 26 December 2007 - 06:02 PM

In late September I will be going to Bali, staying at Scuba Seraya for two nights for some diving before heading off to Wakatobi.

After staying at Wakatobi, our group is returning to Bali where we will stay for two nights in the Ubud area.
After the two nights, we will head to Lembeh for another few days of diving before heading home.

I'm interested in what you recommend as your "must do" activities while in Bali, especially the two days we'll be in Ubud. I've done whitewater rafting before and was interested in this activity while in Bali and wondered if it was worth it.

I'm also interested in shopping for paintings and/or wood carvings to take with me or ship home. I have heard, though, that much of what is sold is junk, in the market around Ubud. I also hear that the shows they have at night are excellent.

What would you spend your time and money on, given two days in Ubud?

Thanks for everyone's two cents on this topic.

Ellen
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#2 danielandrewclem

danielandrewclem

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 393 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Massachusetts
  • Interests:writing, photography, fish

Posted 26 December 2007 - 06:48 PM

I was just in Bali, including Ubud, for part of my honeymoon. (We spent the first 5 days diving around the island and off Nusa Lembongan.) I'd like to recommend Alam Indah as a great place to stay. The only available room when we showed up as walk-ins was one of the more expensive two-floor villas, but we were more than happy to pay $85 for such comfort and privacy. The scenery was lush and lovely, and the walk to town was fairly short and entertaining—you walk through the macaque forest or past a row of sarong stalls. The staff brings a huge bowl of fresh fruit to your room every day, and there's tea and cake in the afternoon if you're around. Maybe the rates would be higher in September, but if you're looking for a nice place to kick back for a few days after diving hard, Alam Indah is the place. After a few hours lounging on one of two private decks, we swore to go back someday.

We thought a lot of the crafts for sale in Ubud's shops were kitschy, but I really liked some of the items in the Timorese shops. For some reason their stuff seemed older and more authentically antique. Bartering was fun, too, and the Timorese sisters who run the shops did a nice job selling their wares.

I can't say we were blown away by any of the restaurants in Ubud, but everything tasted fresh and flavorful, and the bill always seemed so reasonable. (The only bad meal I had in Bali was at a beachfront place on Nusa Lembongan, where I'm pretty sure I was served Wattie's black pepper chicken right out of a can. Should've eaten at 2000 Café every night.) We had lunch at the famous babi guling (suckling pig) place that Anthony Bourdain went to on his "No Reservations" show on the Travel Channel. We actually liked the freshly-squeezed orange juice more than the pig, but it was a fun experience. It had moved from its previous location, but there were plenty of signs pointing the way. All travelers seemed to end up there for a meal at some point.
Flickr 5D Mk II & 20D | Ikelite

#3 underwatercolours

underwatercolours

    Manta Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:So. California
  • Interests:skinny dipping, sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, art galleries, classic cars, flying

Posted 26 December 2007 - 07:38 PM

Hi Ellen,

I am SOOO jealous! Bali is one of my favorite places on earth.

My first trip to Bali was several years ago when I had the chance to stay at 15 different resorts and hotels over a period of three weeks. Its hard to find a bad place to stay, but as with all kinds of travel, what you might like depends greatly on your expectations. Staying in Ubud, I would expect you'll find a very exotic place, with a gorgeous view and a gracious staff for well less than $100 a night. You can find small boutique hotels for much less.

I also stayed at Alam Indah for several days the last time I was there. Very romantic if you're with some deserving guy, but no restaurant on site and kind of far from town by car because the roads are kind of round-about. If you feel like walking you can cut through the Monkey Forest, but I might look for something closer to town or right in town if you want to be in the center of all the activity and don't mind a little noise. Call Bunnie (pronounced Boonie) from IndonesiaPromo.com. She arranged all my plans for Indo and I've referred many people to her in the past. All have come back with great reports. Call me if you need more info. She's Indonesian, but her company is in San Jose, CA. She's got some of the best prices I've seen anywhere and is very well connected in Bali.

For topside attractions...I know from Cozumel that you like SHOPPING!! Do you need me to come and help you negotiate??? You'll find a lot of it there. The Indonesian word for "expensive" is "mahal". In only a couple of days you won't have nearly enough time to get into the real shopping opportunities, but don't miss the market in Ubud, the jewelry factories in Celuk and the wood carvers in Mas.

You'll also see many village celebrations. This is worth stopping and photographing. Very colorful and charming. If you get a chance go see a traditional dance performance, that's also great for taking pictures. I went to an Indonesian wedding and a Balinese cremation, which I would highly recommend if you're into the culture.

I also visited as many temples as I could find. Tanah Lot and Uluwatu are both breathtaking. You can visit Ulun Danu, but it takes a whole day to get up the mountain and back. Not a boring ride. Its through some of the most gorgeous rice terraces in Bali.

Did I mention the shopping? Don't rely on the cargo companies to ship stuff back to the US for you. Its very expensive and is a huge hassle once things arrive in the US three months later. Not worth it (I still have scars). Pay the excess baggage fees to get your stuff home and you're still getting a great deal on whatever you buy.

Of course you'll also need to get a massage! I can recommend at least 10 different massage parlors, cuz I got one every other day. They are very inexpensive and the surroundings are very exotic.

You can also go river rafting in Ubud. I would do that again in a heartbeat.

What you will enjoy the most is the absolutely gorgeous Balinese people. The women are lovely and exotic and the men are tall, have big brown eyes and a beautiful white smile (and love American women). Everywhere you go you will hear the Javanese music and smell the incense in the burning offerings. You will never forget the experience and Bali will no doubt leave an impression in your heart that will lure you back.

Yes, I did inhale the smoke of the clove cigarettes of those Balinese men on the beach that practice black magic and this is probably why I'm rambling.

Call me if you need any contacts once you arrive. I have friends there that will be happy to take you under their wing and show you around.

Bonnie

#4 zippsy

zippsy

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
  • Location:Singapore
  • Interests:scuba diving, scuba instructing, snorkeling, marine biology, underwater photography, and other than that - anything to do with being in the ocean.

Posted 26 December 2007 - 07:42 PM

shopping in Bali? I like the Timorese shops too. Also, in Mas, just south of Ubud (as I recall), they have beautiful carvings, paintings and antiques. We always stop there for a half day. Batubulan, also a bit south of Ubud is great for the stone carvings.

A walk in Ubud's Monkey Forest is a relaxing break. The main kecak dance in Ubud at night can be very interesting for tourists if they have the story explained ahead of time.

I've stayed in a variety of places in Ubud and, so far, I think the ones a little away from the main streets that back up to the rice padis are the best for me. You can relax there like few other places in the world, IMHO. YMMV.

Edited by zippsy, 26 December 2007 - 07:53 PM.


#5 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10708 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 27 December 2007 - 12:04 AM

I'm also interested in shopping for paintings and/or wood carvings to take with me or ship home. I have heard, though, that much of what is sold is junk, in the market around Ubud. I also hear that the shows they have at night are excellent.


The Ayung isn't flowing as fast in the summer months due to the drier climate. Mostly Cat 2 and 3 with one or 2 4s.
Ubud has some of the best restaurants in Bali but all insider info. :excl: I would hit the Alila if you are there for full moon. The view of the Ayung river at sunset and moonlit valley is great. You can get that Rjistaffel dinner at the Alila. Not great but good and the ambience makes up for it. Great date place.
There are more and I'd have to kill you if I told you :)

For accomodations, the Uma is nice and convenient to great restaurants(hint hint). The Alam accomodations are ok but there are similar for less. THe Alam Jiwa is the best of that lot. If you feel lucky, go to Bali then look. You get better deals bargaining at the doorstep than online.

You could do a search in this forum as well as this subject has been broached many times.

I only buy antique wood stuff and most of the shops age their stuff to become antique. So be careful. Can't remember the name of the store I go to usually since I just go there. I'll have to research that one and get back.
You can also get wood furniture made from recycled Teak (which is the most responsible way imho). Shipping isn't a problem if you get the reliable services. You can get 1m3 for less than $350 including fumigation. I just ordered stuff in Nov. All arrived and customs handled.
For spas, if you stay at the Uma, the spa there is good. If too expensive, Nur spa in the heart of Ubud is good for the body treatments massages but don't do the facials there. Bodyworks across the street is better for body and facial treatments, but they cater to a loud Japanese crowd. Top spa is at the Begawan Giri and they only let outsiders in when there are no guests booking. You have to call. 4 Seasons spa is also great.
Since you only have 2 days, I suggest you do the various temple/palace tours in the morning, spa for 3 hours in the afternoon, go out for a great dinner and relax. The restaurants in Ubud proper are ok but not great. You need to get out to get the superb ones. I wouldn't bother doing Ulu Watu or Tanah lot from Ubud. Too much travelling around. There are a few temples and palaces around the Ubud area and then you can go up to Kintamani to cool off.
Just watch out post dive as some of those mountain passes are over 1000m high. I've never had a problem returning from dives there but the risk is still there.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#6 seagrant

seagrant

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 805 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Clearwater, Florida
  • Interests:http://www.oceangrant.com

Posted 27 December 2007 - 09:35 AM

THe Alam Jiwa is the best of that lot.


Ellen

I totally agree, I stayed at the Alam Jiwa, extremely reasonable price (even by Bali standards) and just wonderful, quiet and serene - but not too far to walk to more "action". The little restaurant was wonderful and it wasn't any extra to have your food brought to you on your patio while watching the ducks on the rice fields being herded in for the evening.

Ellen there is so much to do, again decide which temples, etc you want to see the advice here is good. I'd also add, personally I wanted to see Wayang Kulit shadow puppets and my "Ubud-native" driver took me to a village where they specialize in making them and I bought some from a craftsman at his home. I was also in Ubud during one of the two biggest festivals of the year so the temples were wonderful and welcoming.

Ellen you probably won't have time but I must say that I spent some of my "Bali dry-time" taking a flight to Java and visiting Borobudur and the Prambanan ancient temples (Bali has small temples but nothing of the age and grandeur of these Javanese temples). I also got to see a famous private Indonesian modern art collection in a Doctor's home and the flea-market in Joyga, Java is incredible!!!!! Talk about shopping! Much less touristy than Bali as it is a university town with lots of art and culture but not as scenic as Bali. Still I wouldn't have missed Joyga, Java for the world and next time I go back I'll schedule several days to a week there as I enjoyed it at least as much as Bali for topside activities. But they are different islands, each with their own charm. The Wayang Kulit puppets I got in Java are different than the Bali-style ones and the performances differed too. Very interesting and I like the Javanese ones better.

Just some more info to make your decisions more difficult!

But stay at Alam Jiwa in Ubud, you cannot go wrong!!!! And get a local driver who can clue you into the best shopping places, etc. And you shouldn't miss the Neka Art Museum in Ubud either!!!!! B) Yes and don't miss the dances/performances, to witness the Ramayana in some of its many facets it truly incredible!! Again a local driver can help you out in all these respects and you will probably save enough on the items you buy as a good/local driver knows where to tell you to go - to pay for the luxury of having a driver/guide, plus!!!

Carol

Edited by seagrant, 27 December 2007 - 09:49 AM.


#7 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 27 December 2007 - 10:53 PM

Wow, I am very impressed by all of your wonderful suggestions for places to visit, places to eat, places to get massaged, places to shop and last but not least, places to stay. In fact, there seems to be so much to do, that I just may extend my time in Bali by a few days, or at least as much as my limited vacation time allows!

Our group has not made any definite lodging plans for Ubud after we return from Wakatobi, so it's wide open where we stay at this point.

I am really looking forward to visiting Bali. Before, I considered Bali as just a stopover on my way to the other destinations. However, now I think I'm looking at the Bali portion of the trip a little bit differently.

Thanks to all who jumped in and offered their opinions and vast knowledge.

Ellen
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#8 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 27 December 2007 - 11:11 PM

For topside attractions...I know from Cozumel that you like SHOPPING!! Do you need me to come and help you negotiate???

Yes, I did inhale the smoke of the clove cigarettes of those Balinese men on the beach that practice black magic and this is probably why I'm rambling.

Call me if you need any contacts once you arrive. I have friends there that will be happy to take you under their wing and show you around.


Hi Bonnie,

You know that I would have loved to go with you to PNG, but this trip kind of got in the way :excl:

As for shopping, since your negotiating skills are so superb, all I want to do now is hire you to come bargain for me. :) Just let me know if you're available. Actually, I already know the answer. Too bad you'll be in PNG at the same time. :P

Now I've got a whole ton of things to look forward to, including handsome Balinese men :(

Seriously, I'll call you for the names of your contacts in Bali. I certainly don't want to miss anything that Bali has to offer.

Thanks for giving me the lowdown on everything.

All the best,

Ellen
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#9 MikeVeitch

MikeVeitch

    1.7kbps Manta Boy

  • Senior Moderator
  • 6310 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:In Bali, Indonesia but from Vancouver, BC
  • Interests:Teaching Underwater Photography

Posted 27 December 2007 - 11:57 PM

you can always hangout out with Simon and I in Sanur.. :excl:

Join us for an Underwater Photography Workshop in the Lembeh Strait at NAD Lembeh with Doug Sloss in 2018
Blog and Photo Archive/Portfolio Site www.mikeveitchblog.com
Learn underwater photography in the ultimate classroom, Bali! or join us on a trip www.underwatertribe.com and www.baliuwphoto.com

Join us for a trip in Indonesia in Komodo or Raja Ampat


#10 Scuba_SI

Scuba_SI

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1098 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indonesia
  • Interests:Owner / Photo Dude at NAD-Lembeh.

Posted 28 December 2007 - 02:53 AM

Hmm, Kuta Cowboys or two podgy white men...

Bali has loads to offer for you, around Ubud will surely occupy you for most of your time (t)here. Sanur/Kuta etc are nice but theres not a whole lot to do other than drink!

Nauticam Rossa / GH4 / 7Dmk2 / 1Dx

http://vimeo.com/lembehmuckdiver

www.nad-lembeh.com: 2:1 diveguide ratio in an photographer owned / operated resort


#11 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10708 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:31 AM

Why is it when Simon contributes, it always goes down a few notches? :)
Kuta cowboys :excl:

the men are tall, have big brown eyes and a beautiful white smile (and love American women)

I will say that Bonnie's description of the balinese guys leaves a lot of ways to interpret. :( I do think she's talking about another Bali because I don't see too many tall balinese guys and I use to live there! I bumped my head for an entire week being on the ranger station boat built by Indonesians for Indonesians... and I'm not tall!

back on topic
Ellen, with 2 days, it'd be too greedy to try to get everything in. Bali is notorious for traffic and getting around takes a long time. The Water Palace and a few other temples are all I'd suggest you take the time to do unless you want to spend a lot of time driving around. Tanah Lot and Uluwatu deserve their own afternoon to evening. Especially if you want to oogle at the surfer types hitting the waves at the Ulu (sorry Bonnie started it :P). Tanah Lot at sunset is beautiful even with 3000 people around.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#12 underwatercolours

underwatercolours

    Manta Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:So. California
  • Interests:skinny dipping, sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, art galleries, classic cars, flying

Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:01 AM

I will say that Bonnie's description of the balinese guys leaves a lot of ways to interpret. :) I do think she's talking about another Bali because I don't see too many tall balinese guys and I use to live there! I bumped my head for an entire week being on the ranger station boat built by Indonesians for Indonesians... and I'm not tall!


OK girls, we're doing a trip to Bali. I'll bring you to see the island of the tall, gorgeous men. :excl:

#13 MikeVeitch

MikeVeitch

    1.7kbps Manta Boy

  • Senior Moderator
  • 6310 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:In Bali, Indonesia but from Vancouver, BC
  • Interests:Teaching Underwater Photography

Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:39 AM

OK girls, we're doing a trip to Bali. I'll bring you to see the island of the tall, gorgeous men. :excl:



Hey! I'm not that tall!

Join us for an Underwater Photography Workshop in the Lembeh Strait at NAD Lembeh with Doug Sloss in 2018
Blog and Photo Archive/Portfolio Site www.mikeveitchblog.com
Learn underwater photography in the ultimate classroom, Bali! or join us on a trip www.underwatertribe.com and www.baliuwphoto.com

Join us for a trip in Indonesia in Komodo or Raja Ampat


#14 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:37 AM

OK girls, we're doing a trip to Bali. I'll bring you to see the island of the tall, gorgeous men. :excl:


Count me in!

(Especially if uw photo instruction is on the menu :) )

PS Bonnie, I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the items we shopped (and bargained for!) in Cozumel were well received as Christmas presents by my daughters.
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#15 underwatercolours

underwatercolours

    Manta Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:So. California
  • Interests:skinny dipping, sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, art galleries, classic cars, flying

Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:25 PM

Hey! I'm not that tall!


Hey Mike, if you brush up on your black magic and provide the Bingtang we probably won't notice.

#16 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:56 PM

Hey Mike, if you brush up on your black magic and provide the Bingtang we probably won't notice.


Dare I ask anyone to explain what Bingtang means? :excl:
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#17 underwatercolours

underwatercolours

    Manta Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 446 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:So. California
  • Interests:skinny dipping, sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, art galleries, classic cars, flying

Posted 28 December 2007 - 03:24 PM

Dare I ask anyone to explain what Bingtang means? :P


Really Ellen, get your mind out of the gutter... Bintang is the local beer. :excl: :) :(

I was really tempted to run with this one, but I got a good laugh out of it already.

#18 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10708 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:27 PM

Wetpixel gone wild?

Mike, wear vertical stripes... makes you look taller. :excl:

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#19 ornate_wrasse

ornate_wrasse

    Moderator

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 673 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 28 December 2007 - 05:19 PM

Really Ellen, get your mind out of the gutter... Bintang is the local beer. :) :( :P

I was really tempted to run with this one, but I got a good laugh out of it already.


Bonnie, I'm glad that you at least got a good laugh out of it :P

As for me, guess I should hang my head in shame :excl:
D300, Subal housing, Focus Fix Light, Tokina 10-17mm, 60mm, Sigma 17-70, 105mm VR, Inon Z240 (2)

www.pbase.com/ornate_wrasse

#20 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10708 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 29 December 2007 - 02:37 AM

Oh and people it's BINTANG... which means star in Bahasa.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.