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Travel Date: 2005-12-08
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Bali - Indonisia

I went to Bali from Dec 8 to Dec 18, 2005. Having visited many islands in southeast Asia, I preferred Bali to the others as Bali offers a wide varieties of options in cultural discovery, trekking, surfing, diving as well as recreation such as spa, nightlife for travelers and holiday makers.

When to go: If you go diving or trekking in Bali, choose the dry season from April to October. Otherwise you can go to Bali at any time.

Itinerary: For the first-time traveler, stay in the south of Bali, enjoy the beautiful beaches and water activities; do half-day or full day tours to temples in the surrounding area. To visit temples, you have to wear long trousers and tie a sash (a scarf will do the job) around your waist. I spent 5 days in Kuta, 3 days in Ubud and 2 days in Nusa Lembongan.

Money exchange: Different places offer different rates. To get the best deal, one has to shop around. However, the authorised money exchange office s' rates are fairly competitive. Never change currencies at hotels - their rates are wretched .

Travel Costs:
Bali though it is more expensive than most other parts of Indonesia, is still cheap and caters well to all budgets. I paid almost 50% less for the room in a well-equipped hotel in Bali than the same standard hotel room in Thailand or Malaysia. My total expenses for 10 days in Bali are around US$350. The air ticket cost me $984: Geneva-Singapore by KLM ($840); Singapore-Bali by Singapore Airlines ($144).

Citizens from quite a number of countries can enter Indonesia without a visa. However if one is needed, this can be obtained on arrival at Denpasar airport at US$25, which is valid for 30 days.

Main Costs
10 nights, all in the hotels with swimming pool, air condition room with hot shower, breakfast included except too nights in NSL.
around rp50,000 per day

Airport -> Kuta: rp40,000; Kuta -> Airport: rp30,000; Ubud -> Kuta: rp100,000;
Kuta -> Tanah Lot -> Denpasar: rp120,000; Ubud Sightseeing: rp120,000 (half day);
Perama Shuttle Services: Kuta <--> Nusa Lembongan: rp85,000 x 2; Kuta -> Ubud: rp30,000;


Nusa Lembongan: Bicycle -> rp50,000 (for two afternoons); Canoe -> rp20,000 (for 1.5 hours)
Kuta Surfing: Board rental -> rp75,000 (rp25,000 per hour); One Lesson -> rp100,000 (to stand on the board)


Budget travelers and holidaymakers will not find any other places more pleasant than Kuta: cheap and good value hotels; nightlife activities; a wide range of excursion, shopping and dining possibilities.

Things to do

Beach: Kuta's beach is ideal for surfing especially for beginners. However, it is not suitable for swimming as the waves are relatively strong and there are lots of garbage in the water. Hawkers sell local snacks on the beach. The noodle soup is for rp 5000. It is not possible to have a quiet and relax time on the beach; one gets disturbed constantly by hawkers trying to sell goods or offering massage.

Sightseeing: I visited Pura Tanah Lot, Pasar Badung-the food market in Denpasar, and Jimbaran beach.

Pura Tanah Lot (rp10,000): Group tourists go there for sunset. The site is extremely quiet in the morning. (photos)

The Jimbaran that I saw is not as romantic as it is supposed to be. Seafood restaurants quote ridiculous price, even with a 40% discount, it is still more expensive than that of in Kuta. Other travelers had indicated that there are two groups of on-the-beach barbeque stalls. One cluster is next to the Four Seasons Hotel and these do not look as tidy and upmarket. The stalls are older with more down-to-earth tables and chairs (read older). These stalls are frequented by Balinese and their prices are also more down-to-earth. The ones that my taxi took me to are the more upmarket cluster, further south. These stalls could only be described as “tourists' slaughterhouses”.

Activities: I tried surfing three times in Kuta, rented the board with Wan (email: mailto:wanlove28@yahoo.com, phone: 6281338117740). He gave me a good lesson for rp100,000 and I managed to stand on the board by myself.

Shopping: Kuta would have the most variety of whatever you would want to buy in Bali. These would likely to include all sorts of handicrafts, clothing, swimwear, pirated DVD's etc. Generally, the prices are cheaper than other places in Bali but hard bargain is needed. The quality of handicrafts are run-of-the-mills as better quality ones are normally closer to the place that made them.


I stayed at three different hotels in Kuta and visited another seven hotels: There are many comfortable hotels with reasonable price. Much to my surprise is that the rates mentioned on the website of some hotels are more expensive than their real rates. The reason being such websites are often managed by travel agents rather than the hotel itself and the agents add a margin.

When consider accommodation options in Kuta, one should take into account its proximity to the main road and/or nightspots such as pubs and discos. Most of these nightspots run into the very wee hours of the morning (especially on Fridays and Saturdays) and being close to any of these will definitely cause nightmares.

Masa Inn

Website: http://www.masainn.com/
Single: rp150,000; Double: rp200,000.
Very clean room, TV with many international channels; two swimming pools; no mosquitoes; nice and quiet location, close to everything; Simple, light breakfast.

Hotel Barong

Website: http://www.baronghotel.com/
Double: rp225,000 to rp250,000. The price mentioned on the website is more expensive. To get the cheaper price, book directly with the hotel by email: mailto:barong66@info.net.idor by phone 0062 361 751804, fax 761520.
A nice hotel ideal for family holiday, equipped with all the facilities of a three-star standard and two big pleasant swimming pools. I enjoyed their message very much- rp70,000 for one-hour message. The hotel proposes set lunch for rp25,000.

I stayed three nights in Masa Inn and one night in Hotel Barong. Barong has some offers and facilities that you will not find in Masa-Inn, such as buffet breakfast, welcome drink, IDD telephone, shampoo and soaps in each room, safety deposit box etc. However, Masa-Inn is closer to the beach, and is much cleaner. The night in Barong, I was bit by some bugs on the bed blanket, and had to spray the whole bed with repellent. I told the hotel that they should clean the blanket as well. During the night I can hear the noise coming from the nearby disco.

The first night, I stayed at Melasti Kuta Beach Bungalows, which is expensive and there are many mosquitoes. Better to avoid this hotel.

Among the hotel I visited, I'd like to recommend the following ones:

Hotel Prawita: 63 Jelan Legian. Phone: 0361-751838, 752464.
Single rp150,000, Double rp180,000
They called themselves ‘The Hotel with Heart'. I was impressed by their finely decorated rooms. Their beautiful garden has a small swimming pool. The hotel is 10-minute walk to the beach, located along the Legian shopping street, close to Perama office. All the rooms are quiet.

BaliSandy Cottages: http://www.balisandy.com/
Cheapest Double: rp150,000 without refrigerator. Again the web rate is absurdly expensive. Rooms are old.

Bali Sandat Inn II: http://www.balisandat.com/
Double fan/hot shower room: rp90,000; Double aircon room: rp150,000.


Bamboo corner: on the Poppies Lane I.
I went to this small restaurant almost everyday in Kuta. It is almost the cheapest tourist restaurant in Kuta serving copious quantity and delicious taste. Seafood Basket with very fresh prawns, crabs, snappers and squids accompanied with salad and rice or chips: rp50,000.


Nusa Lembongan

Compared with Bali, Nusa Lembongan enjoys a more laid-back atmosphere. To me, this beautiful island is almost a paradise with nice beaches, and active with seaweed farming. People are very friendly. Instead of diving, I rounded the island by bicycle. Everywhere I go, people smiled at me and said hello to me. I rented a canoe and went to see how farmers collect their seaweed.

Getting there: Perama's boat leaves Sanur every day at 10:30am for Nusa Lembongan, and from Nusa Lembongan their boat leaves at 8:30am for Sanur. Fare; rp70,000.-. From Kuta and Ubud, you can take the Perama bus to go to Sanur. To Nusa Lembongan from Kuta :  rp 85.000    (10.00am) / To Nusa Lembongan from UBUD :  rp 90.000   (08.30am)


Cheap resorts gather on the beach north of Jungubatu village. A double fan room with cold shower costs around rp70,000. It is not hot in the evening. Aircon is not necessary. All their restaurants are beachfront, very romantic during sunset. There are more upmarket options perching on the slope south of Jungubatu, but there is no beach at this side.

Linda Bungalow: Double fan room, cold shower: rp75000. E-mail: mailto:bcwcchoppers@yahoo.com
Two-story bungalows. Very clean and bright room. I was lucky to have a beach side room in Linda with magnificent views.

Pondak Barnua: Double fan room, cold shower: rp70,000. All the rooms have beach-front terrace, close to Jungubatu village. You can book through World Diving. ( http://www.world-diving.com/, a five-star padi diving center).

Nusa Lembongan Ketut Losmen Bungalow: The only resort that have pleasant double aircon rooms with hot shower for rp300,000 and is often fully occupied. Spacious beachfront fan rooms are very attractive, double for rp175,000 with hot shower. Tel: 0366-24487 / 0361-748703 / 081-23954725. There are two resorts called Ketut. This Ketut Losmen is closer to the Perama Ferry.



In Ubud: Ubud Palace, Market, Pura Taman Saraswati, Pura Marajan Agung, Pura Desa Ubud.
Around Ubud: Goa Gajah, Yeh Pulu, Gunung Kawi, Tegallalang Rice Terrace, etc.

Ubud town has a touristy feel to it in that the majority of the shops and activities are tailored towards the tourists. Ubud is also the cultural centre of Bali. Many of the arts form in Bali originate from around Ubud. Hence, it is not surprising that there are many artists who reside in and around Ubud. There are cultural dances of all sorts just about every night of the week, normally starts from 7pm.

Apart from visiting temples, palaces and parks within Ubud town, one of the most rewarding things to do is to do walks just outside of the town centres. If one is adventurous enough, one can venture just about any directions outside of the town centre and immediately be rewarded by sceneries of terraced paddy fields and rural life. One of the more popular walk is the so-called Campuan Ridge walk. On this trail and within 10 minutes from the town centre one can see nice paddy fields, ridges, glimpses of expensive resorts and rural living (see any of the established guidebooks for description and direction of this trail). One would also encounter a few artists' homes on the trail. If one is keen to buy/collect painting, it is highly recommended to buy such paintings directly from these artists along the trail. The quality and prices are much better than one would ever get anywhere in the towns.

However, the best place for viewing beautiful rice terraces is around Tegalallang. This is about 12 kms northeast of Ubud. There are many rice plantations, often small lots around this region, moving away from the main road. Along the same road that leads from Ubud, it is lined with shops that sell all sorts of handicrafts. Most of these shops make their products on the ground and one can watch some of these being made.


It was such a pleasant experience to discover Ubud's beautiful Bali-style guesthouses and resorts. I visited a dozen of them and here is the recommendation:

Sania's House: Jalan Karna 7, Tel: 0361-975535, Fax:0361-970003, Email: sania_house@yahoo.com
Double: RP225,000 per night with aircon, RP150,000 without aircon.
Romantic, lustrous Balinese garden, tastefully decorated with Balinese style furniture, discreet and good service, convenient only 50 meters south of the market, nice breakfast with fruit plate, very personal service and a small swimming pool. I stayed at this house for three nights.

Sunset Hill (mid-range): Website: http://www.balisunsethill.com/
A very unique boutique resort, built by French architecture Christian Malmoux and his Indonesian wife Lanny, contemporary Balinese fusion, quiet corner sitting on a ridge overlooking the beautiful river valley. Lanny is very friendly.
Spacious Maharani suite $125, accompanied room $50, Villa: $85
Airport transfer: $15, Lunch+dinner: $10, Payment: cash.

Artini 2 Cottages: http://www.artinicottage.com/,Email: mailto:artini@dps.centrin.net
There are three Artini Cottages, I visited the newly built no.2 that has ten aircon rooms for rp250,000.10-minute walk to the market.

Han Snel: www.hansnelbungalow.com
Villa fan room: rp200,000.- , Superior: rp300,000 with aircon.
To get the rates mentioned here, book by phone: 0361-975699; fax: 975643, or email mailto:hansnel_siti_bangalow@yahoo.cominstead of the email mentioned on the website.

Gusti's Garden Bungalows: JI Kajeng no 27, email: gustigarden@yahoo.com
Double fan room: 150,000.-, Tel: 0361-972159. All the villas built on the slope, overlooking the river gorge, with hot shower, swimming pool, and restaurant.

Agung Cottages: Jln. Gautama 18, Phone: 0361-975414.
Double fan room with hot shower: rp 200,000-250,000. Very romantic Bali style house.

Kori Bali Inn 1: Rooms on the top floor enjoy a nice view. Rp90,000-100,000 hot shower, fan room.


Budget solo traveler

Bemo: Lonely Planet (LP) explained in details how to get around in Bali by Bemo, the cheapest means of transport. However it is very complicated to sightsee by Bemos. For example, to go to Pura Tanah Lot from Kuta, one has to change Bemos four to five times. I guess two to three hours may be needed for one-way trip as Bemos leave only when they are fully filled with passengers. In Denpasar, I spent almost 80 minutes waiting for the Bemo to go for Kuta; and the driver charged me rp10,000 instead of rp4000 mentioned on the LP.

So join a package- half day or full day tours- for sightseeing, or simply charter a taxi, which is not expensive at all.

Tourist shuttle buses: Perama run regular shuttle buses and boats between Kuta and Ubud, Lovina, Padangbai, Nusa Lembongan in Bali. See detailed information on their website: http://www.peramatour.com/shuttle.htm. Their prices are the cheapest, but you should go to their office to buy the tickets. Hotels and many travel agencies can also book the shuttle bus for you - but is 50% more expensive than Perama's buses.


Bemo Taxi: In Kuta, a local green Bemo quoted me only rp25,000 for Denpasar. I chartered a Bemo in Ubud for half day for rp 120,000 to visit 4 sights around Ubud. It may be possible to bargain to rp 100,000.- or less.

Normal Taxi: Charter a Taxi for a whole day tour: around rp 350.000. I took a taxi from Kuta to Pura Tanah Lot. The driver waited for me for almost two and a half hours outside the temple and then on to Denpasar for rp 120,000.-. One-way taxi prices between the following places:

  • Kuta-Ubud: rp100,000.- (The cheapest Perama shuttle service charges rp30,000 per person in a bus without air-condition.)
  • Kuta-Airport: rp30,000.- (The airport taxi counter charges rp40,000 for the same journey.)
  • Kuta-Jimbaran: rp30,000.-
  • Kuta-Denpasar: rp40,000.- to rp50,000.-
  • In Kuta or Ubud: around rp10,000.-

Rent a car: Around rp250,000.- per day.

Travel Guide Updated on: 2005-12-23
Total: 5357 reads