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Bali advice please

 
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jlb



Joined: 18 Sep 2003

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: Bali advice please Reply with quote

I am heaading to Bali for 2 weeks in Feb. I have many questions, but here are a few:

1. I want to do a 3 day surf camp. Any shop you know that's good?

2. I'd like to do some fun diving...same as above.

3. Places to stay, ideally near surf and scuba. I'm with my partner and we're looking to spend 50 000 Won for the two of us. Something quiet and clean, but not super luxurious is fine.

4. How hard and expensive is it to get to the Gili Islands from the main island?
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northway



Joined: 05 Jul 2010

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting to the Gili's is either cheap and difficult or expensive and easy (unless things have changed in the two and a half years since I was there, which is possible).

Cheap and difficult: take a slow boat, which I believe takes around twelve hours. Initially this will drop you on Lombok, then you will need to take another boat to the Gilis. This costs $10 or less each way, IIRC, but expect to take an entire day getting there.

Expensive and easy: take a fast boat, which takes between two and three hours. This costs over $100 round trip, IIRC, but the tour company will pick you up from your hotel in the morning, drive you to the docks, and a few hours later you'll be on a boat.

Both options have serious positives and negatives, it just depends on how much time you have and what your priorities are.

As far as places to stay are concerned, use Agoda.com and you should be able to find something pretty decent within your price range, or you could just go and walk around until you find something you like for those prices.

My advice: avoid the Kuta area at all costs. It's overpriced, crowded, and dirty. Unless you're looking to spend most of your time drunk, there's little point.
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rossparkeruk



Joined: 26 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the rainy season in Bali at that time of year, which generally means that the winds are blowing the wrong way for the south coast (Kuta area) to work - but if you haven't surfed too much before then I guess you're not looking for perfect hollow waves? If you are then the east coast of Bali is your best bet. I don't know too much about surf camps in Bali but there are plenty of places you can hire boards/have lessons in Kuta.

There is good diving on the Gili islands (Gili Trawangan gets a bit of surf too very occasionally on big swells). But northway is spot on about getting there - either cheap and difficult or expensive and easy. I have only ever gone the difficult route - it's easy to find an all inclusive ticket in the kuta area - you get picked up from your hotel first thing in the morning and then taken to the port in the east (I forget its name), then on the slow boat to the port in lombok (it takes anything from about 5-7 hours and will sometimes just frustratingly stop a mile or so from land for an hour or two!). Then onto a bus which will take you up to the harbour in the north of lombok called bangsal (another few hours), then a boat across to the gilis. All in all it takes all day, you will arrive late in the evening. If you only have two weeks, definitely take the fast boat - only takes a couple of hours (although make sure you pay more and go with a reputable company - theres been a few horror stories, and also i've heard it's a pretty bumpy ride too so bring some seasick tablets!)

Kuta is full of drunken Australians and can be fun for a couple of days but I wouldn't stay there much longer than that. I spent a few weeks in Kuta Lombok last summer and it really is stunning - nothing like Kuta Bali. Amazing beaches with no one on, dirt cheap accommodation (I was paying 5000 won a night including breakfast - granted it was only a room with a mattress on the floor and a bathroom!). So many good surf spots there too although I'm not sure how good they will around Feb time? I imagine diving is good as well but I can't remember seeing any diving shops or anything there, but then I wasn't looking for it!

It's also worth taking a few days to travel round the coast of Bali - I hired a car and drove round the west coast up to Lovina in the north which is really nice. And then back down through the centre - there's a volcano you can hike up which is pretty cool, and you should also check out Ubud (about an hour from Kuta) which is the 'cultural' centre of Bali.

I wouldn't bother booking accommodation on the internet, you'll likely pay inflated prices. I always slummed it, but there are plenty of places you can find which are decent well within your budget, just walk around and have a look!

Hope that helps anyway!
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thrylos



Joined: 10 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rossparkeruk wrote:
It's also worth taking a few days to travel round the coast of Bali - I hired a car and drove round the west coast up to Lovina in the north which is really nice. And then back down through the centre - there's a volcano you can hike up which is pretty cool, and you should also check out Ubud (about an hour from Kuta) which is the 'cultural' centre of Bali.


Was that a car w/a driver, or you rented and drove yourself? What are/were the prices like and for how long?
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rossparkeruk



Joined: 26 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thrylos wrote:
rossparkeruk wrote:
It's also worth taking a few days to travel round the coast of Bali - I hired a car and drove round the west coast up to Lovina in the north which is really nice. And then back down through the centre - there's a volcano you can hike up which is pretty cool, and you should also check out Ubud (about an hour from Kuta) which is the 'cultural' centre of Bali.


Was that a car w/a driver, or you rented and drove yourself? What are/were the prices like and for how long?


I hired a car and drove myself - cheapest way to do it but was probably one of the most stressful experiences of my life! Good if you like near-death experiences. So if you have the money definitely try and get a driver! It wasn't expensive to hire - maybe cost about 110,000 won for a week, although that was about 4 or 5 years ago, I expect it will be a bit more now. If you get a driver you'll be paying a lot more, and will be expected to pay for his food and accommodation too.
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thrylos



Joined: 10 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rossparkeruk wrote:
thrylos wrote:
rossparkeruk wrote:
It's also worth taking a few days to travel round the coast of Bali - I hired a car and drove round the west coast up to Lovina in the north which is really nice. And then back down through the centre - there's a volcano you can hike up which is pretty cool, and you should also check out Ubud (about an hour from Kuta) which is the 'cultural' centre of Bali.


Was that a car w/a driver, or you rented and drove yourself? What are/were the prices like and for how long?


I hired a car and drove myself - cheapest way to do it but was probably one of the most stressful experiences of my life! Good if you like near-death experiences. So if you have the money definitely try and get a driver! It wasn't expensive to hire - maybe cost about 110,000 won for a week, although that was about 4 or 5 years ago, I expect it will be a bit more now. If you get a driver you'll be paying a lot more, and will be expected to pay for his food and accommodation too.


I was hoping that it wasn't with a driver, and that was going to be my other q, but hit the submit button too quickly-- Was it the roads, the drivers, or both that made it so frightful?
I'm just wondering because in other SE asian countries, it tends to be prohibitively expensive to rent a car (read Thailand/Phills), along w/insurance costs, etc. What you paid seems reasonable, assuming it came with full insurance and it was a decent ride. Any experience on doing something similar on Lombok?

Sorry to hijack, but have many similar Q's to the OP on this one!
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rossparkeruk



Joined: 26 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found driving in the cities and the country to be equally as scary. In the cities you have hundreds of mopeds flying around everywhere and you have to be super vigilant to make sure you don't knock anyone off. When you're not sure where you're going and trying to find your way around this makes things so much more difficult!

Then in the countryside you have the lorries to deal with. On more than one occasion we would turn a corner to find a coach overtaking a lorry, with the coach flashing its lights and beeping its horn for us to get out of its way i.e. use the green lane and swerve onto the verge. This is particularly bad around Gilimanuk in the north-west where all the lorries are heading towards.

It was by no means a decent ride - I think it was a Suzuki Jimny, an old one at that, I don't think the seatbelts even worked and we once got stuck trying to get up the side of a very steep hill - my mate had to get out and try and push and then hitch a ride to the top! I think we had insurance but in Indo whether or not that means anything is something else. The police will try and stop you any chance they get, particularly if they see you are a foreigner - though they can't do anything as long as you have all your documents - for me that just meant an International Drivers Permit (I'm British - not sure what you would need if you're from a different country?). They are just after a bit of cash really - so make sure you don't carry a stack of money in your wallet because they will fleece all of it if they can find any reason to. Having said that on that trip I only got stopped once, and everything was ok, but I'm aware of problems other people have had.

When I've been in Lombok I just hire a moped, normally around 7000 won per day. No insurance there though for sure. I never came across police there once though (I based myself in Kuta Lombok). The roads down there are pretty dodgy, so potholed and falling apart - I'm not sure I'd like to drive a car round there. To be honest as long as you aren't lugging loads of stuff around a moped is fine - you can get little racks for your surfboard on the side if thats what you want.

Lombok is amazing though, so much better than Bali imo. But they have almost finished building an international airport there so you should definitely try and travel there now before it becomes the same as Bali!
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Yaya



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Bali veterans, I have questions since I haven't been there since 2006.

1) Is Bali cheap anymore or have prices gone up to the level of, say, Thailand?

2) Isn't indo.com a great place to find cheap hotels in Bali?
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alwaysbeclosing100



Joined: 07 Feb 2009

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:10 pm    Post subject: re Reply with quote

for the most part bali is insanely priced especially during the high season....

i give this place high kudos in ubud.......it is a superb family run B&B.....i would go back here again........it is a 5 minute walk to the center of ubud and they can hook you up with a cheap scooter rental.........
http://ketutsplace.com/

i think gili t is worth the effort and the diving is solid......it is stunningly beautiful......this dude hooked me up with a place to stay.....he is a chinese/indonesian married to a bali woman.....the dude bailed us out bigtime when our hotel reservation on gili t got messed up......he has a ton of contacts.......the pic on the 1st link is accurate.......his internet cafe is right next to circle K in sanur beach.......
http://www.world66.com/asia/southeastasia/indonesia/bali/sanur/internetcafes/fantastic_internet
https://www.facebook.com/SanurInternetService
http://sanur.webs.com/

i stayed in sanur beach and i thought it was overpriced and overrated.......i wouldnt go back.......
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Yaya



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How crowded is it in January? I hear high season is between April and October. I remember being there in September 2006 and it was dead because I came when it was Ramadan.

I also hear the cops are pretty corrupt and stuff.
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banjois



Joined: 14 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second the Lombok recommendation. Bali is fine and all, but (at least South Bali) is paved and touristy. Lombok is empty, with better beaches....
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yaya wrote:

I also hear the cops are pretty corrupt and stuff.


Indonesian police and immigration are corrupt everywhere in Indonesia. If you plan to stay for a while and do a visa run they will try to extort a present off of you. If you lose your exit piece of paper they will extort money off of you. It just so happens they don't bother to staple it in your passport. I wonder why? Mad In Indonesia the cops are the criminals.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ubud is a really nice place for Bali visitors. It's small and in the mountains and there's places there that a little more authentic for Bali.
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