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bali confusion, honeymoon help

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bali confusion, honeymoon help

hello everyone! My fiance and I are beginning to plan our honeymoon for july, 2008. Bali is one of the places we're considering because it's so beautiful. We're not picky - we just need sandy beaches, sunshine, good food and luxery. However, the problem is, we know absolutely nothing about bali, besides the pictures I've seen. We're from Oregon, USA and have never traveled outside the country. What should we expect if we go to Bali? What are the people like, what is the food like, what language do they speak? Any information you can give me would be great. Any concerns we should have, any precautions we should take? What is there to do there? I've been to islands in the caribbean, what's the difference? Let me know if you can....I know this is a very general post, so whatever you can give me would be amazing! Thanks so much!


just outside NYC
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1. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help


Bali is a very unique destination -- the culture is very specific to the island, a form of Hinduism practiced daily with incense and offerings to house temple gods, etc. You can't visit Bali and not trip over some kind of unique festival (unless you just stay in a luxury resort compound and never leave the grounds). People speak a good deal of English everywhere. Beaches in the Caribbean are definitely better, wider, nicer sand -- snorkelling in Bali is usually something you do via a boat trip. The real beauty of Bali is the culture, best experienced by staying in the interior in Ubud for part of your stay, going to dance performances, hiring a car and driver and touring the island. Bali is a very beautiful place, the people are incredibly warm and welcoming. There are so many things to do -- if you tell people what you like to do that might help.

I put up a link to our travel blog with photos in my go list -- which might help you. I found Bali unforgetable and really quite fell in love.

Berkeley, CA
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2. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

We live in Berkeley, CA and absolutely love Bali. We just returned from our second trip there (May 2007) and took our 20 month-old daughter with us. Our first trip was for our honeymoon 6 years ago. It's a fabulous cultural, luxury, and tropical nature destination. Here are some quick and random thoughts.

Bali definitely feels like one of the safest destinations to visit. Very little crime, wonderfully friendly people, and we had no problems at all with our stomaches. We ate everything in the 4-5 star establishments and only ate cooked foods in those we weren't as sure about. Most places frequented by tourists use purified water in drinks and ice and sanitize their vegetable. The staff is also taught proper hygeine for cooking etc. We took pro-biotics every day as a precaution or you could just eat yoghurt or drink yakault (sold in the small supermarkets). The food is really flavorful and a bit spicy - hard to explain if you have never had Indonesian Food. Look at a website on the topic.

The dry season (July is during this time) is the best time to go. Great weather and there is very lttle risk of mosquito-born diseases. Supposedly there is a very low risk of malaria and dengue fever in the most remote regions of bali during the rainy season. There are not supposed to be any problems in the tourist areas. Take bug spray just in case.

The languages spoken are Indonesian, Balinese, and English. As English speakers you won't have any trouble getting around. The religion is a wonderful form of Hinduism. The level of service is quite high. Your dollars will go farther than any other luxury destination (and I am a luxury travelaholic).

For us the main attraction is Ubud and it's surrounding areas. It's a charming town in the hills, surrounded by lush green jungle covered in coconut palms and deep river valleys bordered by rice fields. The sounds of nature are like nowhere else. It's truly magical. There are also mountain views in the distance.

Check-out our favorite hotels (I have visited almost all the luxury properties in Jimbaran, Seminyak, Ubud and surrounds, and Nusa Dua. They are the Four Seasons Jimbaran and Sayan (some of the most expensive on the island), Como Shambhala Retreat outside Ubud (formerly the Begawan Giri), Komaneka Monkey Forest Road in Ubud (get a pool villa looking into the rice fields if possible), and Laguna Nusa Dua. My husband and I disagree a bit on this one, but I love The Chedi Club as well. In my opinion, the Aman properties on the island are not worth the expense as the service I experienced was below the Four Seasons and the cost quite a bit more. Ubud Hanging Gardens, The Uma Ubud, and the Maya Ubud (not the rooms - only the villas) are also worth checking-out, but I have not stayed at these properties (only visited them). A good budget property for a few nights is the Honeymoon Guesthouse Ubud. It has new air-conditioned rooms/suites.

As mentioned, July is a nice time to go as the weather is great (Beginning of the Dry Season). However, there are high-season prices at some properties during this time. You can try and call the hotels to negotiate a lower price (except at the Four Seasons and Aman properties - and not sure about Como Shambhala) by asking if they have any specials and whether they can include tax and service in the price and/or breakfast. Trust me - this is common in Bali, but may not work as well during the high season. Be aware that tax and service amounts to 21% of your bill unless it is already included.

The beaches are not as good as those in the Caribbean. In my opinion, Bali is not really about the beaches. It is still, however, nice to visit one of the beach areas. Just don't expect fine white sand beaches and really turqoise waters.

The Four Seasons Jimbaran and Laguna Nusa Dua are good beach properties. We really enjoyed our stay at the Four Seasons Jimbaran as the property is so unique and romantic. It feels very Bali. If you go try to get the package that includes stays at both the Jimbaran and Sayan properties and breakfast. It's a better deal. July is not considered high season at the FS properties.

These are my very quick and rough thoughts. Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions. There is one other thing that you should know - I have never heard of anyone visiting Bali and not loving it - so enjoy!

Berkeley, CA
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3. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help


I forgot to mention that we booked our flights and one of our hotels through www.sayangholidays.com. We got much better rates than we would have gotten if we had booked the air ourselves.


Singapore, Singapore
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4. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

The best hotels for Honeymoon are located in NusaDua. I recommend you the Grand Hyatt or the Nusa Dua Beach Resort. Other alternative is the Ritz Carlton.

"The action is not in Nusa Dua", but in Kuta Beach, but if you want to go at night to a Disco or night place in Kuta, again, where the action is", you just take a taxi, they are very cheap.}

Nusa Dua is the modern part with high quality new hotels.

I recommend you to consider a trip to Ubud, in the mountains, 40 min by taxi from Denpasar (Bali), it is very traditional and different, if you want to go to Ubud I recommend you the Alila Hotel, especially for Honeymooners.}

Cheers !

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5. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

Hello malgal10 ~

Hate to be the contrarian here (but someone has to!), but I wd add the following insights:

(1) Nusa Dua is a bit of a nightmare -- sterile, manicured to death. (Think: suburbia.) It is so far from the real Bali it is like a different country. It is the land of tour groups and people who's primary concern is predictability and the perception of security and quality. I advise everyone to eschew this isolated parcel of mediocrity. Yes there are some nice hotels there, but there are even better hotels elsewhere in more rewarding locations (FYI: Nusa Dua is run by a quasi-governmental tourist body who control everything very tightly and lure in the big hotels with tax breaks).

(2) if you want a honeymoon trip, I highly suggest boutique hotels or villas. If you have stayed in the Caribbean, the villa experience is very different --- in the Caribbean you may get an empty house or minimal staff, in Bali you get a fully serviced property with a full staff -- chef, driver, even butlers, if you want. Bali is rightfully famous for luxury villas and they are perfect for honeymooners!

(3) I agree with the statements above about Ubud and the culture of Bali -- they are spot on.

Enjoy - it's wonderful place and I feel very fortunate to be able to live here.

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6. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

I too am going there on my honeymoon but havn't booked anywhere - could you recommend a name or 2 of these villas which you mention?


Kuala Lumpur...
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7. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

Hi Mallory,

To provide a concise picture, related to your queries:-

a). Balinese people are very easy going, caring,and their priority centered on religion. Having said so, they are of course the shrewd ones in the business line,and of course, one may encounter the aggressive street traders.

b). Food- it is rather difficult to pinpoint what is exactly the typical Balinese food,as most of the food are "borrowed" from Java. Anyway, Bali is mainly popular with three main food- gado-gado(it is a vegetable salad with a tasty peanut sauce), "babi guling"-grilled suckling pig which had been infused with herbs and spicy-greasy though, and deep fried crispy duck(bebek bengil). Then of course, you have the nasi camphor (rice with few small portions of food-such as tempek(a soya protein cake, bayam leaf, vegetables, chicken)

c). Language- the Indonesian language is the official language of Indonesia,and also on the island of Bali, The Balinese also have their own dialect. English is widely spoken and written in many tourists spots.

d). Money matters- the currency is Indonesian rupiah, where USD1 is equivalent to IDR9,200. The largest note denomination is IDR100,000.00

For American citizens, a visa on arrival is required, of which if your stay is exceeding 7 days,but not exceeding 30days, the fees is USD25,whereas if your stay is 7 days or less, the fees is USD10.00

When leaving the country, one is required to pay the departure tax of IDR150,000.00/person.

The island of Bali is composed of nine regencies,and one have the beaches and surfing waves, diving sites, highlands, landscaped rice terraces, volcanoes, temples sights, river to provide Class I-II(III) rapids for white water rafting, national park, animal safari,all "wrapped" as a gift to her visitors/travelers/inhabitants.

The main concern that some may have is in relation to two terrorists bombings in the year 2002 and 2005,that took place on the mainstream of Bali, which was on Legian St(2002) and Jimbaran and Kuta Sq(2005). These bombings did leave a deep scar for many,and saw tourists arrival dipping; nonetheless, with resilience and perseverance,and more vigilance, tourists are coming back to enjoy Bali's indestructible magic.

Precautions that applies, will be applicable to wherever we traveled to,and not restricted to Bali alone- vigilant of surroundings, not bringing attention to oneself, safekeeping(or not bringing) valuables, sling bags not exposed to side of traffic flow.

A main precautionary measure, usually addressed to tourists/visitors are the "fast hands" of money changers.So be careful,when exchanging money,as many are still trying to get use to the zeros,and almost same size for notes. Exchange at money changers,after seeking advice from hotel,or look for Kodak shop and those that clearly state, no commission is imposed,and of course, shop around, as exchange rate can differ from one shop to another shop which is just few doors away.

Main activities on this island- temples visiting(though try to focus on a few only- e.g. Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Tirtha Empul, Taman Ayun,Beratan), landscaped rice terraces(Tegallalang, Jatiluwih), volcano (Kintamani), monkey forest( e.g. Alas Kerobokan, Ubud), staying a night or two in Bali's centre for arts and culture-Ubud,and absorbing the atmosphere,or enjoying the spa or white water rafting along Ayung river.

On the subject of food-and more so ambiance and locality- Bali can really offer you this,which at times do make life somehow tough--with choices- sunset cocktail overlooking the Pacific ocean (e.g. Dava)or on the beach(Ku de Ta), cuisines from across the world(well, there is Bumma Gump over here also), dining with sights across a ridge with its lush green foliage(e.g.FS Sayan) or dining on gazebo with views of rice fields.

And the real favorite-enjoying a session(s) of spa therapy,with well known Balinese treatments-such as "mandi Lulur", "Mandi susu" at your resort spa.

Do have a great honeymoon on the island of Bali,and am sure she hopes you will return again for your anniversary.

Hmm, you will love the shopping over here too,and learn the art of negotiating that HBS may need in their syllabus for their MBA pro grammes.Many have learnt it. An item, at first price quotation of say USD20,can be negotiated to USD4-especially if you visit the market in the morning-they call it their morning price("harga pelarisan"),and it is their belief to make a transaction when store open up,so that there will be more transaction-you will observe them, touching your payment on their goods.

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8. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

Bali is different in positive ways due to its natural beauty and spiritual beauty. The island is alive and active, every inch of this place you will find or rather feel different. The atmosphere is different unlike any other places on this earth. "Island of the Gods" "Heaven on Earth" When the first expedition to the moon Neil Armstrong saw a bright light on the surface of the earth and was wondering where it originated. Armstrong visited Bali and then knew why.

There are literatures stories talks all kinds telling you how Bali is different but the best part to get to know why Bali is different is to experience it yourself. And experience it with open mind. Balinese are friendly and open arms to all help inquiries.

Overall enjoy your honeymoon and don't worry too much on cultural differences. But do have someone you know/trust to guide you since this is your first time in Bali.

For everything else, there is always http://blog.baliwww.com - resourceful cultural events happenings and all about the people etc.

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9. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

for Ledzep: tell us what kind of villa you are looking for? There are tons of villas in Bali, letting us know your primaries will narrow it down the better the faster and precise choice.

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10. Re: bali confusion, honeymoon help

Bali?! It's just wonderful, many choices where to stay

but as you want white sandy beach, honeymoon & luxury.

Choose The Bale, Nusa Dua. They only have 29

pavilions, each has its own swimming pool, very

private, no children allowed, hardly seen other guest.

We were treated like the royalty. They have their own

private beach, white sand and again quiet (private).

Nusa Dua = Some people doesn't like it because it's

too snobby, only expensive hotels there. The beach has

white sand & nice, most private, belongs to those


Kuta = Crowded, many pubs, bars, discos. Very

touristic, many drunken Western tourists, Not

recommended at all. It was great 20 years ago, not


Ubud = It's a very nice area, hills, rice fields, very

green, art galleries. No beach but you must visit this

area when you're in Bali.

When you have time, fly to the next island (15 mins),

Lombok (but don't stay there), book a hotel in a

remote island called Gili Trawangan, they'll pick you

up from Lombok's Airport then drive up north 20 mins

then 15 mins speed boat.

Very small island, only few small hotels. The

recommended one is The Beach House Gili Trawangan,

beautiful !

Stay on this island 2 nights, no more! because nothing

in there just white sands beach, clear sea water and

few small restaurants & hotels. You can go round the

whole island less than 30 mins. It's just paradise,

pure. I just hope this island will stay like this for

the next 50 years, virgin.

Other "best" hotels is Bali:

Four Seasons Jimbaran (beach), Four Seasons Sayan

(Ubud), Amannusa (Nusa Dua)

Beautiful beaches can be the same anywhere in the world, but in Bali you get other things, the culture, people, experience. It's like magic being there, very different from other parts of Indonesia. I'd say magical & peaceful.

With your US$, it gets a lot here, things become cheap yet with a very excellent quality. If you need any more infos or photos, please do not hesitate to contact me, I've been to Bali more than 10 times, it's one of my favourite holiday destinations.


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