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I'm not sure if this has been done before in Bali...

Posted by johnno on 18/3/2013 at 03:10 a first timer in Bali, but I want to explore ALL (i.e. as much as possible) of Bali in 9 days. Yes, it's a short time. But some of us can't take too much time off. Yes I could focus on just one part of the island but then I'd miss out the rest. I don't care how rushed it's going to get. I'm a landscape person. I just want some input as to the best way of dividing Bali for exploration purposes. Roughly I have this in my mind - Kuta region for the first 2 days. Ubud for the next 2. Then hiring a driver and driving along the coastline for the remaining 5 days until evening departure, starting from east going anti clockwise. Please fine-tune this absolutely crazy and mindless itinierary. Especially with regards to the possible stop over places along the coastline. Is 2 days too much in Kuta? Shall I combine Kuta and Ubud in a day? Look I know i'd be missing out a LOT but i repeat, I'm a landscape person and I want to see the nature, not relax by the beach or temple. I'm happy to eat on the run. Sleep 8hrs/day. No alcohol, no partying, no overeating, and definitely no western cuisines. But I just gotta do this once as I'm not sure if I'd ever come back to this place again. Thank you ya'll! PS: allow how much? I have a budget of roughly $100/day

#1 johnno has been a member since 18/12/2009. Posts: 20

Posted by Laszlo on 18/3/2013 at 03:43

With a rented car, you could definitely see most of Bali in 9 days - the island is not that big.

But there are some serious mistakes in your plan.

1. The Kuta area has almost nothing to offer for scenery.

2. Ubud is more scenic, but in a hurry, a day there is enough.

3. The biggest mistake of all would be driving around the island along the coast.
The most scenic areas of Bali are not along the coast but inland.
If you still insist on doing so, there are definitely places to stay all around the island, and it would be easy to stop in 5 or so different places o your way around the coast. The Kuta/Sanur/Denpasar area, Candidasa, Amed, Tulamben, Lovina and Gilimanuk have lots of options, with a couple more scattered along the NW and SW sections of the coast.

4. While the landscape can be lovely, it's the culture that makes Bali truly unique - the temples and the colorful ceremonies.
Intentionally ignoring these in favor of scenery only, which is actually similar to many parts of Java, would be ignoring Bali.

Your budget is enough.

#2 Laszlo has been a member since 30/1/2013. Posts: 6

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Posted by busylizzy on 18/3/2013 at 04:00

Head into Munduk - it's a gorgeous drive once you get out of the southern area. There have been a few blog articles here on Travelfish lately - check out the link on the post, and have a scout around. Not many tourists go there, it's a beautiful region, and the people are very friendly if you take the time to chat.

Laszlo make good points - driving inland will give you far better scenery than the coastline (although the northern coast towards towards Amed, and heading south is quite pretty. Likewise, I'd agree with skipping Kuta based on what you're saying. There is no scenery, and it's a hole (comparitively). Head straight on up to Ubud on the same day if you can, otherwise the next day.

Rather than hire a driver, why not just hire a car and drive yourself? Pros and cons of each of course.. a driver will give you a chance to meet with a local one-on-one, save you navigation issues, and take away the stress of worrying about stuff. On the other hand, it's relatively cheap and easy to hire a small car or jeep in Bali and drive yourself. It's a bugger getting out of Kuta, but once you're on your way, it's not too bad. I've done if a few times over the years, and love the freedom that it gives me to just go where I want.

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by johnno on 20/3/2013 at 01:21

Thank you for the tips Lazslo and Busylizzy. Much appreciated. As per going inland - yes I do realise it would be much more scenic experience but I'm just not sure how I'd get around, seeing that the roads are all scattered around. If Lazslo is saying that the coast line is quite similar throughout, is there a need for me to do the full circumference? As much as I want to circumnavigate the place, i don't want to be seeing the same scenery throughout my travel. I'd be quite happy to spend more time inland if it means more diversity, I'd just need some more directions as to the efficient road routes. As for driving myself - the main reason i'm quite reluctant to do so is that of a possible scam. I've heard lots of stories from overseas about tourists getting charged for damages to their hired scooters/cars that never was pointed out to them beforehand and local people purposely running into you in order to claim for damages. I'd be glad to pay a little extra for just peace of mind. Is it easy to find a new driver each morning so as not to "lock in" a single driver for the entire trip? How much should I be paying them each day? Much appreciated once again..

#4 johnno has been a member since 18/12/2009. Posts: 20

Posted by somtam2000 on 20/3/2013 at 01:56 admin

Sorry I missed your earlier post... I've driven and ridden around the island a few times now and have slowly been penning a series about driving around Bali here. I will finish it eventually.

Some other thoughts:
* I've hired bikes and cars all over the shop and never had a problem like the ones you describe, but then I've never hired a vehicle in Kuta or Ubud . The vast majority of people here are not out to scam you. You will need an international license though.

* The north coast is far drier than the south, but also far less developed. The south coast is far lusher, but also has a lot more traffic. All coasts offer great views to the volcanoes etc.

* I'd leave Kuta as soon as possible. Absolutely. Perhaps arrive, head straight to Ubud, spend a night there, get a driver and go.

* As for a route, starting from Ubud, you could go southwest to Balian/Lalang Linggah on the south coast (surfing area, quite pretty), then back track a little and take the Antosari road north via Pupuan to Munduk. If the weather is clear, this is a stunning road with multiple fab viewpoints. (More about Mundukhere) then from down to Seririt on the north coast, take a right and head to Lovina .

Personally I think Lovina is a bit of a dump, but it remains popular for some inexplicable reason. From Lovina, continue around the top end and finish at Amed . Amed is a series of a half dozen or so bays, very scenic, but can get a little busy. Snorkelling is ok, there is a beach wreck that is kinda neat.

From here, head inland via Tirtagangga (rice terraces) and Amlapura to Sidemen . On the way, try Bali Asli -- amazing views and amazing food -- not cheap tho. We like Sidemen a lot -- plenty of places to stay and very pretty.

After Sidemen is a bit of a dogleg run back to Ubud to return the car, but still very pretty.

With the above you get to see a bit of the surf culture, the volcanic interior, the more arid north coast and lush hinterland in East Bali. With more time you could go out to Pemuteran in the far west for some solid snorkelling or down to the Bukit for more surf... but the above is doable.

As already pointed out your budget is plenty, also as Laszlo points out, the real charm in Bali is the culture -- with a good driver you'll have a chance to get a glimpse of some of that as they can be quite helpful in showing you local stuff.

You can easily rent a comfortable Avanza/Xenia for perhaps 200,000 per day, less for an older or smaller car. Not sure what the going rate is for a driver -- but when negoing be sure to clarify who is covering accommodation etc. I would be inclined to get a driver for the whole trip.

Hope that helps.

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by busylizzy on 20/3/2013 at 03:00

All good stuff from Somtam - as I would expect :-) Agree with his point about Lovina - I didn't like it all!

With respect to vehicle rental scams - I've heard of this happening in Thailand (esp Phuket area) but not in Indo. I've rented cars/scooters 4-5 times in Bali. Lombok and Lembongan, and never had a problem. Do take photos of the car before you take possession - of all scratches, dings, rips, etc, inside and out. Have the timedate stamp thing turned on your camera too. I seem to recall the place I hired from had a pad of agreement forms with car diagrams that you can mark any scratches, etc on it. Honestly, I've found the car rental guys very obliging. Just be confident of the insurance cover provided (if any) - on your own travel policy, and with the rental agency.

Personally I love the freedom having a car gives me. BUT... driving is not for the timid in Bali, esp the southern area. I've had great experiences in hiring a driver too (in Flores and Laos). Although pricier, it gives a different kind of rewarding experience. Although a bit outdated, these prices might give you an idea:

- Car and driver hired for 5 days/ 4 nights in Flores, 500,000rp/night. Included drivers accom and petrol, and was for a one-way hire across the island. Presumably he would have picked up a return fare, but the price it on the basis that it's one-way. (2009) - I suspect Bali would be cheaper where there is more competition.
- Car hire in Bali - 9 days, 100,000rp/day (2009) - this was for a basic, older 4WD. Rough, but ;fun'... (I was too cheap to pay for comfort!)
- Car hire in Lombok - 5 days, 110,000rp/day - another basic 4WD.
- Car hire in Bali - 8 days, 125,000rp - another basic 4WD.

Have fun, whatever you decide to do.

#6 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by Laszlo on 20/3/2013 at 23:18

Somtam has excluded them from his itinerary for some reason, but I think the 3 areas of Besakih, Kintamani (around Gunung Batur) and Danau Bratan (aka Bedugul) are absolute musts for scenery. I find all these much more impressive than Munduk - in fact I can't understand all the fuss about that place, but it's easily combined with the Danau Bratan area anyway.
Since your budget allows, I'd also suggest hiring a car with a driver for the whole trip.
I'd say 500-600.000 Rp per day with his expenses included should be OK.
It would be a hassle to look for a new driver every day.

Make sure your driver understands he shouldn't try to make shopping stops of his choice along the way - drivers/guides typically get a 50% commission on your purchases in Bali, so can be quite keen to make you shop in as expensive places as possible.

#7 Laszlo has been a member since 30/1/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by johnno on 11/4/2013 at 23:17

Thank you for the response everyone. But since then my partner has decided to tag along for few days which has disrupted my plan. I've asked for a last min advice as a result. Big apologies to all. Here's the post.

#8 johnno has been a member since 18/12/2009. Posts: 20

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