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Help on planning our Bali/Lombok trip

Posted by Goodmango on 17/3/2014 at 08:59

Hey! My GF and I are going nuts trying to plan our Bali trip this summer. We have 17 days total in August and want to make the right decisions. We really want to see Bali (mainly Ubud and surrounding area), Lombok, Gili Air and Nusa Lombongan. But we realize this is too many places to visit in such limited time. I'm looking for experienced Indo travels to suggest what to drop and keep from our list.
We are young and don't mind moving around but we also don't want to waste a ton of time in transportation. We are not divers or surfers but do enjoy a little snorkelling. Our main priorities are culture, exploration, beach and food.

We can't decide if we should just see Ubud then get out of Bali or take the time to explore it a little more in depth.
We are leaning towards eliminating Nusa from the list.
We are also considering just going full on rural Bali and then Gili's for beach... But I hear so many good things about Lombok.

I'm really looking forward to what you all may have to say.. Thanks!

#1 Goodmango has been a member since 21/11/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by somtam2000 on 17/3/2014 at 09:12 admin

Yes that is too much in 17 days in my opinion.

I'd say drop Lembongan as both the beaches and snorkelling are better on the Gilis. Bear in mind August is peak season there and they'll be heaving.

Otherwise, Lombok is a big place -- anything in particular you had in mind while there? If you're pretty vague, I'd be inclined to drop Lombok as well and spend the bulk of your time on Bali -- I live here though, so I'm biased ;-)

As far as Bali is concerned, don't put all your eggs in Ubud. Other areas like Sidemen and Munduk are lovely, very rural etc. If you do end up planning more time in Bali, consider getting a car (you can get a cheapie for around $20-30 a day (when split between two not too bad) so you can easily travel at your own pace.

More questions? Ask away :)

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by Goodmango on 17/3/2014 at 09:22

Thank you for the reply Somtam200! You we're exactly the informative type of person we were looking for.

We we're trying to figure out if we should invest more time into Bali or not. It seems there are so many places to see that giving it only 5-6 days wouldn't be right.
As for Lombok we wanted to see Kuta and the surrounding beaches East and west of Kuta that are suppose to be really nice. Then head up near the volcano to check out the village and waterfalls before boating to Gili's. I really like the look of that itinerary but it seems transportation heavy. If we had three full weeks I would for sure do Bali, Lombok and Gili's.

What would you recommend if we we're to split our trip between Bali and the Gili's? I'm usually a fan of two wheeled machines but I like the idea of a car to cover bigger distances. Good suggestion!
Thanks again!

#3 Goodmango has been a member since 21/11/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by somtam2000 on 17/3/2014 at 09:49 admin

The beaches around Kuta-Lombok are great, really quite beautiful in a vast kind of a way and largely undeveloped. They're more known for surfing than snorkelling. The gilis have the snorkelling.

If you're comfortable on a motorbike, then Bali is fine - wear a helmet & expect the unexpected! You are officially required to have an international riding permit to ride one - if you don't then most likely your travel insurance won't cover you -- hence the car suggestion ;-)

If it was me, I had 16 nights and I didn't surf nor dive, but I did have my own transport, I'd do something like:

Ubud 3 nights (given you said you want to check it out)
Sidemen 2 nights (ricefield valleys, few tourists, good places to stay)
Amed 3 nights (snorkelling, chilling)
Gili islands (you can get a speedboat from Amed to the Gilis) say 4 nights
Kuta-Lombok 3 nights

That's perhaps a bit beach heavy. If you wanted more hilly stuff, perhaps drop Amed for Munduk which is also very pretty.

We've a couple of Bali itineraries here that may be of help.
Bali 1 week
Bali 2 weeks


#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by Goodmango on 17/3/2014 at 10:07

I just realized you are the cofounder of this glorious website! No wonder you are so full of good info!
We live in Korea and I have ridden all over this country and everywhere else we have visited in Asia. So I will for sure get a bike in Indonesia but we may still do the car for some of the longer hauls so that weather can't hold us back. Makes a big difference when you're riding with a passenger. I like the look of your suggestion. I'm off to bed now but will resume research and check out those itineraries once I get some free time at work tomorrow.
Thanks again for your help. I maybe posting on here again sometime tomorrow with more questions :D


#5 Goodmango has been a member since 21/11/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by savorygal on 17/3/2014 at 19:50

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Good Mango,

Somtam has made good suggestions about your itinerary, I have only a few other tips.

Gili's : book early. as somtam has said all the gili's will be bursting at the seams. very difficult to find accommodation as a walk in that time of year. Also, unless you are already in Amed or the northeast coast of Bali you may want to consider flying to lombok. It's often cheaper (35 USD compared to 70 or 80 USD for a fast boat in August) and you save yourself lots of time. The airport is only a little more than an hour from the harbor ( bangsal) which is the entry point to the gili's.

Lombok is beautiful, you may want to consider going to Kuta lombok from the airport, only 30 minutes or so & getting a motorbike to explore. Much less crowded than Bali with beautiful scenery.

Have fun!

#6 savorygal has been a member since 16/7/2010. Posts: 174
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Posted by busylizzy on 17/3/2014 at 22:48

I am currently in Sideman and can highly recommend it. It would be my choice over Ubud any day (which is now far too built up for my liking!) . It's a great area to explore by foot or by motorbike (not too much traffic if you avoid the main road of Sideman village). IN fact, I think it's my new favourite Bali spot with it's drop-dead gorgeous scenery. Travelfish tend to include some of the pricier flashpacker accommodation options but there are many small family-run guesthouses in the area. If you have a car, it would be easy to stop in at a few to make enquiries.

Munduk, as mentioned by Somtam is also nice, quiet and scenic although I've only driven through.

Re: flights from Bali to Lombok - you can get them even cheaper than 35USD if you book early enough. Wings Air can be as low as 260,000rp (US $23).

I have hired a cheap car to get around Bali a few times and it's definitely a good way to travel here to allow you to get out of the touristy areas and to explore the countryside. And certainly cheaper than hiring drivers/guides. The traffic is a bit crazy but if you've ridden elsewhere in Asia, you'll be fine.

If it were me, I'd tend to run with Somtam's plan, but maybe drop Kuta (Lombok) to spend more time in the other places that you are visiting.

#7 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by Goodmango on 20/3/2014 at 01:44

Hey guys!
Man we are really appreciating all this input. We are loving the look of sidemen. We are finally starting to set some dates and book some hotels. But I have one question that is a bit of a game changer.
Does anyone know of a place that we can rent either a car or motorcycle in Ubud that would allow us to drop it off in the Amed area?

We want to progressively make are way to Amed to get the boat to the Gili's. We want to have our own transportation but would really like the ability to just drop the car in Amed instead of going all the way back to Ubud. So if this is possible please let me know!

As of know we are thinking 4 nights Ubud, 2 nights sidemen, 2 nights Amed, 4 nights Gili Air, 4-5 nights Lombok.

Thanks a million.


#8 Goodmango has been a member since 21/11/2011. Posts: 14

Posted by busylizzy on 20/3/2014 at 07:05

I would highly doubt that you would get away with that arrangement - but maybe you could strike a deal with the hire company to have them send a driver to retrieve the car and drive it back to Ubud. You would know doubt pay extra for this, but it's feasible I guess...

#9 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by Goodmango on 23/3/2014 at 06:42

Ok so after tons of deliberation I think we've made our mind up. We don't want to rush through anything so I think 2 islands in 17 days would be perfect. So we figured we'd spend the first 10-11 days in Bali then the last 6 on gili air (maybe hop around a but between the three). We are sad to cut Lombok from this trip but figured we will do Lombok and Flores next summer.
So my next question, is south Bali, Bukit peninsula worth doing or is it all a big cluster %#\+? We figured we'd do I Ubud, Sidemen and Amed then Gilis.

#10 Goodmango has been a member since 21/11/2011. Posts: 14

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