We're going to Bali for the first time in September for 16 nights. We're interested in both scenery and the Hindu culture. We do love beaches, but we live in Hawaii so don't need to spend all our time beachfront. As important is that the beach destination is near interesting sites or scenery. Here's what we're thinking... Right now it feels a bit too busy...would rather get immersed in a place a little instead of moving around so much. Would be grateful for all insight and suggestions:
Sanur -- Two nights (we arrive at midnight after 21 hours of flying, so want to be somewhat close to airport).
Ubud -- Five nights
Sidemen --2 nights
Candidasa or Amed -- 3 nights (which?)
Munduk -- 2 nighits
Back to Ubud -- 2 nights
#1 Hiyaguha has been a member since 8/4/2014. Posts: 2
What you have is doable. Bali isn't a huge place.
My suggestion would be to take a couple nights (at least) away from Ubud and apply elsewhere...?North or more time in Sidemen. Especially if you plan to stay there on your way out. You've alotted 7 nights there - that is too much for a 16 night trip.
You could hop over to Gili T for your beach time...or Banyuwangi for a couple nights...
If you are into snorkelling, you could go from Amed to Pemuteran (on northern coast) before heading down to Munduk (and drop the last two nights in Ubud, as suggested above).
I assume you will be hiring a car to do this? Your alternative will be to go by public transpost (possibly not easy for all your itinerary), or hire a driver for each leg (surprisingly expensive). For example, to get from Sideman to Denpasar was around 300,000rp. And another poster I think was quoted something like 400,000rp to get from Amed to Sideman. It's all good if cost isn't an issue, but just so you know.
Personally I'd pick Amed over Candidasa. Have only driven through Candidasa, but stayed in Amed a couple of times and enjoyed the laid back vibe about the place. (My partner, on the other hand, didn't think much of it. So there you go!)
Thank you ... I had been thinking of hiring a driver but better rethink. Just curious--what are YOUR absolute top must-sees in Bali? How would you spend two weeks?
#4 Hiyaguha has been a member since 8/4/2014. Posts: 2
Generally, I'm not into the must-see kind of places. Primarily because they over overcrowded with iPad-toting tourists and touts and I am almost always disappointed with the attraction. Many of the popular temples in Bali are like that.
When in Bali (aside from times that I'm just passing through on my way to other Indonesian locations), I like to head to places where most tourists don't go (one example that comes to mind being Yeh Gangga, on the north-west coast) and then mix it up with places where there might be a few people around, but not overrun with tourists. I was in Sideman last month for the first time (I have no idea how I missed it previously), and really loved it. There was a large number of accom places, quite a few restaurants - but hardly any other tourists there. Speaking to Somtam about it, he reckoned that it was ALWAYS quiet like that there, I hired a scooter to explore the wider area when I got to lazy to go further on foot.
A few years ago, we drove through the central area and I found I really liked Munduk, although I didn't stay there - just scouted around during the day. (There was a good coffee place around there). I also really enjoyed a couple of days in Bedugul - the botantical gardens there were immaculate and quite an unexpected surprise - a nice place for a picnic.
Even Ubud is too built up for me and I'd suggest Sideman as an alternative. But that's just me - I prefer the quiet and mundane, where I can just relax or explore without being hassled by touts and put up with the constant noise of the busier places. These days, I am far too jaded by all the ultra-touristy stuff. Since this is your first time there, you would probably be happy with wherever you end up. :-)
I kinda like your original itinerary - but I'm the kind of guy who is quite happy with 2 nights/days in one location: although I run around like a madman in order to see what is important. Relaxed I'm not. Nah, that aint true - at the end of a run-around like a madman day there is nothing like hanging in a beach bar or mountain view warung with a Bintang or five.
If I wanted to drop a spot: well I like tyler's suggestion. Why not drop the final 2 nights in Ubud ? You have already done 5 - anything you can't see in 5 aint worth 7.
If for some reason you can't drop the final 2 in Ubud: um, I'm thinking Munduk simply because Ubud and Sideman should give you plenty of upland experiences. Mind you, I've only travelled through Munduk - am staying there for the first time next month. So my opinion could change.
Candidasa or Amed ? I reckon Amed is much more authentically Bali and more attractive (although I do like Candi). The downside is that is is further from say Ubud, but if you have your own car and driver you are looking at only and extra 40-50 minutes.
This raises a caveat - if you are using budget transport, Candi is pretty easy to reach from Ubud using Perama via Padang Bai. Last I heard, they will run a van up to Amed from Candi given enough takers or if you are willing to pay a fair bit more for one or two passengers - I must admit my last visit to Amed in 2013 I saw the Perama van whizzing around on more than one occasion. Check their website to find the current situation.