Which do you think is safer for someone traveling alone?
Where do you think I would be able to find the best room for under $30 but still be in a popular/safe location near a good beach?
#1 joe_schmo has been a member since 16/8/2011. Posts: 9
I think both Thailand & Indonesia are safe for solo travelers. I am a solo female traveler & had no problems in thailand or indonesia.
I love bali, but the beaches can be crowded and are not as nice some other destinations. And Bali can be expensive because it is so popular (depends on time of year, of course) If you want a nice beach scene, with fun & safe atmosphere I would head to the Gili's off of lombok. easily reached by boat from bali in an hour. I enjoyed the Gili's way more than I did the islands of thailand.
savorygal, thanks for the advice!
#3 joe_schmo has been a member since 16/8/2011. Posts: 9
savorygal, what is the average price of a meal in the Gili's? Can i find a place to stay when I get there or do I need to arrange this ahead of time?
#4 joe_schmo has been a member since 16/8/2011. Posts: 9
you are most welcome. you should have no problem finding a place to stay upon arrival, most of the less expensive guesthouses don't have websites, so booking ahead isn't really possible, anyway. try to get an early boat from bali so you can arrive as people are checking out or getting ready to check out.
meals are pretty cheap as long as you stay away from western fare. There is a hawker area in the center of town that is open every evening & you can get standard indo fare (satay, nasi goring, mie goreng etc) for about 10,000 IDR (a little over a USD). It's also a great place to meet other travelers. During the day it's easy to get nasi campur and cheap food at local warungs for very little money as well.
Fast boats leave Bali from Sanur & padangbai. Both are easy to get to from the airport via tourist minivan for about 40,000 IDR. The fast boats are a different story.... they cost about 350, 000-550,000 IDR one way. If you book a return it's slightly less. the only way around that is to take the ferry to Lombok from padangbai, which is 5 hours, and then go to bangsal harbor where you can get a local boat to the islands for 8000 IDR. While cheap, it is a slog, and it gets you to Gili T pretty late in the day. I wouldn't do it again.
savorygal, thanks again! I've been looking at your blog and I found it very helpful too!
#6 joe_schmo has been a member since 16/8/2011. Posts: 9
Great advice from savorygal, we've just added coverage for Gili Trawangan Gili meno and Gili air and would say in high season they've actually quite expensive for what you get, so affordability will depend on when you go.
#8 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,710
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Thanks savorygal but I'm not sure if I'll be going now...
I was very gung-ho to go, it looks amazing with amazing prices I can afford, but I checked the safety and pretty much every government travel website says that Bali and the rest of Indonesia are dangerous due to high threats of terrorism. What do you guys make of this?
#9 joe_schmo has been a member since 16/8/2011. Posts: 9
oh brother, Indonesia is one of the safest & friendliest places I have traveled. Somtam lives in Indonesia with his family & i assure you if it was unsafe he would not have his wife & children there. right, somtam? anyway, i think the govt warnings are hogwash.
100% agree with Savorgirl. I've been there several times over the years since by first visit in 1979, and will be returning in another few months. Indonesians are extremely friendly and welcoming. I've travelled through areas that are predominantly Hindu, Muslim and Christian - and never had any concerns for my safety.
Think about it - how many people travel through Indonesia each year? And have many problems (aside from the Bali bombings a few years ago) have you heard about? And compare that to your own country.
You're just about a resident there, aren't you?
I'll be there last week Oct / first week of November after spending a month in Laos. Bali is on the way home and I just couldn't fly over without stopping in. Will spend most of it on Lembongan, Penida and north-west Bali I think.
Sorry that I will miss you! Offer still stands if you are coming through NZ sometime.
"anyway, i think the govt warnings are hogwash."
Savory, don't take this the wrong way, but it is people like you who end up getting kidnapped and having their heads cut off. This, for example, is very good advice:
"Somalia. August 19, 2011. The State Department warns US citizens of the risks of
travel to Somalia and recommends that US citizens avoid all travel to Somalia. ... "
Nevertheless, two backpackers were brought to our gate at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti when I was there. They had been backpacking in northern Somalia where they were robbed of EVERYTHING they own except the clothes on their backs. They were lucky to be alive.
Then we have the three morons who were hiking on the Iraqi - Iranian border. Slick.
Now I'll be the first to admit that Indonesia doesn't qualify as either of these places and is generally a safe place to travel, but Islamic fundamentalism and it's militant association is alive and well there and that should not be forgotten or disregarded. Those guys are seriously bad actors. Keep that in mind when traveling there.
Joe, I would not cancel because of said security concern. Hat Yai - different story. That requires more planning and caution. But Indonesia? Generally the level of militant activity there, the Bali bombing notwithstanding, has been low.
Just to chime in, I live in Bali, with my wife and two young children and have done for the past 3.5 years, before that 2 years in Jakarta. I'd characterise Bali as being perfectly safe to travel in and would say the govt warnings are overblown.
Biggest risk here is the traffic -- I had more troubles in the US than I've ever had here
#15 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,710
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Savory, don't take this the wrong way, but it is people like you who end up getting kidnapped and having their heads cut off.
Utter rubbish. Indonesia is nothing like Somalia (or Iraq) and the chance of Savorygal getting her head cut off is no higher than anywhere else. Would you advise tourists to avoid Spain too?
You can read right? I post again the sentence you must have missed:
"Now I'll be the first to admit that Indonesia doesn't qualify as either of these places and is generally a safe place to travel."
My position stands. Some government warnings are hyperbole based on government persons painting worst case scenarios to "be on the safe side". But some are quite valid. So making a blanket statement that "anyway, i think the govt warnings are hogwash." can be quite foolish and that attitude has gotten some people killed.
Also note that while the probability of being subject to a terror attack in Indonesia is doubtless extremely low, and not something you need to plan your trip around, it remains the most populous Islamic country in the world and does have an active militant Islamic group operating there. So it's not as if it is not a possibility at all. Just last month a bomb went off in an Islamic school when the bomb maker made a mistake. It's just that in this particular case it's not a major concern. Had Savory said "Anyway, I think that the government warnings reference Indonesia are rubbish" I would have been inclined to agree. But that's not what she said.
I was referring to govt warnings about Indonesia, since this was what the conversation was about. The OP was not planning on visiting somalia, Iraq or Afghanistan so it was obviously Indonesia I was referring to. sorry I omitted the clarifying clause of "in reference to indonesia" but I am guessing he knew which country I was talking about.
Well I agree at the moment incidents of militant activity are few and far between and it's a huge country, so as Somtam says, risk from accident is FAR higher. It wasn't clear to me that you mean just government warnings pertaining to Indonesia, but rather all government warnings. As I am sure you are aware, there are people who harbor that viewpoint, and that's a mistake.
I had a temporary job at the US Embassy in Indonesia once, and while I was there a nice person drove past and threw a hand grenade at the front gate. Luckily, it didn't go off, but if it had, it would have killed some people I met while working there.
Not long after I was there, some other nice folks drove a truck into the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and exploded it. The people in the immediate area didn't do so well.
I agree that Indonesia is relatively benign, and that things have calmed down significantly since the events I reference, but I also think that folks at a minimum should consider these government warnings as part of their go-no go decision and everybody should absolutely use good sense in all their travels. Like many others have said, I feel safer in southeast Asia than I do back here in the states too, but the only place I have ever been mugged is in Laos. Cheers.
Thanks everyone for contributing to the thread, it's very helpful.
somtam2000, you said it quite expensive in the Gili's... what's the average price for a beach side bungalow? I would be going this September.
How do prices compare for a beach side accommodation on a gulf side island in Thailand?
#22 joe_schmo has been a member since 16/8/2011. Posts: 9
@ MM I can read just fine thanks, but it seems that you can't.
It wasn't clear to me that you mean just government warnings pertaining to Indonesia
Why not? The context was crystal clear.
In post #9 Joe_schmo asked how safe it was to travel in Indonesia and specifically asked what people's opinions were about governments issuing travel warnings for Indonesia. Whereabouts does he ask about travel warnings for anywhere else?
Even someone with minimal reading skills should be able to grasp that post #10 was savorygirl answering post #9. Where on earth did you get the impression she was talking about anywhere other than Indonesia?
Anyway, I agree 100% with savorygirl that Indonesian Muslims are some of the friendliest people in SE Asia as well. That's four pretty experienced travelers saying the same thing. Quite frankly I couldn't care less whether or not you agree MM. You're not in a position to judge... you've never been there.
@ joe. August is really busy everywhere but September should be a little bit better...the main hordes should be starting to leave by then! There are loads of good islands to go to in Indo as well as the Gilis.
eg. You don't say how much time you have but if you aren't on a tight schedule and are not a party animal, the Togeans in central Sulawesi are a good place for single travelers. You can't help mixing with other people at the resorts there because everyone eats together at the same table for meals. Unless prices have gone up horrifically since last year, staying there would be within your budget too. Facilities are quite basic but (no running water in some places and everywhere only has a few hours electricity a day) but the islands are rather beautiful. Oh and the local population is almost 100% Muslim... Be sure to let us know. if you get kidnapped and decapitated there!
For somewhere nearer Bali and easier to get to, I think Busylizzy liked Lembongan a lot so that's another option. Don't know what the prices would be like, but she'd know.
I was in Nusa lembongan in both april & july. prices were ridiculous in July. My 100,000 bungalow had shot to 300,000. (fan, cold water)
I was in Gili in both may & august & there was a huge difference as well. In May I paid 200,000 for a ocean front bungalow & in August it was 500,000. crazy.
@ SBE I plan to spend next Feb in sulawesi, will fly to Manado and also plan to go to the togeans. Do you have any other favorite spots on Sulawesi?
Depends how long you've got and how good a diver you are but after Manado you could get at kijang to Gorontalo (9 hours and a bit uncomfortable and squashed unless you pay for a front seat).
In Gorontalo you could check out this place.
And then hop on a ferry to the Togians when you've done that. I've got an idea which days they run but you'll be able to find out for sure once you get there. Get the Tuna Tomini ferry rather than the Puspita if you can. It's a proper car ferry as opposed to an old wooden tub and is better in rough weather. Journey takes about 12 hours.
More diving and snorkeling in the Togeans (diving isn't as good as Manado or Gorontalo but the beaches are much nicer)
Back to Gorontalo and get a flight to Makassar. From there take a nice comfortable bus to Rantepao... spectacular mountain scenery, hanging graves and short treks (but it rains practically every afternoon).
Then back to Makassar and fly out (or do more beaches down the southern end)
Does that sound OK?
"It wasn't clear to me that you mean just government warnings pertaining to Indonesia"
Not to me it wasn't. I read exactly what was written, and then I specified my reservations. No interpretation required. I stated my concerns, and how they did not apply to Indonesia at the moment. Quite clear and concise. What element of that was not clear to you?