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Old 10-16-2014, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
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Any thoughts on adding about 4 days in Bali, Indonesia onto the end of a week long Thailand trip (to Bangkok and Phuket) in June? We love the beach and diving, but are not sure if there is enough to do there to justify four additional days. We definitely want to make the most of the fact that we will be in the Far East. Any suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:33 AM
 
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Bali is great...IF, and this is an important if, you get out of the tourist slums of Kuta (unless you enjoy vacationing near drunken sunburned Aussie's). Bali is a huge island with some excellent remote areas and beautiful hindu temples, make a side trip as well to the Gili Islands.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:08 AM
 
Location: NoVa
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If you're looking for unspoiled beaches and beautiful dive spots, you won't find it in Bali. The only Bali beach I like is Padang Padang, in the Uluwatu area, and it's a small beach that's more suitable for surfing than diving. You have to climb down steep stone steps carved out from a cliff to get there.

For beautiful diving vacation, go to Bunaken, on the north tip of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. Bunaken's underwater beauty is considered one of the best in the world, and it's a protected Marine Park. Or go to Raja Ampat, on the east part of Indonesia. Just google these places and you'll see what I mean. Raja Ampat is expensive though and I think that's the main reason why the place is still pristine, since the riff raff cheap tourists can't afford to vacation there.

Bali is like party central for Aussies, since it's close by and cheap to them. Much like Cancun is to American tourists. It's really heartbreaking to see an Island that used to be so beautiful and is now changed for the worse thanks to cheap tourism. When I go to Bali, I go for the food and culture, not the beach. The food is much better than Thailand, IMO.

Actually, another alternative is to go to Belitung, another island very close to Bali and Java. The place is less commercialized so the beaches are still clean and beautiful, and suitable for diving.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graceC View Post
If you're looking for unspoiled beaches and beautiful dive spots, you won't find it in Bali. The only Bali beach I like is Padang Padang, in the Uluwatu area, and it's a small beach that's more suitable for surfing than diving. You have to climb down steep stone steps carved out from a cliff to get there.

For beautiful diving vacation, go to Bunaken, on the north tip of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. Bunaken's underwater beauty is considered one of the best in the world, and it's a protected Marine Park. Or go to Raja Ampat, on the east part of Indonesia. Just google these places and you'll see what I mean. Raja Ampat is expensive though and I think that's the main reason why the place is still pristine, since the riff raff cheap tourists can't afford to vacation there.

Bali is like party central for Aussies, since it's close by and cheap to them. Much like Cancun is to American tourists. It's really heartbreaking to see an Island that used to be so beautiful and is now changed for the worse thanks to cheap tourism. When I go to Bali, I go for the food and culture, not the beach. The food is much better than Thailand, IMO.

Actually, another alternative is to go to Belitung, another island very close to Bali and Java. The place is less commercialized so the beaches are still clean and beautiful, and suitable for diving.
Thanks for the ideas.....the only problem is that my husband and I are divers but the friend who is going with us is not, so we need to find a place that all three of us will enjoy. And we aren't really seasoned diving so to us, ANY diving in an exotic location is fun diving!

As for the culture, what is there to do and see in Bali? We enjoy more "local" type stuff instead of typical touristy stuff, but we would still need to do some of that. I was thinking temples, outdoorsy stuff, eating street food, etc.

How's the economy there? Will our US dollars go far like they did in Dubai, or not far at all like they did in Oman?
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RooCeleste View Post
Thanks for the ideas.....the only problem is that my husband and I are divers but the friend who is going with us is not, so we need to find a place that all three of us will enjoy. And we aren't really seasoned diving so to us, ANY diving in an exotic location is fun diving!

As for the culture, what is there to do and see in Bali? We enjoy more "local" type stuff instead of typical touristy stuff, but we would still need to do some of that. I was thinking temples, outdoorsy stuff, eating street food, etc.

How's the economy there? Will our US dollars go far like they did in Dubai, or not far at all like they did in Oman?
Bali is extremely cheap, your dollars go far (which is why the Aussies like it - to them it's just a cheap place to get drunk and party for a week).
Grace and I are on the same page - you can enjoy Bali but you just have to get away from the tourists. You have to work at it a bit, maybe get a Lonely Planet guide and do some research, hire a driver, etc. I enjoyed Ubud, farther in the interior, but being in the interior, there is no diving. I also spent time on the eastern coast of Bali and it is extremely remote there. I did some snorkeling there just off shore, but wasn't particularly impressed however.
If you want all the amenities, that means Kuta, and like I said that is tacky tourist hell, and there is not one bit of authentic culture to it.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
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Have either of you rented a car and driven yourself around there? I'm not opposed to that.....at least I don't think I am.....
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RooCeleste View Post
Have either of you rented a car and driven yourself around there? I'm not opposed to that.....at least I don't think I am.....
You can rent a car with a driver - it is not very expensive.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:17 PM
 
Location: NoVa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RooCeleste View Post
Thanks for the ideas.....the only problem is that my husband and I are divers but the friend who is going with us is not, so we need to find a place that all three of us will enjoy. And we aren't really seasoned diving so to us, ANY diving in an exotic location is fun diving!

As for the culture, what is there to do and see in Bali? We enjoy more "local" type stuff instead of typical touristy stuff, but we would still need to do some of that. I was thinking temples, outdoorsy stuff, eating street food, etc.

How's the economy there? Will our US dollars go far like they did in Dubai, or not far at all like they did in Oman?
If you like temples, plenty of them in Bali. If you go for the culture, you will like the place very much. You don't even have to do much to see it first hand. Just get up early enough in the morning (like 7am - 8am, before the shops open), and walk the streets around your hotel. Every shop, house, or office will have some sort of altar, be it a hand carved statue and a little nook in front of the establishment. The balinese will start their day by doing a bit of prayer ritual and put some offerings (usually fresh intricately laid flowers) in front of these altars as their morning offerings to the Gods. That's why Bali's nickname among locals is the Island of the Gods. Religion is a part of life over there, but their Hindu is nothing like Indian Hindu. They eat meat including pork and beef, which is a big No-No for Indian Hindus.

OMG, you must try their BBQ pork, the best known on the island is Ibu Oka (Ibu means Madam), right across from a big temple. Go there early as the food is usually gone by 1pm. Then another one to try, this time beef BBQ, is Naughty Norri. It's right up there with southern BBQ, I'm telling you

I highly suggest that you hire a car with a driver for the whole time you're there. The driver will act as your personal guide and can take you to whichever place you want. Check it out on Tripadvisor for suggestions on which driver to use. They're a helpful bunch.

US Dollar will go far, that's why it's a favorite cheap destination among Aussies.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: City of Angels
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bali is overrated. i would recommend just going somewhere else in thailand if you only have four extra days.
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:22 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,713,149 times
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Instead of Bali I'd be looking at Bora Bora or Moorea. They aren't cheap, but the cost keeps the people who just want to drink and party at bay. Very beautiful. Food will cost as much as a good hotel room every day, but there are ways of keeping those costs down.
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