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Bali Travel Help

Hello, we have the opportunity to travel to Bali in November. We have no knowledge to draw from so I’m hoping someone can help us. Here’s our wish list:
relaxed, nature, hiking, scenery, culture, food. We are NOT interested in tourist/instagram traps, night life or parties. We plan to stay for 10 days. Thank you!

Posted by
69 posts

I’ve been to Bali numerous times.

We’ve stayed in most of the areas. I would avoid Kuta, Seminyak, and Legian. Sanur is an option and would my first choice in the main area. For a more local feel (but still a touristy area) most areas are. I suggest Ubud. The Kayon Resort as suggested is heavenly, a bit pricy but definitely worth it. An alternative cheaper hotel in Ubud is The Alam Shanti a stunning boutique resort with huge rooms. It’s closer to Ubud town and a 10 minute walk through the notorious monkey forest.

If you want a more real experience in an exquisite location I can suggest Batu Belah Resort in Tulamben.

I can suggest numerous accommodation options if that’s of interest.

The Bali we fell in love with has changed, most places do. The tranquil touristy images don’t show the trash that lines many streets. But don’t let it put you off, there are some tranquil areas and bike ride tours from i.e. from Ubud will take you well away from notorious areas of Bali.

As long as you know before you what to except before you travel to Bali.

Posted by
519 posts

We went in 2019 and stayed in Ubud, Munduk, Amed and Sanur. Munduk and Amed were our favourites. Ubud is very interesting but also crowded. Munduk would be great for your hikes, there are hikes to 3 waterfalls ( at least). Amed we stayed on the beach, took a snorkle tour, the town is still smaller and more " real".
We had picked Sanur as a better alternative to Kuta, but we did not love it.

You might find that you get more replies on the trip advisor forum

Posted by
19 posts

I’ve been on trip advisor and I’ve gotten so many different opinions, my head is spinning! We’ve been suggested Ubud many times, I was thinking of getting an Airbnb on the outskirts to avoid the busy city. We’ve also been suggested Sanur by many. We are thinking of staying in two “home bases” and doing day trips from each. This travel planning has been stressful. Thanks for any tips!

Posted by
430 posts

You're not going to escape tourism by going to Bali - it hosted 5.2 million visitors last year alone, and whole of the south is extremely touristy, including Ubud (and check where exactly you're booking, because the location is very elastic - places way out of Ubud are still labelled 'Ubud'). Bali is a top tourist destination for Australians, a cheap weekend trip from Singapore - you get the idea.

If you're okay with that, you can still have a nice time. You are a tourist yourself, after all. Sanur is touristy but chilled, Kuta, Canggu etc completely packed and frankly as an Australian living in Asia, it felt like I was back in Sydney. I saw way more Australians than I do in Singapore.

If you do want something slightly more local, try the northern end of Bali around Lovina.

That said, Indonesia is a big country with lots of places to visit - no need to limit yourself to Bali.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi Simon, our kids will be in Bali on an organized tour for ages 18 to 23 going to Legian - Munduk - Lovina for a week.
During that time, my husband and I would like to do our own thing, take a couple days to get settled and recover from the jet lag, and then explore on our own. Toward the end of our kids’ trip, we’d like to all meet up and travel together for 5-7 more days (would Ubud be a good place for all of us?). We’re very open to other areas in Indonesia, what do you suggest? My husband and I would like an upper end hotel or villa and then we thought about getting an Airbnb for the entire family while we’re together. None of us are drinkers so we don’t want parties or nightlife. We would like nature, views, outdoors, hiking, culture and excellent food. We all enjoy snorkeling. We would like to hire a driver to do any tours, we aren’t interested in group tours or Instagram tourist traps but we do understand this is a tourist destination. I guess we’re just trying to minimize the crowds where possible.

Posted by
430 posts

Given what you're interested in, and if you didn't have to go to Bali, I would have recommended somewhere like Kalimantan (hiking, nature), Sumba (beaches, culture, hiking) or the Mentawis (beaches). However given you're already committed to Bali, it doesn't make sense to head off elsewhere, or at least not that far.

Have you considered Lombok? It's a boat ride from Bali and still touristy, but less so. And then head back to Bali to meet up with your kids. Lombok has its own unique culture and is worth a trip.

I'm not saying you won't enjoy Bali (it's popular for a reason) - it's more expensive than much of Indonesia but still excellent value for money if you're coming from the US. The quality of the resorts is high, and the service is excellent. It's a great destination in terms of culture (just note that while local culture is strong, people have worked out that particular ceremonies do appeal to tourists). Food is outstanding, but make a point of avoiding the western restaurants and eating at local warungs if possible.

There are numerous villas you can rent - I've had quite a few good family reunions in Bali with big groups.

I recently stayed at the Cotton House and enjoyed it. It's in Seminyak (yes, the most touristy place possible!)