The exchange rate has been as high as 2,200 lr (Lira) to $1, and is now around 2,000 lira to $1. January was a wondereful time to visit Italy for 2 reasons - prices (this is the low season, thus many sales, and good prices on Hotels); the crowds - there really weren't any! However, it was a little chilly in Venice and Florence. Check this link to find average temperatures in the major cities:
Why do people choose Bali as a destination?
I spoke to many travelers while on Bali and they all seemed to say the same thing. They had come to Bali because they either had heard such wonderful things from friends or relatives who had been there. Or they had visited previously themselves.
What people seemed to like the best were the Balinese people, the culture, and the inexpensive living costs there.
As youll see in the following narrative of my last trip (5/31/97 through 6/25/97) to Bali, the things I like the best about Bali are:
- the Balinese culture (over 1,200 years old);
- the wonderful food (here's a nice write up about what to eat, etc)
- the spiritualness of the Balinese people (Hindu);
- the snorkeling and SCUBA diving;
- and last, but not least, the inexpensiveness of the day to day costs.
A little background about Bali
Where is it?. Bali is an island that is about 60 miles wide and 40 miles long. It sits about 8 degrees south of the equator. It is north of Australia (3000 miles from Sydney); Southeast of Thailand (1,800 miles from Bangkok); and southwest of Tahiti. From Los Angeles, it is about a 18-hour plane flight (about 9,000 miles).
This is a very old civilization. The earliest known writings are from the 9th century. By this time, the island had its irrigation system in place and the agriculture matches, pretty much, what you see today.
Costs and the best time to visit? The high season, in terms of costs and crowds, is considered to be July, August, and December.
Climate and the best time to visit, I found, is May and June. These are the driest and coolest months. Both my visits were in May-June, the weather was in the 80s for both temperature and humidity. The interior of the island is a littler cooler than the beaches (the interior is higher in elevation). In 1995, it rained some afternoons, for about 45 minutes. This trip it only rained a few times in the late evening. The water temperature is just a little cooler than the air temperature. Additionally, in the low season, you dont need reservations for lodging, and you can bargain more easily for your room rates.
One of the things I think is most interesting about Bali, is the insect problem. In fact, there is no insect problem on Bali. How can this be on an island that is covered in water filled, rice paddies? On Bali, they have the closest thing I have ever seen to a perpetual-motion machine. Its called DUCKS! They take their ducks out to the paddies during the day. The ducks root around for insects and larvae. They also relieve themselves in the paddies. So, to start, they are an insecticide and a fertilizer. Then later, the ducks are eaten! This takes care of a great deal of insects. But they also have insect eating birds, lizards, fish, eels, and bats. The majority of places we stayed had fishponds around the rooms to help take care of insects. (Mostly, this is for the wet season, we really were not bothered by insects, at all). One night we were having dinner in a nice place, which, like all places in Bali had open walls. I looked up and noticed several light bulbs up in the ceiling. Then I noticed that these light bulbs had no insects flying around them and no spider webs to catch these insects, like they would be back home. A little later, I found out why. Bats! About every 30-45 minutes a bat would fly through and, I guess, pick off a few insects. Natural insecticide!!
Transportation. There is an interesting sign that one sees on Bali. I asked, and was told that the sign means that, "there is something interesting ahead!". I asked, "interesting, like what?". The answer was, "oh, a beautiful view (Inda), or a bridge out, .....". You get the idea. If you are from somewhere that requires you to drive on the right, then Bali isn't the place for you to drive. PERIOD! In Bali, one drives on the left, sits on the right, and shifts the gears on the left. It's crazy. I have rented a motorcycle several times. With a motorcycle, one only has to keep concentrating on driving on the left. I always stayed on VERY small side roads, and had no trouble. This trip, since there was two of us, we bargained for a car and driver to take us to a certain place, or for a certain amount of time. This always worked out well. You can relax, and NOT drive; plus you actually have a pretty good guide, interrupter, etc. All our drivers were very interesting. They always had interesting stories about their life. Plus, they knew the answers to ALL our questions about Bali!
Language. Since Indonesia and Bali are so close to Australia, English is taught in the schools as a second language. Usually, folks want to practice their English with you. However, the language of Bali and Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesian. It is a very beautiful language. Just learning a few phrases in the local language will get you more smiles and warm feelings than you could imagine. Try this site (Learning Bahasa Indonesia) to help you learn the few words or phrases you'll need (they even have sound clips, so you can hear the word or phrase).
The 1995 visit <<Click on this link to read about the 1995 visit to Bali
The visit to Bali and Lombok
The following is the story of the trip I took with my best friend, Susi. At the end of this story, Ill list as much detailed information as I have, plus some good links to get you started. I hope you enjoy the story as much as we enjoyed the trip.
We scheduled our flight for the last day in May 1997. This was still considered the low-season by the airlines. By leaving then, we saved about $200 on each ticket. Our ticket included the United flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and left around 5:30PM on Saturday. We did not check ANY luggage, we both had a backpack and I had a duffel bag used mostly for my snorkeling equipment of facemask, fins, snorkel, and booties. I always try to do this, as I would really HATE to have my luggage lost on the way to a vacation. We had a little layover at LAX and boarded the Garuda flight around 10:30PM. I had flown this route before so I was ready. My plan was to relax, have the in-flight (vegetarian) meal, and see the movie. This should get us to Hawaii where we had to deplane for about 45 minutes so they could clean the plane. After we re-boarded I planned on using the new sleep mask and earplugs I had purchased at my local pharmacy, take a sleeping pill and sleep until we neared Bali. Everything worked out great! The pill got me to sleep, the mask and plugs kept me there. So I slept until we where about 2 3 hours from Bali. The nice thing about this flight is that you leave LA in the evening, and, if you dont look at your watch, you seem to fly all night and arrive in Bali the next morning. Also, the time difference is about 14 hours, and I understand that the closer the difference is to 12 hours the less jet lag you will have; while the closer to 6 hours, the worse.
So, we awoke in time for a little breakfast and a beautiful sunrise. We flew over Lombok, which is northeast of Bali, and its volcano, Rinjani. What a sight to welcome us to Indonesia! Our flight got in around 8:30 AM Monday June 2nd. So, you might ask, what happened to June 1st well, because we flew over the international dateline, we lost 1 day. Wed make up that day on the return flight.
Since we had no checked luggage, we went straight through customs with no problem, walked outside and found a cab to take us to Ubud. A little hint here, dont get the cab right in front of the terminal building. In front of the terminal building, the cabs are fixed price ($25 to Ubud). Instead, exit the terminal building, walk to the right, until you are just outside the airport, and there are lots of cabs waiting their turn to get into the airport. These people can be bargained with. We got a cab to Ubud for $10.
When I was in Ubud in 1995, I stayed at a wonderful place called Oka Watis Sunset Bungalows. So, when we arrived in Ubud, we went straight there, bargained for a room and stayed there for about 5 days. I think they wanted $60 for the room and we bargained them down to $40, as we would be staying there for several days. They are so nice there, we had our own room boy, who really pampered us. They have a lovely pool. This homestay is situated in the heart of Ubud. However, because it is out in the middle of some beautiful rice paddies, it is very quiet there. Oka Wati herself is a real charmer and very helpful. If you find yourself in Ubud, give this homestay a look.
(Note on bargaining: I always do the same thing where ever we stayed. When we arrive, I ask to be shown their nicest 2 or 3 rooms. While we are being shown the rooms, I casually ask how crowded they are. This tells me how much lower than the asking price I can shoot for. (If they are only half full, or less, I try to get 30-40% off their asking price). I then start bargaining at that price. They balk. I mention I am there on business and what would be their price if I stayed 2 or 3 days; .. 4 or 5 days; etc. This gets us closer to my 30-40% off price. I then usually split the difference between their best price and my 30-40% off. Because I travel in May/June, most places are less than ½ full!)
Ubud is considered the cultural capital of Bali. It is located in the mountains, north of the airport. There are several wonderful museums there, many great restaurants, great shopping, many places to stay; and a very relaxing atmosphere. We visited the Neka Museum, on the west side of Ubud. They have a great range of Balinese art there. We also visited the Puri Lukisen Museum, in town, here they have much older paintings, and nice write ups explaining the significance of each piece. Susi is a great lover of massage, so we came across Nurs Solon. This salon is located on the east side of town, you enter and are shown to individual rooms, each open to the sky, with a massage table, bath tub, shower and changing area. The massage, with coconut flower oil, was 1 hour and one of the best we had each ever received. The massage was followed by an herbal rub with Javanese beauty herbs. The herbs contained turmeric and turned our skin a bright yellow, tingled, and felt great. This was followed by a yogurt (yes yogurt) rub, which felt very cooling. Then we were led to the shower area where we were rinsed using large ladles of warm water. This was very enjoyable and we felt very pampered. Then we were led to the bathtub, which had been filled with very fragrant warm water. As we settled in the tub, a large pail of flower petals was emptied into the tub to float on top while we relaxed. Lastly, we were offered (and accepted, of course) a body lotions rub down. This all took about 1 and ½ hours and cost about 35,000 rupia, which is about $14!!! We went back several times for their: facial massage using natural, local herbs, all for 27,000 RP ($11); and their famous back massage which takes about an hour and a half, all for about $14.
I also did a little shopping in Ubud. The selection, prices, and quality are very good. Just to give you an idea: a beautiful mans sport shirt - $9; fabulous womens dresses - $12; carved wooden masks - $10-20; great carved scenes - $25; 25 feet of sarong material, which I used to make a dining room curtain, for $25. The items in Ubud are of very good quality, the selection is very good, and the prices are excellent, as well. Shop around, I go to the stalls in the market at the center of town, they have a very good selection, etc.
We ate at several great places including Oka Watis, Casa Luna, Arys Warung, Apakabar, Café Wayan, famous for its chocolate cake (called Death by Chocolate), and had homemade ice cream at Mumbuls. Casa Lunas offers a wonderful cooking class on Wednesdays by the owner Janet. I cant recommend this enough. Not only do you get to learn about Balinese cuisine, AND eat (Gado-Gado Salad and Chicken Satay) what youve made; but also Janet spins tale after tale of her experiences being from Australia and married to a Balinese. She recalls some wonderful and funny stories of the culture clash between the two countries. She also can help you find the ingredients when you get back home. (After my last visit to Bali, I returned home to San Francisco and cooked this Balinese feast for my friends and had no trouble finding all of the ingredients I needed. I have, since discovered a wonderful book on Balinese cooking: "The Food of Bali") . We attended the Palace dances each night we were there. The cost is 7,000 RP ($2.80) with all the proceeds going to the dance troupe and orchestra. These start at around 6PM at the Palace which is located in the center of town (you can actually stay at the palace, so ask to see the rooms). Each evening the local Gamelan orchestra and local dancers perform a different traditional dance. Get there early for a front row seat. The costumes are just incredible, beautifully beaded, with brilliant colors; and the dancers are all very beautiful. The dances themselves are very traditional and tell stories from Hindu mythology. While there I picked up several CDs of Balinese Gamelan music, my favorite is "Sundanese Instrumentalia" by Sabilulungan.
One day, at the pool, we met a great couple from Oregon, Robert and Mary Baylor. We shared a car and driver with them to take us to Lake Bratan. (We split the 80,000 RP. ($33) fare). Lake Bratan is up in the mountains, in one of the volcanoes (extinct). It was very beautiful there, with a fabulous temple sitting just off the shore, so it seemed to be floating. On the way, the driver answered all our many questions about what was growing along the road, Balinese culture, and anything we could think to throw at him. He also stopped at a small fruit stand and helped us buy a variety of fruits. He showed us how to tell which ones where ripe, how to peel them, and how to eat them. We had durian, mangosteens, rambutan, and salak; along with a great variety of bananas. (Note: its a small world: when we introduced ourselves at the pool, Robert said "your name sounds really familiar". When we met later, he showed me a print-out he had brought with him from Oregon. It was from the alt.travel.asia newsgroup on the internet, and was an answer to a note I had posted, asking about taking lessons in Ubud small world!)
I also hired the driver to take me to Celuk, for an afternoon of silver shopping. On my last visit I had done this and had looked forward to a return visit. The selection of silver jewelry is just incredible and the prices are un-believable. I purchased several beautiful bracelets as gifts, the prices ranged from $3 to $11 for some very finely made items. If you stick to the side road and visit several little shops where they actually make the items, you can bargain pretty well. If, however, you go there with a tour bus, and stick to the big places on the main road, the prices are higher and you cant really bargain.
So, after 5 days of shopping, massaging, and relaxing we said good-bye to Ubud and headed for Amed on the north coast of Bali.
We hired the same driver that took us to Lake Bratan to take us to Amed. So, after a nice tour by the driver, and travel book in hand, we entered Amed. This area of northern Bali is just beginning to be discovered. Its beaches are really nice and run from beautiful white powder to dark, smooth small gravel. This area of Bali has one nice, crescent shaped beach, after another. Each cove was actually a small fishing village containing 3-4 losman and beautiful dual outrigger fishing/sail boats which were beached on the sand. Our guidebook (I took the Lonely Planet "Bali & Lombok" and Bill Dalton's "Bali Handbook") mentioned the Hidden Paradise Cottages, Vienna Beach Bungalows, and Coral View Bungalows, all these losman were in the $30 to $104/night range. However, as we entered the Amed area, there, sitting on a rocky point between 2 bays, was a new hotel, the Hotel Indra Udhyanai. (I hesitate to say hotel, because it always brings up a mental image of a tall building, elevators, and long hallways with rooms on both sides) This hotel had only 35 accommodations, made up of about 25 small bungalows. Some were 2 story, others where doubles, and others here single bungalows. (They even had 2 presidential suites with their own swimming/lap pools) We bargained like crazy and had a beautiful room for $45/night for us both, including all taxes and services, plus breakfast!!! Since this place was so new, the landscaping hadnt taken hold yet, and our room was a little close to the road, so we upgraded for $5 more per night. What we had for the rest of the week was our own incredible bungalow, right on the ocean. It had a wonderful view over the ocean and of Lombok from the tiled front porch. It also had a tiled bathroom with an oval tub and a shower that was open to the sky.
We also were able to start taking SCUBA lessons. We contacted MEGA Dive in Cemeluk (near Amed) and arranged for their teacher, Adam to teach us in 4 days, using the pool at our hotel. He was really a great teacher, very calming and knowledgeable. He dove all over the world and said the two best places he had found were the Red Sea and the North Coast of Bali!! As part of our open water dives we were able to dive the sunken Liberty Ship in Tulamben as a wreak dive and the Tulamben Wall dive; plus we were able to do a night dive, the night of the full moon!! This was really spectacular. At one point, we settled to the sandy bottom and all turned out our lights. With the full moon, we actually could see pretty well! It was really fabulous.
We ate at almost all the places in Amed. Try Wayan Brith (which means curly hair in Balinese) for great smoked duck (arrange this in advance). The food there was great,. Also try WaaWaaWeeWee (thats right), they had great fish, and wonderful appetizers like fresh guacamole and home made little chips. The Vienna Beach Bungalows had a nice Balinese buffet one night, the Hidden Paradise and Coral View places had great food; and, of course, Hotel Indra Udhyana. The hotel had a 4 star chef from Nusa Dua, named Wayan. He joined us one evening when we were eating late and were the only ones there. He had us try some excellent local brews: Tuak (palm wine) and Arak (rice brandy), both were very strong tasting.
Lombok and the Gili Islands
Next, we arranged with some local fisherman, Katut and Wayan, to hire their fishing boat and have them take us to the Gili islands, just west of Lombok. The trip took about 4 hours (instead of the 10 hours we had calculated, if we were going to take the normal ferry there). They picked us up on the beach in front of the hotel and took us exactly were we wanted to go, actually dropping us off at our hotel. The ride over was very enjoyable. Because the boat was a double outrigger, it was the smoothest boat trip I had ever been on. We saw several schools of dolphins on the way over, making the trip even more memorable. The Gilis (Gili Meno, actually) are known for their really clear water, abundant sea life, and great snorkeling and SCUBA. I must agree it was great. We stayed at the Bouganvil, talked them down from $65 to $45 (we were staying 5 nights). The rooms were very clean and spacious. The pool was nice and the hotel was on the quiet, south end of the island. But the MOST important reason was that they had a water purification process that gave all the rooms, salt free water, for showers, etc. The island is nice and quiet. During the day, however, there are number of young necklace/sarong sales kids running around. They can get a little annoying but they leave around 5PM on the last ferry back to Lombok. The island has several really nice restaurants, all serving the best fresh fish Ive ever had. We would ask what is your fresh fish for tonight and they would actually bring the fish out to show us. One night it would be snapper, next night, tuna. They also had squid, and occasionally crab! Plus, the great fresh vegetables and fruits. Try Brendas Place for really good, fresh oven baked pizza. We also had some wonderful meals at the Kontiki. Overall, the Gilis are great if you want a nice quiet time with beautiful beaches, great snorkeling, and SCUBA!
Both on these islands and on Bali, the food is extremely inexpensive. Susi and I would start our evening meal with a beer or a tall glass of mixed fruit juice (papaya, pineapple, mango, orange, banana mixtures). Then we would each have an entrée, which included plenty of fresh vegetables and a large portion of fresh fish, cooked any way we wished. Then we would split a desert, usually a banana pancake. The entire meal for us both might come to 7,000rp or $2.91, which included taxes and the tip. (It was hard at first NOT to tip. But, the bill always said includes tax and service!)
Katut and Wayan picked us up at 7AM and we sailed and surfed our way back to Bali. This time, when we arrived in Amed, we decided to try another losman there and chose the Coral View Bungalows. They were very nice, quiet, with a beautiful pool and very nice restaurant. We stayed there only a few nights. We wanted to get in a little more diving before we left. We went to Mega Dive center and arranged, through Adam, a night dive, and a dive to Nusa Penida. This little island is east of Bali (Lombok is northeast of Bali). I had brought a book entitled, "Diving Bali and Lombok". It mentioned several world class dives on the west side of Nusa Penida.
When I was in Bali last time, I was lucky enough to be in Tirtagangga during the full moon. A bunch of local men all got together on the grounds of the Water Palace and began chanting. The chanting was very much like the chanting done during the Kecak Fire Dance. I remember how moving, beautiful, and colorful it was. I told our dive friends that Tirtagangga was where we were going next and why. As a result, four friends wanted to join us there, so they gave us a ride. We got there and tried to get a room in the Palace itself; but, they only had one room left and it was a little small. The fellow who was showing us the room said there was another room available, but more expensive. The room we had just seen was renting for 25,000 rupia ($10), the other room rented for $60. But, when we saw it, we knew we wanted to stay there. The room was a 2 story octagonal bungalow. Downstairs was a nice room with doors that could open onto a nice little pond and beautiful flowers; plus the bathroom. To get to the loft you had to climb this beautifully made wood spiral staircase. This took you up to the loft, which was about half as big as the downstairs. It just contained a futon and a triangular shaped window. I fell asleep to sounds of 100s of frogs out in the water palace. When I awoke in the morning, I had a breathtaking view of flowers and the pools of the water palace. It was one of the most memorable of scenes, and I will always cherish it. After our breakfast, I walked out to the road and talked to several people, found Gedi, and his car to take us to Candi Dasa. It was a wonderful ride, through rice fields and the city of Almapura.
We had some friends, Terra and Nick, that had just returned from Bali and they recommended a nice place in Candi Dasa, The Kubu Bali Hotel. So we bargained for the room and ended paying just $45 per night, including breakfast, taxes and tips. It was across the road from the beach and went up a steep hill. It was beautifully landscaped with cascading waterfalls into fishponds. Lovely birds were kept in huge aviaries. And the pool was at the top so the it had the best views of all. Our bungalow was roomy with a tile porch and a little lawn area with lounges. Susi asked about places in town, to receive massages, and was told that someone could be sent to our room! Say no more, we arranged for two masseurs to come to our room for 1 hour massages; for only 15,000 RP. per hour ($$6.25). The town itself had all the usual amenities. Moneychangers, sarong shops, etc. It seemed like a pretty quiet area. The beaches are being rebuilt and are nice during low tides. I understand the snorkeling is very good in this area, but we had our Nusa Penida dive planned.
Adam, of Mega Dive, and some of the other divers we had met, picked us up at 6:30AM and we continued on to Pandangbai where the dive boat was waiting. The trip to the island was very nice. The crew had cold sodas for us and we had a fabulous view back to Bali, which was enveloped in clouds. We were going to dive Manta Point, where there was said to be 10-20 manta rays (if youre lucky). The dive master said the current was to fast for us, so we continued to the second dive site called S.D.. We dove there, the current was a little strong, but the clarity of the water (120) and the diversity and abundance of the sea life, made the extra effort really worth it. We saw a reef shark off in the distance, several blue starfish, a blue sea anomie, and incredibly beautiful coral. When we got back to the boat, the crew had a nice packed lunch for us. The next dive was up the island a little, where the current was much more gentle, and we could really take our time and enjoy the sights. The entire trip, including all our equipment, two dives, being picked up and dropped off at our hotel; plus lunch and sodas was only $60! We got back to Bali and said the usual goodbye - take pictures, and promise to write; the sort of farewell ritual we all know.
Once we got back to Candi Dasa, we had a nice supper along the main road, and saw a movie. (In most of the towns that cater somewhat to tourists, the local restaurants include a fairly first run free movie every night after dinner).
We had arranged with Gide, who had driven us here from Tirtagangga, to pick us up in Candi Dasa, take us to Ubud to run some errands, and then to Mas for a little shopping, and finally taking us to Nusa Dua to the Grand Hyatt Bali. He picked us up promptly at 10AM. We went to Ubud, for a quick look to see if I had received any e-mail. Susi had to get in one more massage from Nurs and I went to the market for Balinese red rice and additional last minute gifts. We went on to Mas for shopping for wood items. Mas is a village that specializes in Woodcarving. We visited many shops, bargained hard, and left with even more Balinese art. We arrived at the Grand Hyatt Bali about 5:30PM.
The Hyatt was very pretty. The different buildings were done in Balinese style and spread over the complex. They had a wonderful spa, with weight room, steam, Jacuzzi, and even a cold water plunge. The spa also had its own pool. The lockers were all beautiful red wood and there were fluffy towels everywhere. The complex had 6 swimming pools, a water slide, lots of beach activities, and many restaurants (Japanese, Italian, Balinese (buffet, and it was great!!)). The staff was very attentive and the service was perfect. When I called from Candidasa to see about reservations I talked them down from $200/night to $145, this included our breakfast and taxes and tips! Still, though, at $145, the room and area was NOT three times better that our $50/night rooms. As we sat on the beach one evening, Susi remarked that, "as beautiful as this is, its not like were really in Bali". I agreed, the resort could have been in Hawaii, Mexico, or the Caribbean. But, we did enjoy seeing people that had more than 2 pairs of pants with them. (The luggage set, as I called them)
We left on Wednesday. We had the hotel pick up all the gifts and the treasures we had collected along the way. They packed them up for shipping and did a great job. The packing was only 30,000 RP. ($12), which included all the packing and materials. We got a cab for my trip to the airport. Then Susi was to continue on to Ubud, to see a Cremation Ceremony, that she said was really beautiful.. She spent some more time in Amed for diving and eventually, she received her Advanced Open Water Certification. This, from someone that was afraid that, because of her allergies and sinus problems, she wouldnt be able to go below 3 feet in the pool. All the way to completing about 12 dives all together and receiving her advanced certificate. I was so proud of her.
I think on any vacation, the flight home is usually the worst. I think that is because the flight is east bound and you see so many sunsets (2) and sunrises (1); 2 movies; 4 meals; 4 takeoffs and 4 landings, that your body thinks it has been in this metal tube forever. I had my earplugs and eye mask, so I was able to sleep. But, it is still a long flight (about 25 hours door-to-door).
Hints on traveling
(Check out the Healthy Flying Page) Water and food on the airline: drink lots of water. I actually brought a water bottle, so I always had water. I ordered the vegetarian meals, ahead of time, they are served first, are usually the freshest, and dont contain as much salt as the regular meals.
Sleep mask; ear plugs: I use these to be able to sleep whenever I want to and not need to worry about crying children, talking people, people with their light on, etc. (In case of emergency, someone, Im sure, will nudge me!)
Information about places to stay:
The expensive hotels and resorts are just south of the airport. This is where you can find golf courses, and the usual resort style experience. There are some very expensive places in other parts of the island, but we found that spending in the $40-$80 range for 2 people, including taxes, service, and breakfast, gave us a very good value for our money. These priced accommodations are called losmen, or homestays, and sometimes hotels. They usually have only 10-20 bungalows and all have excellent service, are very clean, include air conditioning (we never needed it), and a wonderful pool. They also had a nice restaurant on the grounds. For a little less, which might be in the $6-$30 range, there would be a fan instead of air conditioning and no pool; but were always very clean, and included tax, service, and a nice breakfast. Check the most recently printed travel book on Bali or Indonesia (try Amazon.Com, the world's largest bookstore!) for a good representation of the various accommodations where you plan on staying.
Currency and the Language:
The official exchange rate from my local newspaper, before we left, was listed as 2440 RP. to the dollar. (Use this WEB Currency Converter) In Bali, I usually received about 2400/dollar; and sometimes a little less, if we were in a real small town, or at our hotel. The best rates are in the tourists areas at the moneychangers. Indonesian is a very easy language to learn. I only learned to say: hello, good morning, good afternoon, welcome, good bye, how are you, I am fine, please, thank you, beautiful view, and beautiful woman. The Balinese people, like all peoples, really appreciate it when you try to speak their language, even if just a little.
What there is to do that we missed this time:
- The mother temple on Bali is called Besakih very beautiful, and very high on the side of the volcano
- Tanah Lot, a temple near Kuta fabulous evening picture opportunity
- Cremation ceremony I missed this, but Susi said it was very photogenic and exciting
The following are phone/fax numbers for places we stayed:
Places to stay: Oka Watis Sunset Bungalows 361 975164
E-Mail: email to firstname.lastname@example.org for information or 361 96325 (fax: 361 976582); there are several other email places in town
Massages: Nurs Solon 361 975352 (fax: 361 974622)
Places to stay: Coral View and Hidden Paradise 361 431273 (fax: 363 21044);
Hotel Indra Udhyana 370 26336 (fax: 370 36797)
Places to stay: at the palace: Tirta Ayu Homestay (363 21697); Kusuma Jaya Inn (363 21250)
Candidasa area: Kubu Bali 363 41532 (fax: 363 41531)
Nusa Dua area: Grand Hyatt Bali: 361 771234 (fax: 361 772038)
Wonderful "Sabilulungan", relaxing Balinese flute music!
The two books we took:
A wonderful Balinese Cookbook:
pictures of Bali
Learning Bahasa Indonesia - they even have sound clips!
Read other's Travelogues of their trips!!!
Bali: The online travel guide - Wayne Reid
English to/from Indonesian translations
Pete Loud Maps of all the Indonesian Islands!!!
Bali Online: The Ultimate Source of Bali Info.
The Weather right now in Bali!!!
Create a Currency Exchange Chart for your wallet
Another GREAT Bali site with History of Bali, things to do, etc
Indonesian restaurant in SF with Great Balinese and Indonesian recipes and links
Internet Cyber-Cafes and other Internet Information about Bali
Another site with ALL the Internet CAFE Sites and E-Mail places in the WORLD!
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