After about 7 days in Ubud, walking, etc., I decided
to rent a motorcycle for the rest of my trip (my International Drivers License had the
motorcycle stamp, because I've had several motorcycles over the years - thus I didn't have
to be taken to Denpesar for the drivers test!! I practiced around
Ubud a little then set out on some incredible rides through the country side. I kept to
small side roads and could stop and do photography whenever I wanted, and didn't have to
worry about a parking spot. Plus I found on some really small side roads and saw a part of
Bali that hardly ANY visitor sees. I got to visit Mas, for much mask shopping, and, my
favorite, was able to make several trips to Celuk, for silver shopping; the silver is
really beautiful and very reasonably priced. After 4-5 days of this I had Oka Watis store
most of my purchases for me and I set out for the north coast of Bali. I went up to Lake
Batur, which was beautiful, and then down to Singaraja, then east
to Tulamben, where I was going to spend about 5 days doing SCUBA
and snorkeling. However, it had rained on the northcoast, and the place I stayed was a
little overpriced; so I decided to go on to Tirtagangga. Tirtagangga is the most beautiful
place I had been on Bali. It sits up high and is surrounded by beautiful rice terraces,
plus the 'water palace'. With the motorcycle I returned to Ahmed and did some great
snorkeling. I must have seen Billions of beautiful colored fish and corral reefs. Then I
continued around the Northeast part of Bali, on a road I cannot recommend for cars, but
was really fun on a motorcycle. I got to see many small fishing villages, many smiling
faces, and spectacular ocean vistas.
Notes on driving: in Bali everyone drives on the LEFT side. I had planned on renting a car
for my trip to the northcoast, but, when I got to Bali, I realized that not only would I
need to get used to driving on the left; but, sitting on the right side of the car; and,
the gear shift would be on the left!! This seemed like TOO much to get used to. I had
ridden motorcycles for years, so I decided I only had to concentrate on riding on the
left. My mantra, as I drove along was "stay on the left, pay attention, stay on the
left, pay attention,.....". This really worked for me. Plus having the bike allowed
me the freedom to stop whenever and wherever I wanted, no parking problems! One last note,
the Balinese SEEM to drive crazy! After spending my first week in Bali walking and
watching I noticed that they are actually very good drivers. They use the concept of
cooperation instead of competition. This means, that when you're on a 2 lane road and are
being passed by a truck, which is being passed by a car, the same thing may be happening
with the traffic coming the other way! What happens is that everyone slows down to let
everyone get back into their lanes in time not to hit anyone. I NEVER saw any accidents
while in Bali. Cooperation -- what a concept!
FOOD: I've included a list of great eating places I tried (most were recommended by Carl
Parkes). Some in particular is worth mentioning: Casa Luna, Mumbul's Cafe, Lotus Cafe,
Ary's Warung, Cafe Wayan, and, of course, Oka Wati's Cafe, all in Ubud. The Casa Luna
gives cooking lessons on Wednesdays; they are a fun way to meet people and learn many
interesting things about the Balinese culture. The women who gave the lessons(Janet), who
is from Australia, is the chef and a partner with her Balinese husband. The best part of
the lessons, besides the recipes you'll bring back; was her great stories of the culture
mix of her western style and her husband's very different Balinese style!!
A great NEW Restaurant in Ubud - Apakabar
This is a great new place that just opened in
Ubud, on Dewi Sita Street; down, near the polo field. Run by a great chef, Salatore Puglia
("Sasa"), trained in Italy. The food was the best of the island produce, done in
a European style.... just try it!
Poppies in Kuta - Place is really nice. Pretty fountain to sit around under the trees.
Very attentive and friendly staff. And, of course, the food was GREAT! I tried GadoGado here for the first time - loved it and just click to get
Casa Luna in Ubud - took a cooking class here from the owner, Janet. She had her staff do
all the prep/cleanup work. We (8 of us from all over the world) did some mixing; but
mostly, talked about were to obtain some of the ingredients; and great stories about the
merging of Balinese and Australian families.
Griya BBQ in Ubud - that's right BBQ in Bali! I had a juicy BBQ chicken and fries! The BBQ
sauce was great (I don't think your favorite local BBQ spot need worry). The setting is
just beautiful; overlooking a canyon and stream!
Mumbul's Cafe in Ubud. Just one word: ICE CREAM! They make it fresh right there!
Cafe Wayan in Ubud. One of the oldest restaurants in Ubud. Very friendly staff. Fab food
(try the "to die for chocolate cake").
Lotus Cafe in Ubud. Great place to eat after the dancing at the temple. Overlooks a
lotus-filled pond and temple.
PLACES TO STAY: I've also included a list of places I stayed while in Bali, with some
notes (FYI, you'll notice I didn't stay in very many places, mainly because I don't like
packing/ moving/ unpacking/ packing/ moving/ etc.) First some general notes:
Hotels - usually expensive and on the edge of town. If you just won the lottery and can't
wait to spend a BIG chunk of it, stay at the Amandari, on the outskirts of Ubud, you're
own private pavilion, and priced between $300 to $900 (yes, American money!) I think Mick
Jaegar stayed there. If golf is you're sport, you'll need to stay in the tourist hotels on
the south part of the island.
Motels - I don't think I actually saw any MOTELs.
Homestays -- this is the way to go. Usually built out in the rice fields with western
toilets, etc; includes a home cooked breakfast, and, an incredible staff that will go out
of their way to help. Stay at a place that looks nice, or where you've been offered a
deal, because it's new. Then look around for a nicer/cheaper place. In Ubud, I stayed at
Oka Wati's Sunset Bungalow's - I stayed there the entire time I was in Ubud. There are
less expensive places, though, just look around. I ALWAYS stayed at homestays, the prices
ranged from $40/night at Oka Wati's, to $6 in Tirtagangga at the Homestay on the Hill.
included a wonderful breakfast to start the day!
You can use this handy
search for places to stay on Bali:
SHOPPING: I'll mention some of my favorite shopping spots and mention a little about
prices and bargaining: Prices - very cheap. Bargaining - ALWAYS do it; it's fun! Silver of
great quality and selection was found in Celuk, go there on you're own, NOT with a tour
bus. Walk up the side streets, everyone is very helpful and the prices are GREAT. I found
I couldn't bargain much, only if I was buying a number of items. Mas is great for carved
masks, and other wood items. Art, everyone on Bali is an artist! If you go to a temple, at
least one local artist will display his work to you and try to get you to go back to his
home/gallery. Look around in museums first, just to get an idea of what FINE art is; then
go to small galleries where the prices are very low!
SITES to see: here are some of the places I saw and appreciated Basakih,
the mother temple; Klungklung; Bangli; Celuk. I took an all day
bus tour of these places. I felt they were not in the area of Bali that I intended to
visit, but had heard a great deal about. The bus tour was really worth it! We were given
plenty of time to see the sites and shop (don't shop too much, they tend to NOT bargain
when they see a bus). You can always make note of the places you like and then return, on
you're own, to bargain away!
Summary: This is the BEST place to go and relax, sightsee, museums, water sports, SCUBA,
and the Balinese people really LOVE children. I saw many families there, having their kids
watched by Balinese. EVERYONE was having fun!
Special Thanks to Carl Parkes! He helped me a
great deal to get focused on what I wanted to see and do. He's an excellent author of
travel books on South East Asia for Moon Publications. Bruce says: check it out!
| Bali95 | Bali2001+
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