Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bali, Indonesia

Executive summary by darmansjah

Best For Diving

Balis’s best-know dive area, Pulau Menjangan, is good for divers and snorkelers, and is located in the Taman Nasional Bali Barat park. Expect tropical fish, corals, clear water and underwater cliffs (Labuhan Lalang vistors’ centre, on the north coast, where boats leave for Pulau; 7.30am-5pm).

Best For Culture

Perched in Balis’s central mountains, Ubud’s focus remains on Balinese culture in all its forms. The Agung Rai Museum of Art is a gallery and cultural centre where you can take couses in batik (wa-resist dyeing) and Balinese history (; Jalan Raya Pengosekan; 9am-6pm; US$3).

Best For Views

At Jatiluwih, which means ‘Truly Marvellous’, you will be rewarded with vistas of centuries-old rice terraces that have been nominated for Unesco status. You’ll understand why when you see the panorama from the twisting 12-mile road. Get our for a walk along the water channels.

Best For Beaches

Four out-of-the-way beaches, head to Bingin. The scenery here is superb, with cliffs dropping down to a row of houses and the foaming edge of the sea. The surf can be savage, but the white sands are calm and the roaring breakers mesmerizing.

Best For Trekking

The village of Munduk is one of Bali’s most appealing mountain retreats, and is set among hillsides covered with rice, coffee and fruit plantations. Waterfalls tumble off precipices and there are great trekking opportunities around the lakes of Danau Tamblingan and Danau Buyan.

Bali’s small size doesn’t make for uniformity. The popular Indonesia island combines green rice terraces with long tropical beaches and volcanoes. Likewise, traditional Hindu temples and artistic towns such as Ubud provide a counterpoint to party capital Kuta.

The rainy season lasts from October to March, and it is wettest between December and February. July and August is peak season, so also best avoided. April to June is pleasant and you can catch the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in October (
Garuda Indonesia ( and Indonesia AirAsia( fly direct from both Singapore and K.L to Bali’s Denpasar airport. Pre-paid taxis at the airport, to Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud, cost around US$5,50, US9 and US$23
Few locals making the rek up the hill pass the open-air Nasi Ayam Kedewatan without stopping. The star is the superlative sate lilit (minced chicken satay with lemograss). (00.62 361 974795; Jalan Raya Kedewatan, Sanggingan, Ubud; lunch; mains from US!).
It’s all about pork at much-love opern-fron stall, Warung Dobiel in the south’s Nusa Dua. Pork satay, pork soup and beans with shredded pork are favourites. The sautéed jackfruit will make you a convert; the green sambal (chilli-based sauce) is redolent with spices. Seating is at long tables (Jalan Srikandi, Nusa dua; lunc; mains from US$1,50).
Join the lunchtime lines outside Warung Ibu Oka, opposite Ubud Palace. They’re waiting for the eponymous Balinese-style roast sucking pig,. Locals and expats in the know travel far for meat they say is the most tender and tasty on the island (jalan Suweat, Ubud; lunch; mains US$1,50-US$2.50).
At night, hundreds of candles twinkle around outdoor tables at The Living Room. The décor combines Balinese thatching and colonial posh, and the menu fuses French classics with Asian flair ( Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak; lunch and dinner; mains US$9-Us$12
Arguably Bali’s finest restaurant, Blossom has high-end decor and a creatively global menu. Try the lobster mango-shiro miso with mandarin salt (; Sentosa Private Vilas &Spa, Jalan Pura Telaga Waja, Seminyak; mains US$15-Us$25)

Getting Around

Public transport is provided by minibuses called bemo. You can hire a car at the airport (from US$22 per day;, but as roads be busy, taxis are safest option and tend to have meters. Bali Taxi is the most reliable (00 62 361 701111).
Matahari Cottage has six flamboyantly themed rooms, including the Batavia Dacha and the Indian Pasha, stuffed with Balinese furniture and colourful soft furnishings. There’s an Elizabethan-themed library and an elaborate high tea is served on silver (00 62 361 975459;; Jalan Jembawan, Ubud; from US$34).
Turn left after the toll gate for Mu, the most stylish option in Bingin. Thatched bungalow are scattered about a landscaped compound dominated by a cliffsie infinity pool. All have hote tubs with sea views (00 62 361 8470976;; Jalan Panatai Bingin, Pecatu; bungalow from US$59).
At Taman Sari bungalows are set on a long stretch of quiet beach, and feature intricate carvings and other traditional artwork. The open-air bathrooms are delightful palces for that wake-up shower( 00 62 361 288096;; Pemuteran: cottages from US$70).
Puri Lumbung Cottages are set among rice fields with views down to the coast. Dozens of trekking options and courses are offered, including dance and cooking. The hotel’s restaurant, Warung Kopi Bali, is excellent (00 62 362 70128871;; Munduk; cottages from US$83).
On a ridge near Sayan stands the unique Bambu Indah a compound of 100-year-old royal Javanese houses. Several outbuildings create at timeless, yet luxurious village. Rooms are works of art, with tasteful batik bedspread and simple, authentic decoration (00 62 361 977922l; Banjar Baung, Ubud; from US$155).
Sitting just off the main drag in Kalibukbuk, Lovina, Warung Lina is easily missed, but its extensive menu offers delicious, authentic Indonesia food at unbelievably low prices. With tender babi sate (satay pork) costing around US$0.60, two can have a feast for under US!0. so pull up a plasatic chair, chat to the locals and make sure you order the tempe goreng (fried soybean cakes)! (Warung lIna, Jalan Raya Singaraja-Seririt; mains from US0.60). – by Jacqui Brooks
Lonely Planet forum users ( rate the island of Nusa Lembongan. Reachable by boat (40 minutes to two hours) from Sanur in South Bali, this small car-free island has a mellow vie-and great diving. The beaches at Jungutbatu and Mushroom Bay are fine white sand affairs. The neighbouring island of Nusa Penida is much larger, with only basic visitor infrastructure, but it is a kind of alternate Bali with few visitors.
Padangbai is quiet town as most people pass through en route to the Lombok ferry quay. There are manya low-key places to stay, all with traditional hospitality. A short walk away and you can have your feet in the sand-and abundant coral and aquatic life make for great scuba diving, so bring your qualification papers with you if you have them.  (Lonely Planet suggest Geko Dive who do various courses; –by Priscilla Windsor
Lonely Planet’s Bali & Lombok (usd23,99) is a comprehensive guide to the island, while Bali encounter is a pocket size version (us12,99). Download the Bali chapter from the Indonesia guide from (US4,95). Bali blues by Jeremy Allan is a love story set after the 2002 bombings. is the island tourist-board website.


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