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If not Bali then where? Indonesia help please

31 replies

YouWhatLove · 03/06/2022 20:36

ds1 is massively into surfing and ds2 is obsessed with Komodo dragons so I booked us to go to Indonesia (flying to Bali) for 2 weeks in October. We’re flying into Bali and I’ve booked us into the Four Seasons on Ubud for a couple of days to recover from the flight and also planning to fly to Flores for a couple of days to do a trip to Komodo Island. I haven’t booked anything other than the flights and hotel in Ubud so far but was loosely planning to stay around Bali for most of the holiday.

Since then I’ve read the thread about places not living up to expectations and Bali kept coming up as being awful. I’ve now read loads of reviews saying how dirty, rough and full of drunken Australians/ Brits it is and I’m thinking I’ve made a huge mistake. Has anyone got any recommendations for places to visit possibly off the beaten track a bit or with good surf but relatively safe? I’m contemplating maybe going to different islands rather than hanging around on Bali but don’t know where to start.

Please help someone!

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TheFirie · 03/06/2022 21:18

Bali is amazing.
Like everywhere, you have not-so-great areas. It is like saying the Balearics Islands are ugly because of the Brits that go to Magaluf.
Once a year, during the monsoons, there is the plastic wave when the oceanic currents bring plastic to the southwest of the island.
It is a matter of timing and location.

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HundredMilesAnHour · 03/06/2022 21:20

I doubt you'll have any problems with dirty, rough or drunken if you're staying at the Four Seasons.

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TheSpottedZebra · 03/06/2022 21:23

As pp said, that's like saying that as Magaluf is a shithole, thus all of Majorca is.

That corner of Bali is very much Aussies and Brits Abroad, but just get out of that bit and the island is beautiful.

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makeitallgoaway · 03/06/2022 21:26

Bali is gorgeous, yes there is bits that are really touristy but a lot is stunning. What about a few days in Lombok?

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LaWench · 03/06/2022 21:32

I loved Bali, beautiful island. We stayed in Nusa Dua which I think is where the nicer hotels are located. I'd definitely go back.

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Whyisitsodifficult · 03/06/2022 21:36

Yes as long as to stay away from Kuta you should be good! The Gili isles are gorgeous.

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Continentalmama · 03/06/2022 21:41

I haven't been but I've heard good things about the Mentawais and surfing, it's on my bucket list!

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MallMoo · 03/06/2022 21:42

Agree with previous poster to avoid Kuta/Seminyak as this is very much the Aussie holiday hotspot. Gilli islands are lovely however Gilli T was full of British backpackers when I visited. For surfing would definitely recommend Uluwatu and the sunsets there are amazing!!

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StampOnTheGround · 03/06/2022 21:44

Lombok was absolutely gorgeous!

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DappledOliveGroves · 03/06/2022 21:45

Bali is beautiful, Ubud especially. Just avoid the tourist areas of Kuta (and avoid Kuta beach which is covered in litter) and you'll be fine.

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YouWhatLove · 03/06/2022 22:08

@HundredMilesAnHour we’re only staying there for a couple of days to get over the flight so not so worried about that. I’d planned on staying roughly in that area though but it’s less than a mile from Kuta so might reassess.

Thanks, I’ll definitely look at Lombok and Gili

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RampantIvy · 03/06/2022 22:12

Is Komodo open to visitors again now?

We went to Komodo in 1996, and it was one of the most amazing days of my life.

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SheriffCallie · 03/06/2022 23:03

We loved Bali when we visited 10yrs ago. Kuta is best avoided, although I reckon I’d have loved it in my late teens/early 20s :). Ubud is beautiful but rainy. Samed is like a quieter Kuta ie fairly touristy with good nightlife, but aimed at a slightly different, less clubby, crowd. We did a few white water rafting tours from there which were cheaper than Kuta.
Amed on the east coast is gorgeous, when we visited it was barely more than a dirt track with a couple of restaurants and tiny hotels, but it was peaceful, calm and had a gorgeous beach and the best shore snorkelling we’ve ever done. All we did was snorkel, drink beers and eat; I was in heaven. Imagine it’s more developed now.
We got there using a private car, it was insanely cheap.
Seminyak was nice when we were there, it was considered quite upmarket and had some lovely galleries for browsing and shopping.

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YouWhatLove · 04/06/2022 00:39

@RampantIvy it reopened again at the beginning of the year but it looks like they’re limiting numbers so they don’t have to shut again in the future. Fingers crossed it will all still be ok for October.

Thanks for the recommendations @SheriffCallie, so much to research!

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midsomermurderess · 04/06/2022 08:29

I thought the Gillis were utterly depressing. So many locals on drugs, most places run by one or two families, everything in their grip, grubby, unimaginative backpacker scene. Parts of Lombok are ok. Down the south coast, I think. Bali I wasn't that impressed with. I wasn't near Kuta. Ubud was a bit dank, so many t shirt shops. The eastern and Norther coasts were fine.

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CosilyRosily · 04/06/2022 08:52

Gilli Air bit hit and miss - just not my scene so we ended up leaving early.

Flores is nice, we stayed at Plataran Komodo which is really really beautiful but the service was quite confused. I felt in Flores that they hadn't really caught up to eco tourism yet - bit of a lasse faire attitude towards reef preservation.

Lombok is lovely, we had a wonderful time there. No idea what the surf is like but it's much less touristy than Bali and more touristy than Flores so feels like a decent balance of service and not being absolutely packed with people!

We really enjoyed Ubud however, we were surprised by the amount of rubbish everywhere in Bali, it rather took the shine off the tropical paradise vibe to be honest. I would recommend doing lots of research into the places you're going, many of the tourist traps have very questionable (and mercinary) attitudes to animal welfare - eg coffee plantations/elephant "sanctuaries" etc. We were also strongly warned off of the Monkey Forest... having said all that, there are beautiful areas and the hospitality is amazing, nothing is too much trouble

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Flatandhappy · 04/06/2022 08:59

Tbh Kuta is dead at the moment so I wouldn’t worry about crowds of drunken Australians although I agree it is somewhere you would usually avoid. Seminyak is slowly opening up again, has great restaurants and a good vibe, Canggu never shut (we were there end of April and will be returning for a month in July). Bali bashing is popular, especially on MN where people love to turn their noses up at Australians at the same time. It is a beautiful place with amazing people, outside of COVID times we go 2-3 times a year, like everywhere some places are nicer than others though by all accounts Lombok is the new “must go” destination in the region so maybe worth a trip.

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StampOnTheGround · 04/06/2022 09:08

Also we went to a quieter Gili island for snorkelling just as a day trip from Lombok and it was gorgeous - Gili Nanggu.

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piefacedClique · 04/06/2022 09:18

What’s your budget like??? I spent a summer in south east Sulawesi a few years ago in the Wakatobi... Absolutely beautiful area…. www.wakatobi.com

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Staynow · 04/06/2022 09:24

Kuta is depressing but ok for a day or two I guess if you want to surf, there's a huge beach, it didn't feel dangerous just like Benidorm for Aussies. I really liked Ubud, touristy too of course but a different vibe to Kuta. So many amazingly beautiful temples to visit all over Bali. Give the Luwak coffee a wide birth for the sake of the poor civets. I was fine with the monkey forest although I'm not a huge fan of macaques - just don't take anything with you, don't get too close and don't start screaming or running. If you don't have food/things they might want to play with then there are always others who do and they'll leave you alone. There is a very cool bridge and statues and things there, it's not just monkeys and trees. You'll have a fantastic time I'm sure.

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darlingdodo · 04/06/2022 09:30

Bali is beautiful - I'd just avoid Kuta. Lombok is quieter tourist wise and the diving and snorkelling around the Gili Isles is fun.

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SugarFly · 04/06/2022 09:46

You will love Four Seasons Ubud and exploring Ubud.

Great plan to go to Flores. Have you researched the boat you'll use to explore the islands well? Some are amazing and others are hot and sticky and crammed with tourists. Our boat trip around Flores islands (we did 3 nights) was the best holiday I have ever done. Absolutely stunning and amazing wildlife. Try and swim with mantar rays.

I would then recommend Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida (both are linked by a bridge or quick boat trip so just stay in one place). They were the most incredible islands and more authentic Indonesia.

Avoid Kuta and Seminyak which are the grotty cheap tourist areas. I heard similar about the Gili islands but I think one of the islands is nicer for families than the rest, so worth researching.

I didn't go but Uluwatu is meant to be good.

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RampantIvy · 04/06/2022 11:17

We stayed at the SegaraVillage in Sanur Beach when we went. It looks like they have smartened it up since we went. The rooms were OK, but the setting and location were excellent.

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FredinBread · 04/06/2022 12:46

We flew to Java, transferred into jakarta and into yoggykarta (forget the spelling) for amazing temples and culture for 2 or 3 nights. Were amazing compared to Bali offerings. We also had 2 nights in Borneo for sepilok orangutans and sun bears then 2 nights on q quieter turtle Island and then back to bali for a few nights one Easter holiday fortnight
Great trip - hope you have fun

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StrawberryLipstickStateOfMind1 · 04/06/2022 14:59

Lombok/Gilli Islands.
I went several times many years ago, in fact I took Dd for 10 weeks just after her first birthday.
Gorgeous place, and the language is so easy to learn, they'll love you if you can speak even a few words.
Have a Bintang with ice and lime for me!

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