Advice on travelling to Bali?

I’m travelling to Bali in a few weeks, my wife booked it sometime ago with little input or interest from myself. (Zero if I’m honest).

In the run up to the holiday I’ve now had a look at what has been booked and I have to say, outside of tourist board photos and those taken for “the gram” it looks like a complete s4!hole!

Reading various sites and forums the more brutally honest reviews seem to describe it as a Benidorm for Aussies. Obviously some places worse than others. We were going to be staying in Ubud for a week and then Sanur the following, dropping yourself into either of these places on google street view they look like my worst nightmare.

The flights can’t be cancelled or changed so we are going, but the hotels can be altered. I’m sure there are nicer/quieter places, the north from what I’ve read.

Would love to hear some opinions from those that have been and experienced it all first hand, is it as bad as I’m thinking ?

There is a topic all about Indonesia below. Granted it’s mostly about using their card but some share their experiences on what it was like, where they stayed etc:

So Ubud itself has a fair amount of touristy areas - but also plenty of lovely little restuarants, shops, botiques etc that it’s not the worst place for a holiday ever - but I reckon after about 3 days it’s a bit much if that’s not your type of thing.

What are you after from a holiday?

There’s plenty of lovely stuff in Indonesia - with so much culture dotted about the place you just have to look for it a little outside of the main tourist spots.

The Cameroon Highlands are milder, cooler in temperature and less touristy.

If you want a chilled out beach break, The Gili Islands can give you that - it takes some travel from Ubud but both Gili Air (chilled out) and Gili T (more party) are good places to hang out on.

Not far from Ubud, there’s lots of lovely things to see - Gunung Kawi is an amazing temple carved into the side of the mountain - about 30 mins from Ubud - hire some scooters and go early.

The Tegalagang rice paddies are a beautiful site to see - worth driving along/around on your scooter.

But like any popular country there are good bits and bad.

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It depends what kind of holiday you’re after. I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed a nice few days in Ubud (though admitedly, this was before Eat, Pray, Love came out, which apparently has driven tourism to ridiculous new heights).

I feel Kuta is a waste of time. However, what I’d strongly advise doing - if you want to relax - is to get a speedboat over to Gilli Trewangan. I first came across an article in the Guardian nine years ago, and it made me want to explore.

I went back the following year, and then took a boat from Gilli Trewangan all the way to Labuhanbajo - which is five days to the East. This was one of the best travel experiences I’ve had in that region. It was a small boat that can accommodate 15 travelers (sleeping on deck), and it stops off at different islands along the way, including Komodo island. The five-day boat ride took cost around USD200 - including food and water. It’s also a great way to meet with other travellers, and you can then fly back to Bali.

Labuhanbajo has some of the best scuba diving anywhere in the world, with manta rays, sharks, turtles and pristine coral reefs.

Here’s a map, from Gilli T to Labuhanbajo.

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Bali is a fairly big island, so there are parts that are awesome, and parts not so much. Kuta is the area that is the Aussie Benidorm and is a nightmare if it is not your scene. Seminyak is a couple of miles down the road from Kuta and is still lively but a bit more civilised, and as you move North it gets more chilled.

You will have an awesome time, if you are prepared to explore a little and willing to talk to people to find out what parts of the Island would best suit you.

And the food is delicious.

Aside from all the tips/info posted above, I would always recommend reading the current UK Gov travel advice. Yup, boring I know but always sensible:

In order to have a good vacation, I recommend planning all the details in advance. For example, download useful apps, such as Maps,me etc. Here is a good list of useful travel software, make sure to install them https://travelsites.com/useful-travel-software/