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Itinerary: 5 days in Bali with the Guys

Trip details:

We're four guys, all in our 30s, having a sort of high school reunion in Bali. Two of us are fairly fit and would like to take some surfing lessons. One of us is a vegetarian. We'd prefer staying in a cheap place close to the beaches with the best nightlife. An apartment would also work just fine. Would love your help on things to do and planning our time there. We'll be going in late January 2014 for 5 days.

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Overview map:

I've highlighted all the places covered in this itinerary on this interactive map so you'll have a better sense of the plan:


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26th January:

In the morning, check in at Masa Inn and settle in.


By afternoon, visit the nearby landmarks like the Bomb Memorial and explore the street market, and chill out at the Kuta Beach


Evenings at Kuta Beach


In the evening, enjoy the nightlife options of Kuta. Visit bars, restaurants etc.

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27 January:

After your first surfing class, you can drive through the winding roads to the Uluwatu temple.


Uluwatu temple


The temple is located about 90 minutes drive from Kuta. Apart from the breathtaking beauty of the temple, you should try to check out the Kacak dance performance that takes place there every evening. Guides are available but be a bit cautious while dealing with them since there have been cases in which they have scammed the visitors. The temple is open from early noon to night.


For the rest of the day, chill out at the beach, and enjoy the nightlife options in and around Kuta.

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28th January:

After the morning surf classes head to the beaches of Nusa Dua and also visit Turtle Island. Nusa Dua is about an hours drive from Kuta. In Nusa Dua you can relax on the Geger beach, get massages, eat local food at beachside restaurants,  and even take part in water sports.


Nusa Dua beach


You can also decide to take a boat to the Turtle Island and gain insight into the turtle conservation projevts that are underway on the island.  

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29th January:

After the surf classes,  you can transfer to Nirwa Homestay in Ubud. Ubud is about 90 minutes drive from Kuta. You can visit the temples, art houses, museums, markets, sacred monkey forest and other landmarks. All within walking distance.


Ubud scene


There are plenty of great places to eat in Ubud. Ill be adding a seperate section on discussion tab about this.


In the evening you can catch a cultural program that takes place in the palace every evening. 


Visit the Laughing Buddha bar in the evening for some great food and live music

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1   2  
Hey Bryan! By Arpan Mandal
Replies (+)

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Hey!

First of all thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to plan your high school reunion... A reunion in Bali sounds just awesome... Before I start planning your trip, it would be great if you could give me some clarifications on the following issues.

1. I read about your expectations from the trip and it seems that Kuta will be the best place for you to stay. However, I would like to know if you are open to staying in places like Ubud, which is considered to be more in touch with the local cultures. If not, we might consider going there on day trips.

2. You also talked about staying at cheap places near the beach. Are you also open to staying at hostels? (I personally will not recommend it considering the local standards, but if budget is an issue I can always search for a decent beach hostel)

3. Lastly, is there anything else that you would like me to incorporate into the trip? Looking forward to hearing from you soon

Arpan

Bryan C wrote:  

Hi Arpan,

Here's the information you asked for:

1. Kuta seems like a good choice to me as well. Would like to do Ubud on a day trip. We're not that much into culture (though would like a glimpse into it).

2. Budget is not a big concern. We just want to stay at reasonably comfortable places - and not some luxury resorts. An apartment where we can stay together would be ideal (we can share rooms, so a 2-bedroom place would work fine).

3. Not looking for anything else as such - just to cover the sightseeing highlights, and enjoy the beaches - I already menioned surfing lessons - and nightlife.

Dan is one my co-travellers and I've added him to this trip. He might pitch in with his inputs as well.

Bryan

Dan Johnson wrote:  

Yeah, this sounds alright. I'm cool with it.

PS: I'll mostly stay quiet. Will add something only if you guys are messing this up. :P

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Thanks. Ill get back to you by Sunday.

Bryan C wrote:  

Sure. I'd like to get the accommodation finalized asap so we can make the bookings. The rest of the plan can be worked out later as well.

Bryan C wrote:  

Well, I haven't been able to zero in on any accommodation yet. Looking forward to your advice, Arpan. I hope we can get this thing rolling now.


Unforeseen delay By PlanMy.Travel Admin
Replies (+)

PlanMy.Travel Admin wrote:  

Hi Bryan and Dan,

Arpan has just informed us that due to some urgent personal work coming up he won't be able to work on this trip until Wednesday Jan 1. Please let us know if that is alright with you. If not, we will try and make alternative arrangements. Rest assured that you can always cancel your order within 3 weeks and get a full refund.

Avinash

PlanMy.Travel Support

Bryan C wrote:  

Oh well, okay. I was hoping to get the accommodations booked asap, so I guess I'll do some research on that myself and see if I can find something in the meantime.

Bryan

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Hey Bryan

Sorry for the delay but I have researched on a few good accommodations around Kuta. I recommend The Masa Inn which is a decent three star hotel near the Kuta Beach. Located on the Poppies Lane 2, the hotel has good clean rooms, a swimming pool and 24 hours reception. Also the location is right next to the shops and restaurants of Kuta, so you are never too far away from the nightlife options.

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

There are also decent places like the Ayu beach Resort, and Kuta Town House Apartments which you can check out.  

Also, I have worked out an  itinerary on which I would like to know your opinion.


Accommodation By Arpan Mandal
Replies (+)

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Hey Bryan Sorry for the delay but I have researched on a few good accommodations around Kuta. I recommend The Masa Inn which is a decent three star hotel near the Kuta Beach. Located on the Poppies Lane 2, the hotel has good clean rooms, a swimming pool and 24 hours reception. Also the location is right next to the shops and restaurants of Kuta, so you are never too far away from the nightlife options.

There are also decent places like the Ayu beach Resort, and Kuta Town House Apartments which you can check out.  Also, I have worked out an  itinerary on which I would like to know your opinion. 

Bryan C wrote:  

Thanks Arpan. So it looks like Ayu and the Kuta Town House Apartments are available for our dates, but I liked the Masa Inn a lot more by the looks of it. I've submitted their reservation form to see if we can get in there.

In any case, one of these should work out well for us. Thanks for your help on this.

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Great!


Diving School By Arpan Mandal
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Arpan Mandal wrote:  

UP2U surf school seems to be the most reputed surf school in Bali. I have checked their website and they offer lessons starting from beginner to expert levels. Their rates seem quite reasonable and they offer free hotel pickup and drop. 

Pick up time is 7 am and if you book online you will get a 10% discount. The school has also received good reviews in sites like tripadvisor. 

Their website is at www.up2usurfschool.com 

Check it and let me know if you think it will work for you.

Bryan C wrote:  

Looks great. Thanks.


Day Tours By Arpan Mandal
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Arpan Mandal wrote:  

While you stay in Kuta, I think it would be a god idea tosee the rest of Bali on small day trips. I think the following two tours look quite decent.

1. Half day tour of Uluwatu with Kedak of www.baliessentialtours.com 

2. Bike tour with www.banyantreebiketour.com (Most of the day tours are not that hard and people with even a below average stamina and fitness levels can do them.)

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Also, in case you do not feel like going on organised tours, we can talk about some other independent options.

Bryan C wrote:  

Yes, we'd prefer to go independently, renting a car and driving ourselves around. Can you chart out a plan in the itinerary section? Note that for 3 days (27, 28, 29 Jan) we'll be taking the morning surfing lessons and will have the rest of the day to ourselves. The other two days are completely open. Evenings/nights we'd rather spend at places with good bars and nightlife, so suggestions for particular bars are also welcome.

Our exact arrival and departures at 7:40am on Jan 26 to 3:35pm on Jan 31.

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

You know there  is a great bar in Ubud that I visited while I was there. Th e name of the bar is Laughing Budhdha and it really comes alive in the evenings with live music and good food. If you decide on staying in Ubud for a night, it would be best. We can also arrange for an Indonesian homestay. Staying with a local family for a night might be fun.

If that doesnt work for you, you can visit places around Legion and Kuta. The popular ones are the Bounty Club and the engine room. Just a word of caution though, these bars are a bit loud. 

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Paddy's bar is also very popular.

Bryan C wrote:  

Sure let's do one/two nights in Ubud then. We can head to Ubud after our morning surfing lessons on 29th and then stay there on 29, 30 (last 2 nights). Let me know you recommendation for the homestay.

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

I'll get back to you on this.


Vegetarian Food By Arpan Mandal
Replies (+)

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

While there are no shortage of vegetarian dishes in Bali, since vegetarian dishes are served in almost every restaurant, the following two places seem to be the best places to go to incase you want to go for an all out vegetarian feast

Ashtari    http://www.ashtarilombok.com 

Felice's vegetarian restaurant      

http://openmenu.com/m/restaurant/c22b2f9a-743b-11e2-823b-00163eeae34c 

Gado Gado is my favourite Indonesian vegetarian food

Bryan C wrote:  

Since only one of us is vegetarian, we probably won't go to an all-veggie place. Can you offer more tips on ordering vegetarian food in regular restaurants - like stuff to order and how easy it is to communicate to waiters to make something vegetarian?

Oh, also, we'd love recommendations for restaurants where we can try out local cuisine.

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Awesome.. ill get back to you on this in an hour

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

There are plenty of places to eat around Kuta / Legion. My favourite places are the Made's Warung, which was recommended to me by a local and I ended up having my dinner there almost every night. Another favourite food joint of mine which was a bit less touristy was the hawker food court near the Kuta beach. 

Both of these places are my personal favourites.  

Kuta being quite popular among the foreigners,  it is usually quite easy to place an order since the waiters are accustomed to the english language. Also, since most of the restaurants have a set menu, I do not think they will cook up a special vegetarian dish just for you guys.  However, most of the decent restaurants have a separate section in the menu dedicated to vegetarian food. So, I don't think there is a need to worry there.

One of the best things to order is the Bintang, the local beer. You can also try out the local rice wine, Arak. It is supposed to be lethal. It was quite good.

Bakso Is probably the most popular local dish.  It is basically a soup with either meat, fish, chicken or vegetables in it. Another dish that you probably should try is the Gado Gado, which is a bit like a vegetarian salad served with a sizeable drip of local peonut sauce. It tastes better than it sounds.  

Nasi Goreng is also good if you are into fried rice. 

Lastly, you will probably see a lot of advertisements for magic mushrooms. People asked me to avoid it, but if you guys feel a bit courageous,  try it and let me know how it was. You probably shouldn't though, since they are said to cause hallucinations.

Bryan C wrote:  

Hmm, interesting - that bit about mushrooms. :)

Thanks for the restaurant tips.


homestays in Ubud By Arpan Mandal
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Arpan Mandal wrote:  

The following are the best homestays in Ubud

1. Nirwa Homestay 

http://www.nirwaubudhomestay.com/ 

2. Narasoma Homestay

3. Jangkrik Homestay

www.jangkrik-homestay.com 

 

Check these out and see if they will be a good fit with you guys

Bryan C wrote:  

Thanks. I've written to these homestays as they don't seem to have online reservations. I haven't heard back from Masa Inn as well, so we're going ahead and booking Ayu Beach Resort for the first 3 nights. For the last two nights we'll stay in one of the Ubud places, whichever works out.

Bryan C wrote:  

Ok, I just heard back from Nirwa and they do have availability for our dates. So we're now all set for accommodation. Will look forward to the complete itinerary.


Car rentals By Bryan C
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Bryan C wrote:  

Hey Arpan, Is it possible to rent a self-driven car (I have a US driving license) in Bali? Are there the usual big chain car rentals - Avis, Hertz, etc.? Or do you recommend a local company?

 

Bryan C wrote:  

Hi, can you let me know about this so we can book a car asap?

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Try www.balicarhire.com and www.autobali.com 

They will arrange for your car from the airport. 

I recall seeing an outlet of Hertz at the airport.  Dont know about Avis though.

As a word of caution, the road on the outskirts of Kuta are not in good condition. But the roads in Ubud are in a better condition.  

Bryan C wrote:  

Excellent. Thanks.


Restaurants in Ubud By Arpan Mandal
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Arpan Mandal wrote:  

While in Ubud try and visit these places for a good meal .. and some drinks

1. Murni's Warung not only serves great food, veg ans non veg, but also provides a wonderful setting, overlooking rivers and rice fields. 

2. Naughty Nuris for  pork ribs and martinis.

3. Bar Luna for awesome drinks and live music. They serve decent food as well, mostly bar food.

4. Laughing Buddha Bar. My personal favourite for its ambience and liveliness

5. Warung Pulau Kelapa for authentic Indonesian and Balinese cuisine. 

6. Melting Wok. Great food. Very Popular. 

Would be a good idea to book table in advance. 


Anything Else? By Arpan Mandal
Replies (+)

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Hey!

 

I think we have discussed most of the major topics relevant to the trip. Just wanted to ask if there is anything else that you might want to discuss.

Hope you are happy with the itinerary. If you are not, we can still modify it.

 

Bryan C wrote:  

Thanks so much Arpan. I think we have all the information we'll need. Will post here in case I think of anything else.

Arpan Mandal wrote:  

Sure.. let me know in case you need my help.  Hope you guys have a wonderful reunion.  


Car rental:

Try www.balicarhire.com and www.autobali.com 


They will arrange for your car from the airport. 


I recall seeing an outlet of Hertz at the airport.  Dont know about Avis though.


As a word of caution, the road on the outskirts of Kuta are not in good condition. But the roads in Ubud are in a better condition. 

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Accommodation:

I have researched on a few good accommodations around Kuta. I recommend The Masa Inn which is a decent three star hotel near the Kuta Beach. Located on the Poppies Lane 2, the hotel has good clean rooms, a swimming pool and 24 hours reception. Also the location is right next to the shops and restaurants of Kuta, so you are never too far away from the nightlife options.


There are also decent places like the Ayu beach Inn, and Kuta Town House Apartments which you can check out.

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Ubud homestay:

The following are the best homestays in Ubud


1. Nirwa Homestay  


2. Narasoma Homestay


3. Jangkrik Homestay


Check these out and see if they will be a good fit with you guys

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Excellent vacation, thanks Arpan!

We loved all of Arpan's suggestions and my whole group was thrilled with the trip. Thanks lots, Arpan for a unforgettable vacation.