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Just Back from Bali & Lombok


May 2002

Our family of four ( two sons 17 and 20) have just arrived back from a wonderful two weeks in Bali and Lombok.

Unlike our previous trip, we were on a tight budget so we stayed and ate at the lower end places (i.e. 2 and 3 star hotels and 15,000 to 30,000 Rp main course places)

All travel and accommodation was booked over the internet using local (Bali) travel agents and no money changed hands until we arrived at our destination. This worked very well.

This was our second trip to Bali and first to Lombok. The weather was perfect for the two weeks and we were amazed at the lack of tourists particularly in Lombok.

We flew proles class with Qantas . Food OK, service OK although some of the Flight Attendants really need to try and look as though they are enjoying their job. They after all are well paid hospitality workers. (Angela and Dennis on QF29 you were great!) The continued use of 737’s from Denpasar to Darwin is to me still an issue as the seating is really cramped – anyone who was overweight would really struggle to occupy just one seat!!

In Bali we stayed at the Puri Raja Hotel. This was a very comfortable three star hotel situated on Jl Padma Utara in Legian and in my view great value at US$38 per room per night including an American breakfast. This Hotel has been reported before on this Forum and I would suggest anyone on a budget give it consideration. It is close to good restaurants and shopping including a mini mart, clothes, CD’s etc is on the beach has two pools (no pool “lounge lizards” here) and good massages for 45,000 Rp for one hour.

We also stayed at place in Legian called Tropical Kubu. This is an Australian persons holiday house and is on Jl Sahadewa, which is between Jl Padma and Jl Melasti. It is a great place to stay with two double bedrooms up stairs with ceiling fans, pullout beds down stairs, a living area with TV, VCD, CD sound system, a bar area, dining area , fully equipped kitchen with good sized ‘fridge. The gazebo area outside was great for end of day Bintangs and G & T’s. Cost per night for the House was 300,000 Rp There are also reasonably priced losman next door which would be worth considering for travellers on a tight budget. The on site cleaner/caretaker is most helpful as is the property manager. Their website is

In Lombok we stayed at the Bukit Sengiggi Seaview Cottages. The hotel is located in the heart of Sengiggi on (I think) Jl Jaya opposite Lina’s. I am sure we were the only guests staying there for the first 2 days. Quite incredible. This comfortable property was well serviced by helpful and happy staff, offering great views to the ocean and only 100 metres or so to the beach. It has a lovely swimming pool and is built into the side of a hill.

Good eating places were close by and I would recommend this hotel to those on a budget like us. We paid 200,000 Rp per room per night inc breakfast. A local friend negotiated this price on our behalf and as such it may not be a price others are likely to achieve, but it does indicate how desperate they are in Lombok for tourists.

It is still difficult to get a really bad feed in Bali and Lombok (although we did come close at Jimbaran Bay)

A few memorable places we ate at were:
  • Poco Loco - Near Puri Raja Hotel Legian) Mexican food – take a good appetite as the serves are generous
  • Legian Snacks - Jl Padma Utara near Jl Padma Legian ) – Great value for money local food, with excellent service
  • Café Tegal – Jl Hanoman Ubud. This is our favourite and we keep coming back. Local eatery on a rice paddy very cheap and great quality.

I do have to express disappointment at our seafood meal at Jimbaran Bay. As first timers, I guess the hype generated on the Forums may have had something to do with high expectations. The place we ate at was certainly popular;( indeed the places immediately next to it were deserted). Our food was Lobster, Crabs, Prawns and Squid. The food was overcooked, dry and lacking in any substance. To describe the meal as a rip off is probably a little defamatory however I can not recommend Sharkeys. I think next time seafood on the beach at Sanur is the go.

Took some cash but mainly travellers cheques. Other than in Lombok all transaction were undertaken at Kodak Shops (PT Central) with no problems. Also no problems in Lombok although the rate was marginally lower than in Bali. Travellers cheques were only about 25–50 Rp less than cash making it, in my view sound reason to take them in lieu of cash. Had no trouble with credit cards although it is common for a 3% charge to be levied.

Where possible we only used Blue Bird Group in Bali and Lombok. Less hassle with the meter.
Travelled to Lombok by the Mabua Express US$25 one way – pleasant trip with good scenery into Lembar harbour. In Lombok use Bemos and Cidimo to get around - both are fun, cheap and efficient. Also hired a driver for the day trip to Gili Trawangan.

Flew back to Bali on Air Mark – 237,000 Rp. The plane was a C-121 (I think) looks a bit like a pregnant Fokker F27.

Since our last trip, the hawkers in Bali are less in your face, which frees up the pavements. In Lombok (Sengiggi) they approach you as they used to do in Bali.

Some people still get so uptight with the hawkers but my family still finds them to be interesting pleasant young people just trying to eke a living from the tourists. Take some time to talk to them.
The kids did the most shopping. I am not reporting on prices as this Forum has plenty of prices for the fake watches, clothes etc. For me when shopping it’s the interaction with the seller when haggling that I enjoy and not getting tense over the price. Remember, the final price is always what you are willing to pay – just have fun with the haggling process; you can always walk away.

No Bali Belly or Lombok Lurgy. The only health precaution we took was Doryx for malaria. We did this on medical advice as we were travelling in Lombok and the fact that we would be spending some time in a village. Malaria is endemic in Lombok. Our nursing friend who lives in Lombok and knows of village friends who have had the disease verifies this. Next time I think we would also be wise to consider Typhoid medication. Hep A and B and tetanus were all up to date.

Bali is still a great holiday destination with delightful people who are good fun to talk to. We were however amazed at how quiet the place was compared with same time 3 years ago.

Lombok was a real highlight. We thought Bali was quiet but Lombok seemed to be almost void of tourists. What a shame, people do not know what they are missing. If you are going to Bali try and make time to visit this lovely Island. The people are very friendly (our boys made good friends with the locals) and the scenery is fabulous. Diving/snorkelling off the beach at Gili Trawangan is a must do. If you go to Gili Trawangan there is no shortage of “mushroom” soup !!

I hope these note are of some interest.