Six things I learned in Bali today

1. Coffee made of crap tastes like… you guessed it. Bali takes crappy coffee to a whole new level. Their most expensive coffee comes from luwaks. They eat the coffee beans, digest them, and when they come out the other end they’re harvested for Bali’s most expensive coffee. They didn’t lie, it sure does taste “different.”

2. Bali has more than beaches and the friendliest people in the world. Awesome, awesome scenery too!

3. Rice plantations are as exciting on Google Images as they are in person. There are some places that pictures can’t do justice. Then there are others that pictures can do justice. Rice plantations are one of them. They were as awesome on Google Images as in person.

4. $10 buffets in Bali are awesomer than $10 buffets in the US. Move over Golden Corral, meet Kintamani Restaurant.

5. Don’t feed the monkeys. No, really, don’t feet the monkeys. You’ll end up like this lady.

6. Monkeys are awesome. As long as you don’t feed them, monkeys have to be the most fun animals in the world to watch.


ABC Family Love


HBO After Dark Love

Ah, Bali!

Comments

  1. Oh god Ben, I think I’ve been to that plantation – you get a lot of things (like “female coffee” and the strongest Ginger tea known to man) free, but Luak costs extra? 🙂

  2. @ JetAway — ROFLMAO (if you’re being as dirty as I think you are).

    @ Hells05 — I ended up skipping the Conrad given the lack of clarity regarding their policy and stayed at the IC instead.

  3. Ah, Bali! (but while there hop over to Flores and see Komodo). A most amazing place.

  4. Monkeys are fun alright, until they steal your glasses. Happened to me twice (2002 and 2010) at Uluwatu. You’d think I would have learned after the first incident, but those monkeys are fast little buggers.

  5. I have heard that Bali beaches are not the greatest. Ben, have you seen any beaches in Bali that are great (soft clean sand, beautiful water, etc.) and are connected to hotels (FS, Conrad, Intercontinental, etc)? This is one reason why I am not as interested to go to Bali, but will change my mind if I can find a great beach.
    Thanks!!

  6. Jeff- the stretch of beach in Nusa Doa that runs from the Conrad to the St. Regis is nice. It is a bunch of beaches that run for several miles. Some parts are nicer than others. All are within an easy walk.

  7. Agreed that monkeys are awesome, but as household pets they are terrible. They are not house trainable, and you can’t catch one if s/he doesn’t want to be caught.

    Unlike a dog, a monkey lives in a 3D world and will jump up to and run about in a place (like the top of curtains) that you can’t easily reach.

  8. My wife was bitten by one of those monkeys as soon as we walked into the forest in Ubud. She didn’t have any food or anything, just a really aggressive monkey. I STRONGLY recommend staying away from the monkey forests in Bali. It is absolutely not worth the hassle if you get bit (which, by the way, happens at least 10 times a day if you go by the “log book” at the first aid station)

  9. Hey Lucky,

    Have you amassed a large collection of rubber ducky’s from Conrad hotels? Or have you been mainly staying at the IC’s or Hyatt’s when overseas?

  10. Actually, Ben, the Kintamani Restaurant is a total tourist trap and the food is terrible quality. The only nice thing about the place is sitting outside and staring at the volcano. Do not let your private driver take you there no matter what. Sincerely, your American reader living in Jakarta…

  11. Having experienced a few monkey encounters (all unfavorable), and knowing their bites are far more prone to infection than dogs, etc. I avoid them

  12. I’ve been to Bali a few times and think Nusa Dua is a dump – the worst beaches in all of Bali and a total tourist trap.. My favorite resort is the Ayana – the old Ritz Carlton. It is a stunning property and has magnificent beaches. Monkey forest is not dangerous unless you are a dumb tourist. Just be aware of your surroundings and you will be fine. I wouldn’t miss it! My favorite restaurant in Ubud is Sari Organik – it’s the perfect setting in the middle of the rice paddies.

  13. Ben.

    Looks like you did the same tour that I just did in June with my wife and kids. We also ate in Kintamani and I thought it was average at best and the food wasn’t nearly steaming hot enough…thank goodness nobody got sick.

    Also, the panhandlers in Kintamani are the most aggressive and unfriendly anywhere in Bali. Really annoying.

    The monkeys in Uluwatu are pretty tame and I fed them without problems. You do need to keep possessions in your pockets though. We saw a woman being stripped of one of her flip flops in a flash, and one of those suckers tried to grab my water bottle out of my hand (probably thought it was soda). At Monkey Forest in Ubud, the monkeys really are uber-aggressive and they will fight and bite over the bananas that one can feed them there. My kids were totally freaked out and we left pretty soon after we got there.

    As far as beaches are concerned, I agree with many comments here…I think Nusa Dua is generally horrible with tons of trash in the water and on the sand. The lone exception is the stretch of Nusa Dua called Geger Beach right in front of the St. Regis. That beach is absolutely pristine. Clear water, clean beach, very little to no trash.

    Alternatively, Jimbaran is excellent, but the surf is extremely rough, especially during periods of full moon. And much of Jimbaran has tons of coral washing up, so that can be an issue.

    Overall, I think Jimbaran and Geger Beach are the two I would prefer, although both are very different.

    I am heading back to Jimbaran next June, so obviously, I really liked it.

  14. @Alex “Monkey forest is not dangerous unless you are a dumb tourist”

    I guess that means we’re dumb tourists. Thanks for letting me know. The fact that we walked in with no food, no possessions, no bags or pouches, and were walking through silently when a monkey jumped on my wife’s back and bit her arm without any cause or warning, made me think maybe the monkeys were just really aggressive, just as the post above this supports.

    But now that I know we’re just dumb tourists, I feel much better. We totally deserved to get bit. You nailed it.

  15. Alex- I have been to Bali a number of times. Nusa Dua is a dump? You must be extremely arrogant. There are some extremely nice and well done resorts there. I’ve stayed at the Conrad and St. Regis most recently. There are a number of beaches in this area. Some are very nice stretches of beach as well as some that are not as good.

    As far as a tourist trap. Well the whole island is full of tourists. Further, Bali has a population of 4 million.

  16. Thanks for the Bali beach input, all. I did not mean to stir up such a heated debate. A nice beach is important to me and the reviews have been and continue to be mixed. Oh, well. I will have to go and form my own opinion.

  17. @ Jeff — Bali isn’t the most beautiful destination in the world. The beaches are fine, but not great. That’s not why I go to Bali, though. I love the other sights, and more than anything else I LOVE the people. They’re the friendliest anywhere in the world, in my opinion.

    @ Dan — Admittedly it is a total tourist trap since all the tours stop there, but I still thought it was reasonably good.

    @ BBTBphile — Thanks!

  18. Ben, what’s the upgrade experience at Intercontinental Bali? I’m a Platinum Ambassador. Any chance of being upgraded to a suite or villa if I book a classic room with points? Thanks.

  19. @ Tao — The Ambassador and Royal Ambassador upgrade is the same. Usually they upgrade to a duplex from from a classic room. Just not positive they provide the same upgrade when staying on points.

  20. @lucky,when I was booking the room I noticed that they let you go through even if your account doesn’t have enough points. It shows negative balance after the booking, any idea how they are going to make you pay for the difference? charging your credit card on file? btw, I was making a cash+points booking.

  21. @ Tao — Hmmm, that’s bizarre, I wasn’t able to replicate that. Did you actually go through with the booking, or just went as far as the purchase page? Not sure what they’d do, quite frankly…

  22. Went to monkey forest in Ubud and Ulawatu temple later same day. The monkeys in the Monkey Forest were friendly and not aggressive. The monkeys at Ulawatu were stealing glasses, cameras, etc… While I was taking a picture of a monkey ripping apart eyeglasses he had just stolen, another monkey reached down from a tree above me and stole my glasses right off my face. It happened so quick, it was as if I was pickpocketed.

  23. @lucky – no, I only got to the payment page, didn’t click on the confirm button. Maybe it would’ve gone through. The duplex upgrade you mentioned would be their regular duplex I imagine, not the club duplex, right?

  24. @ Tao — Correct, not club duplex. Royal Ambassador is invitation only so the criteria aren’t published, though it usually requires 60+ nights per year.

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