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marianne Jimbaran - A travel report by Marianne
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Jimbaran,  Indonesia - flag Indonesia
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marianne's travel reports

Where to stay in Bali: Sanur or Jimbaran?

  15 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Jimbaran looked good on the map; a crescent-shaped bay with a dotted strip on the edge which meant; beach. What I did not like was the white strip in the north which said; Ngurah Rai Airport. report of the month contest
Apr 2007

Jimbaran Beach and Kuta Airport
Jimbaran Beach and Kuta Airport
Sanur looked equally good, the only difference was that the map did not show the dotted strip or the airport. As Sanur is described as a quieter alternative to Kuta, I was sure it must offer sea, sand, hotels and entertainment.

Sanur's 5 km shoreline is a paved promenade. At high tide the sea gets almost as far as this walkway and there is hardly any beach. At low tide a huge expanse of shore gets exposed and makes swimming impossible as the sea stays shallow for at least 500 m. Another problem is the reef 1 km off shore, beyond it the currents are very dangerous. It is an ideal place for children but not for (serious) swimmers.

Some 10 years ago the situation was different. Sanur had a good patch of white sand beach. But a tourist-oriented mega-project, the brainchild of Tommy Suharto (son of former president Suharto) developed Serangan Island, just off Sanur's coast. Land was reclaimed and a causeway to the mainland was constructed. This changed the tidal patterns and resulted in serious erosion of Sanur's beach.

Sanur's main street Jl Danau Tamblingan is a very busy road and all hotels on this street suffer from traffic noise. North Sanur is much quieter esp. near Jl Hang Tuah, but there is hardly any beach.

We stayed one night, walked the length of the beach but did not find Sanur attractive. That's why we moved on to Jimbaran.

The drawback of Jimbaran was the airport at a distance of only 2 km. Therefore, I had expected Jimbaran to be very noisy, but I was wrong. On the contrary there was very little noise and none at all when the wind blew to the north. The proximinity of the airport offered fascinating views of aircraft landing and taking-off as gracefully as big white streamlined birds.

On the southern tip of the crescent there are several top-notch resort hotels. They must have had hardly any bookings or alternatively all their guests stayed inthe grounds because during our 5-day visit we did not meet more than a handful of tourists.

Favourite spots:
Jimbaran Beach at sunset
Jimbaran Beach at sunset
Jimbaran is an excellent place to stay for a few days and enjoy sun and sea. The sea can be rough at times with huge waves. The beach is especially attractive late afternoon when Indonesians come to enjoy the fresh wind and see the sunset. Bus loads disgorge their passengers, but the beach is wide and there is enough space for everybody. During the daytime the beach is almost deserted. Some of the fish restautrants rent out sun-umbrellas and sunbeds.

The town of Jimbaran is also worth exploring. The fruit and vegetable market is a lively affair and sells lots of exotic fruits. There are two supermarkets. The ATM is next to the Minimart supermarket.

What's really great:
Denpasar Centre
Denpasar Centre

Dark blue bemos (mini buses) run along Jl Raya Uluwatu and terminate at Denpasar's Tegal bemo terminal. From here it is a ten-minute walk to the city centre.

Denpasar is Bali's capital and a middle-sized town with roaring motorbikes and congested roads. In spite of air pollution and noise I would label it as a pleasant town. No exceptional sights but sufficient places to see daily life.

Most Indonesian towns have a central gardenlike public square the alun alun. Denpasar is no exception. On the northern edge is a bronze statue commemorating the Puputan. The Royal family committed mass suicide rather than submit to Dutch colonial demands. A black-and-white photo series of this event can be seenin the Bali Museum.

Bali Museum on the alun alun is interesting because of the building itself and the exhibits. It consists of 4 buildings situated in courtyards full of tropical flowers. My favourite is Gedung Tabanan whose theme is music and dance.

Pasar Kumbasari
Pasar Kumbasari

Pasar Badung is a traditional market and a cornucopia of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and all kind of household articles. One section is devoted to spices. On the second floor a large display of souvenirs. Persistant self-appointed guides who attach themselves to tourists like clinging foil prevented us from browsing at leisure.

Pasar Kumbasari is the wholesale market for souvenir and supplier to shops in Kuta, Ubud and other tourist centres. Sales people are busy polishing and varnishing wood carvings. Row after row of Ubud paintings, sarongs in all colours and designs and therefore this is the best place to buy souvenirs; wide selection and best price.

Jalan Sulawesi is in one entire street full of shops, wholesale and retail, selling textiles. Counters festooned with sarongs in all hues of brown and gold. Rainbow coloured silks and cottons are draped along the walls. A perfect place to browse and an excellent place to buy.

Villa Puri Royan
Villa Puri Royan
Villa Puri Royan is a complex built around a swimming pool. It offers accommodation in 2-storey villas (each villa is on one floor). These are very comfortable with homely furnishing. These can also be rented for a long stay. The ordinary rooms are in the main building. They have a balcony, a veranda are spacious but sparsely furnished and are excellent value. Breakfast is included; a choice of toast and egg, American style pancakes or mie goreng (fried noodles).

The hotel is situated on 99 Jl Pantai Sari, a very quiet side street that leads from the main road to the beach road. At the corner of the street towards the sea is internet access.

If this hotel is full it is good to know that there are two other hotels in this street. More hotels on the south side of the town, but these are all up-market and booked by foreign tour groups. I suppose it is not difficult to find a room as an independent traveller because when we were in Jimbaran there were hardly any tourists

Jimbaran travelogue picture
On our second day in Jimbaran the temple-round-the-corner celebrated an odalan. This is a ceremony in commemoration of the founding of a temple. It is a social and spectacular religious event. They are held once a Balinese year, which counts 210 days.

Each town and village has three main temples. Add to this that every village/town association, council, irrigation committee, clan, society and family has their own temple and therefore an odalan. I read that in the whole island there are about 70 odalan every day of the year. This may well be true because during our 5-day stay we attended three.

The most spectacular one was in Jimbaran's main temple; Pura Ulun Siwi on Jl Raya Uluwatu, an important thoroughfare. But an odalan is more important and the road was closed to all traffic.

Barong and devotees watching the dance
Barong and devotees watching the dance
A crowd of devotees had gathered. Everybody was dressed in formal sarong, including the children. Women entered the temple with fruit-and-flower offerings balancing on their heads. Fathers, mothers, grandparents and children lined the street, waiting for something. We joined them, but did not know for what we were waiting. Then the barong appeared followed by masked dancers.

A barong is a large hairy beast who represents the forces of good. Two men hide inside the huge costume, one acting as hind legs the other as front legs. The front leg dancer is the main dancer who also manipulates the barong's mask so that his teeth rattle.

The barong dance is a fight between good and evil. In the end the two forces remain as strong as ever and ready to clash again. A satisfying ending because it means that the dance can start all over again, like a never ending story.

Cluster of Seafood Restaurants
Cluster of Seafood Restaurants
Three clusters of seafood barbecue restaurants line the beach. These used to be simple warungs, but all of them have been renovated and are now up-market restaurants with fish tanks and fresh fish. Tables and chairs are set out on the beach. The day's catch is barbecued over fires of coconut husks. All restaurants have the same menu, all have the same choice of fish.

At sunset the beach is enveloped in clouds of smoke and walking along the beach is not very pleasant this time of day. Not only because of the smoke but also because it is the job of one waiter in each restaurant to show the menu to passers-by and persuade them to have a meal.

Fish is priced by 100g and prices start at 600 Rp. (€ 0,50 in 2007). Trade was slow and all restaurants offered 30 – 40% discounts. When we asked if this was not a bit drastic because they would not make any profit, one waiter showed us another pricelist, the one given to Indonesian tourists. Prices were 30 – 40% lower than the tourist price

Other recommendations:
Yesterday's Offerings
Yesterday's Offerings
The next day a heap of rubbish in front of the temple; empty baskets, trodden banana-leaf boxes, trampled fruit represented yesterday's offerings now scavenged by birds and dogs.

Offerings consist of fruit, rice flower petals and incense which is wafted heavenwards so that the god can enjoy the gift. Once the joss sticks are extinguished, the offering has lost its holiness and therefore it was no sacrilege that the birds and dogs feasted on it.

Published on Sunday May 20th, 2007

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Mon, Oct 27 2008 - 05:19 AM rating by tokyomike

Fantastic report! I'm trying to get pre-trip intel and this report was really what I was looking for (I'm basically comparison shopping for beaches at the moment.) And what a great ending, with the waiter 'fessing up to the dual pricing. It's the same in Thailand for many things -- and even at local prices they're still making a profit.

Anyway, excellent report. Thanks very much!

Wed, May 30 2007 - 01:52 AM rating by akhila

Hi Marianne,
Pretty detailed and well illustrated. Thanks for sharing.

Mon, May 28 2007 - 11:07 PM rating by downundergal

I agree with Sanur they have ruined it.
I wonder if Jimbaran was empty due to it's reputation of the site of the last bomb blast - I know it shook up Australia as we lost so many there. It's a pity as the beach dining was really great - I still prefer the Amed area though.

Sat, May 26 2007 - 03:12 PM rating by eirekay

Marianne, I am fascinated by the Barong - it must have been very cool to see this ceremony and dancing. As always, you have such wonderful descriptions!


Fri, May 25 2007 - 02:20 PM rating by mistybleu

Marianne, this is a really interesting read.

Fri, May 25 2007 - 02:25 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii mari ,nice to read report from you ,so this year you planned east asia for tour?

Mon, May 21 2007 - 02:19 PM rating by rangutan

Excellent [4.65], I like the way you are able to positively report on negative aspects; exploring, accepting and enjoying the place just like it is! We hope to see some of your photos in the main gallery too. (As "plane-spotter", I would certainly accept the proximity to the airport :-)

Mon, May 21 2007 - 09:13 AM rating by frenchfrog

Very detailed report, real nice thanks for sharing your experience, it was a pleasure to read.

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