Don't waste your time when you're on holiday in Bali. Find out the over-hyped spots to avoid (and where to go instead).
Padangtegal Monkey Forest in Ubud
The temples on the site are considered sacred, but the place is marketed as a 'monkey forest sanctuary' due to the presence of the Balinese long-tailed macaques. There was a time when it was accessible only to the locals, but now it's a major tourist attraction, and the monkeys will boldly snatch fruit and shiny items like specs and hair clips off you. Even the locals have difficulty dealing with them. The monkeys venture off the grounds, so save the cost of the entrance fee and catch the critters outside if you really want to.
This area on the south-east peninsula of Bali was constructed as luxury resort enclave and could be anywhere in the world. If you're after any old Hilton, than this is the place for you. But for similar levels of luxury in a more natural, Balinese setting, head to the rice fields, valleys and tropical gardens, of Ubud's accommodation options.
Boutiques selling labels such as Billabong, Quiksilver and Just Jeans wrestle for the tourist dollar with shops selling Indonesian-made products, bars that blare loud music, and booths selling local tours. This entire scene is no different from similar tourist streets in Bangkok, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur or Koh Phangan. Once you've seen one, you've seen them all.
Originally a produce market for locals, these days the stalls inside are stocked with souvenirs, clothing and handicrafts priced more than 10 times the original cost. Everything spills out on to the walkways, obstructing the airflow and making it difficult to browse without breaking out in a sweat. It's now more of a colourful spectacle that caters to tourists look for your traditional market
experience elsewhere, like at Badung Market in Denpasar or Sukawati Market
in Gianyar. But if you really must have that "Bintang" T-shirt, buy it from the stalls outside the main market there you'll get a much better price.
Dolphin tours in Lovina
While it sounds thrilling to spot dolphins at the break of dawn, you're sure to find yourself sharing one of 30 traditional wooden fishing boats with two to five other travellers, the lot of you chasing after every fin or tail that breaks the surface. A much better option is to go snorkelling in the clear waters of Lovina on your own where you can check out the colourful, healthy coral (and perhaps even one of the famed finned ones).
Established in 1969, Made's Warung has lost its authenticity as a local warung
, or eating place, and boomed into a gathering point for tourists, locals and expats who simply want to be seen. Head here if that's for you, but you can find more authentic warungs
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