If you look for a pacific island paradise with vulcanoes, jungle, relaxed hinduistic culture, beach life and exceptional diving Bali is probably one of the best spots to go!
As this happened last year I will stick to some very basic hints:
- If you want to dive go to Sanur! It is that plain simple. North-west may offer exceptional macro life, North-east has this pile of debries they call a wrek but Sanur is close to Nusa Penida and there you will find everything. More on this in a detailed Blog entry.
- Book a 4+ star stay. It is expensive but it is worth the money. You can safe a lot of money by not eating at the hotel.
- Take some time to find a local trustworthy driver and let him drive you around. Explain him that you are not into the typical tourist attractions and more into the true Bali and be prepared to explain this again when you are at the first tourist attraction.
- Consider each trip outside your local village as a day trip. Driving takes forever.
- Do not allocate to much time for Ubud. It is a little over-praised and therefore over-full of people you expected to get rid off durring your vacation.You have to try the grilled porkling! …and yes, in Bali you eat with your hands and if it is not served in paper it is not the real stuff. You will love it!
- Perhaps the most important advice I gan give: do not dive with BaliScuba.com and avoid instructor Mark at any cost!
The dive center looks OK but… They have a Mark as instructor and you may have bad luck to get him as an instructor. Then you will need a lot of luck to stay alife. Even though I enjoy adventure, I do not enjoy adventures with Mark. Mark is really special and the world is small. When we talked about his early experiences with diving around New York, we quickly came to Village Divers in East Village and Cal the owner who was our dive instructor. Strangely, after finding such a coincidence he fell asleep. Probably because he did not want to accidentaly dig into his past. Ofcourse it was now even more tempting for me. I was told Mark had some serious issues with law and stuff you should not take or deal with and decided to leave the states to avoid a lifetime free but small apartment. Now he brings his great talent to where you can enjoy his approach to life in general.