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Frommer's Bali and Lombok (Frommer′s Complete Guides) Paperback – 5 Mar 2010
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From the Back Cover
Hungry wave seekers can find breaks in Bali and Lombok′s waters every day of the year. See chapters 5 and 15. Detailed maps throughout Exact prices, directions, opening hours,and other practical information Candid reviews of hotels and restaurants,plus sights, shopping, and nightlife Itineraries, walking tours, and trip–planning ideas Insider tips from local expert authors
About the Author
An intrepid traveler by nature, Mary Justice Thomasson–Croll left the States after 2 years with an NBC news affiliate to take up a post with the Hong Kong bureau. She spent 18 glorious years covering the incredible evolution of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Six years ago MJ (as she is known to friends) moved to Bali and has since fallen in love with the island and its gentle people and ways that are a far cry from her former city life. Writing from her bijoux house on the beach, MJ posts to many publications that include Travel + Leisure, Tatler, the South China Morning Post, and Luxe Guides. MJ holds a degree from Christie’s Fine Arts in London, as well as a BA from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is currently working on a screenplay loosely based on the events surrounding the handover and hangover of Hong Kong in 1997.
Top customer reviews
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It does not have quite the spread of accommodation options, and its idea of "inexpensive" in that area often includes listings of places charging 50 US dollars a night, which in backpacking terms is unrealistic: however its suggestions as to activities and places to visit is much better and has greater depth.
It has some accommodation suggestions in more unusual places that I haven't found elsewhere, and its general advice relating to a good spread of topics such as vehicle rental, local custom, money exchange, religious beliefs, touts and rip-offs etc. etc. is clearly written by authors who have been there and know what they are talking about. It conveys information in an excellent use of written language...you get a clear mental picture of what is being described.
There are excellent suggestions for families with children.
In my opinion this book plus Rough Guide (or similar)and a decent map of Bali and Lombok (all of which I have bought via this website - always get the latest editions) would give you enough ammunition to see you through to a successful visit.
Be aware that the siting of the international airport on Lombok is NOT now at Mataram but much further inland and south at Praya: this can seriously change your travel planning, and neither this book nor any other at time of writing this has really got to grips with this change. Given that this book is a 2012 edition, this is a serious oversight.
This guide is probably written for those more well-heeled than the average but this must not put you off buying it because much of what is contained is about activities and places that are completely free to do and visit: not everyone is like me, looking to find somewhere for our family of 4 to stay, eat and drink for less than £12 each a day! If you followed this book's average suggestions you'd probably be up for double that. But, even that is fine for most people.
It's a good read from front to back. Steve Riches, Northampton, UK.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Pros: 1) The book is divided into local regions, something that is extremely helpful when traveling to Bali. Staying in the right region can literally make the difference between enjoying your vacation or not understanding what all the fuss is about. For instance, Kuta is the town right outside of the airport. I found it to be overcrowded with tourists, tons of non-moving bumper-to-bumper traffic, and a seemingly endless amount of stores and boutiques that all look the same. Ubud, however, was a completely different story. Ubud is known as one of Bali's cultural centers and is home to the Sacred Monkey Forest, several talented woodcarving shops and jewelry. 2) The book does a pretty good job of explaining the most popular tourist attractions and what to expect. 3) The book does a good job of recommending activities. I wanted to do something active on my trip and the guide provided names of reputable companies that offered whitewater rafting, horseback riding and elephant rides, amongst other things.
Cons: 1) I've come to discover that the book talks about accommodations on only a small number of places that exist. I couldn't find most of the hotels where I stayed in the book, and some of them were truly nice finds. I could have missed out on them had my group not booked them for me. 2) If you're looking for off-the-beaten path locations that not many people know about, this guide would do you a disservice. I found it sticks to what's known and popular. 3) You could possibly miss out on good restaurants as not all of them are listed in the book. My foolproof method of selecting places to eat is to ask either local people (if you want an authentic meal) or other tourists.
Recommendations: 1) Use Frommer's only as a either a pre-guide or backup guide to other research. I wouldn't use this as my be-all and end-all guidebook. 2) I HIGHLY recommend using consumer-rated websites such as Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet. You're much more likely to get good insight there. 3) If you decide to purchase any type of guidebook, do NOT purchase the Kindle version. I've used both hard copies and electronic versions and the electronic version truly can be a little difficult to navigate. The one advantage I like about hard covers is the fact that different sections of the book have colored tabs along the page edges. It's much easier for you to go straight to a specific region and flip down "bunny ears" on the pages that contain the most relevant information. The one time I purchased a Kindle version I found myself reading the book cover-to-cover, something not practical with guidebooks. Trust me, I'm all about e-books but the format just doesn't work for guidebooks.
However I found it failing in two particular instances and so I now have doubts about the reliabilty of the remainder of the book.
One instance was the article on the "Lotus Pond" restaurant in Sanur of which the owner was supposed to display interesting ceramics. Unfortunately this restaurant has since disappeared.
Another was the reference for a Babi Guling ( whole roast piglet) restaurant in Jalan Sutomo in Denpasar. The inadequate location of the restaurant lead me and my wife in a hot and fruitless search along the street dodging the traffic and the deep holes of the footpath.
Based on its unreliabilty I cannot give it a better rating.