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on 11 March 2008
Took this book on our Honeymoon to Bali in September. Absolutely essential tool for finding the huge number of hidden treasures. We were at Nusa Dua which was poorly covered, but bare in mind that the Lonely books are for your globe trotting surfer.
But the rest of the island was very well covered and gave some great detail on the main attractions.
The Island guide was very useful giving details of local customs and amenities.
Would make sure this is in your pocket when you go.
A few tips
1. Watch the "helpers" at the airport, they will swamp you at the conveyor and fleece you for the pleasure of carrying your bag. Just say no.
2. If you are at one of the big resorts/ hotel complexes, hire you first taxi through the hotel. Then get talking to the driver who will happily pick you up outside the gates for 1/3 of the price. Full day tour was £20. Not bad for 14 hours out and about.
3. The guide will take you to places where he gets a cut, but they are still cheap places to go and you would never find them normally.
4. Get to the North of the Island, rainforest, monkeys and some amazing view
5. Save your money for a trip to the Ubud "Art Market". It is not an art market but a great place to pick up absolutely everything.
6. If you ask a guide he will take you to the outskirts of Ubud where the small workshops back onto shop front. Prepare for some major bargains.
7. Haggle Haggle Haggle, then Haggle some more. Always ask for an afternoon price then the ultimate walk way price! But don't start bantering if you ain't buying.
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on 29 November 2006
Had the lonely planet SE asia book but had to buy this one because Bali is not covered in enough detail in the big bible. Found it to be useful and wouldn't want to have gone without it but at the same time I didn't find it absolutely essential. There are so many hotels, restaurants, sightseeing tours, spa places that you can easliy figure out online or when you're there. Book gives you good idea / general directions of bali (also of where to go/what places are like) and the rest - you can figure out when you're there ;)
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on 3 September 2011
We visited Bali during Summer 2011 and found this to be a brilliant guidebook (referring to the Mar 2011 edition; note confusingly that many reviews on this page are for older publications). It's written by people who clearly adore Bali - descriptions of destinations are colourful, vivid, and highly sympathetic. The culture and context pages at the back of the book are outstandingly comprehensive, and are filled with illustrations and diagrams - of a Balinese family compound, for example - alongside interesting facts and tidbits on the unique Balinese culture. As a little taster of the type of titbits, you might be interested to know that Balinese adolescents undergo a tooth-filing ceremony in their late teens, to flatten their canine teeth. Why? Because evil spirits have pointy teeth, of course!

Additionally, this is a 'new style' Lonely Planet with a more modern layout (which I think is much clearer and easier to browse, although my partner hates it). It's filled with excellent quality maps and nice touches, such as two mapped half-day walks around Ubud, which were really fun to do.

The only problems we encountered with this book were out of the hands of the authors.

Problem 1: It's a victim of its own success. During Summer 2011, literally 95% of all visitors on the island had this guide due to a lack of competition from other publishers. This meant that listed spots could get lazy - or getaway with astronomical prices.

Problem 2: The authors may love Bali a little too much. They tend to gloss over some of the islands weak-points (in high season, at least): the almost-total gridlock on the roads of South Bali; Costa-del-Sol style overdevelopment in Kuta and south of the island; the fact that public transport is a nightmare. Additionally, there are environmental time-bombs ticking on the Rinjani trek on Lombok (see TripAdvisor for some depressing commentary on the conservation of the site), which the guide entirely glosses over.

Despite this, I was really impressed with this guide and would heartily recommend - until other competing publishers choose to publish something on the island.
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on 23 March 2013
I'm a big fan of independent travel and I regularly use either Lonely Planet or Rough Guides depending upon the most recent date of publish for trips around SE Asia.

I bought this guide ahead of a 2 week solo trip around Bali in February. These are my major criticisms:
1. It fails to mention that much of the Balinese tourism ideas are built around Australian tourists - with Australian budgets. I like to travel with Aussies very much, but there was no mention that they are the dominant tourists to the island and costs are targeted to what they can afford.

2. Nowhere was it mentioned that travel around Bali can be challenging. There is no public bus, train or any form of transportation. The main mode of transportation is taxi, and for a single British (ie not Australian tourist with Aussie dollars) tourist, this can start to become rather pricey.

3. Day trips are an alien concept. As a backpacker, I often go on day trips to meet other like-minded travellers. In Bali, you are actively encouraged to hire a driver and get them to take you to the sights. Alone, this is both expensive and awkward - being a single girl and having to make small talk about football teams and weather in the UK all day rather than meeting like-minded travellers is anything but fun.

4. The book did nothing but bang on about how busy it is in Bali - I was expecting the throng to almost carry me along the pavements! Though my experience was the complete opposite - I was wondering where all the holiday makers were! I was advised that I was travelling in low season (I knew this - I figured I may just escape without being actually crushed to death by the masses!) and that the level of occupancy was usual. Many businesses close altogether in January and February because it is so quiet - yet the LP made no mention of it at all.

5. Pricing in hotels was off by quite some margin - around 1/3. Advised by many hoteliers that they were old prices (1-2 years ago) There are so few low budget recommendations and generally, without a reservation (even in low season) were full. Surely those with higher budgets don't waste their time with guide books - that's the travel agent's job??

6. My gripe with all LP hotel choices: too few hotels/guesthouses/hostels listed for each location, generally not as clean as mentioned, and honestly, the budget ones are not that nice (yet the reviews imply that they are). I've often found much nicer accomodation myself without doing much legwork. Surely the guide is supposed to find the best?!

7. The guide painted an overly rosey impression of Bali - it was alright, but it definitely got oversold in this guide.

Lonely Planet really do need to raise their game. I've taken to using websites like Seat 61, Trip Advisor, LP's own Thorntree Forum and Wikitravel to do my research as I have found them less biased, more up to date and bursting with 10 times the info that is given in the book. Yes, it either requires the free wifi that abounds in SE Asia, or a bit of time before travelling, but what's the alternative? Standing in the street in the rain, looking for somewhere of either acceptable standard or within your budget as the guidebook had got it wrong again?
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on 6 August 2010
It seems that Lonely Planet has not been there them self. In several occasions the descriptions did not match the reality. We talked with a guy how could prove that the Lonely Planet did not visit the places. I have been happy to use Lonely Planet on other vacations, but on Bali it was waste of money.
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on 27 August 2011
Lonely Planet is resting on its laurels: it has essentially recycled old material without having revisited and rechecked the restaurants and hotels it recommends. As a result, prices and descriptions are badly out of date. Many of their top recommendations are really no longer "first in class" and they have missed out on the newer places - some of which are much nicer and better value than what is recommended here. A pity. Boutique hotels - especially in the North of the Island - are not covered at all. I'd wait for the new Rough Guide (out in October 2011) and, in any event, use Tripadvisor.
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on 8 July 2009
Very informative book full of useful tips and advice. Very useful on recent 2 week Bali trip, maps for all main towns especially helpful. Currency, health and language advice also. Recommended.
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on 31 October 2003
I have been fortunate to have visited Bali and my Lonely Planet Guide has now acompanied me to Indonesia twice.
It was a useful reference especially for deciding what to visit. Any mention of a new place, however small, my Lonely Planet Guide was there to guide me along the way.
I would definitely reccommend this book to anybody traveliing to Bali!
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on 9 July 2011
We went to Bali and the Gilis for only 2 weeks, but managed to travel around alot with the help of this guide. It was only published a few months ago so was up to date with most things, which is commendable for a country where things are developing so quickly. We used the suggestions for places to stay and eat in several of the places we visited. Some of the restaurants it suggested were great, namely The Three Monkeys in Ubud. It was wrong however, on a couple of things such as room rates, for example, it said some rooms were available for 40,000 Rp in a particular homestays, but when we finally found it (choosing it based on cheapness) the cheapest room was actually more than triple that at 125,000. Also, costs vary alot between peak and low season, so take some of the pricing in the book with a pinch of salt.

Maps were useful as it is difficult to find good, reliable maps in Bali. It also has a section in the front about how much to expect to pay taxi drivers for certain distances - this is invaluable because almost every taxi driver in Bali will try and charge you more than double what you should really pay. Especially when picking you up from the airport when you arrive, make sure you stick by the book and work out how much you should pay for your journey!

We agreed with most of the reviews of the towns we visited. Overall a very helpful guide, I intend to take it with me next time I go, without a doubt.
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on 21 June 2012
Layout old fashioned, more difficult to follow than others and content appears scant. It really makes me wonder if they've bothered updating the material all that much. I have and have used abroad 7 different copies of the lonely planet and I should have read these reviews before buying this. Also it's like it's made from cheap paper - looks and feels different to all my others
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