Bali and Siem Reap Plan

Dec 29th, 2009, 06:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 59
Bali and Siem Reap Plan

Hi. Thanks for all the advice so far. I successfully booked award tickets today so it is now time for me to fill in the details.

I'm traveling with my sister. We are both pretty active, in our 40s, fit and open to new experiences. We love culture, art, treking, snorkling, kayaking, sailing, and just hanging out with a good bottle of wine! We are independent travelers and don't enjoy group tours.

We are traveling in May. We fly from LAX to DPS with a short connection in BKK.

We have 8 nights scheduled for Bali - but no specific plans yet. We were thinking five nights in Ubud with a splurge on accomodations. We would love to have river views and private out door space. We typically start our trips with a lot of catching up so a beautiful setting is ideal. Any recommendations on accomodations? I looked into Luxury Link (I've had a fantastic experience through Luxury Link in the past) and it looked like high end would run around 275 USD a night if I bought through the auctions. Any recommendations? I'm not oppossed to spending less

While in Ubud we would like to mostly explore on our own. But would like to plan at least one day with a guide. Any recommendations of who to use as a guide and what to use a guide for (what is difficult to do without a guide or what situation do you really benefit from guided commentary).

With the remaining three nights on Bali , I would like to spend time at the beach and do some snorkeling and kayaking. I'm really interested in an off-the-beaten path or Robinson Caruso type expereince. I'm considering north west coast, Menjangan Island, or the Gili Islands. Does anyone have experience with accomodations, snorkeling, and travel from Ubud? I'm hoping to spend a little bit less on this leg to make up for the splurge in Ubud. Night life and shopping are not important for this part of the trip but in addition to the adventure, affordable massage, spa and libations would be nice

We then fly from DPS to BKK. From here we are wide open. We have five more nights.

I'm interested in three days in Siem Reap / Angkor Wat. I'm debating if we should spend two nights on Bangkok or just overnight in Bangkok for our flight to Siem Reap and spend the extra night in Siem Reap. we have to overnight in Bangkok due to airline schedule. My son and his girlfriend both strongly recommend Siem Reap over Bangkok but I'm not sure how much this has to do with enjoying the affordability of Cambodia vs. Thailand. Any recommendation on a guide for Angkor? We will probably only use a guide one day. I'm the type of person that just enjoys soaking up the vibe of a place and I do not need to know the details of each place. Quiet time to just appreciate the beauty is important to me.

Recommendations for a hotel in Siem Reap? We would like a pool and easy access to town.

We fly back to LAX in the evening so can easily travel back to Bangkok that day.

I can probably change the DPS - BKK flight so that I could add extra time in Bali or take time from Bali.

So advice on our schedule, where to stay, guides is greatly appreciated.

Also, massage and spa are planned to be a daily experience so recommendations for great (and affordable) Spas in all locations would be very helpful.

EmptyNest is offline  
Dec 31st, 2009, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,758
There are quite a few options for rooms with a view in the Ubud area. I’m not familiar with Luxury Link’s discounting so can’t tell where these would fall in relation to your guideline but for ambience and setting I’d recommend the Alila Ubud and Kupu Kupu Barong. Como Shambhala is off the charts for natural beauty and stunning architecture but may be too pricey.

I’ve used Sangputu at the Alila as a trekking guide on several occasions. He’s very knowledgeable about local flora and off the beaten path places. I think you can benefit a lot from a guide’s input both for nature oriented treks and for admission to village ceremonies.

I like Menjangan Island in North Bali for snorkeling. There are several places in Pemuteran. If you’re into splurge Puri Ganesha is outstanding. Even if you don’t stay there have a meal at their restaurant. In the more moderate range look at Taman Sari and Amertha.

I would note, however, that the beach in Pemuteran is very rocky and unappealing. The draws are the Menjangan reefs (you take a boat to the island) and the nature preserve.

I’m less enthusiastic about the Gilis though some of the recent development seems promising. Lombok itself has some nice beaches.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen kayaking in Bali. Massage and spa treatments are everywhere.
marmot is online now  
Dec 31st, 2009, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
In Ubud, the choice is in town or out of town. The deluxe places like the Four Seasons are out of town and have beautiful views. You will need transport to get into Ubud. If you stay in town, you call pop out whenever you want and soak up the Ubud lifestyle. Take a look at the Alam Shanti. We loved it.

For a guide in Siem Reap, many have loved Ponheary or Dara, who can be reached at [email protected]. Also take a look at for a foundation started by a faithful Fodorite, Offwego.

I would spend at least one full day in Bangkok. It is a truly magical place.
Gpanda is offline  
Dec 31st, 2009, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,930
putu is a good guide for bali...he is based in ubud...he is often written up here...

i second the alam shanti....we are trying it again this year as well as kajane mua in ubud...

if you decide to just stay one nite in bkk look at the novotel at the airport...

my personal impression is that life is much more expensive in siem reap than in bangkok, especially the hotels...

you need a driver for angkor, even if you do not want a guide for the whole time...which i personally think is a mistake...

sanur is a good beach place in bali also....also look at the conrad hotel in the south not far from the airport...
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 31st, 2009, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,758
rhkkmk, I'm going to Siem Reap for the first time later this of month. I haven't really started concentrating on gathering information, but since Empty Nest asked: Do you mean that having a guide for the whole time is a mistake or NOT having a guide for the the whole time is a mistake?
marmot is online now  
Jan 1st, 2010, 03:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,418
Hi Marmot

I hope if you have time you'll be in touch while you're in Siem Reap. I owe you at least one beverage for all the helpful advise you've given me over the last couple of years....

[email protected]

By the way, Andy can't stop disseminating bad intel; Ponheary's email address is [email protected]

offwego is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 04:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,930
what i am saying is that it is very hot in SR, hotter than in bkk usually....without a car to cool down between stops i never would have made the circle of visits....

our guide gave us way too much info... i found it interferred with my enjoyment of the temples....but they do give lots of advantages as well--- they take you to the least populated entrances, show you the top ten sites + in every temple... give you hints for pics.... tell little fun stories....
we had the guide for our whole time except when we walked around in the town itself... sometimes we kept the driver at nite to take us out to dinner and back...

its the best money you spend in SR---driver first and guide 2nd...

most cars are toyota camrys--older ones, but comfortable...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,930
i really did not answer it is not a mistake

i asked my wife to tell the guide to cut back to essential info...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,777
marmot, I think whether or not to get a guide depends on you. I'd been reading about Angkor since I was a child, And I did an intensive study of Dawn Rooney's book before we went. So we opted not to get a guide, just a car and driver. It was perfect for us - but it's not perfect for everyone. We loved the temples where we were the only visitors and could just soak up the atmosphere - not sometime one does with a guide. Cheryl has a background in architecture, and between the two of us, we had lots and lots of info. We also found that Dawn Rooney's book was complete and detailed enough that were we able to find important bas reliefs easily, such as the Churning of the Sea of Milk.

Some people like to have a guide just a day or two, some like a guide for the whole time. You do (always) have to let your guide know what you want - endless detail or a cursory explanation or something in between.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2010, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
Hi Emptynest

It sounds as if you have a great trip planned.
I've used luxurylink several times, with great results, but did not use them for my Bali trip this past summer. That being said, I do like the looks of Villa Semana on the LL website.

For your beach experience, I can recommend Gili Trawangan. I spent 2-3 days there last summer. The fast ferry from Bali is a quick 2 hour trip. The island is very pretty, and there are no cars or scotters on the island: only horse drawn carts. Or, one can walk around the entire island in an hour or 2.
On Gili T, I'd take a look at either or
Both are well run, small inns on the quieter part of the island. Do let me know if you have any other questions about the Gilis, as there aren't many comments on here about them.
cruisinred is offline  
Feb 7th, 2010, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,880
Hotel on Gili T Scallywags
Transport Gilicat about 100 U.S roundtrip takes about 1 1/2 hr.

hope it helps
laartista is offline  

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