Bali and where else?

Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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Bali and where else?

We just came back from Bali last weekend. We absolutely loved Ubud, and enjoyed the quiet, relaxing beach town of Sanur!! Can't believe we waited this long to visit one of the most lush, friendly and spiritual places in the world. We're planning to return to Bali next year for a week as a side trip.

I'm trying to decide where to go before the Bali leg. We've been to Thailand 3 times, VN 3 times, Siem Reap, and China once. I was considering Yangshuo/Lijiang in China...or Thailand again but not Samui, Phuket or Chiang Mai since we've already been there...or possibly the eastern part of Malaysia for the beautiful islands. China and Thailand, I'm more familiar with but Malaysia I'm pretty clueless. Plus, it's a Muslim country, isn't it? Anything to worry about being an American? Would any of these be pretty easy to do as far as logistics? Would I be flying into China on Cathay, EVA then fly from there to Bali? We plan to take 3 weeks for both countries.

Thank you in advance for your help!
paigeTN is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:56 AM
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you might consider singapore.....or lombok island just next to bali---qunci suites is excellent there...

langkawi in malaysia
a combo of K/L and Malecca in malaysia

bangkok
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 12:20 PM
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There are many options in Malaysia - a huge variety - and ther are many options in Indonesia. Both Malaysia and Indonesia are predominately Muslim countries. In my many years of traveling to both countries, I've been welcomed warmly.

In general, I'd suggest satying in the same general area for the rest of your trip, so elsewhere in Indonesia or somehwer in malayis or Singapore would be a good combination and would minimize your additional flight time.

Singapore is an interesting city and a good sidetrip with Bali.

Bob's suggestion for Lombok is a good one if you are looking for another beach. Also in Indonesia, you might consider cental Java for the amazing Borobudor and Prambanam.

Malaysia has lovely beaches, but also interesting historic ports like Meleka and Georgetown in Penang. I also loved Kuching, in Sarawak as well as seeing Orangutans in Sabah. You might be interested in my Borneo trip report and my Penang trip report to give you some ideas. Jsut click on my name and you'll find my trip reports listed in my profile.

If you opt to stay in this area, you'd likely want to fly on Singapore Air.

If you opt for time in China, Cathay Pacific would fly you into Hong Kong. EVA Air, based in Taiwan does not fly in/out of China, only Taiwan.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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Time of year may make a big difference. Thailand beaches and Bali beaches are, more or less, reverse as far as weather wise. The former great for winter, the latter, for the summer. And yes, SIN is a great addition, but only for a few days most likely. You can even drive to KL from SIN if you have an extra couple of days.
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Old Jun 10th, 2009, 08:32 PM
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I agree that time of year would make a huge difference, esp if you plan a beach holiday in other parts of Asia, or want to avoid having to pack winter clothes for Lijiang if you go in say November. See weatherbase.com and other weather websites for rain and temp info.

Logistics to China from Bali are actually not that great, as there is little tourist traffic to Bali from the PRC. I don’t believe that there are any non-stops to/from any city other than Guangzhou, which unless flight price is all you care about means IMO that you should include a stop in Hong Kong (as Guangzhou holds little for the tourist). Hong Kong has a lot to see and do so it’s certainly a pleasant addition and makes for easy transit from the PRC and on to Bali (although personally time of year here makes a huge difference too; we have a lot of rain in the summer months).

I agree that Malaysia would be very interesting, and can easily be combined with Singapore. There is the cheap Air Asia service to/from Bali and Kuala Lumpur. And you can fly/train/bus or hire a car drive down to Singapore. Malaysia is one of the few countries in Asia in which I would recommend self-drive (Hong Kong and Singapore being the two others, but a car is not at all necessary in those). It’s left hand drive but otherwise road conditions are good and drivers quite sane. If you rent and go to or from Singapore, I would suggest renting or dropping in Johor Bahru Malaysia just on the Malay side of the bridge into Singapore, as this should be cheaper and inter-country will save drop off charges.

I also agree that other parts of Indonesia would be quite interesting too. There is some good non-stop service to and from Japan (Bali is quite popular with Japanese tourists), and it’s not much longer a flight than to or from Thailand, so you might consider Japan as well.

I would not have any concerns in Malaysia with your safety or being American. Other than perhaps Jakarta (and that is more related to street demonstrations in the past and which were not aimed at Americans), I would not have any concerns in Indonesia.

You really have quite a lot of choice. Time of year, flight schedules and your interests would probably be the deciding factors. I mean really, with good use of time, and at the right time of year, you could even consider India and Bali (10 hours from Delhi or Mumbai to Denpasar via a change in Singapore or KL, which is the same flight time as going from Beijing or Shanghai to Denpasar).
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 06:13 PM
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Thank you everyone for your input! We'll save Yangshuo/Lijiang for another time. We spent 4 days in HK on our last trip, before Bali, so Malaysia or Japan would make great main trips, and Bali/Lombok for the rest of our 3-week vacation. I've already started reading on Malaysia, and do have a guidebook on Japan so I'll start reading that too. I don't know much about Japan, only that it's very expensive, so though we don't care for tours, we might do a Japan tour just to make our lives easier.

We're even considering Thailand since we enjoyed the few times we've been there. But if we go again, it would be nice to check out other islands other than Samui and Phuket. Any recommendations you may have on which island to visit that's pretty, easy to reach, has great small bungalows and restaurants would be much appreciated.

We're looking at 2 possible trips, one during the Xmas season this year since my company shuts down during that time, and April/May next year. I'll definitely check the weather.
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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Japan in December is going to be in winter and quite cold, not necessarily anything wrong with that, as long as you are dressed for it. And if you are a skier, you might consider skiing there as well in the north, which is supposed to have great skiing and tons of powder most years. If you go in April/May, chances would be good I think that you would be there for cherry blossom festival which could be interesting. I find that other than Tokyo, which is expensive, you can find places in Japan which are not exorbitantly expensive. I am not a big fan of Tokyo anyway, other than to see a huge, huge city that is so clean and orderly (how do they do it?) Any Tokyo lit up for Christmas is quite something I must say (e.g. Roppongi). But I would say to spend time in smaller places, esp Kyoto which is more traditional Japan.
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 09:08 PM
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each island has its own interesting parts...phuket is quite large with many different areas..

the month you are going can make a big difference as each coast has different weather patterns...

another option is hua hin...

air asia offers great transport from bali to bkk or other places through k/l....cheap too...
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Old Jun 15th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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Paige, I agree with Cicerone that you will want to consider weather in your choices. Personally, I wouldn't want to haul one suitcase of winter clothes and one of tropical clothes on a trip. Since you have two trips, I'd choose tropical places for the Xmas one (but book ASAP, it's the highest season) and temperate places for April/May (Japan and a side trip).
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