Bali or Singapore???

Old Jul 10th, 2007, 09:00 PM
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Bali or Singapore???

My boyfriend and I are taking a trip next summer (May-June 2008). I need help with Southeast Asia, though. I've heard (and read) a lot of positive comments about Bali. I'm just not sure if we could possibly cut some flight time and cost by just visiting Singapore instead. Time does not allow for us to visit both.

I'm 23 and he's 25, and we are interested in immersing ourselves in the local culture and doing outdoorsy activities. Beaches are great. By this point in the trip we will probably be tired of temples and museums. He's not very big on large touristy areas, but beggers can't be choosers.

In case you are wondering, our current thoughts for the trip are:
us --> ireland --> italy --> greece? --> egypt --> kenya --> india --> nepal --> bali/singapore --> australia --> home and lots of sleep!

I'm looking for thoughts and suggestions on choosing between Bali and Singapore...as well as any tidbits or info you might want to share on the locations. But, feel free to comment on any other part of our trip if you like! Thanks so much!
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 10:34 PM
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That's a real "apples or oranges" choice. Singapore is not an "outdoorsy" place at all, so on that basis alone, I would cut it off the list.

Assuming you've already eliminated Bangkok for some reason, I'd go for Bali. Head up to Ubud and do some white-water rafting, then take in some Balinese dance.
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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Hi

I have not been to Bali but I have the impression that it is more of a sun & beach destination. Singapore is quite small and when I visited the first time I think I concluded that it was "Asia light" at least if you compare it with the rest of South East Asia. Why not try to visit Kuala Lumpur instead? Only a few hours by bus from Singapore. Here is my trip report from KL last year: http://gardkarlsen.com/malaysia_kuala_lumpur.htm

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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ashlernmatt, These two places couldn't be more different. Singapore is a modern urban city/state. Bali is a mostly rural third world resort island.

Bali seems to offer everything you're looking for (beaches + outdoorsy activities + culture). It's much more than sun and sand though as it has a vibrant culture -- performing arts, handicrafts, religious rituals -- plus profoundly beautiful natural scenery.

You'll most likely transit through Singapore on your way from Nepal to Bali so you could spend a day or two there, see Singapore then head on to Bali.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 01:19 AM
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Wow, 9 countries, 4 continents and only 60 days, and in the very hottest months in some of those places, esp India and Egypt and potentially Greece and Italy if the last few summers are anything to go by. That is only 7 days only in each country, not counting travel time to and from, and the distances between (or within) some of your destinations are pretty vast and road/train/air systems are not really modern and efficient in several of them.....I am exhausted thinking about it. I could spend the 2 months in EACH of the places on your list. India alone easily could take 2 months, and of course Italy is a place where I could happily stay for 2 years. You may want to do a little paring down of this list......otherwise IMO this trip will be a huge blur of places all mixed together.

I would generally agree that if you want outdoor activities and beaches, Bali is a better choice over Singapore. However, in those months, you might also consider the east coast of Malaysia, esp if you are flying into Singapore as part of an onward journey to Australia. Great beaches along the east coast, great little islands for diving and snorkeling. Many outdoor activities. Finer beaches than Bali for sure, but of course not the same lovely culture (nice people though, but not the sort of magic which Bali has).
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 04:48 AM
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I'd definitely pick Singapore. Lots to see; Sentosa Island, Jurong Bird Park, theme parks, etc. Not real beaches though. Bali has nice beaches, but with people trying to sell you trash wandering back and forth on them.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 04:57 AM
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Definitely Bali. Singapore is a big modern city that has little outdoors or local culture. It is one big modern international shopping mall with a lot of very good restaurants and deluxe modern hotels.Bali is gorgoeus, has lots of outdoor activities and incredible local culture -- perhaps both more than almost anyplace else in asia. To me there is no competition.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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bali would also be my choice....singapore is nice but its just another city and so clean and anticeptic---bordering on boring....no outdoors stuff at all...
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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I also vote for Bali. My trip report on Singapore was headed "Disneyland Asia". I enjoyed the night safari, the temples, and I did find a beach (near Changi prison), but Bali would be a more interesting choice. Although I'd try to avoid Kuta.

I agree with cicerone that this itinerary leaves me breathless. BTW, I would expect Bali to be cheaper than Singapore, which I found fairly expensive.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 04:34 PM
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Sorry not to confuse you guys by the itinerary. We aren't actually planning to do extensive viewing of the countries. We've picked 1 city (or nearby attractions) for the focus of our visit. IE: in India, we plan to visit only Delhi and check out the Taj in nearby Agra. This is kind of like an "intro to places we might like to spend more time at later." But at the same time, I will soon be out of school and my line of work doesn't necessarily allow for lots of vacations. We are trying to make the most of the time we have. But THANKS! so much for you suggestions. Keep them coming!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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I've been to both places and have spent a lot of time in and taken many trips to Singapore. I do not find Singapore boring at all. In the Treasures and Pleasures travel book to Singapore, in the back there's a list of 101 things to do in Singapore. I haven't done them all and I've been going there almost annually since the 90s. Just get past Orchard Rd. where a lot of folks seem to get stuck and then base a lot about Singapore on that experience.
However, for what you're looking for, Bali might be best for you. How many days are you talking about spending in either Bali or Singapore? Happy Travels!
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:04 PM
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I personally would skip Nepal in favour of Bhutan, having been to both I think Bhutan is more beautiful and more serene and has far fewer tourists. The chaos of Katmandu versus a place like Paro is just a no-brainer to me.

You might consider REVERSING the order of this trip and doing Australia/ Asia/Africa first, leaving Europe to later in June when Greece would be better for beaches and you would have a short flight home from Ireland. Also, Asia and Africa will be the more exhausting parts of the trip, IMO, so you may want to do those in the beginning when you are fresher and leave the “easier” European traveling to the end. Australia is quite easy to travel in, but is the longest flight for you most likely, so might be good to get the longest flight over with first, recover from jet lag in an English speaking country that is easy to travel in, and then on to Asia. The heat in India and Egypt will be about the same in either month, so that does not matter IMO if you go there in May or June.

I still think it’s a lot to pack 9 countries into that space of time.

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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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Just posed this question to 16 yr old DD. "Bali hands down. Choice between High Tea or Grilled Corn on the Cob by the beach watching the sunset, Sterile Malls or interesting Balinese Markets with good natured haggling, Financial Centre vs Gentle Metaphysical Hindu Culture".
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:01 AM
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'This is kind of like an "intro to places we might like to spend more time at later."' and 'We've picked 1 city (or nearby attractions) for the focus of our visit.'

Well, I hear you, but I think there's a flaw in this plan, especially if you're more into outdoorsy things. It would be like deciding whether to revisit the US on the basis of a few days in New York.

I'm particularly concerned with making a decision on India on the basis of a visit to Delhi. One of the things I loved about India was the amazing diversity, plus I found Delhi a bit disappointing. When I think of places like Jaisalmeer, Varanasi, Bhopal, Panaji, Mysore, Kochi, and how different they are from each other, never mind from Delhi, I'm concerned you could easily make the wrong decision.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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I agree with thrusdaysd. By hopping in & out of continents you are not going to get a feel for the countries you are visiting at all. If you are interested in "immersing yourselves in the local culture" it does not seem like you are doing that. For example, you mention Southeast Asia, but you will hardly get even a taste of it by going to just Bali or Singapore, although you may have eliminated other areas in SEA because of the weather at that time of year. Not sure about weather in Bali then. July & August are supposed to be the best there.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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This is a classic Fodors thread. A relatively simple question, but we chime in on disparate issues.

Having said that, I agree that you may be biting off a lot to chew. I know there is a romantic aspect to seeing all of these places, but enjoyment is my paramount issue. The reality of travel is often different than the thought. I would pick either Italy or Greece, not both. That gives eight locations and a week for each. A week should give you a good sense of a place.

On your original question, I note that there are almost no trip reports on this forum about more than three days in Singapore.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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There will soon a report on 6 nights in Singapore...we leave in 3 weeks. There is a lot to do there, so much that we wanted to do that we extended our original 3 nights to 6 after doing a bit of research.

I understand the logic of undertaking a whirlwind around the world, though caution you against making generalizations about continents based on a short stay in one or two countries.
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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Another vote for Bali, but I'd stay clear of the Kuta/Legian area, which doesn't show the Balinese people and culture at their best. Ubud is definitely the place for that. For a beach experience, Sanur is nice, relatively free of annoying sellers of the ubiquitous $10 genuine Rolex, and you can do snorkeling trips from there.

The beaches are much better (and cleaner) in Australia than the ones I saw in Bali, but June is the wrong time of year unless you can get up to the Great Barrier Reef. You could split a week in Australia between Sydney and the GBR, time and money permitting.

I have to agree that your itinerary looks more like an attempt to beat someone else's record than an enjoyable experience, and will allow little opportunity to immerse yourselves in anyone's local culture - that takes time. As ot is you'll spend a lot of your time on the tedious and sometimes stressful mechanics of travel - packing and unpacking, getting to and from airports, in immigrations and customs lines and in planes and other forms of transport. It seems to me that by the time you've got your bearings and are starting to get comfortable with the place you're in it will be time to think about heading for the next destination. As a suggestion, perhaps you could consider deleting any country that you've allocated less than a week to. In my book, if it's not worth a week it's not worth visiting.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 12:10 AM
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Hi,
Bali is paradise, a brilliant island of colorful tradition.

Send an e-mail to : [email protected]
Hope fully I able to assist you.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 01:25 AM
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ashlematt1, please ignore the last post.

maktal, advertising isn't allowed on this site. Please don't post again.

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