Bali or Vietnam in april?

Old Jun 27th, 2011, 07:35 PM
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Bali or Vietnam in april?

hey folks-
having a hard time deciding whether to visit bali or vietnam. i realize the two places
have their differences, have their benefits, interests specific to each -- but thought i
would take a survey. we are not that interested in a beach vacation per se, would stick
to HI for that, only 5 hrs instead of 22! interested in a cultural experience in a beautiful country with amazing food and wonderful people and history.
so for the cost and time of flying - which has more bang for the buck?
thanks for sharing....
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 02:33 AM
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Tough choice for me

Vietnam best bang for your buck by far

http://www.luxurylink.com/fivestar/h...and-six-senses...

Bali around Ubud Komanekamonkeyforest.com my fav there

exotic though more touristic better air connections usually.

Vietnam best values

Might check Asiarooms.com Otel.com booking.com

Agoda.com betterbidding.com

But Bali might have cheaper packages when you factor airfare

Happy Planning,
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 02:38 AM
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http://www.booking.com/hotel/id/koma...forest.en.html

my fav featured in recent Julia Roberts movie Eat Love Pray

then recreate all your old bad karma with another loser...

Beautiful scenery though... chock a block with tourists though

So a tough choice probably Vietnam for me I like adventure
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 03:51 AM
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"interested in a cultural experience in a beautiful country with amazing food and wonderful people and history" - On this criteria Vietnam wins hands down.

I like both places a lot but Bali is more heavily touristed and much of the cultural scene exotic though it undoubtedly is. is put on for the benefit of tourists.

Vietnam has a fascinating history, in recent years, dominated by the "American War" but also encompassing colonialisation by the French and Chinese imperialism. One of the few positives of these events is the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine i.e. some of the best food in SEA. There is also a huge variety of sight to visit from the amazing scenery and welcoming minority people of the far north to the buzz of saigon in the south.
Finally, it is also considerably less expensive in Vietnam than Bali.
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 08:22 AM
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thanks for the feedback. my reading has found that charm and exoticism old bali is now being surrendered to over development, the crush of plastic bottles and souvenirs. perhaps in small villages and towns that is not true, but much of bali seems
oriented for tourists. vietnamese food is my favorite. aside from a culinary nirvana, there is much to see and do. a 10 day itinerary? should we hit all the highlights? hanoi,saigon, halong bay, perhaps the beach? is a visit to cambodia a must?
thanks
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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There is far too much to do/see in VN for a mere 10 days. No way to even hit all the highlights in 10 days. So you need to have limited goals. If you add in A visit to Angkor Wat, your goals in VN will need to be even more limited.

In 10 days, have a maximum of three destinations. So if you opt for Angkor, you could have stops in VN in Hanoi and Sapa as well or Hanoi and Halong Bay (I am assuming at least one night, perhaps two on a boat).

It sounds like it's time to buy a VN guidebook.
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 09:09 AM
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Regarding your available time, we had twelve days in Vietnam this spring, and we hit only Hanoi (4 days), Halong Bay (1), Hue (1-1/2), HoiAn (3) and Saigon (2). We added 4 days for Angkor (Siem Reap) and 4 days for Hong Kong to round out a 3 week trip. We would have loved to have visited Sapa or Mai Chau but lacked time.

With 10 days, I'd reduce Hanoi to 3 days, HoiAn to 2, and skip Halong Bay unless it's something you really are dying to see.
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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Any possibility of squeezing in a few more days? While Halong Bay was great, I'd opt for Sapa instead. I would skip Saigon. You can always pair it up with a trip to Cambodia down the road. IMO the northern and central regions (Hue & Hoi An) were far more interesting than Saigon.

Day 1, 2, 3 - Hanoi - overnight train to Sapa
Day 4, 5, 6 - Sapa - overnight back to Hanoi
Day 7 - Catch first flight to DaNang - Hoi An
Day 8 - Hoi An
Day 9 - Early morning drive to Hue - 1/2 day tour Citadel
Day 10 - Hue - tour tombs and take last flight out

It is ideal to visit Sapa over a weekend, returning to Hanoi on a Sunday night so you can visit the amazing Bac Ha market before catching the train back.
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 06:29 PM
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It sounds like you’ve decided on Vietnam and I wouldn’t dissuade you, but for future I’d like to comment on a couple of your Bali perceptions. First you have to bear in mind that Vietnam is a geographically spread out country with 90 million people, while Bali is a small island of about 3 million. So the scope of comparison is quite unbalanced, even moreso if you throw in Cambodia.

Of course Bali has developed and of course tourism has brought some negative factors, but there isn’t a place in Asia – including Vietnam and Cambodia – that that couldn’t be said of. Bali is not a sterile museum, however. The charm and exoticism, the profound natural beauty, the vibrant culture and arts, and the deeply felt spiritual and religious heart is still very much alive and well.

Bali -- and other parts of Indonesia -- still fills the bill for “a cultural experience in a beautiful country with wonderful people and history” though I’d put “amazing food” in the Vietnam column.
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Old Jun 28th, 2011, 07:32 PM
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I completely agree with Marmot, although in interests of full disclosure I live in Bali and have not been to Vietnam. The better comparison would be Vietnam or Indonesia. And Indonesia has an insanely complex history, from classical prehistory, the age of the kingdoms that built Prambanan and Borodubur, the Majapahit Empire, to the time of the trade routes from India and China, to the European Spice Wars. If you don't know anything about that, a good read is "Nathaniel's Nutmeg" by Giles Milton which culminates in a little-known transaction between the Dutch and English over a small island known as Manhattan. But not all of that is evident to the typical tourist who scratches the surface of Indonesia from a short stay in Bali or Jogja.

And, no most of the ceremonies and cultural rites are not put on for tourists. It's true that Ubud has many gamelan and dance performances (about 60 a week) but that is because the regular ceremonies often take place at times and locations that are INCONVENIENT to tourists. Many times I am at a ceremony such as a cremation and when it starts there are many tourists hanging around, but by the time it ends 6 hours or more later, they are all gone.


Sorry, I don't want to get on my soap box again, and I would have a lot more to add, but I couldn't just let some of the above posts go without comment. I'm sure you will love Vietnam. Indonesia is not for everyone, but those who take the time and effort to scratch below the surface will find that Indonesia has amazing rewards for travellers.
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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 07:16 AM
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what a lively and informative thread this has become. thanks.
no - have not decided yet. still figuring out flights and a 10 day itinerary in each for comparison. the fact that VM trip would be slightly arduous travel-wise isn't a bonus. on bali, we can explore and linger without having to rush to the next destination. i understand VM would be vibrant, albeit hectic.
and for bali, the kind of trip i am researching (5 days ubud,
2 days the north, perhaps a jaunt to jogyi) is slightly more
relaxed pace. in terms of food - that can always be a decision maker, and i adore vietnamese food, and want to partake in as many market visits and gorge myself silly. the other factor
is weather - bali is more temperate while VM is quite hot and muggy. so, again, the jury is still out....
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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 07:43 AM
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Bali more temperate? No, the temperatures will be about the same in the two places, except that northern VN will be less hot.

If you throw central Java into the Bali trip, that makes Bali more enticing to me. We loved central Java. Plan to spend a minimum of two days there, perhaps more, depending on your interests.
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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 05:15 PM
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I haven't been to Hanoi or Hoi An so I can't compare, but between Saigon/Hue and Bali I'd definitely go for Bali.

Again, except for the food. Indonesian food is interesting but I wouldn't call it one of the great world cuisines. Markets are always lively, though, and it's interesting to see the ingredients, especially the herbs and spices growing in the wild. Lots of hands-on cooking and shopping experiences.

Ten days is a good chunk of time for Bali + Central Java. I'd try to put Yogya at the beginning or end so you're not going back and forth to the airport.

The Bali/Java climate, as Kathie says, is always hot. I would think that the northern areas of VN would actually be cool at this time. Easter week -- which is April 8, 2012 -- is a busy time in Bali.

Kulut, I actually just reread Nathaniel's Nutmeg. Quite an engrossing story. The British and Dutch exchanged islands: The Dutch got the teeny tiny Spice Island outpost of Run. The British got the New World port of Manhattan. The punchline is that at the time everyone thought the Dutch got the better end of the deal.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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I too am trying to decide VN or Bali over Christmas/New Years. I like the idea of relaxed, beautiful lush place...Bali....and yet some of the excitement and food of VN is exciting; however I am not interested in a congested city. I live in one! I also spent last Christmas in India which was quite overwhelming. I feel like VN might be the same? I am sure they are both fabulous trips and I intend to do both at some point if I am so lucky. I think we only have about 10 days to travel so which would you choose?

Also if you choose Bali where would you go? All of the hotels look wonderful to me from the expensive to the least expensive. I loved the Aman but it is too pricey. What is the best area to stay in? Would you break up the 10 days into two different areas?

Thank you for any and all input!
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 03:04 PM
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mobile, I'm not a fan of Saigon for the reasons you mention, but there are other parts of Vietnam with great natural beauty. December/January is chilly to downright cold in the north, though, which may be a factor in your planning.

In Bali I'd spend some time at one of the Southern beaches (I like Seminyak) and some time in Ubud or the surrounding countryside (I like the area outside of town).

What's your budget and how for how many people? There are many good choices in accommodation across many price levels; however, Christmas/New Years is high season and prices will be inflated everywhere. (Same is true for VN.) You'll also get some rain in Bali at that time, but it shouldn't slow you down.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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I am looking for 2 (possibly 3 if our daughter joins us) Of course I am looking for 5 star with a moderate budget How does one get from Seminyak to Ubud? I am sad to hear about rain, is that the rainy season? I thought you could get amazing hotels for 3-500 a nite but than I saw Aman and it is 900+
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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You can get amazing hotels in Bali for $300-500 a night. Just not the Aman.

You get from one place on Bali to another by hiring a car and driver. Inexpensive, easy. If you want a more relaxed time, I'd say Bali rather than VN.

Every time I've gone to bali it's been during the rainy season. I've not found it to be a problem.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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$300 to 500 a night will get you a very nice place in Bali, especially in Ubud. The beach is somewhat higher. The trouble is the high season surcharge. Christmas/New Years is very busy in Bali.

In the Ubud area I like Kayumanis, Samaya, Alila, Alam Sari. In town Uma Ubud.

In Seminyak I'd look for a villa that's the right size for your group. It won't be right on the beach, but will be near. There are zillions of villas. Start with the Laksmana Group (though they may be booked for Christmas) then look in the Petitenget area.

The Colony is a boutique resort that's charming and an excellent value, also near but not on the beach.

On the beach look at the Royal Beach. Or the Padma in an area that's a little more densely touristed.

Seminyak to Ubud is about an hour's drive. Your resort will arrange transport or you can hire a taxi.

Yes, December is the rainy season. Usually you get a mix of rain and sun, but some days are stormy.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 02:53 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions. I will research them and see whats available etc. Besides the beach and a lovely hotel with wonderful service what is the best "to do " in Bali? We love culture, food, shopping, some light adventure
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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Do you have a guide book yet? If not, get one now. "Best" depends on your interests, so you'll need to do some research to decide what you might enjoy most. You will want to hire a car and driver for several days of your stay, so you can visit villages and temples, watch as craftspeople work, shop, maybe do some hiking, etc.
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